Photo Shoot with my kiddos

This photo shoot was inspired by several things. 1. I was ITCHING to get back behind my camera. 2. The lack of Sunday morning Easter pics of my kiddos had me bummed. 3. Josie got her ballet costume for her ballet recital that has been cancelled, and was itching to try it on and get dressed up. 4. Our farm in the spring is one of my favorite spots in the world. It is beautiful.

So…enjoy. Lots of photos of both of my kiddos, one who is looking entirely too old for her own good.

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Quarantine, Week 5

We’ve made it through another week of quarantine. And we survived.

The week started with our most unusual Easter to date. It was the first Easter ever that I haven’t gotten all dressed up and gone to church. I know some people got dressed up anyways. But honestly, I hadn’t even shopped for Easter outfits at all, knowing we wouldn’t be going anywhere. We all stayed in our pajamas all day long. The Easter Bunny visited, of course, and we worshiped with our church via Facebook live. We had a delicious Easter brunch- we ate the bacon and eggs and drank the chocolate milk that we’d gotten at all the local farms we’d went to the day before. Some of our friends stopped by for a driveway visit! We had an extremely lazy day. I did a lot of digital scrapbooking. We did record a video of ourself singing “How Deep the Father’s Love,” and then someone from our church compiled a lot of families from our church, all singing the song. That was pretty cool. We zoomed with Grammy and Pappy. I made a yummy Easter dinner (although, it didn’t compare to our normal Easter feast that Nana cooks!)- deer steaks, baked potatoes, salad with lettuce from our garden, homemade rolls, and mac and cheese. Jack requested sweet potatoes, so I baked him a sweet potato and made it into a “casserole” on his plate. I attempted to make deviled eggs for the first time-and that was a MAJOR FAIL. I made a coconut cake for the first time, though, and it was delicious! I only got a few pictures of our day-

These will be the official “Easter” pics for this year.

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So good to see these smiling faces!

Our yummy Easter dinner…complete with a TOTAL deviled egg fail.

 

The rest of our week went smoothly. This week’s school week went more smoothly. One thing we started doing this week is having a family prayer time in the morning, which has been really good for us all. Our kiddos are doing SO good at working really well through their school work, and doing a lot independently since I am busy with my class a lot. We’ve gotten into a pretty good groove, I think. The weather was cooler this week, but still pretty, so there was a lot of outside time for the kiddos. Ta and Everett came by on Monday to drop off some Easter cookies. Josie did more online ballet on Wednesday.

Friday Jack recorded a recitation video for his class. He had to recite the Gettysburg Address. He worked really hard on this, and was so glad to have it off his plate! I was really proud of him for working so hard.

 

Friday evening Jake and I were weary. Jake had had a long work week, I had had a long work week.  So we ordered pizza and Jake and I had a movie night with Jack. Josie had another middle school girls youth group “hang out/movie night.” It was beach themed, hence her beach hat, LOL.

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Saturday we all slept late, then I cooked a big breakfast. It was a beautiful day outside, so we got dressed and went for another ride. We went back to the nursery in Springfield to get more bell pepper and tomato plants, because the heavy frost this week killed ours, even though we covered them all up.

After that we ran by the Roses to pick up some stuff Lindsey had gotten me from school. It was so good to see her in person (6 ft apart, of course). We stayed and chatted for awhile. Then we went to visit Grammy and Pappy. We hadn’t been to their house since this whole thing started, and it was so good to see them in person, even though we didn’t go inside or touch them. We just stayed out in the yard and walked around and talked.

After that we went home and ate lunch. Jake mowed the yard, I planted the new plants and did some weeding in the garden and a couple of other chores. Then we all went to the farm. We went down to the bottom and did some trash cleaning that we’ve been wanting to do for awhile. The bottom floods when it rains heavy, and there was trash from years of it doing that and nobody ever picking it up. The trash had been driving us crazy, so we decided it was time to do something about it. We picked up lots of tires, especially, that had probably been there for years. It felt good to get all of those out. And-it was a BEAUTIFUL day to be in the woods. This is my favorite time of year to be in the woods.

It always feels good to work hard and get dirty. We all came home and got showers, and then ate leftover pizza and had a family movie night.  (We have had a LOT of family movie nights here lately…and that’s okay. It’s a good way to spend the night, and a good stress reliever for us all.) 

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Today we all slept late, and then had waffles and sausage and watched our church service. Then we did some chores. Jake did some stuff outside while I did the seasonal switch out of the kiddos’ clothing. Then we planted the rest of our garden (all the things we grow from seed)-corn, zucchini, squash, okra, lavender, cucumbers, and cantaloupe.

