Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

The School Year Wrap-Up! May 25, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 2:10 pm

We’ve spent the last week wrapping up our school year. The boys completed their 36 week curriculums on Thursday. It’s always a celebration to finish the school books. To mark the occasion, we had Dominos pizza for dinner and I baked cinnamon rolls and brownies as a special dessert for each kid. It was a quiet close to the school year, but still very much a celebration.

We’ve made the decision to homeschool again next year. We are enjoying the homeschool process. The kids are enthusiastic about it and we have good momentum. We were a part of a co-op for the last 7 weeks of school and we all appreciated this learning environment. The co-op is hoping to continue next year and we are looking forward to being a part of it again. Adding a social/classroom environment was a positive enhancement to our homeschool experience.

At the end of 2nd grade, Owen was required by our state (Washington) to do an end-of-the-year assessment. There are multiple options depending on the student. We opted for the California Achievement Test. We used an online, untimed version which was super convenient. I was a little nervous about what to expect since this was our first time. It went surprisingly well and it was quite the celebration to complete it this morning. It was the last thing to finish for this school year. We are now 100% done!

We are taking an extra long Memorial Day weekend before starting our summer workbooks in June. Reading and books will continue to be a focus over the summer. We’ll visit the library to participate in their summer reading program. We also hope to visit some historical sites for educational outings. We’re trying to sneak in some learning with the summer fun. It’s been a great school year, but a change of pace will be nice. Bring on summer mode!

Their “pebble pals” from the library
New books arrived last week and it took Owen no time to fly through them. I have so many holds at the library as I try to keep him stocked with reading material.
Wrapping up a unit on the boreal forest with a diorama in science.
Jeremy’s garden update! He filled in the area around the raised beds with a concrete pathway and gravel. Looks so tidy!
A soccer birthday party for two of the cousins. The boys enjoyed playing a family game of soccer together. Owen even scored a goal!
Papa sent me this picture. Apparently Graham requested to have his picture taken. Silly kid!
This weeks baking project
Last Day of Kindergarten!
Last Day of Second Grade
Last Day of School!
 

Summer is Coming?! May 18, 2022

We’ve been experiencing a May that feels very much like a March in our part of the PNW. When I look at the calendar, I see summer is coming. Then I look out the window and the weather doesn’t seem to agree. The cool and showery weather has distracted me from the fact that summer is right around the corner. Slowly, my mind is turning toward summer and I’m starting to get excited!

We are about to wrap-up our school year this week. We use an assortment of 36 week curriculums from September through May. The kids have been enthusiastically completing books all month. Next week, Owen will have his first year-end assessment. I took the CAT as a homeschooler in middle school so I’m familiar with it, but things have changed in the decades since I was a student. It will be a new adventure for both Owen and I. I’m looking forward to having testing finished because that will feel like the true end of the school year for me.

As we wrap-up the school year, the kids are already pulling out their summer books and asking when we can start them. I’m thankful for willing students who love to learn (even over the summer). We do a lighter version of school over the summer. We do this because we have the time and it adds structure to our days. I’m mindful of the “summer slide” and summer school helps to prevent learning loss. A little bit of school on the days we’re home keeps the brain engaged (and we have fun with it).

Anyone else make a summer bucket list? I started making mine this month! I have a few local historical sites and nature trails I hope we can visit this summer. I’m also hoping we can make it to the zoo. We’ll try to have a month of swimming lessons in the mix. Vacation Bible Adventure will happen on Sundays this year and the whole family is excited for the theme – Monumental. This will be Owen’s first year to attend an overnight summer camp! If the weather corporates, we’ll set-up the pool in the backyard soon. We love hosting playdates with family and friends! So much good summer fun awaits us!

The calendar says summer is coming, now if only the weather would get on board! With less than two weeks left in May, I’m dreaming of sunny days filled with adventure and a change of pace. It’s all right around the corner!

My Mother’s Day Book Haul! Books are my love language!
We had quite few peanut butter eggs left over from Easter so I turned them into a no-bake peanut butter cup pie. Yum!
Saturday was a beautiful day in the PNW! Our boys took friends on an adventure to our nearby beaver dam. They love giving guided nature tours!
A small glimpse of summer days to come! Nothing quite like kids running barefoot in the backyard!
 

