Autumn Thoughts

I so love this time of year.

After months of living in shorts and sandals, there is just something magical about digging in my closet and drawers to find my sweaters. I love finding my old favorites and reveling in the feeling of putting them on for the first time of the season.

Or reintroducing my feet to socks… or FLUFFY socks!

I love feeling just a little bit chilly and then grabbing a blanket or my slippers. Instead of switching to iced coffee in the afternoon, I have another cup of hot coffee. And an apple cinnamon doughnut!

Even the smells of fall are cozy. I love that whiff of bonfire that travels through the air on a crisp evening. Or the smell of leaves turning into their beautiful autumn colors. I love multicolored pumpkins on the front porch, especially the blue cinderella pumpkins that look like they are straight out of a fairy tale.

In Maryland, Fall might last a couple months… or just a week or two before ‘second summer’ hits with a randomly hot day. Or winter comes with it’s need for scarves, gloves and fleece lined tights.

But Fall. It’s my favorite

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Each year on my birthday, I post an annual birthday picture. Since my birthday was over the weekend, I’m posting today.

If you feel like doing a little clicking, here are my previous photos: 42, 41, 40, 39, 38, 37, and 36.

And now, I’m 43.

Over the weekend, my husband and I had an overnight getaway to Northern Virginia. My parents watched Jack overnight, which was a total treat! We took my husband’s motorcycle with us and did some backroads riding, ate a bunch of yummy food, took a look in a few antiques shops, and made each other laugh a lot.

On Sunday, I had an outdoor picnic with my family with some absolutely delicious homemade apple crumble pie, courtesy of my brother. All in all, it was a perfect weekend and a wonderful start to 43!

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Life Update: Online School

Source: Markus Winkler on

I haven’t given a Life Update since mid-July… but now that it’s September, it feels like the perfect time to do it again. The biggest change over here is… online school.

We had a form of online schooling in the Spring to finish out the year, but between March and June Jack had no in-person class time. All his schooling was asynchronous, meaning the teachers just uploaded a bunch of assignments that he had to complete and have me scan and upload. Much of the teaching of concepts fell on my shoulders, and I am NOT a teacher. It was super stressful and more than one day erupted into yelling or tears, or both.

This Fall, the school year is totally different with a mix of synchronous learning and asynchronous work. Here’s what Jack’s typical day looks like for 3rd grade:

9:30 – 11:30 amSTEM class, live instruction
11:30 amComplete STEM classwork
11:40ish – 1:00 pmLunch/Recess Break
1:00 – 1:25 pmSpecials, live instruction (PE, Media, Music, Art or Health)
1:30 – 3:30 pmELA class, live instruction
3:30 pmComplete ELA classwork

We’ve been following this schedule for almost 2 weeks now and it is actually working so much better for us. Jack knows when he has to be in front of the computer for class and I know when I have long periods of time where I can schedule my own phone or Zoom calls. Often the live instruction ends a bit early so that the teacher can split the class into small groups, which gives Jack time to complete his classwork before his next class (yay for no additional homework!).

Jack’s *mostly* independent when it comes to online learning, however he still needs my help with a few things at the start and end of each synchronous session. I’m hoping with more practice he can do more on his own. I also watch him submit his classwork once it is completed, to make sure that it is properly turned in (and that he will receive credit for it).

Both Jack and I tend to be ‘schedule’ people, so now that we’ve gotten into the routine of what a school day looks like, it’s SO MUCH easier on both of us. Typically, we wake up around 7:00 am, get dressed, eat breakfast, go for a 30-minute walk outside together and then he gets around an hour to hang out while I take a shower and start my own workday. Getting outside each day and taking a walk makes me feel a billion times better. At the end of each day, once he submits his last assignment and shuts the laptop… we have a “WE DID IT” dance party.

Oh, and I’m totally bribing my kid too. We knew that the first two weeks of online schooling would be the worst while we get used to a new schedule, so Travis and I decided that if Jack did the best he could and tried to be as independent as possible… we’d reward him with a new video game (Mario Odyssey to be specific). No shame in my mommy game and it’s totally worth it, mostly so he doesn’t complain the entire time we do our morning walk.

This new schedule is totally dependent on me working from home though. While I’ve been thankful that my office has had me teleworking since March, they have been talking about bringing us back into the office. Possibly in early October. Jack’s school has also been talking about switching to a hybrid format… in mid-October. So, while we are doing well with our current routine right now, it might all be blown back apart in a few weeks…

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