Sunday was Easter; our first Easter spent completely at home with just the four of us. The girls woke up to hidden Easter baskets and had Pringles and gummy bears for breakfast in honor of the Lord.
We had brunch, watched church online, dyed eggs, decorated cookies, and hunted for eggs in the yard. It was fun, if not a little weird. The girls got sidewalk chalk in their baskets and decorated the sidewalks and the end of the driveway with messages for passersby.
My brother stopped by the day before to drop off treats for the girls, so they ate cake for brunch dessert. So many interesting food choices on the holidays.
We finished the evening on the couch watching a movie and eating popcorn for dinner. Chris and the girls are working their way through all the Marvel movies so I get to half-watch a lot of superhero stories while I read a book or play on my phone. We FaceTimed their cousin Savannah before bedtime to see what she got in her basket and to say ‘Happy Easter.’
The girls have found a pretty good routine for school. Our district’s schedule is school Tuesday through Thursday. They’re using waiver days for most Mondays and Fridays and a few already-planned days off to finish the year. I’ve been really impressed with how our district handled the sudden changes and the girls’ teachers have been great too. For my job, I spend a lot of time in Facebook chat groups for teachers trying to figure out how to switch to online learning and I know it’s not been easy for many teachers. Lots of school districts have made bad choices, made unreasonable demands, and left teachers and parents in tough spots. I’m really thankful for the school community we have.
The girls’ principal sends out a Tuesday call to kick off the week complete with the pledge of alligance and encouragement. We stand in my office, face the flag in the cemetery, and say the pledge every Tuesday. Routine and familiarity is so important to kids right now, and it feels good to see so many people working hard to make sure kids are well-cared for.
Over spring break, I added a table and work spots in my office for the girls. It’s a good landing spot for all their papers, chargers, etc. but they prefer to do their school work spread out all over the house. They’re pretty self-sufficient so they don’t need to be near me while they work. Harper actually likes to sit on the floor next to the dog. I like to work near the dogs too, so I understand this.
After weeks of getting kicked out of Zoom meetings and hangouts at the 40 minute mark, I finally upgraded my account. They finally got my money. But we needed more than 40 minutes for life group and Thursday morning Bible study. And, let’s be honest, I really wanted the extra background options with the paid version. Hawaii, here I come.
We got our stimulus money on Wednesday. Since we aren’t hurting financially right now, we donated some to our church’s food bank (something we’re also doing every time we get paid) and asked the girls to do research and decide where they wanted to donate part of their money. The only rule was it had to help people in our community. Harper was not interested in this at all. She asked if she could donate it to Wal-Mart and they could give her some stuff in return. I said that was called SHOPPING and not what’s happening here.
Ellie went all in, researching, asking questions, and reading reviews of charities. Harper decided wherever Ellie picked was good enough for her too. Ellie went with the Midwest Food Bank for her funds (and Harper’s). We put the rest in their college savings accounts. I understand the money was meant to help me provide for my kids if I needed help with food or bills, but we don’t so I felt it should be put up for them for later. We’re also using part of our money to hire a few small businesses for some projects.
(The donation idea came about on accident. For Ellie’s birthday in February, I got her a sewing machine. She’s been wanting to learn how to sew and make things for a few years. It wasn’t on her list, but I felt confident it was going to be a hit. It was not. She was kinda bummed about it and asked me to return it. But now that everyone needs masks and is making masks, she really wishes she had kept it. She wants to help but doesn’t know how. There has been a few good cries over sewing machine regret. She looked online to see if she could buy one, but they’re sold out everywhere, of course. Also, I was hesitant to buy one right now, because I don’t know how to sew, neither does she, and I had exactly zero minutes to learn or teach her. After we taught ourselves to sew, we’d have to source materials which is also tough right now. It was going to turn into a giant, frustrating production for a girl who is very hard on herself when she messes up. This was not the time to start learning something new with the pressure she’d put on herself. I made a mental health call even though she didn’t like it. I gently discouraged her from the idea, and she was pretty disappointed about it. So I suggested the money donation as a way to be involved. it immediately made her feel better and helpful. Kids want to help–they see the need and struggle right now-but often don’t have the means or ability to do much. I know what that helplessness feels like. I think I’m going to include her more in the weekly donation we’re making too; maybe ask for her help in deciding where it goes or involving her in the process. I haven’t thought that one out completely yet. But we are supporting a few friends who are making masks as well. I don’t have that skill, but I have the money to keep you going if you want it.)