Thoughts on Mothering in this Season May 11, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 4:02 pm

We had a quiet Mother’s Day weekend as Jeremy continued to regain his stamina after fighting pneumonia. Our plans for the weekend changed so Jeremy could continue to rest. While I do love a good adventure to celebrate Mother’s Day, I also enjoy time at home. A quieter weekend was fine by me.

In my Mother’s Day Instagram post, I mentioned coming to motherhood with almost no knowledge of little boys. Growing up with just a sister, little boys have always been a mystery to me, even after years of observing them in children’s ministry before parenthood. Somehow God saw it fit to give me two boys and the adventurous life of a boy mom. Owen and Graham have given me quite the education on the ways and workings of little men. It’s been a fantasticating experience and I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.

I’m the first to admit that the baby and toddler years were sweet, but not necessarily my favorite seasons of parenthood. I have many fond memories of my boys as littles, but I was in survival mode most of the time. Each new stage of development has been exciting step forward. I especially appreciated moving into the preschool years and then the elementary school days. We aren’t to the tweens/teens yet, but I have have a feeling these middle childhood years are a sweet spot. I’m loving these not quite little, but not quite big boys. They still love to cuddle and be near their mama. They still want to tell me everything (in great detail). I’m doing my best to savor this season. I know moms who have great relationships with their tween/teen boys so I’m taking notes and studying even now.

The last two years of mothering have certainly been different than I expected. The pandemic nudged our family in the direction of homeschooling. I often wondered about homeschooling, but without the pandemic, I would have never taken the plunge. It turns out that homeschooling has been an amazing choice for our family. We’ve enjoyed the last two years so much that we are contemplating continuing next year. As an introvert, I do wish for a bit more peace and quiet in my life. My boys seem to come with loud as their default setting, but the noise and interruptions have been worth it. I could write a whole post on our homeschooling family structure and why I love it so much. Bottom line, I love doing life together. I enjoy learning together, playing together, reading together, adventuring together. (I also enjoy our daily “quiet time” when we take a break from being together – a must for this introvert ). I have the honor/responsibility of modeling our family values throughout the day and I get a front row seat to what the boys are learning and enjoying. It’s not, by any means, a perfect life. Sibling squabbles are real, the kids rarely cheer for chores, and lots of time at home means lots of time to make “creative” messes. Life might not be perfect, but it is good.

Motherhood hasn’t been easy, but it has been a joy. I am thankful for the opportunity to be home with my family. My mothering is in partnership with Jeremy and I am so glad we get to this child-raising gig together. I love how the boys take after their father. All my men are outdoorsy and this stretches me to keep up with them. Through the boys, I’ve learned to appreciate going on a hike or spending an afternoon outside. Hopefully, through me, they’ve learned to appreciate baked goods and good books. We are shaping and influencing each other. We are creating a family culture. It’s hard work (some days more than others), but I’m grateful it’s my work in this season.

The boys attempted to sleep in their forts last week. Owen made it to 9:30pm and Graham made it to 1:00am. Both decided their beds were more comfortable and relocated.
The vibe of our weekend… Owen birdwatching, me reading. Very exciting times at our house.
Took my first dive into Tolkien this weekend. Just like Harry Potter, I decided to find out for myself why The Lord of the Rings books are beloved by so many.
Mother’s Day Photoshoot
Jeremy played with some of the portrait settings on my phone. This was a fun one.
Mama & Owen
Mama & Graham
Marking art at co-op with oil pastels
The fire alarm accidentally got pulled at co-op so we got a visit from the local fire station.
I usually keep the front of our fridge bare, but at the moment it’s covered in Mother’s Day cards, end of curriculum awards, co-op art, and an orthodontist referral that keeps getting put off. This sums up our life pretty well right now.
 

My “Unofficial” Word of the Year… May 4, 2022

Filed under: Bible,Family Time,Getting Creative,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 1:47 pm

Many people select a word for the year. Something they are hoping for, looking to grow in, be more mindful of. Friends have chosen words like gather, peace, excellence, hope, and resilience. All good words. I’ve never done well with this practice. I’ve tried a few times and for some reason it doesn’t stick. However, some words seem find me. They seem to declare themselves, no matter my choosing. In complete jest (sorta), I’ve discovered my word for 2022 is cancel (or similar words such as reschedule/postpone). 2022 has been filled with plans that just didn’t come to be. I’m not upset. It’s humorous to me at this point. I’ve learned to roll with it. Plans change often enough that I am very practiced at canceling, rescheduling, and postponing.

