Tuesday, March 31, 2020

COVID Catch Up!

Hi there! 

Did you miss me?  Yeah, I thought not...hahaha!

I tried to visit with you all, I truly did.  I sat down plenty of times to write, and nothing would come out right.  This past year sort of beat me up, and I think I am just now coming into a better place.  Funny that it literally took a pandemic to help me stop and breath.  So, shall we catch you all up?

Let's start with Buckaroos...which is hanging in there at the moment, maybe by the skin of our teeth.  We had a successful opening few weeks, things slowed as expected, and now the virus has hit.  We are open for business for take out and delivery, which we just instituted.  Several of our employees are vulnerable so they are out for the duration.  We were barely holding our own, but pleased to be doing so early on, and knew we were opening at a less than ideal time so that was sort of understood we would struggle the first few months.  We, of course, didn't anticipate a pandemic coming along to make it all more challenging! Hahaha!  We have had a few activities with our employees which have been greatly enjoyed, and it has been molded into quite a little community. 

Angie, Kenny and Olesya have grown enormously through this process.  They have gained so much confidence, built many new skills, and I am SUPER proud to say they are basically running the place by themselves!  I have gradually backed away, helping a little here and there as they need it, mainly dealing with finances and some social media work.  The day to day operations are being handled 100% by them, and though Dominick is right next door and is a good safe guard, we were pretty intentional about how we set up the operations and all the necessary functions so that the kids could really do most of it on their own.  We never expected to have nailed it so well that they were able to far sooner than we anticipated!  It really helps knowing your "audience", so to speak, and after years of homeschooling maybe we were able to plan far better because we could guess ahead of time what might be sticking points and work those out before they became issues.  They are putting in 10-12 hour days, working incredibly hard, and are willing to do anything necessary to succeed.  We continue to pray that all will be well in the long run, while we are also filled with gratitude for the growth we have seen in each of them.

Matt is still involved with Civil Air Patrol, and has moved into the "Senior" side of things.  He is an adult member now, and is training to help lead the youth in his squadron.  He continues to tackle courses at home through Coursera, EdX and other outlets, though he has put that aside to undertake an enormous task.  He is currently working on creating an app an online ordering for House of Spirits so that Dominick can do delivery of his products that customers will order through the app or from the online page.  Josh helped with photographing thousands of products, and Matt has been coding like a madman and engaged in true project based learning as he works to create something that will work well and collaborates with a graphic designer as well as Dominick.  He is learning skills that are being put to the test in real time and is enjoying the process.

Josh has been a busy guy!  He was a basketball referee for our rec district this past season and was playing himself in the homeschool league.  They lost out on the opportunity to play in the championship game due to the COVID-19 shut downs, but he was perfectly fine with that.  We spent much of the fall working on career exploration, he took several aptitude tests, researched several trades and other avenues.  Suddenly, after a random suggestion to look at a particular school and their programs, Josh has decided he wants to pursue teaching for a career!  We are preparing him to eventually enroll in Western Governor's University for their teaching program, and he started a couple of college courses this past week through Straigherline.com and will spend all of next year working toward getting gen. ed. courses done.  At least, that is the plan today :-) 

Christmas came and went in a flurry, and like everything this past several months, it was oddly off course.  Canceled dinner plans, focused on Buckaroos and all the "new" that surrounded that, but we made it to church, had a day to stop and just relax and "be".  We needed it before we were all off on a dead run doing our thing.

And we have grown older!  All of us...Matt and Josh both tried to grow beards, not so successfully I might add, but Matt has kept his mustache and a little soul patch which cracks me up, but now I am used to it.  Dominick tried to grow a beard as well, but we all decided we didn't care for it much.

Yeah...no beard...hahaha!  Time continues its dance with us all, and we are firmly rooted in a new era these days.  I have fewer good photos to share because everyone is off working, learning, and growing.  Dominick is loving the store, happily implementing delivery at Buckaroos as the COVID-19 challenges arose, continuing to thoroughly enjoy being there every day, and nothing delights me more than to see that he loves what he does.  He is SO Mr. Social that the constant customer and sales representative contact really fill him up.

And me...hmmm...that might be another story.  The past year and a half or so have been difficult for me, painful in dealing with my mom's steady decline and death this summer.  I have had minor health issues of my own with my thyroid meds off significantly for months at a time.  That has hit me emotionally far more than I would have imagined, and I have spent months not understanding why I was feeling so depressed with everything basically good in my life.  Oh, we have stress, but doesn't everyone?  I couldn't understand it, until the blood test revealed that yet again I was way off.  Between that and menopause, well, let's just say it has been a roller coaster hormonally!! Haha!

I think that led me to pulling inward an awful lot, to not feeling like writing, to not feeling like me at all.  Thankfully, I am slowly moving into a better place emotionally, and feel like the ground is partially back beneath me.

I have been continuing to work here and there with Josh, who needs very little in the way of actual teaching from me.  I am daily working with our Blue Collar Homeschool Facebook Group which also keeps me busy but has proven to be a great support for many homeschoolers and is almost 8000 members now.  I have been in self-quarantine away from the family in our master bedroom, which we have turned into a bit of a dorm room with a little dorm fridge and microwave, so that I am not at risk of being exposed to the virus which would take me down very quickly due to the asthma and other lung issues I have.  We are being extremely cautious, and so I have been pretty much alone for going on 4 weeks now.  With four of us out in the world continuing to work, the odds of bringing something home are higher, so it was easier to isolate me.  Poor Dominick has been on the couch for a looooong time and his roommate is Kenny so we keep him away from the other boys!

And slowly, God is laying out new paths for me as well, and one of those paths will be a new blog.  I will continue to update here from time to time, but it has gradually felt like I am supposed to write anew elsewhere, so that is what I will do!  I promise, I will update here more regularly, now that I am a bit more myself.  And I will link to the new blog here in a couple of days.  I have been slowly figuring out what is next to come in my life, but I will share that on the new blog...but there is a different next which has surprised even me. 

We are praying and working hard and trying to be responsible and remain optimistic about the future.  I am constantly reminded right now that our family is healthy and whole, and every single day we are learning what a gift that is as we listen to news of those who are losing loved ones, losing jobs, losing so much.  What we have is such a gift, and we are all grateful every single moment.

Hope all of you are safe and healthy as well, and finding your way through the turmoil of the past couple of months.  I will write here more in the next day or two to share my new blog, for those who might be at all interested in following along.