Thursday, December 31, 2020

Have Yourself A Merry COVID Christmas

Christmas came just the same even with COVID swirling about our lives. Blessed to have happy and healthy kids at this moment and hopefully it will stay that way.


I got our Christmas cards out without much ado. Just that the cards were running late from Walgreens and the post office only had two books of Marian Christmas stamps. This year it took two takes of Christmas pics because of one unnamed rebel rouser - it wasn’t Lady C this time but of course she’s the ham of the group.


In years past we ALWAYS take our family Christmas pic in front of the tree at church but... COVID. I found out at noon on 12/23 that one of the preschoolers had an exposure on 12/18 - and we thought we had dodged the bullet. So that put our plans into a tailspin since we ALWAYS go to Grammy and Grandpa Joe’s after church on Christmas Eve. So all that got nixed. Papa took the big girls to church on Christmas Eve and our brave neighbor snapped the family pic before they left. You probably can learn a lot about a family when 1. Taking their picture and 2. When they are rushing to get out the door! J had been a screaming wreck all morning and was in his crib crying moments before the picture which is why he looks a mess but the Smarties he’s got semi- saved the day.


After church, we hung out and had an early dinner of homemade lasagna. It might be my favorite thing Lee cooks. It’s so good. Then we watched The Grinch and it was time for bed.


I said a number of times that I wouldn’t mind if we only put lights on the tree this year. I love sitting in the glow of Christmas lights. I eventually caved to A who was desperate to decorate it on the 26th. In the process I discovered C had thrown out her ornament she made at school - along with everything else in her party bag - and I could have cried.


The Christmas glow 


We are missing a few of sheep...


M’s stocking was backed and was a huge surprise for her! And a motivation for me to get As done - hahaha. I packed the stockings upside down. Candy first and bulky stuff last would have been the better technique but I’ve never had to solo pack stockings before - and hopefully I won’t have to either.


Christmas morning came with lots of excitement but everyone knows we don’t open presents until after breakfast and we try not to wake up siblings so I think everyone was around by 7:30? I did let them into their stockings when they woke up. They know there’s another Christmas PJ pic and of course Lady C steals the show!


After spaghetti squash egg bake - another Christmas only treat - it was gift time.


E thought an iPhone was wrapped up in this box - insert all the laughs - it was a FitBit.


This girl asked for new (specifically not hand me down cleats during the fall soccer season). We were perusing the cleats section online and she found some pretty expensive and very colorful cleats. Then she saw how much they were and decided she needed something not as $$$. So then I was on a mission to find them in budget - which I did on cyber Monday. Well ten days later I got an email saying the cleats didn’t actually exist in kids shoes sizes so my order was canceled. R would be the kids that it happened to. So I not so discreetly found a few of her other top choices. I will say it was the gift I was most excited to give and the one I was most let down about.


Not long after gifts A was ready to go out with his Nerf gun he cannot load because he’s left handed and his new overalls.


We had another quiet afternoon and evening with movies and dinner.


We missed Christmas with the cousins but Jibbe still came over a few days after Christmas for a few more gifts and dinner. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from all the food food we’ve had over the last week.


J wasn’t into opening presents. Pushing paper around and eating it were his priority.


Lee and I were given some pretty cool new appliances including a new mixer and a four slot toaster and a wine aerator.


The MagnaTiles were given to C but I think everyone has gotten in on the building action.

So it wasn’t like a Christmas we had had or even the COVID Christmas we had planned but we still celebrated and have lots and lots of reasons to be thankful.


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

St Nicholas 2020

Two and a half weeks before Christmas, St Nicholas stopped by. The big girls and I were coming home from swim meet number one of the month and church. Papa was supposed to be bringing C and the boys to church but two of them had runny noses so we opted to keep them home.


The advent project for the week was going through toys, desks, space - anything to find for St Nicholas to take. Next year we need to have a bit of ramped up effort I think but St Nicholas came just the same.


This should be the last year St Nicholas visits this chapel. Some time in the nearish future the addition will be started and the chapel will be right next to the garage - strategically placed for daily prayer time and no more traipsing upstairs every morning before school and praying you don’t step on a lego or Barbie shoe! Addition talk is for another time but I can tell you everything is purposeful and utilitarian about the whole thing.


The kid received their Christmas outfits - which I’ll have to get the older girls in on next year because they weren’t fans - all the eye rolls. Everyone got two packs of the same Pringles because Pascha baskets had a variety of flavors and mom had to hear all about that, sugary cereal to share - all crowd pleasers, the big girls received new coats which seeing Es reaction was great because she informed us weeks ago that she wasn’t going to wear her pink and orange coat from last year so she had been wearing a fleece and hoodie to school because it was getting cold and she was standing her ground on the coat. I told her she needed to add a coat to her (not a single toy) Christmas list (sign of the times, I was sad) so when the coat I had in my closet for a few weeks came early she was thrilled.


