Friday, April 17, 2020

The Virus that took over the World

When I ended my last post (which was nearly 3 months ago) on January 19th, I was optimistic that 2020 was going to be a good year. Full of new beginnings, improvement and always hope. We would plan and embark on some fun new adventures maybe even travel to a place we have never been.

The world had other plans. Back in November, a virus emerged in Wuhan China, called the Corona Virus. (Covid-19) It wasn't brought to the world's attention until the end of December 2019. At first it sounded like a bad case of Pneumonia. Then it began to spread like wildfire throughout China. Cities and then countries began shutting down. International travel to those areas were banned. Cruise ships were quarantined with thousands of people aboard and the madness began.

People began to panic. They started calling it a pandemic and said it would be here in the U.S. it was just a matter of time. Italy got hit next - hard. Thousands of lives lost. Hundreds per day. Spain was hit, and then at the end of January the U.S. saw it's first case in the state of Washington. 

It was explained by experts that it was an airborne disease that was spread through droplets of a person who coughed or sneezed. It became known that the symptoms were a dry cough, high fever and upper respiratory issues such as shortness of breath. It was soon discovered that it can be transmitted with human to human contact such as hugging, shaking hands or even touching something an infected person had touched. Washington's cases increased day by day and then cases started popping up in California and Oregon. Then it hit New York. New York eventually would have over 225,000 cases and just under 20,000 deaths. It was the hardest hit state. 

At one point, Michigan was #3 in the nation with cases and deaths. Here is a timeline of events.

March 10, 2020 - Michigan sees it's first 2 positive cases.

March 11, 2020 - Colleges announce they are shutting down for the forseable future and the Governor urges "Social Distancing" measures. Which means you are supposed to keep 6 feet between you and others while out in public.

March 13, 2020 - Governor Whitmer announces the closure of all K-12 schools in the state for 3 weeks. No gatherings of large groups and restaurant entertainment venues can only host 50% of customers.

March 13, 2020 President Trump declares this Pandemic a National Emergency 

March 16, 2020 - Bars, Restaurants, Gyms, Coffee Houses etc are closed to the public. Drive thru only.

March 17, 2020 - Michigan reports it's first death from Covid-19

March 21, 2020 - All non-essential businesses are asked to close. All that is left open are grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, harware, auto stores and gas stations. The Canada/US border closes to all non-essential traffic.

March 23, 2020 - Governor Whitmer issues a statewide stay at home order for all non-essential workers for 3 weeks - which now also closes the schools through April 13 instead of April 6.

From now until April 1 - Cases and deaths continue to increase. People are encouraged to stay home!

April 2, 2020 - School for the remainder of the school year has been suspended from in person and moved to online learning.

April 9, 2020 - The stay at home order is extended now until April 30, 2020 

April 17, 2020 - As of today, the Michigan cases are at 30,023 and Deaths are at 2,227gonna go away, we need a vaccine and there is a good chance it will return again in high numbers in the fall. 

Our economy as a state and as a nation has taken a hit. There are over 10 million unemployed in the country right now and over 1 million in the state of Michigan - including me. I don't see myself being able to go back to work now until the boys are out of School which isn't until June.

This week (April 13th) they began distance learning. They have daily Zoom meetings with their teacher and class where they meet online over the computer. They have a list of work to get done each week and turn in on Friday. Each day at 3:10pm, they have a different special where they meet with that teacher. Alex also is meeting with Mrs. Polasek, his PT and speech therapist. It is some craziness! We completed the first week today and I think we did pretty good. It will get easier as we go.

Before this week, I was trying to keep somewhat of a structured schedule for the boys. Reading, Writing and Math for Evan and working on ABC mouse App and Nova Chat for Alex. On the nice days we have been going to Independence Oaks (Yes we can go out and walk at parks - all playgrounds are closed) where we have been walking two miles or biking four miles. We have played basketball, bean bag toss and been on the swings. Believe it or not, it has been snowing and cold the past 3 days but we are hoping for a warm up soon! We miss the warm weather and sunshine!

Eric has been working from home since March 13th and my office closed on March 20th. We have been making individual runs to the stores for necessities. We have been able to stop by and see Eric's parents (from afar) and 2 weeks ago, the boys and I went and visited my Mom because it was nice outside and we were able to stay 6 feet apart and stay outside. I talk to Dad multiple times a week but we have not seen him since March 7th at Evan's basketball game. Alex loves to hug Shelly and he would be upset if he couldn't so we have stayed away.

Evan's last basketball game was cancelled as well as his soccer season. Alex's horseback riding is on hold (he only rode twice in March). All sporting events have been cancelled in the MLB, NHL AND NBA. No concerts or events can be held at this time and there is talk that they may not be at all this year. The Olympics that were supposed to be in Tokyo Japan this July have been postponed to next July - which is unheard of.

It was complete madness in the stores when this all started. People went crazy for Toilet Paper of all things. You couldn't find hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes anywhere. Some stores shelves were empty and meat was hard to come by. It is still hit or miss at some stores but for the most part I can usually find what I am looking for.

