Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 Week 3

My three munchkins,

Week 1 of distance learning in the books! I mentioned this last week, but the Governor officially closed schools through May 4th, which means teachers and schools are figuring out how to teach kids at home over the next 4 weeks, but likely through the end of the year.

This really only applies to Lexi as Pre-K has paused for William. On Sunday, Miss. Schwartz sent out a guide for the week of the things you will be doing and then each morning uploads the daily assignments into SeeSaw. She records videos of herself providing the instruction or teaching the lesson and then gives you an assignment to do. SeeSaw allows you to write (handwrite or type), draw pictures, upload photos, and even record yourself asking a question as a way to interact with Miss Schwartz. We’re also using a site called class-kick for Math and BenchMark for reading.

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 10.08.06 PM

Monday was rough. The SeeSaw app was overloaded with many of the schools using it, I didn’t know the difference between any of these sites or understand the direction to help Lexi know what she was supposed to do. Things took a really long time. She spent over 2 hours doing math problems!

Fortunately, each day got a little easier and by Thursday we were done with assignments a little after lunch time. We’re also learning what works and what doesn’t work. It is really hard to have all three of you working and doing assignments in the same room together. You each need direction and get distracted by each other pretty quickly. Half way through Wednesday, Lexi came into our room and sat at my desk to get some of her work done. I let her listen to some music and it really helped her focus and get through her work faster. It also helped that I was providing her the direction for her assignments verses Daddy. It’s not that Daddy wasn’t being a good teacher, but Daddy hadn’t been going through all of the different apps and schedules and reading all of the emails to figure out what was going on, where I had. So I didn’t have to try and teach daddy who then needed to teach Lexi.

In fact, Daddy has been a great teacher to William. Last week, you were working on the letter ‘T” and the number 9. This week, you were working on the letter ‘R’ and learned almost all of the tricky-teen numbers and is pretty close to having Daddy’s phone number memorized. William, you are LOVING Sampson School. You are eager to learn each day and never complains about your ‘assignments’ for the day and are turning into quite the little artist.

Kate, you are the sweetest tornado you could ever meet. You are constantly snuggling, giving hugs, kisses and tells me ‘I love you mommy’ BUT turns into tornado mode in a flash as she climbs onto the counter and sneaks food, demands to get her way, throws some epic tantrums and can get pretty aggressive (hitting, biting) your two big siblings.

Overall, the week was decent. We had some nice weather that allowed us to get outside. Grammy came over to play with pipe-cleaners with you. She read some stories and you have a snack outside (you all sat in lawn chairs outside at a socially acceptable distance). You kids don’t seem to mind or even notice that you’re not really going anywhere or seeing people and are perfectly content playing at home with each other. There have been very few times where I hear you complain about being ‘bored’. Wednesday was April 1st, which was also the first day of the 30-Day Lego Challenge. Day 1 was build an amusement park.

Lexi definitely gets what’s going on. You have used the analogy of the virus spreading, like the way ink does on paper when you hold it down. The Dot keeps getting bigger and bigger and that is like more and more people getting the virus. But overall, you seem pretty unfazed about the whole thing.

For me, things got a little better at work. It wasn’t as crazy as the last two weeks have been and am learning how to be more productive. Our stores continue to stay closed and we are paying our retail employees another two weeks, but after that we’ll see what happens. There were also some hints about some things changing at corporate temporarily to help manage cash flow, so praying that mine and my team’s jobs won’t be impacted.

Similar to Mom, Dad is adjusting to everyone being home. He had gotten into a good rhythm of figuring out how to get his work done while Lexi and William were at school/ in the evenings and now he has to get everything done at night–which is a lot harder and mentally taxing. But hopefully with Mom teaching Lexi and Dad teaching William that will reduce some of the chaos and noise and make things a little more manageable

Next week is officially ‘spring break’ so we’re switching back into Sampson school for the week. Look forward to another riveting update of Covid-19 Week 4.

Love,

Mama

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 Week 2

My three little munchkins,

All the days and events are just starting to blur together. The virus, society, the government  and work continue to change at morph speed and you can’t keep up with what is what. Our Best Buy stores closed for customers to enter them on Sunday and we transformed to a curbside only pick-up. Considering I support the mobile business and almost all of our sales are done in store, we had some pretty big changes to make as we modify to helping customers navigate the idea of buying a cell phone online, which is uncomfortable for a lot of people.

