The 55 Stages of COVID Grief.

1. When you first hear of other countries’ lockdowns.

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2. Reading the new rules that apply to you. Every day.

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3. What you think of the rules when you first hear them.

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4. Arguing with the new rules.

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5. Realizing the rules are happening with or without you.

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6. When you find out you’re non-essential.

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7. When you realize you’re actually essential.

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8. Resolution that this is us.

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9. Determination.

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10. Doing what needs to be done.

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11. Denial.

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12. Every day, every news story.

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13. Surely there’s something we can do to fix it.

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14. Worst case scenarioing to make yourself feel better.

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15. Remembering relaxation is actually what you always wanted.

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16. Attempting to enjoy the relaxation.

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17. Reading too many articles.

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18. Trying to sort out what’s true.

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19. Thinking you had it all sorted out.

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20. Realizing you definitely didn’t.

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21. Having a news hangover.

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22. Realizing that every day has 24 hours that you will spend in your house.

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23. Accepting it.

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24. Realizing you will see no one but your spouse for the next 13 months.

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25. Renewing your physical touch consent agreement with your spouse.

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26. Accidentally seeing news.

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27. Perfecting laziness.

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28. Regretting laziness.

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29. Finding yourself talking to the inanimate objects in your house, and giving them new personalities.

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30. Realizing you have to go to the grocery store.

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31. Wondering if you can ask your doctor for a three-month coma.

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32. On your 153rd text to your best friend before 10am on Monday.

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33. Remembering what it was like to go to a restaurant.

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34. Telling yourself it will get better.

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35. Losing all sense of time, space, purpose.

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36. Crafting the grief away.

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37. Trying to figure out what you miss the most.

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38. Describing your complex feelings to your family.

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39. Bargaining.

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40. Depression.

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41. Acceptance.

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42. Rebellion.
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43. Being informative on Facebook.

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44. Not actually replying to informative friends.

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45. Being Judgy McJudgerson on Facebook.

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46. Not actually replying to judgmental friends.

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47. Being whiny on Facebook.

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48. Not actually replying to whiny friends.

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49. When you forget for just a minute…then remember.

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50. When your former life no longer exists.

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51. When your spouse arrives home from work.

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52. Forgetting completely how to people.

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53. Your daily undoing.

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54. When this is all over, how we wish we could greet every stranger we see on the street.

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55. How we will actually greet people for the rest of our quirkaparanoid lives.

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A Social Distancing Fail of the Most Fascinating Variety.

Spring has sprung here in Birmingham. Flowers are blooming and trees are filled with pinks and whites and greens. It makes me wistful when we walk around our neighborhood, as seeing the trees around us makes me remember all the trees I can’t see right now at the Botanical Gardens, and Aldridge Gardens, and pretty much everywhere else.

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I mean, we only get like three weeks of Spring in Alabama and then BAM it’s 95 degrees. We don’t have Spring to Spare on Quarantine.

But here we are.

And we are determined to make the most of it.

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(Some more than others.)

(Noah, who normally begs me to take him out every single day to do fun things, is ironically absolutely THRIVING in Quarantine. He gleefully told Chris on our nightly walk, “I LOVE QUARANTINE!!!” then followed it up with “If we didn’t have quarantine, then Mo Willems wouldn’t have started his Lunch Doodles series. And if he hadn’t started Lunch Doodles, then I wouldn’t have become an author!!”)

(Because yes, Noah wrote and illustrated his first book Tuesday. And didn’t sleep Tuesday night because his mind was so abuzz with ideas for the sequel. He’s also built cities out of cardboard boxes, drawn endless pictures, read many books, and in general has proven himself as not an extrovert or an introvert, but clearly a quaranvert.)

(There are even “Coming Soon” posters tacked throughout our house.)

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We’re making the best of it.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have moments of anxiety or frustration or NEEDING JUST A MOMENT TO ONE’S SELF. But I haven’t, as yet, resorted to THE SITUATION found yesterday by one of Ali’s friends, as she was walking through her backyard.

Her parents sent me a picture and I was so amazed that I had to go see it, and photograph it, for myself.

