Sunday, January 31, 2021

Why I Decided To Get The Covid Vaccine


The view as I waited 6 feet apart from the person in front of me. I texted my husband this picture and informed him I was given a boring aisle to shop in while I waited.

EVERYONE has an opinion about everything these days. I feel really old saying that too. It's why I have taken a step back from Facebook and other forms of social media. I'm selective about what I post on my personal accounts and I'm even more selective about the time I spend on those platforms. If I do post, on either my personal and business accounts, I simply do that. I rarely scroll through my FB feeds, nor do I do much other than post what I want and then get out.

It's not that I don't have opinions on what's happening in the world. I just haven't wanted to deal with posting them on social media because there aren't enough civil conversations via social media. I have remained fairly quiet about my thoughts on the pandemic and handlings of it. I firmly believe that, especially right now, everyone has different comfort levels with things. I wouldn't say we're being fearful, but fairly cautious about how we live our life at the moment. This has been a struggle of me because I tend to live pretty carefree. Finding a steady line to walk in between carefree and cautious is tedious. 

I distinctly remember last March. March 8th to be exact, as it was the last time I sat around a table with my extended family and we weren't worried about giving each other a virus that could potentially kill one of us. I remember telling my family that we weren't worried about Covid. I had just returned from a trip to Utah, the first of many trips planned for the year, and hadn't kept up on the news of Covid; just that it was in Washington state and spreading. I *think* maybe Iowa had had its first case, but possibly not. Naive me had no idea how much life would change in a matter of days.

Life turned into a whirlwind, with us making decisions we never imagined we'd be faced with. We had a few scares with Covid (exposures), but we stayed healthy throughout the summer (and we've managed to stay healthy, knock on wood). When news broke of possible Covid vaccines, I remember telling my husband, "um, no. I am NOT doing that. Especially something so rushed." I did not think an emergency vaccine was a good idea. 

Luckily, I have an open mind. I am content in saying when I was wrong and I'm content in changing my opinions and thoughts on any subject matter. Including a Covid19 vaccination. Maybe it was spending the holidays in quarantine or perhaps it's the neverending winter with no friends, events, or traveling or spending time reading medical journals and hearing opinions of well respected doctors. Regardless of how my mind was changed, my mind was changed.

Sunday morning, I woke up early, skipped my usual Face The Nation splurge and went to a pharmacy for my Covid vaccine. I had to sign my life away that I knew the risks of getting this vaccination, that is technically not FDA approved yet. As the needle went into my arm, I was given hope.

Not hope that our life would return to normal. I've made peace with the fact that our lives likely won't look normal for a very long time and when normal does come, it still won't be normal. It was hope that I won't add to the crowded hospital counts. It was hope that if my children or husband gets sick, I will be able to take care of them without getting sick myself. It was hope that it's a step in a new direction. I chose to get the vaccine because, so far, I'm the only person in our family who can receive it at this time. My husband, despite being in contact with thousands of people each week through his job, doesn't qualify yet under our state guidelines (we're hopeful he's in the next round). Kids under 18 can't receive the vaccine yet and we're unsure if our oldest will be able to receive one at all (he has severe food and seasonal allergies).

Even if my husband is able to receieve the Covid vaccine sooner rather than later, it will not change our way of life any time soon. We will still need to protect our children and others in our lives. No matter what happens with the vaccine; if it's revealed to not even help or have life-altering effects in the future, I decided I wouldn't regret receiving the vaccine. With every fiber of my being, I would regret getting someone else sick or missing out on life anymore than we already are. I really had to do some soul searching in order to change my own mind. 

The vaccine roll out here in Iowa has been hectic (and that's putting it nicely). I received my first dose after sitting online for an hour, refreshing a page until a slot opened up. All appoint slots were filled within an hour and a half. I will have to go through the same thing to schedule my second dose, the required booster to make this vaccine effective. I was told if I don't get the second dose within 24 - 28 days of receiving the first dose, it is basically ineffective. I will have to fight for a slot again and hope I can get in within a short time frame. I am hopeful that our supply issues will be eased in the coming weeks and people aren't desperate for their turn. I truly believe the vaccine (and other precautions such as mask wearing, social distancing, and making conscience choices that are best for ourselves and our families) is a needed step to get to a new normal. I'm anxious to visit friends, hold their babies, spend time with family, have a cousin's night, feel safe dining with friends, and not be worried I may unintentionally give them a virus they may not fight off as well as I could.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Canvas Collab With My Oldest

I'm a dreamer. I always have been, I always will be. I often need to push myself to make my dreams a reality though. This is why I am careful about who I surround myself with. I have people in my life who inspire me, help me push my ideas forward, and let me live out my dreams any way that I can. With a pandemic happening, many of my ideas have to be put on hold. They're what the CDC and WHO would call "high risk" things. However, I'm kept pushing myself and my family to continue "doing" during this time.

For us, this means that while life has slowed down, we find things to do. Projects to do, things to try (this is how my oldest taught himself to snowboard, the middle one learned to cook, and the youngest to become a yoga enthusiast), anything to keep "doing" rather than just being. I feel it needs to be said that simply being is okay too, but one can only be for so long before a lifeless person takes over. My urge to do has taken on new forms the past 10 1/2 months.

