Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Hazy Days September 17, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 2:26 pm

The last week has a memorable one! Washington state has been socked in by smoke thanks to fires burning across the west. One of the main reasons we’ve handle staying home due to COVID-19 so well is our property. The boys can run amok outdoors. They have plenty of space to play. The smoke this week has made the air hazardous. Being outside has not been an option. We have been trapped indoors and we are feeling a little crazy as a result.

To combat the bad air, we’ve been running box fans around our house with air filters attached to them. You can literally see that they are working has they’ve slowly changed color over the last week. I’m sensitive to air quality and have felt quite yucky all week as a result.

Our plans for the week shifted as a result of the smoke. Jeremy wasn’t able to go hunting due to fire danger. The land reopened on Tuesday and he went out for a short period of time. He decided to not go out the next day because the smoke was too bad. The boys and I planned to start “Forest School” with some friends on Monday afternoon, but the bad air quality had me feeling too poor to participate. MOPS & MOMSnext kicked off on Monday night and I was the guest speaker for the evening. I knew that if I was out and about on Monday afternoon, I would feel even worse. It was hard to miss the first forest school gathering, but it was the right decision.

While the smoke dominated the landscape of our week, I am happy to report some non-smoke related news. MOPS & MOMSnext had a great kick off. We had 16 ladies attend which was more than I expected. I had fairly low expectations so it was nice to be pleasantly surprised. We have a great guest speaker lined up for our next meeting, so I’m hopeful that we keep the positive forward motion.

This week was our first “full” week of school. Due to Labor Day weekend, we’ve had two weeks of school with just three days. This week we did a full four days for the first time. (We accomplish 5 days of schoolwork in 4 days.) It felt good to do a full week, but I am thankful for the change of pace tomorrow. I’m glad it will coincide with the smoke clearing. I’m thinking we might head outdoors for our own version of forest school to make up for missing Monday. Each week of homeschooling establishes our our new normal. I’m enjoying the feeling that comes with settling down and finding our groove.

And on a completely lighthearted note, we found my favorite pumpkin bread mix at Costco. I’ve already started to eat my weight in pumpkin treats this season. Jeremy also harvested his little pumpkins last night and I’m reveling in their cuteness.

It has been a challenging week, but there have been many good and wonderful moments to keep me going. I am eagerly awaiting the clearing of the air. Until we are back to good air quality, you will find me sitting in front of a box fan with an air filter taped to it waiting for the orange haze to disappear. These are strange times!

Wii night with Nana & Papa helped distract us from being stuck inside.
Jeremy wasn’t able to hunt on Saturday, so he took over the kitchen to make himself a s’mores pie.
Church with my train engineers
The day I find this bread mix in Costco is practically a holiday in my book!
I wish that was just fog… I kept trying to pretend it was fog…
Teaching Owen an important life skill – how to make paper clip chains.
Learning about balance with paper clips, straws, and pictures of weather/space.
A new distraction was worth the big mess!
Jack Be Littles might be my favorite pumpkins on the planet! So adorable!
 

Finding Our Groove September 11, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 3:35 pm

We’ve wrapped up two weeks of homeschooling now! We have found our groove with the school schedule. Now I’m looking at my life as a whole and trying to fine-tune the rest of my time beyond school. But first, let’s chat about homeschooling! There is a lot that is working well for us with this new school year.

The school day starts with a discussion of the date and weather. We say the Pledge of Allegiance before separating. Graham goes to play and Owen goes to the table. I figure since Owen is a grade school student, he should go first. When Owen is finished with his daily lessons, we move on to reading and art with Graham. Graham has his preschool lesson after art. We are doing structured school Monday through Thursday mornings. Fridays will be flexible for outings, projects, and catch-up assignments. Since Jeremy’s day off is Friday this allows us to include him in our more hands-on school days.

I’ve enjoyed the pace of our school days and the curriculum we are using. Like pieces of a puzzle all coming together, it’s been fun to watch our school days unfold. After all the research and determining what direction we will go with for school, it’s rewarding to see it come to life successfully.

