Pandemic Movie Night

Before COVID times, we got together with a group of friends every month to watch a movie, share snacks, and just chat and connect.

Of course, pandemic restrictions have completely shut that down. We initially couldn’t figure out how to get together with people, and we put movie nights on hold along with nearly everything else. But at Christmas, we always watch A Muppet Christmas Carol on our movie night. It’s usually such a joyful evening, with kids joining us as we watch this excellent and familiar movie, sing along, even quote along. Continue Reading >>

Christmas 2020

This year has taught me to expect very little. If it snows, expect a snowball thrown at the window to break the glass.

Even before the pandemic, I’d already accepted that I’m not that person who’s ready with a huge stack of Christmas cards, crispy sprinkle-covered cookies, seasonal decorations, or beautifully wrapped gifts. I’d describe myself as a functional Christmas person. I don’t send cards; I don’t bake cookies; I decorate minimally; and I wrap gifts, but never beautifully. We celebrate Christmas to commemorate the birth of Christ, and that doesn’t need a bunch of extra trappings. Which is good, because trappings aren’t happening. Continue Reading >>

A Different View

Yesterday morning I woke up to something astonishing: A different view.

Lopez Island View
A dry morning on Lopez Island in December — I had to take a picture.

Benji, my parents, and I have relocated to a house on Lopez Island for five days. Before we left, I felt extremely reluctant about the trip. Just the prospect of all the logistics overwhelmed me. But I came around to going for at least a few days, and so on Wednesday morning Benji and I embarked.

Our travel included just enough excitement to keep things interesting. We initially planned to catch the 10:20 sailing to Lopez, but arrived just in time to catch the 9:25 sailing. Surprise! And on the crossing, we witnessed something entirely new to me: emergency drills for the crew. They responded to a simulated car fire and to an abandon ship alarm. I’ve ridden ferries for my entire life and never witnessed that before. It was fascinating! Continue Reading >>

Leave Your Dignity at the Door

Imagine that you agreed, more than a month ago, to play a game that involved taping three large balloons to your back and running around trying to snatch balloons from other people while preventing yours from being snatched. (If this sounds like Mario Kart Balloon Battle, you’re right. Our child independently invented a live version of it.) Your child has keenly anticipated this event, scheduling it with participating family members and counting down the days until this thrilling activity occurs. Continue Reading >>

Remote Learning is Hard

I started to write, “It’s hard to believe, but we’ve done second grade remotely for four months already.” To be honest, though, I can hardly believe that only four months have passed. It feels more like a year. 

We have all the advantages that should make remote schooling a success: A space and device dedicated to our child’s school, two work-from-home parents, an excellent internet connection, a devoted and engaged teacher, and a child who adapts to technology easily.

Despite all these advantages, remote schooling feels like a slow slide to failure. I don’t know if it’s his personality, his age, the situation, or some combination, but tracking and completing all his work eludes our child. He drops off Zoom calls early, loses physical papers, and avoids asynchronous work. He wants to play with his toys or with us, and “finishes” assignments with the minimal amount of work, not trying his best, just minimally touching it so he can say he’s done and can move on.  Continue Reading >>

Thanksgiving 2020: A Pandemic Holiday

Happy Thanksgiving

If I had to pick out one theme for our four days of Thanksgiving celebration, I couldn’t do much better than my child repeating “I can’t wait one more second” at decreasing intervals for hours. It really encapsulates the impatience, the demandingness, and the frequency of repetition that truly has driven me to the brink over this alleged holiday. 

When I heard my coworkers talking today about their “calm,” “relaxing,” “chill” long weekends spent watching movies, having a weekend away, maybe going out for walks or otherwise leisurely enjoying the weather, I felt like I had entered some strange parallel universe. Could they truly be talking about the same weekend I had just endured? “Frustrating,” “trying,” and “high-stress” would more accurately reflect my experience. Certainly I returned to work more exhausted, run-down, and hopeless than when I left for the long weekend — and that’s saying something, given how I was doing before. Continue Reading >>

Thanksgiving 2020 Pictures

Thanksgiving Dinner 2020
The tail end of our Thanksgiving dinner: The three of us in person and my parents on Zoom. I wouldn’t say a combined Zoom meal worked real well. You just can’t have a real conversation. But we still enjoyed the pie.
Ferguson Family Board Game Testing
We’re (okay, honestly I’m the most excited about this I think) creating our own board game. I’m putting way too much time into it for something that’s never going to go anywhere.
Benji's First D&D Adventure 2
On Saturday we created D&D characters and Ian DM’d our first adventure. It went surprisingly well. The hardest part was that Benji was so excited he couldn’t sit still, so I had him take breaks to run laps around the house.
Benji's First D&D Adventure 1
Benji is extremely excited to play D&D. He really wants a pet xorn or flumph. Preferably both.
Christmas Tree Farm 2020
A pandemic Christmas picture.
Christmas Tree Acquistion 2020
Sunday morning we acquired our Christmas tree. The u-cut lot was totally bare, so we had to settle for a pre-cut tree. It fit in our car, though! (If I look a little frayed, well, that’s accurate.)