The oldest has always been an art lover, but he has a real talent for drawing. He has sketch pads filled with Pokemon characters, he illustrated a book when he was six, and he has all kinds of ideas on what he would like to create. Since September, he's worked on more than just drawing. He's learned to sew, use a pottery wheel, and learned to paper machet. He also has a love for music. He loves to listen to anything and everything, as do I

Thus, came about the idea for our collaborative art drawing. We had one large blank canvas left before our new batch arrived. He had thought about painting the background different colors and having me write our favorite song lyrics on them. We went through many different stages of how this should look, but ultimately, he pulled out his records and drew them. I bought a large amount of new stencils to use for writing the lyrics. Then, the oldest suggested writing the lyrics around on the records and I wound up free-handing the writing. 

I don't have the nicest handwriting, so I was shocked when Max suggested for me to not use the stencils, but it actually turned out really cool. We decide to leave some blank spaces so we could fill in lyrics in the future.

The beginning, me free handing and realizing the pencil shadings rubbed off, and the end product. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Finally Friday

 Usually Friday's energize me. I'm jazzed up for weekend adventures and shenanigans. These days, there's not a lot to get jazzed about. By Friday, I'm finding myself tired and ready for a night in. Maybe it's winter or maybe it's the pandemic? Who knows, but I find myself exclaiming, "it's finally Friday!" every Friday morning. 2zA    QASQ    

On this Friday, I gave myself an easy day since yesterday the kids were less than stellar. They played, I watched, they did gymnastics and those that didn't told me stories, we did our Universal Yums box and read about the Netherlands, did more gymnastics, played a round of hide n' seek, watched 20 minutes of Inside Out, and had Chicken Nugget Day. That's not actually a thing, but when a child announced that chicken nuggets, fries, carrots and ranch were on the menu for lunch today, the kids excitedly spoke about "chicken nugget day." So, I guess we now have Chickn Nugget Days.

The oldest and I did a collaborative art piece this week. I'm a writer (I'm adding the writing to the drawing), so I didn't even think about the shading possibly rubbing off on my hand...something the artist should have mentioned or at least reminded me about. Instead I got, "ugh! Mom, are you kidding me? Think about the pencil shading please."

The hummus chips were amazing! My favorite part of this was the dog, who jumped over the baby gate to join us. He sat with the kids, listened to "leave it!" every time I handed a child one of the treats, and he (somewhat) patiently waited for a chip or two or three to be thrown his way. He continued to sit amongst the kids while I read about the Netherlands and only got up to play when I announced that we were all done. My dog thinks he's a human child.

How to tell a food wasn't a hit: they make a beeline for their waters in the kitchen!

So much gym time this week thanks to the gymnastics mat. The kids practiced hand stands, flips, round offs, and so much more. I held my breath everytime a child slammed themselves down on the mat.

Practicing meditation.

A daycare dog has been the most ridiculous and best thing I've ever done. He's there for a hug when the day is hard, random pets, and of course, he keeps things interesting when he decided to "play" with the kid's toys.

Sometimes, you just have to pull out ALL of the art supplies, get creative, and use just enough glitter that we'll for sure be finding it around the house for the next month.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Current Homeschool Faves

Five months into homeschooling and we definitely have our go-to's. Our go-to websites, supplies, learning toys, and even what we wear and/or use each day. These things all help make our days a little bit earier, bring us joy, and are overall things we like. I like to think by sharing some of our faves, other's may give them a try too and discover something that helps their days run smoothly too!

  • Khan Academy - We use it mainly for math, but is an overall great (and free) resource
  • - I pay for a premium subscription, so we have access to worksheets (that I also use for daycare preschoolers) and games. I enjoy the grammar worksheets and lessons for the younger two minis. The social studies worksheets for the third grader are informative, short, and much better put together than her textbook (that I've stopped using at this point).
  • iCivics - This was recommended to us by our assistant homeschool teacher. It's geared toward middle schoolers, who are learning about government. The lesson plans are put together nicely, but the games are preferred and played often by my 7th and 5th grader.
  • Prodigy - The kids love playing this math game. It's just for fun, but is so popular amongst the kids that last summer we had Prodigy Days, where each child could bring a device and play.
  • Duolingo - The minis practice Spanish daily, but they've also done a few other languages on the site just for fun. 
Museum tours and zoo cams: pick just about any zoo or Museum and you can likely find a virtual tour or animal cams. The minis fell in love with this last spring when we virtually toured National Parks and the National Zoo's panda cam.

