Sunday, January 31, 2021

January 2021 Hodgepodge

Parker had a couple more weeks of critical care through school at the beginning of the month before going back to in-person learning.
Hospital support staff began receiving vaccinations while Jimmy was on Christmas vacation.  He got his first dose on the 5th and second on the 26th.  We are continuing to be as cautious as possible, but it's nice to have one of us vaccinated as well.
I had my first McRib this month.  Not sure why I have never tried it before, but it was pretty good.
We also took a drive up to our favorite movie theater to get a gift card and free bag of popcorn.  I knew it was family size, but it was way bigger than I imagined.
I had a virtual happy hour with my friends from high school.  We normally get together during the holidays, but couldn't this year for obvious reasons.  With one on each coast now too, it was a fun way to reconnect.
We had out first full visit with my parents in over 2 months.  The kids had a Friday overnight while Jimmy and I grabbed some Portillo's for a car dinner date.
I did a vinyl project for Parker's teacher by adding years to the arm of t-shirts. These are for the graduating seniors from the Armstrong High School football team.
I did a bit of revamping in our living room.  I switched out pictures from our fall photo session (which I forgot to blog about.). I also added the three frames on top, the square frame, and the small ones between the names.
The other side of the room had some bigger changes.  I may have to dig deeper for a picture, but this is the one I could find.  There were 6 frames up that mirrored the layout from top to bottom and included vacation collages.  The built in shelves can be functional, but mostly collected junk.
I had a lot more trips to make collages for and decided it was finally time to do it.  I previously made them with actual paper maps, but have become more proficient with photo editing and was able to make digital ones.  The frames I had are long discontinued, so I got some coordinating ones.  12 frames on the wall and 8 more in the bookcase.  We now have a collage for every big trip we've taken.  This area looks a lot cleaner now and we can reminisce the fun times (especially with COVID putting a damper on things.)
January 19th was Parker's first day back in person with his teacher and classmates.  They all seemed pretty excited to get a little piece of normal back.  Esme's program has been running like normal, other than the two separate classes have merged in to one now. They have a lot of fun playing in a larger group.
They had a fashion show a couple weeks ago and she strutted her stuff.  I tried to get her in a fancy dress, but this was all she would wear.
They have some large group dance parties on cold days as well.
Our only hiccup was one day home ill.  She got a little sick in the middle of the night, but no other symptoms.  She was only out of school for one day since there was no fever.  She recovered pretty quick and was back to normal.
Lots of random stuff this month, bring on February!

St. Paul Winter Carnival Drive Thru

We love visiting the snow sculpture park during the St. Paul Winter Carnival each year.  They hosted an exhibition only drive thru event that we did on Friday.  The kids remembered the routine from the Christmas lights show we saw in December.  We filled up on snacks while we waited for our turn.
This one started a lot slower than the lights show, but got moving the further we went.  There were several sponsored displays along with the traditional ones.
The butterfly lifecycle was my favorite ice sculpture.
The next two were our favorite snow displays.  Baby Yoda and the Mandalorian and a rocket launching around an angry moon.
We ended our trip with the same foods as last time, pizza, cheese curds, and a pronto pup!  I am hopeful we will be able to visit the State Fair in some way come August, but there is still a lot to come.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Frenzied 15 hours

Yesterday was one of those days I won't forget for a while.  My alarm woke me up like normal at 6:15.  My phone was on silent and had a software update overnight.  after answering a few questions, I got a flurry of notifications and before I could finish listening to Jimmy's voicemail, he was calling again.  He had been in a car accident on the way to work and was waiting at a Holiday gas station trying to reach me.  I immediately felt awful that he'd been trying to reach me for over an hour.  But, he wasn't hurt.  I quickly gathered up the kids, loaded them in the van and navigated to the location he had sent me.  I did my best to contain my emotions and drive safely as it started to mist on us.  I broke down as soon as I pulled up and saw him.  I was so grateful he was ok.

I tried not to interrogate him as we drove home, but I had so many questions.  We got the kids ready for school and I saw the pictures for the first time as they were eating breakfast.  I was in a similar accident in 2013, but my car didn't look nearly as bad as this.  When he was ready to talk more, he explained that a small red car changed lanes in front of him as a much lower speed.  He tried to move out of the way, but struck the back of the car at almost full speed.  All of the airbags deployed as he tried to get to the shoulder.  By the time the smoke cleared, all he saw of the other vehicle were some distant tail lights.  Having the other car drive off just added to the confusion and stress.  He called 911 and the state patrol arrived to call a tow truck and write up a report.  He caught a ride to a gas station before finally getting a hold of me after a dozen tries.
After dropping the kids off, we called in the claim in to State Farm.  I was surprised they were able to tell us the exact time it happened from our Drive Safe and Save sensor.  I looked up our trip history later, and sure enough there it was.
Jimmy spent the morning researching vehicles since we were fairly confident it would be totaled.  We wanted to be prepared when we go the number back.  It was a surprise to both of us when they called back just after noon.  Jimmy gave an official statement and then they forwarded us to the total loss department.  Once they gave us the payout, we had a much better idea of where our car search would go.  We narrowed it down to Subaru Impreza and Chevy Trax.  There were a lot more of the latter available and we found one that looked like a pretty good deal, so we scheduled a test drive for that evening.
Jimmy took it out for a spin while I went and grabbed some supper for the kids.  He finished up shortly after we were back and gave it rave reviews.  He never test drove the van, so I left the decision up to him.
A little bit later, he was driving home with the kids while I stayed back to finalize the purchase.
The Trax is basically a mini Equinox, so a lot of the buttons were familiar.  We have all the people and cargo room we need with the van, so the smaller size is a great option that still has all wheel drive.  They activated our SiriusXM trial before I left and my favorite 90s jam played on my way home, so I know it's meant to be.
We did not plan to have two new vehicles in just over a year, but we should be covered for a while now.