And of course there were plenty of gold coins to go around because that’s really what St Nicholas brought right? That and a great selfless example. 

Our family celebrates St Nicholas Day much differently than others - some people get their shoes or stockings filled with treats, some people have St Nicholas come on December 25 and leave presents under the tree. I’m not really sure how we got to this point of giving St Nicholas toys and other items to take to give to other kids and in return receiving a small mixed lot of goodies and clothes by everyone’s icon - but I can tell you, I love the tradition for our family and it makes me want to find other ways to celebrate the lives of the saints in our house so we can all be encouraged by their examples.




Monday, December 21, 2020

The Masked Swimmers - and other COVID swimming musing

Unmasked for racing of course but we have been blessed to go to two swim meets this month due to serious COVID masking and distancing during the meets.


The first weekend of the month the girls and I trekked out to Greensboro for a Friday night and Saturday morning meet. I wasn’t super thrilled about staying in a hotel but we did. The place was dead so that made me feel a bit better.


It was strange being in Greensboro because we were there nine months to the weekend - the first weekend in March - the last weekend that there wasn’t a care in the world about masking or distancing or anything. 


No spectators. A clerk of course. One timer per lane. All have been implemented at both meets we went to, in attempts to keep COVID at bay and allow kids to still participate in meets. Far from ideal but at this point we will take it.


This past weekend we headed down to Goldsboro. After the Greensboro meet I thought we’d be done for the year but the girls dropped a lot of time and wanted to do it. It worked out with our church schedule and we didn’t have to spend the night so that was that.

M has been hoping/dying to do the 500 free so she could earned the highly coveted swim bag - it’s earned on given. Her coach gave her the green light and she was on it. A seven year old doing 20 laps of free - in a race against 11 and 12 year olds - isn’t a huge deal I guess if they’ve practiced - and of course they swim double or triple that in a practice but it still makes me nervous. M was insane. She did awesome. She only finished a minute or so behind the 10 and 11 year olds in her heat. I wish I had the bag in hand to give it to her right after the race. Very proud of her and only have the above pic to prove it because I don’t know if you’re supposed to take pics on deck : )


Saturday rolled around and it was everyone to the meet except Papa who was on church pierogi fundraiser duty. Taking non swimmers to swim meets has never been the best of ideas but add some COVID action and they cannot come in. So I sent the girls in marked up with their events and wished them fast swimming.


A C and J and I settled into the park in front of the Y. Thank goodness for the novelty of new parks - except it was more like exercise area but we called it the park.


2.5 hours we spent out there with the occasional bathroom break and trot over to the window of the swim meet to catch the girls swim. They all swam in the same heat of 100 free - to which E reminded us she hadn’t swam in months. 


The eight sandwiches I made were all consumed before we left the parking lot. So we headed to CFA for a 30 count nugget and lots of chik fil a sauce. We shot over to Raleigh for church and made it home.

Sunday morning was cold and wet and made me especially appreciative of the nice weather we had with the littles because two hours of sitting around in the van would have been tortuous.


Overall for the two weekends of swim meets the girls took off tons of time and tried new events - R and the 100 fly, M and the 500 free. We are so grateful to have had a swim season at all during COVID. It has been a constant in our lives since June. While the girls practiced over the summer it gave me lots of time with A C and J to explore the parks and pond. Given the situation, I think we have made the best of it. The girls keep motivated (maybe sometimes because they earn screen time for going to practice - earned not given), they get to do something they enjoy and swim with their friends (and maybe chat more than they should when they are doing kick at practice). We are extremely blessed to have coaches who have made this happen for our family and all the RMY swimmers.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Fall 2020 Soccer

Well we survived the soccer season in the era of COVID. I will soccer has been a constant in our life since a while ago so it was good to get back to something ‘normal’ despite everything around us not being normal. 

The season started late and was compact thanks to COVID so when the whistle blew of the final game on Saturday it was a welcome sense of - phew we made it. The last week was particularly grueling with 9 games in 5 games and 5 of the games during the week which made for very very very cold games - as in I took a hair dryer to my cold feet and tried to warm them up.

E




E’s team wasn’t the best by any means but I do believe they learned a lot. They had a game of greatness in their second to last game so I think they lifted everyone’s spirits. E was desperate for a goal and after one was called back early in the season, I thought she’d knock one in but didn’t. She ages up to 11-12 in the spring so the field size will make a big difference.

R&M 




If there are two Kibbes who want to play on the same team it’s these two - and I love that for them. This was another season with my neighbor as assistant coach which is great. I think we balance each other well - although we are both super intense at times - hello second to last game. It’s always good to have someone to bounce things off of and step in. I think next season I’ll definitely be managing subs better/smarter. 

I think I learned a lot this year as a coach from this team and I think and hope the girls learned something too. R scored a goal early in the season and I basically couldn’t believe it. M scored a goal or two later in the season. Both begged to play forward all the time but we had a forward heavy team so M got put on defense more often then she liked.