We’re supposed to be at conference in Idaho this week. As you can guess, we aren’t… For the last few weeks, I’ve been preparing for this big trip. I got the kids ahead in school. I purchased “distractions” to keep them busy. Graham got a new backpack big enough to carry these new treasures. New leak-proof water bottles were selected at Target for the adventure. In a moment of insanity and weakness on my part, giant stuffed animals were purchased at Costco as travel companions. The kids knew there would be time to go to the nearby park, swim in the hotel pool, and walk by the lake. Oh, and the snacks! We had a huge tote of snacks ready to keep blood sugar levels good and make sure no one (adults included) got hangry. We were as ready as you could be for an out-of-town adventure.

I’m reminded of the Bible verse, Proverbs 16:9 – “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” We were as prepared as possible for this trip, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be. Jeremy started to feel under the weather at the end of the week. On Saturday, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and he started antibiotics right away. We were supposed to leave on Sunday, but he was still feeling crummy and he didn’t fall under the conference health code.

Instead of traveling, we’ve had a quiet week at home. We are ahead now in school and using this time to keep that momentum going. We might be able to finish the school year sooner than expected. The boys and I were able to attend our homeschool co-op yesterday. Owen especially didn’t want to miss a meeting, so the boys were happy to make it. They’ve had blanket forts up all week. Tomorrow they will attempt to sleep in their forts. I’m not sure they’ll last all night. Their beds are way more comfortable than the floor, but they can learn from experience. I’ve used the extra time at home to do a baking project, organize/purge toys, and create a new storage system for schoolwork. We’re making the most of these surprise days at home.

With plans changing so often, I am grateful for friends, family, and collogues who are gracious with these adjustments. Our people are understanding and supportive which is a huge relief. I am thankful for our home and the space it provides for rest. We are always able to fill days at home without issue. Owen is pouring through books at a shocking rate. Graham is loving the Bluey activity books I got as conference distractions. Art is being created and cookies are being eaten. Staying home isn’t too bad. On the bright side, Jeremy is improving. He needed this week to rest. We might have been surprised by our change of plans, but God knew. He is faithful through all the unexpected twist and turns life throws our way.

It’s been months since I’ve decorated sugar cookies! I felt bad that I purchased these LEGO cookie cutters in December and hadn’t used them yet. I had some extra free time, so it seemed like it was the right time to make a special treat.
Graham is my cookie shark. He is always close by waiting for a chance to chomp into a treat!
My completely unnecessary purchase for the conference. Instead of travel companions, they turned into consolation prizes!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – April 2022 April 30, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 9:00 am

Bookish Thoughts for April

April was a month full of good books! The bonus of extra time at home is extra time to read! You’ll notice lots of 4 stars on my book list. You’ll also notice that my non-fiction to fiction ratio is fairly even this month (which is extremely rare). Here are some highlights of the month… Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the first play I’ve read (since long forgotten high school days). It took me a while to get into the format, but I eventually got the hang out of it and really enjoyed the story. I added two new special books to my home library. I pre-ordered both Shauna Niequist and Roseanna M. White’s new releases. I got the Barnes & Noble exclusive edition of I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet for the bonus chapter on writing. Shadowed Loyalty is a signed copy which is a first for me (and such a treat)! Both were excellent reads and worth the wait. I read on some of my favorite topics this month from the Enneagram to parenting to memoirs. I also read some of my favorite authors this month – Ian Morgan Cron, Bob Goff, Shauna Niequist, Jenny B. Jones, Emma St. Clair, and Roseanna M. White. It felt like a month spent with good friends!

My two extra special additions to my home library!

