Thursday, April 2, 2020

Today is Ben's Birthday and a water heater issue

… Otherwise known as day 18 of social distancing/self isolation during COVID-19. 

Updating the numbers here in Ohio...On March 23, Ohio had 442 cases. As of today we have 2902 cases and 81 deaths. That is a huge jump in 10 days. :( Our county just announced their 6th case. :(  Ohio also just announced that the stay in place order goes through May 1 and that starting Monday stores need to determine, post, and enforce a limit to how many people are inside at one time. We shall see how this goes. I still need to get something for Rebecca for her Easter basket but am thinking about just ordering online. Not sure. 

We are hanging in there. Bill is still working a bit. His employer has laid off about 30% of the workers. His hours have been cut a little but we are trying to make things work. I will admit that I am getting discouraged and can feel the sense of hopelessness creeping in. 

Trying to focus on the positives though... like today being Ben's birthday! He turned 8 years old today. 

A couple of weeks old
A few weeks ago (pre COVID-19 stay at home order)

We can't do many of our traditional birthday things but I am trying to make the day special for him. He came out of his room to find a waterfall of streamers in his doorway. There were donuts on the kitchen table for him (that Bill picked up the other day when he went to get groceries). 

Our day started out crazy as I woke up to a strong electrical burning smell. Bill came to get me and asked me to help him figure out where it was coming from. Upon further inspection, I went to the basement was greeted with this: 

Yep, our hot water tank. Called our landlord, who is under quarantine due to health issues and he has 2 special needs adopted kids at home and he said he would send his son out to look at it. His son thinks it was just the element in the top went bad and he replaced what he could. He thinks this was the issue, but I am to keep an eye on it. I just wish the electrical smell would go away. It has lessened I think but is still here. 

The kids did their school work online. We just found out that after next week ALL work is being done online. It is frustrating to me but what can you do? Next week is our district's Spring Break so I don't think they are assigning any work to give teachers and parents a break. I know that I need it. 

Ben was able to zoom with my sister earlier today. He liked that but started crying at the end because he misses her. 

Currently the boys are finishing up their school work. Rebecca is upstairs on the phone with her friend. Later we will have cake and give Ben his presents. Not sure yet what we are doing for dinner...Ben said he wants hot dogs, because we can't go out. But then he asked if we could get food out to eat here. I am not sure what we are going to do. 

For now, I will leave you with some signs of Spring that we saw yesterday when we went to the park to walk. 

Goose on her nest

How is your Thursday going? (It is Thursday right? LOL) What's happening in your world? 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Just tired...

… otherwise known as day 14 of this Extended break due to COVID-19.

Sorry this is going to be whiny! 

Not feeling it today. Feeling very defeated. Tired of being at home. Tired of not being able to go to church or to the grocery store. Tired of my kids not being able to go to school and see their friends. Tired of feeling locked in. Tired of all the idiots who are not listening to the social distancing guidelines. Tired of being afraid about the what ifs. Tired of the lives lost. Tired of the injustice of it all. Just tired. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Thursday, Friday and Today...

...Otherwise known as days 11, 12 and 13 of this "Extended Break" due to COVID-19.

First off I just wanted to say thanks for all the tips on the mini peppers. I decided to slice them for the freezer and will use them in spaghetti sauce and crockpot meals that I make. 

I missed a couple of days of writing as I was just too tired at the end of the day. So let's recap...

THURSDAY:: This day went much better academically. I let Jacob have some choices as to the order that he did his work and that seemed to help him have a better attitude. Also the sun was out again so that helped. I did some stress baking--- 2 loaves of zucchini bread. Super Yummy. I gave my mom a loaf to take home when she came to pick up my niece and nephew. The kids got to play outside a lot and they ran races for a long time! 

Zucchini Bread

Jacob was trying to teach Ethan how to throw and catch a football.

