One of the biggest reasons I started this particular post is so that my kids would have something to reflect back on when they are older. This is such an unique and historical moment in our lives unlike anything most have ever seen.
So while most of this may seem boring, it's just what's happening in our little section of the world.
Monday, March 16, 2020
This morning was pretty hectic in trying to figure out everything and wrap our heads around what is happening. While we knew a few days ago that schools would be closing on Wednesday for 2 ½ weeks, we just found out last night that the closure date will be moved up to today. We are officially out of school now for 3 weeks.
My heart truly goes out to those scrambling for childcare on such short notice.
Scarlett’s first season on soccer has been postponed, as well as Carter’s Cub Scout meetings. Those cute bright pink cleats will just have to wait.
One blessing is that I now have more time to help care for my Mom. She had a very large diaphragmatic hernia repair on Friday, March 13th and will most likely require up to 3 months to recover. Right now, she is unable to move very well so cooking, cleaning, errands, and caring for my 93-year-old grandmother (who lives with my parents) are all things I am helping with.
Day 1 of homeschool went as well as expected. Spent over 2 hours trying to find resources for Jack. The special needs students are severely overlooked during this time and I fear that it will get worse. At least from my experience. Now don’t get me wrong, I recognize that this is uncharted territory, and I understand that at this time nothing is “mandatory,” but I was a little shocked at the lack of resources provided when requested. Unfortunately, 3 weeks without special education and related services will be detrimental to Jack. I am so incredibly thankful for my sister and several friends who are special education teachers that stepped up to provide links and resources that would be a good fit for him.
Carter and Scarlett on the other hand have a ton of resources and their schools/teachers have been amazing in providing either lots of websites/apps and even packets of work. We practiced writing, reading their readers that they had brought home from school the week before, and a few other worksheets I found.
Jack and I attempted order of operations and I am pretty sure we are both confused now. It’s a goal in his IEP and thank God it is because he definitely was as lost as I was.
So. Many. Snacks. So. Much. Caffeine. I am afraid I am going to gain what will be known as the Corona 15!
Our neighboring county has a lot of cases of COVID-19 and officially shut down schools, daycares, restaurants, bars, and gyms. You can still get carry out and curb side pickup. Chris works in this county, so needless to say he is striping down and changing as soon as he gets home each night now.
After dinner, Chris cancelled our annual Spring Break trip to Gatlinburg. I am really sad about it. We haven’t missed a year in 10 years, and it is the kids favorite place. The kids don’t fully understand it all and the rationale behind why we aren’t going, but they took it like champs.
March 17, 2020
There are now around 20 cases in our neighboring county.
Amazon is now limiting their deliveries.
We went first thing this morning to Scarlett’s school to pick up her work packet. I honestly teared up talking to the director. There is so much uncertainty and even though it has only been 1 day, 1 DAY, it feels like forever.
We went to my mother’s house and made sure they were okay before heading home to work on schoolwork. Reading, writing, St. Patrick’s Day crafts, bar graphs, and Moby Max were on the agenda. We are also loving the Pete the Cat story time on Instagram.
I am so incredibly thankful that the weather has held up long enough for the kids to get outside. If we are going to be forced to practice social distancing, at least it’s with nice weather!
Today was supposed to be Scarlett’s first soccer practice. Hopefully they are right about everything going back to normal the week of April 6th, but I’m just not sure.
There is continued stress and uncertainty with Chris’s job. I won’t go into too much details, but he will continue to work in his current job until the end of April unless something happens between now and then.
These 2 days have been pretty mentally draining. I feel like something bigger is going on here but just not sure what. Not necessarily politically, although I wouldn’t be shocked if there was. But more spiritually. It’s like God wants us to listen. To slow down. It’s like He is asking if we trust Him. Is this a test? Will we pass?
March 18, 2020
The kids spent the first hour of this morning fighting over who will throw away a piece of garbage… It’s fine. We’re fine. Everything will be fine!
I spent a good bit of this morning helping my mom and grandmother. I helped with my grandmother’s bath, linens, laundry, etc. while the kids played with blocks and watched Pete the Cat story time again. I’m so thankful for this extra time that I've been given to care for the 2 ladies who cared for me most when I was younger. Perhaps this is why?
I find my myself searching for the “why” a lot today. And “how.” Just 1 week ago today shelves were stocked, kids in school, I was preparing for vacation, Scarlett was excited about soccer, and now, here we are.
There are 51 cases as I write this in Alabama.