Top Picks for April

Non-Fiction: Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley. This book came recommend by a wise friend! She has pointed me toward many a good book. It took a while for me to get a copy at the library, but it was worth the wait. In fact, this book is on my short list of books I want to purchase next. I get asked for parenting book recommendations frequently and this book will be on my list now! It was practical and relatable. These habits might seem common sense or even small, but they set the tone and foundation for our families. I liked that the chapters ended with an overview, deeper application, and further reading recommendations. Any book that recommends more books is a winner! Non-fiction runners-up this month are The Story of You: An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self by Ian Morgan Cron and I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist.
Fiction: Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price. I read the first book in this Jane Austen Murder Mystery Series last spring (Pride and Premeditation). I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t an instant favorite. I came across Sense and Second-Degree Murder as a new release and I thought since I read the first book, I might as well read the second (I’m a sucker for a series). This book was better than the first in my opinion. I read it over Easter weekend and I kept wanting to sneak in more reading sessions despite my busy schedule. I just had to know what happened next! These books are loosely based on the classics and loaded with girl power. Elinor wants to be a chemist. Marianne is training under her father to be an investigator. In P&P, Lizzie is training under her father to be a lawyer. Something about these ladies’ not letting society hold them back from their dream professions just makes me happy. Runner-ups for fiction are Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany.

The Book List for April
 1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage by Beth & Jeff McCord – 3 stars
  • The Story of You: An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self by Ian Morgan Cron – 4 stars
  • Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie – 4 stars
  • Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley – 4 stars
  • Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish – 4 stars
  • Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan – 3 stars
  • I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist – 4 stars
  • Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It by Bob Goff – 4 stars
  • Wild and Free Nature: 25 Outdoor Adventures for Kids to Explore, Discover, and Awaken Their Curiosity by Ainsley Arment – 3 stars

Fiction:

  • Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman – 3 stars
  • Falling Sommerset by Jenny B. Jones – 3 stars
  • Falling For Your Brother’s Best Friend by Emma St. Clair – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany – 4 stars
  • The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle – 3 stars
  • Dragons in the Water by Madeleine L’Engle – 3 stars
  • A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L’Engle – 1 star
  • Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price – 4 stars
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir – 3 stars
  • Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
 

These April Days April 27, 2022

It’s hard to believe that we are quickly moving toward the end of April. For the longest time I felt like April was just beginning and then shockingly, I realized that it’s almost over! This month has been quieter due to many canceled plans. It seems like spring colds/flus have running around our area. The first half of the month, we canceled quite a bit due to illness. The second half of the month, others canceled on us due to illness. We’re flexible with plans and hold them loosely these days. We’ve rescheduled so many outings and meals to May. We’ll see if they pan out!

My weekend kicked off with book club on Friday night. I decided to bring a gift for the group. My friend is a talented artist and she posted some watercolor bookmarks she’d made recently on her Instagram. I saw them and was inspired! I commissioned her to make floral bookmarks for the book club ladies. The bookmarks were a huge hit. I love our book club! I appreciate having a space to talk about books and not overwhelm people! To be in a room of readers who are genuinely interested to know my thoughts on books is like a small piece of heaven here on earth. I’ve read so many good books this month. I can’t wait to share more in my end-of-the-month book post on Saturday! Yay!

Jeremy was active this weekend! The weather was beautiful and he used his free time to work in our outdoor spaces. On Friday, he arranged our back deck into our summer configuration. He pressure washed the deck so it now looks clean and fresh. Our patio table is pulled out with the chairs around it – ready for meals on sunny days. Saturday, he ordered new dirt for his garden. It was delivered via dump truck, so of course, our kids were thrilled! Jeremy is expanding our pumpkin patch this year and I couldn’t be more supportive! Give me all the pumpkins – big, little, yellow, orange, white! I adore pumpkins! His next project is to create concrete pathways between his raised beds. He is so ambitious and the boys love tagging along when he is in project mode.

These April days are quickly disappearing. They have been filled with both rest and play. Our days are simple, but we enjoy them all the same. Whether it’s a trip to the park to watch trains, attending Sunday church, playing at our homeschool co-op, or just hanging in our own yard, we are delighting in this spring season. These April days have been good!

Bookmarks for Book Club
After 40 days in the Aerogarden, Jeremy’s petunias are now in his greenhouse at home. He just started a round of herbs to replace the petunias.
A fresh load of dirt is the perfect playground!
Watching trains before heading to church for a worship night
My current read! Really excited to give my thoughts on this book in my next post!
April showers make rainbows!
 