Once the final whistle blew for the Cheetahs the fact remained - We never lost a game but we weren’t winners. We were second in our division. Four wins and two ties didn’t cut it. That’s what happens when it’s 2020 I guess.





As team was a tough case for me. I’ve never coached boys on a bigger field and I was nervous about it from the get go. Well I can say it’s the first losing season I’ve ever coached (all the 2020 references) and I have a newfound respect for the mercy rule and coaches who graciously player their better player in shifts. The TRexs (what’s the plural of TRex?) did win two games which was so good for the boys. Our last game was probably the best matched game even though we didn’t win. A wanted to score a goal so bad and he missed the game against the team he probably could have scored one. He was definitely one of the youngest kids out there - there were two boys on our team who seemed to tower over him. The older boys I could count on to mostly stay in their positions but in the end it sometimes turned out to be a cluster of eight boys around the ball. Even after the not so great outcomes I always asked the boys if they had fun and they said yes - so hopefully they did and maybe we can get some more skills learned in the spring.

C




Lady C. What can I say. The Butterflies were a force to be reckoned with. You never know what’s going to happen when a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds take to the field. Point in the right direction and hope for the best. Cs team was a fun group of girls. Fortunately there were a few who understood what to do so we had good leaders/examples of running the ball down the field and sometimes coming back in defense. There were somersaults and cartwheels and leveraging post game snack and of course shouting butterflies as loud as possible. C has an agenda of her own normally so on the soccer field it came out too. Sometimes she was into it other times she wasn’t but she was thrilled to be on ‘a team’ and wore her jersey proudly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Seven Quick Takes - Camping, Crafts, COVID

Linking up with Kelly ... I don't even know where to begin

---1---

Because it's 2020 and all things are completely insane.... The girls convinced me to say yes to taking them CAMPING with AHG. 


I can now say I've slept in a tent and I'd probably do it again actually - maybe 2021? 


The group was working on their horsemanship badge so we camped at the place where they were doing the riding. It was literally no more than 10 minutes from our house and it was only one night. 


We borrowed a ten from Uncle Kev - set up was dumb-easy. If I had to buy a tent I'd buy one like his. It was nearly as self-pop-up tent. We also used some friends sleeping pads to help save our backs : ) 


I did buy everyone headlamps which was a wise move. 


The next morning I ran out to get coffee/hot chocolate cups and may have snuck some Sheetz coffee back 


The girls got their riding and badgework in - in between soccer games.


She had a great time riding and hanging out with all her friends. 


I'm probably most proud of her because this is the kid who is scared of dogs and horses are like 25 times bigger than dogs : ) 

We packed up and headed home and I think I beat everyone to bed

---2---

All Saints Day


Our Lady of the Snows, Queen Esther, Saint Kateri 


They had a festival/party mid day and it was the talk of the town for the whole afternoon. Games and food. It was like a fall version of field day I think. I think they would have stayed all night if they could have. 


---3---

Then there was Halloween


I decorated! This might have been the only time Snoopy and Cookie Monster were on at the same time. Snoopy has a short in the cord and because I got it from Amazon warehouse 2019 there was nothing I could do about it. 


We had church 10/31 in the evening and I had no idea what the Halloween situation was going to be - it is usually hit or miss in our neighborhood. So I told the kids they could trick or treat in the house and I would be in the four rooms downstairs and they could knock on the door and I'd give them candy.  After popping out from behind the shower curtain the first time - everyone pretty much hated it. C still talks about being 'scary' and getting candy. I took E over to a friends house to watch an outdoor movie and there was definitely some trick or treating happening so next year we know where to go!

---4---

The adventures of A and C: 



Chasing geese around the field (we haven't seen them in a month)


Heading down to the pond to check out and feed the fish


We found ourselves with a bit more time on our hands in the last few weeks (thanks COVID) so after we did the big school drop we noticed a train was on the tracks near school so we took the time to get out and check it out. It probably sat for at least 5 minutes while we were there before slowly grinding up it's wheels and giving C a good scare. 

---5---

Crafting... probably one of my favorite mom duties - ha ha ha... 



M and her tube nose bat. I think they are from Australia. Her bat probably has some of the biggest eyes of the bat projects I've seen come out of this house. 


I've heard crafting with boys can be different. For A's turkey project I suggested a few themes and then went shopping so we could stay focused... 


On the Turkey Hulk!


The turkey was done before COVID up and changed plans so the boy and his Turkey Hulk coming as soon as he can present it. 

---6---

I found this in an old text and realized it was only seven months old. 
 

 




Crazy what seven month will do


All the hair! J is still as sweet as he can be. Not walking and has just started pulling himself of stuff. 

---7---

Lee and I celebrated 12 years earlier this month. 


It's been a wild ride of more ups than downs and adventures and kids and activity than either of us could have imagined. God has been so good to us. 



And just because it has been so long... 




I killed this insect at the park one afternoon. It was enormous. It is dead