Tonight Jack had a Zoom call with some of his friends (and you should have HEARD the belly laughing!), then we had a Zoom covenant gathering with our church, and now Jo is on a Zoom youth group call. Lots of Zoom calls. I have a love/hate relationship with Zoom right now. I am on Zoom a LOT for school right now. So all Zoom calls, at least right now, feel a little bit like work. But, I am super grateful for technology that is allowing us to keep up with some relationships even in the midst of quarantine.

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Quarantine Week 4

Whew. It was a WEEK. This was our first official full time week of online “distance” learning. I had spent the last two weeks preparing for this…and had a different picture in my head of how it might go than how it did go. But we survived!

The beginning of our week was quite a bit more exciting than we had originally thought it might be. A couple of weeks ago, Jack’s best friend’s mom contacted me. She was going to have a baby, and soon. The problem was, because of lots of different circumstances, none of her family or other friends had been able to do a “strict” quarantine. She knew we had, so she had a favor to ask-could her kiddos come stay with us while they went to the hospital to have the baby. Well, I had been praying for 3 days straight at that point for God to show me ways I could love/help others, even in the midst of being stuck at my house. So to me, this was pretty obviously how God was answering that prayer. So Jake and I said yes, of course we would do it.

She was originally supposed to be induced on Tuesday morning. However, this baby had different plans! She texted me in the middle of the night Sunday night that it was time. So I immediately drove to their house. I stayed there for the rest of the night to let the kiddos sleep. Monday morning I woke them up, and drove them all back to my house so we could dive into the first day of school. So-first day of distance learning- and I had FIVE kids at my house, kindergarten-sixth grade. Gulp. Between all five kids and myself, I had TWELVE Zoom calls/classes to coordinate between 8:30 and 1:00. It.was.a.zoo. But we made it! Everybody made all their classes, everybody got all their work done, everybody got fed. The kiddos even had a ton of playtime outside. I have never been so thankful for beautiful weather as I was this week! And let me tell you..our kids were THRILLED to have their kids come to stay!!! Of course Jack was, since one of the kids is his absolute best friend. And Josie was SUCH a big help. She took their little girl under her wing and had the ultimate baby-sitting/having a little sister experience for two days.

Highlights of Monday: Survival! Jake cooking a big mess of fried chicken for dinner. The Roses doing a drive through in our driveway for a bit-SOOO good to see their faces-we miss them so much! The Kings doing a drive by and bringing us BBQ (We saved it for Tuesday night’s dinner)!! These kids all being so sweet to each other-they were all SOO good. (And yes, those are pictures of them taking rag baths-they were all SO filthy after a long day of playing outside, but bedtime was more important than bath time.)

Tuesday was a bit smoother. There were less Zoom calls, I started the day at my house, and we had a bit of routine. The kiddos were all so, so, good again.

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Tuesday night after dinner and baths I took the kiddos home to their parents and their new baby brother. Josie rode along with me. I drove her by Golly G’s for a treat after we dropped them off, because she deserved it! She was a biiigggg help to me Monday and Tuesday!

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Wednesday and Thursday were definitely quieter and calmer at our house, but definitely still busy. The kiddos were so, SO good this week-I couldn’t have asked them to be better. I had a LOT to do for my school. Technology troubleshooting for parents and students, Zoom calls with students, Zoom classes, grading papers, etc. All that, and helping Josie and Jack with their work. But they were rock stars, and did so good staying on task and working through their work on their own, only coming to me when they needed help with something. They are good kiddos.

Friday was Good Friday, so the kiddos were off school. They played all day while Jake and I worked. I lesson planned and recorded videos for next week’s classes and got all the content put in our online school website. Friday was also Nana’s birthday, so after we got done working, we drove the kiddos over there to drop off her birthday cards and talk to her from a distance. While we were there, Josh, Jackie and Everett, and then Ta and Tommy pulled in the driveway to do the same thing.

 

Friday night we had our virtual Good Friday service with our church on our couch. I’m so glad our church is working so hard to stream services. Good Friday is one of my favorite services all year. This year was no exception, even if we couldn’t be at our church building. And I need to hear those songs and that message. Friday was the first day through all of this I have been sad. I know many have it so, so much worse than we do right now..but the heaviness of all of this was just getting to me. I wanted to hug my Nana around her neck on her birthday. And see my family for Easter weekend. And go to church with my people. So Friday, I was sad. And that’s okay. We sang “It is Well” on our Good Friday service. I needed that song. It was what my heart needed to hear.

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Today we all slept late and stayed in our pjs until after lunch. Grammy and Pappy dropped off a surprise Easter gift on our porch for the kiddos.

