All posts by Andrew

Piper’s Frenemy

The newest member of our family is a robot vacuum cleaner. Piper has kept her distance until this morning when she realized that she might be able to play with the interloper.

I would be remiss not to mention how infatuated we are with the new cleaner—known as “Robo 3000” in our house. (The number changes depending who is saying it.) It is actually a “eufy” RoboVac 11S by Anker. It was one of the cheapest we could find but it has been a household revolution.

Beetling Crags

A highly unusual event occurred last night while reading Treasure Island aloud with Griffin and Maggie. We came across this passage:

Among the fallen rocks the breakers spouted and bellowed; loud reverberations, heavy sprays flying and falling, succeeded one another from second to second; and I saw myself, if I ventured nearer, dashed to death upon the rough shore or spending my strength in vain to scale the beetling crags.

Like many other passages, there were some words here that the kids didn’t know, but I was also perplexed by the adjective, beetling. We guessed from the context that it might mean steep or slippery or only climbable by beetles. I pulled out my phone and looked it up on my trusty Merriam-Webster app:

The example sentence is the very sentence we had read! We were all quite astonished by the coincidence.

A Bit of Hope

As mentioned in prior posts, Oliver was in preschool this year for a few months at the beginning of the year. Now he is back at an outdoor preschool for three mornings a week.

Griffin and Maggie, however, have been in full distance-learning since last March. They’re used to it now, but it has been a major blow. A normal day in their Montessori school would involve 6-7 hours of constant interaction. Working with classmates, moving around the classroom, attending mini-lessons from the teacher, playing at recess, lunch, the school bus, etc.

Now they’ve got Zoom meetings, independent work, and an occasional minecraft game with their friends. I’m not knocking the school; they’re doing a great job. But the social gulf between this year and last is enormous.

It is with joy, therefore, that we dove into a program at their school where individual classes come to campus once-a-week for a few hours of all-outdoor social time. Maggie had her first day yesterday and Griffin went in this morning. (We only have a picture of Griffin at this point.) Hopefully this is the first step on the long road to normalcy.

Griffin with his friends at school together for the first time in 11 months.

Oliver Outdoors

After Oliver’s brush with COVID in November, we kept him home through December and January. As he was starting to go a bit stir crazy, we were lucky to secure an opening at Dodge Nature Center‘s outdoor preschool program. Both Griffin and Maggie had wonderful experiences at Dodge before they started kindergarten.

Starting at the beginning of February, Oliver has attended Dodge on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. He’s had a great time so far. See a few pictures below. Oliver wears a bright pink hat.

COVID Data Update

The latest two-week COVID rates for the Twin Cities and surrounding counties continue to skyrocket.

For reference for our out-of-state friends, Saint Paul is in Ramsey County and Minneapolis is in Hennepin. The other counties form a ring around those two.

My full spreadsheet with a larger chart is here. Weekly data is released on Thursday at 11:00 AM central. (Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, they didn’t release the latest data until Friday, November 27.)


Happy news.

This morning we received the first of what we hope will be four negative COVID tests. This one was for Andrew. Waiting patiently for Sarah, Griffin, and Maggie. Oliver was non-contagious as of Tuesday, November 17, so assuming these last tests come in negative, we should be free of the plague in our household.

This doesn’t change much, really, since we are basically locking ourselves down until the state numbers descend, but at least we can go shopping if we need to.

Hopefully, this will be our closest brush. Fingers crossed!

Update: We were expecting the results for the rest of the family this morning. With each passing hour, we became more nervous that this post was premature. Finally, at around 8:00 PM, we received all three additional results: negative, negative, and negative. So the full family is officially in the clear.