Using the shadow line as the starting line for a race

Racing back
In other news, there has been a little bit of drama at Bill's work. His co-worker is refusing to cut his hours. (Bill is supposed to come early 2 days and his coworker is supposed to come home early the other 2 days). Well this man's wife called to complain about his hours being cut and all of a sudden he doesn't have to have his hours cut anymore. He told the boss that his wife was ticked off because they took away his Friday night shift completely. Here is my response: WHO FREAKING CARES?? Everyone is making sacrifices and they have no kids under the age of 18. Everyone is in this boat and everyone has to make sacrifices. If Bill gets laid off due to his coworker needing the hours I am going to be more the ticked off!! 

FRIDAY:: Yesterday both boys got done with their work before lunch time! Jacob had a couple of online quizzes /tests to take and Ben didn't have a lot of work for Friday. We did learn that on Monday I will be getting a Chromebook for Ben to do all his work on as 2nd grade in our district is going to all online work. I am not sure how this will work with Benjamin as he needs the paper and pencil practice. I guess I can always do paper and pencil activities with him. It figures we get into a routine and they switch it up. LOL

Yesterday was the last day I will have my niece and nephew for a while. My mom is a food service worker for the city schools. They are going on a 4 week schedule (work one week off 3 weeks) to lead the making and distributing of lunches. All classified staff are being called in to help during certain times as well. This was my mom's week to work and she is off the next 3 weeks. At one point, Jacob was doing his testing. Rebecca was on her Chromebook. Ethan was reading and Ben was playing with his cars/trains. One of the things about being at home 24/7 is that he is rediscovering some of his toys that he hasn't been playing with. 

Lacie's favorite position all week-- typical 15 year old behavior

Getting her schoolwork done

Ben and Ethan playing with cars and trains

 I got some "Happy Mail" yesterday. I ordered Rebecca (and the boys) some of their favorite types of granola bars. I found a special on them with free shipping and thought I would surprise them with them. They shipped pretty quickly! Rebecca was super happy! 

I also had my first dose of being ticked at someone's response to all of this. I have a "friend" on Facebook who was complaining yesterday about how the governor had to step in and say that golf courses and lawn care companies are non-essential. She was livid that he was taking away her rights to play golf and that she should be able to hire someone to do her lawn. Seriously?! This woman and her husband both work from home doing computer stuff and make LOTS of money. They have a teenage son who could be doing the lawn work. Her response just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Seriously ridiculous. 

TODAY:: Today it has been raining off and on. We had some storms go through a little bit ago. The humidity has been through the roof as well. :( This morning we just hung out and didn't do much of anything. Finally took my shower and made the kids lunch. Decided to try to get something done. Decided to tackle our bedroom closet that has become a catch all of stuff. 

The before

The after: the Luvs box is full of papers to be shredded and the box on top of that is for books to be donated to the book warehouse when it reopens. 

Took me about 45 minutes but it looks so much better and I got a big box of stuff out to donate (going to store it in Bill's van until Goodwill opens back up, that way it is OUT of the house. LOL) I have Italian sausage in the oven for dinner. I need to go make some coleslaw to go with it and figure out a veggie to go with it. 

How has your Saturday been? What is the weather like where you are? Doing anything exciting? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Rough Morning, Outside Time and a question...

...Otherwise known as Day 10 of "Extended Break" due to COVID-19.

Today we had a rough morning. The boys didn't want to do their work independently. Jacob was in tears as I was making him do his work thoroughly and writing in complete sentences. Benjamin was in tears because I wanted him to do some of his work independently (as I can tell he is trying to tell me he can't do the work but I know that he can). I even overcooked my oatmeal for breakfast and it was cold by the time I was able to eat it. It was a trying morning.

We walked down to the boys' school to pick up the kids' lunch and I was pleasantly surprised by how nice it was outside. The sun was out and it was pleasant out (60 degrees). I decided that after lunch we would take a time out from school and play outside. 

We spent almost 2 hours outside jumping rope, throwing the football around, bouncing basketballs, etc. 

