The First Ten Days: Social Distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

It’s my day ten of social distancing. I don’t know how many days it’s been since you’ve seen friends outside of a screen or run an errand that was deemed non-essential. Maybe it’s been five days since you hit the gym, or maybe you waited until they shut down the bars in your city before you stopped going out. Maybe you’re a medical professional or you work somewhere that supplies essentials and you’re still more vulnerable than those who can or must follow through with the recommended guidelines. Everyone has their individual reality during this pandemic. Historians and friends alike are saying ‘write it all down!’ so I’m here, in my often-defunct, rarely-resurrected blog to share what my family’s reality is during the COVID-19 world health crisis.

Chatting with a Neighbor during coronavirus social distancing

For us, everything changed on Thursday, March 13. I went to the gym that morning, reassured by the owner’s Facebook posts about deep cleaning and preventative measures to decrease the likelihood of spreading of the virus. As we were doing our cool down stretching, she received an alert on her iWatch: the district’s schools were closing that afternoon for an unforeseeable amount of time.

Watching birds and a rare car pass by during the pandemic

My friends at the gym and I had a feeling we might not see each other in a while. We exchanged goodbyes with a curious feeling about when there would be another hello, while most days it’s a ‘see you tomorrow!’; knowing our gym routine is ingrained.

Nothing feels ingrained anymore. I went with my toddler to the store directly after the gym, as we did most weekdays for the last year. It didn’t look the same. It was frantic, things were flying off of the shelves. The clerks who we know by name were already harried, and it was still early. Very early.

Those of us who had been paying attention during the days prior weren’t terribly surprised. The neighboring Town of Westport had announced that their schools were closing the day prior. A recent international visitor had received a positive coronavirus test result from their home country after attending an event in Westport, and several other attendees had begun to experience symptoms. We still felt secure in knowing that there weren’t yet any cases in Fairfield, but at the same time we were well aware of how intermingled our towns are.

Proud of their pandemic pillow fort

The school officials were aware of this as well, and decided to make the call. Thursday, March 13, 2020 was the last day for students for the foreseeable future, while teachers were to report to school the following day, March 14, to make a plan and familiarize themselves with the resources for a distance learning program. By Friday evening, parents of the 10,000 children in the school system were given a quick run through via email about the distance learning program, and gave us a start date of Tuesday, March 17. It gave the district time to get approval of the distance learning program from the state so that the days the kids missed would not have to be made up at the end of the school year like snow days.

Elvis likes that we moved Tobias’ desk from the shared office to the living room for distance learning

Distance learning for middle school (in my district, at least) has been pretty seamless. Each middle and high school student was already supplied with a Chromebook at the beginning of the school year, and those who do not have access to the internet at home were given solutions. The students follow their usual schedule and are able to have access to their teachers at that time for answering any questions. Teachers have modified their coursework to better suit distance learning and the work has sufficiently taken up the allotted time. Some classes are utilizing chat rooms and this upcoming week my son’s French class will be using their mics to elevate the language learning experience.

The distance learning transition hasn’t been a matter of difficulty with the coursework, but rather the distractions. It’s hard to keep my older son on task when my youngest is having such a good time.

Coronavirus distance learning struggles

My husband’s job made the call that same Thursday. We’re lucky that his career is very computer-centric and he’s able to continue to work from home throughout all of this. This took some adjustments with two kids at home through the day. We had to do some rearranging. In our office we have a desk for every person in the family, but we couldn’t have our middle schooler trying to get work done while dad’s on business calls all day. I also needed to keep an eye on him, so I didn’t want him using the desk in his room. So there’s a desk in my living room—make that two. My toddler just couldn’t deal with my oldest being the only one to have the privilege of sitting at the living room desk all day.

The little guy has been on a streak of OBSESSION with his Dada, so it was causing some problems with him thinking every day was a Saturday but his Dada was ignoring him in the office. So our new routine is to wait until Elvis starts eating breakfast, then Mark gets his coffee, puts on his briefcase (while still in pajamas) and says, “I’m going to work! Bye bye!”

Elvis will say bye bye back and even if he overhears him it’s 👌. Mark gets his coffee delivered by his temporary secretary to avoid any confrontation with the baby before lunch. After lunch, the babe goes down for a nap.

How we’re Passing the Time During Social Distancing

When shutting everything down was just a rumor, I thought, ‘huh. I wouldn’t mind being quarantined at all. I have plenty of projects to do around the house and can always run and hike.’ I’ve also just come out of a very busy snowboarding/travel-filled winter, eventful Christmas season, and fall fun/travel-full fall. I was ready to cut out some social obligations.

Pandemic Baby Playgroup

But day two of social distancing, I went for a run with the jogging stroller on the sidewalk. Someone had overgrown bushes that were impeding the full use of the sidewalk and I ended up falling and spraining my ankle in a divot. It’s by far the worst injury I’ve ever gotten while running, and a huge bummer given the circumstances. No hikes or runs for me, and even cleaning things up around the house has been painful.

Playing Dungeons and Dragons online on our filthy playroom 🤪

The kids have busied themselves with a lot of outdoor play, painting, sensory play, listening to podcasts, playing pool, reading books, drawing, hanging out in the fort the kids made, taking naps, a video chat playgroup, a three-hour Dungeons and Dragons session with five friends, watching Frozen 2 and Wreck it Ralph as much as possible, and playing chase around the house. I’ll let you guess which one was doing what.

