Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 Week 1

Dear kiddos,

Check Mark. We survived the first official week of social/distancing–which has really turning into social isolation for Covid-19.

Although SVDP, technically had school on Monday–we kept you guys home. It sounded like it was mostly for people who needed to figure out childcare, get assignments/technology or medicine and since we didn’t have to worry about any of that, we kept you home. I went to work for a half day to get a few things and then came home and got things set up.

IMG_6300D

Over the weekend, I explained to you and William there is a virus going around and we can’t go to school for awhile because we need to help slow down the rate at which people get it. BUT, that means we’re going to have Sampson school each day. We will do our best to make it fun, have play time, but we’re also going to have learning time and we need them to be good cooperators with it.

Monday night, I looked through all of the items that were sent home and was completely overwhelmed trying to figure out what your day should actually look like and what work we should be giving you. Thankfully, someone I follow on Instagram has a first grader and is a former teacher, so followed a similar approach to how she was structuring her day. For William, I just guessed on a whole bunch of stuff.

I also worked on setting up and organizing each of your work spaces to make it a little bit more exciting. You each have your rack of activities, a cup of pencils, colored pencils and markers.

Tuesday was filled with a lot of excitement and equal parts groaning and complaining from all parties. Nobody wanted to get dressed, brush their hair or teeth, but were excited about their work spaces and the worksheets. Go figure. I did my best to work, but there was lots of interruptions, distractions etc… and I really didn’t get any work done, respond to any emails, was just on a few conference calls. By the end of the day, I felt so exhausted and defeated. I felt guilty for not being very productive at work and discouraged that this school thing was going to be even harder than I had originally thought. BUT, Daddy did manage to help you decorate and build leprechaun traps.

That evening my leader at work sent an email to everyone sharing her Day 1 experiences and talked about how she wasn’t very productive with all the distractions and it was hard and is going to take time for all of us to adjust to this. I’m so grateful to be working for leaders that are so supportive and understanding in hard times like this. It makes the hard things a million times easier.

After the kids went to bed, I went through the school materials again and put together another schedule, that was similar, but tried to mix up activities and what not.

Wednesday morning was met with some pushback on the usual getting dressed and brushing of teeth and hair, but it was a tiny bit better. Overall, the school part of the day went better. I was a little more productive at work and I could see the kids were actually learning. It also helped that you went on a field trip to Great Grandma’s house to visit and brighten her day.

Wednesday night I prepped again and was feeling more confident in the schedule, how to break the day up how much time it takes for things to be done.

Overall, Thursday was pretty good. There was less push-back from you kids, Kate was wanting to learn, Daddy was doing an awesome time keeping you guys focused and helping you through your assignments. I had a lot of conference calls, which made things tough to stay focused in my chair that long and that I wasn’t able to help out as much with some of the school stuff.

IMG_6283D

By Thursday evening as I was lesson planning, I felt like I was in a good rhythm. I was understanding the packets of info better and was getting ideas on how I could start to build different schedules out for each day of the week so it requires less planning on my behalf each night. Work that day went a little better too. We started to leverage the web-cam, which felt awkward at first, but made it so much easier to connect with people. We even had a virtual happy hour together.

As I was lesson planning for the Friday, was reflecting on how much easier things got as the week went on. I also felt like I was spending more quality time with the kids, was actually making decent meals, was decently caught up on laundry and the house wasn’t a complete disaster. So despite all of the really hard and challenging things happening, I’m also seeing some great benefits too. It is forcing us to slow down. We aren’t even half or a quarter as busy as a lot of other families, but the fact that I’m not rushing home to quickly make dinner and run to an activity or get baths done is really nice. If the kids go to bed a little later, that is OK because they don’t have to wake up at a certain time, and if we don’t get bathed tonight, we can easily do it tomorrow. I love having the time to play Sorry! together as a family after dinner or time the kids riding their bikes up and down the sidewalk. I’m hoping these aren’t novelty moments and continue as the weeks unfold.

