Lexi, William

William’s First Day of Kindergarten and Lexi’s First Day of 2nd Grade

It’s here! After 6 months of spending every waking hour together, we’re attempting to return to some sense of normalcy. You are both heading back to school, full-time! Can I get an Amen? Things will look different, but honestly—anything is better than distance learning and I’m so excited for both of you to get back into a routine, see your friends and get a little bit of independence.

We are one of the few schools that I’m aware of in the metro area that are going back full time. Most schools are doing 100% distance learning or a hybrid model where they go into school for two days and then do distance learning for three days. Fortunately, St. Vincents is a pretty small school which allows for a little more flexibility than many of the public schools.

I’ve been so impressed with everything the school has done to prepare over the summer and the communication with parents keeping us updated on the plans. They sent several surveys, updated the air filtration system, converted all toilets & sinks to motion sensors—including installing sinks in every classroom, created a guardian angel room for kids experiencing COVID systems, modified the lunchroom, recess & mass process, replaced shared tables with individual desks, are ONLY allowing teachers and students into the building, specialists will be visiting the classrooms verses traveling to other rooms, modified the doors kids enter school from, are going to try and do as much learning outside as possible (each child has their own Yoga mat). Generally, it feels like a great plan.

In prep for school to begin, we dropped school supplies off outside at a table for each grade since there wasn’t an open house. Teachers sent videos giving kids a tour of the classroom and showing the students what they looked like without a mask and what they look like with a mask and a shield on. Lexi has Mrs. Kain and has 3 of your closest friends in her class and William is in Mrs. Yosef’s class.

At home, we started preparing for school by going to bed early and getting up early to start to get you into a routine. On Labor Day, I cleaned the house from top to bottom. Put stuff away. Washed all of the beach towels, swim suits and basically put summer away. The school year is kind of like the new year—its a moment to reset ourselves up and having a clean and organized house feels like a great wya to do that. Overall, you were both pretty excited to get back to school. Each day, William would ask, ‘how many more days until school starts?’

Since parents aren’t allowed in the school and I wasn’t going to be able to walk William in to his class, we put that responsibility on Big Sister, Lexi. We talked through how Lexi would walk William into his classroom, help him find his locker and make sure he got into the right classroom. She was pretty excited and proud to have such an important role and show him the ropes. Night before—talked about how Lexi would walk William into school. She would help him find his locker and get him to his classroom. She was pretty excited to show him the ropes and be the big sister.

While putting William to bed, I asked, ‘Are you nervous or excited?’ He responds, ‘I’m just SO excited!! My teacher said we were going to have lots of fun! I can’t wait.’

Lexi requested to have her hair curled in the morning instead of a braid and really wanted to have it all down, but compromised with it half up. Said she didn’t care about how early she needed to get up to have it curled.

On Tuesday, I woke up around 5:20 to make the kids request, pancakes and bacon.

Lexi also requested that I curl her hair and she didn’t care how early I had to wake her up to do it. Around 6:10, I woke her up and she popped right up and came downstairs to get dressed, brush teeth and eat while I curled her hair. I woke William up around 6:20 knowing he takes a little bit longer to get going in the morning. Daddy made awesome signs—as usual describing all things Lexi and all things William. The goal was to leave around 7:10–but by the time we were done taking our pictures it was closer to 7:15-7:20.

Cars line for drop off was crazy. Cars snaked all around the parking lot, down the street and the way past the school. When we finally got to the front door, William was flustered getting his yoga mat and backpack out the door and was pretty pooky walking in, but Lexi grabbed his had and walked him to his locker, while my eyes pooled with tears.

I have such conflicting emotions. After being together every single day since February, doing distance learning, figuring out a new way to work, having constant distractions or interuptions has been really hard. So a big part of me is thrilled for both of you to go back to school so all of us to get some space, independence and shift back into a more structured routine.

