March Twenty Twenty

What a month. March was spent mostly at home. No complaints. I’m a homebody and apparently more of an introvert than I thought. Other than the whole pandemic thing, it’s all good. For memory sake, so when we look back in 10 years on this drivel, let’s recap the start of pandemic time for us…

After the first case in the United States here in Washington—followed by the first of several deaths here in King County—I started preparing. I had been loosely following the crisis in Wuhan, and I knew about the lockdown and massive amounts of infections. And the rising death toll. I figured we were next. I’m a worrier though, so I tried to chalk it up to that. But I still planned for the worst without admitting I was doing just that. Brian thought I was nuts… who’s nuts now?! Haha. (Me, I’m still nuts. Nuts and prepared.)

Before it was cool, I was stocking up back in February. I hesitate to use the word hoard because a normal person’s hoard looks like our weekly Costco trip. But I’ve seen how people freak out around here over snowstorms and flooding. I wanted to be ahead of the crowd. I bought staples that we eat anyway, but I wanted a few extras. Plus extra dog, cat, and fish food… have to look out for the critters! And baby formula and diapers. I may have hoarded a bit on those supplies. Target had the spend $100 get a $20 Target card on baby formula and diapers so that was an incentive to stock up regardless of a pandemic. The one thing I didn’t stock up on, toilet paper. We already have a ton, because big family. And, why the hell were people buying so much toilet paper?! It’s such an odd response. But hey, I bought a pulse oximeter as part of my preparation so we all do strange things.

The first death was on Saturday, February 29. Monday, March 2, I asked Brian to work from home. He works for a large company, with people who travel often. His coworker takes off to random countries almost every weekend—Switzerland, then Germany, then Vietnam—usually buying tickets Friday morning on a whim. Single guy in his twenties, software developer. He has money to burn. And his other coworkers, many are from other countries. They all travel often. Germs from all over in his office alone, not to mention all the shared spaces he visits each day.

I left that morning. Blaise and Laine had school, and Maive had her four-month well-child appointment. Saige, Baby, and I took her to West Seattle. At the doctor, Brian texted me saying he was working from home. I was surprised. I’m sure he thought I was overreacting asking him to stay home but he didn’t let on.

Maive is growing perfectly! Apparently she is tall? And her weight is in the 70-something percentile. I don’t keep mental notes of the kiddos’ statistics anymore, I stopped after Laine. Maive took three shots like a champ and we were on our way.

Brian worked from home the rest of the week. I sent the kiddos to their classes that week also. While I was worried, I figured homeschool kiddos who attend classes have parents who are available to keep them home if they aren’t feeling well… and said parents would be more likely to keep them home if needed. If my kiddos attended regular school, they would have been kept home.

The next week, I started keeping the kiddos home. I sent Saige and Baby to outdoor preschool on Tuesday, even though my instinct was to keep them home. But I figured outdoor preschool would be better than anywhere else. I made plans to visit a friend in Queen Anne who had surgery the week before and decided going kiddo-free would be best. And while I kept Blaise and Laine home on Monday, I decided to send them Wednesday (they don’t have school on Tuesdays). Wednesday was their last day out of the house. I kept all the kiddos home from their respective Thursday classes. Thursday afternoon, Inslee shut down all public and private schools until April 24. This will be extended. I think school is out for summer. Maybe even fall.

Everything is cancelled. Laine’s gymnastics meets. Her practices. The kiddos’ dance classes. All school classes: outdoor preschool, DigiPen, Frog Hollow, Parade. The science fair isn’t happening. All the kiddo plays and my musicals I had lined up. Brain’s work officially said to work from home until the end of March… now extended until who knows when, probably June?! My instinct is summer is cancelled. I’ve even started cancelling summer camps.

Life is on hold. Inslee said to Stay Home, Stay Healthy. I’m on board with this. We’ve been staying home and healthy since March 11. I’m enjoying everything isolation and I’m good for a while. If I can do anything well, it’s isolate. As long as I have Brian and the kiddos, Amazon Fresh for groceries, and online shopping for things like Easter basket goodies, and that Anthropologie pie dish I apparently needed, I’m all set.

But I don’t want to minimize Coronavirus—it’s terrible. People are needlessly dying, the virus is spreading with no end in sight, people are losing their livelihoods, it’s negatively impacting hospitals and health care workers… fuck you, Coronavirus.

March, in pictures. Mostly at home.

University of Washington Gymnastics Meet. Laine and her team buddies made plans to go watch the University of Washington gymnastics team compete against the University of Utah. Laine had a great time with her teammates. Nice group of kiddos. My favorite part, the Husky dog. Adorable!

