Friday, July 31, 2020

Weekend of Surprises

Last weekend was quite an adventure, bookended by not so pleasant surprises.  Friday was date night.  After picking Esme up from daycare, we went to pick up our takeout from TGI Friday's.  I heard a "bang" as I was getting on the freeway.  I thought I may have hit something, but didn't see anything in my mirrors, so we kept on going.  About a mile down the freeway the car started vigorously shaking and I just new we had a flat tire.  I had just passed an exit and had a semi right behind me, but was able to pull off on an overpass with a larger shoulder to assess things.  My assumption was correct and the front driver's side tire had blown out.  We slowly drove to the next exit up to be in a safer place.  I contacted our insurance roadside assistance then called Jimmy to see if he wanted to come pick up Esme.
Just a couple minutes in to that call I saw a man on the passenger's side of the car.  I thought, "whoa, that was fast."  But, it wasn't the assistance I had requested.  It was a guy from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.  I've seen their vehicles on the road before and didn't even think about it.  He may have been dispatched by someone who saw us on the traffic cameras or was just in the area.  Either way, we really lucked out.  I've changed several tires before, but hadn't done my due diligence to know all the steps for the new van.  Now I know where all the tool are and how to take down the spare.
Our new friend had us rolling again in about 20 minutes and we were so grateful.  I took it in to Discount Tire the next day to see about replacements and Jimmy took it in this morning to have two new tires put on the front.
Come Monday, I was notified that I was potentially exposed the previous week to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.  We have been super careful and diligent to protect ourselves and others, so it was a little disheartening.  I knew I had done everything in my power and followed recommendations to stay safe, but decided to get tested to rule anything out.  There is a drive-up testing site nearby at North Memorial hospital and decided that would be my best option for same day testing.  It was about an hour wait from the time I arrived, but it was super easy.  Like you've probably heard before, it is very uncomfortable, but the pain/discomfort didn't last too long.  I notified Esme's daycare provider right away.  She hadn't yet requested we wear masks for pick up and drop off, but I happened to start doing it the day after my potential exposure.  This made us both feel better, but it was determined we would keep Esme home for 2 weeks regardless of my test results.
Luckily, I wasn't left wondering for too long and got my negative result Tuesday evening.  This made all a little relieved.
Work was a bit trickier with both kids home again, but my manager was extremely accommodating to my altered schedule.  Esme loved setting up her own little work station next to me with her computer and phone.  I also made the mistake of showing parker the answer button on my headset and he is obsessed with it now.  

We filled out extra time together with more than just work.  Esme has been stealing dish and hand towels to use as blankets for her babies and stuffed animals.  I grabbed some extra fleece from my craft room and cut some little blankets for her.  She has been carrying them around everywhere and making sure he favorite friends are tucked in nicely.  We've been trying to get her to ride her small bike, but she still prefers her tricycle.  What's cuter than a girl in a swimsuit peddling around?
We've been trying new kinds of Oreos this summer and our latest were Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie.  I think they were well received by both kids.
I also finally got around to making some writing practice sheets to be used with our clear writing envelopes.  They use dry erase markers and can easily switch out the sheets.  I made ones with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and a few sentences for each of them.  Esme is still in the pre-writing stage mostly, but Parkers really enjoys working on them.  I had hoped to do more educational stuff this summer, but I was really burned out after distance learning this spring.  I eagerly await what is to come this fall.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Swimming and Sweating

The pool continues to be out favorite spot this summer.  It's been up almost constantly since June.  Esme asks to go swimming every day after I pick her up from daycare.  They've been jumping from chairs and running across the deck and endlessly splashing.
I bought some goggles and other toys at Dollar Tree to keep them a bit busier.  The goggles don't really work, but Parker likes to wear them, which surprised me.  We've also been eating a lot of ice cream sandwiches and I taught Esme the best part is liking off your fingers.
We've been staying active in other ways as well.  Parker loves his saucer swing so much and can get practically even with the top rail of the swing set. Esme loves to fly "really, really, high" on it too.

