Tuesday, March 24, 2020


I would be remiss if I did not include a blog post about the affects of COVID19 on our family, as it is literally affecting every part of our world.  I am constantly in awe over the number of things that are affected by this contagious and dangerous virus, and how quickly those changes are occuring.  For our family, it started with the news that they were cancelling all extracurricular activities and field trips, along with all sports (including professional), and within a few days school was cancelled indefinitely and "social distancing" and "quarantining" became the norm.  

There were definitely tears as realization of anticipated events and experiences, including our spring break trip to Florida (and Colton's birthday present - attending a real NASCAR race) one-by-one were cancelled.

But, we will choose to count our blessings.  We are grateful for our health.  We are grateful for the "pause" from commitments that allows us to be home with each other.  We are grateful for a short commute for Paul as he is now working from home indefinitely, making his commute 10 seconds up the basement stairs instead of 45-60 minutes one-way.  We are grateful for more sibling playtime.  We are grateful for the time to learn together, be together, and make memories together.  All while praying for those who are in a life or death crisis.

Our days have found a pleasant, yet flexible routine.  The kids have enjoyed playtime in the morning when mornings used to be quite rushed.  We enjoy taking our time discussing our morning Bible reading and devotions, letting questions lead to discussion when they arise.  The kids have enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, instead of a speedy one closely guarded by the time on the clock, filled with verbal games they make up with each other. 

After breakfast, they have discovered a fun routine, take turns leading a morning exercise routine sent to them by a teacher at their school:
S ide lunges (10)
P lanks (10 seconds)
R otating Arm Circles (20 forward, 20 back)
I  nchworms (5)
N arrow Squats (10)
G ranny tosses (10)

Our goal is to have their morning chores (and one additional daily chore, such as cleaning the bathroom or some other cleaning related chore) done by 11am.

11-12 is school time.  There are so many wonderful resources given from the school and the teacher in me loves picking up where they left off at school.  Larkyn and I are working on subtraction up to 20, recognizing teens, writing numbers, reading, spelling, and more.  Colton and I are working on subtraction using borrowing, spelling words, and his piano lessons.  Summer is working on long division, learning a movie creating software to help develop a movie for Southview News alongside a teacher, and learning other tech skills, along with piano.  

12-1 is our outside time.  We have gone for walks, scooter rides, bike rides, and more.  Other times it is free play in the backyard.  Either way, it is fresh MN March air!

1-2 is lunch.  They are practicing making gourmet foods such as grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese on their own, along with some fun baking and other recipes coming up the pipe-line.  It has also become our Bible memory time, with Summer memorizing a Psalm of her choice, and the younger two working through memorizing the books of the Old Testament.

2-4 is free time.  The kids have often been using this time to develop their Lego city, which grows more detailed by the day, but it is their opportunity to do whatever they like.  I use this time to do my Bible study, or prepare for the quickly evolving changes at school where most likely I will be engaged in teaching math online, as our schools are predicted to move to distance learning on Monday, March 30th.  If that is indeed the case, I will hold online office hours through Zoom during this time where I can help my high schoolers with their math from afar, prepare videos to teach them, and more.

4-5 is our Reading and Research time.  The kids have SO many things they are interested in, and it was their idea to have a research time!  They love searching for information on topics that interest them.  Larkyn prepared a verbal report on starfish.  Her next topic of choice is horses.  Colton is in the middle of studying sharks, identifying the names of his plastic shark figurines by looking up pictures of sharks, and creating labels for his.  His plan is to create a shadow box that looks like an ocean.  Summer is researching Angler Fish, and has already shared some interesting facts.  Sometimes this time is just reading time.  All three kids love to read or be read to, so this is a fun relaxing way to wrap up our afternoon.

5-6 flex hour and make dinner!

