Tuesday, May 26, 2020

COVID-19 Quarantine Blog

We find ourselves these days in some pretty crazy times, with the news changing by the minute, businesses closing down, schools closing and rules being set about social distancing and quarantining our families due to the global threat of COVID-19. This is most definitely an unprecedented time to be living in, and who knows what the "right or wrong" thing is at this time... I hadn't planned on documenting the process, and I don't know how long I'll feel like doing it, but for now, I'll make a weekly post to keep everyone up on some news snippets I've captured, give y'all a glimpse into our quarantined family life at the Beach household, and share some of the best memes to keep a little humor in our lives... This is serving as a bit of a "journal" to keep for my kids to keep track of this time in history that their kids will be reading about someday. My prayer is that you all stay safely in your homes and stay healthy! And when you have time, feel free to drop a text, email, call or Facetime... heaven knows I have nowhere else to be!

Feel free to check out our story from the beginning:

The Beginning: Quarantine Blog

Week 1: Quarantine Blog

Week 2: Quarantine Blog

Week 3: Quarantine Blog

Week 4: Quarantine Blog

Week 5: Quarantine Blog

Week 6: Quarantine Blog

Week 7: Quarantine Blog

Week 8: Quarantine Blog

Week 9: Quarantine Blog

Week 10: Quarantine Blog

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Week 10: Quarantine Blog

This week was pretty rainy with the tropical storm coming up from Florida, so we spent most of it inside, plugging away at school, baking, watching our new favorite show, "Survivor", and preparing for the end of the week when "Phase 2" began... We've been through a range of emotions this week as we try to get out a little more, but weigh it with the concerns of rising numbers, and keeping ourselves healthy and safe. How are all of you hanging in there? Are you on the "Coronacoaster" too???
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This schedule is quite funny, and for those that may not understand it, it is based on a TikTok dance that Emily does ALL DAY LONG... So I couldn't not put it in :)
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While the trends in the US overall are mostly seeing a decline in cases, North Carolina seems to be struggling... 
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Emily decided to take this quarantine by storm and she went for it with a bottle of red hair dye!
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I've been doing Walmart pickup orders for groceries so I don't have to go to the store unless it's necessary, and each time I go, there is always some mix-up and I end up with several "extra" items! Since food can't be returned, we've been advised to just keep it, but each week is like a mystery to see what we're going to score! This week was a haul! They clearly need to work on their system there...
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We see people all over the news getting creative with their social distancing, and I loved this one I came across!
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There has been a lot of talk this week about the new proposed school schedule for next year and what school will look like... A lot of it is still speculation, and I'm choosing not to worry about it yet, since I'm sure it will change another couple hundred times before they go back, but this is where the current conversations are going...
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The new schedule includes an earlier start date, slightly longer breaks in the winter, scheduled remote learning days and more...
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I hope most of these things won't be necessary for school to return, because if they are, I may have to consider homeschooling for some time...
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Remote learning isn't going that badly... Ben is flying through math, and I'm shocked at some of the questions he has gotten to!
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Speaking of math... remember how we were playing darts for math lessons in the beginning??? Well, I finally hit my first bullseye on a basement date night with Brian! I still totally lost the game, but it was exciting nevertheless!
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Puzzle #7 (???) is finally done!
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Despite our horrible rising numbers and getting an "F" on our social distancing report card, apparently the governor was still pushing for a Phase 2 reopening on Friday, although due to the numbers, it was revised a bit...
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According to the document that explained what was required and recommended for restaurants to follow, I will not be heading there anytime soon! My head is swimming just reading through it all!
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This is my feeling on this matter... But we will be safe and do what we are comfortable with...
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We will also load up on our vitamins and immune boosters as we get ready to slowly and cautiously take on the world again...
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There has also been a lot of controversy about whether you should or shouldn't wear face masks when you go out... I share Governor Cooper's statement on this, that it signifies strength and compassion for others... Why are we still arguing about it so much?!?!?! 
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Ben "conquered his fear of social distancing" (as he put it) after a long heart-to-heart talk one night... He learned all about viruses and the things he could and couldn't control, and woke up feeling so much better! He found the courage to wear his mask and go to Target with Brian to pick out some new Legos as a reward for his bravery! I'm not too comfortable taking the kids to the stores regularly, but this was a much needed social experiment for him, and he rocked it!
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We fully embraced Phase 2, as our neighborhood opened our pool this weekend. We nervously signed up for a 2-hour time slot, and we were pleasantly surprised how quiet it was and how well everyone could still have fun while social distancing outside. It was a great way to start our Memorial Day weekend, and feel a little bit "normal" again!