 

After lunch, we decided we all needed to go for a drive. We decided to do a tour of Robertson County and support some small local businesses. We went to a  local nursery and bought the ferns for my front porch. We went to a local dairy and bought some milk. We went to another local farm and bought some meat and some eggs. All of these markets were outside, and we were super careful about keeping distance and wiping everything down as soon as we got to the car.  All in all we were in the car for about 2 hours. But it was a beautiful day, and we drove through some beautiful countryside, and it was just what we all needed.

This evening we had an egg hunt for our kiddos at our house. Casey had dropped off some already stuffed eggs for the kids earlier in the week (Bless her!!!), so Jake and I hid them all over the yard. Not quite the same as having all their cousins with them…but nothing is quite the same, this April. Mama Judy came to watch the kiddos hunt. It was good to talk to her and catch up (from a distance, of course). I can’t WAIT until all this over so I can hug all my people!

 

After dinner tonight, we went and picked up our grocery order at Walmart and ran by Sonic for a treat. It was a good day.

And now, the Easter Bunny just visited! (Plus, Josie left a super sweet present for her brother, all on her own.)

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Tomorrow won’t be quite the same as normal. But it will be good. Because even in the midst of all this craziness, I have so, so many reasons to be thankful.

Quarantine Week 3

This week was uneventful….duh, huh? But, really. Quarantine is not so bad. We really aren’t hating it. There were some moments of being bummed out this week. I was grumpy some (probably we all were at some point)…but overall, we are doing well.

This was the kiddos official Spring Break, so I required very little of them this week school-wise. The only thing I made them do every day was practice their instruments. They also had a big (paid) chore to do this week: clean all the weeds/grass out of the garden. (not in the actual beds, but AROUND the beds). This is a yearly task that we have to do before Jake can start spraying the grass, and it is a BIG task. They did a great job, tackling it over 3 different days and working together.

Jake and I both worked Monday-Wednesday. Technically, this was my Spring Break, too…but all things are looking different right now, and there was still much to be done to help get our online school up and running. So I worked. Had TONS of Zoom calls. And I’m okay with that. I want to help.

Thursday and Friday Jake was off work, and I was determined to be, too (and I was..mostly-I still had to do a few things). The reason that Jake was off work was that, before all this craziness happened, we had had a plan to go to Washington D.C. for an adult only trip-the kiddos were supposed to stay with Grammy and Pappy. Maybe someday we can make it up! (This is perhaps where some of my grumpiness came from….)

So, this week there was lots of playing outside. It only rained 1 day. There were games of two hand touch football, gotcha, and tag. I did more Peleton classes on my bike with Lindsey. We got a grocery delivery. Nana and Shshr did a “driveway” visit. There were lots of movie nights. We had a family game night. I did a LOT of cooking and baking. We spent time at the farm. Friday night we spent the evening there, and cooked dinner and had a fire. I even made fire-cooked cherry pies, just like my mama used to make for us when I was little. Saturday we went down to the bottom at the farm to do a bit cleaning out work. Jake taught me how to drive the tractor. We picked up drive-thru pizza. All in all, we have had a lot of family time. And it has been good.

 

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So good to see their faces and talk to them, even if I couldn’t hug them around the neck like I wanted to!

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This. If you look really closely at this picture, is a good summary of our lives right now. These two goobers hugging all over each other….and Jack rubbing his precious cat with his foot. We have gotten a lot of joy out of that silly cat during this quarantine. The antibacterial wipes on the sidewalk. The box that was just delivered. Bucket of sidewalk chalk. Kids in play clothes….all.day.every.day. (Oh, and Jack wearing one of Jake’s old “muscle” shirts…he has LOVED having all of his daddy’s vintage clothes to wear, LOL).

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Washing ALLLLL the things much, much more thoroughly than normal. Also not pictured: wiping every grocery item with antibacterial wipes before bringing it in the house.

Family football games and family game nights (and not great photography!)

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Yummy, yummy dinner.

A much, much needed night at the farm. Very relaxing. There is almost nothing a good campfire can’t fix for me. And it was complete with grilled burgers and cheese dip and chips, coffee, and fire-roasted cherry pies. Perfection.

Working hard at the farm….

….And hardly working.

 

Tomorrow the kids and I start school back, and Jake starts work back. I’ve worked out schedules for each of us with all of our Zoom calls and such… and praying for much grace for myself, that I can let some of my high expectations go and just rest in doing the best I can and loving my family well.  Because, really, that’s all that I can do, right?

