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And now, pictures of Tom from the back

Of course, I have many, many pictures of Tom from the back, because he’s a lot faster and more active than me. But I feel like this past week has been something special.

The kids are doing an outing a day, after hitting the books (well…worksheets, mostly), and we’re running low on new places to explore. Fortunately the places we have visited have been empty, because apparently everyone else is smarter than us and staying inside. But everyone else does not have Tom.

(Also, shout out to Jeff, who fixed our hot tub just in time for stuff to shut down. Life is gonna be easier with that up and running. Jeff can fix stuff, for real, and it’s not anything I suspected when I married him. Bonus husband skills!)

Great Dismal Swamp

Newport News Park
Lake Drummond

Great Dismal Swamp was lovely and non-dismal as ever, but I always forget that there are no garbage cans there, and we always have Subaru with us, and Subaru always, always poops up a storm there. Like, he saves it up for this place. I have never known a bag that is so solidly sealable that you could put dog poop in it and keep it in your car without stinking the car up. So, as usual, I tied the poop bag to the bike rack. And forgot about it. For days. Until Jeff had to take his bike somewhere. And he didn’t even complain! Bless that man.

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At The Edge Of The World, Again

We went to Kiptopeke State Park today. It was a cold, misty day at the beach. The kids got nice and dirty and brought home a zillion sea shells. The bathrooms were closed, so we had to pee in the woods (not a fan!).We did not see another soul for the hour and half we were there. It felt like a win, and I don’t know how many of those we’re going to get in the next few weeks.

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The Olden Days

That was how my sisters would always describe any period of time between forty and a hundred years ago. “The Olden Days.” But they never divided that time period into the early or later Olden Days. It was all just the Olden Days. The pioneers lived in the Olden Days. So did the WW1 flying aces. And JFK. It was a very confusing time for me.

Anyways, last Monday, when the world was a bit different, I went on a field trip with the fourth grade to Colonial Williamsburg to learn about how people did stuff  in the Colonial Olden Days, and it was fun! We had a great, charismatic guide.

Here is Maria splitting wood (sort of):

We also saw a brick maker and the governor’s mansion. It was, in fact, my first trip there, despite having lived here eight-ish years. Maria loved it, too. We will totally go back (when it opens again).

The governor closed all the schools here on Friday afternoon, for probably a couple of weeks. Maria’s school is handing out work packets tomorrow afternoon. Tom’s school doesn’t have a plan yet. Obviously, Tom’s school is at a greater disadvantage here, because the kids at his school need a LOT of specialized support to learn (and Tom is no exception).

I ran out yesterday afternoon to pick up some last minute stuff. Everything was pretty crowded and life looked much the same, so, on the whole, I don’t think the residents of the Virginia peninsula are terribly concerned yet. I anticipate there are some real challenges ahead of us. I hope it doesn’t get so bad that we can’t go on hikes and bike rides.

Maria watches many Youtube channels, like many of her generation. Some of them are awesome. (Some of them I have had to ban for their sheer idiocy.) One of the awesome channels is called The Odd1s Out. It’s funny and sweet. (The guy also wrote a book that Maria and I bought and read. Quite amusing.) At one point he rants about how kids today don’t understand that once upon a time, you just turned on a TV and watched a show you couldn’t rewind, at the same time every week. She asked Jeff about this later, and I took a picture of him explaining it to her:

She stares at him, uncomprehending.

Tom is a Youtube fan, also, of course, but recently he started watching Team Umizoomi again, and his favorite episode is about a bunch of robots called Cleaning Gizmos, that run around cleaning stuff while chirping “Make Clean!” But then (plot twist!), the robots get switched from “Make Clean” to “Make Mess,” and run around messing everything up. So Team Umizoomi has to track them down and switch them back, using math. (Maria: “WHY WOULD A CLEANING ROBOT HAVE A MESSY SETTING? THAT MAKES NO SENSE!”)

The upside of all this is that he is enjoying being a cleaning gizmo.

He’s pretty good at vacuuming, but becomes alarmed when he accidentally vacuums up the wrong thing. (“Why is the vacuum smoking?” he asked today, after vacuuming up the edge of a blanket.)

Maybe this break from school will be an opportunity to work out our cleaning skills.

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Dogs and Cats Living Together…Mass Hysteria!

Sometimes Tabby and Subaru play fight, and in the middle of it, they just get tired and start snuggling.

Life is proceeding in an orderly fashion in spite of plagues, etc. It’s pretty quiet in Virginia.

Tom got a little robot for Christmas that he loves. It was one of those slow burn presents he didn’t really grasp when he first got it. And then one day he was, like, “Oh, look, a robot.”

He gives it rides in his little vehicles.

“You’re a pirate now!” he said.

He went to a model train show a few weeks ago, and was, of course, delighted:

Maria, meanwhile, got a nerf gun.

She shows no mercy to anyone.

Occasionally she reminds us that she’s cute.

It’s a good thing, too. She’s trouble.