Easter Activities! April 20, 2022

Filed under: Family Time — Amy Scott @ 1:54 pm

This last week was filled with all the quintessential Easter activities! On Friday, Jeremy participated in a Good Friday gathering at church. Saturday was our day to dye eggs and do an egg hunt with the boys. We also gave them their Easter baskets on Saturday so they had time to play with them. Saturday night, we had my parents and sister over dinner. My parents brought some eggs for the boys to hunt and special gummy treats for each kid.

Sunday was our first in-person Easter at church since 2019. After two years at home for Easter, I wasn’t quite prepared for the hustle of church and a family gathering in the same day. You’d think I would remember how busy Easter Sunday can be… but no, it surprised me! Once we got over to Nana & Papa’s house, we were able to settle into family mode. The boys did their third egg hunt of the weekend with their cousins. They are now well-stocked on candy! It was fun to watch the boys play hard with their favorite people!

Since we weren’t able to attend my extended family gathering on Sunday, we made a special visit to see GG (Great Grandma) on Monday. We always love a visit to GG’s house. The boys play with decades old Fisher-Price toys while I enjoy a good chat with GG. After our visit with GG, we took off for a quiet afternoon and evening at home. The big weekend definitely caught up with us and we were ready for some downtime.

When I think back over the weekend, I am so thankful for the time we got to spend with our families. We are blessed by the friendships we share with our relatives. It’s always a good time when we get together. The boys had a blast with all the Easter activities, get-togethers, and treats. We might be a bit tuckered out now, but it was worth it!

Saturday Highlights
In my attempt to dress Springy/Easter-y, I unintentionally matched the cover of my book on Saturday!
Easter Sunday pictures!
Sunday Highlights
Visiting GG on Easter Monday
 

Spring Surprises April 14, 2022

Each season is full of it’s own surprises. We can make a plan, but there is no guarantee things will pan out. We definitely hold plans loosely these days!

The last few weeks have been fairly quiet for us because our family seems to be catching all the bugs that are going around. Thankfully, we’ve avoided COVID (we’ve tested to be sure), but each boy had a 24-hour flu and our whole family had a mild cold. I thought we might catch something with the mask mandate lifting in our area, but I wasn’t expecting a new illness each weekend. Someone starts to feel under the weather on a Friday and then our weekend plans disappear. (This has been the pattern for the last three weekends). On the bright side, the flu bugs were over quickly and the colds were minor. I’m really hoping we got all of our spring sickness out of the way so we can move on to a social spring now!

We had a surprise power outage on Sunday morning. We were home from church for a rest/recovery day. I had promised a morning of screen time for resting… and then we had no power! Oops! The kids were bummed, but Owen made due with an audiobook that was downloaded on my tablet. Graham was healthy so he took his energy over to play at the neighbor’s house (aka Grandpa and Grandma’s). It was super chilly without power! Owen and I bundled under blankets and had book time instead of screen time. It certainly wasn’t the morning we planned, but we rolled with it!

The biggest spring surprise this week was snow! Lots of snow! We woke on Monday to a spring snowstorm. We took a snowy walk before school and then the boys did some sledding in the afternoon. I’ve never seen snow like this in April. We are used to a spring weather mix, but not inches of snow on the ground. It was crazy. It felt like we should be prepping for Christmas instead of Easter this weekend. We’ve seen snowflakes each day this week and even yesterday, we woke up to a white world again (just not as much as Monday).

Now that we’re feeling better, we were excited to start a spring homeschool co-op on Tuesday. In the afternoon, the boys participated in PE and art classes. They both enjoyed co-op and are looking forward to next time. Yesterday afternoon was spent at the dentist. The boys were cavity-free and Owen walked away with an orthodontist referral. Orthodontics are a new adventure awaiting us… Oh goody!

After school today, we went down to the church to help Jeremy move Easter baskets into the front lobby. Every kid will get to take home an Easter basket on Sunday. Graham had a great time assembling the baskets at a work party a few weeks ago and he was very excited to show us the project he was a part of. Moving baskets and preparing for Easter is one of the ways we serve our community together as a family. Our kids get a front row seat to to the joy of giving to others.

It’s full Easter prep mode here! Jeremy is making sure all the details are set for Sunday. We’ve nailed down plans to celebrate with family. Jeremy and I filled plastic eggs with candy for a small hunt. We’ll hard boil eggs and dye them at some point in the next few days. I have all the elements for Easter baskets ready to go. I’m praying these weekend plans finally pan out! Some spring surprises are fun, but I think I would like a little bit of predictable right now! Just a little bit!

