So much has happened since my last post. I feel like someone pressed the fast forward button… But I’ll do my best to catch up! Oh, and before I forget to acknowledge it, can you believe it’s been ONE YEAR since schools shut down?! Remember when I was trying to post every week? HA.
To get us warmed up, check out this “warm up” I recorded of Ella before her first virtual piano recital:
As a side note, Ella has a great ear for piano–so great that she can quickly memorize songs and is reluctant to use the sheet music or practice… She’s also just as distracted on a one-on-one virtual piano lesson as she is during a 17-to-1 virtual kindergarten class. Before the actual recital, I talked both Ella and Zoe to play their songs 10 times. It worked! There’s a much longer video of their recital, if you’re looking for something to watch, but trust me, it was 100x better. Speaking of which, if you haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers book, it’s worth it. He shares a 10,000-hour rule, positing that it takes that long to truly master a skill.
So 10 times per song isn’t 10,000 hours, but it’s better than just playing them once, as they try to get away with during “practice”.
But it’s not all work, work, work over here. Our friends sent us a game for Valentine’s Day that we finally got around to playing. It’s called Happy Little Accidents with Bob Ross, and it’s basically Pictionary built on squiggles. I took a picture to send to our sweet friend to thank her. Look closely (and I don’t mean at the game).
If you’re looking for a fun, easy game to play with a group of mixed ages (and limited skills), this one’s perfect. We also grew our first chia pet, a gift I purchased to reward the girls for good behavior. Yes, it’s a unicorn.
Ever grown one of these? I won’t say it’s difficult, but it does require some attention. First, you have to soak the terra cotta pot the chias are going to grow on, while making a chia paste that’s just the right consistency to cling to the pot. I brought in the expert for that task, since if they’re not at the right consistency, they won’t grow. Next, you fill the unit with water, and keep it filled while you wait for those chia seeds to sprout. I have no idea what happens next (I guess it dies off?), but the provide enough seeds for three cycles, so that’s a safe bet.
Another adventure was eating out, which we haven’t done very often for the past year (but which we used to do all the time). I’m thrilled that restaurants seem to be hitting a groove when it comes to best practices. Our dinner out started with checking our temperatures, asking kindly if we’d “been there since the pandemic” (we had not), then explaining that we’d be ask to sanitize our hands and keep our faces covered any time the servers approached the table. Totally reasonable. They even provided a cute “mask caddy” for each of u s on the table:
At dinner Ella also tried a science experiment: Mixing milk + water in a two-straw live test.
The Result? Milk + water does not equal delicious… But at least she tried. Another dinner activity we enjoyed was exploring the family pandemic experience. I brought a notebook and created two columns, then asked the Johnson family to share what we had started doing doing shutdown that we wanted to KEEP and what we wanted to DITCH.
The “love” and “hate” notes were added by Ella after we were done (silly goose), but one thing we were all excited about was that our KEEP list was much longer than our DITCH list. I think delivering on either list will be a challenge as everything changes and we try to establish something close to normal. But I highly recommend the exercise. I’ve been afraid lately that things are going to change quickly, and we’ll just morph into something unintentionally different–or worse, fall back into old habits without the benefit of keeping these new ones.
An example of our creativity (not just pandemic related but still) is our commitment to celebrating any holiday, ever. On St. Patrick’s Day morning, my lovely husband delivered green crepes, green eggs and ham, and green milk. Yum!
Even before that, Zoe set up a scavenger hunt for Ella, which ended with the chocolate coins you see above. They also were sure to wear green to avoid pinches, including the following crazy outfit Ella chose in the photo at the top of this post and this one:
The green headband you see above is from Zoe’s first Girl Scout meeting! She just joined last weekend, which (though I do not look forward to cookie sales or cookies in our house) I’m excited about, since it will keep her in touch with some great friends who are about to attend different middle schools. I can’t wait for her to start earning badges! She’s already been making lunch for her sister for much of the virtual homeschool time–she’s even started making homemade guacamole!
And I’m not sure there’s a badge for this, but she’s also been practicing her arts and crafts, on her sister…
And so, that’s some of the adventures of the Johnson girls since March 9. Not a bad run, I’d say, though I’m going to stick by the fact that I feel like everything’s moving so quickly. I didn’t even cover our parent-teacher conferences (which went really well), another birthday “party” trip to Descanso Garden and an unexpected tooth adventure for me that’s been quite the ride. But that’s a topic for another day.
Meanwhile, hope you’re safe and well out there! Though things are starting to seem more hopeful, I wish for us all the patience to keep up these annoying safety measures until we’re a lot more confident that we can keep others safe. We shall see. It’s all about perspective. And speaking of perspective, I’ll end with this photo I took at Descanso of a tulip, from above. I love tulips but am pretty sure I wouldn’t have recognized this flower as one, would you?