Weekending, Quarantine style

This was a good weekend. The weather was beautiful, and we took full advantage. After sleeping late on Saturday, we went up the road again and let the kiddos ride bikes while Jake and I went for a jog. Then we came home, ate lunch, and got to work in the yard. We cleaned out the old blackberry vines and routed the new ones. I cleaned out all my flower beds. Jake mowed. We put the kiddos to work, too. They cleaned out weeds for us and helped us with the blackberry vines. They also had a lot of playtime, too. Josie has learned a really cool technique with sidewalk chalk. And they both had a Zoom call with a friend. Josie talked to Hannah, Jack talked to Claire.

 

Late in the afternoon, we went to Golly G’s and did their drive thru for milkshakes. We are being cautious…I wiped off all the cups with an antibacterial wipe before I handed them out, and we used lots of Germ X. But totally worth it, because those milkshakes were GOOOD. Good dessert before dinner.

 

When we got home there was more playing outside and then dinner and showers. Then we sent the kiddos upstairs, because Jake and I had a virtual “date night” with some of our friends via Zoom. It was fun, and great to catch up with them, even if we couldn’t be in the same room.

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After our date call, we ended up bringing the kiddos back downstairs to sleep on the couch, because there were storms moving through that were bringing a lot of wind. They moved through fast, though, and we only had a few limbs down.

Sunday we kept with the same routine we’ve established the past couple of weeks: we all slept late, then I got up and cooked a big brunch (this week it was french toast and omelets, per the kiddos’ requests), and we ate it while we watched our church’s service online. I miss going to church, but so grateful for technology that allows us to still worship with our church family.

 

It was another beautiful day outside. The kiddos played, Jake worked in the garden and got everything tilled up, and I stayed inside to do some chores. I did some laundry, made homemade Hawaiian bread (SOO good), and cleaned some of the downstairs windows, inside and out. That is a spring cleaning chore-try to clean all the windows in the house at least once a year. But it takes a pretty day to do it.

 

Last night Josie had youth group via Zoom and I had women’s Bible study via Zoom. Jack and Jake went over to Mama Judy’s and visited with her from a  distance in the yard. 🙂

 

This quarantine is different. It is weird. It is hard to not get to actually see people and hug them. But I am so thankful for so many things right now-we are healthy. Our families are currently healthy. We have plenty of food. The weather has been nice. Our jobs allow us work from home. We are all enjoying a slower pace and getting to hang out at home.  I’m looking for the bright sides, every day.

 

Quarantine, Week 2

All in all, I have to say…I didn’t hate this week. The being able to sleep in a little later, and just being at HOME…I don’t hate. The kids have had a FANTASTIC week. They’ve really had to fend for themselves this week, with Jake and I both working, and they have done SO good. Even though this wasn’t technically a school week for them, I knew that Jake and I would both be working this week, so I set them up a set of tasks to complete before they could have any screen time (and they had to be done before 3:00). A few school oriented things (reading, XtraMath, Latin practice), practicing their instruments, making beds/getting dressed/eating breakfast and lunch (I think my kids are some of the only kids I know that I actually have to MAKE eat…they are not normal), a few chores, and playing outside/exercising for at least an hour. This system worked out great. They did such a great job doing all of their tasks, and the weather was BEAUTIFUL, finally, for most of the week, so they spent a TON of time outside climbing trees, making forts, and playing “American Ninja Warrior”….and they have all kinds of bumps, bruises, and scratches to prove it. There was also LOTS of time upstairs playing Legos, building blanket forts and doing lots of arts and crafts projects. They even started working on a writing a song together for their mandolin and guitar! I really, really do love how much our kiddos love each other and how well they get along (usually)..this is something we definitely don’t take for granted.

Jake worked hard this week. The camper worked pretty well for him for an office. I was extremely grateful for the use of his office space this week, too, because I also had a lot of work to do, and a lot of calls I had to be on, especially the last couple of days. He’s a good one, that husband of mine-always putting me first. I love him.

And now here are some pictures…….

Work looks different for me now! Grading papers on the couch….and LOTS of planning via Zoom calls.

Being at home + trying to use up freezer food means some yummy meals. Dumplings happened twice this week…just made fresh okra and cornbread to go with the second time. I WISH the BBQ chicken could’ve lasted twice-but our kiddos eat more than they used to (which is totally okay!).

LOVE the beautiful weather. One day we drove up the road to a little dead end road that is near our house and let the kiddos ride their bikes while we walked. And, this cat? SPOILED rotten.

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The kiddos had more Zoom music lessons this week. So grateful this is still happening. And, check out Jack’s awesome vintage sweatshirt, LOL. He’s loving wearing all of Jake’s old shirts!