Being an introverted, homeschool mom in the midst of a pandemic has it’s struggles. The biggest struggle being the lack of solitude. I strive to have healthy habits. I’m investing in my faith, my health, my community, and my family. I do all of these things with a low to high level of chaos in the background. While I prefer structure, most of my solitude is spontaneous. This week that looked like a bubble bath before a big meeting, the boys drawing with chalk at Grandma’s house while I made dinner, and returning a book to the library by myself. I have to seize the quiet moments when they come my way!

I also realize that I’m using some new muscles or rusty ones (mentally that is). School is going well, but it is still new territory for me. I’m adjusting to the energy output. MOPS & MOMSnext is also launching this month. I’m active on Facebook and I’m Zooming again for this group. The summer was a nice break and now I’m finding my way leading an online group that was never intended to be entirely virtual. These things take up more brain space right now. Lord willing, these activities will eventually quiet down and become more familiar, which should mean less energy needed.

Right now I’m celebrating that homeschooling is doable. I am looking forward to launching MOPS & MOMSnext. I’m also praying for all these fires in the PNW to cease and for the smoke to clear so that the air can be healthy. My husband is hoping for the fire danger to go down so he can safely participate in hunting season. September is often a month of adjustment. Back to school, back to MOPS & MOMSnext, hunting season – these things happen every year. While I appreciate the predictability of their recurrence, it still takes time to find our groove.

We have a new hobby in the Scott household! Rock tumbling!
Friday fun! We kicked off Labor Day Weekend by hiking up Mt. Rainier (again). This time we made it to Panorama Point and a bit beyond. This hike is listed as strenuous and is probably not one I will repeat in my lifetime, but I followed my boys up the mountainside to make their dream come true.
A little ways above Panorama Point with the Tatoosh Range in the background.
Eventually the hike up to Panorama Point leads you beyond the tree line, but right here – this is one of my favorite parts of the hike! The alpine flowers smelled so good!
Mt. Rainier gets more impressive the closer you get!
Not a bad view!
Life with Graham!
Lamby and Benny got ready for fall!
Apple Stamping
Jeremy helped me up my Zoom lighting game with a flood light from the garage. I might have been seeing spots by the end of my meeting!
My flowers were starting to fade so I made a smaller arrangement. Just as pretty!
Fall crafting!
A moment of self-care! Getting a treat while running errands kid-free!
 

The Great Homeschool Adventure Begins September 3, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 12:10 pm

If you’ve been following my blog throughout the pandemic, you know that education has been on the forefront of my mind. I’ve spent months reading books about homeschooling. I asked homeschool friends for their opinions and recommendations. I’ve watched YouTube videos to look inside curriculum. I was contemplating homeschooling for the 2020-2021 school year and I wanted to be prepared. Jeremy and I agreed that we wouldn’t make a decision until we heard the final plan from our school district. Patience isn’t easy for me and it was a long wait before we heard from the school district on what the official plan for the school year would be.

The fateful day arrived the day before our Yellowstone vacation. We heard the distance learning plan from our school district and decided that it wasn’t for us. I love our school district. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the staff and teachers. No matter what option we decided for schooling this year, our boys would have been in good hands. I believe that. I hope that our kids will return to our school district in the future. When it comes down to it, I’m not a fan of digital learning for primary grades. Owen would have been issued a Chromebook with apps he needed loaded. He would have had a daily Zoom schedule. He would have been watching recorded lessons from his teacher. I applaud our the district for doing the best they can with what they’ve got. I know that teachers are working harder than ever this year. But it’s still not what I would prefer for learning. If my kiddos are going to be home with me during the day, I want flexibility over their schedule. Homeschooling allows us to move at our own pace and have outings whenever they fit best with our schedule.

Once we made the decision to homeschool Owen, it made sense that we would do the same for Graham. I’ve loved the years that our kids have spent at the Bethel Kids Learning Center. They both learned and grew so much through their time there. We’ve kept our social circles small and the idea of introducing Graham to a classroom full of kids didn’t sit well with me. Let’s be honest, daycare centers and preschools are germ factories. New procedures are in place to keep families healthy, but it still wasn’t enough for me (I say “me” because I am much more germophobic than Jeremy, but he does a wonderful job of listening and supporting my preferences).  Graham has gone through 6 months of preschool at BKLC and by the end of January he will have worked through 4 different preschool/pre-k workbooks. If he has the concepts masters, I am hopeful we can start him on a gentle kindergarten program for the second half of the school year. Again, this is the bonus that homeschooling brings. We can be flexible and work at the pace that is best for each student.