When we came in the kids had a snack. Ben watched "The Lego Movie" and Jacob finished up his school work (much calmer and better this time). I folded some laundry (SO thankful my washer seems to be working!) Bill went to the grocery store for me. We needed milk, frozen pizzas, and bananas. I sent him with a small list and he was able to get everything except frozen peas and corn on the list (which were NOT a necessity as we have one bag of frozen peas in our freezer and several cans of canned corn). He said it was weird in the store. They were limiting meat to 3 items (he scored a nice rack of ribs that were marked half price and some ground beef on sale). We have decided that since Bill is out working anyways that he would be the contact person for running errands, etc. while the kids and I stay at home most of the time. 

Dinner tonight was easy peasy--- chicken tenders, tator tots and green beans. Sometimes easy is best.

After dinner and chores, we took a family walk of about 1.7 miles. Just around our neighborhood. 

As we were walking we passed a couple of houses where people were sitting on their porches... we would say hi and everyone seemed kind of nice. Unlike in the past where people on porches seem to avoid making eye contact with us when we were walking. 

Now I am just waiting to the kids to bed. I am physically tired-- I guess that is what lots of exercise will do for ya! LOL I am hoping that tomorrow is a better day academically and that we can get some more outside time. 

Before I log off though, I have a question. I received several mini peppers in my Misfits Market box yesterday. 

Does anyone have a tried and true recipe that uses these? I really don't want them to go to waste. If you do, care to share? Thanks so much in advance! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Food, Art Class, Call to Pray...

… otherwise known as Day 9 of "Extended Break" due to COVID-19. 

Today was the first day of Ohio's "Stay-at-home" order. My day started out as normal. Got my niece and nephew. Bill came home from work in a better disposition. His hours will be cut, but as of right now he still has a job. I think the stress just got a hold of him yesterday. 

One of the things I am trying to do is to make sure that I am eating regular meals. The other day I realized that I hadn't eaten at all and it was close to 2:30PM. Oops. So I am trying to make it in the forefront to eat something in the morning. This morning I got the boys started on their school work and then made myself some eggs around 10.

Ben was able to get his school work finished before lunch. Jacob had to finish his science and then submit all his written work online after lunch. Rebecca worked on her work independently. We took our daily walk to the boys' school to get their grab-n-go lunches and then headed back home for lunch. After lunch and Jacob completed his work, I turned on a YouTube art video for the boys and my niece and nephew. This was a draw along video posted by a semi-local art place.


I am still trying to figure out the art schedule for the boys' school. Last week they said it was optional; this week I saw that it is now mandatory for grades 3-5. I just didn't want to deal with it today. LOL So this YouTube video for the win. 

The kids loved it and I think I will try to find something like this for tomorrow as well. My niece and nephew took theirs home, to show my sister, before I was able to get a photo of their work. I think Jacob and Ben's turned out really cute. 

While the kids were doing "art class" I got a Misfit Markets delivery from FedEx. I decided to try them again as a way to get produce without having to go the grocery store. I figured I would try it out again after trying it last year. I am pleased to say that we got produce that we would use (except for turnips and beets which I sent home with my mom as she loves them.) This means this will be less that Bill has to look for when he goes to the store later this week. 

After Bill awoke for the day, I ended up falling asleep and taking a 2.5 hour nap. Apparently I needed the sleep. That means now I am not tired. LOL SO I am currently watching "The Aquarium" on Hulu (a show about the daily workings of the Georgia Aquarium). 

I will leave you with this. If you are a praying Christian I offer you the chance to join with Pope Francis tomorrow morning to pray for this pandemic and those affected by it. 

I hope if you are reading this that you have had a good Tuesday and are staying safe and healthy! 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Schoolwork, a fixed washer, movie night....

… otherwise known as Day 8 of "Extended Break" due to COVID-19. 

It is Monday! I am currently on a quest to journal about what life is like during these extraordinary times. As such, I have decided that on Mondays I will post what the numbers are like in Ohio if I can. Here in our county, we have 2 confirmed cases so this map is not truly accurate but is close. Over the weekend, we had another case test positive and that person is currently in the hospital just down the road from us. 

Today started out rainy and wet and dreary. Kind of perfect for my mood. Just overall anxious and stressed. I am sure a lot of us are feeling that as well. 