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Working out together via Zoom. 😛

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LOTS of family movie nights. We are watching all the Mission Impossible movies currently. The kids love them…Jack especially!

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Zoom call with Nana, Shshr, and Casey. Also not picture: Zoom call with Grammy and Pappy.

We made our own dishwasher detergent. So far, it’s working great! I already make my own laundry detergent, so I’m excited to see if this works as well as that!

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Last night we supported a hometown small business and got Mexican food delivered- YUM. (and had another movie night, of course!)

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Today these kiddos were SO proud of their “fancy” lunch they made themselves while I was on a work call. Those are TOASTED chicken sandwiches with mayonnaise, y’all. And notice the straws in their cups? And the unwrapped chocolate on their plates? Plus…Slim Jims. Can’t get any fancier than that! LOL At least they added some broccoli in there….

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Tonight Shshr drove by our house and we had a driveway conversation from a safe distance away. 🙂 The kids were excited to see her dog, too.

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This cat, y’all….SPOILED, I tell you!

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Currently Josie is having a virtual “lock-in” night with her middle school youth group girls. I am so grateful for her sweet youth leader, who is doing her best to keep these girls socially entertained. 🙂 They’ve had a scavenger hunt, played charades, and now they are all watching a movie together. 🙂

And now….THE WEEKEND. Yay!

 

Sunday at home

We started with sleeping late. Even Jack slept past 9:00, and he was so happy about it, because he can never sleep that late!
Then I made chocolate gravy and biscuits and we ate it while we watched our church service online. I love our church so much.
Then we were lazy for awhile again. 🤷‍♀️ Finally we got some stuff done. Jake went outside to do some chores, the kids do some chores for me while I did my normal weekend chores-laundry, vacuuming, etc. the kids played upstairs until I kicked them outside to play. I have to tell you, and I’m dead serious-our kids have not been bored ONCE through this thing. We are so blessed with kiddos who are each other’s best friends. I feel so sorry for only children during this!
They made this awesome foldable house with pics from old magazines.
I washed a bunch of vintage kids clothes we found in Mama Judy’s attic last week. Beautiful dresses and things, most handmade by her! The kids hung them out to dry on the porch for me, which Josie though was the best thing ever-she was channeling her inner Laura Ingalls. 🙂
This kitty got spoiled rotten today, and got to come inside for some snuggle time. She’s a pretty good lap cat! Josie had youth group via Zoom tonight. So thankful for technology, that is making this quarantine time much more bearable that it could be! And, so, so thankful for our church. Then we had another family movie night…because why not? We are currently making our way through the Mission Impossible movies…at this rate we will be done before the week’s up!

Just take a hike

Today was a much needed, soul restoring day after a very strange, hard week. We started off the day with lots of laziness, and ate a pancake…um…brunch around noon. Then we ran to my school, probably for the last time for a long time, to pick up some things I needed. We made the kiddos stay outside, and Jake and I touched as little as possible and washed our hands a lot. 🤷‍♀️ This afternoon we took a long hike at the farm, which was exactly what I needed. The sun peeked out for a bit, tons of beautiful things were blooming, and it was just good all the way around. On the way out, we stopped at Mama Judy’s and talked to her while we stayed in the yard and she stayed on the balcony :). It was good.
We went through the drive thru at Domino’s in the way home, and decided a movie night was needed. 🙂

Quarantine day 3

We made it through the first week of homeschooling. It wasn’t always pretty, it wasn’t always fun. But we did it. Both working full time, at home, while homeschooling-not for the faint of heart. This was a learning week. We learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t…and I know we’ve still got a lot to learn! But next week, the kiddos start a 2 week Spring Break, so it will be easier. Jake and I will still be working, but then the next week we will all have a bit of time off. Today was long and tiring, but it did have its bright sides, too.
Perk of homeschooling-getting to hug your cat at playtime!
Another perk-no uniforms!
Jack got his turn to Zoom with his class!
I also had my turn to Zoom with my class……it was a HOT MESS….but a fun, much needed, morale boosting hot mess. 🙂
We Zoomed with Casey and the kiddos and ShShr-so good to see their faces!!
Not pictured: my sweet husband giving up his office to me for the forseeable figure, and moving his “office” to the camper. Also not pictured: my first Instacart grocery delivery! Lest you think like we all have it figured out: ALSO not pictured, but definitely present: fighting, bad attitudes, loads and loads of laundry left to be done, dirty sinks, crumbs on the floor, unwashed hair, and being so busy (again) that I didn’t even step foot outside. Happy weekend, y’all!