Our family was just starting to try to get back into normal life when social distancing begin to try and flatten the curve on the spread of the corona virus. Andrew was in Maryland for a conference when the governor declared that groups over 200 had to break up immediately. He called on Thursday night to say he was safe and going to try and get home on Friday. It was also Thursday night that we learned that we would have church at home, schools and universities were either canceled, on pause, or converting to online, and Andrew would be working from home for awhile. I didn’t sleep much that night.
He spent hours on hold with Delta but when I woke up he was on a plane back to Atlanta. He was home by 1:30pm on Friday afternoon. He did a thorough disinfecting of all his things, washed his clothes, and took a shower before we fully welcomed him home.
We were going to have friends visiting and Andrew traveling a lot during March, and instead we set up a room for Andrew’s office and have been settling into routines that we had let go of during my long stretch of morning sickness.
Andrew and the kids added compost and peat moss to our garden boxes to get ready for new plants. The kids and I started tomato, pepper, cucumber, and basil seeds insides (they are keeping Andrew company in his office). We planted spinach, beets, peas, and broccoli (leftover from a fall planting, survived the winter, and now have broccoli growing and ready to eat soon!) and they are sprouting and off to a good start in the warm weather we’ve been having – the upper 80s some days! We also planted two raspberry bushes that we are hoping do well.
In addition to our regular routines of school and cleaning up after ourselves, we’ve been working on lots of projects. The kids and I did a few watercolor lessons, which Emily dove really deep into and has done a lot of painting this week. Painting is Laura’s preferred activity so she was right at home, and Nathan enjoys it a lot and is very focused in smaller doses. We also did a drawing class that is being offered by an illustrator for free while schools are closed.
There has been LOTS of outside projects and play for all of us. I finished the nature box I’ve been slowly building over the last year. I’ve made lots of progress on a wood calendar we bought wood for over a year ago and Andrew has jumped into help too. I also designed and have been making steps on making our family values sign for our dining room.
Nathan spent an afternoon digging a hole and making a pond for his duplos to float in. Emily has been transplanting herbs that are growing around the yard and making a little garden bed for them surrounded by rocks. Laura has discovered she loves biking around our house and mopping the driveway with a bucket full of water and brush. She is definitely more of a homebody but being outdoors is slowly growing on her.
After a full week at home we tried going on a nature walk on the paths surrounding the botanical gardens but they were closed. So were the two parks we check out. In Athens there are a number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus so we’ve been asked to shelter in place – although outdoor exercise is permitted. We ended up walking around our neighborhood yesterday and the kids found plenty of things to collect. Emily turned her pinecones and flowers into a weaving project which then morphed into dolls that she could play with outside.
As we’ve talked with the kids about what is going on they have taken to it pretty well. There have been some disappointments with not being able to see friends, the library being closed, the parks being closed, and not having people come visit. But for the most part, their lives are pretty much the same as they have been for the last few months. Laura is the one who struggles the most. She begs to go say hi to people. Or to go inside someone else’s house. Her favorite song…”The more we get together, together, together, the more we get together the happier we’ll be.” She send the messages any way she can.
We have loved having home church. It has been a blessing and a really special experience to have Andrew bless the sacrament for our family. We love the extra time together we have at home that is usually spent preparing for, driving to and from church (an hour), attending meetings, and doing our callings. We have time to play games together, bake together, take walks together, read together, and do family history work. The Sabbath is a day of rest. This morning I snapped a few photos of the kids dressed for home church. Emily wanted to include her dog who was “Watch” for this morning – the dog from the boxcar children. Nathan is ALWAYS eating an apple (he goes through 5-6 a day at least) so of course that made an appearance too.