Parker has also been working out along with Jimmy and I caught this video of him doing some of the moves.  He also likes to do burpies, which I will never get!  They are both more diligent that I am, but I hope to get there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Things are getting a little bit back to normal, but health and safety is still a big priority, so we will be wearing masks anything we will be around others.  We started the process of estate planning back in February and while law offices were not closed, it ended up getting put on the back burner for a while.  I am happy to say we finally got it put together and signed.  We had an amazing experience with Erickson & Wessman  and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for legal assistance.  We were able to stay in our vehicle for the signing, which was appreciated since we had Parker with us.
We also finally got back to the dentist after rescheduling appointments for the kids twice.  Their original appointments were just a couple days after everything started closing up in March.  Parker was pretty compliant and kept his mask on until we got in to the office, but Esme was not a fan of hers.  I was originally planning to have my dad come with so each child would have an adult, but they requested only one adult per family.  We ended up in a room all together which worked out pretty well.
Esme's well child appointment was supposed to be in mid-April, but was pushed back to July as well.  She was much better at wearing her mask this time (definitely not because I promised her ice cream.). Both experiences were really nice and made me feel comfortable with the kids.
Governor Walz just announced that masks will be mandated for all indoor public spaces in the state.  I am glad it's finally mandated, but wish it has been done earlier.  I know there are a lot of people that will still resist, but I hope it increases usage.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Clearing, Cleaning, Cookies, and Crust

We've been staying very busy with home projects and activities.  Our garage came with a giant wood burning stove.  We know it will never get used by us and I finally got around to grinding off the exhaust pipe and posting it for free on NextDoor.  I got a response in less than an hour and the couple was over to pick it up that evening.  I was glad to see they came prepared with a hand truck and ratchet straps because that thing was a beast!  They were very excited and it will get a second life.
I really helps to open up the front of our garage that has already been undergoing some major organization.
We've gone through several versions on DVD and Blu-ray storage at our current house and I decided to build something a bit more permanent.  I hobbled together some cheap 1 x 6 pine boards in to a custom shelf installed above the TV.  It is nice to have our movies so visible and accessible, but out of reach from the kids.  It is almost full, so I will probably build another one for the opposite wall.  I also have some bobbleheads and other sports memorbilia I can display in the open areas.
The same weekend I built the movie storage, I added storage for our KitchenAid mixer attachments.  I have loved having it displayed in our hutch, but it was a little messy with everything just sitting behind it.  I've had the idea to add hooks and a little shelf for a while.  It is such a cute little display now and really cleans it up.
My dad has been harping on me forever to paint the door frame on our garage service door and I finally did it.  Now it matches the rest of our white trim.
Jimmy took on the latest small project and installed a new outlet in our kitchen that includes two USB-C ports.  We will now be able to charge two devices, keep the toaster plugged in and have an outlet available if needed. Just need to grab some shorter cables and it will be a great little charging station.
Esme has been asking for cookies every day lately, so we finally made some peanut butter cookies.  She really enjoyed helping me mix and trying to make balls.  Her's turned more in to snakes than balls.  The best part was definitely licking off the spatuala.
The last think we are baking up is some fresh bread.  We bought 20 lbs of flour in March just in case we needed to make bread at some point.  It was a hot commodity at that time and there was a lot of uncertainty.  I have been trying to clear out our cabinets of older food items lately, so bread baking made sense.  Jimmy's mom gave us their bread maker when they sold their house over 10 years ago.  I have tried to get Jimmy to part with it several times, but I am glad he always forced me to keep it. We've made a couple loafs of milk and honey white bread and I won't be buying a loaf until at least half of our flour is gone.  I will need to get some more yeast which can be hard to come by, but a co-0worker of mine is an avid baker and has some to spare.
It feels great to be knocking out some projects and having fun in the kitchen.  Are you being productive during the pandemic?

Thursday, July 9, 2020

A New Air Conditioner (Parker's Best Day Ever)

With an air conditioner nearly as old as me, we new it would need replacing sooner than later.  Of course it came during a heatwave in the middle of a pandemic.  After soliciting recommendations online, we got connected with the cousin of a friend of mine from high school.  His price was unbeatable and he was able to do it in just a couple days.  He told us that supply is pretty low right now due to manufacturing holds and increased usage with people home more.
Mitch arrived early Tuesday and got right to work.  You saw the mock air conditioners Parker has been making a few posts ago.  He always tells us when the AC turns on and off and noticed it was not operating.  He was very intrigued by what was happening.  I explained Parker's interest to Mitch and he was extremely sweet and accommodating.
He had it up and running by about 3:00 and we couldn't be happier.  Parker has not stopped talking about the new air conditioner and takes any chance he can to go check it out.  He is a level 2 apprentice now!  The rest of our appliances are relatively new, so we should be good to go for a while (knock on wood.)