Archive | April, 2020

Corbin Travis: 2 Years

20 Apr

Corbin turned 2 years old on March 22, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. On his birthday, we went hiking with some friends at a nearby “open space” (as Colorado calls them), had brownies and ice cream at home (but Corbin didn’t eat a single bite!), and took Corbin on a car ride, one of his favorites right now.img_6329img_6340Size

Corbin hasn’t had his 2-year checkup yet because of COVID-19, so these aren’t official. But according to our wall ruler, he is roughly 2′ 10″ tall (just slightly taller than his sisters were at this age and in the 30th percentile for boys). And according to our bathroom scale, he weighs about 30 lbs (80%). He is still wearing size 5 diapers, though I plan to buy size 6 whenever I run out of my current stash because they’re getting a little tight. And he is wearing 5/6 shoes.img_6568Sleeping

Corbin has gotten into a pretty good napping and sleeping routine. His typical day looks like this:

7 AM – Wake up

1 PM – Down for nap

4 PM – Up from nap

7:30 PM – Down for night

Corbin almost always takes a solid 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon, which is great (now that I’m home with the kids in quarantine, that’s when I do some work for my job). And he now goes to sleep at the same time as the girls, which makes doing stuff in the evenings possible–except that now we don’t go anywhere because of the quarantine. Regardless, it is nice to get family time after Travis gets off work.

Corbin still has a hard time falling asleep in the car, and will only do so if he is absolutely exhausted.

Eating

Corbin still LOVES his baba (bottle). He gets a 4 oz bottle right when he wakes up in the morning, usually one mid-morning, one before his nap, one when he wakes up from his nap, and one before bed (and if he’s crabby around dinnertime, he gets one then too). He refuses to drink milk out of a sippy, and he is very comforted by his bottles. For the past couple of weeks though, when he asks for a ba-ba, he has been fairly receptive to eating something he likes instead, so we’re going to continue that. We might try water in his bottle too.

I feel like I can’t even give a list of foods that Corbin likes because it changes on a daily basis but for the last few weeks, he has liked: pancakes with maple syrup, toast, scrambled eggs, hot dogs, cheese, clementines, grapes, almond flour crackers, cheese pizza, applesauce, yogurt, fig bars, blackberries, strawberries, and banana. But often even when it seems like he likes something, he takes 2-3 bites, and then refuses the rest. Part of the problem is that he just can’t sit still long enough to eat. We’ve tried the highchair but he ends up screaming. I’ve also tried following him around and offering him bites. That sometimes works. But the thing that actually works the best is to get out his dessert (3-4 Skittles or something similar) and offer him a Skittle if he will take 1-2 bites of his dinner. It’s nice that he’s old enough to understand that now!img_6573If Corbin gets upset about anything though, he is more than willing to part with his food or eating utensil in the form of throwing it across the room, or smooshing it.img_65528f3a766a-349c-4272-bd66-a02e218e0ee2Development

Corbin LOVES books and at least once every day, motions that I sit in the chair in our living room to read him books. He is learning new words every day. His most-often used words are birdie, cookie, hone (phone), go, side (for either inside or outside), cocks (crocs), boots, Kayhee (Katy), Chowlee (Charlie), bath, and bah (iPad–not sure why?!?). When we are talking to family on Zoom or FaceTime, he will say hi or bye if we prompt him to. 675aa43d-f311-4e0c-a3ff-84ce9c8690c6He spent a lot of time this winter riding the snowmobile with either me or Travis while we pulled the girls in sleds, and LOVED it! I unfortunately do not have a picture of that.

Other things Corbin likes:

  • Playdough and coloringimg_6352img_6317
  • Sticks and puddlesimg_6456
  • Walking through the woods (there was a period of time when it had warmed up and then gotten cold again, so the top layer of snow was super crusty and hard, making it very easy to walk on, and we walked through our woods on game trails daily).c7edc741-4482-41a9-a74a-e7acecbaba96
  • The dock, specifically throwing sticks into the water off the dockimg_6389
  • Climbing and slidingimg_6649b74acc63-a996-4569-83fd-2b6bc57376b7
  • His familyimg_6161img_6326img_5946
  • Staring off into space with his baba and cakey img_6652img_6656img_6178
  • Playing with laundry and piles of blankets/pillows/clothesimg_6265
  • Making a mess (he really can’t be trusted with anything)img_6298ba66ca19-6625-4816-9861-40ce6b8eb9ca

Corbin is adventurous and fun! He can be a little stinker (he is often caught playing in the toilet, especially now that he figured out how to open the lids) and usually overreacts when we tell him no (it’s actually quite hilarious and adorable when he clenches his fists and growls…until he starts throwing things, then you need to watch out). He’s curious about everything, and has several enigmatic behaviors that keep us on our toes (like wanting to take a bath only to get out a minute later). But we love our little Corb man!

Life in Quarantine, and the Start of Homeschooling

10 Apr

C4D178A9-47D8-4694-94C8-EECB4357C3D1April 12–Easter– marks one month since our family started voluntary quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It started with cancelling our plan to stay at a local hotel/waterpark for spring break.

