Our Five Ring Circus: Life At Home 24/7

Friday, May 15, 2020

Life At Home 24/7

Big Family Life at Home During the Pandemic

As we head into the gazillionth week at home, life still seems so surreal! Nine weeks ago today was our last "normal" day, but as the day came to an end, we began to realize that life as we knew it was changing fast. I still can't seem to grasp the concept that THIS is our life now. 

Our area wasn't hit hard at all, so the quarantine seemed very strange, but we are slowly starting to open up. A lot of restrictions, like wearing masks in public, are still in place, and many people will continue to work from home for months to come. School is nearing an end, and at this point,  I am honestly praying that kids are able to return in the Fall! Truthfully, Welcome to the Sh*&show is pretty much our home motto these days!

I can't seem to bring myself to refer to this as our new normal anymore, because NOTHING about this is normal. We are getting by, and I am so thankful that my family and I are healthy and safe in our little bubble, but I still feel sadness over how everyday life came to an abrupt end. At this point, I just want this all to be over, and I want to return to life as we knew it. 

So here we are, nine weeks later! This all began in the middle of March, and we're now hitting the middle of May. Almost an entire season has gone by, and we're rapidly approaching a very uncertain Summer.

We are at home almost 24/7. We only leave when necessary. Shopping is very limited, we're saving so much money on gas, and we haven't been to school, work, or had any appointments in over 9 weeks. Our backyard has become the place to exercise, play, and escape. My weeks in review are a thing of the past, since there's not much to say! Then again, I guess there is a lot to say...it just isn't very exciting!

Life at home looks a little bit different for each of us. The one thing we have in common is that our emotions are all over the place! Some of us have adapted beautifully to a hermit lifestyle, while others are having a very difficult time. I think we can all agree that we can't WAIT to return to normal life!


Prior to the pandemic, Grant had the ability to work from home as needed, but obviously works best at the office. At first, the CEO said the return date would be April 30th (his company is nationwide). Then, it was June 1st, then July 1st, and now the CEO said late Summer/early Fall. Grant was told to expect to work from home until probably the middle of September. 

Honestly? A lot of their employees work remotely already, and I think they are realizing just how much money they are saving right now! It's working out OKAY right now, but Grant is the type of person who likes to be in the office, too. 

Grant usually wakes up a few hours before the rest of us 3 days a week, so he can work while the house is quiet, and often heads into our bedroom for his frequent conference calls. He usually can help out around the house as needed, but I'm not going to lie. There are some very stressful times while trying to juggle work and home and kids and homeschooling!

On Saturdays, Grant takes one of our kids for a drive, and he usually runs into the store to pick up a few necessities. It gets him out of the house for a little bit after a long week. He just got the news about the tentative return date today, so he was in a funk! Knowing that he will be home for the next 3-4 months hit him hard. I have a feeling we're going to have quite a few family hikes in our future just so he stays sane!


While Grant is the financial backbone of our family, and has to work hard to support us, I'm the one who is cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, shopping, trying to keep everyone happy, and keeping our lives running smoothly. I only leave to get groceries every two weeks. A lot of my sponsored posts were put on hold, and that's okay, because I was in a funk and didn't have the drive to write, but I do have a few upcoming ones. I'm not quite sure how I'll get it done, but I'll figure it out! 

Honestly, I'm not adapting all that well. Our usual on the go lifestyle suits my personality, and I am becoming very stressed and overwhelmed most days. There is definitely more time to organize, exercise, and read. My priority is keeping my family happy and healthy, while staying sane, so I occasionally escape to the car for a few minutes or take a bath before I snap!

Lexie and I started working out together, so we do a daily HIIT routine outdoors while watching the little kids play, and I also added weights to my routine. I miss running at the park, but I figure as long as I'm home, I'll make fitness one of my daily activities! I have been making my way through many books, taking lots of pictures, and making improvements around our home. 

There's really no rhyme or reason to my days. Everything is a whirlwind that just blurs together, and leaves me exhausted by the time I fall into bed in the middle of the night, and I haven't even gone anywhere. I love my family fiercely, and I'm grateful for the extra time I was given with just them, but I'm not made to be a hermit. I'm doing my best, and enjoying the time spent with them, but the truth is, I miss my usual overly busy life. I miss my family. And I miss my friends. I do see my parents, and had a few brief spaced out encounters with a few of my closest friends, so that helps a little bit! A whole lot of Amazon shopping helps, too!


Other than not getting to see his friends, Dylan's life hasn't changed all that much. He was already home for cyber school, so the forced closure of public school had no effect on him. He continued with his work, just in a much louder home!

Dylan is definitely missing seeing his girlfriend frequently, and hanging out with his best friend, but he's coping surprisingly well. He helps my parents with their yardwork, and while he's there, he skateboards around their neighborhood. If anything, the quarantine encouraged him to focus on his favorite hobby even more!

Dylan was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and started therapy in late Fall. He attempted teletherapy and hated it, so he hasn't had an appointment in weeks. I was worried, but like I said, he is doing well. He just can't wait to hang out with his friends again!


Out of all of our kids, Lexie adapted to homeschooling and life at home the quickest and easiest. She loves school, and misses her teachers and friends, but eventually got the hang of online schooling. She is completely self-sufficient when it comes to her school work, and she is utilizing FaceTime a lot. I think her easy-going personality really helps!

Lexie started working out with me just before this all began, and continued through the quarantine. She has been rearranging her room, which she now shares with Liam, and spending a lot of time working on different makeup looks. She is a wee bit obsessed with TikTok dances, and got back into playing Just Dance.

Lexie is my little helper. She has a way with Liam, so she often helps with his schooling and therapy sessions. She also took over the dishes, completely on her own free will, so we bumped up her allowance a bit. Lexie is just such a blessing to me during all of this. I would be flailing without her!