After all the pro/con lists, all the research, all the prayers, we are officially homeschooling! Monday was an introduction to school day. I laid out all the school books on the counter so the kids could flip through them. We talked about our new schedule and school expectations (no pajamas being the biggest change). We did a craft and read a magazine. We took school pictures. It was a simple start to the school year. Tuesday began the official school year with textbooks open and pencils to paper. The first day went well. It was super encouraging to my soul. We can do this! The rest of the week was just as great as the first day.  My confidence in this decision is growing! I am thankful for such a positive start and I am optimistic for our school year!

This school year was going to be different no matter what decision we made. I am still mourning the fact that my kids won’t have the pre-k and first grade years I would have hoped for them. I am excited about new possibilities, though. I’ve always wondered about homeschooling. Doing school from home this spring went so well that it gave me the courage to do it for this school year. Without a pandemic, I would have never tried this option. I am thankful for the ability to be home with my kids. I will admit that I have doubts and fears, but I also know that no matter what this year looked like I would have been nervous at the start. Change always makes me nervous. My nerves are a reminder to trust God. He’s got this! I believe with God’s help we will find our groove. Soon we will be established in our new normal. I will keep you posted as the great homeschool adventure unfolds!

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Homeschool introduction day on Monday!

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First Day of Pre-k

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First Day of First Grade

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I needed a blindfold for a game. It turns out face masks make great blindfolds!

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Learning right alongside my kids! These are my doggie doodles!

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Cotton Candy Sunset

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Excited to add these new UBAM books to our school resources!

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Finally ironed on their Junior Ranger badges on to their Junior Ranger shirts from Yellowstone! So official!

 

What I’m Reading & What I’m Loving – August 2020 August 31, 2020

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,What I'm Loving — Amy Scott @ 7:00 am

What I’m Reading:

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  • The Love Comes Softly Series by Janette Oke* – (Love’s Unending Legacy, Love’s Unfolding Dream, Love Takes Wing, Love Finds a Home) I finished the second half of the series this month. These books are an easy read that help me relax.
  • The Prairie Legacy Series by Janette Oke* – (The Tender Years, A Searching Heart, A Quiet Strength, Like Gold Refined) This series is a follow-up to The Love Comes Softly Series. When I first read theses I was disappointed, but that was years ago, so I thought I would give them another try. This often happens to me, I like something the second time I read/watch it. I’m always more judgmental on my first time through, especially if it’s something I’m greatly anticipating.
  • The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall – (Not pictured: I returned it to the library and forgot to snap a picture, oops) A story about two ministers and their wives as they co-pastor a church in New York City. This book wasn’t necessarily a Christian book, so it was interesting to see how ministry and faith were portrayed.

*Books I’ve read before, just not in the last year.

What I’m Loving:

Apples – We picked up a box of apples on our way home from Yellowstone. I’ve been finding all sorts of yummy uses for them! Apple crisp, apple cinnamon pancakes, blappleberry pie! Yum!

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Love this apple peeler and corer! I feel so 1950’s domestic when I use it!

Downton Abbey – Over July and August, I re-watched all of Downton Abbey. I wrapped up the series at the end of this month. It was bittersweet to part with the characters, but I greatly enjoyed visiting the Abbey again!

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Wrapping up the series with hot chocolate during quiet time!

Fall Scents & Decor – The autumn decor and smells have arrived at our home! The last weekend of August is always a transition time for our household decor. I also ordered fall Scenty bars to make things extra cozy! Currently melting in my house: First Day of Fall!

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Flowers – Around the middle of July, I stopped keeping fresh flowers in the house. We were travelling more, so it made no sense to have flowers that weren’t getting enjoyed. Now that we are settling into more time at home, it seemed like the perfect time to bring back the fresh flowers.