There is this other part of me that is really sad. I’m really sad that we weren’t able to go into schools for a little orientation with William’s teacher. I’m sad that I didn’t get to walk him into school today. I’m sad that they are wearing masks. I’m sad that everyone else he sees and interacts with will have a mask on. I’m sad the kids won’t be able to give their teachers a hug or vice versa. I’m sad they won’t be able to see others smiles. I’m sad that William won’t get an 8th grade buddy or a 5th grade ready pal. I’m sad they won’t get to go on field trips. There are just so many exciting things that typically happen and I’m sad he (or Lexi) won’t get to experience them

And granted, I know just being in school is a HUGE blessing and we are so fortunate and things could be much worse, but it still doesn’t take away of those other feelings.

Overall, both Lexi and William had a ‘GREAT’ first day as William said. He loved everything about the day and Lexi couldn’t stop chatting about everything that happened and every conversation she had. Cheers to a great year!

Love,

Mama

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Coved-19 week 10

Lexi, William and Kater-Taters,

Hallelujah!! School is out. For Summer. After 10 weeks of distance learning, we are done. To say this experience has been a journey is a minor statement. I felt like we started off strong with schedules, a routine and consistency. However, with each passing week and warmer weather each one of those things deteriorated a little bit. We kept trying to adapt and adjust and find something that worked and I think the constant adaptation was the only thing that did work.

Lexi, I know you act differently with Daddy and I than you do at school, but boy am I grateful for all that your teachers do. As hard as these last 10 weeks have been, I’m also really grateful for them. It has been really wonderful to have special 1:1 time with you and be more involved in your school work. I can see areas that you get excited about (Art & Science) and areas that you need a little extra help in (math). Now I know the things we can do at home to give you that extra practice to build up your confidence. Your reading also has really improved a lot these last 10 weeks. We have been much more consistent in read-out-louds and you’re getting better and faster everyday. I’m so proud of you.

William, you have been done with school for a few weeks and I’m astonished at how much you have grown and learned this year. At the beginning of the year, the only letter you knew was ‘W’ and now, not only can you identify the uppercase and lowercase, you can write them and identify the sounds they make. You are thoughtful, respectful, a good listener and very inquisitive about how things work. I am so excited for you to go to Kindergarten next year and really have very little stress or worries about it. I know you are going continue to learn and love kindergarten.

This week, Daddy also started working on remodeling our Master closet. The space hasn’t been working for us for quite some time, so it will be nice to get some drawers and and more hanging space and have things be a bit more organized.

As excited as I am for school to be complete for the year, I’m also a little scared about what this summer is going to look like. We can not continue to ask you guys to brush your teeth 7 times and nobody doing it. We just can’t fight these battles everyday. So starting on Monday, you kids need to brush your teeth, get dressed, do a chore and some of your workbooks before you can play outside, watch TV or play with toys. We need to get into some kind of routine where the basic things aren’t so challenging.

As far as Covid goes—the stay at home order in Minnesota was officially lifted and many stores were able to open back up. Restaurants, salons and experiences that are harder to social distance are still closed, but should be able to open in early June. About 100,000 people have died in the US from Covid at this point with the sweeping majority of them being 80+. As awful as it is to know so many people are passing, it is encouraging to know that most people contracting the virus are recovering at home and it isn’t quite as scary as I thought it was going to be when this all started to unfold 10 weeks ago.

That is all for now my favorite little monkeys. It is Memorial Day weekend and we’re looking forward to an outdoor BBQ at Grammy and Papas. Let’s have an awesome summer!!

Love,

Mommy

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 Week 9

Munchkins,

I’m not sure if it was the sunshine and the 70 degree temperature today but this week was a pretty good week. Pushing the school work to the evening has really helped my mental sanity and Lexi is a lot more cooperative about completing it in the evening. Next week will be the last week any assignments are given with the last official ‘day’ being May 29th!!

You three have been really really good about cleaning up your toys. All toys have been picked up every single night since last Monday so you didn’t lose any additional ones and even earned back all the ones you lost–which are all still sitting in a bin untouched, so it shows how much you really ‘missed’ those toys.

