Sunday, September 13, 2020

Four Days Down

Great news! I survived the first week of school. It was borderline brutal, but I came out from under hundreds of emails a day (I wish I was exaggerating), Zoom office hours, so much information, and what felt like just a constant whirlwind relatively unscathed. I feel like I can sum up the past 5 weeks of my return to work by saying I feel like I have never worked so hard, or so relentlessly, to have what feels like so little progress made. The first year of anything is hard, but this is a lot of firsts on top of each other. Thankfully, I have a very supportive team, and I am quickly learning to be more patient with myself not knowing everything yet.
We are still finding time to have some fun as temperatures seem to finally be falling into tolerable numbers. Last weekend, we went into DC with the intention of walking around Roosevelt Island when we got there it was so crowded we couldn't even get a parking spot. We ended up just going to see the FDR Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and walking around a bit. When we were walking back to our car along the river we winessed a Trump rally on the water...definitely interesting.
Quinn wanted to see the White House so we drove over closer and started to walk into the park but they wouldn't let us in. We walked around to the back so she could see it from there. On our way back up, we could tell something was about to happen, so we decided to stop and wait for a couple minutes. We were able to see Trump's motorcade returning to the White House. This blog now says the current president's name about two more times than I am comfortable with. After this we went to the Black Lives Matter plaza before heading back home and stopping by one of our favorite places to eat on the way home and having a car picnic. Safe to say we saw all parts of the DC political spectrum this day. 

We spent this weekend outside and doing a few things around the house. We played some games, got some ice cream (a rare treat for us with the peanut allergy), and we are finishing the weekend by watching Trolls World Tour. I'm hoping this week slows down a bit as we work toward this new and hopefully temporary new normal. I miss school energy! Good luck this week friends!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Screen Time

We had to physically go to the library to renew our cards, and Quinn was allowed to get her own.

Up until recently, the majority of the last five plus months of my life have been spent in the sweltering heat of summer in Virginia. I would give in to some TV time late in the afternoon, or if it was a good day after dinner. I am not a technology loving person - this bodes well for virtual learning. The past three weeks have been brutal. I stare at a computer allllll dayyyy long. The first week I thought my neck and back were permanently damaged. Never in one million years would I have dreamed this was in the realm of possibilities for my work life. But here we are. I haven't blogged in so long because I seriously have no desire to look at another screen until the next morning. I don't know how people have desk jobs.

First day of work before I had 3 computers and one million post its and notes

I miss normal school. I feel like this whole experience will definitely make me more appreciative of going to work everyday if nothing else. I am so lucky in that my new team has been super helpful and kind as I learn my new position. It has been a challenge to say the least. 

Everything else has been pretty normal around here. When I started back to work my mom came for two weeks to entertain Quinn during the day, and our official year long childcare provider started this past week. Quinn has been LOVING it. She cried when my mom left for two days, and now she gets upset when it's the weekend and Abby, our babysitter isn't coming. So at least that's going well. Current routine means I am working before Quinn get up usually. Matt does breakfast and hangs out with Quinn before Abby comes, or Quinn hangs out with us while we both work. Then I take over at about 3:00 and Matt finishes his work before dinner. We both go in to work about once a week at this point. In other positive news we are surviving sharing an office, but I think Matt is getting pretty close to over School Counselor life...too stressful. 

Tomorrow is Freshman Orientation at my school. It's drive thru style, but I am looking forward to actually seeing students, and doing something that feels remotely normal. The beginning of the school year is usually so new and exciting. I guess this is new and exciting in a different way.

Playing in the rain

Still setting up my office, but my plexiglass was delivered. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Summer's End

Today we said goodbye to summer as we have known it, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Just like everyone else we have had a summer like no other. We made the best of it. I think the highlights include the "vacation" I posted about earlier this week, a few swims in a real pool, the flamingos (who I think might be the MVPs of the whole damn pandemic), walking/running hundreds of miles, Quinn learning to read, so much together time (for better or worse), getting things done around our house, and discovering things close to home that we otherwise still would not know exist. It's been a crazy time, and there's been a lot hanging in the air with the return to school. I'm anxious to begin my new position tomorrow (high school counselors report a week before teachers and elementary counselors), but I am also sad to see summertime go. 
Finally got some garden tomatoes

We squeezed in a few fun things this week - the biggest probably being a trip to Burnside Farms to see the sunflower fields. There was also a tropical storm because why not 2020. There was also a lot of playground time. Friday I took Quinn to Target (for I think the first time since March 12th) for some retail therapy. Appropriately, we said goodbye to our beloved neighborhood flamingos this week. We happened to run into the flamingo owner and we chatted for a few minutes, mainly I thanked her profusely for entertaining the neighborhood for all these months and giving us all something to look forward to. There was also one day this week where Matt and I both had to work. Matt and I both now have a desk setup in our extra bedroom. Say a prayer for our marriage. While you're at it, say an extra prayer for Matt because he's my IT department during distance learning. 

The office 2020

School supplies 2020, two stop signs for when we can't be interrupted, colored and cut by Quinn
Attempting to make my own pickles...I'll let you know how it goes in a couple weeks. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


I use the term vacation loosely here. It was a vacation in the time of Coronavirus. And by vacation I mostly mean Matt didn't have to work and we went places together on not a weekend day. So anyway, vacation week was last week. We made the best of it and it was actually a pretty good time. 