Thursday night we watched the Disney Sing-Along on ABC. Did you watch it? It was fun, something new to spice up an evening at home. The girls and I sang our hearts out. I’m serious, I woke up the next morning with a scratchy throat from the intense scream-singing I did. The girls found the whole hour enjoyable, giggling and singing along with me. Chris Graham cowered in the corner of the couch with the dogs, all three of them very confused and afraid. We regret nothing.
Friday morning we drove to school to pick up Harper’s classroom belongings. The teachers are cleaning out desks and lockers, and we have a designated time to drive up and get them. We saw Harper’s teacher and one of Ellie’s favorite teachers from the door, and it was oddly emotional. They yelled “we miss you!” as the girls rolled down their window to wave. My girls love school and have such positive school experiences that realizing the things they were giving up right now hit me hard in the school parking lot. It was the first time we’d been back since things got so gloomy in the world and the wave of emotion I felt was unexpected.
It got cold again. DISLIKE. On the bright side, I got to pick all my tulips before a frost and ended up with the prettiest jar to sit on the kitchen table all week.
My garden is slowly making progress. We installed weed barrier, and Chris put down edging this week. Next on the list is spreading rocks and getting the soil ready for planting in May.
I have a compost bin (hidden behind the shed) where all our fruit, veggie, coffee, and egg shells go. I occasionally throw in some ash from the fire pit and lawn clippings. I fill it from March to November, stirring it occasionally, but mostly leaving it alone. Lots of people ask how my garden grows so well, and I think that’s one of the tricks. In November, I spread the compost on, cover the beds in leaves from the yard, and let it sit all winter. The compost and rotting leaves mean magic for spring gardens. I have a few other tricks, but that’s it for now.
Things we read, listened to, or watched:
-I listened to The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch. I liked it. I know Jen Gotch isn’t for everyone, but her mental health journey has made a lot of people feel less alone, and I’m a big fan of that.
-Ellie devoured Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark by Ridley Pearson. I haven’t read it, but from what I can tell, it’s similar to the Goosebumps series but for older kids and with a Disney spin. Ellie read the book in less than 24 hours. Harper’s reading it now. I’ve got the next books checked out from the library, the girls are spending a lot of time reading during the week and I have 0.00000 complaints about that.
-Chris and I finished watching the Tiger King series. By episode five, when Travis accidentally kills himself, I was done. I’ve been writing a response to Tiger King in my head since we finished it, but the main thing that stood out to me was just how dark it was. Our country’s love and fascination with mental health struggles and the addictions those often bring isn’t funny or entertaining to me. Tiger King is full of ruined lives and hopelessness and it breaks my heart to see how many people just find it thrilling to watch.
-The girls are still doing the LEGO challenge most days. They don’t do it on the weekends so that’s stretching out the 30-day challenge way past 30 days. Occasionally Harper skips it if she’s not feeling “inspired” with the suggestion.
-The girls and Chris are going through the Running Wild with Bear Grylls series on Disney+. They’re picking and choosing the episodes where they know a celebrity guest and really enjoying it. Seeing Brie Larson, the woman who plays Captain Marvel, was a favorite.
-I started a new morning devotion with the girls. Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science by Louie Giglio. I’m excited to read this with my kids. I struggle a lot with how many Christians believe you can’t believe in science and God at the same time. It’s okay to say God is in control of the world and science helps us understand a little part of that. I’m hopeful this book doesn’t gloss over those connections. I’ll let you know how it goes when we get into it more.
I went to the grocery store on Saturday after two weeks of avoiding it. In the beginning, I was trying to make it to the store once a week but that felt unnecessary. I selfishly wanted the break from my house, but it wasn’t in the best interest of everyone else so I stopped. I wore a mask in public for the very first time. It felt weird and hot, but important. I was shocked and disappointed at the number of people not wearing masks. It’s humbling, for sure, but it’s REALLY IMPORTANT. We know the masks won’t keep us 100% safe, but they will drastically reduce the transmission of our germs to others. I think it’s especially important for young, seemingly-healthy people. We don’t know if we’re carriers because so many of us are asymptomatic. But we could really hurt others by not wearing them. WEAR A MASK when you go in public. I’d get used to it, I don’t think it’s going away any time soo.
What’s for dinner?
Sunday: Easter brunch & movie night with snack food
Monday: pork chops & potatoes
Tuesday: eggs, leftover gravy, and potatoes
Wednesday: taco night
Thursday: chicken and orzo soup (recipe here; everyone loved this)
Friday: make-your-own pizzas & breadsticks
How are you doing? Tell me what’s keeping you partly sane right now. We need all the help we can get here.