Quarantine Part 1
It felt like the world came crashing down all at once- one day Corona-virus was a crazy phenomenon happening in China and the next day we were all locked down in quarantine. Right at the beginning we were scared and all very concerned about staying home and "flattening the curve" trying not to overwhelm our hospital systems with everyone getting sick at once and running out of ventilators. The emails started flooding in- changes to General Conference were announced, then more changes, then all church was canceled, then temples were closed and down came the domino's. First gatherings were limited to less than 100 people, then less than 20, then schools were shut down for an undetermined about of time, and missionaries were sent home. There was a rush on the grocery stores as we were encouraged to have a two week supply of food, toilet paper and bread, rice or oats isles were absolutely wiped clean. It was creepy and overwhelming! Evan and I watched the movie Contagion which is a fictional account of a much more serious but eerily similar pandemic that helped us more fully commit to the movement. Soon everyone was working from home and encouraged to "shelter in place" and only leave for absolutely essential reasons- basically to get groceries and that's it. Playgrounds were wrapping in caution tape and stores had lines to get in where everyone had to stay 6 feet apart, everyone was sewing and wearing masks, all spots and extra curricular events cancelled and you were full time with the people in your immediate household and that's it.
-Homeschooling: I have honestly always wanted to home school so was kind of excited to get the chance to try it out. Winston's school set everything up on Google Classroom and it was just supposed to be for a couple of weeks and then spring break. It was so novel at first but getting back into it after spring break when the rest of the school year got cancelled was a real struggle. Part of the problem is everything had to be on the computer- which is a blessing that we have such amazing technology- but also a major distraction for Winston who wanted to click on every link and youtube ad that popped up. It required and enormous amount of supervision on my part and with three little girls running around constantly it was a fight. We ended up picking up a second computer from his school so he could do it in a separate room from our desktop which is in the kitchen and that seemed to help. One thing I loved was getting to pick our own schedule and do things on our own time. It took several weeks to get into a groove but I was able to work in chores into school work and much more outside time than he usually gets during traditional school so I loved that part. Also we got a dump of snow one day in March and we called it PE to go skiing on a hill near our house- such fun deviations from the norm! The bummer part is that a huge benefit to homeschool is getting to tailor the curriculum to your child which I couldn't do- we had to follow exactly what the school gave us in order for him to get credit each day. I considered pulling him altogether and switching to real homeschool but since we are at a charter school I didn't want to give up his and Cosette's spots for the fall. It was eye opening for me to see where he is at academically- he has always been such an advanced reader but seeing how his ADHD impacted him in real time was crazy. He would look at all the assignments for the day and do them in any order that he thought would get them finished the fastest- so he would take the 10 questions quiz before watching the 15 minute lesson on what the quiz was about because he just wanted to cross it off the list. It has been a lot of work for me but I'm grateful for the way it forced my eyes open to things I've been assuming his teachers were taking care of while I was drowning in little girls at home. Cosette's reading is coming along nicely and we are double dipping on preschool since Vivian now gets to do the home curriculum her teachers send right along side. Also- we forget and bail on preschool more often then not because I feel pretty strongly that playing and curiosity develop so naturally in children.
-Sibling relationships: the kids got to spend a LOT more time playing together which resulted in fort building and imaginations that brought me so much joy! It also brought a lot more fighting and my kids got grounded for the first time in their lives because so much of Easter Sunday they spent yelling at each other and I just can't tolerate it. We went on many many family bike rides with Vivian and Noelle in the trailer and Winston and Cozy pushing up big hills- so proud of them. My sister got sent home from Argentina due to the pandemic and ended up with an overnight layover in Salt Lake so I drove outside her hotel and she hopped in my mini van to chat for 3 hours. I felt so guilty breaking quarantine rules but OH was it good for my soul to be with her.
-New Skills: Being home 24/7 removed all excuses for me to avoid potty training so we set to it and Vivian has done amazing. She demanded a chocolate chip after every trip to the potty and any time she was told she was too little to do something (like playing a game the older kids were playing) she would say "No, I'm big, I potty trained!" Noelle learned how to walk a couple weeks after her first birthday and every single time I have a one year old I delight in the "happy wandering good feeling" they bring with them everywhere they go. I started researching nutrition changes we needed to make for ADHD/Autism diet and we have s.l.o.w.l.y begun the shift toward a healthier lifestyle and simultaneously doubled our grocery bill. Luckily- Evan started his new job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We've only been holding our breath for this job specifically since October and any job in General since January 2019. I also spent at least an hour most days interviewing my Grandma and Grandad to help them compile their personal histories- it is their 60th wedding anniversary this year and I'm hoping to have a book put together in time, glad I have until August.
-Comic relief: Brandon and Brittany got Evan and I to try the Koala challenge and I literally don't know when the last time was that I had laughed that hard. It was SUCH good medicine after weeks of fear from the quarantine pandemic not to mention the earthquake scare we had here in Utah on top of that. Another thing that made me laugh regularly was Evan's mustache- since he was working from home (while still teaching seminary) he stopped shaving because he wasn't seeing any students. He got an email from some leaders in Salt Lake who felt his beard was unprofessional. Apparently the dresscode allows mustaches but not beards so he went all in on the mustache and said I won't shave it until I get a new job. It sounds so mean but I loved it because it made me laugh every time I looked at his face and hilarious form of protest. Cosette also decided to make "chore videos" teaching other kids how to do chores- this one on taking the trash out makes me laugh so hard when she says "Mom, there's still poop on the wall!". Real life over here.
-Spreading Positivity: Being isolated from friends and family was scary and painfully lonely at times. We tried a few different projects to stay connected with the people around us- one was making posters to put in our yard for any passers by to cheer them on in their efforts. Another thing we did was a "drive by dance party" where we stopped at friends houses and played a song on our bluetooth speaker while they danced along from their front porch or behind their windows. I also volunteered to sew masks for the Inter-mountain Healthcare hospitals and went over the Grandmas so she could help me. We also had to pretty special religious experiences thanks to technology from an FHE taught by our niece Emma on her mission in Canada, a Fox family testimony meeting, and General conference which we watched from a tent in the back yard a la King Benjamin.