Finally, Friday was not the smoothest. Daddy took you to Great Grandma’s and Aggies for a visit and a few of you were pretty naughty. Work was also pretty crazy. On Wednesday, they announced store hours were being reduced and starting on Monday, they would limit the amount of customers in store. They were also modifying how Geek Squad, Delivery/Install and In Home Advisors reduce their face-to-face interactions with customers. Then today, some governments decided the products we sell are no longer deemed as ‘essential’ and our stores must close. As a result, starting on Sunday, all of our stores will be closed and only available for customers to pick up products at curbside. I spent the afternoon developing new messaging to support this change as well as reviewing all the existing messages we have in place that need to be updated.

Hopefully the work craziness will subside a little next week and we’ll get into a good rhythm of Sampson school.

IMG_6295

Love,

Mama

Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 unfolds

Lexi, William and Kate,

I know you’re pretty young to remember some of this, but this is a moment that will be written into history books and talked about for many years to come. The only other moment in my life that is somewhat comparable to this is 9/11. That was sad and scary–but this one just feels surreal and crazy, at least at this moment (1 weeks in)

We’ll start with the basics of what the heck is going on and then get into how we survived week 1.

First, Covid-19 (also known as Coronavirus) is a virus similar to the flu, but is much more contagious and can have some respiratory challenges. It is most dangerous to the elderly 70+ population. It was first identified in China in January of 2020 and turned their world upside down. Then in late February, early March a few cases were identified in the US, but nobody thought too much of it–at least from my perspective. As the days rolled on, more and more cases were popping up–with the first one in Minnesota in early March. Queue some initial discussion and lots of warnings about washing your hands, not touching your face etc…which basically cleared out hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes from stores. Don’t travel if you don’t have to etc…But for the most part, business was as normal.

Then, on the day we flew home from Florida (March 11), things started to get crazy. This was identified as a pandemic–which is a world-wide crisis (verses just a regional one). The cases in Minnesota grew. Each day hour things got a little crazier. Universities started canceling in-person classes and going to virtual only. Major sporting events were canceled (NBA, NHL, MLB, March Madness) DisneyWorld closed (we barely squeaked that one in!) and concerts and conferences were canceled.

On Thursday, my work declared that Tuesday, the 17th, would be a mandatory work from home day to test things out, if we needed to go that direction.

On Friday, March 13th, Lexi came home with a folder of school work to do, in the event that schools close. On my way home from work, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things since our house was empty from vacation. There was very little pasta and pretty much no bread in the stores.

Things kept getting crazier and crazier. The phrase ‘social-distancing’ was introduced, which means they don’t want people within 6 feet of each other and shouldn’t be in groups larger than 25-50 people. With the West Coast schools closing, I had a gut feeling of where things were going, so I headed to Costco 45 min before it opened on Sunday, thinking it might open early and sure enough it did. Outside of chicken and organic ground beef, they had pretty much everything in stock. Toilet paper, paper towels, milk, bread etc…(these items had become scare over the last few days). While there, Auntie Shelia texted saying the Minnesota Governor closed public schools for two weeks, so I added a few more things to the over-flowing cart to make sure we were stocked up. Then, I headed over to Target. The medicine isle was completely empty, no bread, very little pasta and canned goods. I stocked up the best I could, even getting Easter treats in case the stores closed.

IMG_6271

 

IMG_6282

On Monday, I went into work for a video meeting, got my monitor, other supplies and then headed home. I stopped by school to pick up a packet of work for William and we began our time at home, together.

To further explain some of these drastic measures.

This virus is extremely contagious and has a 2% mortality rate, officials are worried terrified if we don’t take these measures and slow the rate down that people interact with one another and therefore, spread this virus, that too many people will get sick all at the same time and we won’t have enough medical staff, beds, or equipment to take care of people. This exact scenario is happening in Italy, Spain and other European countries. Medical officials are literally having to choose who lives and who dies. It is terrible. Medical and government officials are trying to prevent that from happening here. The challenge is, everyone has an opinion. Many of these people are credentialed or at least sound like it and it is really hard to decipher what is going on. You can find a credentialed person to support whatever you want, which makes it challenging to know what the right thing to do is.

Stay tuned for our weekly survival update.

