Newlyweds Ganelle and James shared their smiles and new family with us. We loved hearing all about their favorite spots in Little Rock and their favorite quarantine pastimes.

What is your favorite Little Rock place to visit?

We love SoMa. It's kid friendly, has a great farmer's market and the kind of nighttime vibe we enjoy. South Main also turns right into the downtown creative corridor. We could hang out down there on a Saturday or Sunday for quite some time, hit the Museum of Discovery – all pre-pandemic. 

These days James and I will go early morning/late night fishing on the river at Murray Lock and Dam or Lake Maumelle. We also go on the occasional picnic in Allsopp Park, but we’re pretty rare with our outings these days. James and I are both co-parents, so we have a pretty big circle of people we’re trying to keep healthy.  We’ve been pretty strict on our quarantine efforts.

What is your kids’ favorite local restaurant? If you can leave the kids at home, what would you pick?

The kids love Dugan’s. Miller loves the chicken nachos. Bronx is a big mac and cheese and fruit cup fan. James and I miss veal picatta and a quiet booth at Bruno’s Little Italy.

What is the most interesting way you’ve spent family time during quarantine?

We have a home garden that everyone helps with. We've gone through several jars of homemade pickles, and while it wasn't the best year for tomatoes, we managed to get some homemade salsa in the mix. James made jalapeno hot sauce, and I'm looking forward to the tabasco peppers turning red so I can try the same.   

What is the silliest thing your kids have fought about? How have sibling dynamics changed (for good or bad)?

We haven't been married long, so the kids are just now getting used to living together. They're six years apart in age and for that reason don't have a whole lot to fight about. At the moment they both really wish they could hang out with friends their own age.  

How have you enjoyed “taking a pause”?

Ha! Is there a pause button that we somehow missed? Neither of us have slowed down at work; we've just had to find the new normal. James made a pretty easy transition to working from home full-time. Adding homeschool took some adjustment, but I was already running my small business from home before the pandemic. We've honestly just been very thankful for our health, our work and for each other.  

What’s the first thing you’ll do as a family when restrictions ease?

Hug everyone in our extended family. A lot.  

Have you had to cancel any trips or parties? Did you do anything to replace those events? 

Only our wedding celebration and honeymoon that was scheduled for June. No bigs. We got married anyway and rescheduled the celebration for the end of 2021. 

How did you balance working from home and virtual school (if applicable)?

Rearranging the house to fit our new needs has been a big help. We reexamined what we needed out of a home during a pandemic and moved things around to make sure everyone has a space that can be productive for work and learning, as well as allow for some private leisure time.

What’s your biggest hope (and fear) for the coming school year?

We hope that teachers, administrators, children, parents and guardians stay safe and well.  We fear our community won’t make the uncomfortable decisions necessary to put those people’s health and safety first. 

Have you found any helpful language to talk to your kids about the pandemic? To help with fears, better hygiene or mask wearing (for example)?

Our entire family is still healthy, so we haven’t had to have too many rough conversations. I’ve always found that honesty is the best policy – the G rated version – but the truth. I thought of making sure the kids can’t hear the news when we listen to it, but the fact is they are growing up in the middle of a global pandemic. That’s once every few lifetimes type stuff, and they’re just more familiar than we had to be with hearing about people being sick and people passing away. 

Neither one of our kids has a problem wearing their mask in public; it’s just what we do now. We’ve been home since mid-March, so I think time was the true teacher in our case. Miller has always been very clean and mindful of washing his hands, which has been helpful. I don’t know how Bronx’s hands would ever stay clean without hand sanitizer. She’s almost 4 so still very tactile and sensory – not to mention fearless.