I have prepared for Coronavirus to the best of my ability—but I’m still anxious

Today, our neighborhood was affected by the Columbia Gas explosions in Massachusetts—and I keep replaying the last few hours in my head over and over. Today was one of those unimaginable days that then become a reality.

I have prepared for Coronavirus to the best of my ability—but I’m still anxious

I can't fall asleep. Today, our neighborhood was affected by the Columbia Gas explosions in Massachusetts—and I keep replaying the last few hours in my head over and over.

I'm just lying awake reading news story after news story, updating friends and family who are texting to let them know we're okay.

My babies are okay.

This afternoon, a few minutes before 5:00 pm, I heard a loud noise outside my house and a lot of commotion on our street. I smelt gas. My two big girls were watching the movie Brave and my 11-month-old was at the tail end of her much-needed cat nap. I was trying on a dress for a wedding. I poked my head out our front door to see what was going on and right before my eyes, chaos ensued.

I noticed the smoke in the air, and paired with the gas smell, I knew this wasn't good. I shouted to my neighbors next door, "Do we need to leave our home???" They shouted back, "Yes! Get out now!"


Get the babies. Get in the car. That's what I knew I needed to do. Focus, focus, mama.

I still didn't know what was going on, but I felt it—I knew this was bad and I knew I needed to get my babies out. I, as calmly as I could fake, told my big girls that we were going to go to Aunt Megan's for a visit and to "hold hands right here" while I ran and got the baby. I ripped the dress I was trying on off, threw clothes on that were strewn about nearby and quickly pulled my sleeping, confused baby out of her crib.

I scanned the kitchen to make sure I didn't leave anything on, and we bolted out to our car—no shoes, mishmoshed clothes, and only three diapers in my purse. A police officer in front of our house shouted, "Good! Get out of here!" as I buckled the baby into her seat with shaking hands. We live in the city of Lawrence, Massachusetts and decided we'd head to my sister's home in the town next door, North Andover.

She called me on our way over there and told us they were being evacuated too. The roads were crowded. I looked to my left to see firefighters working on a house near the intersection I take to my sisters. More panic set in.

But my babies were okay.

My babies were with me.

My sister and her crew headed north to her in-laws in New Hampshire, as we headed south to my sister and brother-in-laws 30 miles from our house. They ordered pizza. I watched the news. My husband finally got to us after work. I went to Marshall's to get some clothes for us, and shoes for me. I cried as I drove by myself, finally able to break down without my kids watching.

I took a deep breath.

This is a lot. This is scary.

But my babies are okay.

I am okay.

We have what we need—we have each other.

A house two doors down from us, where a local police officer and his beautiful family live—burnt to the ground. It burned for so long before firefighters could even get to it because of all the other explosions going on. My heart breaks for my neighbors—but I'm so grateful they are physically okay.

There have been a reported 70+ homes that have been affected by gas explosions and fires in our city, and our two neighboring towns, North Andover and Andover. National Grid turned the power out and we're unsure of when we will be able to safely return to our homes.

But my babies are okay.

Today was one of those unimaginable days that then become a reality.

So far, one mama's 18-year-old baby is not okay. A boy, in a house 1.4 miles from ours, died from the explosion at his home. I can't even fathom this. My heart breaks for his family, for their unimaginable pain and shock, and every ounce of love and prayers I have goes out to them.

My love and prayers go out to all the incredible, hard-working, brave first responders who are working tirelessly to make sure this is contained. They're amazing. Firefighters from all over New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts (and likely more areas) have banded together to fight this and to keep our community safe.

To keep my babies safe.

You never really think disaster is going to happen to you. Today it brushed way too close for comfort. It has rocked me to my core.

What if it were our house? I was home with all three babies. What if something happened to them? What if it happened through the night and everyone had been sleeping?

I can't answer these what if's. And they make my stomach turn even thinking of them.

So for now, I'll thank God and my lucky stars above that my babies are okay.

Today was overwhelming. And scary. And heartbreaking. It asked me to step up to the plate of motherhood—by pretending I was calm when I wasn't, by figuring out what to do because I was the adult in charge of three tiny humans, by making sure my babies were okay.

And they're okay.

My babies are okay.

And so, for right now, I guess I am too.

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In This Article

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Micuna: Innovative and stylish baby gear that grows with them

Since 1973, Micuna has been perfecting the art of sustainably handcrafted baby furniture. Made from wood sourced from the north of Spain and Germany and manufactured in sustainable certified sawmill companies only, their modern and minimalist high chairs are perfect for families who don't want to sacrifice their aesthetic for function. What's more, they hold themselves to the strictest of European and American safety standards, resulting in only the best for parents and their littles.

Habbi Habbi: The easiest way to expose kids to a different language

Created by two best friends as an expression of their effort to be intentional parents, Habbi Habbi Reading Wand & Bilingual Books are the easiest way to start your kids bilingual learning without the screen. Their innovative and engaging play-based tool brings language to life through a tech-enabled wand and "tappable" books that give kids instant feedback, from vocabulary and phrases to musical tunes. The content is as intentional as the books are beautiful highlighting topics like emotions, female role models and diversity.

Countdown to Mama: 14 mama-tested, mama-approved presents to get excited about a new baby

Founded by a mama who came up the idea at the end of her own uncomfortable pregnancy, Countdown to Mama is the only advent calendar-style mama-to-be gift box out there. With a range of "niceties to necessities," she made it her mission to curate a collection of mama-loved products that thoughtfully usher her through the biggest transformation of her life.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Happiest Baby: Baby sleep solutions designed by the experts

Created by renowned pediatrician, baby sleep expert and (as some might say) lifesaver Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby has been helping new parents understand and nurture their infants for close to two decades. Building on the success of his celebrated books and video The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block he's developed groundbreaking, science-based product solutions that conquer a new parent's top stressor—exhaustion.

WSEL Bags: Dad-designed diaper bags that think of everything

WSEL stands for work smart, enjoy life—an ethos we couldn't agree with more. Founded by a stay at home dad who struggled to find a diaper bag that he not only wanted to use, but one that would last far beyond the baby years, these premium, adventure-ready backpacks are ideal for everything from errands to week-long getaways.

Codex Beauty: Exceptionally effective sustainable skin care

Codex Beauty's line of sustainable plant-based skin care blends the science of plant biology with biotech innovations, to create clinically proven, state-of-the-art products for all skin types. They're all vegan, EWG and Leaping Bunny verified and created in collaboration with Herbal Scientist Tracy Ryan who uses concepts dating back to the 8th century leveraging plants like sea buckthorn and calendula flower. Not only are we totally crushing on the innovative formulas that are in the packaging but we're in love with the sustainable sugarcane-derived tubes as well.

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