Evenings have been so much more relaxed without evening activities, and without needing to set a strict bedtime.  We started a "family game olympics" of sorts where each game we play, the winner is assigned a certain number of points, second place is one less, and so on, for a running tally.  We are neck-n-neck right now as the points even out pretty well when everybody is scoring points of some sort!  Aside from games that come in boxes, another popular game for us right now is bean-bag-toss tic tac toe, which is currently a new addition to our living room decor.  Pick-up games happen anytime two people are together, and it is a great equalizer game where truly any age can beat any age, the way the game is set up.  We have also been enjoying Zoom and Marco Polo apps for keeping in touch with family and friends, as well as watching church through facebook live each Sunday.

There is no doubt that we will remember this time of history-in-the-making!  We will choose to be grateful for the time God has given us to be together, and pray for those around us who are hurting.  

I'll end this journal entry with a video of the kids singin' in the rain....I pray that Christ's love and joy continues to shine through us despite the storms that life may bring....


Paul and I went curling with a group from our church:)

Fergus Trip

We spent a weekend up at Grandma and Grandpa's house to attend the fundraising concert/music festival put on by Jordan's friends to raise money to support mental health.  Here are a few pictures I took!

Sledding with Grandpa!

Summer trying Uncle Jordan's old trombone!

Elsa braids for Larkyn and Taylor :)

4th Grade Fun

4th Grade Fun

Overnight at the Science Museum

Southview's 4th grade got chosen to be part of an overnight field trip at the Science Museum!  I was beyond thrilled to be able to chaperone as there are fewer and fewer options for me to be involved in Summer's class as she gets older and I love getting opportunities to be a part of her class!  Summer's group was 6 girls (5 overnight) that were all total sweethearts and we had such a fun, memory-making time!  I couldn't help thinking of the movie, Night at the Museum, as we literally slept among the exhibits!  Here are some pictures.

Summer's class

Summer's grade

pizza dinner!

Science Live Show

The girls got such a kick out of this vibrating chair in the "medical hoax inventions" area, that supposedly helps with constipation!  We spent a long time here making a video (along with many giggles!) to share on the Southview TV news about this device!

Our sleeping spots

Our scared faces....sleeping by a skeleton!




Headed back to Southview!

Dr. Seuss Day

Summer's class celebrated Dr. Seuss Day, and available parents could come help cook Green Eggs and Ham!  It was fun being a part of their special breakfast!

Band Selection Day

4th graders get to visit with the band director, and try 3 instruments of their choosing, before making the exciting decision on which instrument they will play in 5th grade band!  Summer chose the TROMBONE, following in the footsteps of both grandpa's and her Uncle Jordan :).  She is so excited and is all signed up for her lessons this summer!

Future Trombonist!

4th Grade Concert

Summer was SO excited about her 4th grade concert (set for last week, Thursday) where she was to sing many songs along with perform many recorder songs with her class.  She was disappointed to the point of tears when all concerts (and everything else!) were cancelled do to COVID19.  She requested to do a concert for her family, using the music link from her music teacher's website, and with 10 minutes notice almost all extended family members downloaded the Zoom app, and joined us for her concert!  Thank you to both Grandmas and Grandpas, and all the Auntie's and Uncles and Taylor that logged on to show their support.  It meant the world to Summer!

Summer giving her 4th grade concert via Zoom to family members

Unfulfilled Opportunities

Summer was really looking forward to presenting at the zoo last Tuesday, as her 4th grade project (for suggesting a new animal and enclosure to be included at the zoo) was chosen to be judged at the zoo.  Unfortunately, not only were all Southvew field trips cancelled, but the zoo was closed as well, due to COVID19.  

Summer was also looking forward to the next level of competition for her Destination Imagination project, and that was cancelled as well.

The effects of the Corona Virus will definitely be remembered long past 2020!  So many missed activities, trips, and opportunities in order to keep people safe from this dangerous and extremely contagious virus.  However, instead of focusing on the missed experiences, we are choosing to focus on the opportunity we are given to pause our busy lives, enjoy time with family, and pray for those who are hurting.