Love,

Mama

 

Day to Day

Turning point

Dear Kiddos,

I think we are rounding a turning point in these little kid years. By no mean are we out of them with the multiple tantrums that Kate throws down on the regular. But, for several weeks I’ve noticed how much more independent you all are and what that unlocks for me.

For a long time, I didn’t feel capable of getting anything more than grocery shopping and laundry accomplished on a weekend. I may have picked up a little bit, but rarely did I actually clean something or even get the laundry put away. I was kept so busy feeding you kids, changing diapers, making sure you weren’t getting into things or just picking up everything you had spewed throughout the house. Although I was always busy and rarely sat down–it never looked like I had accomplished much. And I was tired. all. the. time.

However, over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a change. Not only can I get the laundry washed, you will help sort it and put it away in closets. I can easily get to the grocery store and often get to go by myself, which is such a treat. I have actually showered several times before you go to bed, which is amazing. Today, I cleaned two bathrooms, made two meals, got snacks prepped for the week, went on a walk with Kate, gave all three of you kids baths and chatted with the neighbors while you played outside. There was one day that I even painted my nails while you were awake.

IMG_5713

I tell you, truly life-shattering moments over here. But, after years of dedicating nearly every waking hour I am at home with you, to you, it is really refreshing and exciting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. To see that I will be capable of accomplishing the ‘must do’ chores faster and allow myself a little more time to do things that I’ve put on the back burner for far too long like reading a book or watching a TV show or spending a little more time here writing to each of you.

Cheers to the future.

Love,

Mama

 

William

William’s First Day of Pre-K Preschool

Dear Oats,

As we were getting ready to drop you off this morning, I expected tears, nervous and you to be very clingy to my legs. You shocked us and were confident, at ease and seemed like you had done this many times. You found your locker, put your backpack in and had to remind you to give us a hug goodbye–you just went straight in and started to find some toys to play with.

IMG_4957

You switched schools this year from Bright Beginnings to St. Vincent’s. You are there all day–so from 7:30 – 1:30, the same time that Lexi is there, which makes it one less drop off and pick up for Daddy. Originally, we had signed you up to just go Tuesday and Thursday but felt that you could really benefit from another day of exposure to really help you learn your letters, numbers and exposure to more social elements with kids. Since you are there all day, you eat breakfast, lunch and take a little nap too.

Prior to your first day, we did have a little orientation day where Mom and Dad had a little meeting with Mrs. Winn, your teacher and you got to learn about the classroom and all the fun toys and activities for you.

The 6:30 am wake up call was a bit of a shock for you. You groaned and pulled your blankets over your head.

William 1st day of pre-k 1

After reminding you of your breakfast of choice, pigs in a blanket–you hopped down the stairs cheerfully. Like most mornings, it was chaos, getting out the door. Similar to Lexi, Daddy made you this awesome sign about all things William. We snapped a bunch of pictures and headed to drop off.

William first day of pre-k 2IMG_4968

After you got home, you were so excited about your day. You proudly told us you had lots of fun and were excited to go back.

I am excited to see how much you have grown and how much more confident you’ve become and all that you are going to learn this year. Have a great last year of preschool buddy cause next year, its Kindergarten!

Love,

Mama

Lexi

Lexi’s First Day of 1st Grade

Lexi,

It is amazing how different one can feel about relatively the same experience a year apart. This time last year, everyone was a ball of emotions: excited, nervous, emotional. This year, it felt like we have been through this a bazillion times already.

We tried to keep plans on Sunday and Monday pretty minimal so we could get the house back in order and start the year off on a good and organized note. My to-do list is always longer than what is reasonable but we did get many things done.

On Monday evening, we continued our tradition of ‘last day of summer ice cream’ at the ice cream factory. Over the summer you have branched out a bit and explored some new flavors: Lexi–Birthday Cake, William–After Dinner Mint, Kate–Watermelon Sherbet.

last day of summer ice cream

We took baths, read books and were all in bed by 8:30, which is pretty remarkable considering your summer bedtime was often 10:00. Daddy made you a super awesome sign describing all things Lexi 🙂

The morning went fairly smooth. Lexi requested cinnamon rolls for breakfast and ate 3 and was requesting more!

