I’m trying to figure out how to ever catch up in this space! A space to record what is happening in our family. It seems strange to go on recording every-day events when the world is in such turmoil. I have also wondered if it is taking too much time away from what is right in front of me, so I have taken a good break from documenting day-to-day life here. But I feel compelled to keep searching for a balance. I do love having this place to share…to record family life that is precious and ever changing. This is a place my kids come all the time to remember. And remembering is such a beautiful part of life. But I also love this place as a spot to learn so much from others. A place to reach outside of the bubble where I live. Thank you, dear readers, for making that happen in so many ways over the years!
For today I am going to tackle what happened here during the depths of the quarantine. Because although we are still very much in the thick of this pandemic right now, numbers spiking all around, masks now the status quo, still so many of the same questions that swirled around months ago, along with racial upheaval looming up in the world around us, everyone searching their hearts to figure it all out, along with earthquakes and floods, and never-ending questions.
But there were weeks right smack dab in the middle of it all where we didn’t leave our house except in brief emergency excursions to try to keep the fridge supplied. All nine of us were here for probably a month all together (with little breaks here and there) and to me it was a hallowed moment in time I never want to let slip into the fray of my memory. A time I will probably never get everyone I love very most in the world under my roof for that long ever again. It was a time or upheaval and sorrow in the world, but it was also a time when I fell more in love with my family than ever before, all of us pressed in close, and was so filled with gratitude for this home that provided shelter and safety.
I started writing all about the beginning of the quarantine back HERE, but figure I better get my act together to write down the rest of it before it gets hazy in my memory!
A lot can be done together in a month, even when on lock-down, so beware, there are a LOT of pictures in this post! And they can’t even begin to cover it all, I have no pictures of the late-night discussions which were my favorite, but here’s a try at documenting those weeks!
We did random things like an afternoon of painting:
I became the resident haircutter:
We made birthday banners for friends and family we couldn’t hug:
We had endless hours of entertainment with Bo Jangles:
We tried our hand at pickle-ball (Dave’s beloved favorite sport these days), which I wrote about yesterday HERE…
And speaking of loving Bo Jangles:
The lake was open, then closed, then open again, and so we didn’t take it for granted when we got the green light to go boating one day, all seven of us.
We were all SO HAPPY to be there!
We tried our hands at LOTS of new recipes.
My brother taught us about the stars and constellations with a little ASTRONOMY NIGHT.
I could swear I had a whole post about this night, but I cannot find it anywhere. So sorry if this is redundant but I LOVE MY BROTHER. He quarantined with us much of the time and we loved that he brought his telescope over one night and showed us so much beauty out there in the universe.
Somehow it made all the issues going on in the world seem so minuscule and trite as we examined all the craters covering the moon and inspected “globular clusters” of stars blinking at us from light years away.
Elle GOT MARRIED (!!!!!)
…and also graduated from college:
(All about that back HERE.)
Yeah, things didn’t really slow down much around here I tell you that!
I reveled in the fact that we got TIME with everyone. Especially our married kids.
We had time to talk through so many things. Time is such a beautiful thing and is an incredibly precious gift. Max and Abby had wanted to have some guidance for budgeting and I loved this little huddle that formed to figure things out…
Some other dates (among the many) captured:
Nothing like that one-on-one time.
We hiked as much as we could…the weather during the thick of the quarantine was so incredibly gorgeous.
Whoa, we had a LOT of those suckers. The most famous and memorable of which was our Casino Night:
…which I talked about back HERE, but there were oh so many other games played around this table of ours:
Pretty much every night we ran out with all or part of us to grab the sunset.
This one night in particular, because it was nearing the end of all our togetherness, I made everyone pose for a picture.
Probably my favorite thing about the whole quarantine was church. I missed gathering as a congregation at the church building, of course, but Family Church has become pretty sacred each Sunday.
This back porch turned into a holy place for our family, gathered there each week, a different person in charge each week.
We followed the Come Follow Me manual for lessons and everyone prepared pretty well I must say, and gave good input…some weeks more than other but I’ll take it.
(Those pictures up there were from Easter Sunday, right after Elle and Carson got married so they weren’t there for that one…
I love this picture of Lucy, always so beautifully pensive about spiritual things.