I decided to add the Harry Potter series to our home library. I had a hard time deciding between new paperbacks or used hardcovers. I went for used because I feel like hardcover is more durable. Also, my personal preference is to remove the dust jackets from my books. I think they look more distinguished. Anyone else have very specific book preferences?
Last Thursday was 78 degrees and the boys were in summer mode. Owen made friends with a tiny moth.
From summer weather on Thursday to snow on Monday! What an extreme flip!
Getting some sledding in before the snow melts
Graham’s science lesson called for chocolate chip cookies so he could excavate the chips like paleontologist do with fossils. I was too lazy to scoop cookies so I went the bar cookie route. Graham enjoyed the experiment and kept eating the “fossils” he found!
The boys love stopping into Jeremy’s office to check on the Aerogarden. It’s thriving!
Art time at co-op
Cavity-Free Club!
Helping Dad prep for Easter Sunday!
 

Happy House-iversary! April 6, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Home Improvement — Amy Scott @ 2:29 pm

Thursday marked four years of being in our home and we celebrate the day as our house-iversary. I’m all about making celebrations out of the little details of life. While some might not hold on to dates, I tend to revisit certain dates over and over again in my mind. For example, today – April 6th, is my 11th year anniversary of blogging on Amy Scott’s Thoughts. It was also the date Jeremy and I moved into our first house many years ago. Some things stick… and March 31st is one of those dates. I am thankful for each house-iversary we get to celebrate here.

Jeremy had Thursday off, so we got to spend our house-iversary at home together as a family. The boys and I did school in the morning while Jeremy worked on projects around the house. Once school was done, the weekend vibes hit hard! Jeremy and I watched a movie during quiet time and finished it after bedtime. We spent the afternoon playing outside and just hanging out as a family. It was a sweet day! I even made a cake to mark the occasion!

The journey to get into this house was a long and challenging one. I’m thankful that time is starting to blur some of the memories. It was a difficult season, but I don’t feel the pain quite as acutely as I did a few years ago. Because I remember the road was rocky at times, it makes me extra grateful to be settled in and living our life here. At this point, Owen has lived almost half his life in this house and Graham has lived two-thirds of his. We have planted roots here (literally and figuratively). It feels good to be home.

Jeremy continues to impress us all with care of the outdoor spaces. He has shared his love of gardening with our boys. They are all excited about the spring planting. I never saw us having chickens when we first moved here, but Jeremy is full of surprises. The chickens were his birthday purchase three years ago. We have since become chicken people… Owen, especially, views our little ladies as pets. Birds seem to be a thing for my guys… Jeremy and the boys keep the bird feeders in the backyard well-stocked with seed. On the front of our house, Jeremy has three hummingbird feeders that see a lot of action. We often have a handful of hummingbirds zipping around our front windows.

Currently the boys’ bedrooms and the playroom are covered with LEGOS day in and day out. I admire how creative the boys are at building new creatures from miscellaneous pieces. My favorite space in the house is the loveseat in Jeremy and I’s room. It’s the perfect reading nook! Jeremy has been kind in letting my home library take over our bedroom. If we stay in this home long enough to be empty nesters, it’s my dream to turn the playroom into a library. My favorite wall décor is our travel wall by the dining room table. It’s been fun to showcase our travels and adventures as a family.

In four years, we’ve started to collect cobwebs and we certainly have our fair share of dings around the house. Our space is lived in! We are thankful for this roof over our heads. We’re thankful for outdoor space, too! I love walking laps on our long driveway. The boys love roaming the woods near our house, swinging on the playset, and bouncing on the trampoline. Jeremy can often be found in his garden, greenhouse, or in the hot tub. I hope we never take these spaces for granted. These are not small things. They are the foundation of our day-to-day life. It’s such an adventure and a joy to be at home with my guys! It’s definitely reason enough to celebrate a house-iversary!