This morning I had to run out to the boys' school to pick up their work for this week and turn in their work from last week. (Ben's teacher is doing mostly paper work; Jacob's teacher is trying to transition everything to online.) Then it was home to get started on some work. Or at least figure out what needed to be done and to get started. 

When I got home I had a voicemail from the appliance people that the control board they had to order was in and they wanted to set up a time to install in our washer. I called them back and they could come out today to fix it! 

Around 11 we walked down to the boys' school to get their "grab-n-go" lunches for today. (Our school district is doing free grab and go lunches and breakfasts for all kids 18 and under.) As we were there, the appliance guy called and said he was 10 minutes out. So we walked quickly back home. 

He installed the new part and then had to spend about 20 minutes recalibrating the system as there was still water left in it from Friday and it was messing up the water level sensor. He finally got it fixed and I ran a load of wash and so far so good. Thank goodness! 

After he left, I had to do my nephew's blood sugar and give him his insulin. His sugar was low, so had to get him some juice to try to bring it up. Finally was able to get it up into the normal range, gave him his insulin and he was able to eat with his sister and cousins.

After lunch, was more schooling. 

Then I took a nap before dinner! Speaking of dinner--dinner tonight was spaghetti which is always a family favorite. 

My afternoon was not all rainbows though as Bill had a breakdown. He is so focused on the fact that he is anxious and that he may be laid off that he can't focus on anything else. He only got to work for a couple hours last night. He was being short with the boys and finally just as dinner was ready went upstairs. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was isolating himself as he was being short with the kids and wasn't hungry. I am at my mental limit and can't handle that right now. My focus HAS to be on the kids. I understand that he may be laid off. I understand that it will be hard. But he is acting like he is the only one in this predicament. Well he isn't. My own tutoring business is shut down because I am not considered essential infastructure. It is frustrating but I am trying to focus on the positives. I get to spend more one-on-one time with my own kids. I get to be involved in their schooling. I get to spend more time relaxing. I get to spend more time praying and focusing on what is important instead of going-going-going. Sorry for the vent.

Right now Bill is hiding in the bedroom, Rebecca is taking a bath, Jacob is playing at the kitchen table, and Ben and I are watching "The Wizard of Oz." (Ben has been asking to watch this for past 4 days! LOL) We are really living it up tonight! LOL 

How are things in your neck of the woods? Are you in a "Stay-in Place" area? Are you handling the anxiety? 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mass at home and laundry...

… otherwise known as Day 7 of "extended Break" due to COVID-19.

Today was strange as it was Sunday, yet we couldn't go to church as all the churches are closed. Our church did "live-stream" a mass on Facebook from the chapel. 

It was different, but at the same time the sense of community as you could see other people watching it was intense. I was talking to my dad about it and he thinks it is insane that they can't offer communion some way and he says that he will NOT watch any mass on TV or on social media. To each their own. I feel contentment on watching and feel like I need the prayer and somewhat continuity. 

I was also able to spend some time chatting with a very close friend of mine who lives in Singapore. She has been quarantined for a week as the country is on lockdown. We spent 45 minutes or so chatting on Facebook messenger about the challenges of homeschooling kids and getting everything done. We were also comparing how the USA and Singapore are handling things differently. It was a good chance to catch-up. 

After "Mass" and taking a shower, the kids and I headed out to my mom and dad's house so I could do some laundry. I spent the day doing laundry. Jacob and Ben spent most of the day outside playing with their cousins and Rebecca spent most of her day inside on her phone and playing cards with my dad. 

The big news in our neck of the woods tonight is that our Governor has issued a "stay-at-home" order for Ohio until April 6. This starts tomorrow at 11:59PM and goes through April 6. Basically it is a stay at home unless you have to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, bank or doctor's office type of order. He has asked all non-essential businesses to close. We won't know how this will affect us until Bill comes home from work. He works for a small food distributer that does wholesale and runs a grocery store. We shall see. He is pretty stressed about it. I am trying not to be stressed. 