There are a lot of new rules for the pool:
-Online Sign-up ahead of time for two, 2-hour sessions per week
-Attendance must be under 100 people at a time with only 50 in the pool
-You must bring your own chairs and not move any tables
-The lazy river and slide are closed at this time
-Staff wipes down all tables and railings each hour
-Bathrooms and common areas are closed
-Separate entrance and exit and 6 ft spacing required when waiting to get in, with only one family allowed in at a time
- Must leave 15 minutes early to allow a full cleaning before the next group enters

There are so many new rules, and it still feels so weird to have these guidelines, but they did help us to feel safe while we got to enjoy a little bit of the start to summer...
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Parting thought for the week... Hoping for more opportunities to be in the company of others more this summer, and in the meantime, we'll keep on Facetiming and staying in touch! Stay healthy and safe!
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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Week 9: Quarantine Blog

I'm falling a little behind here, as I forgot I didn't post last week, but when I looked back on my pictures, I realized there isn't too much to report... BUT, we did celebrate Mother's Day, enjoyed some beautiful weather, the girls did some painting and we celebrated my friend, Sara's, 40th birthday with a socially distanced driveway celebration! 
The news remains steady, with the NC numbers still going up quite a bit, but the state moving towards reopening anyway... We're planning to continue our quarantine here, but hopefully get to be outside with friends a bit more. The kids actually got out for some bike rides with friends this week, so they could still be distant, but talk "in person", and I got to take one of my walks with a friend and talk too. The world is a crazy place these days, but we're slowly taking steps here to figure out we're going to do to return to "normal" safely. Hope you are all doing the same and staying safe!
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Happy Mother's Day to all our moms, sisters, grandmas & friends out there! This is truly how it feels to be a Mom and I am blessed to have been given this job...
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Brian and the kids made me an awesome dinner of filet mignon crusted with parmesan cheese, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. The best part is that I didn't have to plan it, make it or clean it up!
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I told the kids that all I wanted were some nice notes from them... Emily even went out on a limb and shared her old valentines candy with me! It was nice to know she appreciates me, even though she doesn't eat my cooking :) My favorite part is the quote she put on there from "The Help" that we watched together a few weeks ago... I love to know we are making these memories together and they are learning something along the way:
"You is smart, you is kind, and you is important!"
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Abby wrote a heartfelt note (I told her I'd keep it to myself), and she spent hours making me a "jar of wishes"! What a thoughtful gift...
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Ben got on a conference call with his teacher and she had them draw a portrait of their Mom (although we all decided it looked a bit like a sad Little Red Riding Hood after the wolf ate her grandmother...), and write words to describe her... Apparently, I am caring, a great cook, and good at puzzles! All very true statements, buddy!
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My actual gift from Brian was a bidet! Now I can have a clean butt and save money on toilet paper that we can't find!
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Ben has been busy with learning all kind of random things, and this day, it was all about sloths... 
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It may have been highlighted on Mother's Day that I was a good cook, but it has definitely been kicked into high gear these days since we can't go out to restaurants anymore! I do feel like all I do is plan, cook and clean up meals... BUT I have been experimenting more with the sourdough starter, and this week it was cinnamon raisin bread to try!
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Ben has also been learning how to actually type since nearly all his work is on the computer these days... It's a great skill for them to have, so we'll keep practicing!
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Remember when all of this started and I had the girls make their "schedules" for the day? This was Emily's plan, followed by an ACTUAL schedule that she had to make for an assignment this week... Our intentions were good in the beginning at least!
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This meme couldn't be more true! Although around here, we still can't find toilet paper, so I don't know where the people are that don't care about it!
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I've been trying to do most of my grocery shopping online and having it delivered or picking it up, but I decided to try Trader Joe's this week since I've heard they have great social distancing rules in place... They had everything marked up where to stand, and after waiting 20 minutes outside, 6 feet apart, I was given a freshly sanitized cart and let loose in the store. I really hate shopping these days, and I find masks to be claustrophobic, so while I'll keep doing it for what I need, I'd rather stay at home and shop on my computer!
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They might have a lot of rules to follow at Trader Joe's, but at least we don't have to wear pool noodles to social distance ourselves... YET...
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I know I'm not the only one who has been getting down some days about the news and the crazy state of the world, so I think something like this can help most of us keep everything in perspective... 
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I made the girls go outside for a while one day, and they decided to set up their own art studio and unleash their creativity (with a little help from some old Bob Ross videos)... They truly have been becoming such good friends through this time of "family only"!
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Friday night, Brian, Emily & Ben spent the night in the tent in the backyard and watched some Fear Factor on the big screen! 
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I truly have the best neighbors... look what was delivered to my front porch last night! I definitely live in a place where we look out for each other... each trip to the store, someone is getting something for someone else if they happen to score the jackpot of finding coveted items in stock!
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We had some very hot days this week, and Abby & I made it a whole 30 minutes in the backyard before we got too hot and had to go back in! What will August be like?!?!?!
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We were happy to be able to celebrate Sara's 40th birthday with her, but it would have been better with a hug!
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To leave you all with some smiles, Emily has figured out that she can come out of her quarantine hideout by wearing her dinosaur costume! She was thrilled that she could even give hugs in it! She provided some wonderful dancing entertainment for the neighborhood, and we love that goofy girl for her funny, witty and charming personality!
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