Saturday, March 28, 2020

Present Day: Online Yoga, Home School, and Happiness

Two weeks ago we were sitting at Playa Porto Marie, enjoying the gorgeous beach and the resident pig who wandered along and reminded us of Maggie as she took a little snoozle in the sand and sun.

I know, it doesn't seem real to me either.

But in the here and now we remain quite good, if beachless and without a resident pig, though we do enjoy our resident Maggie.

On to new news: a blog reader emailed me last week asking if I would consider offering online barre or yoga classes. I will admit the idea intimidated me- I've been teaching for five years, but something about beaming myself to living rooms while I attempt to teach in my own living room with all the limitations that entails, and without the in-person feedback I thrive under and rely on seemed like way too much. And in my first week at home, it was.

Family PE time

But as James settled in and truly owned our home schooling. As the kids proved their adaptability and reminded me repeatedly how lucky we are to have these genuinely sweet, fun humans who play together so well. As I adjusted to working from home and living in my bedroom. As I missed my friends and students and longed for a way to connect, I reached out to my studio owner and tentatively raised my hand.

And so I'm on our studio's online Zoom schedule! I will be teaching two classes every weekend (reminder: classes are in central time!):

~ Dynamic Yoga on Saturdays from 9:30-10:45
~ Home Barre on Sundays from 1:30-2:30

This morning I taught my first class and it was SO GREAT. I turn off everyone's audio and video feeds so the camera will stay on me, but it's pretty weird teaching to an empty living room for 75 straight minutes with no feedback. I kept having phantom thoughts of "is anyone still there? what if they've all dropped off? is that text I'm missing from someone letting me know they can't even see or hear me?" But it worked well. I practiced yesterday with a 20-minute Zoom session with a few friends, just to make sure they could hear me from across the room (my phone has to be so far away to get my whole body/mat in the frame), the lighting was good, volume, pacing, etc. I worked last night on my intention and theme and my flows. I wanted this to truly be dynamic - heart rate up, body moving, sore the next day kind of yoga because that is what my own body desperately needed. We went live with my class late yesterday afternoon and I had 13 signed in this morning! And, most special of all, among those students was a friend from Austin I've never been able to teach (and her husband; hi Becky and Daniel!), my cousin in Atlanta (hi Alyssa!), my mom (Prof Gigi, skipping ALL the "cowabungas"), my sister (Val/Tia!), and my sister-in-law (hi Tamires!). As my friend Becky texted, it's important to look for bright spots in this strange and difficult time and being able to teach so many people I love who are spread out all over the US was a true bright spot. My heart feels so full and I can't wait for more.

My blog reader who sent the email that helped push me outside my comfort zone is joining tomorrow's barre class (hi Amanda!) and if you are looking for an exercise class and a way to support one of many small businesses struggling right now, I would love to see you.

Also a big calorie burner!

If you're interested, go to and click on "Sign Up for Class" (or just scroll down and click sign up by a class you want). You'll go to a new screen where you can "create an account" at the top right corner (if you already have a Mind Body account for other studios, I believe you can use the same one). From there you can sign up for any class you'd like. Our fees are $18/1 class, $75/5 classes, or you can use our New Student Special for unlimited classes for 30 days for $49! We're offering 3 classes a day with some beautiful teachers, beaming to you from their own homes. Also, if a class time doesn't work for you, sign up anyway, we'll capture your "absence" and send you a link to the recorded class to play at your convenience anytime in the next 3 days.

I'm really excited about this. I hope very much that you are all able to find or do something that is exciting to you too.

Speaking of exciting, the kids finished their Business School project that James came up with for them!

Together they brainstormed business ideas for the island of Curaçao, conducted market research, and picked one to develop together. There was research of the island population, potential competition, commercial real estate space, average startup costs, advertising, and more. The financial tables caused more than one tween to drop to the floor in despair. Partners were declared “the worst” and litigation often seemed likely. But with unending patience James talked them through each step. “You can’t always pick your partners,” I'd hear from our bedroom. And “what’s the next task? How can we start the next thing that needs to be done?”. After a full week, they were ready to present! He worked with them on presentation thoughts, they voluntarily dressed up (Landon put on a polo! on his own!), and they made note cards and rehearsed. They arranged chairs and called us in and it was maybe the most proud I've ever seen them of something they created.

We had Q&A and then negotiated my investment terms, with them running on numbers on how much equity they could afford to give away. Claire was incredulous that I would get EVEN MORE than I invested and is skeptical I have her best interests at heart.

It was so great you guys. I'm so proud of them. And James. His creativity and dogged determination to reap the benefits of this extra time with our kids are two more bright spots for me right now.

Speaking of James, the days away from the pool finally broke him and he decided to come up with a way to workout in our FREEZING very non-heated backyard pool on Wednesday afternoon. While I sipped wine from my bedroom desk and did a FaceTime happy hour with my mamas at 5:30 p.m., he was rigging himself up to a stretchy cord wrapped around a built-in patio bench leg and forcing himself to dive in.