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The Return of Pumpkin Goodies – Jeremy got his first PSL at Starbucks and I got my first pumpkin scone! I even shared with Graham since he loves all things pumpkin and cinnamon. The return of the pumpkin scone is a gateway to a season of pumpkin bread, pancakes, cookies, pie, doughnuts, and more! Bring on all the flavors of fall!

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100 Books – I reached my 100 book goal for 2020 (with time to spare)! I can thank COVID-19 with a little extra time at home and a relaxed schedule for extra reading. I am curious to see what my total for the whole year will be since I reached my goal sooner than expected.

 

Wrapping Up Summer August 30, 2020

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 10:41 am

This last month has been filled with adventures. However, there have been plenty of quiet days around the house even still. The boys have enjoyed time to play and be creative. The quiet days have been welcome especially after the excitement of Yellowstone. This last week in particular was a purposeful quiet. It was the week between Yellowstone and the start of school.  We are preparing for a new season and recovering from a big adventure. It wasn’t a thrilling last week of summer, but it was a good way to wrap things up.

We did have one last adventure to say farewell to summer. Yesterday, we took the boys to the beach. Jeremy and I spent a day at the beach for our anniversary in July, but the kids were with Nana & Papa. I got to spend a weekend at the beach at the beginning of this month. It just didn’t seem right to let the boys have a summer without a trip to the beach. It was great to pack up the minivan for one last hurrah! We spent the morning playing in the ocean at Seaview, WA and then we spent the afternoon exploring Cape Disappointment State Park. We crossed over the bridge to Astoria, OR for dinner at Pig’N’Pancake. It was the perfect way to wrap up our summer vacation!

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The things Owen creates with paper!

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Summer workbook done!

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I always look forward to Jeremy’s sunflowers opening.

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A cousin play date before we left for Yellowstone!

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Getting the playroom wall ready for fall. I had a lot of fun printing the apple number cards! 

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After our vacation, the boys have been thrilled to reunite with their toys! There has been so much creativity (and mess) around the house.

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It’s not too soon for Halloween costumes, right? These boys are super into space, so we couldn’t pass up a chance for them to be astronauts at home!

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Nothing like running in the ocean on a sunny Saturday morning!

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This is Owen’s happy place. He could have stayed in the water all day!

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Hanging out on the jetty at Cape Disappointment

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Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. The trail to the lighthouse was closed, so that was disappointing.

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Climbing on the rocks at Beards Hollow

 

Yellowstone Road Trip August 23, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 10:58 am

Back in December, we made plans with my family to go on a road trip to Yellowstone this summer. We had some concern that the pandemic would cancel our plans. This was actually the 4th trip that my family has planned to Yellowstone – the first three were canceled, so it seemed possible that this 4th attempt would also be foiled. Thankfully, we were able to make it and what a trip it was!

Our mornings were early, our days were long, but each day was worth the effort! The boys love nature and trails, so add geothermal sites and it was the perfect park of the kiddos to explore. I loved walking the geyser basins in the cool of the morning with the steam pouring out of the springs and geysers. The sight of steam billowing over the landscape was awe-inspiring and never got old! We also really enjoyed visiting Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. God’s creation is beautiful and powerful! We spotted animals like elk and bison throughout the park. We never saw a bear, but multiple times we were very close and had just missed sightings moments before. Jeremy was praying we would see a bear. I was praying that we wouldn’t. I know the boys were bummed that we had no bear sightings, but I was thankful. Bears that aren’t in a zoo setting scare me. Even the bison and elk caused my adrenaline to rush. We were so close to these wild animals!

Yellowstone was the main event on this road trip, but we also saw a few other sights along the way. On our journey to Yellowstone, we stopped at Craters of the Moon National Park. We have visited lava fields and cinder cones in Bend, OR so we knew that this would be a fun stop for the family. We collected lava rocks, climbed a cinder cone, and admired the vast fields of cooled lava.