When the kids and I got home tonight Bill did have a surprise for me. He ran out to get Jacob some deodorant as I realized he was almost out. He also picked me up a bag of chocolate. He must have known that I am stressed and anxious. LOL 

Well, I need to think about getting ready for bed. My mom is considered an "essential employee" so she has to work this week which means I have my niece and nephew. Tomorrow I also need to take the boys' work into their school and pick up their new work among other things that need to be done. 

How was your weekend? Has your location gone to a stay-in-place order? How are you handling the stress of this coronavirus situation? 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A day to just be....

… or otherwise known as Day 6 of "Extended Break" due to COVID-19! 

Last night I actually slept for a stretch of 6 hours uninterrupted. I woke up at 7AM and couldn't believe that I had actually slept. I had made some decisions that had been weighing on me and also decided that today would just be a day to be. 

I decided that I am suspending my tutoring business for the time being. I know the kids and their families that I tutor but I don't know who they have been in contact with, etc. Two of my tutoring kiddos have nurses as moms. :/ Last night we also got confirmation that there has been a confirmed case of the coronavirus in our community. That just hit too close to home. I sent messages to all the parents this morning and all were completely okay with the decision and most said they looked forward to working with me again soon. I *may* try to go to video/digital tutoring if I can figure out the right platform but for now I 100% believe that I have made the right decision. 

Today was also spent really just resting and being. I spent the morning watching cartoons with the kids and napping on the couch. We watched "Brother Bear" on Disney+. (I am so thankful that I ordered the year subscription for that app.) Ben spent much of the day making and playing in his "tent" in the living room. 

I didn't even shower until 2PM. After my shower I put on comfy, at home leggings and just puttered around. 

I made a yummy dinner that we hadn't had in a while--- smoked sausage and potato bake. 

I didn't force myself to do to much and just really focused on relaxing. I did clean up a few piles that were bothering me, but didn't really do to much deep cleaning. 

Tomorrow, I may be going out to my mom's house to do some laundry. The boys are almost out of clean clothes/underwear and since we have been around my mom and niece and nephew all week I don't feel too scared about being at their house during this social distancing/isolation phase. I think I have about 5-6 loads laundry to do. I am not sure when my washer will get fixed but am hoping it is this week. My gut is telling me that our governor is moving toward a "Stay in Place" order soon so I want to take advantage of her washer while I can. It will be weird not to go to church tomorrow. Our parish is going to live-stream mass at 10am on Facebook so I may log into watch that first. 

How are things looking where you are? How are you handling this social distancing time? 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Schoolwork and a broken washer...

...or otherwise known as Days 4-5 of "Extended Break" due to COVID-19!

Yesterday I hit a wall. I don't know... everything was making me stressed out. I know it is understandable but I don't like it. I don't like it one bit. The day time is easier as I have to be hands on with Ben, Jacob, Lacie and Ethan on getting their school work done. They keep me quite busy. 

The kids got their school work done and I felt a little better about how it went. I still want to get something set up so that I know what their passwords, etc are for all these educational sites that their teachers are using. 

In the afternoon, my mom came to pick up my niece and nephew. She surprised me with some bananas and some goldfish crackers for the kids. I have been having leg cramps at night and typically if I eat a banana they will go away. Well, I haven't been able to find any. She had to stop at Kroger before she came here and found them. :)

After my niece and nephew left, I laid down for an hour and scrolled through social media but couldn't really focus. Rebecca did a load of laundry and said that her clothes were sopping wet but she put them in the dryer anyway. I went to get them out of the dryer 2 hours later and they were still soaked. Ugh. The washer wasn't spinning. I finally thought I got the washer to work and was able to spin her clothes out before putting them back in the dryer to dry. I started another load of laundry before I went to bed. 

Overnight, I tossed and turned. I have been waking up around 4/4:30 each morning and not able to go back to sleep. This morning I was also awoken by thunder booms! We got about 3 hours of thunderstorms and heavy rains this morning, enough that areas south of us are experiencing roads buckling and being washed out. 