The whining, complaining and attitude was maybe a tinch better–but still needs some work. Lexi lost TV & iPad for two days because she turned on YouTube without asking and then lost playing with Luke for the week for lying to us three times in a row. William also lied and lost playing with Luke for two days.

Yesterday, we did a good-bye parade for William’s preschool. We were able to give teacher gifts and pick up all of William’s things and then headed out to the Vossen’s to wish Avery a Happy Birthday. It was nice to get out of the house and also see some friends, even if it was only 20 minutes.

Daddy did a great job of keeping you out of my hair this week so I could work. Last night, I worked from 9:30 until 2:30am (and have done that about once a week). As hard as it is to work late into the night like that, is one of the few times I can actually focus and dig into some stuff without being interrupted or distracted every 30 minutes by one of you kids, have a meeting or be IM’d by someone. It also does help reduce some of my anxiety.

As a result, Daddy works in the evening from 6-11:30 or so while I do dinner, dishes, clean-up, baths and bedtime. It makes for some long days, for both of us. It isn’t ideal, but is manageable and better than you three running rampant.

The governor also lifted the stay at home order and ‘allowed’ people to start gathering in groups of 10 or less with retail stores able to open to a 50% capacity. Salons, restaurants, bars etc… are still closed with the hope of opening June 1st.

Today the weather was beautiful–sunny and 70 all day. You guys literally played outside from about 10 am until 7. You three plus Luke and Anna played in the sandbox, rode scooters, played hide and seek, played on the swing set, played Star Wars and Decendants and there was almost no tattling or crying. Daddy even was able to golf with Uncle Joe this afternoon. It was a good day. Daddy

Here’s to more days like today!!

Love,

Mama

Day to Day, Kate, Lexi, William

Mother’s Day 2020

Lexi, William and Kate,

One of my favorite things about Mother’s Day is ability to reflect on the indescribable amount of gratitude I have for all of the mother’s in my life, the role that I play in your lives and the role you play in my life.

The photo below was taken at 9:00 tonight, in the middle of our bedtime routine. It is far from perfect. But I love it. It represents our life today. Blurry. Everyone focused on something else.  Full of laughter and joy.

The three of you are my greatest blessings, best teachers, proudest accomplishment, biggest challenge and without a doubt my biggest worry. It is amazing how you three little can bring so much joy and fear at the same time.

To my first born, Lexi, who made me a mom. You are blossoming into a kind, fun and adventurous little girl. Your teachers say you are kind to all of your classmates and everyone always wants to play with you. You have an incredible imagination and love love to play with your toys and have taught your brother and sister how to use their imaginations as well. You watch out for them, but are extremely competitive and always looking for an opportunity to beat them. You’re weary of new people and experiences and are gaining courage to explore new things and almost always love them. I look forward to reading together at bed each night–hearing you learn to read and reading to you too. I love to hear how you process things in the books, how you’re feeling or just general observations.

To William the Badger, who made me a boy mom. I’m in awe of how thoughtful, tender and caring you are to your sisters, friends and cousins. You just do things (without being asked or told) to be nice to your sisters, like taking their laundry up the stairs or stopping playing because you were worried about Kenzie getting hurt. You have a heart of gold. You rarely talk back or have attitude and just go with the flow. You love learning and only want to read non-fiction books or watch non-fiction shows. You love to run, play soccer, ride your bike, play with your sisters, draw, do puzzles, play dinosaurs and cuddle at night. I love how much comfort you find in us laying with you while you fall asleep, often listening to you ask questions or process the events of the day.

To Kate, the bookend baby in my journey as a mom. You are silly, loud, confident, demanding and joyful. I love watching you experience joy in the small things of life, like a flower, an extra treat, or seeing your nooknee. Your eyes dance with excitement and it is impossible not to smile watching your expressions. You move a million miles a minute and will not be pushed around by your big brother and sister. You love bunnies (nooknees), the color purple, Lexi, Badgie, and being outside. I love when you snuggle your whole body on mine, pull up your shirt and beg for your back to be rubbed.