Salons and barber shops shut down today. This will affect several friends of mine. I am so glad that I got the boys hair cut last week.
We did a little homeschool today. Math, reading, and writing. I am so blown away by how well Scarlett is doing with math. She is basically keeping up with Carter and his 1st grade math and she is in K4!
Jack is so incredibly confused and thrown off by all of this. He had a huge meltdown today when we couldn’t find his favorite Handy Manny episode on Disney+. He was screaming, hitting the walls and television, hitting me, throwing his toys, and trying to pinch me. I decided to go ahead and put him down for a nap early. After about an hour of thrashing in the bed, he finally fell asleep. When he got up, he was in a little better mood. We were able to work on telling time and reading later in the day. I feel confident today’s meltdown won’t be the last.
The weather has been so nice! The kids have been outside all day! Pollen is savage right now so if anyone sees Jack, it’s not the “rona” it’s just allergies!
No bread on the shelves anywhere.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
We ventured out today. It was good for our mental health. The hoarders of the world apparently eat the same few foods as Jack does and as of right now, I haven’t had much luck finding what he likes. My sweet friend Jennifer was lucky enough to find several of his favorite meals! We did a money/food swap while still maintaining our 6 feet :)
CVS for meds. Starbucks drive thru. It was nice to have some normalcy.
We also filled our gas tank up juuuust in case.
Not a lot of “formal” homeschooling going on today. We did Pete the Cat story time again (the kids are obsessed and honestly the author is so relaxing to listen to,) outdoor scavenger hunts, and for Jack, a kitchen scavenger hunt. I also have him sorting laundry this week. Surprisingly with little pushback. This has been a great time to work on life skills with him. We also went to check on one of our neighbors who is recently widowed.
I also went to our local grocery store for my parents in hopes of finding bread. We haven’t been able to find any all week. I got the last loaf on the shelf.
I live in a very rural area with a lot of elderly individuals. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see them scattered throughout the store just standing and staring at empty shelves. Most of the “cheap” items gone. Most of their budgets slim.
There was (after my loaf) no bread left. No cleaning products, paper products, milk, and very little meat.
We are close to 60 cases now.
I wish I could say I’m holed up and relaxing, but the reality is I’m wearing a lot of hats right now. Between caring for mom and grandmother, my own family, homeschooling, desperately trying to make sure that Jack doesn’t fall behind, cleaning, cooking, and now basically scavenging multiple stores to find basic food items almost on a daily basis, exhaustion is setting in.
It’s a very strange place to be. This place between panic and peace.
Friday, March 20, 2020
I woke up to see a news article stating that school closures may extend past April 6th, if we even go back at all. They mentioned school in the summer and while Jack would be totally fine with that (he’s used to getting services during the summer,) Carter understands summer break now and I’m thinking that will go over like a lead balloon.
My dad hit the lottery today by finally finding toilet paper! It only took 5 days…
We are rocking and rolling with homeschooling now. It’s definitely not perfect and next week we will try and have more of a schedule but it’s amazing how fast we have adapted.
Even though we had to cancel our vacation, Chris is still going to take off work next week. Hope the kids are up for Daddy school lol!
Saturday, March 21, 2020
The natives are getting restless.
So many rumors of a national lockdown, possibilities of special education waivers (which if you don’t know is absolutely horrible for our special kiddos) and mounting fears for my business.
I just don’t know what will end up happening with When Life by the time all of this is finished.
The kids, especially Jack, are confused. He keeps asking when he will go back to school, if he is going to camp in May with his class, if it is time for summer camp yet… I have no answers for him. I see all these social stories floating around to share with your kids to help them understand, but it’s hard when as adults we don’t even understand. I have lots of questions myself.
I have so many friends who are out of work now.
Sometimes I forget it’s all happening. We are homebodies anyways, so that isn’t it. It’s the idea that there is nothing but basic survival outside these 4 walls right now. You can work (if you are deemed essential,) buy groceries or gas, get your medicines or visit the doctor, and possibly go to the hardware store. That’s it. Those are your options.
We have definitely taken advantage of being outdoors this week riding our bikes, jumping on the trampoline, and going on scavenger hunts. I’ve enjoyed the extra time with my family, and I hope everyone is taking advantage of this rare opportunity.
But it does feel strange. What are we to do except hold out hope, lean in, and pay attention to what God is trying to teach us during this time.
March 22, 2020
COVID-19 cases are up to around 140 cases in Alabama now. Still none confirmed in our county, yet.