When I went down to switch the clothes to the dryer, I found the washer half full of water and not working at all. None of the lights were on and nothing worked. Crap. Our local appliance repair company was able to come out and diagnosed it as a fried control panel. Ughh. He ordered the part and hopefully it will come sooner rather than later. Expensive but still cheaper than buying a new washer.

Today we got school stuff done. Not really sure what else is going to be done. I need to clean house this weekend as this week has been focused on schooling as a priority. Guess I will get some stuff done since we won't be going anywhere! LOL

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Days 1-3 of "Extended Break" due to Coronavirus

So last time I wrote the Coronavirus was just a blip on the radar of most Americans and the sun was out and Rebecca had just earned herself a trip to the Power of the Pen State tournament. Wow, how quickly times have changed!!!! 

Here in Ohio things went CRAZY last week. It is hard to keep up so I am not even going to try. Let's just summarize what life is like right now because I do feel it is important to keep a journal of what is going on. 

So right now in Ohio--- Schools are closed at least for 3 weeks, restaurants are carry out or delivery only, grocery stores are out of toilet paper and essentials but trying to stock what they can, salon, tattoo parlors, etc. were shut down as of yesterday. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc. were closed down as of Monday. If you are sick with any symptoms employers are telling you to stay home. Churches are closed as they are recommending no gatherings over 10 and social distancing of at least 6 feet.  

More specifically, here is what has been going on in our household: I am trying to keep up with my tutoring this week. I am playing it day by day so we shall see. I am looking into online/video calling as a means to maybe continue past this week. I am "homeschooling" my kids as well as my niece and nephew during this time. My mom works for our school district food service and she is currently still working as they are providing free grab and go breakfasts and lunches for all kids in our district each day. I have been babysitting "A" as well, although her parents company is starting shut down as of next Monday so tomorrow should be the last day I have her for a while. 

So our week has looked like this: 

Monday 3/16/2020: Officially the first day of being at home. Bill was told they are cutting hours at his work. First day of having 5 kids in the house all day. Coming up with some sort of schedule including making sure the kids get outside. The kids and I walked a mile and counted birds. We called it gym class! :) The kids watched "Frozen 2." (Can I just mention how timely the songs are in that movie? "Into the Unknown" has been playing in my head ALL week!)

Tuesday 3/17/2020: Happy St. Patrick's Day! Started the day off with Lucky Charms! :) Goal was to pick up the kids' school work from their school. (Can I just take a moment and say that my kids' schools are AMAZING!? They have been in constant communication and sent home work and instructions for what is to be expected (Oh and before any questions my kids are in our local public school system). My niece and nephew are in a different district(still a public school) and they were just sent home with a pack of papers with no instructions or anything- just that this is 2 weeks worth of work. Don't get me wrong I appreciate they were able to send work home, but I feel like my kids' teachers went that extra mile and are awesome!). I printed off some math review sheets that were St. Patrick's Day themed for all the kids and had them do quiet reading time to get them used to doing school work at home. We also had them do an exercise video on YouTube as well! In other news, Bill got sent home from work as he has a runny nose and felt like crap. No fever. They weren't taking any chances so sent him home.  

Wednesday 3/18/2019: First day of school work. Got all the work done by 1:40PM. Teaching 4 different grade levels is insane-- I have pretty much told Rebecca that she is on her own. She is a straight A honors student; if she has a question she knows that she can ask me otherwise it is her responsibility to stay on top of her school work. Trying to find our groove, but we will get there. We walked down to the boys' school to take advantage of the grab-n-go lunches for the kids. Watched the movie "Cars." Bill was told to stay home from work again as they can't risk sickness. We did order pizza from a locally owned restaurant as they were closing last night until further notice due to COVID-19.  

So that is what is going on in our house in a nutshell. I am trying to take it a day at a time and find a groove. We shall be okay. Trying to stay focused on the positives of spending more time with the kids and being more involved in their schooling. I will leave you with this that I saw in a group on Facebook and then shared on my Facebook page: 

How are things in your neck of the woods? Hope everyone stays safe and healthy!