Then on Friday–Minnesota officially when to ‘shelter-in-place’, which basically means all non-essential businesses/services are closed. Grocery, gas, connivence, liquor, and hardware stores, daycare and take-out restaurants are open. Everything else is closed and people are encouraged to stay home. The governor also announced that schools will be closed until May 4th, at the earliest. So starting on Monday, we will officially transition to distance learning.

From a ‘Sampson schooling perspective’ I felt like we were starting to get into a decent rhythm. Kids got paint by sticker and do a dot daubers and have been super excited to use them all week. They are fantastic for Kate as she can do little worksheets in her activity book, while the kids are doing their activities. Things we are working on this week: learning our address, memorizing dad’s phone number, learning to write Sampson, telling time, lots of read-out-loud, tons of coloring, spelling words, journaling, each morning, verbs, nouns, prefixes and suffixes, exploding snowman science project, the letter ‘T’ and the number 9, and some good old outside play time.

IMG_6318D

Kate’s world has been turned upside down and inside out and she just doesn’t know how to process it all. She is getting the least amount of attention as Daddy and I are focused on learning activities for Lexi and William and she doesn’t understand why she can’t sit on my lap at any given moment throughout the day.  Kate, you have become very attached to Momma and want demand to be carried everywhere. With everything going on, it is hard to stop and remind myself what this looks like from a 2-year-old’s perspective. You’re used to quiet Daddy-time 3 days a week for 6+ hours. To suddenly have everyone home and stealing the attention you used to get can be some tough cookies.

Kate juice

To sum everything up, things could definitely be worse. I feel good we’ve been keeping you on a good schedule and you haven’t been watching a TON of TV–but it is hard to keep you focused and all of you pre-occupied at the same time. It is mentally exhausting to balance working and participating on conference calls, making sure Daddy can work, and you guys do some stuff and don’t watch TV all day.

But, we are healthy, have lots of food to eat, plenty of toilet paper, a roof over our heads and jobs to pay our bills and our faith, which is a lot more than many other people can say. So I’m choosing to be grateful for everything we do have, including the three of you.

IMG_6355D

Love,

Mama

 

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

 

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

Kate

Kate Potty Trains

Katers,

After constantly telling me when you were going potty and requesting to be changed as soon as you pooped, I knew it was time to say see-ya later to diapers! We had a weekend that was pretty plan-free so I removed the diaps and let your sweet checks fly. We followed the same methodology as we did with William. Let you run naked so you would start to learn the sensation of when you start to pee. You had 3 mini accidents, one with a little poop and then two when a little pee came out but then were able to pee one the toilet successfully 3 times. You were pretty scared and there were LOTS of false alarms. A Lot!

That evening we were going over to Uncle Joe’s house and you peed on the potty twice but also pooped in your undies. The next day you only had once potty accident, and really had to poop but refused–I think you were scared. The next week, while I was at work, you really didn’t cooperate at all for Daddy. You pooped in your undies many times and wouldn’t really pee for him either, so we went back to diapers. For the most part, you were telling us when you needed to pee so it wasn’t like you were really using the diapers except for pooping.

kate 22 months 3

Two months later, memorial day weekend, I thought I would give it another whirl since we had 3 days. First day went pretty good and you popped once or twice for me. The next day, you came down with some diarrhea, which made me very skeptical on progressing with this process, but you told me every time you had to go and I think the softness really helped teach you how to go on the potty verses pushing out something more solid.

Giving you a hug while on the potty was another little trick that really helped you. If you had to go, you would request huggie and I would squeeze your little torso, rub your back and tell you, it’s OK–just push your poopies into the potty. Lots of Good Job Kate, Way to Go, but it helped give you the confidence you needed.

My favorite was the way your eyes would twinkle when you actually went. You would look at me and say ‘Dood job mommies! Treat!

This weekend was definitely a turning point in the potty training journey for you. You’ll have a couple of accidents here an there but for the most part, are always wearing underwear (outside of naps and bedtime).

You will only go on a little kids potty seat. I’ve tried public restrooms a few times and one would have thought a stranger was trying to rip you out of my arms in the way you reacted. Hopefully, you’ll become more accustomed to them otherwise you’re going to be in a lot of pain holding it or it is going to be really inconvenient for all of us.

Three cheers to almost being diaper-free for us!

Love,

Mama