Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

A Very 2020 Holiday November 28, 2020

I’m sure most of us had a different Thanksgiving this year. Even though I missed seeing the smiling faces of my extended family, I did enjoy the slower pace and quieter holiday. This seems to sum up 2020 for me fairly well. It’s been different, but I haven’t minded the slower, quieter lifestyle that it’s brought.

Our MOPS & MOMSnext group met online on Monday night. It was our Christmas craft meeting. It’s been an adventure adapting our usual format into an online experience. Our creative team assembled kits so the moms could create a rustic nativity set at home. We did porch pick-ups for the kits and I had a few ladies opt to pick-up from my home. I enjoyed putting on a mask and heading outside for a few minutes to say hello while the ladies loaded up their kits. I’m not a super crafty person, so this craft had me a little nervous. I was so pleased with the end result, though! All I had to do was paint, accessorize, and glue. It’s been fun to see how the other ladies decorated their kits. This experience was definitely a win for our group!

Even though we only did school three days this week, we were able to condense all five days of learning into three, so the boys didn’t miss a day even through they took Thursday off. I love this element of homeschooling. The amount of school is so manageable. It’s been easy to stay on track. I will admit that I am looking forward to Christmas break in a few weeks. We didn’t take a Spring Break in 2020. We worked on summer workbooks all summer expect for one week when we visited Yellowstone (which was like a week long field trip). Our homeschool pace hasn’t led to burn out, but I am still looking forward to having a pause. This mostly comes from my own perspective as the main educator of my children. Mama/Teacher is ready for a break! Just three weeks to vacation! Let the countdown begin!

I’ve been making a list of Christmas activities we might wish to participate in this year. Given current guidelines, most of my ideas center around driving to look at Christmas lights. Our local park puts on a Christmas light drive-thru. We might travel north or south to see a bigger display in one of the larger cities as well. I’m a bit sad that my kiddos won’t be in any Christmas performances this year. Those are always fun memories and sweet photo opportunities. Instead of focusing on community activities, it’s time to focus on Advent (starting this weekend), making Christmas cookies, watching Christmas movies, and doing Christmas crafts. (I went into Hobby Lobby in October thinking I didn’t need anything and came out with Christmas crafts for school – totally justifiable.)

We were able to make one indoor Christmas activity happen today. We visited Santa! It was too tempting to pass up an 2020 photo opportunity of what the holidays really looked like. Santa was not only wearing a mask, but he was also behind a plexiglass shield. We all had our temperatures checked before waiting in a socially distanced line. The boys had to keep their masks on for the photo, so as they “elf” said, they had to “smile with their eyes!” Graham took that advice to heart as you can see in the picture below. The kids asked Santa for a drone and a spy kit. The store sent us off with ornament crafts, packets of hot chocolate, and tiny candy canes.

I don’t know how the next month will pan out. I’m processing that Christmas probably look “different” – just like Thanksgiving. Our family is brainstorming ways to be creative and celebrate safely. 2020 certainly isn’t going to wrap up the way I expected, but I believe it will be filled with goodness, light, love, and plenty of holiday cheer!

My MOPS & MOMSnext Nativity Craft
Owen starts every school day with science! He loves it! This week he studied the layers of the Earth.
Our garbage day is Thursday. We made a sign for our garbageman. Every week the boys wave at him from the window. He always waves and honks his horn in return.
A Thanksgiving morning soak in the hot tub
Zooming with family on Thanksgiving morning
We caught some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Picture with Santa – 2020
 

Merry & Bright November 22, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 2:38 pm

Well, we did it. We decorated for Christmas. Inside and out. I don’t feel a bit bad about not waiting. We were intentionally keeping up the autumn décor because we planned to host a small Thanksgiving meal at our house. True to 2020, those plans were canceled (or “postponed…” probably until 2021, who knows?). With no autumn holiday to celebrate in our home, we decided that we were in the clear to decorate for Christmas. This decision was highly influenced by our children who believe the Christmas seasons starts weeks before December. Their joy is contagious and we love Christmas, so why not? Also, the house has been decorated for fall since September 1st. Autumn has had plenty of time to reign. Now it’s time to give Christmas the spotlight.

Thanksgiving will still be the focal point of our upcoming week. We have yet another turkey craft to create for school. I have printed handouts and coloring sheets on the first Thanksgiving. We will read books about Thanksgiving each day. The week will be filled with yummy food. We’ve been working on special mail for the family members we won’t see this year and I’m sure there will be video chats and phone calls to check in on loved ones. Even though this Thanksgiving will be different, I am still looking forward to our scaled back version of Thanksgiving with much anticipation. The heart of this holiday is true now more than ever. We have come through so much and yet we have so much to be thankful for. Looking on the bright side, finding joy, and celebrating with gratitude are all traits I want to model and pass down to my children.

Decking the halls isn’t the only major update we have to share, this week we also debuted our brand new inflatable hot tub (the last part of that sentence needs to be read with a television game show host voice). Jeremy and I have been joking about getting an inflatable hot tub since they became super popular this spring. We learned two things from having the pool this summer – the boys are water bugs and the pool water was never warm enough for me. Even when I visit indoor pools, I never get in. It’s too cold. I’m a hot tub girl. Jeremy is also fond of hot tubs, so this seemed like the fall/winter version of the pool for our family. Our kids were so excited to watch the hot tub arrive and get set-up. They were the first ones to enjoy it and gave it rave reviews. I’ve also had a chance to soak in it and I am impressed at what can be achieved with inflated plastic! We realize that our holiday season will include more time around the house this year. This hot tub seemed like the perfect investment for our family this season.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving this year!

