So far this PANDEMIC...

I seriously never thought the word pandemic would become our everyday reality.  I never imagined living through what 2020 has so far brought us.  It's chaos.  It is quite literally history in the making.  Which is something else entirely.

We have learned a lot during this pandemic.  Namely, I am SO glad our kids are the age they are.  While we missed the end of kindergarten for Grace and part of Brooke's first year of preschool... they aren't really super affected by everything going on.  They know there is a "sickness" and that we can't go about our business as normal.  But they don't miss the things that older kids are missing.  SO I am beyond grateful for that part of it.

Rob has learned that working from home is a trip when you have 3 young kids at home.  For his position and who his peers are, most people are significantly older and past this stage in life.  His co-workers have become used to Emily barging in mid-meeting just to cuddle up next to daddy.  Definitely not ideal, but you do what you can.  We will be sad to see daddy go back to work, but mama would be lying if she said she isn't ready.  Rob and I have always thrived off of not being around each other all the time, something the military helped establish in us (long distance dating, deployment, long days at work, etc.)... at this point, I am ready for him to leave, so we can have the coming home.

As for me? I have learned that I decided not to pursue elementary education for a reason.  Which was absolutely the right call.  Teaching my kiddo was hard and not ideal.  We made it through for sure, but some days I wondered about it all.  Again - going back to the glad she was only finishing up kindergarten side of things. In general, I have battled my anxiety something fierce.  Fear of the unknown is hard for a planner like myself.  I like to know what and when to expect things and needless to say that is impossible during a pandemic.  I have struggled through bad days and a lack of routine and through acknowledging that I am struggling, I have found a little bit of a reprieve.

Someday we will look back at this chapter in our life and it will (hopefully) be hard to believe our times were like this.  We will not remember all the small details that led to bigger things.


Our last adventure before Kansas went under a stay-at-home order was to see our sweet friends Heather and Lucy and spend the day at the Topeka Zoo.  We managed to get in almost a full spring break before things went completely sideways.  I will forever remember sitting at lunch with Heather and watching as KU cancelled sporting events and the NBA cancelled their season.  It was surreal.  We left thinking, this may be our last time together for awhile.  Not truly understanding what was on our way.  The next day the girls and I went to the store one last time and that was our last visit into a store for almost two months.


We celebrated St. Patrick's Day a day late.  The nice part of being in a pandemic is you can do whatever you want basically.  Nobody is there to tell your kids it is not actually SPD.  Rob and I also celebrated 10 years of marriage.  Through all of this we started making an effort to "date" again.  Having all these kids, dating is not a priority.  So we would put the kids to bed and then sit outside with a steak and a board game.  It was a nice way to force us to pay attention to just us for awhile.


The girls became masters of Facetiming family. This was our first Facetime call with my parents.  My kids missed their grandparents, a lot.  So thank heavens for technology so we can actually keep up with them.  Imagine doing this back in 1918 with the Spanish flu.


Grace's school did a drive-by parade with teachers and staff from her elementary school.  Her smile was huge and she loved seeing her teacher.  Sometimes I don't think she really realizes that she will not be in Mrs. D's class anymore.  Shoot, at this point we don't even know what the next school year is going to look like.


My friends and I spent one evening on a friendship date.  We swore up and down that we would do it more often and as I type this... it is the only one we managed to do.  We chatted for hours and laughed so much I went to bed with a sore belly.  I miss my friends, something fierce.


Emily turned 2 during this pandemic.  We originally had a birthday party scheduled for her and Brooke but canceled it in favor of a small social distancing gathering with my parents and my sister.  They came over with some gifts and we kept it super simple.  Every one of my kids has been short changed when it comes to their second birthday, it is almost becoming the norm at this point.


The next day was Brooke's 4th birthday.  Rob set out on a mission to make the day extra special for our four year old.  She was very aware that her birthday party was not going on as she had planned.  She asked for a long list of random and fun activities (daddy painting her toenails, mudding in daddy's truck, pizza for dinner, etc).  At the end of the day she proclaimed it her "best birthday ever"!


One of the greatest challenges I am learning to get through - is making my Lawrence Lady Boss Project helpful to all those I have connected with so far.  I started sharing as many resources as possible and we even organized one of these fun social media posts that were all the rage early on in this pandemic.


Easter was also celebrated differently this year.  The girls got baskets and that was about it.  We didn't even have a chance to do an egg hunt because the weather was not cooperating.  It will definitely go down as one of the most low-key Easters to date.


Easter was also my Mom's birthday.  We celebrated over a massive family FaceTime.  Cake and lots of laughter as my family discovered the different filters they could put on their faces.  Definitely not how we wanted to spend Mom's birthday, but something we are, again, glad we were able to be a part of through the miracles of technology.


I got to play dress up for a few weeks as I tried on and took pictures of all the beautiful new extended sizing pieces that Stripes Boutique added to their collection at KB & Co.  Claire dropped off a massive box and over the course of a few days, I went through and tried everything on and did the whole Influenster thing.  It was so much fun!


