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The New Normal

Rule #130: The best things in life are usually the simplest.

Whewie, baby cakes. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for us all. It’s safe to say everyone has a new normal these days. Ours is pretty boring, and to be honest, it looks eerily similar to our old normal. We’ve been spending tons of good quality time together (occasionally a little TOO much time, ya feel me) to try and distract ourselves from the chaos all around.

coronavirus life

I have to beg your forgiveness for the lack of posts these past few months. We were hit with the flu (all four of us), then I got an upper respiratory infection, then Brooke got hand-foot-and-mouth, and now the coronavirus has rocked everyone’s world. Jon Boy and I were able to escape for a much needed Parents’ Day Out before the social distancing really started to ramp up. I can’t tell you HOW MUCH we both needed that adult-only time. It restored us and couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m so grateful we got to do that before everything came crashing down.

date night

Okay, before I continue with this looooooong and overdue post, lemme get real witchya… I AM NOT A PINTEREST MOM! I’m not even the mom who can look at Pinterest and copy what those moms do. I’m not even the mom who can copy what the mom who copied from the Pinterest mom can do. I’m the “Here’s some leaves and paint. Get jiggy with it” Mom. I don’t have a set schedule or plan for the day (other than survival and reading books), I hate arts and crafts, and I have no shame in my iPad game. So, with that disclaimer out there, lemme tell ya what we’ve been doing to occupy our time.

We went on a “nature hunt” and collected a bunch of leaves. The next day, we painted in our pj’s! It was a super short activity, but a little break in the morning. I think in a few days, we’ll glue the leaves onto something (cardboard box maybe) and make a shape or spell our name. See – I’m literally just the laziest of all lazies. Crafts ain’t my thang, brah.

Nature Hunt 1 | Nature Hunt 2 | This Leaf Art is Cute, Too

kids activities at home

We also found some pinecones and painted them (obviously) in Astros’ colors!

outdoor artwork for kids

A friend of mine told me about a LEGO Bath. Literally regular old LEGOS that you throw in the bath. Homie here builds robots every night for bathtime.

lego bath

Oh mah gah. If you haven’t heard of the game Heads Talk, Tails Walk, you’re missing out. It would be great for an adults’ night, too… pretty hilarious! It’s a matching game. If you don’t get a match, then you have to sound like the animal’s head and walk like the animal’s bottom (so in this one: sound like a snake, walk like a frog). It’s super cute to watch Corey play this one!

head talk tails walk

Another fun one that even Corey’s Teddy likes to play is Uno Moo. It’s a kids’ version of Uno using just colors and animals. I’d like to say that Corey is really good at the game, but he’s also a straight up cheater. He was covering Ted’s eyes here so Ted wouldn’t cheat. We all know he’s the one needing to cover his eyes though…

uno moo

I cannot say enough great things about Osmo!!! It’s been my saving grace these past couple of weeks. Osmo is an interactive, real-time, feedback-giving series of educational games. The games are all: easily tailored to ability level, get harder/easier as needed, include higher-level thinking skills, and are FUN for the kids! Corey loves all of the games! And I do mean all… we purchased the Little Genius Starter Kit, Genius Starter Kit, and a ton of the accessory games like the Pizza Game and the Incredibles Drawing Game. Like I said, no shame in my iPad game. Osmo is on sale right now, too!

osmo

Floor puzzles are a huge hit in our house always, but especially now! Corey likes to do them while sister is asleep, so she doesn’t terrorize him. They’re great for building problem-solving skills (and giving you a solid 5-10 minutes of sweet peace). I linked up some puzzles in this post.

floor puzzles

I’d like to say this serene scene lasted longer than 2 minutes, but I’d be a liar, liar, pants on fire. Corey loves building with blocks (I didn’t take a picture, but he built his Lego Duplo Train Set all by himself), and Brooke likes to destroy whatever Corey builds. Ha! Differentiated instruction much? (My teacher peeps know what I’m talking about).

