Day by Day

My workday looks pretty different these days. Minneapolis Public School teachers and Educational Support Personnel are currently on strike. Today was Day 12 (not counting weekends).

In the mornings, we meet at our own school site for picketing, dancing, and general visibility. Our school has created themes for each day, so I’ve shown up dressed as a unicorn, a baseball player, a gym-goer, mismatched, and tie-dyed. St. Patrick’s Day was an easy theme. Wear green!

Some days we meet up with nearby schools and do a joint picket at a prominent intersection. Last week we met up with Barton teachers at Lake & Hennepin, the heart of Uptown.

Afternoons, all sites meet at one location. Usually I hang with the boys during that time instead, but sometimes we all go to the afternoon meet together. The Capitol one, for instance, I thought would be a cool one for them to be a part of.

Tuesday last week was glorious weather, so in the afternoon we decided to wander Downtown for funsies. We ended up at Target Field, and thoroughly enjoyed their sunny plaza.

Kirby! Kirby!

Henry headed up the snow mountain

Charlie and I did separate experiments melting snow/ice chunks on the hot concrete and seeing where the drips flowed

Then we thought about melting them on the hot copper sculptures, and it was truly fascinating. Charlie, as per usual, heated up quickly in the sun.

That afternoon I enjoyed a happy hour with friends in St Paul. I am still in awe at how wonderful it feels to be able to get together with people in restaurants again.

Wednesday we hit the park.

The ice was halfway to melted in a lot of spots, so it made for some great slush/mud/water combos to stop through and mix up.

Clearly the middle of the field is the low point.

It got…um…really deep.

Snow boots were the wrong choice for Henry, since the lining just soaked up all the water.

He decided it would be better to just walk home barefoot. Oh, to be 8!

We had a milestone moment last week. During one of our before-bed reading sessions, both of our yoga balls sprung irreparable leaks. It was very weird timing, since one of them was like 5 years older than the other! I had bought the big one when Charlie was a baby, and our previous hand-me-down ball popped. Life without a ball is just not okay for Charlie, so I had to bring him with me, baby screams and all, to buy a replacement. Eleven years later, he made the same request of me. This time there was no crying, though 🙂

Henry really liked the juxtaposition of himself on the new big ball, and Charlie on the new little ball.

Thursday we hit the Mill City Museum, which had been closed for a looooong time due to the pandemic. They were so happy to be back, and it did not disappoint. The water room is the favorite. You can see them both in this next pic, Charlie in the foreground, and Henry in the blue hoodie behind him, figuring something out with another random blondie.

We love the old commercials

After a few weeks of Family Dinner at our house, it was fun to be back in Little Canada. Nora re-discovered the sandbox

Uncle Joe always comes up with unique ideas for fun, and kids love him.

I got up from the dinner table at one point, and what I saw filled my heart with joy. She just loves Cha-chi.

He’s getting so big!

I spent this past weekend in Grand Marais, hanging out with Jalene and her daughter.

They live right in town, so we took a nice little walk to enjoy the puddles and grab some lunch at the Angry Trout.

It was delightful all around!

The view out the window of the restaurant

I got to do puzzles, play games–mostly Guess Who (she always chose one of the four girl characters), and read books. She’s almost 4, and it’s such a cool age.

Tina hosted a taco party that Sunday, which I thought I was going to miss since I was out of town. But the party kept on going through the beautiful sunny day, so I arrived back in the Cities to find a backyard of friends to hang out with!

Including my friend who’s real new in town!

This week has been colder and rainier/snowier, so we’ve been doing a lot of Legos in the afternoons, which is restorative and joyful for both the boys and me.

Still, I look forward to more sunshine soon!

Finding the Good

A few weekends ago, we went up north with some friends to soak up the rejuvenating effects of being by Lake Superior.

We got there midday Friday, and after hours in the car were excited to get out into the snow.

It was super cold and windy, but when there are mountains of snow to play on, you just have to bust into your creativity and take advantage.

This dude would have no problem if you told him he could never go inside again. He just thrives on fresh air, and seems to literally envelope himself in the Earth–whether it’s sand, dirt or snow.

Charlie, meanwhile, is very in touch with the temperature of his toes. I can relate! Inside, we played with a Google feature we were not previously aware of. We were looking up some important information regarding the ankylosaurus, and discovered we could see what one would look like in our space (though, as you can see, we had not chosen to have it be “actual size” yet. Here’s a screenshot of Charlie and the dinosaur.

Saturday we hit Gooseberry Falls State Park for some cross-country skiing. Here’s our 6-person crew

Joe and Charlie

Naturally, Henry couldn’t resist the snow mountains by the parking lot, so while Joe and Phil did a loop on their skate skis, Emily and I hung with the boys on the snow piles.

Here’s the view from our cabin. Friday night we could hear the ice breaking up and floating away, and Saturday the ice was all gone from the lake. So crazy!

Deer-watching

The week after that dragged by. Only Family Dinner on Thursday kept me going. We hosted, and it was such a joy to see my niece and nephew playing at our house. The pandemic really robbed us of the opportunity to hang out in each others’ homes. It made me happy that they didn’t want to leave at the end of the night!

Last weekend, Joe won a lottery for tickets to the MN United season opener. Sadly, it was both very cold and raining. Not exactly ideal for an open-air stadium, but we still enjoyed the adventure.

I hadn’t watched soccer in a long time, and I surprised myself at how vocal it made me. I wanted to comment on everything, and to yell at players what I would say to them if I were on the field. I guess I understand people who follow sports better than I thought I did.

Our church finally opened back up for in-person Sunday school a few weeks ago–their first in-person service was this past weekend. I’m one of the 2nd grade teachers, so Henry and I are together. The room we’re in this year has play equipment in it, so often afterward we’ll just stay and play after everyone else is gone. Charlie was in this classroom for 3rd grade when the pandemic hit, and he was noticing on Sunday how much he’s grown in two years. He was even able to touch his nose to the ceiling!

Tall boys

Oh yes, and here’s Henry trapped in the dungeon. I was the Queen, and he was my prisoner who kept escaping. I had to keep chasing him down. It was very frustrating.

After Monday, Minneapolis teachers went on strike. It’s been a cold week to be out on the picket line, but on Wednesday some of my work friends and I realized that dancing keeps us more pumped up than chanting. Here we are (I took the photo, so I’m not in it) really getting into some ABBA!

In the mornings, we picket at our own schools, and in the afternoon have been district-wide gatherings. I brought the boys to the one at the Capitol, and Charlie was recognized before any of the rest of us! His math teacher from last year saw him and thanked him for coming out. Pretty cool.

Yesterday, the boys and I took the weird and rare opportunity that this strike has provided to spend the afternoon at the pool! It was a long drive out to Chaska, but it was worth it to feel like we were in Wonderland without a care in the world.

Today was brutally cold, so the morning picket was pretty demoralizing. Coming back to my warm home where Joe made me avocado toast with egg was buoying. I spent the afternoon playing board games, and am feeling back in good spirits, especially since it’s Friday. I can’t wait to sleep in tomorrow and NOT leave the house–except maybe to go to yoga 🙂