One of our days in Wyoming was spent driving through Grand Teton National Park. We drove one route through the park into Jackson, WY and then we drove back to our rental house through another park route. The views of the Tetons were stunning. The mountains views on this day of travel are some of my favorite from our whole trip. One of the mountains in the range is named Mt. Owen so that held special meaning to our Owen. We didn’t spend too much time in Jackson, WY. The city was neat, but busy. On our way home, we stopped by Jenny Lake (where we were 100 yards away from a grizzly bear that Wildlife Management was tracking) and Colter Bay.

Our last special stop on the way home was a visit to the Lewis & Clark Caverns. The tour was brief. Due to COVID-19, the tours are limited to one room in the cavern. We were shown the Paradise Room which is impressive. The only downside was we could see the pathways that lead deeper into the caves and we weren’t able to explore them. I guess that gives our family motivation to visit again in the future.

Signs of a pandemic were seen throughout our travels. Masks were worn indoors – regardless of what state we were in. Outdoors we wore masks when distancing wasn’t possible. Mornings were the calmest in the parks, so we were able to roam without too many people nearby. As more people entered the park midday, the more often we had to wear masks. On the cold chilly mornings, wearing a mask actually helped keep our faces warm. When the day heated up, I will say that wearing a mask became less ideal, but we did it. Hand sanitizer was found throughout the parks. We also had stock piles of sanitizer in our vehicles. Overall between masks, sanitizer, and being able to do laundry at our rental house, I felt like we were safe and cautious while traveling.

With all that has been canceled due to COVID-19, I am thankful that this long awaited family trip was able to happen as planned. We caravaned with my parents to and from the park and we met my sister and brother-in-law there. We haven’t had an all-family vacation since Graham arrived in the family. It was fun to show the boys a Vitzthum-style vacation. My dad always packs way too much food. Snacks abounded and dinner was always tasty with many options for everyone! The house we stayed at was the perfect set-up. My sister and her hubby had the upstairs with their own bedroom, bathroom, and loft for their little dog to hang out in during the day. My parents had the master on the main level. Our family had two downstairs bedrooms and a bathroom. The boys had bunk beds to sleep on which are a special treat!

Okay, I could ramble on about the great memories we made and the fun times we had! There is just so much to share after an adventure to Yellowstone. It was a beautiful trip. From geysers to thermal springs to mountains to lakes to rivers and waterfalls – there is something awe-inspiring around every corner! I’m so glad we got to explore this lovely part of God’s creation. God’s artistry through nature never ceases to astound me!

Here is an itinerary of our daily explorations and photos from our adventures:

Day 1: Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Mud Volcano, Hayden Valley, Upper & Lower Yellowstone Falls. Day 2: Lower & Midway Geyser Basins, Artist Paint Pots, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, Roosevelt Arch. Day 3: Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, WY, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay. Day 4: Biscuit Basin, Castle Geyser, West Thumb Geyser Basin, hike to Brink of the Lower Falls.

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Craters of the Moon National Park

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Elk sighting

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Old Faithful

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Bison sighting

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Lower Yellowstone Falls

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Grand Prismatic Spring at the Midway Geyser Basin

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Norris Geyser Basin

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Norris Geyser Basin

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Officially Junior Park Rangers!

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The classic vacation picture!

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Grand Teton National Park

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Such a beautiful drive through the Tetons!

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Visiting Jackson, WY

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Dipping their toes in Jenny Lake

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My hubby walking through the Biscuit Basin on a smokey and steamy morning.

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We were all alone for this walk, but face masks helped keep us warm! 

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Watching Castle Geyser erupt

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Lewis & Clark Caverns 

 

 

A Garage Sale, A Getaway, and Fall Preparations August 9, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Travels — Amy Scott @ 5:45 pm

Life at home on the hill has been quiet. Our days have been spent enjoying the down time that a slow summer affords. We did a have a bit of excitement over the weekend in the way of a garage sale and a getaway trip.

Before COVID-19 was ever on our radar, my friend, Maggie, and I had set a weekend aside for a summer getaway. We did this last year and loved it so much that we are trying to make it an annual tradition. Maggie owns a vintage trailer at the coast and we settled in for two nights away. We ate all our meals at the trailer, we took walks, watched movies, read books, picked blackberries, and talked (a whole lot). We are used to seeing each other every other month for lunch dates, but we haven’t been able to get together since January. This time in person felt long overdue. A weekend away to rest and relax with my forever friend was just what I needed. We were walking back from the beach at twilight and we could see families insides houses enjoying their evenings. The smell of barbecue was on the air and I couldn’t help but smile because it felt like a “normal” summer evening. Sometimes between my isolation at home and what I hear on the news, I think the world is ending and everything is falling apart. Walking home from the beach after sunset, seeing families gathered, being in the company of a good friend – these things were so restorative to my soul.

