Our Five Ring Circus: Social Distancing Through Summer with a Bajillion Kids

Monday, June 29, 2020

Social Distancing Through Summer with a Bajillion Kids

Social Distancing Through Summer with a Bajillion Kids

2020 has been quite a year! It was looking so good for the first 2 1/2 months, then it all went downhill from there. Just when things started looking up, the uncertainty hit again! After 3 full months of social distancing, we're now facing a very monotonous Summer of continued social distancing.

We have been very lucky where we live, because we haven't had many cases. In a sense, I feel like our community is sheltered, and doesn't understand the impact this virus is having around the rest of the country. Our state acted quickly with mandatory social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines, and I believe it helped protect us. A few weeks ago, we moved to the "green phase" with fewer restrictions, and now cases are rising again all over the country. Coincidence? I think not!

My family never really stopped practicing social distancing, but we were starting to cautiously spend time with some family and friends who are living similar social distancing lifestyles. Now, neighboring counties are starting to reinstate some restrictions, and I have a feeling we're next. The little hope I had for a "normal" Summer with our kids is rapidly disappearing!

Social Distancing is definitely difficult for a big family, but we have to do it to keep our family healthy, and to protect our two youngest family members. Liam technically would be classified as having a compromised immune system. He doesn't get sick too often, and we don't have to deal with health issues, but there is always a chance that an illness will hit him very hard and land him in the hospital. And Coen is still a baby, who has only been sick once (other than those seizures). 

I'm not going to sugar coat it. Staying home with five kids is HARD. Each day feels the same as the day before. We all have cabin fever, and we are feeling depressed about the current situation. So many times I just want to throw in the towel, and face the virus head on, but that's not really the responsible thing to do. I would be putting my convenience above the safety of my family, and above the safety of my community. I just keep telling myself that this is unprecedented times. It is difficult for all of us, and we're all in this together! 

Is it a nuisance? Of course! Do I know all the answers? Absolutely not! Are the guidelines going to continuously change as we learn more about this virus? Definitely! This completely sucks, and my kids don't understand why we are being so cautious, but when this all ends, I want to be able to say we did all we could to keep our family - and our community - safe!

Here's how we are currently social distancing this Summer with our bajillion kids (it just has a better ring to it than saying five), and what we're planning to do to make the Summer as fun as possible...



Grant is lucky enough to be able to work from home! (He is a department manager for a mortgage title recording company.) His company shut their office back in March, and he has never returned. He was supposed to go back to the office at the end of April, then it got changed to May, then it got changed to July 1st, then it got changed to late Summer/early Fall. This past week, they announced they will not be bringing employees back to the office until...2021!!! Grant was informed that he might permanently work from home, because depite the chaos of five kids, he is doing his job very well remotely! It definitely is a huge lifestyle change for all of us, but it is saving us gas money, and we have more time with him!


I am completely overwhelmed by this situation. I'm trying to keep all the tiny humans happy, occupied, and healthy, keep our house (lived in 24/7 by 7 people) clean, keep the kids quiet during the day so Grant can work, and try to find the time and energy to tackle blogging and sponsored content. The only break I get from the kids is when I go to the grocery store each week. Literally. My teenagers stay up most of the night, so when I go to bed, they are still up, and I am woken up by a little kid every morning. We are a mask-wearing family, mainly because it was required by our state for several months, and we just never gave up the habit, but we decided I will be the one who handles the grocery shopping alone. I am reading a lot more, tackling middle of the night organization projects, and working out five days a week. Over the past month, I added weights and yoga back into my routine! Honestly, exercise is the only thing keeping me sane. Our days at home are long and busy, and I never seem to have enough time to get everything done.


Dylan was already used to life at home, thanks to cyber school! He is really into skateboarding again, so he spends a lot of time skating around and practicing tricks. We do let him occasionally skate around with a friend whose family is at home. Dylan is surprisingly aware for a 15 year old boy. He wears a mask, uses hand sanitizer, and thinks about germs. He misses his friends, but thankfully, he doesn't fight our restrictions.


Lexie loves hanging out with her friends so she's having a tough time not seeing them. She occasionally sees her best friend whose family is at home, but she hasn't seen any other friends since March. It's really hard on her! She's trying to keep busy at home, but she is getting very bored! Her cousin/best friend is coming home this week. It has been a year since she last saw her. Initially, the girls were not going to be allowed to hang out, but we're going to find a way to (carefully) make it work!


Lily is having a really tough time understanding all of this! She hated online learning, and she misses all of her friends. A few weeks ago, her tumbling/cheer gym opened back up. They have a lot of restrictions in place (temp checks, lots of hand washing, limited gym capacity, no family allowed in the building), so we decided to let her get a bit of normalcy in her life! She is supposed to start cheerleading for her school team in July, but I feel like that's all up in the air depending on if cases continue to rise and what the back to school plan is. We just have to take it day by day!


