Family Update

Well, I figured it’s time for another update about what life is like right now. 

It’s now been over two months since our last day at school on March 13th.  We started all of this with an extended spring break and really enjoyed being home together.  We still anticipated going back to school at that time.  April was the longest month ever.  We started at-home learning, had several challenging weeks, and learned we weren’t returning to school.  We worked through a lot of hard emotions in April.  May started in a much better place.  We finally found a bit of rhythm in regard to school and it is so much better now.  About the time we really get things figured out, school will be over.  And, as May comes to a close we’ll be in another transition into summer.  I think 2020 will be remembered as the year of change.  Learning to adapt and be flexible.  

Things I’m looking forward to…

…the end of the school year!  We have four days this week and we’re finished on Thursday!  Woo-hoo!  We’re celebrating big time this year.  I’m not sure how, yet, but we are all feeling the need to mark the end of at-home learning.  

…using the computer less.  Constant technology over the past two months has been exhausting.  Again, I’m thankful for the age we’re living in and it’s available to keep us all connected.  But I’m ready to be done with zoom calls and start meeting in person again.  Finishing school will help this tremendously – I’ll have MUCH fewer emails coming in from teachers and the kids will need the computer less.  Drum lessons resume in the studio this week which will be nice.  At this point we’ll continue ballet from home through June.  We can opt in to small group lessons at the ballet studio but since there’s an additional fee we decided to continue with what we’re doing.  

…singing with our entire congregation.  The four of us are doing the best we can on Sunday mornings in our living room, but it sure will be nice to sing out loudly with a whole crowd of people again at church. 

…hugging and interacting with people without concern.  For weeks we’ve been seeing neighbors regularly and sitting in the yard to chat while keeping a distance.  This past week we started seeing people a bit more.  Kenny’s mom came over for Mother’s Day, I finally had a hair appointment, and we dropped by to say hello to a few friends.  On one hand it felt so wonderful and on the other hand, it was exhausting!  We’re not used to being with people now!  

James says it’s time for a haircut!

Things I’ve learned…

…constant interaction with my family is difficult for me.  I already knew this about myself but the past two months have definitely brought this front and center.  I need a little time alone each day to keep my sanity, and thankfully, my family is helping me do this.  

…we need to clean our house more often when all four of us are home constantly!  Yikes!  I did not see that coming.  Thankfully the kids are a huge help in this area.  I so appreciate their help.  

…given the time to adapt and get my head around it, I enjoy teaching my children.  Jumping into homeschooling with no preparation whatsoever was really difficult.  But after weeks of figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t, I thoroughly enjoy the time with them.  

The blessings…

…I’ve driven on the same tank of gas since March!  I finally filled up the van just in the last couple days.  When you only leave the house once a week (or less) for groceries, one tank can last months!  

…more family time.  I’ve already mentioned this in previous posts but we sure have enjoyed more time together in the evenings.  Eliminating Kenny’s commute has allowed us to finish dinner earlier and then have time for a walk together, a game, or a movie and popcorn.  We really enjoy that.  And oh the conversation!  We’ve had more time to just talk with each other.  No rushing to clear the dishes and move on, but time to linger at the table and chat with each other.  That’s been amazing.  Some of our highlights have been cooking hot dogs and smores over the fire and a days long monopoly game.  Anna won!

 

Drums & Ballet

I’m so thankful that our drum teacher and ballet studio found ways to continue with lessons during quarantine.  Of course there are days that James and Anna don’t want to practice, but it really has been great to give them something else to do in addition to at-home learning.  Because we’re home more, there really aren’t any excuses for not practicing. 

James is supposed to be practicing daily, but when we were in school full-time and had homework every night, there were days here and there where drum practice just didn’t happen.  Now, I set up the laptop in front of James’s drum set every Tuesday afternoon, and he and his teacher have a lesson over Skype.  It’s working very well and James is improving!  I so enjoy listening to him practice and he’s become very diligent in making sure he gets to the basement every day.  

James and Kenny made this video in March to share with James’s 5th grade teacher.  

And a more recent video he made this week.

 

James teaching Anna some drum technique

Anna’s ballet class was once a week before and there wasn’t any homework or practicing she needed to do at home.  Just show up to class once a week.  In this new online format, she has access to all of the different classes in her level.  She’s been able to try jazz, hip-hop, and a broadway class.  She’s discovered that she really loves jazz in addition to ballet!  Since we suddenly had access to all of these classes, we decided that each weekday she would take a class of some sort.  So, she’s really been improving and keeping up her skills which is great.  We still don’t have a teacher’s input and correction like we would in person, but this is still working out well.  She moves the coffee table in the living room, we cast the class from my phone to the TV, and away she goes!  

Dates with the Kids

A couple months ago we had the best time on dates with James and Anna. 

Kenny has been waiting several years for Anna to be old enough to go to “A Daughter’s Heart” – a Daddy/Daughter event that has been happening locally for many years.  We’ve heard wonderful things about it for a long time, and this year, Anna is eight and old enough to attend!  

The special event was held at a local hotel and included a four-course meal, a speaker, and a dance.  Anna found the fanciest dress in her closet, I curled her hair with a curling iron for the first time, and Dad dusted off his suit.  They had a wonderful time together and definitely made a new memory together.  They enjoyed the meal – Anna especially enjoyed the Chocolate Mousse for dessert.  The theme for the event was “You Are Marvelous” and the speaker spent his brief time talking to the girls about their identity in Christ.  Then the night ended with a dance.  In the days before the event, Anna asked me what kind of dance it was going to be.  It occurred to us that the only reference she has for “a dance” is her ballet experience – a choreographed dance where everyone does the same thing.  We explained how this dance would probably have a DJ, he would play all kinds of different songs, and everyone could dance however they wanted to!  In the end they had a band which was even more fun.  One of the best parts, she said, was staying up late at the dance and not getting home till after 10:00 pm.  

Since Kenny and Anna had plans, James and I decided to do two of our favorite things – eat some great food, and spend time at Barnes & Noble.  We had dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill – a place we rarely frequent.  We enjoyed delicious burgers and then headed to the bookstore.  We ate dessert while browsing our favorite books and magazines.  Such a simple thing, but something we both enjoy doing together.  We’re so thankful for these times with the kids!