And to my own mom who has and continues to teach me how to create a warm, safe and nurturing environment for you three kids to grow up in. She taught me the importance of family, built and exposed me to faith, showed the importance of friendship, instilled importance of working hard, the value of a good education, giving back to your community and so much more. But of all of those things the most valuable was giving me the space and ability to figure out how I bring those foundational values elements into our home and family.

Your grammy is a pretty incredible woman and I owe so much of who I am and where I am to her. I pray that if I can be even half of the mom to you three that she was to me, we should be in pretty good shape.

Thank you Lexi, William & Kate for being three of the most incredible and happy things of my life. I love you more than you can ever know.

Love,

Mom

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, Uncategorized, William

Covid 19–week 8

Lexi, William & Kate,

Deep breaths are things I often remind myself to do. This week was really, really hard for me and felt I was very close to breaking down. Work is crazy busy right now and the lack of routine is making things a bit challenging. It felt like everything was just unraveling. You three kids were running wild and doing whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. Monday afternoon, I came outside to find you had rattled through an entire box of popsicles. You each ate three popsicles one after another, without asking. Toys, dishes and clothes were scattered throughout the house and the attitude, whining and talking back was out of control and we needed to make changes.

First was the toys. Anything that wasn’t picked up off the floor before bed time became mine. After lots of warnings about picking things up, toys were still all over the place when bedtime came. There were some big tantrums thrown as a result, and I picked up an entire bin of toys that became mine until you could go for a week with all toys being put away each night. But, I haven’t had to do it again yet. You have picked things up every night.

Next was having Daddy or I be near you guys at all times and not having both of us try and work at the same time. This allows one of us to actually focus on work and not be distracted by your constant interruptions. This mostly means Daddy has you for the days and I have you guys at night, since I’m in meetings all day.

Next was sticking to the punishments for talking back, doing things without asking and lying. Lots of timeouts were given and Lexi lost TV for the week for lying about the popsicles and blaming it on Luke.

This isn’t perfect and we still need to work on some sort of routine to help make our days more predictable and figure out a better schedule of work for Daddy and I. But, it is a start.

Considering we are 2 months into quarentene, it feels like you guys are pretty unaffected by it. You definitely prefer going to school and learning from your teachers versus us. You have also made some comments like ‘It feels weird to be driving in a car Mom. We don’t really ride in the car anymore.’ You haven’t been into a store since before we went to Florida. Most stores are asking only one person from a family shops and some stores don’t even allow people under the age of 16 inside. Occasionally, Kate will request that she wants to come to the store with me and says, ‘The Virus is all gone away now. I can come with you’. And William refers to it as the Corony Virus. But given all of the changes that you have gone through, you seem to roll through each day unaffected. You love to play with each other more than ever and have even taught Kate how to play your ‘stories’ and rarely, if ever, complain about not being able to do something because of the virus.

As far as the macro-economy goes–over 36 million people have filed for unemployment as businesses have been forced to temporarily close. More than 80,000 people have died in the United States–with more than 80% of them being 80+ years old. Children have been pretty unaffected–meaning they show very mild symptoms or no symptoms. Our official stay-at-home order started March 27th and is expected to lift May 18th as most business have put plans together to re-open in what the government deems a safe way. This mostly means a limited number of people in stores, closed or limited dressing rooms, employees and customers wearing masks and truly going to a store for a given purpose and not to just shop and browse.

One of the most challenging elements of this whole situation is knowing what to believe and how to navigate as a result. Most of the news outlets are telling the narrative that everyone’s life is at risk, which is different than what the actual numbers reflect. Doctors and people that have different opinions or data than what is being shared in the news are silenced. They post something on social media and their posts are removed in what is being stated as a ‘content violation’. Yet nobody can explain what a content violation is? Or why is it a content violation? Are individuals not allowed to have and share different opinions? There are facts out there stating the US was funding the research of the lab where this virus came from in China. There are rumors out there that big pharma companies are behind this. Politicians are taking advantage of this situation by trying to work their personal agendas into bills that need to pass. Then, there are people who won’t see anyone and think they are going to die if they get this virus, which they might, but pretty unlikely based on the numbers being reported. Then, there are people who think this whole thing is completely over-exaggerated and think we should just continue to operate as we normally do. It is confusing and really hard to make decisions on what is OK and what isn’t OK to do.

