First dentist appointment

Conor watched his big either with great interest at the dentists office and did well himself.
I also cut off 9 inches of quarantine hair.


And we went on a fun 3 mile hike to some ruins on Mt Tom  the ruins are from days when there was a high end hotel on the Mountain, back in Holyoke’s heyday.
Finally Kaitlyn (KK) finishes up 1.5 years of nannying with us. She is going back to school. We are excited for her but miss her. She invited us over to her house for a goodbye celebration.

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Family ring

look at my new bling! Ive always thought it would be cool to have a birthstone ring. My Grandma Jean who just passed away had one. Since I only have three kids (plenty!) and two of their birthstones are blue, I added Jordan and me too.   The order from top to bottom is Erin Elliott Jordan Natalie Conor  

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Date!!!

Elliott and I got a pre-second grade date in! Indoor rock climbing with masks. There was hardy anyone there.  And we took a long break outside on the sidewalk where E just chatted to me in the son. He is really good. He kept trying to Boulder (aka no rope) which is so hard but he was good. I love him.

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Conor – 19.5 months old – and update on SY20-21

Conor is so cute.  And high maintenance.  There’s so many funny things that happen with me… and then there’s so many things that make you grimace too.

Funny

  • He started this new game where after you lay him down to sleep he runs to the edge of the crib in his sleep sack with the biggest cheesiest grin to tell you good night.
  • In the morning, when we get him after he wakes up, he scoots to the opposite side of the crib and says “no, no, no” because he wants his white noise off.
  • We have a step button that turns on a light in his room, which he loves to turn on and off…. he sees his dad turn off the white noise with his toe (its on the ground, you slide it), so he tries to step on the white noise machine to turn it on and off too.
  • He loves to climb… he’s been pulling himself up on the smallest edges of cupboards to be taller.

Funny and Grimace combined

  • He saw me use a oven mitt to move a pot so he wanted to do the same too… unf, it was my oven mitt and my stove top.  Not his play kitchen one!
  • Although he’s not really a mama’s boy compared to how Elliott was, he can be super possessive.  He usually shoves everyone else a way when I’m holding him and they come up for a hug or good night kiss.  Today he yelled “my mama”.  Then, when I brought him upstairs, he proceeded to say “my dada,” “my nana,” (that’s Natalie), and “my Eeee,” even though he had just refused to give them a hug.
  • He loves playing with chapstick and deodorant.  Its so cute to see him put it on his nose, but so irritating that he over-smears and digs his hands in there, so I can never find a good one.
  • He loves airplanes.  After one flies overhead, he always asks for “more, more.”
  • He loves riding bikes and going fast down our big hill.  He has now started to ask for “more, more” for that too – did I mention the hill is really big!?  It’s tough to pedal to the top, but so worth it for the high-pitched “Whee!”
  • On bike rides, he taps my back when he is done with his snack up… rests his feet on my bike seat when I’m standing up trying to get up the hill…. and plays with a zipper I have on the back of my shirt… and one time, tried to stick his hands down my undies.

Grimace

  • He loves to run and climb… he face planted into stone steps today and got a huge bump on his forehead to accompany his black eye, which we’re not even sure how he got.
  • He triumphantly throws food on the ground when he’s done, including applesauce.  UGH.
  • He throws markers and crayons on the ground just to make a mess.

He loves reading.  His favorite books are Otis (thanks to the Phipps family!), The Cool Beans (Thanks Grandma!), and Blue Truck (thanks Elliott hand-me-downs).  I’m super impressed b/c those are longer reads – we don’t always make it through.  I’ve also been reading a lot of Good Morning God and Five Little Ladybugs.

And, I do have other kids too… I wish I got to spend more one-on-one time with them.  Elliott and I have been reading Harry Potter The Half-Blood Prince (book 2), which he found at Grandma’s house from when Leah’s old collection.  Natalie is always up for joining Conor and me for a bike ride or a walk… and I would love to bake with her more.