Monday: we went fishing in our creek. That was about the extent of it cause we had a few other things we had to do this day. 

Tuesday: Backstory- Matt has always wanted to go to Luray Caverns. I have never wanted to go to Luray Caverns. I am terrified of Luray Caverns. I always told him that would be a great trip for him to go on with Quinn and have some bonding time. Well here we were 137 into a pandemic and the thought of going to Luray Caverns was less terrifying than one more day stuck around my house. Lucky us that we were about the 3rd people to check into good old Luray that morning and pretty much had the dark, wet, underground cave to ourselves. Clearly, I survived and it wasn't that bad. We had to wear masks the whole time and my glasses were either fogged or I just quit wearing them, so maybe it helped I couldn't really see. 

After Luray Caverns we took a little drive over the Shenandoah National Park. We did the Stony Man Trail, which ended up being perfect. It was about 3 miles roundtrip. There was minimal complaining and Quinn was super proud of herself once we got to the summit and hung out at viewpoint enjoying the mountain views. 

Wednesday: Quinn wanted us to take her to DC so we could all touch the Washington Monument. We went in the middle of the day. It was crazy how empty it was. If you have ever been to DC in the summer, you know how many tourists there usually are, but it was almost like we had the place to ourselves. We visited the MLK memorial, WW2, Washington Monument, Lincoln memorial, and the Korean War memorial. We decided to quit while we were ahead and head back home because DC is also unbearably hot in the summer. 

Thursday: We planned to go to Pittsburgh for the weekend, but stopped off at Shenandoah again. We had planned to just do the first trail in the park, but when we got out of the car there was someone reporting a bear a few minutes down the trail to a park ranger. We decided to drive a little further in and ended up at the Land's Run trail. It ended at a nice little waterfall that made the steep downhill and uphill worth it. 

Pittsburgh: We were able to see lots of my family, enjoy cooler temperatures, celebrate Matt's birthday and my Grandma's birthday. It was a nice relaxing visit minus a 6:30 wake up call from Quinn which including a concert on the piano.

It was a great week and it was really nice to finally visit with family since we haven't seen anyone for the duration of pandemic. We are look forward to making Shenandoah a more regular visit since it's not that far. This is my last week of summer before my official contract starts. I'm hoping to squeeze in a little bit more excitement!

Sunday, August 2, 2020

It's Been Awhile

Hey Coronavirus subscribers. As I mentioned in the title - it's been awhile. This past week we have been busy being tourists close to home, but more on that later. I wanted to just drop off some pictures from a few weeks ago, just to document life. It's still been deadly hot. I'm definitely ready for some cooler temps here soon. I mean I'd take anything less than feels like 103. 

I mentioned in my last post mid-July that my school district has decided to go back virtually for at least the first quarter. Quinn's school decided shortly after to completely shut down for the entire school year. While we had been leaning toward not sending her anyway, this was still a very sad email to receive. I have mentioned many times on this blog how much I love her school and the staff. I was making it through Spring thinking that she wasn't done there, but now she is. The next time she goes to school it will be real public school Kindergarten. So crazy. I'm referring to this as Quinn's gap year. Matt should be working from home for at least a few more months, and my schedule is still pretty up in the air. We decided to hire someone to come mid morning to early afternoon to entertain Quinn so that we can both focus on work for those hours, and then we will adjust our own schedules as necessary to cover the rest. 

The highlights of the week before last include the first harvest of peppers from our potted garden, a week full of VBS activities, making our own chocolate ice cream, and we did get to go to Quinn's school to pick up all her projects from her teachers. Other that that we were still moving rocks around the neighborhood, trudging ourselves through miserable heat to get out of the house, and visiting our flamingo friends. In my next catch up post you can look forward to a change of scenery. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

"Beach" and the Break

It's been what I like to call "Virginia hot" for what the meteorologists are saying is a record breaking time, so last week we took a little adventure to a place I have wanted to go for a long time - Leesylvania State Park. I had heard they had a little beach area a few years ago, but it is a bit of a drive for us. I finally decided to go, and bonus I finally got to see my teammate for life and her new baby (who I seriously felt like was half mine). Quinn had a great time splashing around in the water.

Other than this adventure, we've been doing the same old. Painting, hiding, and moving rocks, finding new trails, playing, and reading some books. I have also been working virtually about once a week. It's helping to get a little better acclimated to my new job, but it's rough not being in person and trying to learn new things. We've also been listening intently to the hot debate over reopening schools this fall. Last week my district pre-voted for a 50% hybrid model. I was surprised when late last night it was voted down. Around 2 a.m. they motioned to open virtually for the first quarter.

We drove through a Vacation Bible School supply pick up last weekend, and we left a rock in the growing piles at our church/Quinn's school. We still miss getting to come here everyday, and now we have to decide what we will do with Quinn next year. Such a hard decision. 

Earlier this week, I drove halfway to Pittsburgh and met my parents, so that Quinn could go visit them for a few days BY HERSELF. She has been asking to do this for months. I was moderately worried she would freak out at the exchange point, or at bedtime, but she is having a great time. This is only the second time in 4.5 years that Quinn has spent time away from us, and her first ever time away from her house by herself. I miss my friend, but it's been nice to not have to be in constant entertainment mode the past couple days. The parents also got ice cream during this momentous occasion...something that never happens around here due to food allergies. We are also watching Hamilton and not starting it at 10 p.m. Living large.