One morning Rob requested that I get some updated pictures of the girls. We tried a couple different times before I finally struck gold on a few front porch gems.  The girls are at the age where one will strike a pose if you ask, the other will put on a pained smile and never look at the camera, and the last one will look at you and pretend she didn't hear you.  So this is nothing short of a miracle.


Rob led the charge to make Sundays special in our household.  We try and do something fun with the kids at mealtime.  Order in, ice cream after dinner, make your own pizzas.  We've tried so many things but the kids definitely loved making their own pizzas the best.


We finally tackled a project we had talked about doing for over a year now.  We bought the kids a playground and my husband (with the help of my dad) built it for them.  It has been awesome having this right outside in our backyard as playgrounds were closed to the public.  Once it started heating up, it has become harder to use it... but we know that we have years of enjoyment left with this expense.


We finally broke out of our stay-at-home order long enough to go down to the lake with my parents.  I have never been so thankful for my parents lake house, as I have been during this pandemic.  This was one of my favorite weekends down there as the weather was cool and the bugs were minimal.  We wrapped up the weekend celebrating Mother's Day.


Brooke's last day of preschool was documented.  Brooke loved Zoom calling her classmates, but otherwise we just kept doing what we normally do when it comes to "schooling" her.  We let her color, play make believe and encourage using good listening ears.  Basically all they do at preschool anyway at this stage!


Rob made it his mission this summer to get all three girls their first fish.  Mission accomplished.  Princess dresses and all.  Their enthusiasm for this has been such a joy to watch.  We've spent a few afternoons out fishing at the Douglas County Fishing Lake.


To celebrate the last day of school, our school district did a school bus parade with signs, bubbles, music, streamers and more.  It was such a special touch - and the girls loved seeing all of the buses right there from the driveway.


Grace's last day of kindergarten.  We dropped a special gift off to her teacher's home and spent some time catching up with her.  I will truly miss Grace's teacher next year.  She is such a gem and I appreciate all that she did above and beyond for us.  It is crazy for me to think WE HAVE A FIRST GRADER!


Memorial Day weekend we went and spent a day with Rob's family.  We saw them last at Grace's birthday party in January.  They spoiled the younger two girls with birthday gifts and the girls spent the afternoon playing with their cousins.  It was a nice break to see family.


Memorial Day weekend wrapped up at my parent's lake house where Grandpa also did some spoiling and installed this beautiful swing right there in the yard.  The girls giggles were the absolute best as they went flying through the trees.


I hosted a Virtual Networking Night Out via Zoom.  There were two fantastic speakers and lots of giveaways.  I will NEVER be used to not getting a reaction out of people when everyone is on mute.  But I think it was a fun evening regardless and people seemed to really be able to refill their cup.  Which makes me feel like the purpose was definitely served.


We hit up the lake, again, a few weeks ago.  It was the weekend we finally got to put the boat in the water.  Between the pool on the deck and the boat in the water, we had such a fun weekend splashing in the sun.  This summer Brooke has moved up to trusting her life jacket and we are so thankful for that.  One kid to go.  Although Emily has no fear and just tries to walk off the edge of the Lilly Pad, giving mama a mini heart attack every time.


We also got some professional Porch Photos done to go right there under pandemic things.  The lovely Trina Baker came out and shot a handful of photos for us.  We love them and know someday we will look back at these pictures and say "remember when..."


To mark my first adventure back into the world of restaurants and socialization... I met up with a blog friend, Lisa before her and her husband moved out of Kansas.  We ate at Free State and then walked down Mass St. before wrapping up with a driving tour of KU campus.  It was a lovely opportunity to get to know each other more, even with the circumstances.


We celebrated Father's Day with our favorite girl dad.  One of our favorite things about holidays like this is letting daddy rule the day.  Between the amazing meal he cooked for dinner and the rest of our activities, I think he had a good one.


The girls and I spent a day in Kansas City seeing my best friend from college's oldest daughter.  Every year she spends some time in Kansas with family so we came over and spent the afternoon with her.  Lots of swimming, tie-dye, cookie decorating and laughter.  The girls loved playing in the pool and I am just so thankful we got to see this sweet girl.


We have started venturing out with the girls more, all wearing masks and staying at least 6 feet away from strangers.  We have been keeping our social circle small and contained.  We are trying to find our new normal at this point knowing we can not stay home forever.  The girls have been great about wearing their masks in public and for that I am thankful.  As I write this masks are soon to become required state wide.  I can't say it enough, but I am so thankful that our governor is who she is.  Governor Kelly has really stayed ahead of the curve by cancelling the rest of the school year early, calling for a stay-at-home order early on, and putting in place the required mask rule.  It makes me feel confident in her leadership.

The pandemic is not over, yet.  Nobody even knows what the rest of the year is going to look like.  The unknown makes me nervous and anxious.  But we are doing what we can to keep our family safe, and that is really all I can hope and ask for.

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