He loved it. Weirdo.

In other news, before our shelter-in-place order came down, our elementary school teachers did a parade in their cars through our neighborhood and the girls LOVED IT. They miss their teachers so much and getting to wave at them from our yard was truly so uplifting for them. Maggie was there too and got lots of excited shouts from the cars as the teachers and staff drove by.

My mom taught part 2 of her science less on viruses, this one specifically on Coronavirus. It was so good and I learned so much! Not that I was the intended audience- she assigned homework to the kids participating, asking them to write down one new thing they learned from lesson 1, and one question they had based on what they learned so far. The kids' questions were SO good and she incorporated all of them into her second class.

Cora made sure her homework was right in hand when class began.

She's such a great teacher and it was so fun to see her work. The kids loved it and were so engaged. (And also seriously, I learned a lot too.)

Cora is missing her Kindergarten teacher so she made her a card and included some of the math work she's doing with James. This was her extra note.

To be clear, she's very proud of her "hard work," but the letter cracks me up and makes me smile every time I think of it.

If anyone was wondering, Maggie has also been working very hard.

She sleeps under my "desk" for most of the day, a trust coworker, if not a particularly helpful one.

James has been playing Frisbee with the big kids in front of our house every night. There's an elaborate points system I don't understand, and Cora mostly uses the time to hunt for roly polies, but on Wednesday she was standing near the curb when a butterfly landed on her finger. It was the thrill of a lifetime and on Thursday James caught these photos of Cora standing near the curb with her little finger outstretched for a good 20-30 minutes, just waiting for her friend.

Oh my heart. Her butterfly friend never came back, but Cora was undaunted, cheerfully telling me later that her butterfly was probably busy.

Today I made a big pancake brunch after my yoga class and then supervised the kids' chores while straightening up random things around the house. Maggie now napping, all 3 kids are swimming in our (seriously cold!) pool and acting like cold water isn't the worst.

So things within our walls are good. The larger world remains scary and sad and absolutely rage-inducing. I found out today that my high school biology teacher, who I loved and who inspired a love of biology and my future major, died of COVID-19 yesterday. I'm devastated for her family and continue to struggle to balance (and write about) those bigger overall feelings with the happiness I'm finding in our home life as we spend all our time together here. There's been a lot of joy. It sometimes seems impossible these two timelines are running at the same time.

This week's food:

Sunday: Oven Jambalaya, steamed green beans.

Monday: BBQ crockpot chicken (I use frozen chicken breasts and leave out the sugar), shredded in wheat buns with sharp cheddar cheese and pickles, oven tater tots, cut up raw veg.

Tuesday: Taco soup (I add extra beans- usually black, sometimes kidney, whatever I have around).

Wednesday: BBQ chicken enchiladas (leftover chicken from Monday rolled into corn tortillas with cheddar cheese (or not, if you're Landon), placed in a baking dish, topped with a bit of sour cream (maybe 1/2 cup total?) and sprinkle of additional cheese, and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. It's kind of a combo taquito/enchilada- they aren't wet and aren't fully covered in cheese or sour cream, delicious!), black beans, sliced avocado and tomato on the side.

Thursday: Pesto Pizza rolls

Friday: Chili and Mac & Cheese (as listed on last week's menu, I ended up making a meaty spaghetti that night because we had some Italian sausage to use).

Hope you are all well and safe and finding pieces of joy to hold tight.


  1. I am loving these posts even more during this time! Thanks for posting.

  2. Congratulations on your transition to online teaching! I felt many of the same emotions when I started teaching LSAT prep classes online and still do tbh :) Glad your family is well and healthy, but so sorry to hear about your biology teacher.

  3. I'm a blog reader who also went to KHS (a few years before you). I was so sad to read about RDJ -- she was such a great biology teacher!

  4. I am so impressed by the kids coming up with a business plan! And so great that you have Gigito help teach the kids.

  5. Thanks for the shout out; class was great! It's nice to share in the happiness within our walls vs. the uncertainty and fear outside our walls right now. Like other readers, I am very impressed with your kids' business plan and presentation!

  6. This ("I continue to struggle to balance (and write about) those bigger overall feelings with the happiness I'm finding in our home life as we spend all our time together here. There's been a lot of joy. It sometimes seems impossible these two timelines are running at the same time.") is a perfect summation of how I feel (though I think with some added impatience/frustration as our 4- and 2-year-olds can be hard to occupy and have the beginnings of sibling rivalry forming). And so sorry to hear about your former teacher.
    Our local gyms/studios/workout businesses have done an amazing job of making the transition to online-only and I am so grateful for in-home exercise with real-to-me people - I am so glad you are finding your groove online as well!