During a daily class Zoom meeting for my youngest, the student support specialist had the kids make a “Bliss List” — a list of things that students are enjoying lately. It was so good for him to hear that other people shared his coping skills and also to get ideas for new options. Connecting via video games is probably at the top of my kids’ lists, along with the dogs and of course, later wake ups. I know that my list partially includes watching other people use their lists on social media.
Professor and best-selling author Dr. Roxane Gay posts the things she bakes/cooks using pictures of the steps. I don’t have any desire to make bread or tackle croissants, but watching Dr. Gay do it is one of the highlights of my day — her tweets are also the best part of any awards show. As an added bonus, her Instagram feed has that twinkle of a rom-com since she shares a home and a new garden with her fiancé, Debbie Millman, also a multi-hyphenate (I didn’t know how much to include!) and host of Design Matters. I also really enjoyed a series of pics from Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. He ran all over town, I think the term is ultrarunner, and while he was out he took pictures of the Seattle locations that are musically significant — he has also been doing concerts which you can find on his Instagram @Gibbstack.
When I was feeling good this week, I tried to extend the feeling by writing letters to a bunch of the little kids I love who are a plane ride away. It included use of the stickers we don’t really use anymore because the kids are older and a nice car ride to the closest drive-up mailbox. My son’s friend dropped off a half-done drawing with a challenge for him to finish the rest. One of my friends is doing crafts like cross stitch and just added an adorable embroidered bee to some kid denim. There are the bakers and bread makers who also post about finding or needing yeast and people starting/starting over TV series. I was excited to share with my kids when I saw that an adult friend posted a picture of a chess board to show that he was playing the game with a friend via text. This seems like a nice way to wrap technology into a physical game.
I don’t mean to be overly cheery, I certainly don’t feel overly cheery. It is just that this week, I have really appreciated the options to support my elementary school student — on top of the list, there was also a social game during his class meeting with the school counselor and separate PE and band classes that helped him. We do feel really grateful to be healthy and to be comfortable in our home. We also feel overwhelmed by distance learning, especially with learning differences — one kitchen chair has an inflatable disk on the seat and an elastic band on the front two legs and is placed next to a bowl of fidgets. Some of us (me) are experiencing the increase in nightmares and loss of sleep being reported. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with distance learning, there are a lot of articles out there to help you relate. Googling any combo of “overwhelmed,” “distance learning” and “abandoned” might help you find stories about people who feel like you do.
Some staples for my family that would typically happen around now have been canceled, postponed or will be celebrated at home. Edmonds School District Summer Music School, which would currently be taking registration, is officially canceled for the summer of 2021. Free Comic Book Day, which is usually the first weekend in May, has been postponed this year — you can find more information at FreeComicBookDay.com. We love going to pick up new titles each year, but we’ve moved to online orders from our store of choice, Phantom Zone Comics — we have also found graphic novels at Edmonds Bookshop and Half Price Books during quarantine.
Another staple at our house is Star Wars Day, May the 4th (be with you) — sometimes Free Comic Book Day and Star Wars Day coincide! StarWars.com has “5 Ways to Celebrate Star Wars Day at Home” and while a lot of it is ad-based, they do have links to free activities. They have tutorials on magnets and crafty “roll figures,” there is also a downloadable activity pack that includes coloring sheets, mazes, recipes, finger puppets. They also offer more activities on their Star Wars Kids YouTube channel. The 5th way offered to celebrate at home is to listen to the familiar voices of Star Wars read stories. Readers include “Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), and Daisy Ridley (Rey Skywalker) — seeing her name this way gives me goosebumps. For more information and additional options, you can head to StarWars.com.
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington have some news this week too after their in-person sales were canceled in March. The group was left with around 300,000 boxes of unsold cookies, causing “extreme financial hardship for the organization.” In order to sell the leftover cookies, they announced an “in-store virtual cookie booth” at Bartell Drugs. These virtual booths will be around for a limited time only, and the sales of these cookies will allow the Girl Scouts to “continue to provide quality programming and financial assistance to our members.” For more information on availability, you can contact your local Bartell. To connect with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, you can find them on Facebook.com/GirlScoutsWW.
While we continue to find ways to manage our time at home, more local movement options are being offered virtually! The City of Lynnwood is offering an ALL-ages tae kwon do class via Zoom. Students of any age can register for eight sessions between May 4 and May 28. The city says that space is limited in this course and that the online classes have been “very popular,” so don’t wait to sign up if you’re interested. You can register for this class at LynnwoodWA.gov by searching course #11033 or you can contact customer service at 425-670-5732.
Skyhawks Sports Academy is offering virtual activity classes for kids ages 3 to 12 starting May 11. These include a HoopsterTots and SoccerTots class for kids ages 3 to 6, while Mini-Hawk Active at Home is for kids 3 to 7 and PhysEd Fun with Skyhawks is for those 5 to 9. Each of the 8 sessions will be 35 minutes long. For participants ages 8 to 12 there is STEM & Play Multi-Sport, which is a 45-minute class — this option involves sports and science. There is some equipment required for each class, but there are some at-home alternatives if you don’t have everything on the list. If you’re not sure if a virtual activity class will work for you, they are offering two free preview sessions on Wednesday, May 6. You can find all of the information and options for registration on Skyhawks.com/Virtual-Classes.
While scrolling through my Facebook Feed, I noticed that the Monterey Bay Aquarium was LIVE and showing one of their exhibits. It was peaceful to watch the slow activity, even briefly, which is all my attention span currently allows. The Seattle Aquarium has virtual options as well where you can “experience the aquarium from anywhere.” They have activities, animal fact sheets, an infographic library, virtual field trips, animal and educational videos and live Harbor Seal and Otter cams. You can find all the aquarium resources and videos at SeattleAquarium.org/Experience-Aquarium-Anywhere.
I was worried I wouldn’t have a goofy option to end the column with this week — see “tot waffles” and a dry erase marker experiment of the last few weeks — when I saw an option to use Oreos to teach the phases of the moon. While we might not all have the same easy access to Oreos right now, Dr. Gay made her own. If you can get them on the shopping list this is a cute and tasty way to learn about your waxing and waning crescents. I found one tutorial HERE, although there are a bunch of options available.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.