Ceiling Moose. There’s a reference to an old meme. Back in the I Can Has Cheezburger? days. This is Moosie on top of the booksehlf next to our bed. I was lying in bed and looked up, this was my view. He’s spry for being 13 years young.

One of many home nights to come. Brian was making dinner, Blaise, Laine, and Baby were making their own guacamole. Saige, Maive, and I were playing HedBanz.

Nappers. I’m in love with Maive’s nap schedule. She cat naps in the morning, like she is here with Mel. Most of the time though, I walk Mel and wear Maive during her morning cat nap time. It’s perfect. Then after lunch, she hunkers down for a good four hour nap. I get quiet mom time. Maive and I hang out on our bed; the other four kiddos get to rotate time on the computers playing Roblox. Then she goes to bed around 8pm and sleeps until morning. She’s naturally fallen into the 2-3-4 nap schedule, which is what I wanted.

Sisters! Maive is loved. She has to be in the action. She’s become pretty needy… if she’s put down for more than five minutes, she complains. Yay. Between four siblings, and Brian and me, Maive sees no reason why she should ever be alone.

Mister Melvin. This was the day when I was walking Mel on the trail, wearing Maive. A lady walked past and said, “What a sweet thing!” I looked down at Mel and said, “You are a sweet thing!” And then I realized she was talking about Maive, haha. She’s a sweet thing also!

More sister time. This baby is never going to be bored. And she’ll probably appreciate personal space when she gets older.

Trail Laine. Another day, another walk. Laine joined Maive, Mel, and me this morning.

Random Brian picture. We store all of our pictures on Amazon. At the end of every month, I download the month’s pictures. Occasionally, I find random Brian pictures. Apparently his team was sharing pictures of their home setups. Brian, the guy who rarely buys anything, is super excited about his standing desk. It even has a motor to move up and down. I think it took him about six years before he decided on this desk. I’m glad he bought it last year. With so many people working from home, I hear standing desks are hard to come by these days… at least the ones that meet Brian’s standards. Now he’s wanting to purchase a headphone hook for the side of his desk. It’ll probably take him about six months to decide which one. Haha! I’d buy about three hooks now, decide which one I like best, and donate the others. It’s probably a good thing we’re so different in that sense. He needs so little. I’m pretty sure those speakers are the ones I had back in our college days.

Poor bunny. This cute thing was in our backyard one afternoon. Brian was doing dog duty and came upon this cute bunny. Normally they hop away. This one didn’t. Then the kiddos went out back. The bunny didn’t move when they started playing nearby. We gathered it was hurt. We managed to get it in a box to keep it warm and safe from predators—we have a neighborhood bobcat and several hawks who fly above. It was late afternoon. My plan was to keep the cute thing safe and warm until morning, and then drive to PAWS so they could properly care for the bunny. The bunny died not long after we found it in our yard. Sad ending.

Risk. This is all Brian. He plays with Blaise and Laine after the younger girls go to bed.

Homeschoolers. We are already homeschoolers, before the virus. Having the kiddos home for an extended period of time is no big deal. I was pretty excited schools officially closed. Not like other parents who started to freak out about homeschooling… which is understandable. But I hesitate to use homeschooling to describe what traditional schooling parents are now doing. Homeschooling is more of a lifestyle than teaching kids at home. While every homeschooling family homeschools differently, our homeschooling involves massive amounts of socializing with other homeschoolers, attending classes, visiting museums, parks, going on field trips, hikes… it’s not recreating traditional school at home. And there are no long skirts or bibles involved. Damn stereotypes.

Our kiddos have never attended traditional school. But we’ve always included outside classes in our weekly homeschool schedule. This is the first time we’ve been exclusively at home. And I’m LOVING it! We are on a great daily schedule. That colorful scheduled that went around when parents realized their kids would be out of school for six weeks, hahaha. It’s not that. But still organized. Because I’m a neat freak.

More river trail. Yet another morning trail walk with Mel and a napping Maive.

Outschool. Blaise and Laine took an outschool.com class and loved the experience. So of course I signed them up for more classes. They are taking a few weekly classes and a few one-off classes. So many options!

More trail, more kiddos. This time, Saige joined Laine, Maive, Mel, and me.

Backyard Maive. Our daily routine includes spending time outside in the backyard after dinner. After an afternoon of napping for Maive and Roblox time for the other kiddos, outside time is perfect after dinner. Maive enjoys the trampoline and swings when she’s not stuck in her frog chair on the patio.

Skype. Saige and Baby’s school friend asked to Skype. They were cute but awfully quiet. Baby eventually went upstairs while Saige stayed on the video call. My favorite part was when Saige played hide-and-seek with her friend. Haha.

