Pandemic: Weeks 37, 38 & 39

It feels really strange to keep track of the pandemic “weeks” these days. It just feels like normal life at this point. Someday I’ll be curious to look back on this time and I’d love to remember how many weeks we were living in the middle of a pandemic. For now, I am struggling to keep up with all the things, but the blog is getting pushed further and further down the list.

In any case, Washington is still very much under lockdown. We feel so unbelievably fortunate to have our health right now and to be surrounded by the comfort our immediate family. We know so many families who are in different situations, and to you, we send our love.

The week before Thanksgiving was spent in Seattle. We have been finding it is only becoming more challenging to be in the city during the pandemic. Despite the difficulties, I’m getting into a groove with Hannah during the day and finding places I feel comfortable going with her.

Getting the kids outside every day is something that’s really important to me, so we started doing lantern walks in the evenings. Last winter I recalled “Christmas light walks” saved my sanity during these dark weeks. There’s really no agenda – we just get our flashlights and go for a walk in the neighborhood.

I got the kids rain pants this year, for the first time ever, so there’s virtually no excuse for not going outside. It’s remarkable how big of a difference being prepared for the weather can be. Having proper gear is a game changer.

I’m reading the book “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather” right now, which is a story of a Swedish woman raising her children in Indiana. She chronicles the vast differences and the importance to the Swedes of outdoor exploration time.

We’re also getting more comfortable this fall with being inside and staying home a bit more.

Hannah still has virtual preschool twice a week and she absolutely loves it. It’s a really special time for her and despite it being remote, I am so glad we stuck with it. She’s learning and she has the opportunity to connect with her teachers, see “her friends” and have someone else facilitating part of her day.

We’ve been doing quite a lot of art projects during Hannah’s school time and that translates into a request for more later on. It’s been fun to put my creativity to the test and see what we can come up with.

This year we spent the week of Thanksgiving at The Lodge, together as a family of four. We watched the snow fall, sat in front of many crackling fires, visited the horses across the street, walked around a deserted Leavenworth and read all the books and did all the puzzles.

Our relaxing week together as a family was so lovely. Alex took the week off and the kids were ecstatic.

The week was very low-key, though we did get out a bit. One quiet day I really was craving a “normal” feeling outing, so we popped into town on a Monday morning, only to find Leavenworth to be a ghost town {perfect!}. We ordered a coffee then were able to remove our masks to drink it and walk around town safely, without hardly even seeing another person. It was such a treat.

The playgrounds are open now in Leavenworth so we stopped there and had it all to ourselves. The kids had so much fun, and I think Alex had fun pretending to be a kid again too.

Alex and I had been chomping at the bit to try “skate” cross country skiing. There are two different styles of Nordic skiing – skate and classic. We’ve only ever done classic. We love it and we thought we might love skate skiing even more. Now we’re geared up and gave it a humble first attempt and I think we’ll be hooked!

One of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is doing a turkey trot 5K run. This year, of course, there were no formally organized turkey trots, so we did our own! It was so, so very lovely. One of the highlights of my day.

I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey and all the fixings. This year we had a pared down version. We did do a turkey but I took a few of my normal side dishes off the menu.

Our Thanksgiving Day was very quiet and while we were feeling quite sad to not be with extended family, it was a really lovely day just as a family of four. We found ways to make the day extra special for us all. I think Hannah’s favorite part was the pie!

Because Ben’s school was virtual the week following Thanksgiving we had some bonus time at The Lodge! His school opted to go virtual to add as a buffer for families traveling or gathering for the holiday.

As the week went on we were all less and less dedicated to the virtual meetings and the activities on Seesaw. It was so tricky to squeeze in play time, get outside and have meals and flexibility with all of the assignments. If I was ever a homeschool mom we wouldn’t ever get to any formal schooling!

Early in the week we just needed to get out of the house, so I took the kids to Lake Wenatchee State Park. We had the whole place to ourselves, as we often do this time of year.

That outing turned a rough-start-to-the-week into a fantastic rest-of-the-week.

All good things come to an end, just as our nearly two-week stint at The Lodge did. We spent an unusually sunny weekend in Seattle before Ben headed back to school on Monday.

The weekend was lovely and filled with fun family time outside – we made it to the zoo and had a couple of extra special family trips to the park in our neighborhood. We also got stuff done – I went to the doctor to get a skin check and we got new snow tires installed on my car, and of course, we decorated the house for Christmas.

In baking-related news, I started baking bread again. Alex requested white bread for his post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. I’m officially hooked on making sandwich loaves. Now I just need to experiment with some wheat bread variations. Oh, and we need to get my mixer fixed because the motor burned out making so much bread! Oops.

Here’s to another week….. we’re so close to the winter solstice and the days getting longer again!