Elvis in the outfit he picked out in front of the fort

Mark loves to cook so he’s been doing that. Sweet potato hash + andouille sausage breakfast burritos, mixed fruit cobbler, white chocolate malpua, blackened fish tacos…to name a few.

I’ve been reading as my ankle heals, and felt a lot better today so I’ve been working on a home project.

We don’t know how many days or weeks or months we’ll carry on like this, or what the future holds. We’re just taking it moment by moment, day by day. This is day ten.

A Story About Our Colorful Mid Century Modern Inspired Woodland Nursery

Around this time last year, I shared my pregnancy announcement. I showed y’all my babymoon in Paris portrait session, but aside from that, it was radio silence over here about anything baby. But yes, we welcomed a beautiful baby boy in the summer.

Birth announcement foil balloon zero days old

As you know, we moved to our new house recently. What you may NOT know is that we moved in exactly three weeks before I gave birth.

My pregnancy was less than ideal, and at one point I was put on bed rest. So when we moved in, I wasn’t able (nor did I have enough energy) to get started on my projects! It was looking like the baby would come into the world without a space to call his own.

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Hiking and Ice Climbing the Catskills: Kaaterskill Falls, New York

Before we went hiking in New York on Christmas, the three of us took a different scenic day trip to The Catskills.

It was my brother-in-law, Dennis’ idea to head that way when planning their trip up here. I didn’t know much about the area, other than the name sounded awfully familiar. If you’re not from this part of the U.S. either, and it sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s where Woodstock happened. And where Dirty Dancing took place. The area is a pretty big deal as far as pop culture goes.

A day trip there wasn’t near enough time to do all of the things that The Catskills has to offer, but we did a gorgeous hike in, and Dennis got to do a little bit of ice climbing.

winter-ny-hiking-and-ice-climbing-in-the-catskills-kaaterskill-falls-1

As the marker mentions, the area is historic as well. The Hudson River School was the first homegrown art movement in the United States and Kaaterskill Falls is one of the oldest tourist destinations in America. Continue reading

Exploring the Streets of Old San Juan with Kids in Tow

I’m not gonna lie, our reasoning for traveling to Puerto Rico was three fold.

  1. Flights were cheap
  2. We are SO ready for warm weather
  3. It’s one of the most colorful places around**

I’m a go-go-go type of traveler. You won’t catch me flying across the country just to read a book by the beach, no no. I like to engross myself in the culture, eat all of the local cuisine, and find at least one adventure.

colorful streets of Old San Juan Puerto Rico

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Gillette Castle in Lyme/East Haddam, CT

Last week, my sister came to visit us from Texas. We took a few day trips outside of Fairfield County so that she could see a side of Connecticut other than our little space on the Gold Coast sometimes referred to as The 203.

First up, was Gillette Castle State Park. The park features views of Connecticut River, straddling the towns of East Haddam and Lyme, in the area known as Hadlyme. Within the 122 acres it encompasses there are hiking trails, a visitor center and museum, a picnic area, a fishing area, and the castle, of course.

Gillette Castle State Park East Haddam Connecticut (2)

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a little bit of… What I’m Lovin’

Loving List Tiny Kelsie

Tie Dye Double Hammock with Carabiners Aluminum Travel Tripod in PINK | Gourmet Loose Leaf Tea Blends | Penguin Drop Caps Series | Silicone Tea Infusers | Hand Lettered Mugs 

a little bit of… is my new list series: a quick snapshot of curated must-haves, can’t-stands, and don’t-want-to-live with-outs.

  1. Though I already own an ENO Hammock that works like a charm, the one I have featured by Grand Trunk is SO PRETTY. And, it’s got room for twoHeart-eyes-emoji, so I might need to pass the old one down to the boy so I can hammock snuggle in the wilderness with the man.
  2. I’m really needing a tripod now that I’m learning more about photography. thewirecutter.com, the site M goes to get educated before making any big purchase, said that this model is the best travel tripod for most. It comes in a variety of colors, but I’m torn between the pink and the gold one.
  3. I met Lisa, the founder of Chambre de Sucre, at Monarch Workshop. She’s a real joy to be around, and I soon found that her tea is stellar! After checking her website out, I learned that she offers a variety of products, including sugars that look like confetti and some that look like itsy bitsy petit fours. I go gaga over tiny things! I’m expecting some more of her products in the mail shortly, so stay tuned for another post on those!
  4. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but Penguin grabbed up some of the best books of all time, partnered with famous letterer Jessica Hische, and made the best looking series of books, ever. The whole set is quite pricey, so I started with The Secret Life of Bees and it quickly became one of my favorite fiction books.
  5. Now that I’m drinking more loose leaf tea, I have to use a kitschy tea infuser. I bought Mister Tea, though I had no idea that there was a Missus that could come with! Now I’ll have to head over before I can have loose leaf tea for two.
  6. I’m absolutely loving the Dream Warrior mug we received in our swag bag from Monarch Workshop, from Etsy seller GlitterandBold. Also, her Creative Juices mug. ADMIT IT, for the creative juices to get flowing, you sometimes have to have a little something in your cup (coffee, tea, wine–no one’s judging!)

What are you loving right now?