I’m back…

I thought I would keep up on posting through the summer and then it didn’t happen.

Maybe it’s just me, but social media across the board has been hard for me lately. I’ve found myself getting frustrated or exhausted and its become a space I don’t like to visit. It’s transformed into a polarizing environment and it doesn’t seem to matter what side of the line you choose to stand with, you’re harshly criticized. Every thread seems to end in an argument with name calling. And everyone sits behind their computer screens claiming tolerance while simultaneously flinging mud at anyone who disagrees with them. No one walks away clean.

It was easier to check out for a while, so I did. I focused on my family and we’re all better off for it.

We had an amazing summer. We had plenty of things cancelled (like most people) and yet we moved forward with plans and it ended up better than I could have ever imagined. I didn’t want it to end. (which I never thought I would say seeing as though our kids have been out of school since the first week of March.)

And now we’re moving on to the next chapter of the infamous year of 2020. This week we start school – remotely. We were originally given the option of whether we wanted remote, modified, or in person. Those options were then rescinded and it was announced that everyone would be starting remotely. The hope is that within the first quarter we’ll move to modified and further down the road it will be in person. It’s not ideal – none of the options were. I believe our family is in the best situation in a worst case scenario: My work is flexible and I can schedule my day to be present and helpful for my kids during school hours. (Although having 5 kids at home trying to do school may not be ideal!) And yet I worry for those kids in homes without support. This health crisis is making their difficult situations even harder.

My kids long to be in the classroom and yet all have been moderately positive about staying home. I say moderately because Hallie wants more than anything to walk into her first year of high school on Tuesday. She wants to be surrounded by her friends in a flurry of excitement of all that high school has to offer.

Unfortunately, that will just have to happen at a later date. Luckily, Hallie isn’t the moping type so her disappointment hasn’t been overly vocal. I think everyone, including me, is anxious to see how this remote learning is going to play out. Our trial run with the district last quarter was a disaster and fingers crossed they’ve learned a thing or two and ironed out a few kinks. We opted to stay within our district while many we know have chosen other, non-public options. The more parents I talk to, the more I realize everyone just wants the best for their kids and that looks different for every family. What works for our family, may not work for our friends’ family – or anyone else’s for that matter.

We like to call this the year of change and growth. I can’t even begin to predict what two months down the road will look like. All I know is this week we’re starting school online. That’s it. This may be a temporary situation or it may be a temporarily longer situation! 🙂

To all those taking on the roll of teacher or moderator this quarter, may the odds be ever in your favor. (Be honest, can you ever say that without an accent??!)

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Fun dad…

This is why he’s the fun parent: Impromptu water gun fights and he’s not afraid to get wet, (or attack anyone aiming for him.) The neighborhood kids know he’s up for a battle and I love when they challenge him! When we were out delivering popsicles to the neighborhood on the last day of school, we were ambushed and I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids who ambushed us or Steve. 🙂

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The pool – a labor of love…

Pools are a lot of work. At least our pool is a lot of work – probably because it’s old and needs new components – but even people we know with new pools claim they’re a lot of work. They just tend to be a little high maintenance.

And every time Steve is frustrated with trying to keep it clean, he vows to fill in the pool. He’s not convinced the kids use it enough to warrant all the work. I beg to differ and these kids spend a lot of time out there.

What’s funny is when we were looking at houses originally, a pool was very low on my list and one of the highest priorities on Steve’s list. The tables have turned and I can’t imagine getting rid of it. The sounds of the pool (the giggling, splashing, joyful screams) are one of those things I wish I could just bottle up. A sound I’m sure I’ll forget too soon.

Oddly enough, Bennett has escaped any photos in the pool lately, that will soon change! 🙂

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Good friends…

Everyone needs friends who send warm Chunk cookies to their doorstep. It was worth sharing a loaf of homemade french bread! 🙂

Have I mentioned that I taught Hallie how to make french bread during our covid school break and I will reap the benefits of that for a long time!

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Creative learning…

Have you ever seen a more conducive learning environment?? Hallie is still plugging away on her summer school course – she’s moved on to the second semester of world history. Learning at home is infinitely easier when everyone is learning at home. When 4 of the 5 kids are enjoying summer and one is still studying it makes it a little difficult.

Don’t worry, Briggs is keeping her comfortable and making sure she has everything she needs in her “school fort” – including a pool floaty…just in case. He brings her water and keeps her company, brings her bowls of snacks (I think he does this selfishly because he ends up eating most of them!) She’s a good sport and rarely makes Briggs feel like he can’t come hang out with her at the table. When she really needs quiet she puts on noise cancelling headphones and locks herself in another room.

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