What do you get when you combine 4 teachers, 2 toddlers, 77 days of isolation, and a whole lot of EXTRA? The answer: the Ground-Hog-Day-version of LolliPop Adventures with Lily and Layla, featuring Mommy and Sassy!
In early March we were a busy little family: We were in our one-act play competition season at school, Kaylee was teaching her 1st graders in Plano, while she and Ethan were contemplating a future move to Graham, Ryan's practice was continuously busy, Lily and Layla were attending Stepping Stones Preschool, and Kelsey was juggling all of the girls' activities, their household, volunteering at church, and managing brand representations and ambassadorships for Lily and Layla. We were all in the "this is a crazy time of year but we're excited for Spring Break and warmer weather" mindset.
That all changed on March 13th. We left school that day for the beginning of our Spring Break, planning to return on Monday to have dress rehearsals for our production. Plano ISD announced that their Spring Break would continue an additional week. Within days we were in full quarantine mode.
We knew that traveling back and forth to the DFW metroplex could lead to us bringing the virus back to Graham. We couldn't take that risk, so we began to develop a plan for the next few weeks:
1. Take whatever steps we needed to keep us all safe (most especially Ryan so that he could continue to help his patients).
2. Keep our girlies engaged and learning while following a consistent schedule.
3. Continue to be virtually available to our students.
4. Support the community in any way we could.
"Let's start at the very beginning ( -Why yes! We are singing from The Sound of Music. Anyone else?)." Kelsey and Kaylee collaborated to develop Alphabet Activities for the girls, taking a different letter each day and assigning tasks or objects to help them learn the sound. Each morning Pop created a word board with illustrations for the day. The girls were especially fond of craft time and would run to their playroom table each day when it was announced. And of course, they loved meals and snacks associated with the letters also. We focused on 3 words per letter, for example R was red, rainbow, and ravioli. Kelsey photographed and documented each day (we highly recommend you follow her on Instagram (@kelseyeasterling) as she shares all kinds of fun festivities!
X Marks the Spot
Some letters were certainly more difficult to associate with activities and X was the hardest of al! The solution? Pop created a treasure map so that the girls could hunt to find where X marked the spot. The girls loved the search and the treasure treats!
The Best Laid Plans...
As any teacher will tell you, even the best of plans just don't work out sometimes! In our heads, the U Day chalk umbrella photo op was going to be simply adorable! Yeah...there is nothing simple about getting 2 toddlers to lie down on the driveway and wait to get their photo taken! Especially when Kinsey wanted to be in the picture as well! But we still think the outcome was all kinds of cuteness!
"Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are."
Books! Books! Glorious books!
Kelsey and Ryan have always fostered a love of books for the girls! Thankfully our Guest House Quarantine not only allowed us the opportunity to catch up on some of the books on our reading list, we were also able to spend some quality time discovering new worlds through our story times with Lily and Layla!
Butterflies, Berries, and Planting... Oh, My!
Kelsey made sure our sweet girls experienced the wonder of nature as well! From adopting caterpillars and setting our butterflies free, to gardening and searching under rocks for bugs, Lily and Layla loved helping and making discoveries!
Sisterhood love for the Neighborhood
Lily and Layla thoroughly enjoyed any opportunity to reach out to others - even social distancing style. Easter chalk murals for passing cars, delivering treats to neighbors' porches, and coloring cards for residents of the Graham Oaks Care Center were excellent ways for them to show their love for others!
Fun in the Sun
As we're sure everyone experienced, our moods seemed to fluctuate with the weather, so we jumped at every opportunity to be outside in the sunshine!
Oh, how we will miss those carefree days of summer... Well...not exactly carefree, but you know what we mean! We pray that the madness of COVID is soon replaced with a bit of normalcy once again. Yet we will never forget those irreplaceable moments of time of our Guest House Quarantine with our sweet family and our precious baby girls!