We have been playing lots of card games, puzzles, and watching Frozen II this weekend.
With groceries being scarce in the stores, and in an effort to stay out of the stores as much as possible, my parents and I are splitting meals when we can. On the menu tonight: I made a roast and veggies while she made peas and cornbread. We should consider doing this more often!
I also baked today, and I am pretty sure that will be something I end up doing a lot of during this time. You know us Southerners, in times of stress and crisis, we cook!
Chris and I were talking today about how life is kinda similar to when we grew up. I think part of this adjustment is shifting the mentality and lifestyle we have all grown accustomed to; that we can get whatever we want when we want it, that we have an overabundance of choices, and we are constantly “on.” We can’t just order what we want when we want it right now. We have to make every trip out count. Kids are home with their families, disconnected from the world for the most part and out from under the pressure and scrutiny of their peers, because those same peers are home with their families. It honestly is very close to our childhoods. Maybe this is just what we need right now.
March 23, 2020
It’s been a slow and rainy day today.
Same virus, new verse.
We kept busy with puzzles, movies, and trying to keep Jack from exploding. He struggled today with not being able to get out of the house. We did get out to visit and help my parents, but not being able to play outside sent him over the edge. Which sent the 2 littles over the edge. Which sent us over the edge.
We’re fine. Everything is fine.
March 24, 2020
There are now currently over 200 cases in Alabama with almost 100 in our neighboring county.
My kids are acting like they’re the government with their ridiculous demands. The government is acting like my kids and everyone is getting on my nerves.
The end. I’m over it.
P.S – We had science day today and learned about germs. Scarlett drew a butt as something that is “dirty.” We also made homemade puffy sidewalk paint which essentially was the highlight of my day.
March 25, 2020
Almost 400 cases statewide now and we have our first official case in Blount County. We also had our first COVID-19 related death in Alabama as well.
Last night City of Birmingham initiated "shelter in place." Considering that almost everything is closed anyways, the biggest way this affects people is having a curfew in place. As a teenager, I would have hated this, but as an adult...any "law" that says I have to be home by dinner is, well, one I can get behind!
I made my first Walmart grocery shopping trip today, and it was just as tortuous as I remember it being 2 years ago. I haven't actually shopped for groceries there since online pickup, and yep, I don't miss it. People have slowed down their eating it looks like, as the shelves were pretty well stocked. However, most are still struggling with GI symptoms and filth, as those shelves were quite bare.
As I went through the store, I saw for myself, firsthand, the little elderly strolling the aisles trying to find what they need. I wonder after all they have seen and experienced in their lifetime, what they truly think of all of this? I wonder what my granddaddy would think?
March 26, 2020
How much is Jack's life worth. I can't even believe that is a question that I'm pondering today as I read the Alabama of Department of Health - Criteria for Mechanical Ventilator Triage Following Proclamation of Mass-Casualty Respiratory Emergency. It states, "Children with severe neurological problems may not be appropriate candidates in the pediatric group." Says who? Jack is a 13 year old, vibrant, healthy, happy, and smart little man that deserves the same chance at life that any other person does. His life matters. All life matters. And God help the person that ever tries to tell me different. You can read the document here.
We found out today that Alabama schools will be closed the remainder of the year, but that learning will continue (or restart in our case) for all students. I am so incredibly happy that our governor addressed the special needs student population. I have seen counties take a very proactive, good faith initiative in continuing learning these past weeks and I have seen some settle in with the "learning is optional" approach. I have had severe anxiety over which approach the state as a whole would embrace and I am so happy to hear that IEPs and 504 plans will be upheld. I understand that is going to be a huge learning curve for everyone, but I am confident that when educators and parents work together creatively, great things can happen!
P.S - That puffy paint we made the other day...is a pain in the a$$ to clean...
March 27, 2020
Jack struggled today. His allergies have been so bad this week, so this morning I wouldn't let him play outside. He had quite the meltdown over it. It's bad enough he's confused about school and not being able to go anywhere, but to not even be able to play outside was enough to tip him over the edge.
The state is up to almost 600 cases now, so the governor is mandating all nonessential businesses statewide to close tomorrow evening.
I did a lot of research on different distance learning ideas for Jack for when school restarts on April 6th. I. Am. A. Nervous. Wreck.
March 28, 2020
It feels like Groundhogs Day but with more activities...
