Filling our days: Week 1

I’m tired of the C-word. You all know what I’m talking about. I’m not working for the time being, my 5 KIDS are home all day every day for at least 4 weeks, our lives have been overturned, and everyone has a lot of big emotions about this whole situation. I’m really trying to keep things in some sense of ‘normal’ for the kids. I can’t imagine what it feels like as a young kid to go through a pandemic like this.

Anyways, enough of the gloom. I’ve been earnestly trying to keep an upbeat attitude when possible, fill our days with activities and learning and movement (as much as this 22 week pregnant body can handle anyways) to maintain some sense of security and safety and family and enjoy our time together as much as we can. I suggested to the kids we should keep a journal, as it may be neat to read back someday and see what this time was all about. I hope they have somewhat fond (?) memories of this time all together and that we stay healthy. And I have gleaned a plethora of great ideas from other moms, teachers, and parents that have discovered awesome things to do. If this gives another parent some ideas, awesome. So, here’s what we’ve been doing to {try} to fill our days:

Monday, March 16

I woke up with a plan. First thing was to sit the kids down and explain the whole situation. They took it about like I thought. And I didn’t cry. So I’ll consider that a win. I stress to them the importance that this is how it is FOR NOW; it does stink and it is all of a sudden; feeling weird/sad/mad/down is totally normal and ok to feel; and we are going to try to make the most of this time. And guess what, it was a mess all day, regardless. We listened to the daily Mass readings, everyone was dressed and ate breakfast by 9am, so that was a win! We did learning activities of ABC Mouse, code.org, Scholastic Learn at Home, workbooks we had, etc. I realized I needed to do a little more planning and prep work for this time of the day. I want to have them do ‘school’ type stuff for a few hours in the morning, but I had little ready or set up. I tried to get some laundry done, and for some reason I’m way behind and there’s alot of it!!! By 11am everyone was ready for a break, so we took a walk/bike/scooter ride around town. We went across the truck scale and the kids always love to see how much we all individually and collectively weigh. We played on the school playground and swung on the swings. I second guessed this later, but how do you know what’s ok?! After lunch little girls took a nap and older kids and I tried to set up all their accounts and discovered a few new things for online learning. Technology is kind of a stressor for me!!! I had scheduled a grocery pickup at 3 so we set off for that. I am thankful for grocery pickup in a time like this. Kids didn’t even get out of the car. We had brats for dinner with roasted asparagus, cottage cheese and baked beans. For some reason I’m having trouble having ambition to make anything lately. It was tasty. We watched something on Disney+ before kids went to bed. I ate a giant brownie-the last one 😦 Today seemed surreal.

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Tuesday, March 17

The leprechaun had apparently visited us overnight as our toilet water was green! 😉 Scrambled eggs for breakfast and onto school-type stuff. Amelia got a packet from her teacher along with sight words, readers and writing practice (THANK YOU!!). I worked with her while the older 2 did Adventure Academy (which they claim is like a learning Roblox game and subsequently love it). Ruth and Kateri destroyed the house and I pulled Kateri off the dining room table over and over and over. At 11am we ventured to Bennett Park (which was 100% deserted!) and hiked the trails, played in the mud, played in the sand, spotted wildlife and rolled down the hills. We listened to some history about St Patrick. 2 glorious hours later we came home, had lunch and put K down for a nap. I let Ruth stay up which made her into a crazy lady by the end of the day, but I didn’t want to deny her the glorious afternoon sunshine!!! Lucy made a chocolate coconut lime pie while the other kids played outside. Amelia wrote her BFF a few cards and we walked them to the mailbox. Ruth and Amelia took a bike ride around town and I walked behind. Amelia can ride on 2 wheels now! YAY! We had corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots for dinner and it was actually really good (I’m not usually a fan!). The neighbor paid Gabriel to remove rock from her yard from the winter, he was thrilled to do so. Little girls had a bath and we watched an episode of The Voice before bed. I felt like if I could repeat this day every day, we’d have a good time off. Doesn’t hurt that it was sunny and somewhat warm….

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Wednesday, March 18

It’s raining today, blah. I made a list for each kid of things to complete for the day; a few chores, some learning stuff online, reading, reading to siblings, other tasks, etc. G had all of his done too quickly. I helped Amelia with all of her paperwork, and she’s quite diligent with it. We watched some preschool videos on the letter ‘X’ letter of the week and catching a leprechaun. We also watched some sight word videos by Jack Hartmann. Ruth started a few things her teacher sent home (THANK YOU!) and she loved it. After lunch Lucy read to Ruth before her nap. When the little girls were napping we did kid’s art tutorials on YouTube. I was actually impressed with my little drawings because I am the farthest thing from an artist! Amelia cried A LOT during this time. She wears her emotions on her sleeve, and girl and was having a trying day. I am working HARD on my patience today. I did 3 loads of laundry. Amelia and I made breakfast cookies while Lucy did her and Ruth’s nails. We went for a bike ride/walk around town in the mist. We had a creamy chile poblano instant pot meal for dinner with ground turkey and brown rice. Kateri had a massive diaper blowout, the kind where a bath is involved, during dinner. After that fiasco we cleaned up the whole main floor of the house and watched a little bit of some videos from the Cincinnati Zoo and The Voice before kids went to bed. I realize today that I feel I’m in a similar funk as to after I have a baby. Weird.