While I was away at the beach, my boys decided to join a family garage sale. Jeremy and I have never participated in a garage sale before, so this was an entirely new experience for our family. I was able to help my family prepare for the garage sale before I left. Jeremy kept me up to date on the sale happenings. The garage sale did much better than I expected! The boys even walked away with some new math flashcards and a set of kids golf clubs. It was a very positive first garage sale experience!

These quiet days have been good for fall preparation (yay online shopping). We’ve kept tabs on the big school situation and we are fairly confident our boys will be home this school year. We haven’t made any official decisions yet. We are waiting for more details before we make the final call. I do know that more time at home is in our future. Back to school shopping this year looks like new sweatpants, socks, and underwear (not our most glamorous year to prep for, but necessary). With school at home being the our next great adventure, I’ve purchased a daily planner to keep us on track. We have curriculum ready in case we decide to do our own form of school and take a year out of the district. It’s been exciting to dream about what homeschooling will offer our family. Thanks to the garage sale and the fall prep, I’ve been sorting through clothes and getting us ready to be slightly more put together at home this fall. I am not ashamed that we spent our spring/summer mostly in pajamas. Now I have hopes of another comfy season at home, but just not spent in sleepwear. Time to raise our standards a little!

Every time I look at the calendar, I’m blown away that even the quiet days seem to disappear quickly. Summer never lasts forever. This fall will certainly bring change and new adventures. We are doing our best to prepare for them, but at the same time, we are savoring the fact that is still summer. There is still plenty of summer fun to be had!

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Prepping for the garage sale! The boys loved putting the little price stickers on all our items!

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First time making monkey bread! I was super nervous, but it turned out so good and yummy!

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We had to postpone a play date with a friend because they had the sniffles. Owen was able to video chat with them instead.

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We’ve never played with Facebook Messenger for video calling. The boys had so much fun with all the filters! Owen is the pizza face on the left!

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This trailer was the perfect spot for a getaway weekend!

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Vacay vibes! I brought cinnamon rolls to share and Maggie brought these awesome s’mores cookies!

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Beach Buddies 

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Such a happy place to be!

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Thankful for our years of friendship and that we were able to make this weekend happen – thanks to the help of our husbands. 

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Documented proof that my kiddos wore something other than play clothes or pajamas this summer! 

 

What I’m Reading & What I’m Loving – July 2020 July 31, 2020

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,What I'm Loving — Amy Scott @ 8:30 am

What I’m Reading:

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  • Honey For A Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt – A great book that inspires reading aloud with your family.
  • For The Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay – A summery of Charlotte Mason principles for education along with Macaulay’s personal experience applying them with her family.
  • Answer for Homeschooling by Israel Wayne – 25 questions about homeschooling answered with practical insight.
  • Education: Does God have an opinion? by Israel Wayne – While I didn’t completely agree with Wayne, I did a appreciate his perspective and research.
  • Beyond Survival by Diana Waring – This was the final book that I read about homeschooling so I was a bit done with the topic by the time I finished the book. I appreciated her emphasis on unit studies and her focus on addressing how your child learns and how you, as a parent, teach.
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom* – My mom had me read this book as either a middle school or high school student. Truthfully, I wasn’t interested in reading it and mostly skimmed the pages. After reading so many books about reading with your family and having this book be recommend for older children, I decided that I wanted to read it again for myself.
  • The Love Comes Softly Series by Janette Oke* – Love Comes Softly, Love’s Enduing Promise, Love’s Long Journey, Love’s Abiding Joy – I’m half way through this series that I have read many times.  These sweet, simple stories are what I needed to wind down and relax after surgery. They were also a great break from contemplating education.

*Books I have read before, but not in the last calendar year.

