Pandemic Life: Checking In With a Brain Dump

Monday, July 13, 2020

 Sunday, April 18. Wait, I think it's April 19. It's DEFINITELY Sunday... We mark the week with a home church session on Sundays, so I know I have that part right. But the rest of it-- actual dates, actual days in stay-at-home isolation.... Those are fuzzier. Pretty sure it's the 19th. And that we are on Day 27. Or Day 38. 

I count the first day of this "new normal"-- the pandemic crisis of 2020, Coronavirus/COVID-19-- for our family as Friday, March 13. It was the day after they closed Disneyland and major league baseball plans and March Madness and our church sent an email in the evening temporarily suspending all church gatherings and meetings. March 13, the Friday that was supposed to begin my kids' spring break. But while my kids were home because it was on the calendar, many many other districts around the nation were abruptly calling off school for their students that same day, for at least the next few weeks. 

By the Tuesday of the next week, while we tried to chill in a spring-break-y way while staying at home (the zoo had announced it's temporary closure the day before, and every other place for local outings were following suit), our own school district had announced that it would remain closed after spring break, moving to an "alternative learning plan" starting March 26 and going until April 3 (for the moment, but with a likelihood of extending well past that). On Saturday, March 21, the official announcement for the city and county of St. Louis came that a formal "stay-at-home" order would be issued beginning Monday, March 23rd-- an order that closed restaurants, theaters, gyms, and other "non-essential" businesses and strongly restricted other comings and goings for the population of our area. 

On the day we would've been putting our kids back on the bus for school, Monday, March 23,  instead we all hunkered down for the long haul. Joe began to work from home, I ran to the grocery store yet again to continue stocking up on pantry essentials that could help us stay home with minimal need to run out for more food/supplies as days went by... and I began a gentle but structured daily routine for myself and for the kids that would get us moving each morning and help us break out of the spring break "vacation mode" we'd been in the entire strange week before. No all-day pajamas. Getting dressed, even if it was just in another set of comfy clothes, helped mark the beginning of the "work/school" day. For me, a little bit of makeup, some earrings, and time to write in my morning pages before beginning the day helped a great deal with my mental preparation for the ongoing work of having my entire family at home with me all day long for the foreseeable future. 

And so we began this strange new normal. Our weekday routine has been as follows (with plenty of wiggle room to modify, skip, change and extend any of it as needed):

7:45-8:30  Everybody up and breakfasted and dressed by 8:30. Each can go at their own pace, as long as we're all ready to go by 8:30.

8:30-9  Morning walk. Joe is working in his guest room "office" upstairs by now, so this is just me and the kids. We often stroll around the pond in our neighborhood, but sometimes change it up and go if other directions.  

9-9:30 Settle around the dining room table to write a letter or a journal entry. Planner planning for Noah and I sometimes. 

9:30-10:30 School Time, with Noah, Lucy and Quinn each taking turns breaking away for 20 minutes of piano practice. This is usually Chromebook schooling... zoom meetings and checking new assignments; self-led work while I nudge and nag and help out as needed. Lucy has some notebook writing she needs to do, and is usually better at it in the morning versus the afternoon school hour. (It helps to get Larkin watching cartoons at this time, or she'll run away to Dad's "office" and pester him a little. Joe has been magnificently patient during these interruptions.)

10:30-11 Group art or music (we've managed this maybe three times total in the last three weeks.  More often than not, it becomes an "overflow" worktime and a brain break for mama. Oops.)

July 13, 2020 11:12 pm

Yeah, I never finished that one. And then it was summer. And here we are, still in a Pandemic. Living through what continues to be a historical year.... historically awful, mostly. 

But we're together. My little clan is together. A little more annoyed with each other as days go on, but still so so close. So connected. And really very content. We are lucky--- we are not in a scary place with jobs or money. We are all healthy. We have a house that we fit in, with a big backyard and a trashy 2020 inflatable pool, and all kinds of shows and movies we can stream,  and plenty of food and books and puzzles.... And if I'm mostly REALLLLLY lazy this summer-- sleeping in and re-reading old YA paranormal/dystopian novels and fixating on puzzle after puzzle if I'm not napping or playing the freaking Cat Game on my phone-- I'm also nudging my kids to practice the piano, to read more, and to make art. To help me with my tomatoes, basil and zinnias. To be kind to each other. So in some ways, they are being nudged in the areas that matter most to me. 

It's gonna be okay. And even if the world is falling apart around us-- so much divisiveness amid the actual threat of a crazy and unpredictable virus-- we're okay. 

So there. An old post, not totally wasted and tossed aside, with a current addendum, and the cute "social distancing" porch photos my friend Laura took of our family in May. We all picked something that represented this weird pandemic life of ours, and I LOVE the results. capturing history right here. 
Noah: science and a mask
Joe: working on his guitar skillz
Me: overalls and showing off our toilet paper abundance
Quinn: blankie and red panda
Lucy: scarf and peacock
Larkin: butterfly wings and tiara and TOTAL 3-year-old attitude

And that's it for now. Perhaps I'll write a post or two more in 2020..... Perhaps.

For Quinn, Who Turned Seven Today

Saturday, January 18, 2020

This sweet third kid of mine, Quinn Atticus... He is away with dad on a neat little trip to Utah, so I don't get to celebrate him in person just yet... But I didn't want to let the day end without a little tribute to his amazing freshly-7-year-old self. He is filled with goodness and light. He is happy by nature, and so loving. He loves people and friends, and has a soft spot for animals, too. He always takes a moment to get on Fiona (the cat)'s level to tell her hi and pet her, which I think is so sweet. He is infinitely patient with Larkin, his only sibling younger than him, when it would be quite easy to be constantly annoyed or bossy with her. 
Quinn has a smattering of faint freckles on the bridge of his nose, and I almost can't handle them, they are so cute. He adores soft pajamas-- even better if they have a hood-- and is in the thick of that "talk about video game apps nonstop" phase... so so excited by everything he is doing in those games. He loves to build things, whether it be out of Legos, Duplos, magnatiles, Lincoln Logs, blocks, or even just modeling clay. He loves to dance and LOVES to laugh. His laugh is still one of the most marvelous sounds I've ever heard on this entire earth. 
He loves me, and that's a gift because he's seen some pretty grumpy moments of mine. But he is so quick to forgive, and his love flows so easily. I hope I continue to deserve this amazing son of mine. At freshly seven years old, he is in that magical place between little and big, and it is an incredibly special place to be in. I hope we all relish it in him while it's here. 
Happy birthday, sweet kiddo. You are a gift. 
{photos from our autumn photo session with Sarah Quiara, who travels and will probably be in your state sometime this year if you want some photos. ♥}

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