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I know, they’re absolutely breathtaking *haha!!

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Thursday, March 19

Why is getting out of bed so hard? So tired. The kids watch TV and get ready by 9am, then TV goes off. I sit with Amelia for 1.5 hrs and do worksheets, readers until she melts down and wants to take a break. I’m always surprised how long she lasts! She does ABC Mouse for awhile. G and L do their usual. They’re both really digging Adventure Academy. Ruth and Kateri watch some videos that her preschool teacher shared on the letter X and ABCs. She sings along. I take the kids for a walk at 11am, it’s lightly raining but I don’t care. We go around town, jump in puddles, run down hills, get the mail and read the closed sign on the bank 😦 Not much happening and we don’t see anyone! I enlist Lucy to help make lunch – BBQ pork and cheese enchiladas with cut up apples, which Amelia does. I was pretty proud of this meal because it used up a lot of leftovers and I’m trying to make everything last. I lay Kateri down for nap and G starts doing art tutorials, Amelia does ABC Mouse and Lucy decided to write a letter to a friend. Awesome. I read to Ruth then lay down to nap myself. Apparently I didn’t make myself clear as to what I was doing because Lucy comes in twice to ask me about her letter. I finally just get up and she knows I’m not happy. Amelia and I do a pregnancy Pilates workout and I strain both of my round ligaments-OUCH. Amelia wants to make brownies…but we’re out of butter. No fear, google finds me this and they are good. The kids each decide we should make hats. We had enchiladas for dinner with homemade enchilada sauce (drooooool-I’ve got plenty of time to make it, so why not?!) So good. While I’m making that, J leads the kids in some music interpretation; he plays a song and then they’re supposed to write what they think it’s actually about. I thought they’d hate it but they actually loved it. It’s good to be married to an educator, and how creative! After dinner we do a Rosary. Again, why not!? We have to do a massive cleanup because our house is a wreck. Ruth randomly asks how paper is made. After everything is cleaned up we watch several YouTube videos on how paper, bubble gum, highlighters, milk and candy canes are made. I cannot lie, it was super interesting. Kids go to bed and we watch more of The Voice. I realize today that Lucy is a huge help, with the younger kids, meal prep, etc.

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Friday, March 20

Jeremiah comments that I look terrible. I’m tired and it shows. Mentally and emotionally I’m exhausted! I start by emailing the kid’s teachers and setting up more online platforms. G and L will have actual assignments from their teachers, Google hangout live classes and discussions and book chats. I LOVE IT. Their teachers are just so great!!!!  The kids to-do lists each day are getting longer and there’s less ‘What can I do??’ I feel like I’m less lost during the day. It’s getting better…it seems. I get 2 phone calls before 9 but the kids still seem to get dressed and eat and brush so we’re making progress. I do table work with Amelia while G and L do online work. Kateri and Ruth literally tear the house apart….until I let them watch an alphabet video on my phone. One of the things I put on the older kids’ lists was to play with and read to the younger girls. Lucy enlists the girls in some kind of exercise class involving babies and miniature horses. Whatever works. G wants macaroni and cheese for lunch so I put him in charge of that job. Lucy and Gabriel say numerous times how they are excited about the new stuff they will be doing with their teachers starting Monday. I’m glad to hear! After lunch the 4 older kids do the daily ‘Lego challenge’ — today’s is build a tall tower. I put Kateri down for a nap and read the rest of the time. The Lego challenge lasts for 1 hr and 45 mins! I’m surprised and there’s little fighting. It’s cold and no one wants to go outside. We do a kid workout, dance, GoNoodle, KidsBop dance and stretching videos for almost an hour. I’m sufficiently wore out. Kids put away a ton of clean laundry. I made homemade cool veggie pizza for dinner and no one but myself and Jeremiah like it. That is unusual and our normal is that you eat what is served. I’m exceptionally ticked because a) I’m tired b) I homemade the crust/sauce/ranch seasoning so it was all GF and c) I’m mentally and emotionally spent at this point. I’m not feeling it so a couple of kids make themselves egg salad sandwiches (#Lent #Catholic) I am making constant conscious effort to give everyone a lot of grace….this is uncharted territory and things are just. plain. tough…….no matter what age you are. The kids stay up a little later than normal but it’s fine. Today I wonder what in the heck we are going to do all weekend with nothing to do and nowhere to go!?

PS- We figured out the weekend and it hasn’t been so bad…so far!

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Lunch and ‘house’ in a tent for the win!

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