After a few quick pics, we hopped into the Van, headed over to school to get there just as the bell was ringing.

lexi 1st day of 1st grade 2lexi 1st day of 1st grade

Lexi, you are going to have an amazing year. I’m so excited to watch your grow, learn and continue to mature into a smart 7-year-old/2nd grader over these next few years.

Love,

Mom

Kate, Lexi, William

Summer Dreams

Tonight was one of those nights that will be impressed into my memory forever. I would call it a top 10 weather day. It was sunny and about 80 degrees with no humidity or wind. It was perfect. Daddy grilled while you three kiddos rode bikes up and down the sidewalk and played on the swing set. There were lots of squeals and giggles and almost no arguing, whining or tattling.

Lexi optimistically suggested going to the Ice Cream Factory for dessert and requested we ride bikes. Initially, the plan was to have William ride in the trailer with Kate, but he insisted on riding his green bike. We gave it a go, but figured he would get tired and need to ride in the trailer and throw his bike on it.

IMG_4678

Oats, you rocked it. Your little legs were petaling a million times a minute but you rode all the way there AND back!

IMG_4670

You each enjoyed your ice cream and even switched it up from the usual:

  • Lexi: Birthday Cake
  • William: Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Kate: Watermelon Sherbet

So grateful for this weather, these memories and most importantly these sweet peeps that make us a family

IMG_4668

Love,

Mama

Kate, Kate monthly posts

Kate is 2!!

‘Night-night Oats,’ you yell down to William as we’re walking up the stairs to go to bed while waving excitedly. He barely pauses and responds, ‘Night, Kate. Love You.’ And you respond ‘Wuv you too’.

What an adventure these last two years have been. Watching you grow to adore your big brother and sister and watching their love grow for you has been my biggest joy. One of the first things you do when waking is ask for where Lexi or Oatsie is. You love to be with them, wrestle, play and pretend you are as big and mature as they are. Similarly, if they hear you talking in your room, they come and ask if they can get you out of bed. Lexi loves to read stories to you, regularly asks to have matching clothes and can’t WAIT for the two of your to share a room. William will stop whatever he is doing to give you hugs and kisses, loves to share snacks with you and is the most patient little 4-year-old to all of his creations you destroy. It is truly a joy to watch the three of you interact and love each other.

IMG_4399

At two years old, your independence, stubbornness and knowing what you want are in full swing. You exercise each of these attributes multiple times a day. I’m not going to lie, it can be exhausting, and we cave in far more than we should because sometimes it is just easier. But it has gotten out of control, and we are being much more diligent to not just give you whatever you want because you’re throwing a tantrum. Praying this is just a phase and really doesn’t last all year long or worse throughout your entire childhood/teenage years.

You put up a fight around bed/nap time about half time. If you are putting up a fight, once we get to your room, you’re fine. If you can say goodnight to everyone, it usually helps avoid a melt down.

You’ve started to enjoy books and will actually listen to them some of the time. When we’re finished, you request to go lie in you bed. I’ll sing a couple songs to you and you’ll sing if you know the words to the songs (Twinkle Twinkle, Row Row Row your Boat, Baaa Black Sheep). Then, I request you to say, ‘I love you mommy’ and you respond Wuv u mommies. I walk out and then you’ll chat and move things around in there for up to an hour.

IMG_4275

You take one nap for two to three hours most days, usually around 2:00. Lexi gets picked up from school around 1:30 and sometimes you fall asleep on the way home, but transfer very well into your bed.

For bedtime, you go to bed around 8:00-ish and (falling asleep around 9-ish) and then wake up around 7 am.

Taters, you love to eat. In fact, I would go so far to say you are obsessed with it. All Day. Long. constantly requesting to go into the food cabinet for ‘taaters AKA: Crackers. You love any and all cheese. Fruit is sent to you from the heavens above. And you could give two hoots about meat. You’re awesome at drinking from a regular cup and we almost never give you a sippy anymore, and you rarely spill. In fact you probably have spilt less than 5 times in total. You love eating with a fork and spoon and I can’t remember the last time we put a bib on you. You’ve even started to eat cereal with milk in it!

