Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Corona-life

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I completely forget that there's a world pandemic happening where everyone's children are out of school, and the stores have tape telling people where to stand 6 feet apart, and folks are wearing face masks and gloves in public, and sports are cancelled, and church is cancelled, and music lessons are cancelled, and friends and family are separated, and travel plans are cancelled, and we can't have play-dates or go to the library or go thrift store shopping, and people are scared, and some people are dying, and nothing feels normal. I forget ALL of that because I'm still in my groggy sleep state, but then it slowly hits me and I can'! 😲

This new, surreal reality is something I never would've imagined happening. I've heard of prepper people in our area prepping for world pandemics like this, but it always sounded extreme such as keeping extra supplies underground, including face masks and non-perishable foods, etc. Maybe it is extreme? I don't know how bad this could get!  I mean,we have our one-year food supply and feel safe and comfortable enough in our home if we absolutely can't leave the house for a month or more...but that's it. I suppose with mine and  husband's wilderness primitive survival backgrounds we're not scared of running out of toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, or hand soap. We've both learned from our primitive survival days that you can survive off of very, very little and still thrive. There are ways to be abundant and resourceful without going to Walmart. So no, running out of stuff doesn't scare me, what scares me is all the people out there who start to panic and turn into angry, resentful monsters trying to hoard everything in the store, who then turn their homes into scary, fearful places full of animosity and contention. That's what scares me about a pandemic--that children have to live quarantined in homes with these psychotic parents. It's really the children who suffer here, trying to be "home schooled" by overly stressed out parents who are freaking out 24/7.

As I was playing tennis-baseball with Malachi and Odin this afternoon I was reflecting on how this change of pace has actually been really nice. I mean, I don't want it to be like this forever, but on a personal level it's helped me to be truly grateful for the love we have in our family, for the ability to be around each other 24/7 with just normal amounts of arguing, for the bonding we're experiencing over these weird changes, and that we can go play tennis-baseball in the middle of the afternoon just for fun. --Normally I would be running around picking people up from school, getting people to activities. and probably stressing about how much I didn't get done that day and how much I still have to do. Just hanging out with my kiddos and playing games and doing a little bit of school and exercising and making meals here and there has been a nice change of pace from the normal. Oh, and finding 1000 things to keep Malachi busy during the day because he never stops moving....has been fun. :/

 I saw this quote online and I thought it was insightful:

 Are there things we don't want to rush back to after this is all over? Are there things we could do better at, or even not at all, to strengthen ourselves and our  family?  

I decided to make a little comparison list so I can see how different our lives are right now during this change of pace (well, mostly mine and the kids, my husband runs on different frequencies with his job). Perhaps it will offer me some insight into which parts of normal really are worth getting back to and what we could ditch behind.

The weekly schedule:

Normal life: My alarm goes off at 6:45am to take Z to Jazz Band. Then I come home and get other kids up for school. I help O get ready for his carpool ride at 7:30am. I make breakfast for J and Mal. I get Mal on the bus at 8:23am, hopefully with some food in his tummy since he barely eats breakfast. I then drive J, who can't ride the bus because of sensory issues, to school by 8:50am. Lots of hurrying, rushing, and move, move, move. 
I spend the next three hours before Mal gets home either running in the hills, or on the trail, or lifting weights at the gym, and also doing chores around the house. On Monday mornings I work in the gym daycare for a couple hours.
I get Mal from off the bus at 11:55am in front of our street. I then make Mal lunch and we go get Jonah at 12:20 because he only goes to school half-day. Depending on the day I then spend the next 2 hours with J and Mal either going to a park to play, running errands, grocery shopping, going to J's counselor, donating plasma (the boys go into the daycare) or hanging out at home until it's time to get O at 2:30pm. After we get O from school we come straight home. Then it's play time, homework time, chore time, after school snack time, not necessarily in that order. I pick up Z from school at 2:45pm, unless he hits the gym after school then I pick him up at the gym at 3:30pm. A couple days a week Micah meets him at the gym and they work out together.
 Sometimes after school friends come over to play and there's kids running all over the backyard and around the house. Sometimes Z goes to Kai's house, sometimes O goes to Dakota's house, sometimes Mal goes to Zoey's house, sometimes J goes to Caleb's house, sometimes everyone comes to our house!
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4pm Z has lacrosse practice. Micah and I take turns running him to practices. Wednesday nights he has guitar class at 7pm. Wednesday afternoons O has a paper route. I run out to Enoch every Wednesday to pick up his newspapers. Malachi and I always stop at the Hub on the way back for a slice of pizza for him and a diet dr. Pepper for me. Tuesday nights is church youth activities for both Z and O. Micah has Bishopric meetings on Tuesday evenings along with church youth activities because he is over the Deacons. Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday at 5pm I do Primary Boy's activities (previously known as scouts). If it's the 2nd Tuesday of the month I go out to lunch with friends. The 4th Thursday night is book club. 
I finally signed up to coach soccer this season for Mal's team so we have soccer practices Wednesday evenings then games on Thursdays and Saturdays. O also has practices and games during the week and on Saturdays.  
On Saturdays we have fun, relax, and just hang out. Hiking, biking, movies, soccer games, maybe a buffet here or there. Micah usually does a long distance bike ride--5-6 hours.On Sundays we go to church at 9am then come home and have the rest of the day to relax, watch movies, or spend time in nature as a family. 
Every evening at 8pm we do family scripture study. Then Mal is in bed my 9pm, everyone else by 10. On weekends we let the boys stay up til 11pm. 