Liam has not been in public since March 13th! The only place he has gone was to my parent's house, and that's it. He can't comprehend this situation at all. He has no idea why he stopped going to school so abruptly, he doesn't know why he can't see his teachers, friends, and family, and he can't figure out why everyone is home and why our overly busy family no longer goes anywhere. We spend a lot of time outside, and he gets bored very easily. As you can imagine, having a child who has extra needs during all of this is tough. He isn't receiving any necessary therapy right now (although we are making lots of progress on some skills at home which is awesome), and I truly have no idea what to do about going back to school. He NEEDS to be in a structured school setting, but I'm not convinced it's going to be safe. One big hurdle is that he has sensory issues, and will NOT wear a mask. He has a first grade class picnic coming up, and I'm not certain he will be able to go. 


Like Liam, Coen has not been in public, other than to go to his 15 month well exam. He has been in quarantine for 1/4 of his life now. When he spots someone passing by while we are playing outdoors, he follows behind them waving, and saying hello! Poor kid just wants to socialize! Coen doesn't know what's going on, so this just feels normal to him. Out of all of our kids, Coen is handling social distancing the best!

Our lives have changed so much in the past few months, and life isn't going back to normal anytime soon!

  • Grant and I are the only ones who go to the store or run errands. There have been a few exceptions with our older kids who are knowledgeable and responsible, but it doesn't happen often!
  • We used to have social gatherings every Friday and Saturday night. Now we see just a few people - only those who are working from home and social distancing. I haven't seen my siblings since before March. Grant hasn't seen his family in months. We can't be around his 95 year old grandma. I see my parents regularly because we help them do things around the house, but that's it. I'm missing my best friends SO much. 
  • All kids' activities are on hold, other than Lily's weekly tumbling class.
  • We wear masks every time we enter a public place. (We don't wear them outdoors.)
  • We don't go out to eat. We have ordered takeout a few times, but that's it. 
  • I canceled all non-essential appointments.
  • We are saving so much money on gas, because we don't go anywhere. 
  • We haven't really gone hiking or exercised on paths. I tried it once, and it was PACKED. There was no way to social distance. 
  • We typically spend the Summer visiting all the parks in the area, hanging out at the spray park, swimming, going to the library, and visiting zoos and museums. I worry about the cleanliness of playgrounds (Liam and Coen touch everything then touch their faces), the public pools aren't accepting memberships/non-residents or have way too many restrictions, the library is still closed, and we're skipping busy zoos and museums, because yet again, the littles touch everything.
  • Vacation is completely up in the air. We didn't go last year because Coen hated to travel, so we need to figure something out.
  • We have to make hard decisions. We have to attend a graduation party for a dear friend on Friday. I'm not quite certain we will be taking Liam or Coen. It sucks, but we have to do what's best for them!
  • As for school in the Fall? Who the heck even knows?!? I told myself I'm not allowed to worry about that yet or spend my Summer overthinking those decisions!

How We're Making A Socially Distanced Summer Fun For Our Kids

Truthfully, this Summer is just going to be different and not as much fun. There is NOTHING we can do to change that, especially if the things that are open begin to close again. Ultimately, staying healthy is what matters most, so we're doing what we can to have fun at home!
  • More movie nights! We have been eating dinner in the living room while watching movies/TV shows at least 4 nights a week. 
  • Cook/Bake together. We now plan fun themed meals. Our recent favorites were bar food night, with foods cooked in our new air fryer, and Waffle Bar night. (SOOOOO good!)
  • Enjoy our backyard! Usually, we don't spend much time in our backyard over the Summer, because we're too busy going places and socializing. Our backyard is getting a LOT of use while we're social distancing. Suddenly I'm very grateful for our plastic jungle out there!
  • Camp out on our sun porch. Our kids love to camp out on the trampoline, but I don't like worrying about them all night. It's much more fun, and much less stressful on our enclosed sun porch!
  • Go to a drive in! I don't think we have ever taken our kids to a drive in, but it's definitely on our to do list this year!
  • Instead of vacationing at a hotel right on the beach, we're looking for a quiet beach house, and probably not going until September.
  • We really wanted to get a bigger pool, but they are impossible to find, have extremely delayed shipping, OR they are super expensive. I'm still looking though!
  • Go for hikes on quieter trails on weeknights. It's just a given that trails are going to be packed on weekends. We're going to give family hikes a shot again, this time around dinnertime. 
  • Have a picnic. Grab some convenient foods, pack a blanket, and have a picnic in a wide open space!
  • Right now, I'm really wishing we had a camper or RV. JUST saying!
  • If all else fails, just enjoy the extra time together in the comfort of air conditioning and do what we want, when we want...just at home!

I truly hope it's not a long, monotonous Summer, and that the situation in our country starts to improve. I'm preparing for the worst case scenario, though! It's going to be tough, it isn't going to be as much fun as previous Summers, but as long as we're safe, healthy, and together, that's all that matters!

Big Family Blog

What do you have planned for the rest of this now uncertain Summer?

You might also like:

Why We Opted Out of Extended School Year (ESY)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you! Let's chat!!!