Thursday, June 18, 2020

Random COVID things that don't really fit into any other posts

What are we going on? 3 months now that COVID has been a big part of our daily lives? We've certainly been keeping busy regardless. Even with all the posting that I'm doing pretty much daily, there's some things that just don't fit anywhere. Here are those things.

Early on, Theresa made sure to teach the kids how to wash their hands properly. There is a fun YouTube video that shows how to get your whole hand and goes for 20 seconds. Now we'll catch Alli singing it to herself while she's washing.

For a little while, the kids got into Carmen Sandiego. Both the kids' gameshow where ACME sleuths had to find Carmen and also the more recent Carmen Sandiego cartoon on Netflix.
Here they've done a combined drawing. Alli drew Carmen. Ian has a picture of the "Beans from Lima" that Carmen stole, according to the Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego song by Rockapella.

And as part of that same theme, they've decided to play detectives. All detectives need magnifying glasses and fans. And Alli pulled out a lantern for them to have light.

Their play area behind the couch, which they call their "Haunted Mansion", became their headquarters.

For a while at the beginning, we were really on a puzzle kick.

Donuts and coffee? That sounds like grandpa's kind of puzzle.

And you know we're going to have a few Disney puzzles too.

Like the gang from Toy Story!

And Moana!

Alli is getting pretty good at these puzzles too. Sitting down at the table and doing them all by herself.

Ian was happy to have a space puzzle to put together. 

Some puzzles are lots of pieces, and just fun to do together as a family.

And speaking of family, we're doing a lot more FaceTime and Zoom with our extended family.

And there's even a recurring game night for all of us to get together after the kids go to bed.

The maker-space has been getting some use. All the boxes and toilet paper rolls can't just get thrown out. They go into a special bin so that the kids have materials for whatever their minds can dream up.
Ian has made a whole family of paper people.

While cleaning out some boxes, I came across tracing paper. I remember having a lot of fun with that when I was little. It was fun to introduce the kids to it. I pulled out a few of their Disney books and they had fun tracing different characters.

And sometimes random crazy things.

Because our weekends have been freed up, we had to have something fun to do as a family. Getting out of the house would be nice. Alli learned how to ride a bike over Christmas break and they'll usually ride their bikes when we go for a walk at nighttime. But that's not as fun because they can't go very fast or very far ahead of us. Theresa and I had some folding bikes we'd bought for our first trip to Bora Bora in 2011. Since then, we haven't really used them much. I pulled them out of storage and we are now all riding together as a family!
In the early days of COVID, the sidewalks and streets were eerily empty, but, that was great for Ian and Alli to build up their bicycle skills.

We kept the bike rides up daily, and on weekends go on a longer ride. There was even one Saturday where we took 3 different rides and logged over 10 miles!

And while we're on the subject of bikes, I've got a few skills that I either want to freshen up, or learn new. One of those is unicycling. I learned how to do it back in 7th grade or so. I've done it a few times since then, but the most recent has to have been before moving out to California back when I was in college. I wonder if I still have the balance to do it? And so, I had Theresa recording when I hopped back on for the very first time in 15 years.
Like riding a bike. It came back to me and with practice I'm getting even better.

When special things came on TV, we made it a fun celebration.

Like when the newest Pixar movie Onward was released on Disney+, we made it a movie night and popped popcorn.

Our driveway has been seeing a lot of color lately too. The kids constantly have their big bin of chalk out.

Alli asked each of us:
- What's your favorite color?
- What's your favorite shape?
- What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
And then she'd draw a character of us with that shape on our shirt. She drew herself with a rainbow.

And after we did #chalkyourwalk back in March, the kids were inspired to do it themselves. They grabbed tape from their maker space, and put it down for gridlines. 

That turned out great!

At one point, there was a movement to put up Christmas lights in order to cheer people up. There was also a movement to draw rainbows everywhere. With my extensive Christmas Light collection, I dug in and found enough colors that I could make a rainbow out of Christmas Lights! Let's check, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple. And I lined the fence with multi-colored lights as well. I had a few people who were out walking compliment the lights.

Well someone likes Marie, don't they.

There's been a few days where it's been hot enough to turn on the sprinklers. I even hooked a sprinkler up to come down onto the trampoline.

I love the Disney song Splashdance and it's totally appropriate here. There's even a line that says, "I want to skip through the sprinklers, on a sunny day." I had it playing on repeat while we're jumping. This phone is water-resistant too right? I hopped on the trampoline to jump with them. And I saw that when they landed, the water did something cool. I turned on slo-mo and showed them what it looked like.

It's great to cool off with smoothies.

Reading has been a big focus. Alli is picking it up, finishing her BOB books and moving on to Level A and B readers. So proud of her for that!

It used to be that at night-time, the kids would each read a book and then I'd pick a random book from their shelf and read a story to them too. But lately "Daddy stories" have become very popular. The kids love hearing about their past adventures (which means I really need to get that Disney Around The World series picked back up again). If we're in the living room and not doing anything, I'll have them either grab a Disney book and read it to them, or I'll pick a random story, start reading it, and inevitably end up with two little kids on my lap wanting to see the pictures.

Knowing how much they are loving reading, Gram and Pop Pop sent a few packages to them with books and puzzles!

Alli - Mommy, can you read me this one?

Ian found a cozy place to work on the mazes.

Lately they've both been really enjoying playing my old Nintendo Wii, and the game they love more than any other is Mario Kart. Ian has become pretty good, while Alli used to just like to watch him. Now though, Alli is playing more often and usually they'll play 2 player. Ian's such a good brother. He helps encourage her and even slows down and stays behind her so she doesn't come in last.

Well, that's just a few of the "other" things we've been up to while all this has been going on. It's been a time to hunker down and find something to do and I think we've done pretty well at doing that.


  1. The entire family has been busy, in a good way, with so many things. Those puzzles are fun, yet keeps the mind thinking (a lot of colorful puzzles there; that doughnut one was really colorful to me!) Good to see Ian & Alli continue to "devour" the books!!...well on their way to reading "longer books without pictures" :-) Guess the unicycle muscles came back, once engaged...what a workout. Where did all that netting for the pretty "rainbow Christmas lights" come from?...worked well for what you used it for...quite an effort that brought smiles to all who saw them :-) The next best thing to a swimming pool for the kids is a sprinkler + trampoline...they had a super time on it. Very heartwarming to see Ian continually be a caring brother to little sis in all those "little" acts of consideration (which are really BIG acts because a loving heart underlies the act). EOM

    1. We're going to be starting a Summer Reading program for the kids too! Give them some incentive to read lots of different books this summer.
      That unicycle is very much a workout. My thighs are shaky if I go too long.
      That netting. Ian and Alli are signed up for baseball, but I wanted a way to practice without going anywhere. I bought a 90' x 10' net and figured out a way to mount it around the front yard. For the moment we can bat in the front yard too, though I think I'm going to have to put a net over the top sooner than later.
      They're fun kids!