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****TRIGGER WARNING****

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****THERE WILL BE SNAKES****

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****BUT REALLY AWESOME SNAKES DOING AWESOME SNAKEY THINGS****

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****THAT WILL MAKE YOU THANKFUL FOR SOME SNAKES****

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****SO PUT ON YOUR BIG BOY UNDERWEAR (or big girl panties but I find men are more squeamish than women in general)****

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****AND LOOK AT THIS AMAZING NATURE OCCURRENCE. ****

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You ready now?

It was a King Snake and a Copperhead, not at all practicing social distancing.

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And furthermore, the King Snake was EATING THE COPPERHEAD.

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I have not once considered eating my children or any other humans, so I’m going to go ahead and consider that a win.

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But getting to photograph this amazing exchange of nature made my day, my week, my quarantine. And when I do feel the urge to eat someone, I’ll remember how happy these snakes made me (and my hostess.)

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And this is your reminder that King Snakes are better protection than your Golden Retriever. Thank your King Snakes, y’all.

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p.s. If you want to see how big the Copperhead started out, here was the picture my friend sent me as the King Snake started his meal:

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Tasty, no?

Homeschooling Tips for the Quarantined.

I’ve had some readers ask me to write a tips post on homeschooling for those of you who very suddenly found yourselves involuntarily in such a situation, thanks to COVID-19, who is apparently homeschooling’s hardest lobbyist. There are a ton of resources already floating around about that, though, so I’m not going to retread a lot of ground. However, I do have 10ish years worth of homeschooling posts peppered into my blog, but seeing as how I have 2,355 blog posts, I get how it might be hard to find the ones that are helpful RIGHT NOW. So first I’m going to start off with a couple quick notes, then I’m just going to give you a link index of some posts that you might find helpful.

Tips for RIGHT NOW:

  • Don’t panic about cramming in a bunch of education right now. It’s a weird time. We’re all distracted. Focus is nearly impossible. You can’t possibly be expected to accomplish a perfect school day. Relax. Enjoy the forced break. Do fun stuff. Be creative. Don’t worry about getting in every subject.
  • Use the resources being provided by wonderful people for this crisis. Our favorite is Mo Willem’s daily lunch doodles.
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    His voice is so lovely and soothing and his doodles are so fun. We have been looking forward to doodling with Mo every day. James Spann also did a live Science/Weather show today, and it is available to rewatch – it was excellent and I highly recommend it for when you need an hour for the kids to watch something educational while you get stuff done – and it totally counts for science for one day – maybe two.
    Feel free to list the resources you’ve found in the comments!
  • iPad education is awesome. Khan Academy is fantastic for Math and Grammar, and totally free. There are many games for math, spelling, reading, grammar, and more. Kids learn exceptionally well via fun, so why not have some fun.

Links to old posts that might inspire you:
(Disclaimer: These posts are only if you NEED things to do. Do not feel pressure to do ANY of these things. I just told you to relax, remember??)

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215 Read Aloud Books

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  • Playing store is a fun and engaging way to teach math, commerce, bargaining, price gouging, toilet paper shortages and more.

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  • This is old, but here is my first and  second list of iPad educational apps. There are probably lots of better learning apps now, but it’s a start.
  • Here are a few fun ways I encouraged writing letters when my little ones didn’t like to do so, including making a secret code for them to solve, or teaching them how to use invisible ink (with white crayons and watercolor paint.)IMG_0297.jpg
  • Here’s another fun Geography project – tracing the map, then quizzing everyone on what states they’ve visited and making a legend. This would be a fun thing to do to keep in contact with family members right now too – get your kids to call their grandparents, ask them what states they’ve visited, and start a conversation about those trips.IMG_2515.jpg
  • Speaking of Geography, this is the post behind my most watched YouTube video of all time, and it’s not just because of all of my personal re-watches because I love hearing Baby Ali pronounce the states (okay maybe half the watches are mine.) But this is a great time to learn all the states – so why not?

(Okay I had to stop and watch it again. It almost made me want another baby.)

That should be enough to keep you busy EVEN THOUGH I started out this post telling you to CHILL OUT and relax. So you do you. And don’t feel any pressure. Let’s all take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. Except not in the direction of another person.

(And feel free to ask any questions in the comments.)