We recently journeyed across the world from the deserts of Twentynine Palms, California to the paradise of Okinawa, Japan. We took an awesome 5 day road trip over the 4th of July weekend, driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, through Oregon and to Seattle as our final (and only) summer fun during this entire pandemic-hot-mess. We saw a lot in the short time frame – beautiful coastal cities, donuts whipped up with voodoo, a troll under a bridge, the Full House (which isn’t always open, as they claimed), Meredith Grey’s intern house…
And I’m glad we did; because we found ourselves on two weeks of house arrest (also known as Restriction of Movement/ROM) when we arrived on the island as a mitigation effort to reduce spreading COVID-19. And then, cases picked up so fast on the island that we’ve been living in a constant state of restrictions. Now that it’s been about 6 weeks, we’re finally (almost) settled in our base housing, a few restrictions have lifted and the school year has begun.
We opted to send our son to school for face-to-face learning. It was a simple decision for us: I’m expecting to eventually return to working full-time and honestly, he needs the socialization and structure outside of the home. Cases on our base have been low and we were satisfied with their plan for reducing risk and based on our family’s lifestyle, homeschool and virtual learning were just not in our deck of cards. But, due to COVID-19 still being on world tour (lol), the school year is starting off remotely for everyone… so it looks like we’ll be doing a little distance learning for the next several weeks until conditions change.
I spent the last 3-4 weeks working on creating a learning space in our 8 year-old’s bedroom in preparation for remote learning. And honestly, at the rate things have been going, I have a feeling we’ll be back and forth all year – so we needed an established space to make it easy.
I also wanted to make the kick-off of the school year a bit more special: in the past, while working full-time, I hadn’t had the chance to do much. But our 8 year-old has made it very clear that he is not excited about the return to school this time around – and Pandemic 2020 hasn’t helped. So, I hatched a plan to be a bit extra.
I ordered these themed cookies from My Cookie Journal, a spouse on base, and made a quick Back-to-School Pandemic style shirt for my kiddo. I also whipped up a Back to School breakfast before his first Google Meet of the year kicked off. Although he woke up like the Grinch (and there’s a tropical storm pounding the house – because, why not), his mood seemed to improve… Hopefully, the change in mood will continue and the school year will be a good one for all the kiddos heading back.
My Extra Mom Verdict? Quick and easy overall. Low cost (I had already purchased my heat transfer vinyl and blank shirts for practice). It would of been great to make the cookies myself, but I ran out of time and patience, so instead I decided to outsource to a trusted baker — best idea ever! Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t have to do it ALL from scratch myself… someone else can help with the details! The Cooties shirt took me less than 1 hour to cut, weed and press, even with there being a slight learning curve… it was my first time and I love how it turned out! Pinterest helped me visualize the pencil breakfast and my kiddo loved it. Overall, worth it on this rainy first day of school, pandemic edition.