I’m not sure what I expected when I first heard about the Coronavirus outbreak, but I know I wasn’t expecting this. I had not anticipated this outbreak to completely change life as we knew it just a few months ago.
We all had our routines; what we came to expect out of our daily lives. Kiss my wife goodbye before she leaves the house. Drop the kids off at school and then fight through traffic on the way to work. Put in a solid eight hours of work at the office. Return home, eat dinner, get everyone to bed, and start the process over again the next morning.
My morning commute now is a jog up one flight of stairs to my bonus room. Instead of a cubicle, I have a make-shift work station on our old kitchen table that we now use to put puzzles together. My wife is juggling her responsibilities as a teacher to her classroom kids and trying to help our little kindergartener with his daily tasks.
Everyone has had to learn how to adapt to the new normal. The most unsettling part is that no one knows when this will end. How long will we have to shelter in place and social distance ourselves from our families, our communities, and friends?
What I do know is that I am grateful for my family, my home, and my job. I am thankful for the extra time I have with my kids and wife. I pray for the safety of the men and women on the front lines fighting this virus every day. I pray for wisdom for the talented people that are tirelessly searching for a cure and vaccine to help heal the world.
Our daughter had her first homecoming dance this past weekend. Seeing her all dressed up brought to the forefront how much she has grown up. She asked if we could go downtown, take some pictures and grab some grub at Chick-fil-A with some of her friends. Her mother and I happily obliged.
When a rainy day forced us to stay inside, my little guy wanted to play with his remote control cars. We grabbed his cars and started cruising around through the house, eventually winding up in the master bedroom. I saw my camera sitting on top of the dresser and decided to try out some of the video features on it. This video was the result.
If our dog is supposed to be my best friend, I think Sam missed the memo. Don’t misunderstand me, he likes me, but he loves the kids. The silliness that those three get into is too comical for words.
He is very patient with Ben, even when Ben plops down on him. I’m not sure which one taught the other how to dig, but they both have made their fair share of holes in our backyard. They are two peas in a pod.
His relationship with Gracie is a little different. He likes to be close to her. He sneaks into Gracie’s room every night to sleep. He lays underneath her when she is on the couch.
I guess he feeds off of their personalities. He has been a great addition to our family.
Sometimes all you need is a water hose to create a memory. Our plants were taking a beating with the dry 90º plus temperatures we’ve been having. We gave our 5-year old the water hose to throw some water on our flowers and shrubs. What started as a chore turned into an opportunity for me and the kids to have a little fun.
From the moment Ben turned the hose on to his sister, the game was on. I originally planned to remain on the sideline until I got sprayed. Sarah came out to see what all the commotion was about and snapped a few pictures. It didn’t take long before we were all dripping wet. It was a lot of fun and something that the kids won’t soon forget.
Little Ben is a planner. He is always thinking of his next project. We have had a trampoline for several years now, and it is starting to show it’s age. I told Ben that pretty soon we will need to retire the trampoline. His response was, “can we build a swing set?”
He also stipulated that the swing set had to have two swings so “His Gracie” could swing with him. I fired up my computer and started researching how we were going to build this swing set. After getting Ben’s approval, we made the purchase and the parts we on there way to our house.
They arrived on a Monday. As soon as I got home, from work, Ben greeted me at the door. “Come on Daddy… let’s build the swing set.” So off we went to the back yard, box in tow.
I love that he is so hands-on and loves to help build things. It is one of his favorite father and son activities, and of course, one of mine too.
Like most families during the summer season, we love going to the beach. Whether it is catching a cruise or spend a week at the Gulf, we always take some time to put our toes in the sand. There is something therapeutic about listening to the ocean and walking the beach.
The summer before Ben was born we, somewhat accidentally, started a summer family tradition. We took Gracie on a cruise and purchased a Christmas ornament. It was a flamingo sitting on a lounge chair. Since then we have purchased ornaments to commemorate our trips.
Ben loves his big sister. They have been great playmates this summer building forts, reading, cuddling and watching tv and much more. Whenever Ben talks about Gracie he affectionately refers to her as “my Gracie.” She likes it and thinks it’s cute.
My wife and I feel truly blessed that our daughter is so willing to spend time with her little brother, even with their 9 year age gap. It warms my heart to know that they get along so well… most of the time. I often break out my ninja skills and sneak a few pictures as they play. Ben isn’t fond of having his picture taken, so I have to be strategic about it.
One of the sweetest sounds to hear is my little Ben saying “Daddy, will you play with me?” I can’t say no to his sweet litte face. My beautiful wife grabbed this photo of us as we played trains this past weekend. It means so much to me because I am usually the one behind the camera, so naturally, there aren’t too many photos of me with the kids. Does that happen with your family? Are you the parent that is missing from most of your families photos?
It isn’t very often that we have all three kids together these days. The oldest, Will, is going into his Sophomore year of college. Gracie is about to tackle her 8th grade year, while Ben is dipping his toes in the waters of his education at pre-k.
Before the kids start another year (or their first year) of school, I treated them to some donuts at Zombie Coffee & Donuts and a stroll through downtown Athens. As I sat there and watched the kids devour their sweet treats I thought how great it was having them enjoy their time together. I truly feel blessed with our group of kiddos.