It has been over a month now since we have been home and sometimes I still can't believe all of this is happening. I will never again take for granted Family Gatherings, Play dates with our friends, Going to a Concert or Sporting Event, Museum or Zoo. More importantly, hugging my parents. Someday we will do these things, but for now the most important thing is the stay home and stay safe. It means going to the store alone, staying 6 feet from people, not seeing friends and family and only being able to get out for fresh air at the park or our back yard. It means that I am now my children's teacher for the next 8 weeks and the future is unknown. Take each day as it comes and enjoy every moment you have. I will end with this, we are living through a huge part of history that will be talked about years from now. Hopefully we can look back and talk about positive moments we shared with our families, goofy Zoom moments we shared with our friends and be thankful for the decisions that were made to save lives.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

2019 Year in Review Part 2 of 2

The second half of the year is always busier with Summer activities, back to school, fall activities and the holidays. Here is what we did!


We kicked off the month with the Brandon Fireworks and 4th of July parade in Clarkston.

We spent a day at the Zoo and a day at the 4H fair with our friends Blake and Casey. Evan and Blake rode a camel - TOGETHER - hahaha and I got Evan on the Pirate ship for the first time. It was hot so we cooled off with 7-11 Slurpees since well, it was 7-11 that day and they were FREE!!

Evan and I are in the front row facing the camera!

Alex and Evan turned 9 on July 16th. We celebrated a few days early with our family. 
The boys enjoyed the pool with their cousins!

July 17th, I packed the kids up and we headed over to Grand Haven 
and Muskegon for a couple of days with Rachel, Lauren and Nathan. 
Our plans were somewhat altered by the weather but we made the best of it.

Probably my favorite day this summer was watching Alex waterski for the first time. His PT told me about a program called Michigan Adaptive Sports. For a small fee you can sign up to waterski or kayak in the summer or downhill ski in the winter. They have an adaptive seat for kids with disabilities to sit in. Watching him take off and go overwhelmed me with emotion. For him to experience something so great is just amazing! Of course he loved it! It wasn't until he was done that I realized he wasn't buckled in at all - but really he couldn't be. Glad I didn't know that until the end!

Evan along for the ride - supporting his brother


We decided to take the kids to Canada for the first time and visit Toronto for a long weekend. Rachel, Annette, Lauren and Nathan went as well. We had a full weekend of activities including The Toronto Zoo, Casa Loma, The Ontario Science Centre, The CN Tower and Ripley's Aquarium. As a surprise, the day we left Toronto, we drove to Niagara Falls to surprise the kids. We visited for a few hours and then came home. The weather was perfect for the trip! Evan got a little sick on the ride up to the CN Tower and vows to never go again - but I hope he will change his mind.

The Toronto Zoo

Casa Loma

Science Centre

CN Tower
Ripley's Aquarium

Niagara Falls

Oakland County International Airport Air Show -August 11th

 August 24th was the Banbury Cross Horse Show. It was a disney theme this year. Alex's horse Story was Tinkerbell and if you look closely, you can see he is wearing Mickey Mouse Ears!!

After the Horse Show we headed North for the weekend. We crossed over the Mackinac Bridge and stayed in a town in the upper peninsula called Newberry. We visited waterfalls along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, went to Sand Point (Everyones Favorite), went to Oswalds Bear Ranch where we had our picture taken with a baby bear and we took the boys to Tahquamenon Falls. We ended our stay in Mackinac City. It was the perfect end to our summer!

Munising Falls

Tahquamenon Falls

Oswalds Bear Ranch
Sand Point, Lake Superior

Tahquamenon Falls

Oswald's Bear Ranch

Mackinac Bridge

Miner's Castle Rock

Sand Point Marsh

First Day of 4th Grade


October 13th Eric and I celebrated our 13th Anniversary by going to a cider mill 
for a hayride, cider and donuts!

October 15th, we saw one of our favorite bands The Head and the Heart in concert

October 20th we did a day the Zoo and Ice Cream at Cooks Farm!

October 26th, we took Alex and Evan on their first HAUNTED HAYRIDE! 
They did good and even got to meet one of the characters.

October 27th we went to the Flint Children's Museum with Cousins Laken and Sailor

 Halloween is one of our Favorite Times of Year! 


Big Snow on Nov 12th

 4th Grade Veteran's Concert

Our Annual Trip to Bronner's

I had to throw this one in of these two

We celebrated Eric turning 39 on November 25th


We had a lot of Christmas Fun!

I won free tickets to see one of our favorite comedians on December 13th, Brian Regan at the Fillmore Detroit on December 13th. After the show we walked down to Campus Martius.
Campus Martius, Detroit

Campus Martius, Detroit
Santa House and Dow Gardens -  Midland, Michigan - December 14, 2019
Santa House, Midland

Santa House, Midland

Santa House, Midland

Dow Gardens, Midland

Dow Gardens, Midland

Dow Gardens Midland

Downtown Rochester - December 23, 2019

Christmas Morning, 2019

Another year full of fun adventures and lots of memories. We hope 2020 has even more good in store for us! Happy New Year to all of our family and friends! Love, Eric, Keri, Alex and Evan