Photo by April Barnes.

To keep her 9-, 6- and 4-year-olds entertained during a year of quarantine, Katy Ragsdale gave in: “There’s things that I used to say no to that I’m saying yes to, to try to make things better.” 

Katy, her husband Jeff, their three kids, two dogs and two kittens have been strictly homebound since last March since 6-year-old Charlie has asthma. 

“We didn’t think we were going to be here in March 2021 talking about it,” she says. “We thought it’d be over in the next month or so. The disappointment that came with that after a few months, that was hard.” 

Katy and Jeff have worked remotely as lawyers while the kids attend virtual school. It is a change of pace from the family’s pre-COVID schedule of taking the kids to gymnastics to dance to soccer to tumbling every day. 

“I went from that to me being basically a full-time mom again, and also trying to work and do school,” she says. “It was a really big adjustment.” 

At the beginning of quarantine, the family had four dogs that were all adopted around 15 years ago. Unfortunately, two of their pups, Suzie Q and Cookie, passed away this past year. The family decided to adopt two kittens recently and named them Taylor Swift and Grogu. 

Adopting the kittens helped boost morale for the kids, Katy says. 

The family has enjoyed small victories in Charlie learning how to read and ride a bike without training wheels and the kids regularly FaceTiming cousins in Austin. 

“They only saw each other once or twice a year before COVID, so they didn’t know each other very well,” Ragsdale says. “I’m thankful they’ve gotten to be such good friends, and I don’t think it would have happened without the virus.” 

Due to Katy’s heart condition, she was able to receive both doses of the vaccine earlier this year. The rest of the family doesn’t know when they will receive their doses. 

“When I told Caroline, my oldest, that I was getting my vaccine, she started crying because she couldn’t get hers because she was ready to go back to school,” Katy says. 

The kids are looking forward to returning to normal, but top of the list is a big trip the Ragsdales had planned before COVID. 

“We’ve promised our kids a trip to Disney World,” she says. “Now we definitely owe it to them.”