indoor activities for kids

I made this sensory bucket with a bunch of Dollar Tree goodies about three years ago when I had that kind of time. I decided desperate times call for desperate measures. Brookie loooooves playing with these buckets! I however, do NOT looooove to clean them up when she dumps them. I’m thinking of making these outside toys, putting her and them in a blow up pool, and using a handheld vaccuum to get up all the beans and stuff. I’ll just dump them back into the bucket later. Corey also loves to shove the little animals in the beans and use dinosaurs to eat them.

indoor activities for kids

I think this is one of my favorite pictures and memories from this crazy time. Baseball in our pj’s. What could be better?

baseball in pjs

I got super cabin fever one day, so I dragged Corey to our local gardening center where he picked out some veggies to grow. I have NO idea if anything will do well, but it’s been fun to check on his garden every day. He’s very proud of himself… although I seem to remember him only “managing” the situation while I planted everything. Hmm…

kids garden

The kiddos had fun making a mess of the fence with chalk this morning. We’ll be “painting” the fence with water later this afternoon to get the chalk off. Gotta love a free, easy activity!

outdoor activities for kids

We’ve been going on walks almost daily just to get that fresh air and get those wiggles out. Brookie was very proud to show her bunny the ‘hood.

walking baby

I occasionally get to take Corey out on walks just the two of us. It’s been so hard on him to understand and process everything. “But WHY can’t I play with my friends?” “WHY can’t we go to the playground?” “I want to go inside Chick-Fil-A!” He’s been an emotional mess if I’m honest. These little walks and one-on-one time have helped so much! It’s so hard to know how much or how little to explain to these little minds. So far, we’ve just told Corey there are a lot of germs going around, so we are giving every one some space. I think he gets the gist, but still asks daily to go play with his buddies. It breaks my Mama heart.

walks with corey

This little one, however, hasn’t skipped a beat. She even got upgraded to the big kitchen table and is quite proud of herself. In this picture, she’s asking us to sing “Baby Shark” for the four millionth time. We gladly obliged, of course!

big girl brooke

I love that this view hasn’t changed despite all the craziness. He can still do the Astros’ batting stances, too. I love how some things stay the same.

baseball corey

I did a little retail therapy (shocking, right) and spruced up the front porch. This Home Sweet Home rug is on sale ($12) right now! I got the 2’X3′ in the patio rug underneath.

front door mat

I also changed up the flowers on the front patio to add some good ole spring color.

front patio decor

We are having our back patio extended (at some point), and I wanted to get some colorful pots and trees for decor. I couldn’t be more excited to get these bad boys out back!

back patio flowers

I also planted my own make-shift garden with veggies and herbs. The two bigger pots have tomato seeds, and they’ve already started sprouting! I can’t wait to cook with all of this goodness.

vegetable and herb garden

In other random news, our little Texas Tornado gashed her head pretty good last night. She and brother were playing in our bedroom, and she hit her head on the wooden footboard. Can you think of a better time for a kid to need stitches at the ER than now?!

IMG 5236

She was a trooper, and her daddy was a superhero! They only allowed one adult in with her a time, so I opted to stay home with Corey. Texas Children’s did an amazing job of keeping everyone safe and calm!

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If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that there is good in every day. Read about my Great Grandma Flossie’s take on that here. When things look and feel as dark as can be, hold on to the hope that there is light even in those times. Whether it’s the kindness someone shows you, the smile on your kids’ faces, the FaceTime you have with a friend, or just the fact that you’re able to wear sweatpants with no judgement all week long, there IS goodness every day. Allow yourself some grace. You do not have to write the next Pulitzer Prize winning novel, nor do you have to lose 42 pounds, nor do you have to get your kids to learn every single thing they’re supposed to right now. This is a crisis; it’s not a time to be harder on yourself or your kids. Give yourself time to grieve for the life that’s currently on hold. Be thankful for all that we have (like the technology for you to be reading my silly words right now). Hang in there, mis amigos!

blue skies

In the words of my Daddy, “It’s all good.”

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