Natalie and Elliott’s school is delayed 2 weeks this year due to needing extra training for teachers.  Then, their first week will be remote and then after that, they should go two days a week (Thurs and Fri).  They will have peers on Mon/Tues in their rooms, so their classes will essentially be life-streamed.  I cannot imagine how this works well.  Wed Am will be remote for all, with self-paced / independent work in the afternoon.  About 50% of parents aren’t even sending their kids back.  This is such a crazy time, as a kid, as a parent, and then as a district administrator.  It’s so busy, and there’s not one right answer.  Everyone needs prayers.  We just did our back-to-school supply shopping online (Target and Amazon) – not nearly as fun.

I’ve been championing back-to-school personal responsibility pledges for students, parents/guardians and staff.  Here’s what I wrote for Holyoke… like I said, what a crazy time.

Elementary Students

We must work together to keep everyone safe.  I promise to do my part.  

  • I will try my best in school everyday.
  • I will let an adult know if I need help.
  • I will stay home if I am sick. 
  • I will wear a mask/face covering.
  • I will stand 6-feet apart from others when at school or in public. 
  • I will wash my hands a lot.

Secondary Students

We must work together to keep ourselves, families, peers, teachers, staff, and community as safe and healthy as possible.  A combination of actions will reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  I must also be an active learner and care about my education.  I pledge to do my part.  

If/when I am learning remotely.

  • I will have a dedicated space to do my school work as best as I am able.
  • I will take good care of the device (e.g. Chromebook, iPad) given to me.
  • I will let my teacher or parent/guardian know if I need a certain material or if I need help.
  • I will try my best in school every day.  I will be on time.  I will pay attention to my teachers.  I will submit assignments on time. 
  • I will contact my teacher/school if challenges arise so we can work together to resolve them.  

If/when I am attending school in-person.

  • I will work with my parent/guardian to conduct a health and symptom screening (CDC, MA DPH) before I go to school each day. 
  • I will stay home from school when I am sick.  If I have any of the following symptoms, I must CONTACT MY HEALTH CARE PROVIDER AND SCHOOL NURSE and get a COVID-19 virus test prior to returning to school or remain at home in isolation for 14 days. Here are MA test sites. (DESE Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 Protocols
    • Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
    • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
    • Muscle aches or body aches
    • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
    • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms
  • If a family member or I test positive for COVID-19, I will remain at home until cleared to return to school.  
  • I will let my teacher know if I need help or if a challenge arises.
  • I will follow and support the guidelines outlined in Holyoke’s return-to-school plan, especially wearing a face covering/mask, practice social distancing, and washing my hands frequently.  

When I am not at school/work.  

  • I will be a responsible citizen and do my best to follow the health and safety guidelines in MA. 
    • Wear a face covering/mask that covers my mouth and nose.
    • Social distance from others who are not in my immediate circle.
    • Wash hands and use hand sanitizer frequently.
    • Avoid large gatherings and adhere to the travel order requirements.
    • Keep my immunizations current, including flu vaccine by Dec. 31.

***Contact your health care provider and school nurse if you or a household member has or may have COVID-19. Call our hotline at 413.561.0862 with questions.***

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Baby Ellie

Natalie got Baby Ellie for her second birthday.  She took such good care of her baby.  One time, we went to Florida and Baby Ellie stayed at home.  She spent over 30 minutes comforting Baby Ellie and Baby Kathy.  Watch this video: http://linvilleusa.com/2012/12/ready-to-be-a-big-sister/.

A few weeks ago, Conor tore into Natalie’s American Girl doll area, which hasn’t been otherwise used much.  He’s not quite as natural at taking care of Baby Ellie as Natalie, and Natalie has done a good job being patient with Conor.  Sometimes, instead of putting her in the crib, he puts her perpendicular and she’s laying on the cross bars.  Other times, he gets mad at her when her eyes are closed (which is every time she is laying down).  Often, he gives Baby Ellie to me to take care of, as if I need another thing to hold.