The thing she was very most disappointed in about the stay-at-home order was that she was assigned to be in charge of the lesson for her church group on Easter. She had really looked forward to that. For some reason she really didn’t want to give it to our family, I guess we’re not as fun as her church group, but she did share a few thoughts.
Here she is preparing a lesson a couple weeks later…
FOOD & COOKING:
For a good while there, this table was filled up solid every night:
This meant I spent a good portion of my waking hours standing in that kitchen, usually surrounded by helpers. Everyone took turns We cooked and cleaned together every day.
I love cooking together so this was a big treat for me…Abby is a pretty awesome kitchen companion, always willing to try out new recipes:
Lu learned to make her beloved Apricot Chicken (HERE), and I don’t know why I have this picture, but this is one night when I accidentally dumped the rice out on the way to the table (right below)…yikes!
One night we made tinfoil dinners…everyone’s favorite when we go to California so we gave them a try in the oven…
…which actually worked perfectly.
We sat outside to eat every chance we got.
Tried all kinds of new recipes:
Max and Abby made the BEST vegan tacos…the inside made with cauliflower and chick peas…seriously SO GOOD!
(Recipe is HERE.)
And of course, we had to make our favorite lentil tacos one night (recipe HERE):
This is one of our favorite salads we whipped up one night too…
It felt so good to work on some home projects together. The girls and i refinished this shelf thing for Claire’s room, and replanted the pots on our patio that had all rusted out.
We did a bunch of work on Claire and Lucy’s bedrooms since they had never been “done.”
…and they still aren’t…I’ll have to post before and after pictures as soon as we get those suckers done!
We deep-cleaned and dusted, cleaned out closets, scrubbed walls and doors, Max dug up a problematic water line and sanded and re-stained a whole slew of things.
We had some serious clean-out days too, and kept up on Saturday Jobs…so grateful for these charts (that I wrote about back HERE) to help us keep on track!
I loved, loved, loved the one-on-one and small group interactions.
These things don’t happen in our quick-paced life.
There is magic in things slowing down.
Love this duo.
We marveled at the weather and took bike rides as much as we could to revel in it all.
We marveled in this monsoon storm one day:
This was another one of my favorite things during quarantine. Having all these kids working their hearts out with me with willing hearts and loud music pumping? I don’t want to ever forget that.
We took advantage of that awesome weather while it lasted…then it stretched out into HOTness.
We redid Elle’s wedding announcements like forty-five times I swear:
Lucy finished the whole Harry Potter series. She listens when she reads alone, but we both so love when we get to read together, especially when we find old notes that Elle wrote when she read this series (that she STILL loves so much):
We got to volunteer at the local food pantry “storehouse:”
Spent more evenings than I can count out here:
Lucy amazed us with her basketball skills when Carson got her going one night.
I know she couldn’t see that basket in the dim light, but she swished ball after ball. We need to keep her going on that!
Max and Abby had the idea to watch Survivor which none of us jumped on at first…we’ve never watched it and it didn’t seem that appealing. But once we started we couldn’t stop!
We watched two full seasons and it was pretty interesting to discuss it all together.
My mom had a birthday…this is one of the many extended family Zoom calls we had:
LOVE these sisters:
More family church:
More exercise…all these kids huffing and puffing at my side during runs…why do I LOVE that so much? Something about it just made me so happy.
We stuffed the final product of Elle and Carson’s wedding announcements as we watched some Survivor.
Felt good to get those in the mail.
PHEW! Lots of things. But I’m so glad to have all that recorded in one spot.
Some of these I already mentioned, but I want to have these links of things that happened during that quarantine all together…we celebrated Easter (HERE), learned and were edified through General Conference (HERE), Elle went ahead and graduated from college (HERE), we re-worked wedding plans over and over again (HERE), and found a plan that worked (HERE).
In other gigantic news, as the lockdown started to loosen slightly, Grace got her mission call (HERE).
And Lucy got extensive back surgery (HERE).
These days were not slow ones. They were filled with life. With worry and sadness but also with beauty and goodness.
The world is still heaving, and we are all still grappling and learning. I was so worried I wouldn’t learn as much as I wanted to learn when we were finally safe to emerge from our cocoons of quarantine safety, but I guess with numbers still spiking, there’s still lots more to learn! Praying for all the leaders and healthcare workers and parents and businesses and all of us as we seek to figure things out in the middle of all of this.