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!
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 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.
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. :)
Hi all! Long time, no write. There is so much going on, but also, I don’t have a lot to write at the moment. So here are a few photos from the camera roll.
Some other, less photogenic things that are going on:
- Lex is getting lots of drive time, including night driving.
- Eve almost expressed a tiny bit of interest in returning to in-person school.
- We had a really nice Sunday afternoon with all three teenagers planning their high school courses for next year.
- I am getting vaccinated!! Hallelujah!
- Probably some more stuff, but that’s all I got for now. 💛
Merry Christmas! We did it. Christmas in a pandemic, divorce, foster care lifestyle. For the most part, everyone had fun! The pictures are a bit limited (due to the third item above), but here are a few.
It was different this year, for sure, and I missed the Collier family like crazy, but with the extra kids around we all did ok. :)
Here’s to a happy, healthy, family-filled 2021!!
Christmas this year will be very different, for many reasons, but I’m determined to make it a great Christmas anyway. I am basking in the love I feel all around me, and the love I am able to share. Here are a few holiday memories we are making.
The house is warm and filled with goodies. The children are happy. The Alan is here for the day. The Tessa is at peace. This Christmas will be different, but it will be ok.
🎄 Merry Christmas to all of you and best wishes for a happy (Covid-free) 2021. 💖💖
I have the nicest friends in the world. In case anyone was wondering. I have been mostly out of school this whole week, going in just a little bit some days (foster care reasons) and each time I go in I find a new little note on my desk. ❤❤ Here are just a few of the sweet, supportive notes:
She said she might so Eve and I bought candy last week — just in case. :) Today she did and we had so much fun decorating it!
I have the best friends. Have I mentioned that already? :)
We are starting to feel a little Christmasy here.
Like everything else this year, Thanksgiving looked a little different than usual. We were home, per Governor Scott’s orders, and down one dad but up two kids. A totally different mix than the usual Collier crowd!
We each picked a dish to make and ended up with breaded, fried, softly spiced tofu, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cheddar bread, “frog” bread, pumpkin pie with blue crust and blue whipped cream, and apple pie. Weird, but all delicious!
We had a fun day with new experiences. I felt like such an adult getting a full Thanksgiving meal on the table at a reasonable dinner hour. Having four kids laughing and enjoying themselves around the table made it even better. <3
This poor guy went to the vet today for a neutering. He is so silly and love car rides and loves the vet’s office. I wonder if that will change now! :) The surgery went well, but the vet said he immediately started worrying at his sutures as he came out of anesthesia, so they coned him. I was expecting that. Poor puppy.