A feast in the Great Hall

Just like every holiday during 2020, the idea of Thanksgiving in quarantine felt odd. My children have also been having a racial reckoning of their own this year. While we seen racism and bigotry personally directed at them, they are becoming more cognizant of what systemic oppression looks like. To them, it looks a lot like Thanksgiving. Juliana is very determined to find a different path to having honest conversations about the real history of America.

It was also Thanksgiving when my family decided they no longer wanted to have meaningful contact with me anymore because of my outspokenness about past hurtful behavior and justice issues related to my children. So this particular holiday holds little to no appeal for me for anyway. For both those reasons, we decided to re-invent it this year.

The kids wanted a feast, Harry Potter-themed. Yes, we had a conversation about transphobia and the ever-troubling attitude of JK Rowling, but the kids decided this is a Hogwarts themed feast and not a JK Rowling themed feast, so she isn’t going to steal their joy. Also, my kids have always found the Potter fandom to be incredibly supportive, so they are unwilling to let that be stolen from them as well.

And so, the Hogwarts Great Hall was born.

Some traditions remained, although altered, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

But there were new traditions too, like wand making.

There were old foods and new too.

Pies were a must, and turkey too.

But, Honeyduke’s was open with some special treats. Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Butterbeer, and…CHOCOLATE FROGS.

It was quite the feast!

When the sunset, and the floating candles in the Great Hall were twinkling, we all gathered to eat, some of us in our house colors!

–FullPlateMom, who can see the feast becoming an annual tradition.

Frozen in Time

Literally, frozen. It’s snowing up here, at the end of March. Figuratively, we’re frozen as well, because I don’t think we’re going back to school anytime soon. The Lunch Board in the Wellness Center reads ‘March 13, 2020.’ I think it will read that for awhile. This was the last day I drove myself to work. I won’t be going back for at least a month. This is the face of one VERY stressed out School Nurse.

I serve a school where some of the children in attendance receive three meals/day at school. What are we going to do now.

Apparently, what we do best…mobilize. When families came to get their children’s belongings from their lockers, they could take a bag of groceries. We delivered to families who couldn’t get to us.

Being in the communities to drop off supplies showed us that we needed to do more. So, we did. We rolled a U Haul right up to the local food pantry.

FPD is now officially laid off from his work at the hospitals. They don’t have enough PPE to have live interpreters on site. We applied for Unemployment, but he was denied because he is an independent contractor. We need to wait and see what other assistance is offered to us.

In the meantime, the community is helping out. Our local grocery store gave us this. It was at risk of expiring. Nothing expires in this house. It ALL gets eaten.

The kids are doing pretty well. Tess decided to take a Chinese class online. And Cate, well, Cate is staying home.

Raising Readers: Book Club, Full Plate Style.

Last July, I started a book club with some of my besties.

I chose three of my kids who had a similar reading level and I crowdsourced a book that they might all like. I downloaded the reading guide for the book here. We had multiple meetings at local restaurants where I had gift cards or coupons. Y’all, it was the highlight of the summer.

So, when summer was dawning on the horizon this year, these three lobbied to have a book club again. But, this time, all of their besties jumped on the band wagon. Initially, I divided the kids into two groups. But, once we got going, the tiniest of Full Platers also demanded their own book club. Now we have three going.

The kids are obsessed. When is our next meeting?!? Can I read ahead?!? Oh my gosh, mom! I can’t wait for you to find out what happens in the next chapter.

The “bigs” are reading Children of Blood and Bone. Here’s the free teacher guide I found to help prompt our discussions.

Juliana is the youngest of this group. She is a rising 7th grader, but reads at a high school level. Ally is not joining us this summer because of the aforementioned internship she has at an on campus preschool. Her internship includes room and board at a local dorm. We send her snaps like this one to let her know she is missed.

Their meetings were first. We’ve had three so far, because this book is a brick. The next meeting will be our last for this book. We’re taking suggestions for the next TBR (To Be Read). The kids love Black authors, and their favorite genre is definitely fantasy/magical realism. Dystopian novels are okay.

The “middles” are reading George. Juliana chose this for them. I love that an older kid is curating the bookshelf of the younger kids. I am using the reading guide from the Anti-Defamation League.

A note to readers of this post: Don’t message me with any outrage over my children being “exposed” to a book of this variety. That is my intent, all you haters. I want my children to know about people who are different than they are. Understanding the life experience of others is what combats hatred and cruelty. Reading this isn’t going to make anyone anything other than more compassionate. We need a little less hatred in the world these days. Should you choose to post a comment with malicious intent despite reading this warning, I will simply not approve it. If you continue to send ugly comments, I will start blocking IP addresses. The end.

Then the “littles” demanded a Book Club. Let’s be honest, they really just wanted the treats and the time with mom. Whatever gets you reading, right? I structured their club a little differently, because it includes two Deaf kids and I sign like a rising 1st grader.

Their Book Club occurs at home. It does involve a dessert. Last week it was a brownie bowl. We choose a brand new picture book. I practice signing it, in ASL, and voicing it simultaneously. That’s a stretch for me to focus on correct ASL grammar while voicing English. Lots of times I try that and slip into SEE (Signed Exact English). This week’s book was the new Pigeon book by Mo Willems!

We adore Pigeon around here.

When the book is done, everyone in our little group has to sit for three questions that check their comprehension. Gigi struggles with that because her language is so delayed. ‘Why’, ‘What’, and ‘How’ questions are hard for her. ‘Who’ and ‘When’ are easier. This time she nailed both though. ‘How did the Pigeon get to school?’ ‘The bus! Same as me!’ ‘Pigeon was scared of school…why?!?’ ‘Maybe, friends…none. *insert sad facial expression*’ Nailed it.

They are loving this. I am loving this. It is a great way to connect with my kids.

–FullPlateMom, who is all about the connection, especially with her less than chatty teens.