How the rambling family handled quarantine

The Covid-19, or coronavirus, pandemic hit Arizona right after we got back from our yearly ski trip to Utah. So, by the end of spring it was inevitable. The military base was stricter with lockdowns, rationing at the commissary, and other measures earlier than the surrounding town. It was a bit annoying, but at the same time we never ran out of toilet paper or struggled to find foods.

So what did we do with our newfound time together?

Kind of the same as we always have!

Here are 3 things we learned:

1. We were lucky to already be homeschooling!

Our kids didn’t notice anything different in their schooling except that all the extracurricular stuff like theater classes, gymnastics, youth center, and BMX were closed. Some stuff, like piano lessons and their science fair were held digitally – wins were celebrated at home instead of in an auditorium. It was certainly tough socially, though. My kids get a lot of social time outside playing with neighborhood friends and meeting up at the playground. With all that roped off, it was hard. We could do bike-by’s at friends’ houses, and we bought an iPad so they could facetime with friends.

2. We love being outside, and that didn’t change!!

While our camping, biking, and climbing usually gets us away from people, we are lucky to live in Arizona where we get can super far away from people. We spent time with our camper at far-flung BLM destinations like the Gila Box, Hot Wells, and Cochise Stronghold (lots of weekends here).

3. We were lucky to live on base.

Not only did people take things seriously, but they also followed common sense. There wasn’t hoarding of food, ‘outside’ was still considered quarantine if you stayed away from others. In addition, we also had the benefit of an amazing Force Support Squadron who did a ton of drive-through and online giveaway events.

Fun stuff we did to stay positive:

  • Zoe and I painted a bunch of rocks and hid them around the golf course for people to find, and put their name on. We chose one at random and that winner got a game!
  • We used our little library as a neighborhood noticeboard and it turned into a local trading post.
  • We got chickens. Yes. We did. And they are amazing. Two eggs daily.
  • Bryan actually went TDY to Spain in the middle of this, but had to quarantine when he returned, so we dressed up the camper for him out at the famcamp.
  • The kids learned to use the Movie Maker and Stop Motion film creator on their iPad. We even had a ‘red carpet’ night – family virtually tuned in! – for one special production Avi did with his friend Ivy.
  • For some reason, delivery and take out food became a regular thing.
  • Bryan used our climbing gear to setup ziplines and obstacles all over the place.
  • We spent one bad weather day playing every single Mario Kart course as one giant Grand Prix. Zoe won! It was so lucky we had bought a Switch for Christmas.
  • We played every single one of our board games, bought more and sifted some to the donation bin.
  • Yes we did bake a lot of breads. I got obsessed with grinding my own wheat in my blender.
  • Lots of crafting!
  • Our lockdowns eased after only a few months, but masks became a normal thing after that so we could do sports and participate in Halloween.

What was the hardest:

Military moves are already hard, but during lockdown is really sad. Avi’s bestie moved away right as lockdown measures eased a bit. They were able to hang out and we did a backpacking trip together, but the months leading to the move – the time they wanted to be spending together – was all on facetime.

We missed some pretty big family events. My parents moved away from us back to PA, and suddenly they moved early to avoid lockdowns. My sister had a baby and was alone for the birth. My cousin got married. Everyone has these stories, and they are hard.

We were super stoked with spending weekdays backpacking up on Mt. Lemmon – especially a new amazing spot we found a swimming hole. But then, the mountain caught fire! So, not only was it mother effing hot but our only refuge was burning. And it was scary close.

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