Friday, March 27, 2020

Spring Break

I picked up an egg coloring kit after Easter last year on a 90%off sale and held onto it for a rainy day. Little did I know how many of those we would encounter. But Kroger fulfilled my three dozen egg request after I had heard rumors of being unable to locate them and I already had two dozen in the fridge so we were suddenly met with no breakfast for a group plans and sixty eggs. The timing was good to boil some and make the most of some easy protein.

My kids have apparently outgrown egg coloring and it makes me sad. But they humored me. Barely. The eggs are pretty and we spent some time together while Greg sang odd songs to add a layer of silliness to the afternoon.

The children's minister from our church deposited an activity folder on our porch Saturday afternoon for Ty. She is posting videos and is encouraging us to record our kiddos participating in the activities to earn prizes while we meet virtually for a few weeks. I appreciate the way she is loving on him from a distance.

Saturday, at four in the morning and for reasons that still are not clear to me, I decided to clean the laundry room. I worked with what I had on hand and mostly decluttered and reorganized. I failed to take a before photo because I wasn't thinking I was tackling this particular spring cleaning project at that hour until I was already elbow deep. But I am happy with the results and am looking forward to overhauling all the cabinets, closets and dressers in the coming days.

Saturday night, Ty and Kate challenged each other to a stay up all night adventure. They snuggled together in Kate's room with popcorn and a movie. Neither made it up all night but they did see 11pm so it was close, I have been told. They have done really well together, stuck at home.

Sunday afternoon we lounged around the living room together, discussing other challenges we may tackle in the coming week. Legos are taking the lead followed by baking. I think we may need exercise challenges to keep up with the second. And then round 4pm, Greg and I discussed how early was too early to go to bed.
Layla refuses to comply with social distancing rules.

I launched a creative project on Sunday and had fifteen people respond. I am photographing families on their front porches during this "quarantine" and telling their stories. I am in love with the images from the first sessions and can't wait to see the end result. This is feeding my creative energy more thoroughly than spring cleaning. Go figure. My need to connect is strong; however I do need to find a way to prevent hugging my people as the first kiddo threw herself into my arms when I arrived despite me promising to remain at least six feet away. Fortunately her parents are very laid back and are keeping a healthy perspective even in this crazy season.

Monday, Erin celebrated her birthday in a personal quarantine. She was exposed to the virus last week. They still want her to work as essential personnel at the hospital but she isn't socializing. So we video chatted with her after depositing gifts, food and cupcakes on her doorstep. We have a date planned at our favorite Cuban restaurant when this mess ends. But happy 25th, kiddo. Sorry your birthday was lame.

Monday I woke hours before the kids and had started spring cleaning. A few hours later, I reached a point I called out for one of my freeloaders to jump in and help with a minor chore. No one made a move to assist so I continued working on two additional rooms before handling that request myself. The children all pointed at each other in a blame game I met with an order. One got to clean windows. One was assigned blinds and another got to scrub the nasty dog bowl stand by hand. Three items were crossed off my to-do list and one of the kids is moving out before I want to deep clean again. I am calling this a win-win situation.

Monday ended up being gorgeous so after the aforementioned chores were finished, we took a walk and then made our own sidewalk chalk paint. Our young adult neighbor joined us as we created some happiness on the driveway. All the tough moments can be redeemed in this season of togetherness.

My handsome husband turned 50 on Tuesday. There is no one else I'd rather be quarantined with although we have agreed it might be nice to be isolated without the kids for a weekend.

But we celebrated with all the kids; Erin and Lauren virtually in their spots around our table. We had an almond cake with fruit while they had funfetti cupcakes in their own homes. We laughed and enjoyed being "together". These are strange times but we are making the most of the situation.

My bible study group met via zoom. It was nice to see everyone but nothing replaces the coziness of meeting in a living room together. I couldn't help but feel a bit sad for my teacher friends and all the kiddos who will be missing their daily hugs and interaction.

Wednesday Greg was sent home from work because a coworker was at the hospital being tested. As of next week Makenna, Kate and Ty will all be working from home. Greg may have to join them. Navigating an online schedule with healthy interactions is going to be interesting, to say the least.

Wednesday night, after Greg and I went to bed, Kate and Ty once again attempted the last to sleep challenge. Ty won after Kate conceded at one in the morning. Ty claims he saw 4 a.m. By Thursday afternoon, I was inclined to believe him. No further late night challenges are permitted because the mom still needs to like her children the following day.

Today we took a hike and enjoyed the change of scenery.

My photography project will wrap up next week and I am pretty excited to reveal it. But because everyone was home together after one of my quick shoots, Greg pulled together his own idea. I love my safety guy and his crew.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

So I Took My Camera to Georgia

I spent the week in Georgia, sequestered in Lauren's backyard with my grandson and my camera. It was good to see them. Thanksgiving was a long time ago when measured in time away from Austin (his parents too). Taylor's leave was revoked due to the spread of this virus so Austin lost his Baby Shark party and we are unsure when they will be able to come home again. I am glad I took the trip.

Before I get hate mail about travel, we were far more removed from the world in that fenced-in yard than we would be at home, running familiar errands. We paid at the pump for gas and packed food.  And when we got home, Kroger Clicklist provided groceries for the next couple of weeks. In all this mess, Kroger Clicklist is the MVP.

This coming week we were also supposed to celebrate Erin and Greg but Erin has been exposed to covid19 so not only are her original plans for a margarita with friends canceled but so are her breakfast for dinner plans with us. It appears we are dropping gifts and food at her door and talking with her via video chat. Happy 25th?

In looking for the silver lining, I have books I have wanted to read stacked on my bedside table and a Spring cleaning list ready to tackle. There is now time to write and no excuse to not make the phone calls I have intended to make for weeks. I have lofty goals of exercising daily and trying a new recipe every week. In a nutshell, my planner looks very different in the coming weeks than it has for the last year. The changes would be good if I weren't so worried about some of my small friends from school. The world as a whole fails to understand how much more teachers provide than just test scores. Some of our kiddos need love and nourishment more than reading and writing lessons.

Even though Kate was on spring break this last week, her teachers emailed encouraging words and offered to be there virtually for students who were feeling isolated or needed support. It's refreshing to see how much they care. And Ty's teacher reached out to me this week. I suspect she noted he wasn't online and needed to make sure we were working through his home packet. We were but I found we were able to achieve this week's goals without use of screen-time. He simply doesn't need to be in front of a computer all day as a ten year old. I'm hoping the e-learning we are required to work through in April affords us some flexibility in that area too. But having that brief communication was refreshing. I know how much I already miss my work kids. It's just such an uncertain time.

So whereas Erin avoids my camera like the plague and my grandson is quite reluctant as well, I am bigger than him and made the most of twenty minutes on a bridge down the street from Lauren's house. He had no interest in playing along but despite his best efforts to lose me, produced some pretty sweet second birthday images for his Mimi. Goodness, I love this baby.