Conor and I went on a walk this morning.  Here’s all the different ways he cared for her.  The pics didn’t upload in the right order

3. There, there, baby. I gotcha.

4. Gotta run. See you later.

5. You’ll be safe in there.

1. How can you turn your head around 180 degrees?

2. I’m a good daddy

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Old Saybrook

  1. ?
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3rd grade Poems by Natalie

Natalie – 3rd grade Poems

 

Conor

Cute, cuddly, dance monkey

Dances,

Running.

What would be it be like to stuff my mouth with that fluffy stuff, (whipped cream)

Scared of his sister kissing him too much,

Mama lover, 

Who dreams about tons of Cheerios!

 

My Room

My room is as hot as a savanna, 

Stuffed animals come to life, 

The heater becomes the sun and it never seems to turn off.

My canopy becomes a tree,

While my plugs become vines, 

Books become lily pads, 

My sheets become a river, 

The papers become birds and my slime turns to quicksand.

My room is an adventure.

 

Leafs

The leafs dance in the cool autumn breeze,

they leap

they twirl

They get down on their knees.

In the fall, they turn a bright golden red,

Then the firebirds leap off the edge, 

In the spring, they turn a spectacular green

if only, 

if only,

I could be a leaf.

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Midwest Part 2

Now we’ve been in WI for 6 days

Green Bay

Half Moon Lake

And lots of ice cream

And also lots of calls to the doctors office. c came down with a fever Thurs night. Doc said to monitor and treat the symptoms. By Sat Am fever was 103.3 and our pediatrician said to go to urgent care. Luckily just an ear infection. Possible side effect / allergic reaction is a rash which he got After 2.5 days of that medicine. So now we stopped that and are on Benedryl for the rash. He has been crabby since he is uncomfortable. Poor little guy. (And a little bit poor mama who gets up with him at night.)

 

and ? Even more laughs.

trevor who wanted a V8: I don’t think I’ll be able to finish this soda. It tastes like tomatoes!

trevor playing bags: Jordan says comes on. My Grandma throws better than you! Trevors response: oh really?!

At girls night Mackenzie clearly wanted grandma to paint her nails. So I asked, you really love grandma the most huh? She said “yeah, I really missed you! And looked adoringly at Grandma. Natalie was like was not liking this. Then Nat asked who her fav cousin is. She answered Becca and Bree. Natalie had a grimaced look in her face? Then To tease me Nat asked who is your favorite aunt? She said Aunt Erin… and Uncle Howard.

randomly: Kenzie says she talks a lot and that makes her go potty

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Midwest Part 1

An overnight road trip… we arrived at 530am and N and P took N and E while the rest of us slept. Four fun-filled days at the Linville resort. Much of the time is in water and outside so I nearly never have my phone so my pics are limited. Favorites include: the garden (C heads over there 2x a day to chow down on strawberries, raspberries and pea pods), the treehouse inspired by Natalie’s design, an amazing swim pool, lots of yummy food and treats (including milkshakes, s’mores, homemade pizza on the grill and hot dogs on the fire), and lots and lots of family time.  Clayton and Elliott also get lost in Hotwheels for hours and Wesley is just so sweet and cozy. We head to GB tomorrow and then get to come back to Barrington for more fun. We feel so fortunate and so happy to be able to visit our immediate family. It has been a tremendous pick-us-up!  We also celebrated some great dads on Sunday

 

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Gray by Elliott

Gray.  

Gray reminds me of rhinos!!!!

Gray is the color of robots.

Gray reminds me of the Death Star from Star Wars.

Gray looks like a cloud on a dark cloudy day.

Gray tastes like a gray candy rock.

Gray smells like ash.

Gray feels like rhino skin.

Gray sounds like a gray car zooming by.

Gray makes me feel bored.

Gray…. But red is still my favorite color.

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