Hello, November! Wowza…how did we find ourselves at the end of the year already? As long as this year has been, it also seems to be flying by (maybe that’s a good thing?!?), so I always love hitting pause on craft projects and home articles to catch you up on life behind-the-blog! This month, I’m sharing pictures of our Halloween festivities and also answering one of the most popular questions I get: how did I meet my husband?! Alright friends…let’s catch up!
Catch up on past Coffee Break posts HERE!
Our Halloween was pretty low-key this year. We did Trunk-or-Treat with our Scout Pack, family trick-or-treating to only the houses we knew, and nighttime bouncing on the trampoline with glow-in-the-dark balls (our new fav!). Here are some pics of our festivities! (Ooops – I never got a great picture of the baby, who was dressed up as JackJack from The Incredibles!)
BTW: I made these over-sized props with my Cricut using vinyl and foam core. They were actually pretty easy and turned out SOOO good, so I will try to put a tutorial together!
Distance Learning Check-In
If you’re new to these posts, I’ve talked about our distance learning experiences quite a bit (here, here, and here). To quickly recap: at the end of the summer, when we found out our district was going 100% virtual, it was my lowest moment of the entire pandemic. I was honestly full of dread and despair because our Spring experience was just horrible (so so so many tears from all of us!) After wrapping my brain around all the implications of having our oldest home until after the New Year, we then hunkered down and figured out some strategies that would enable him to be successful (you can see his distance learning setup here) while keeping the entire family functioning and happy at the same time.
Well…it is with a huge sigh of relief (and immense pride in our kiddo) that I can report it’s going so much better than I ever, ever expected. He takes “going to school” very seriously. He monitors his own schedule and has almost never logged on late. He’s maneuvering through his online space completely independently, and I am pretty much 100% hands off (which is very counter to my personality but very much what my emotional health needed, as well as his!). I was so worried that moving him upstairs to his own room, unattended, would spell complete and utter disaster for him academically. But it’s proven the exact opposite. Giving him independence in this unprecedented situation has awoken some sort of responsibility and maturity in him that I didn’t think we’d ever see. We had our parent/teacher conference yesterday and his teacher echoed what I have quietly observed: that he is doing AMAZING.
We are so ready for him to be back in an actual classroom when our district says it’s safe and it’s time. But until then, I feel immeasurably grateful that our 4th grader appears to be thriving under such wild and difficult circumstances!
Each month, I spend a few minutes answering your questions about our life, day, family and more!
Q: Tell us about you and your husbands story!
A: I was really surprised how many readers asked to know more about how Greg and I met, got married etc. While it’s not quite the makings of a romantic comedy, we do have a pretty great story! And since we are celebrating 15 years of marriage in 2 weeks (how is that really possible?!?), I figured it was the perfect time to share it!
Greg and I grew up in the same area of Virginia (outside of Washington, DC) and went to rival high schools, but we never met until the summer after our sophomore year. We were both involved in a church theatre production of Godspell (he was John the Baptist, and I was the choreographer for the production). Although we knew each other and interacted quite a bit, he definitely socialized more with the cast, while I hung out primarily with the staff. When the show wrapped, we went our separate ways, never to see or talk to each other again…until almost 5 years later!
I originally went to a small liberal arts college in Pittsburgh to become a dancer. When I ultimately realized that dream wasn’t going to come true (a story for another Ask Megan post!), I moved home and transferred to George Mason University (which is in my home town). At the time, it was a huge commuter school, and I was struggling to make friends since I was a transfer living at home. So I decided to attend a social event at the Catholic church on campus. When I walked in, I recognized Greg immediately (he has the kind of personality you don’t ever forget), and practically marched right up to him and said “Do you remember me?!?” And he did! After that first night, I came around more frequently, slowly building a circle of friends at the chapel. Greg and I participated in lots of events together; and within a few months, our friendship transitioned into dating. Although, we were both pretty blind to it until we found ourselves just the two of us, dressed nicely, at a movie together. We even looked at each other and said “Is this a date?” That night, which we do now consider our “first date,” was 18.5 years ago.
Although we graduated the same year of high school, Greg finished college a year ahead of me (because I transferred and changed majors). His degree was in Theatre, and he worked in the local DC area while I finished up my own degree in English. 9/11 was still very fresh, and Greg was feeling a bit directionless and dissatisfied in his post-college life. I’ll never forget the night he came to see me in my dorm and said, “I want to talk to your Dad about joining the Marine Corps.” I honestly about fell off my bed. My Dad is a retired Marine Corps Colonel, and the military has been part of my world for as long as I can remember. But never did I expect my “theatre geek” boyfriend with spiky hair and black-rimmed glasses to ever consider joining the military, much less the Marine Corps. A few weeks later, Greg again came to see me in my dorm and said “I think I’m going to do this…are you with me?” I said yes without hesitation. His commission in the Marine Corps and the proposal and the wedding and the babies and the moves all came later…but I was always all in…with him and with this lifestyle…from the very beginning.
Q: What are your favorite family rituals, new or old?
A: A few years ago, it occurred to me that I needed to be very intentional about creating traditions for our family. Why? If you think about it, so much of what you do for holidays tends to depend heavily on where you live and how close to family you are. This often dictates where you celebrate, and what places you visit each year. Since we move so much, our traditions simply can’t be tied to places. So I’ve tried to establish rituals we can do, within the walls of our home, no matter where on this great Earth we are living.
Some things I’ve tried over the years didn’t stick, yet others have indeed become a special part of our family’s story. Aside from the usual cookies, movies, and books we do each holiday, both the Christmas Countdown Chain and our Valentine’s Day Love Notes are traditions I intentionally started and we now all look forward to every time they roll around.
Holidays aside, there are also touch-points throughout our week that have become anchoring “rituals” for our schedules and souls. Friday Night Movie Night is pretty sacred around here, especially for me since I don’t have to make dinner. Sunday Brunch is another one. Greg grew up eating homemade Sunday brunch each week (chocolate chip pancakes were a staple!), and he’s carried that tradition into our family. The boys really look forward to the weekly treat, and it fills us all up enough that Sunday dinner is usually something really simple. The last one that comes to mind is that Greg always plays the guitar while I’m making dinner. It’s his way of decompressing at the end of a long day. Lately though, I’ve noticed it tends to draw all the boys in from their various spots around the house and signals a transition into our evening hours and routine.
Curious about something…anything? Ask away in the form below, and I’ll answer in a future Coffee Break!Posted In Coffee Breaks, Virginia 2