Corona-life: My alarm goes off at 7:40am so I can pick up school breakfast from the school bus which parks down the street. Each morning between 7:50am-8:10am they hand out breakfast for school families. 
I then come home and toss the paper bags on the dining room table as my kids slowly make their way upstairs or out of their rooms. We eat breakfast/get dressed/brush teeth at a leisurely pace until about 9am. At 9am we do personal scripture study. The older boys read on their own while I read to the younger two. I also do my own scripture study at this time. 

After scriptures it's school time. Z and O and J each spend about an hour doing online "school." It doesn't take them very long. Z practices his flute an hour every day. 
Our main focus is keeping up on reading and math and instruments. Everything else is up in the air weather it gets finished or turned in. 
At 11:30am we get school bus lunch. My friend Christy and I take turns picking up the meals. I drop off breakfast at her house and and she does lunch. I then watch as my kids pick through the lunches like picky little vultures until I end up making something extra to go along with all the chocolate milks and apple juices they just consumed. The leftovers go to our chickens out back.
After lunch the kids are allowed to do some screen time..i.e. Nintendo switches, Roblox, TV shows, etc...whatever they are into these days. Z and O just got Switch Lites for their birthdays so there's a lot of that going on. Mal is obsessed with Roblox. Jonah likes everything screentime.
Everyone has to get outside everyday and exercise for at least an hour. Two days a week Micah takes Z and J hiking as they are training to hike King's Peak this summer. Several days a week I play soccer with O at the park.  We've been doing lots of bike rides up the canyon, walking on the bike trail, playing at the dirt mound, playing in our big backyard (we have a trampoline, swing set, tether-ball, sand pit, large grassy yard with turtles, rabbits, chickens, and dogs) and exploring nature. We make things and get crafty. We "planted" a fairy rock garden on the bike trail. Our boys had been collecting painted rocks from around town the past year so we're recirculating some of those plus we painted some of our own. Something fun to keep busy!
Even though we get outside a lot, it feels like my kids are still on screeny things more than I'd like. I finally kept track for two days and each child is averaging 4-5 hours per day, with the exception of Mal who is 2-3 hours a day. It makes me cringe, but it's a necessary evil because us parents also need some time to exercise, cook, clean, shop, study, read, work (Micah)and stay sane without kids in our faces 24/7. And I mean that in the most loving way.

A couple days a week Micah and I venture out to a store for groceries and supplies. Micah does his Bishopric meetings online through face chats. My friends and I did a special "social distancing" lunch where we sat in a large circle in the parking lot, 6 feet apart, while eating our lunches. We had a dance party and I taught everyone the coronavirus hand-washing dance. It was a blast! (Ghen Co Vy)
 For exercise (and sanity)I go running on the bike trail or in the hills nearly everyday. Micah rides his bike long-distance several days a week. We lift weights at home with the minimal weights we have. I do yoga in the downstairs family room. 
We both donate plasma twice a week.
On Sundays we have the sacrament in our living room. Z prepares it, Micah blesses it, and O passes it out. We dress in our Sunday best to honor this sacred ordinance. For church we discuss the Come Follow Me lesson for the week which is focused on the Book of Mormon this year.

At 7pm every night we sit down as a family for dinner. One night we ordered take out for everyone and I drove around to three different restaurants to pick everything up. (Tacos El hefe for Micah, Z and O, Berry Bar for me, and McDonalds for J and Mal) After dinner everyone helps clean up and does their chores. We do family scriptures at 8pm. After scriptures everyone hangs out and does whatever--plays board games, more screen time, movie time, reading time, etc.. 
Mal gets to bed by 9:30pm. the other boys and parents by 10pm. 

There isn't much variation to our days, unless I think of something extra to do.
This week I went shopping for donations for a Women's Crisis center. It felt good to do some good as I was feeling so blessed myself, I wanted to give to others in need. I donated things like feminine hygiene products, tp, paper towels, diapers, wipes, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dish soap, and laundry soap.
I also made frozen cookie dough for my Boy's activity boys and dropped it off at their houses so they could bake their own cookies. (throw out the bag and wash their hands!)
I delivered toilet paper and diapers to a sister in our ward who was feeling desperate.
I had social distancing lunch bunch yesterday.

There's little things we can do so life doesn't get too comfortable in our little corona-bubble. 

I get anxious around the house during the day if it gets too messy or if my kids are sitting around too much. I try to breathe and relax and be grateful that they get along so well and are healthy and safe, even if my house gets messy and Roblox is on for 10 hours straight.

One hard thing right now, however, is that our cat of seven years has gone missing. He's been gone almost a week and we have no idea where he could've gone off to. It is J's cat and he is on the border of being heartbroken that his kitty is gone and having hope that the cat will come back. Him and the cat are in my prayers everyday. I just hope the poor thing is safe, wherever he is. 

So that's my life right now. Better? I don't know. Busy? Of course! Crazy? Always! I'm not excited to rush back to all the driving around I do each day, but I am anxious for everyone to get back to school. I really like/need/want my quiet time. But also important is that some of my boys do better with structure. School and sports is a positive outlet for them, socially, physically, and mentally. It's really hard that all of that is taken away right now. 

Spring break is next week but the Snow Canyon campgrounds where we were going are closed down. We might venture into no-man's-land, or we might just stay home. We haven't decided what course to take yet on this crazy pandemic adventure. 

Til next time....