Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Minnesota Twins Fan Appreciation Parade

The Twins hosted a drive through parade for fans on Saturday.  This is typically fan appreciation weekend at the ballpark, but they had to do it a bit different without fans allowed inside.  Jimmy was working, so it was just the kids and myself.  It was a free event, but you registered for a time slot in advance.
We arrived right on time for our 9:15 and we inadvertently cut to the front of the line.  I wasn't expecting there to be a long line so early in the day and the road we took in that cut the line.
I masked up for safety and let Parker unbuckle.
We got a goodie bag at the beginning with some trucker hats, snacks, brats, buns, and cold brew coffee.  The stocking hats were given out at the end.  We didn't have a use for 4 trucker hats, so we passed those on to Parker's teacher who has 3 teenage boys.
TC Bear was the next stop.  By this point Parker was standing up out the window to say hello to everyone.  The side mirror picture is my favorite.
We got our car decorated with a Twins logo.  You could choose "Twins" or their "TC" logo.

We got a strip of stickers to write our names on.  They put them on a huge baseball.
Pretty short, but it was fun to have a safe activity on the calendar after a really tame summer.  I had hoped they would do more in the playoffs, but it wasn't meant to be.  The Twins now have the record for the most consecutive playoff loses at 18.  It's been a weird year all around, but baseball made it feel a little normal.  Thanks for a fun couple of months, less than 6 to the next season!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Finally Back at the Park

We haven't been to a public playground all year, but that changed this week.  We had family pictures at a nearby park on Sunday.  In an effort to encourage good behavior, we promised the kids they would get to play at the playground when we done.  This was mainly for Esme and along with talking about it lots and making sure she got a nap, she did amazing!  We were both surprised at how well she did listening to us and the photographer.  They were so excited to get to play afterwards.  More research is coming out about how difficult it can be to spread COVID-19 in outdoor settings, so we are getting more comfortable with it.
We've gone to our local park a couple ties since then as well.  Parker loved the little spinning seat there, so he was so excited to be back.
Just like her mom and nana, Esme likes to make friends wherever she goes.  We usually end our park visits in October when the weather turned colder, but I expect we may just bundle up and visit longer this year.  I am still not comfortable with any indoor activities, so this may be all we have this fall and winter.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

September Surprises

We've had some good and bad surprises to start the month.  We had to replace one of our torsion springs in March just as I was starting to work from home.  The other one decided to break last weekend.  I knew I wouldn't be able to get it fixed until after holiday and our Equinox was still parked inside.  These are crazy heavy, old, wood doors, so it wasn't going anywhere.  Luckily, we have a large garage and I was able to shimmy the vehicle out the other door so Jimmy would be able to take it to work come Tuesday.  We had the same company come out on Thursday to replace this one.  We should be set to go for a while now.
We have already received several fun updates from school.  Parker's para, Mary, took this sweet picture of them eating lunch together,
This is a screen shot of what Parker's virtual meetings look like.  He only has 6 kids in his class this year so it's a pretty small group.  
Esme has been working on some new skills as well.  I never really thought about teaching kids to use glue, but there is a worksheet for that.  Just a dot, not a lot!
I also got a visit from my HR manager and COO with a fun gift basket.  It had snacks, a branded deck of playing cards and a sweet note thanking me for all we've been through over the last 6 months.  I know I am extremely grateful for the efforts they have been making to keep us safe as well.
The best surprise was the first swim in my parent's hot tub since June.  My dad has been working hard on redoing their deck, so it's been shut down for a while.  Both kids were so excited.
I had my mom dye my hair while we were there.  It's been at least a few years since I went dark and a year since I had it highlighted and professionally cut.  The change felt much more dramatic with the bangs, but I am loving it.  
We went for one of our weekly drives last night and ended up in St. Louis Park.  I was sad to see the Caribou where Jimmy and I had our first date was closed and the whole building was being remodeled.  The last time we were there was in 2012 to commemorate 5 years since that day.  Bummed we won't get to relive that moment again.
Football season started today!  The Vikes couldn't pull out a win, but I've got high hopes for a good season.  The return of sports helps it feel a bit more normal in all the chaos.  Hoping for more (good) surprises this fall.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

First Day of "School"

 And just like that, summer is over and it's time for "school" again.  We've been in a bit of limbo waiting to hear how our state and district would be handling the return to school.  I've been pleased with how our Governor has been handling things throughout the pandemic and expected no less of this.  The state released guidelines that would dictate the level of in-person learning that would be allowed based on average COVID-19 cases on a county level.  Based on this, our district could have started with hybrid learning for all students, but opted to start the year with distance learning.  While this is not the option I had hoped for, I understand the concerns of district staff and other families.

We kept our Panera tradition alive with takeout this year and kids were treated to cinnamon rolls.

We made an afternoon visit to Grandpa and Nana's before the rain came in the evening
We also did not know specifics about Esme's childcare program until a couple weeks ago.  Our in home provider only had an opening for her until November, so this was a pretty important thing.  Since it is viewed as childcare first, it can run as normal with extra precautions in place.  Her program is housed at Parker's school, which is really convenient for morning drop-offs.  His school is also offering all day care for school age kids during distance learning.  This was a huge pain point for working parents in the spring.  While we were doing ok with him at home, it was time for him to be in a more stimulating environment.  Will all of the extra precautions, Esme's first day was more like Kindergarten than pre-school.  They typically share supplies, but asked that each child bring their own.  She also needs her own water bottle, masks (not required to wear), and optional blanket and pillow for nap time.  She was so excited to gather up all her things.
I took pictures the night before since it was going to be rainy and early.  Both of them got a fun new pandemic themed t-shirt for the first day.

I took Parker's Class of 2030 t-shirt pictures the next day.
Esme was so excited.  She's been talking about going to school with Parker for weeks.
We are doing curbside drop-off and pick up this year to limit people inside the building.  I was so proud that she walked right in with Parker like a big kid!
Adventure Club had told us they would help with distance learning, but I didn't really know what that would entail.  I had secretly hoped that one of his paras would be working there and could help him since he will need more support than most kids.  I got my wish and Ms. Mary has started working with him.  She's been with him for at least the last 2 years, so he is comfortable with her and she is tolerant of him. This week is considered a soft start.  Both kids and teachers are working on familiarizing themselves with new technology.  Parker was issued a Chromebook from school and it's a pretty steep learning curve from his iPad.  I will be able to see all of his assignments as they are posted and get to watch his morning and afternoon meeting with his class.
Esme is having a great first week as well.  She is already talking about all her new friends and is bringing home lots of new songs and fun things she has learned.
Esme's program likely won't have any significant changes unless there is a COVID incident.  Parker would return to hybrid or in person teaching at some point, but only time will tell.