The boys use this playroom daily. It has become LEGO central! Having an extra bedroom to use as a playroom was a big reason we picked this floor plan.
My favorite seat in the whole house! You’ll often find me snuggled up here with a blanket, book, and journal!
I didn’t ask Jeremy about his favorite spot inside the house, but I’m going to guess it’s the corner seat of the couch. It’s “his spot” to rest and watch hummingbirds right outside the window. Also, in documenting our house-iversary, I had to take a picture of Super Mario game time.
I relive so many many memories when I look at this wall! And, I feel inspired to continue exploring the USA.
I try to snap an outdoor shot of the house each year. I was able to get the greenhouse, garden, and chicken coop in the picture this year.
Owen requested a marble cake, so I attempted a chocolate-vanilla swirl look with the frosting. Didn’t turn out great, but it sure tasted good!
Documenting the day spent together!
Jeremy gave the chicken coop some TLC this weekend.
The boys enjoyed some time with the chickens while Jeremy painted.
The coop looks very tidy now!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – March 2022 March 31, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 11:00 am

Bookish Thoughts for March

I completed one of my 2022 reading goals in March! I read the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. I have so many friends who are super fans of this series. I finally decided to see what the hype was all about. As I read the books, I found that I liked each book better than the last – until I reached book five. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was my least favorite. I wanted to get Harry into trauma therapy to help with his anger. Professor Umbridge almost broke me! And the ending… no spoilers, but I finished the book thinking that life isn’t fair. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was my favorite and I enjoyed reaching the conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I wasn’t banned from reading the Harry Potter books growing up (at least, not to my knowledge), but I wasn’t encouraged to read them. Our family was very mindful of witchcraft/wizardry. It wasn’t appreciated (unless it was The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings). As an adult, I wanted to read the Harry Potter series because I realized it was polarizing and I wanted to decide for myself. While witches, wizards, and magic might not be my preference for entertainment, I did enjoy the books. If my children wish to read them in the future, I would let them. I would probably wait until they are mature enough to read the whole series. It would bother me if I couldn’t read the next book in a series and I wouldn’t want to inflict that “what happens next” torture on anyone!

My next book goal for 2022 is to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. After tackling the thick Harry Potter books, I will probably wait a month or two before diving into another lengthy series. I need some recovery time! I also finished The Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle this month. I hope to dive into her Polly O’Keefe series in April. I might be late to the game for some of these classics, but my curiosity has been peaked. Why are these favorites for so many? I’d like to find out!

The latest addition to my home library. I borrowed an older edition of this book from a friend last year. I’m interested to read the updated content. My main reason for the purchase was the book lists. I’m looking for inspiration!

Top Picks for March

Non-Fiction: Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent’s Guide to Growing Wise Kids in the Digital Age by Julie Bogart. This book felt like a class on critical thinking. My biggest takeaway was if I want to raise critical thinkers, I have to be a critical thinker myself. It challenged my way of thinking and how I’m using my influence to shape my children. I’ve been recently processing how to find new books for my oldest since he is flying through our home library. Books can be a powerful influence and I’m actively weighing and researching options. Reading Raising Critical Thinkers came at an opportune time. This is a book that I will return to as a reference as my kids grow. There are activities throughout the book targeted for different age ranges starting at age 5 and going to 18.
Fiction: Lovely War by Julie Berry. This book is an interesting twist on WWI historical fiction. The tale of two love stories is told through the lens of the goddess Aphrodite. She invites a few other Greek gods to share their perspectives on the stories from time to time. While I am personally not a huge fan of Greek mythology, the tale that the gods spun won my heart. A good deal of historical fiction tends to fall during WWII, so I appreciated the WWI setting for variety. While the ugly truths of war can be hard to read, I cheered when love triumphed in dark places.

The Book List for March
 1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by Suzanne Stabile – 3 stars
  • Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent’s Guide to Growing Wise Kids in the Digital Age by Julie Bogart – 4 stars

Fiction:

  • The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin (Historical) – 4 stars
  • My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (Family/Friendship) – 4 stars
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry (Historical) – 4 stars
  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (Historical) – 3 stars
  • The Lady’s Mine – Francine Rivers (Historical) – 3 stars
  • Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle (YA Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle (YA Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 4 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 4 stars
  • Sandover Beach Memories by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Sandover Beach Week by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Sandover Beach Melodies by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Sandover Beach Christmas by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Sandover Beach Forever by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Secrets Whispered from the Sea by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars