Saturday

While B’Lake was at a track meet and Lex was at his black belt prep karate class, Eve and I took a lovely walk on the rail trail. She makes my heart happy.

He’s training with the black belts now! He’ll be testing for his own black belt this summer!

Just a little creepy taking pictures through the trees. :)

Water makes me happy.

She makes me even happier. 💛

Nature is cool.

After Lex drove us to karate and back, I left them at home and headed to the local indepedent book store to do some shopping. :) They haven’t let people in the store since last March, though I’ve done plenty of curb side pickup with them. Today is national Independent Bookstore Day (or something like that) and they had a reopening celebration. They had a celebration and I had a purchase order to spend! Happiness!

So many good books! I might read them all this weekend. :)

They had stickers! 🤗

Spring Break!

Woohoo, party on man, it’s spring break!!!

J/K. That’s not the way we roll in Covid times (or any other times, I suppose). 😄 Even better than all that…. we had company!!  Mema and G’Tom and Joyce came to visit from far away not-Vermont.  It was awesome to see people and hug people!!  They brought some more birthday presents for Miss Eve, we took a walk on the rail trail, and we all had a nice time just hanging out.

Opening presents with Laurens.

I love this silly person.

Personalized M&Ms! Thanks Mema!

Laurens, caught doing plank pose. I think Joyce must be around here somewhere.

Waiting for Aunt Katie for a walk on the rail trail.

They left just before the April snowstorm hit! Good timing. Today we are under a “winter storm warning” which is exactly what you don’t want to hear in April (but, I remind myself, always do at least once each year).

Poor magnolias, trying their hardest to bloom.

This is not a hosta, BTW. We planted hostas in this spot, but seem to be getting tulips instead. Never a dull moment when Eve and I are in charge of the gardening.

While the snow came down Lex and I brought Huxley to the groomers for a long overdue haircut. While Huxley was pampered, Lex and I drove around so he could get some practice driving in. The roads varied from wet to completely snow covered so you couldn’t even see the road. Needless to say I was ready to be home after that!

We just finished another episode of Sherlock (a favorite in this house!) and are all lamenting how fast this vacation went by. I think we need just one more week.  Please, pretty please?

Musical Theater

Lex’s script binder and the program.

Another year of musical theater has come and gone. This year it involved outdoor rehearsals, unknown locations, prerecorded singing, clear masks, limited audiences, livestreaming, and day of quarantine concerns. Lex designed and ran the lights again. B’Lake was on the tech committee, but due to an unfortunate Covid exposure he had to quarantine this week and miss the play. He gave us some good inside info while we watched the livestream last night. Tonight I got to attend in person! They were allowed to have 20 people in the audience, but for some reason limited it to district teachers only. No complaints here! The show was fantastic, the audience enthusiastic, and my view of the stage was primo!

Friday night, watching from home. Live theater from the comfort of my couch.

Next year Lex will do lights again, B’Lake wants to do crew again, and Eve wants to (maybe) be in the show!

Easter ’21

Easter is a holiday I struggle with a bit. Seeing as we aren’t religious there’s really no good reason for it, and now that the kids have outgrown cute little toys in baskets, it’s mostly just a candy buffet on the piano. However, they always want to do Easter and color eggs and we always have fun. As I was scrolling through social media the other day I came across a lovely quote about Easter being the time when the Earth is awakening after a long winter, a time when we celebrate new life and a fresh start. I connected with that quote and felt a little more inspired to celebrate the holiday.

We decorated the house last week, decorated eggs on Sunday morning, ate way to much candy, reminisced about the time both kids threw up at Grandma Pat’s house because she fed them too much chocolate (why can’t I find that blog post?!) and hid/found/rehid/refound eggs. It was a nice day all around.

Easter morning candy buffet.

They did play with the bubbles too. Inside, which wasn’t my goal, but oh well.

They still like a good egg hunt! No construction vehicles or large dumpsters to hide the eggs on this year.

Huxley found the first one!! I had to keep him on a tighter lead after that. 😂 He didn’t eat it, don’t worry.

Among Us eggs, because why not.

We are still missing one….. No one used the cute baskets to find eggs this year. They remained on the candy buffet while bowls, egg crates, and pockets were used to gather eggs.

Happy Easter, regardless of exactly what you are celebrating! I tried to find that inspirational quote again, but couldn’t, so I settled for this one instead. :)

HBDE

Today we celebrated this beautiful spirit and her 14th trip around the sun.

It was a normal school day, so Eve work up to presents on the table, but had to wait until after school before digging in.

All morning I thought about 14 years ago, at 7am when we were going to the hospital, at 10am when they broke my water, at 10:45 when that beautiful baby girl was on her way. They were nice memories. She is an amazing human being. Alan came over to celebrate with us so we were all together to open presents after school.

This was the year of wigs. This lovely purple one is for an Entrapta cosplay.

Percy Jackson is always welcome too.

We can’t remember what this wig is for. Pure silliness, maybe.

Did someone say silly? She’s wearing a red beret hooked over the purple pony tail.

I love this wild child more than anything!

Guess what was in the big box from Aunt Mandy? A sword! It works well for cutting ribbon, among other things.

This looks safe, right?

How is she so tall?!? I think she must be wearing huge high heels. Yep, that must be it. At least she’s smiling for the camera. :)

14

So many smiles for mommy today!

Just when we thought it was done, UPS came with a big box from Aunt Rosy!

Eevee of many looks.

We ordered take-out sushi for dinner (Eve’s favorite) and watched Pirates of the Caribbean (Eve’s choice). A good night was had by all.

Eve is a pretty amazing child. Full of laughter, creativity, imagination, and chatter. She makes me laugh, she makes me crazy, and she makes me happy. The other day I came home from school totally exhausted and stressed. The boys were at musical rehearsal so Eve put on a good show and we snuggled and laughed on the couch for awhile. It was awesome. I felt so much better afterwards. Another day I came home and found her outside, in her woodland fairy whatever whatever costume, reading a book. It was such a lovely sight and she even let me take a few birthday photos. She’s so good to me. 💙💙

This amazing child has changed my world and I am thankful every day for her presence in my world.

 

A tiny pandemic birthday party

Eve’s birthday is coming right up so we had a tiny little birthday party. It has been so long since we’ve had company. It was a beautiful day so I set up the tables outside and the kids had a great time running around, laughing, painting, chatting, giggling, and talking about teenage stuff. It was awesome! My heart was very happy.

Outdoors and masked. As safe as can be.

Even Tsu came to the party.

This huge birthday cake looks small in his hands. These kids are all getting so big!

She promised me she was smiling behind the mask. :)

Blue ombre cake. Yum!

Pinterest worthy, for sure.

We are all so well trained from schooling in a pandemic. LOL. Space out at least six feet before removing the masks to eat.

Sarah bought Jasmine a hat. Jasmine was not amused.

Huxley wasn’t either. He looks more angry and aggressive than he was. Really he was just annoyed.

Back to work creating art, following the sun.

Even Laurens joined the party!

Artists at work

I love these kids. ♥♥♥

Vaccinated!

It is sunny, and warm, and the first day of spring, and I got VACCINATED!  Whoo hoo! It has been a long year full of worry and isolation. It feels so good to know that there is hope for the future!

Covid enter here? Umm… no thanks.

Ooohhh… the vaccine! Yes, please!

I got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which means just one shot! Yay! Two weeks until the vaccine works fully — then bring on the company!! :) PS. I need to work on my smizing. I look worried here, but really I was happy! :)

A Good Day

Today was a good day. I drove to Boston for a follow-up appointment and steroid injection for my subglottic stenosis issue. I discovered a different, way more convenient parking area and I got to the doctor’s office just in time. I was pretty proud of myself. But then the doctor was called into an emergency surgery and I had to wait an hour and twenty minutes.  But Alan was at my house with the kids and I had a book and the internet, so I had no problem waiting. When it was my turn to see the doctor I told him that my symptoms are very mild and I’ve only just started noticing them in the past few weeks. He put the scope down my nose/throat and said it looks great in there! He said he sees very little scar tissue build up and saw no need for steroid injections this time! Yay!!  Yay that there wasn’t much scar tissue buildup and yay for no needles in the neck and yay that maybe we have found a treatment that will finally work so I don’t need annual throat surgery!  Yay all around!

I had my fourth surgery and first round of steroid injections in October (at the same time), then a second round of injections in December. Today was going to be the third round of injections. The doctor said he wants to see me back this summer for another check, which is good because I don’t think I’m totally in the clear yet, but not needing the steroids today is a great thing!

Since Alan was with the kids I didn’t feel stressed to get home quickly, so I stopped to charge the car for a bit and get lunch at Starbucks. Then later stopped at the highway rest area to pee and happened across a fun Easter display at the country store, so I browsed for a bit and stocked up on Easter basket items. Easter baskets times three equals a lot of candy! :)  I also got a little “thinking of you” gift for my coworker/friend with breast cancer. It was nice to have the time to browse and not feel rushed. Of course, shopping options are limited in these Covid-days, but even browsing the country store at the highway rest area was nice.

Back at home we ordered pizza for dinner and played cards for awhile. Then Alan headed home and I took the boys for haircuts. While I was waiting in the car, I got a call from a friend who normally calls me in tears, but this time called me in laughter after having a great day herself. It was nice to compare happy notes and catch up for a bit.

I hope the great day was spread far and wide. <3

One year later (updated)

One year has passed since COVID-19 took over my world, shut down my school, and threw everything up in the air. What a year it has been!

School closed for Covid on March 17th and didn’t reopen again until fall.  BUT, we did reopen in the fall, unlike many other schools. During the course of this corona-crazy year a lot has happened!

  • Eve turned thirteen. No more kids in the house, just teenagers! We had to cancel our awesome girls’ trip to Quebec and celebrate in quarantine instead. Not quite the same. :/
  • We planted hostas, a white rose bush, and a cherry tree. The neighborhood is looking a little nicer these days.
  • I dyed my hair purple! (I should do that again soon)
  • Alan and I separated (NOT covid related!)
  • We (teachers) organized a car parade around town to wave to all our quarantined kiddos. It was way more fun than I even thought it would be. Then later in the summer we did a drive-by retirement celebration for two amazing teachers.
  • I checked out 120+ Chromebooks and 444 books in two days. Plus a bunch more books through Covid-safe home deliveries.
  • Lex turned 15 and had a cool Minecraft party.
  • We went to a Black Lives Matter rally and did some anti-racism reading. It’s good to have a summer reading list!
  • We took a summer trip to Franklin and did some hiking with the Kirkwood girls.
  • Lex got his permit and started driving!!
  • We spent our summer watching numbers (infection rates, deaths, closures), checking what’s open and what’s not, figuring out masking and distancing requirements, and talking about racism.
  • We had an AMAZING family vacation/anniversary/birthday celebration on Lake Champlain. Hopefully the beginning of a new family tradition.
  • Returned to school IN A PANDEMIC! Masks, thermometers, tick tweezers, social distancing, plastic barriers, sanitizer, hand washing, the list goes on and on.
  • I was named the Teacher of the Year for DBS!! The award ceremony was virtual this year, but here’s what the program said:

    Tessa Johnson is the Dothan Brook School’s Employee of the Year. When DBS closed in mid-March, Tessa was tasked with guiding the technical aspects of this transition. She helped teachers create Google Classrooms, provided opportunities for kids to go home with an armful of books (444 books were checked out in 2 days!), and created guiding documents for parents. Over the closure, she spent countless hours online with families solving tech issues. When personal devices were not working, she delivered Chromebooks directly to families. At a town hall forum parents gave Tessa many accolades saying that they could not have done online learning without her. She also took the time to create videos for the students, build an enrichment classroom, and maintain resources on the district website. She must be a superhero, because I cannot imagine how a mere mortal would do all of this.

  • I had my fourth Subglottic Stenosis Balloon Dilation (throat procedure). This time it was in Boston and involves follow up steroid injections — through my neck! I’m going back on Thursday to get another round of neck injections.
  • Lex got his wisdom teeth out and we discovered a weird “hole” in Eve’s jaw. The dental surgeon figured it out and she’s fine.
  • We got a frog. Actually we got two, but one buried itself after a few weeks. :(  The other is alive and well. Eve takes it out to play once or twice a day. Out of the tank, not outside! :)
  • I took in two foster kids. It has been a HUGE learning experience! One kiddo is still with us, the other has moved to a new foster home.
  • We had quarantined holidays all year.
  • We got a new couch.

Wow, for a year in quarantine we really did a lot! The house is down one adult and up one kid. Two three pets still happy and relatively healthy. I feel super fortunate that we all came through the year safe, healthy, and employed.

I’m scheduled to get my Covid vaccine this Saturday, which feels like an appropriate way to mark the one year anniversary since COVID-19 took over my world, shut down my school, and threw everything up in the air.

I walked in to the library earlier this week and was struck by the sun shining on the globes in the dark room. It just reminds me that the Earth keeps turning, regardless of what’s going on in our world.

Lex

My last post had a bunch of pictures of Eve, no good ones of Lex, so I thought I’d share this from tonight. His First Robotics Competition team has been meeting via Zoom for the past few months and working on a Covid-alternate competition involving mini robots. Lex got his robot (a Romi) and a Raspberry Pi kit this week and has been having fun building and programming it. Tonight he had it running and “interacting” with the cat. It was funny. I should have made a video, but I didn’t. Oh well. Here he is hard at work tonight. His career path seems pretty clear. :)

Mema, maybe he’ll have it running and ready to roll over your toes when you come visit next month. :)