What I’m Loving:

  • Television – It took me until July and surgery recovery to finally succumb to television as a way to relax. Here are a few of the programs I’ve enjoyed this month:
    • Anne of Green Gables & Anne of Green Gables – The Sequel (I grew up knowing it as Anne of Avonlea)
    • Hamilton – I will admit to watching this musical three times in the span of a week. It took me two viewings to decide I liked the musical and then I wanted to share it with Jeremy.
    • Beauty and The Beast – the live action Disney version
    • Cinderella – the live action Disney version
    • TV Shows – Counting On, House Hunters, and Downton Abbey
  • The Library – Our local library is open for pick up! After reading so many books in the last month about reading with your kids, I’ve been excited to introduce my boys to the Tales of Peter Rabbit and the original Winnie the Pooh.
  • New Books from Favorite Series – Through Owen’s school we were introduced to Pete the Cat, Biscuit, and Gerald & Piggie. Between the library and Costco book sets, we’ve been able to enjoy these favorites once again. I was excited to find the book sets at Costco and add to our home library.
  • Camping – I covered this adventure in my last post, but I can’t express just how wonderful it was to get away for a few days. While camping isn’t my ideal vacation, I’ve been in a need a change of pace and location. This trip was just what our family needed!
 

Camping Adventures! July 29, 2020

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 3:23 pm

We got just back from a few nights of camping near Mt. Rainier National Park. Typing is a good distraction to keep me from scratching my bug bites. It’s also a good distraction from my achy legs. My boys love to hike. They did a certain hike last summer without me and they were so excited to have me come along this year. When it comes to hiking, I would prefer a level walk through a shaded forest on a moderately cool day. What I did with my boys on Monday was scaling a mountain. The trail went up, up, and away. We had to cross patches completely covered in snow. We were close to needing hiking equipment to do this actual hike. By the end of the mountain climbing, my legs were physically shaking! My boys continually surprise me with their stamina. Graham didn’t love the snowy parts because they were slippery, but other than that, my kids climbed a mountain like it was no big deal. They were the only kids we encountered on this steep expedition. Apparently they are mountain goats.

We saw many marmots on our hiking adventures. The boys did their best to hold still and see how close they could get to a marmot. Owen borrowed my old point-and-shoot camera to document the hike. It’s fun to see him process what is worthy of a photo. On one hike, he took a notebook to draw pictures along the way. Other than hiking and marmots, we played the license plate game as we drove around the park. We were surprised to find 40/50 plates. America is still traveling this summer. The effects of COVID-19 were seen throughout the park. Visitor centers were closed, masks were worn in common areas and we used hand sanitizer frequently.

Our campground was right by the Cowlitz River, so the boys played in the river multiple times. They loved throwing rocks and exploring the shallow shores. We set up our big tent and the boys loved having their own room because of a thin sheet that separated the space. We ate lots of yummy camp food. Honestly, camp food is one of my favorite reasons to go camping. I also love reading around the fire which I found a few moments to do while Jeremy took the boys down to the river. Our fires were small and short because of the hot weather. This was the warmest camping trip I’ve ever been on. It was in the 90’s while we were there. At night we went to bed only wanting a thin blanket and only much later into the night did we want anything warmer. It also wouldn’t be a camping adventure without an air mattress that doesn’t stay inflated. Poor Owen started in his own bed and had to move on to Graham’s in the middle of the night. We certainly made some memories!

It’s still 2020 and even camping had some differences due to COVID-19, but overall, we enjoyed all the things that we love about camping. I will admit that a cute Air B&B cabin is more my style these days, but I roughed it with my boys and I know they appreciated it. It was nice to get away for a few days. It’s been forever since I’ve stayed overnight anywhere and it felt like I had been gone a month instead of a few days. I always love coming home, but it was also great to have adventure outside of our usual territory. It was just the mini-vacation we needed!

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Our home away from home!

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Happy to be camping!

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Around the campsite! 

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Camp food is the best! Not pictured is our hot dogs and Jeremy’s freeze dried meals he selected just for this trip! 

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Toes in the river!

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A beautiful day to visit a beautiful mountain!

