The Summer of 2020

Here we are, at the last weekend of a very strange summer break. When I look back on the summer of 2020, I hope I won’t remember it for never getting to leave the house, or for all of the bad things that kept happening in the world.. Because even if this summer has been different, and not what I wanted it to be, there have been good moments. So I hope I (and the Fab Five) remember it for:

  • Our virtual vacation to Chicago.
  • Baking different variations of our favorite cookies with Bunny after church every Sunday.
  • Early morning snuggles with Chickadee (the early-riser of the Fab Five).
  • Seeing the joy the Fab Five got out of playing with The Child.
  • Watching Hamilton (and listening to the soundtrack) over and over again, sometimes with accompanying singing and dancing.
  • Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons seemingly endlessly.
  • Taking sunset walks with Ladybug.
  • Spending extra time cooking special meals.
  • Watching every Pixar movie, and picking our favorites.
  • Listening to Christmas music whenever we felt like it, simply because it brightened our day.
  • Binge-watching TV shows (Everybody Loves Raymond was a family favorite, and we also enjoyed The King of Queens) and laughing together.
  • Making waffles for lunch (and sometimes dinner, but never breakfast!) many days.
  • Sharing late-night Reese’s peanut butter bars with Turkey and Bunny while we watched The Golden Girls.
  • Even later-night M*A*S*H marathons with Turkey and Moose.

I’m sure there are other things that have been hallmarks of our vacation, but these are the big ones, the happy moments I want to remember, instead of the craziness of the world around us.

Waffle Summer

If there’s anything that defines this summer beyond the “Summer of Hamilton,” it’s “Waffle Summer.” When I rearranged our summer school plans from Tokyo 2020 to cooking, the first thing I wanted to tackle was making waffles. They were such a big hit that we kept making them…every kind we could come up with. Plain waffles, cinnamon, chocolate (topped with ice cream for dessert!), pumpkin, lemon-poppyseed, savory cheese and bacon (topped with fried eggs), cinnamon roll, banana, tropical, gingerbread, blueberry, potato, and buttermilk all made an appearance.

The waffle madness even made an appearance in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

It’s been a delicious summer!

Quote of the Day

I don’t think anything could sum up the summer of 2020 better:

“That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.” Jordan Nagai as Russell in Up

Animal Crossing Summer

So this has been a weird summer, right? I don’t know about you, but we didn’t go on any trips, didn’t do any of our normal fun summer activities, and to be honest, we barely left the house. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had a fun summer virtually, though, thanks to Animal Crossing: New Horizons…I got to do lots of fun summer things in the game!

My animal neighbors threw me a very fun birthday party:

I went swimming in the ocean:

I visited an aquarium with a friend:

I went star gazing:

I had an all-penguin slumber party:

I enjoyed an outdoor workout with some of my animal friends:

I had a picnic on the beach:

I saw a beautiful fireworks display:

I went fishing:

I participated in a fashion show:

I went to an art gallery with a neighbor:

I attended an outdoor concert:

I spent some time in a tea garden:

I visited friends:

And neighbors:

It certainly hasn’t been the summer I planned or even wanted, but I made the best of it, and I had a lot of in-game fun!

Movie Night at Home

We might not be able to see a movie in a theatre right now, but we can participate in tonight’s Hamilton watch party on Disney+ at home! I even picked up some of our favorite movie snacks for the experience.

This is another unusual activity in a very weird summer, but it’s a memory, and a good one at that!

Oggy Day

Originally I thought that for Bastille Day today, I’d break out my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and make a fancy dinner. But our Bastille Day celebration took a whimsical turn, when Moose suggested we spend the day watching his favorite cartoon, Oggy and the Cockroaches, which just happens to be a French production. So instead of making a fancy French dinner, I decided to make a twist on French toast, with a stuffed French toast casserole topped with blueberry sauce for dinner.

I thought we should have something actually French, too, so I made Crème Brûlée for dessert.

It was nice to have an unusual celebration in the middle of an extremely strange summer!

Stay-at-Home-Summer Survival Kit

Let’s face it…summer 2020 has basically been cancelled. Our trip to Chicago, the first summer event for our family every year, was cancelled. Visiting family…cancelled. Volleyball camp, kantorei kamp, the Royal School of Church Music camp, Higher Things…all different events of varying lengths that various children were looking forward to…all cancelled. The Olympics, while postponed to next year, are cancelled for this summer, and along with them, our planned summer school for 2020. And while some places are beginning to open back up, it is with heavy restrictions, and we’re not going to be venturing forth any time soon I don’t think. So I had to come up with a summer alternative. Fortunately, I had the money I should have spent on our trip to Chicago to splurge on a few things to make the children’s summer a little brighter.

I think I covered all of the major fun activities here. A new Lego set for each child, to be distributed on a day when we are all just done. Some new books to read. A new TV show (Everybody Loves Raymond) to watch through. Some new old time radio (Jack Benny and Fibber McGee and Molly) to listen to. A children’s cookbook to accompany our revamped summer school. Some new games (that we’ve actually had for a while, but never gotten around to playing). Even some treats in the way of Frango mints.

It’s not the summer we were planning. It’s certainly not the summer we wanted. But we’re going to try to make the best of it, and have as much fun as we can!

Chickadee Thursday

We’ve settled into a fairly comfortable stay-at-home-summer-vacation routine…every morning, I sit in my chair in the school room and read, and Chickadee grabs her pillow and a blanket, and makes a little nest on the floor where she can read next to me!

Markel Family Virtual Getaway–Day Five

Last year on Memorial Day, we visited Cantigny Park, which is home to the First Division Museum. Seeing both reenactors and active military personnel, not to mention the laying of a wreath at the memorial, was a very moving experience, and I was hoping to do it again this year. We also enjoyed walking the grounds, touring the McCormick mansion, and climbing on the tanks. The one thing we missed out on last year, that I had really wanted to do, was hear Wayne Messmer sing with his big band…they were rained out. I’d like to think that this year, we would have finally been successful in hearing him perform!

If we had done everything I wanted to do at Cantigny, we would have spent most of the day there. Back at the hotel, we would have enjoyed one last evening swim with a much quieter atmosphere, because the crowds clear out quickly once Combo Breaker is finished.

One more day of our virtual vacation to go…and one last fun activity before we hit the road!

Markel Family Virtual Getaway–Day Four

The fourth day of our weekend getaway would have started with church at St. John Wheaton. It’s weird to think that this Sunday, not only are we not going to be there, but nobody is.

I had planned to stop at the Popcorn Store after church, so the children could each pick a selection of candy. I’m happy to hear that store is currently able to do curbside popcorn orders, but it’s not the same without looking at all the candy displays in the shop!

I always wear Pinup Girl Clothing to Combo Breaker on Sunday. I had a really good outfit planned this year, too…my purple plaid Long Jun skirt paired with an Animal Crossing t-shirt. I even had new Animal Crossing pins for my lanyard!

The finals on Sunday are always so exciting to watch, and other than some pool time, I think we would have dedicated most of the day to Combo Breaker. I really loved seeing Tekken 7 last year, and I was really looking forward to experiencing some “Good Ass Tekken” with a hype crowd again this year!

I had big plans for Memorial Day…stay tuned!