March 31, 2020
I haven't kept up this journal for the past 2 days as we enjoyed Chris' last day of vacation and then transitioning into a new routine (again.) We have one more week before we officially move to online/distant learning and I'm nervous about what that will look like for Jack and how he will handle so much working from home. Home has always been his safe zone. The place he can fall apart. Sure, I am always trying to teach him something in his natural environment, but it's not the same. All I can do is pray and hope for the best.
Carter and Scarlett are really handling things a lot better than I ever imagined as far as keeping themselves occupied. School however...they both have been expelled twice for talking back to the principal, and have spent a great deal of time in detention for refusing to complete their work.
The only place to go from here is up, right?
There are well over 900 cases statewide now. All nonessential businesses shut their doors Saturday evening. But honestly, there are still a good bit of people out and about. I had to run an errand yesterday and seeing as how that was my first day out in almost a week, I was surprised by the traffic. Ya'll stay home! I want out of time out!
Is it too much to hope that I will wake up tomorrow and this be one big April Fools joke?
April 1, 2020
It's April Fools Day and this is not a joke.
April 3, 2020
We had our meeting this afternoon to discuss Jack's distance learning plan for the rest of the school year. I have had the absolute worst anxiety over this entire situation. It's not the kids being here all day with nowhere to go or even me being their new "teacher," but rather the fear of Jack falling so behind. I have made myself sick over it. But back to the meeting...overall I think it went well and I am excited to get started on Monday.
This evening the governor issued a shelter in place for the entire state. It is supposed to start tomorrow at 5PM. I need groceries. Like just regular groceries and I am pretty sure everyone will lose their minds and start hoarding and panic buying again.
Reality has really settled in that we won't be seeing our family for Easter or Carter's birthday and I am sad about it. I am so over this entire situation.
April 4, 2020
I went to Walmart this morning super early and just knew I would beat the crowd. I did not beat said crowd and it was like Black Friday, grocery style. People have lost their minds.
April 6 - 10th, 2020
This was our first week of distance learning/homeschool and honestly I wasn't sure on Monday if we would survive the first week.
Monday started off crazy, unorganized, and being absolutely clueless as to where to start or how our days would like. Jack's anxiety was through the roof because every time I would promise him we would work on a certain task or subject, SOMETHING would go wrong and plans would change. And if you know Jack, plans changing isn't his idea of a good time.
But each day got a little better. We slowly found our groove. We had a few bumps in the road like changing speech therapists in the middle of the week, a few sessions moved around, and one epic meltdown for Jack over not being able to visit his Dad this weekend, we made it!
Jack's behaviors have been pretty difficult this week and I think a lot of it comes from his life having been completely shaken up. I truly believe he compartmentalizes things and is having a difficult time understanding school at home. You just aren't supposed to have school at home. Home is play and rest. School is work. You just don't combine the two.
Praying that each week gets easier!
April 11, 2020
Today we celebrated Carter's 7th birthday. His actual birthday is Wednesday, but Daddy is home today so we partied it up (quarantine style that is.)
I am sad he missed out on bringing cupcakes to school to celebrate with his friends. I'm sad that there was no big pizza party with family and lots of presents. I'm sad that he can't go spend his birthday money on something ridiculous and unnecessary. And it's okay to grieve over those things. Are they silly things to be upset over? Yes. Will we all forget that we felt like this and move on from it? Of course. But those were things he always looks forward to, and he's just 6 (going on 7) trying to figure out why his world is suddenly so different.
But honestly, Carter has handled this whole birthday on lockdown like a champ! Chris and I tried our best to make it as fun as possible for him! We celebrated our little man by dyeing Easter eggs, having a big bonfire complete with hot dogs and s'mores, then ended the night with a Red Power Ranger birthday cake and presents! It was the first time for use to have a bonfire at our house. Chris now wants the same for his birthday in June :)
Surely this time will be a distant memory by June. Surely.
April 12, 2020
Today is Easter Sunday. The buildings and the churches may be empty, but so is the tomb.
I miss spending Easter with my family. No Easter dinner this year (honestly my mental health can't take another trip to the grocery store.) We didn't take pictures this year because we spent the day celebrating Carter's birthday yesterday and the weather is supposed to be bad today. But we did have the Easter Bunny visit! And we hid eggs for the kids and ate way too much candy. We talked about the importance of today with the kids and are celebrating the joy of Christ's resurrection! He is risen!
And just to keep things interesting, we ended the day with tornado warnings! We are so thankful for God's protection.