Hopefully, our stay-at-home order will get lifted next week and we can start to test the waters by opening businesses up and seeing people more freely and pray our medical systems have prepared enough that they can support the individuals that need the medical assistance.

Love,

Mama

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 Week 7

Lexi, William & Kate,

The highlight of this week was spending a few days with Kenzie at our house. Auntie Sheila and Uncle Dustin dropped Kenzie off on Sunday evening as they were preparing to go to the hospital to welcome your new baby BOY cousin, Lincoln, into the world. The weather was amazing so you guys had a lot of fun playing on the swing set, in the sandbox, drawing with chalk, running, reading books and just caring for sweet Kenzie.

It was so fun to watch you all interact together, but it is amazing how quickly I forgot how much work little kids are, changing diapers, getting them down for naps, the extra messes they make and watching them like a hawk to make sure they don’t get hurt or put things in their mouths they shouldn’t.

As a result of the extra attention Kenzie needed, I became much more lax about the school work and started doing most of it at night while the other kids were getting ready for bed. But it kind of worked. We also found out that school will officially be over by May 22nd. At first, I was stressed about this as they are supposed to go to school for another two weeks. As I sat on this information the more OK and relieved I became. It is one less thing to keep track of, worry about, and lets be real… it is getting harder and harder for Lexi to focus and be motivated to do her work. We started off doing all of these extra things to keep a routine as much as possible but, now 7 weeks in, we are doing the bare minimum.

Work has gotten much more stressful. Projects are starting to kick off, which means a lot more meetings and the kids seem to be interrupting a lot more and I’m just having a really hard time focusing and being productive when I need to be. I’ve worked late several nights this week in an attempt to get caught up, but I just never feel like I can dig myself out of the hole I’m in. I’m working on finding time to go for a walk, do yoga and just get some endorphins flowing to help with the anxiety.

With all that said, we have so much to be grateful for and continue to thank God for what we have and what we do know.

Love,

Mama

 

 

Covid-19, Kate, Lexi, William

Covid-19 Week 4

Lexi, William and Kate,

Technically, this week was spring break, but your mean-old mom made you do school work all week. It is easier to keep you on a schedule and you already missed a lot of school from vacation.

I was much more relaxed with things though. Your school days started later than we had been and I let you play a lot more. I also didn’t prep on Wednesday night, so you guys just had Thursday off.

Lexi, you are starting to push back more on doing assignments and showing some pretty big attitude. We took away you watching Decendents as there is a bit of lip in that show and it seemed to help a little. This week we worked on short and long vowels–specifically long vowels that have words that end in ‘e’. (Cub, Cube, Sam, Same, pin, pine) In math we reviewed some addition and subtraction and worked on key-words like ‘sum’ ‘difference’ ‘total’ ‘in-addition to’ and practiced telling time on a digital and analog clock as well as learned ‘quarter-after’ and ‘quarter-to’. You wrote letters to Grammy and Ivy and the Easter bunny.

William, you were busy re-creating your Big Book of Dinosaurs book all week for your journal and then were working on the letter ‘N’. For math, you’re working on identifying your tricky teens and memorizing daddy’s phone number.

The weather was pretty nice this week so we got some good outside hours logged. Bonus Grammy came over for another drive-way activity and did some Easter activities with you outside, painting rocks, decorating rocks as bunnies, eating some treats, reading books and making some foam bunnies.

Supplies in stores started to regulate a bit. Still no signs of toilet paper, cleaning wipes or hand sanitizer but milk, eggs, bread and canned goods are more accessible.

This Sunday is Easter so we dyed some Eggs this week and are looking forward to seeing Grammy and Papa tomorrow for a little visit and Great Grandma might come over for dinner on Easter (even though it is technically not allowed. She hasn’t been able to see anyone and don’t want her to be alone on Easter.)

Love,

Mommy

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Love,

Mama