IMG_4283

Baths are iffy. You love playing in them and will tolerate being cleaned, but the ONLY way you will cooperate is if you stand up and I poor water over your head to get your hair wet or the bubbles out. You 100% refuse to lie down on your back. Note to self: I really need to work on that with you this summer in the pool and boating.

You do this hilarious quiver when you get really excited or want something. You used to do it before you would get a bottle too so it isn’t new, but it hasn’t gone away and now you know that it is funny and you’ll sometimes fake it.

Being heard is not an issue you need to overcome. You figured out being kid number three does not mean you are forgotten about. You demand to be heard. like demand! I’m hoping it is just the age you are, but holy smokers. You will yell my name 6+ times in 10 seconds. I’ll have responded to all of them, but you just keep yelling ‘Mommies!!’

IMG_4358

You are stubborn. You have your mind made up and you won’t even listen to someone else talk, just demand what you want. Lexi will come to say goodnight to you and you won’t have anything to do with her and push her away, but then William will come up and you’re all hugs and kisses with him. Then 5 minutes later, it has reversed. You will also throw the fit of all fits if Daddy tries to unbuckle you from your car seat when you want Mama to. Or heaven forbid I pick out the wrong pair of underwear.

“I do it!” you yell as I try and help you out of your carseat. The independence of a two-year-old is coming through. However, you can be very clingy. You love help or to hold my hand when you go downstairs and say, thank you mama and if I’m on the floor for some reason, you are climbing all over me. Nuzzling and giving me hugs but never sitting still for more than a few seconds.

IMG_4398

As stubborn and opinionated as you may be, you are also pretty shy around new spaces and people. It takes you awhile to warm up and start talking in front of other people–even  your Grammy and Papa from time to time. You will rarely wave to people in store or never will answer anyone’s questions if they talk to you–you just bury your head into me and try and become invisible.

You know the different sounds of the different alarms to go pick up the big kids from school. When you hear one, you know you need to go put your shoes on to go see Badgers, or that you are going to pick up Lexi.

IMG_4400

You can identify Mickey and the characters and request to watch it, but you’ve never really sat down and watch it or really any other kind of show. You are always moving. Where you’re going and what you’re doing is a mystery to all of us as you don’t ever sit down and play with toys or read books. You just wander, get into things, pick something up carry it to another room in the house and drop it.

Of all three kids, you win the golden star for the most goose eggs and bruises to the head. It is hard to find you without one it seems. You are always walking into the corner of tables or falling off something. You for sure have had more bumps to the head than the other two kids combined.

IMG_4374

Things to do/toys

  • You LOVE LOVE LOVE to go on walks. It is one of the few times you’re quiet. You just sit and observe everything you see.
  • You love to go down the slide and call it ‘go weee’. You hate swings and request to get off the moment you’re on them.
  • Love to play with bubbles and draw with chalk
  • Chase after Lexi, William and ‘Lute’ in the backyard
  • Push your babies or ‘nonnies’ aka: bunny in your strollers
  • You have started to like to do puzzles and for the most part can figure out how to move the pieces around to get them to fit.

IMG_4358

After our initial go at Potty training in April, I gave it another whirl over memorial weekend. You had diarrhea so it didn’t go quite to plan, but overall you got the concept and you did poop on the potty several times, which I think actually helped you learn how to do it. It didn’t happen over 3 days, but I kept at it and I haven’t put a diaper on you (outside of a nap/bedtime) for several weeks. Last week, we were up at the cabin with the Sampson’s and you didn’t have an accident the entire time–including the car ride. However, you will not go on any potty without your pink little seat–not at home and especially not out in public.

You are in size 4T clothing (and have been for a few months!!!), wear a size 7-8 shoe and weigh around 33 lbs. (You aren’t far behind your big brother as he is about 37 lbs and in 5T clothing, but still wears his 3Ts sometime).

Katelyn, you bring everyone in this family so much JOY! You are difficult and challenging and I’m terrified for what this will mean in 13 years, but encouraged to how you can leverage the strengths of your independence and stubbornness to your advantage. I love you SO much sweet pumpkin. You make everyone laugh and smile everyday and we just can’t get enough of our little taters. Happy 2nd Birthday!!!

IMG_4347

Love,

Mommy

IMG_4386