Early morning trail walk. Mel and I were up early, like usual. We did our standard walk around the neighborhood before the sun came up, to avoid seeing neighbors. About an hour later, Mel and I headed out for our long trail walk. My goal is to always avoid people, and even more now with the virus stuff. We only passed one other dog walker. And we stayed more than six feet away. Even though we’re on a stay home order, we’re still encouraged to exercise.

Roblox schedule. The kids, haha. Blaise and Saige are gamers. Baby and Laine enjoy playing but could do without. We’ve fallen into a routine where at 1pm, after lunch, I take Maive up for her nap. She usually sleeps for about four hours. The kiddos get to rotate playing Roblox on the two desktops. So they each get two hours. Blaise and Laine have been making the rotation schedule; it changes each day.

Backyard time. Just the girls hanging out back.

Remote outdoor preschool. With school closed for who knows how long, Saige and Baby’s outdoor preschool has taken to holding Zoom classes. The girls are enjoying seeing their teachers and classmates, even if only on the computer.

Last trail walk. I’m annoyed. I’m all for staying home, avoiding others. But they’ve closed the freaking trails. I only discovered this because when Maive, Mel, and I were walking a few days ago, there was a sign on the trail as I entered Tolt MacDonald. I knew the parks were closed but I was under the impression the trails were still open. At least the trails where you can keep a good distance from others. Thanks, people who don’t think the rules apply to them and ruined it for everyone else.

When I got home, I looked up online and sure enough, the SVT and all park trails are closed. They say they aren’t patrolling this and are relying on people to social distance. Ugh. The dilemma! I am such a rule follower. I know that it’s technically okay to use the trails, keeping distance from others—that’s pretty much what they say. They’re dancing around with wording. But I just can’t. I can’t break the rules. There aren’t even any signs on SVT. I could totally play dumb. Instead, I’ve been walking Mel around town on the sidewalks. Which is so not the same. I may become a rule breaker in a few days. Probably not. But maybe.

FaceTimers. Laine has an iPod and has been keeping in touch with a few of her friends over FaceTime and with texts. She did this before the virus, just more often now. Maive was in on a FaceTime session with one of Laine’s friends.

Dance party! Saige and Baby’s outdoor preschool is offering different Zoom sessions each week, outside of their normal class times. One of these sessions, a Friday night dance party. All the kiddos—and Mel—got in on the action. It’s hard to capture the actual dancing in a photo but they were all getting their groove on.

Gamer Blaise! Brian set the kiddos up with headsets that have microphones built in. They can now game and chat at the same time. They also come in handy with all the online classes they are taking.

Happy Maive! This kid’s hair, it’s always wild and never the same. She’s at that fun age… the moment you look at her, she smiles.

Baby Yoda. Blaise and Laine found a How To Draw Baby Yoda class on outschool.com. They were sold. I am loving everything about outschool.

Diggers. When they put the fence up on our lot, we wondered what the hell we would do with this awkward corner in the back of our backyard. It has a slope and is all dirt. Turns out it’s the best thing ever for kiddos… it has become the digging area. They make rivers and carve out different paths, dig big holes and then fill them in, all sorts of stuff. It’s even a small sledding hill when we have snow. It’s been seeing a ton of action lately, with the kiddos playing out back almost nightly.

Sunday sundaes. We have a weekly tradition: every Sunday night the kiddos have ice cream sundaes. It started after we got back from Bob and Tara’s last summer, where the kiddos had sundaes every night. And Tara goes all out… gummy worm and bear toppings, candies galore, sprinkles, multiple sauces, whipped cream, and about 31 flavors of ice cream to choose from (okay, maybe eight). The kiddos are spoiled there! As they should be. That’s what grandparents are for, right? Maive’s sundae is just another bottle.

Post-bath Maivers. This kid LOVES her baths. She has one almost every night. And her hair, we never know how it’ll look once it dries.

Peep houses. I was inspired by a Facebook post, to make Peep houses out of graham crackers and decorate with M&Ms. We’re up for almost anything these days. I ordered all the items at Target for a drive-up order. I needed to drive somewhere; it had been over two weeks. I’ve been using Target drive-up since last fall when it started. I used to have to sign and then often get out to help them put the stuff in my car or they’d leave me with the basket… now, there is no signing and they plop the stuff in the back. I like this and hope it sticks permanently.

Finished houses. Blue plate, Laine. Pink plate, Baby. Purple plate, Saige. Green plate, Blaise. I better get Maive a plate for next year. I’m out of color options for her.

On to April, and another month of staying home. Score! But still: fuck you, Coronavirus.

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