Lily is having the most difficult time. She is a very social, outgoing child who loves school, hanging out with friends, and tumbling and cheer. She is missing her teacher and friends so much...especially her best friend, Charlie, whom she has known since birth, and has seen almost daily for the past two years! 
Missing her weekly tumbling sessions with Charlie is hard enough on Lily, so I am praying cheer doesn't get canceled this year!

As for online schooling...what can I say? Lily HATES it! Being at home 24/7 has turned Lily into an anxious, angry child, and that just isn't who she is. She keeps telling me that she is made that the year ended so quickly, because she had the best teacher ever, and didn't get to say goodbye. (I understand that!) Online schooling brings out the worst in her. Even though she is very smart, she gets SO mad at the computer, and ends up yelling and crying almost daily. She is currently at my parent's house so she can do her schooling in peace, with different "teachers." Her grades are still very good, but I just want my sweet, loving, happy Lily back!

One positve that came out of this quaranatine for Lily is the room switch. She now shares a room with Coen, who really doesn't use his room much at all, so Lily is loving having the room mostly to herself! She is so excited to have Charlie over for a sleepover as soon as possible!


Oh, my sweet Liam. His life was completely turned on end, and he just doesn't understand. He can't comprehend why we are at home, why he hasn't been into a store or visited a favorite park in months, and why home is suddenly school and therapy, too. 

Liam was having a great time in first grade with his amazing team. His general ed teacher and special ed teacher are truly wonderful, and his para is one of his favorite people ever. As we walked away from the school doors on that Friday in March, and Liam mumbled "See you Monday" to her, and enthusiastically waved goodbye, he had no idea that day would never come. My heart just breaks for him because he is confused, and I can't explain it to him.

Like Lily's teacher, Liam's teachers are doing an incredible job in this nightmarish situation. They have gone above and beyond, and we are so grateful. Liam's schedule was just very booked between a daily virtual session with his special ed class, Occupational Therapy on Mondays, Speech Therapy on Tuesdays, Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy on Thursdays, and Social Skills and a Zoom meeting with his general ed class on Fridays, along with his daily online work, writing, and apps.

It is a LOT. We kept up with it for weeks, but this week, I said enough. Each day, it was a struggle to get him to participate, so we stopped teletherapy for OT, PT, and social skills. Instead, they are sending us activities each week, and I'm sending them a progress report. We plan on having a session with each of them at the end of the month. 

It worked! Our week went so much better, Liam had quite a few positive learning experiences, and we noticed a lot more conversational speech and clear words! I'll share more later, but now we're debating whether it would be smart to hold him back in the Fall since he is one of the youngest in his grade, or move him on to first grade. 

Other than schooling and therapy, which takes up hours of our time, we are spending so much time outdoors. We are at the point where it is our only escape, so we head out even if it's raining. Liam had some sleep issues for a few days (there's a story there that deserves its own post), but he seems to be adjusting! We are not doing ESY (Extended School Year) this year, and I can't even think about the possibility of a delayed return to school in the Fall. (Please, NO!)


I definitely worry about Coen, since he is so young. I try to give my babies so many experiences, and Coen is just missing out. There haven't been trips to the park or library in over two months. He turned 1 just before this hit, so all of his toddler life has been spent at home. He hasn't really seen many people. What is he going to think about his return to real life?

I do miss my time with my sweet baby. I enjoyed our daily runs at the park and our Monday morning shopping trips, but those were just taken away so abruptly. I do hope he adapts once it's safe to take our kids into public again!

Like I mentioned before, Coen's seizures/episodes really kicked in just before this all began, so we've been on our own over the past two and a half months. He has had four since returning home from the hospital, so we really need to get a neurology appointment scheduled, and possibly the longer EEG when it's safe. (I will hopefully share about what is going on next week.)

Other than that, Coen is healthy and thriving. He is growing so fast! He loves playing outside, and has turned into quite a little daredevil. We love watching him discover new things each day, run faster with each passing week, and we love hearing him talk!


The majority of life is spent at home and online these days! Between work, homeschooling, and social media, we log in a lot of hours online. The outdoor breaks help, but we do rely on a lot of extra screen time! 

As for social media, I just have to say the snooze button on Facebook is my best friend! I am stressed enough without all the political posts and conspiracy theories. To each their own, but I don't want to see it! Show me families, kids, babies, and pets, and I'm happy. I just want to see the GOOD.

So definitely more outdoor time, but also a lot more screen time. I'm not quite sure it's perfectly balanced, but nothing about this situation is sustainable or ideal!


As I mentioned before, our area in Pennsylvania started to slowly reopen. More businesses are open, but many people are still working from home (like Grant), we still have to wear masks in public, and large gatherings are still prohibited. 

Nothing much is going to change for us. We might see more friends and family (cautiously of course), but we won't be taking our kids to stores or restaurants for quite some time. I do fear that our Summer is going to be very restricted, and I also fear that our beach vacation isn't going to happen for the second year in a row. I'll just continue to fill our home and yard with lots of fun things for our kids in the meantime! If anything, we will also spend a lot of weekends hiking!

During all this, we are making our way through house projects and home improvements. On Monday, a big dumpster is arriving so we can spend the week getting rid of unneccessary items in our home. We're going to have so much more space when we're done! I can't wait! After that, we'll be working on painting, a few minor renovations, and a few more projects. That is one thing I'm definitely happy about - the ability to pause life and focus on our home!

This situation sucks, but I keep reminding myself to stay optimistic, take it day by day, and just keep swimming. We are happy, healthy, and safe at home. We're definitely ready to cautiously and slowly venture back into our normal lives, but realize we need to take a wait and see approach. We are in this together, and we'll get through it!

Has your state opened up yet? How is life at home going for you?

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