For food:
  • Damn Delicious - We've tried out a few of the recipes and they are spot on. We tend to eat more vegetarian and even substituting meat for more veggies works well in these recipes.
  • Allrecipes African Recipes - the oldest is learning all about Africa this quarter and has taken to cooking African dishes once a week. It's been interesting for all of us!
Must Haves:
Toys and Books:

Legos - any and all Legos. I particularly enjoy the Lego boxes and watch the kids get creative with building! 
A Long Walk To Water - this has been our bedtime reading this week.
Everything You Need To Know books - great resources outside of the textbooks, that follows their curriculum.
Art kits (such as this) - the minis were lucky enough to receive several for Christmas. Not only do we use them for art class to do a variety of things, but they've been great for our winter weekends.
Gym mat - I broke it out this week since I knew we wouldn't be getting a lot of outside time. It has been a hit with all of the kids, who have been practicing hand stands, cartwheels, and flips.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Snow Day #2

Snow days used to be busy for me. Parents frantic to find care for their kids when school was cancelled. I've determined that after school closed for three months, parents aren't worried about a single day anymore and choose to keep their kids home. So, I had yet another day off. I didn't have to work (aka: open daycare), but my homeschooled minis still had school, so I wore my teacher hat. We took advantage of the snow and held gym classoutside. We did double social studies, so they could have more free time the next day to spend with their friends (priorities). Otherwise, it wasn't much different for us other than the house was a tad quieter and the streets were snowier.

This one clearly prefers snowy naps followed by long walks in the snow. Luckily, he has three minis eager to bundle up in snow gear and take him on a 1+ mile walk as the snow came down.

Schools announced closings the night before, so I had a pretty good idea that I'd be off the next day. I didn't worry about getting the typical cleaning and organizing done that I do nightly. Instead, I got to enjoy the minis playing with toys they hadn't played with in such a long time and read a book.

Our official total was 12.9 inches of snow in Des Moines, but we definitely had some snow drifts that were over 2 feet high! 

The dog needed a walk, so we worked on measuring snow piles and converting units of measurements for math.

I didn't want to cook a full meal since it was just my kids home. We we threw together a random lunch of cheesy roll ups, broccoli and cauliflower, chips and salsa, and tuna and crackers. The minis were done with school work by lunchtime and were able to spend a couple of hours snowboarding and tubing the unplowed hilly streets in our neighborhood. Someone was jealous he couldn't go too.

The oldest finally got snowboarding down!

After a day of hardwork and playing in the snow, the minis were treated to a Hot Chocolate Board while we watched NCIS.

I used my day off to write Iowa legislators about a new bill (that has me greatly worried) and speaking to health departments about the Covid vaccination (as in, trying to get one or at least schedule an appointment for one. It's all a mess). While I scratched those off my To Do List, these minis sent me this video of them playing on the hills at the schoolyard. That was the best part of my day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

All The Small Things

The small things in life; like a cup of (decaf) coffee and oatmeal.

All the small things that happen in a day.

 A laugh, a kiss, a hug, a tear, a stomping foot. Meals, snacks, drinks, and random in-betweens. Toilet flushes, paper towel rolls, and laundry washes. Canned beans, bananas, yogurt. Can openers, spatulas, and dirty bowls. Books, Barbies, blocks. Crayons, glue, and glitter. Rules, freedoms, schedules. Dances, toothbrushes, soap. A snowstorm, marshmallows, and boots. Impeachment, liars, SSB 1065. Homework, reading, worksheets, teaching. Coffee, water, back to coffee. Deep breaths, patience, overload. Texts, emails, status. Sweat pants, slippers, messy buns. Newscasts, X-Files, radar, books. Bedtime, pillows, stalls. Darkness, quiet, whispers, giggles.

All the small things that happen in a day.

Monday, January 25, 2021

A Couple of Quiet Weekends


I knew this month was going to be tough. January is always a hard month for our adventurous souls. The weather usually keeps us indoors and home more than we prefer. We're home and indoors far more in a pandemic January than even the usual January! To get us out a bit, we stopped for breakfast one Saturday at Scornavacca's, coffee, a quick Target run, lunch (you can read about our foodie day here), and then home for a day of Marvel movies and board games.

Do your Target runs include Pokemon cards?

Is SOMEONE eating???!!?

Science on Sunday. Me: "Elizabeth, are you okay? Why are you crying?" Elizabeth: "I don't know, I think I just need a cry." So, she had a laughing crying. No reason, just needed to happen. She went on to smash science AND the get spoon on her Multiplication Sundae (she has to complete 40 multiplication problems in under 1 minute. She completed her 0's, 1's, and 2's).

The minis were so excited to help set up "new" toys for the week because then they can be the first to play with them!

Our Friday night's consist of WandaVision (on Disney+), dinner, and drinks. On this night, it also included a talk about puberty (read about that here) and a certain mini staying up until after 10 p.m. because she, "isn't tired yet. I just want to talk."

I wanted to do a day trip to a State Park in eastern Iowa, but staying in the city won out. We walked around Gray's Lake and Water Works Park and had a Zoom call with family.

Danger! Danger! There's STATUES. Statues get him every time.

Sunday morning, 8:15 a.m. and there's a hole in the wall. From the dog's tail....or a kid's knee. No one is really sure, but there's no missing the hole.

There's always two helpers in our kitchen. Sometimes more.

Mom surprised everyone with a box of chocolates in our grocery order...and mom didn't get any.

The Nintendo came out for a couple of hours of play.

Hot chocolate with hot chocolate ice cream. Kind of counter productive if you ask me, but the minis approved.

So much football yesterday.