Then school was closed.

Then Minnesota’s governor announced the shelter-in-place order, which has now been extended until May 4.

Our school district gave teachers two weeks to figure out distance learning. I stopped going in to the office, instead working from home for a couple hours in the afternoon. My kids and I read books, played board games, practiced counting and writing, measured things, put together puzzles, and colored pictures.

My girls have done a LOT of imaginative play. They first set tents up in the living room and pretended they were camping for a few days. Then they moved into the bedrooms and pretended they were staying in a hotel. For a day, they played surfing with their Lego Friends. Then for a few days, they were moms taking care of their baby dolls outside. The last few days, they have been playing Barbies, playing for 4-5 hours straight.

Sometimes they let Corbin play with them (he colors when they color) but most of the time, they don’t, so he wanders. He looks at books for a while, gets out a few board puzzles, plays with a car or blocks, then grabs his “cakey” (blankie) and lies on the floor, staring into space and sucking his thumb. When he tires of that, he comes looking for me. He loves books and iPad inside, and he loves water and sticks outside. He has his own loop outside–he wanders into the neighbor’s yard on a path through the woods from our front yard, walks through their yard (they only have a garage there as of now) down to the river, walks through the woods along the river to our dock, then throws sticks into the water off our dock.

Then came distance learning. It took us only a few days to realize distance learning was tough. And it took us only a week to give formal notice to our school district that we were going to start homeschooling.

We had actually been planning to homeschool next year already before schools even closed, before I even knew about coronavirus. I had already given my notice at work–I work for a church and knew that 1) they would appreciate a long head’s up and 2) they wouldn’t let me go before they found someone else. I was planning to be done working on May 19–the day before the last (early out) day of school. We told our girls’ teachers. We told our son’s daycare provider.

Even though homeschooling was our plan, it is still hard to have the school year end this way. The only times during this quarantine month that I have either cried or been close to tears (I am not a crier in general) was emailing my girls’ teachers and my son’s daycare to let them know that we were opting to homeschool now instead of continue distance learning. I feel for the teachers. I know their hearts are hurting. My kids loved their teachers. And it just hurts for it to end with no closure.

And then there’s the reality that instead of having all summer to get a plan in place, I am now homeschooling on a wing and a prayer. Fortunately, I had already been listening to podcasts and reading about homeschooling, and knew the general approach I wanted to take. It also helps immensely that my kids are young (my oldest just turned 7) so schooling at this age is more of a bonus than a necessity.

Just like Minnesota has had all the weather these past four weeks, I’ve had all the emotions. Gratitude, discontent, stress, simplicity, less hustle, no time to sit down, panic, overwhelm, savoring, organization, utter chaos, routine, frenzy, grief, joy.

Since this is the start of our homeschooling journey, my life will not go back to what it once was, before COVID-19. It will morph, adapt, change. We will get to see friends and go shopping and attend church again someday, but life as we knew it is gone. Even if I do go back to work one day and my kids go back to school, they’ll be older and I’ll almost certainly have a different job with a different employer.

But God. When I was dragging my feet about homeschooling, wanting to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was what God wanted us to do, instead of answering my pleas for clarity and understanding, God just repeated “Trust Me” over and over for 9 months through books, Bible studies, songs and devotions. “Trust Me.”

And even then, I just couldn’t quite step out in faith. I loved my job, and my co-workers, and I felt so useful in my role. And I didn’t know how to homeschool! And didn’t I get a job in the first place because I was losing my mind being home with my kids full-time? Would homeschooling now be any different?

Again, I didn’t receive answers to those questions. Instead, He reminded me that NO MATTER WHAT (even if homeschooling doesn’t pan out and my kids go back to public school and I feel like I gave up my favorite job for nothing), HE IS FAITHFUL. He has a plan, and His plan is to prosper me, not to harm me.

The bridge from the song Build My Life by Pat Barrett has been my anchor in this decision:

“And I will build my life upon Your love

It is a firm foundation

I will put my trust in You alone

And I will not be shaken.”

And this truth applies to all of us–those with kids or without kids, those doing distance learning or homeschooling, those weathering this storm with jobs and health, and those who aren’t: God’s Love for us is a sure foundation. When we build–nay, stake–our lives on His love for us, proven on the Cross and proclaimed in the Resurrection, we will not be shaken.

What does that mean practically speaking? It means we do not give into fear!

In our communities, we help those who need help. We say hi or at least look or smile at people on the streets and in stores. We talk about something other than the newest confirmed cases, or the latest projections. We do not hoard resources, but share with those who are in need, and leave enough for others.

With our kids, we do not worry about what gaps our kids will have in their education as a result of this, but encourage them to read, play, create, imagine. We do not isolate them from what is happening in the world, but we are intentional with how much we share, and we show them what it looks like to trust God in uncertainty.

And with ourselves, we leave room for all the emotions. We don’t demand that we have everything figured out right this minute. We recognize some days will be good, and some days won’t be. But we don’t let our emotions run wild. Instead, we run them to God. We build our lives on the foundation of His Love for us. And we remember that God has promised to be with us, in this life and in the next.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).