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We obviously didn’t summit the mountain, but wow, did we climb!

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My hiking buddies! 

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Just a casual hike through the snow…

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Documenting a marmot! It’s amazing how they blend with the rocks! 

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Our day two hike through the Grove of the Patriarchs. This was much more my speed – mostly level, shaded, and through the trees. 

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Jeremy’s scenic photograph of a marmot on the mountain. 

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One of my favorite shots taken above Myrtle Falls.

 

 

 

Summertime Downtime July 23, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 12:39 pm

I am two weeks post-op and doing well. I had my post-op appointment with my surgeon yesterday and it was wonderful to hear that I am healing well and that this process has finished. I’ll experience discomfort for a few more weeks as my body adjusts, but it should be minor. I’m back to my regular activity level and it’s been such a relief to have this recovery process go better than I expected. I tend to be imagine the worst and I then am pleasantly surprised when the worst doesn’t pan out. I am grateful to have this all behind me.

Because of my recovery, our family has had plenty of downtime these last few weeks. I’ve enjoyed reading (of course) and I’ve started watching a bit more television to help me relax. The boys are swimming every night in the pool. We’ve been doing workbook pages in the mornings, crafts and experiments, and there have been plenty of hours at play.  Jeremy has on the hunt for a small SUV and a great deal. We test drove a Nissan Rogue last week. While we didn’t purchase that vehicle, the test drive was good for our research. We aren’t in a hurry for a new vehicle. I appreciate Jeremy taking his time to search out the best fit for our family and budget.

I’ve enjoyed the slower pace for my recovery season. This week things picked up. I had dinner for the first time with a friend inside a restaurant.  We had a play date at a friend’s house. The one piece of my plans that didn’t pan out this last week was my MOPS & MOMSnext Leadership Retreat. At the last minute, we had to postpone due to unforeseen circumstances. This was a disappointment because I was ready to have the “big” discussion about how our group will operate this coming year. I was looking forward to having it settled. I am still living with the unsettled feeling, but having our conversation in August might give us more clarity. With local guidelines changing every few weeks, we might have more insight closer to our September launch time.

Living with an unsettled feeling seems to be the new normal for me. Like most parents, I am waiting to know what our local school district plans for the fall. I am waiting to settle details for MOPS & MOMSnext. I am aware that cases of COVID-19 are rising in my area. When the world shut down in March, I had no clue that our present reality at the end of July would still be so affected by this virus. It’s hard to live with so many unresolved questions on my mind. I know that I am not alone in this mental struggle. I’ve stopped reading books about homeschooling because constantly contemplating education was making it hard for me to relax. When my anxiety level rises, I pause to journal, read my Bible, and pray. I am reminded that I don’t need all the answers. I know the One who does. Trusting God is a daily decision and sometimes it feels like a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour decision.

What helps with my unsettled feelings is living in the present. I can’t answer questions about tomorrow, next week, next month, the fall. I can make plans, but I have seen how easily they change. Nothing is certain. So I focus on today, on this moment. I read stories to my kids and bake muffins with blueberries from Jeremy’s garden. I read on the deck while my boys swim in the pool. The sweet, slow moments add up and they create momentum. I gain optimism from these good and lovely moments. I count my blessings. I do my best to rest and take of my body and my family. While I would love to know more, I learning contentment. It’s a lesson I never seems to fully master, but it is a good ambition. I will keep practicing.

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Graham completed his preschool workbook that we started in April! He was so excited to start a new Pre-K workbook. 

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Love listening Owen read out loud to his brother!

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It took us many prototypes to create vehicles that would actually roll! 

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The decorated “tube” cars. Getting smiles out of these wild boys is sometimes a challenge! 

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Jeremy had the boys help him make his lesson for church this last week. I love that Jeremy includes our boys in ministry! 

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First time inside a restaurant since March! And first time seeing this lovely friend since the end of February! 

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Every night is a pool party at our house!

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Graham gives summer two thumbs up! 

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Introducing my boys to Peter Rabbit… in a tent… on the back deck. These are the sweet moments that keep me going!

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Today’s baking project – blueberry muffins with berries from Jeremy’s garden! Yum!