Graham kept yelling “I knew I’d like it” has he played happily! Owen is very good at keeping track of the hot tub temperature and giving status updates every few minutes.
I asked Owen if he’d like to help me make dinner and this was how he responded!
Decorating the Christmas tree
All done! Owen remarked that we could put the breakable ornaments anywhere since no little kids are coming over this year. Interesting point, but very true.
The grown-ups prefer the white lights when the kids go to bed!
The boys have been asking to decorate this gingerbread house since the day we bought it (11/10). We were able to hold them off for 11 days…
In the decorating zone!
The completed house!
Watching church from home with all the cozy Christmas vibes.

 

Hunkering Down November 15, 2020

I have an internal sensor that goes off when it’s time to blog. I’ve been sensing I’m due for a blog post, but I’ve been putting it off because I don’t really have anything glorious or impressive to share (not that often do). Last weekend was fairly full with a family dinner, an outdoor/distanced hang out with some MOPS friends, errands, and an adventure to the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Jeremy also completed the set-up of our outdoor Christmas décor.

After the full weekend, I felt rumblings about lastest COVID-19 news. I no longer keep a watchful eye on virus news. Occasionally, I get curious about what the news is saying and take a look. I got one of those notions that I should check on things. I discovered that we are seeing record number of cases in our state. I was a bit alarmed. After what I read, I felt compelled to do a better job of sticking close to home. We are mindful while we are out and about. Our family dutifully wears our masks and uses copious amounts of hand sanitizer frequently. The only things we haven’t been too concerned about is intentionally staying home.

We wrapped up our errands during the week and went into this weekend knowing we wanted it to be a stay-at-home weekend. Turns out the theme of our weekend will now be the theme of our next few weeks. Our Washington State governor made new restrictions today as an attempt to slow the spread of the virus during the holiday season.

I tend to be a rule follower. It’s my personality. While I don’t love new restrictions, I have respect for the intention behind them. I certainly don’t mind wearing my mask to protect myself and others. I also realize that the virus is likely to spread in our homes where our guard is down. Did I love sharing a meal in a restaurant with my friend? Yes. Do I understand the reasons for take-out only? Yes. I get it. I want to do my part to solve the problem and get life back to normal.

I know opinions vary greatly on this topic. I read last week in my Bible reading plan Romans 13:1 which says “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” Unless my governing authorities ask me to sin, I will do my best to comply.

I acknowledge the struggle. I feel it. I see in our communities. I also realize that I have little eyes watching me right now. My kids are home. How I respond will be a part of their childhood memories and will mostly likely shape the men they grow up to be. I want to show courage to do hard things. I want to show compassion to others. I want to show that we don’t have to be isolated just because we stay home. I agree that these things take effort, but I believe it is worth it.

So now we hunker down… for at least the next four weeks… Jeremy and I will be creative to make these holidays meaningful and memorable. It won’t be easy, but it’s important. Staying home is an intentional decision for the greater good. Home for the holidays certainly has new meaning this year!

Thankful for outdoor adventures in November. This outing to the wildlife refuge was a little too cold and wet for me personally, but it was also beautiful. I enjoy exploring new places!
Brothers and Friends
We are reading poems about the wetlands in school right now. This was the perfect field trip!
Couldn’t pass up a shot of the old white barns! So pretty!
The boys decorated mini trees for their bedrooms. Every year we get a new ornament for them. This year the ornaments were LEGO creations!
Jeremy, with “help” from the boys, did a great job getting the outside of our house ready for Christmas.

Our final forest school was a lesson on knots and knives. Graham opted to stay home with Grandma because it was so cold.

Graham was cold so he stole my sweatshirt from the laundry pile I was folding.
Time at home can be restful and chill. The boys joined me for a little screen time in bed. We don’t do this a lot so it felt special.

 

Holiday Cheer November 6, 2020

I’ve never held hard and fast rules for when it’s appropriate to start Christmas festivities. This year, the boys were super into Halloween (more than ever before). But a flip switched in their minds and now it’s on to Christmas. Owen especially keeps longing for it to be winter. I will admit that Christmas brings a cheer, joy, hope to the world. I can understand how more than ever we are craving the goodness of Christmas.

Yesterday, I sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” to Owen and he had completely forgotten that he sang it last year at his Veterans Day assembly at school. At this time last year, Jeremy and I grabbed red cups from Starbucks and showed up at Owen’s school so we could listen to 600+ kids sing patriotic songs. This memory and the fact that he had forgotten it made me sad. There are moments where what we have lost this year are acutely felt in my spirit. No songs being learned for performances, no assemblies to attend. And then there are moments like today when Owen tells me that he wants to be homeschooled forever. I realize that he isn’t hurting or lacking in his school experience. We are good. For every sad moment, I have so many things to be thankful for. Which is why Thanksgiving matters more than ever to me. It’s a time to reflect on our journey and how God has been good every step of the way. On our ride into town today, I pointed out the beautiful trees for that feels like the millionth time. I am going to vocalize my thankfulness as often as possible. I don’t want to take any moment for granted.

Which leads to the holiday cheer we experienced today. Anyone who has known me for more than a year knows that “Red Cup Day” is a holiday in my book. Starbucks has only made the day more special by offering free reusable cups. My whole family was jazzed to get our free cups today. We listened to Christmas music as we went around town. When we came home from running errands, the boys put on new Christmas pajamas and Jeremy went outside to put up our Christmas lights on the house. I hopped on to my computer and the boys filled our Operation Christmas Child boxes online. I changed the sheets to flannel in preparation for the return of colder nights this coming week.

I’m here for it. All the holiday cheer. Bring it on. I’m all in for celebrating the November holidays. All our crafts this month involve turkeys and thankfulness. We will focus on Veterans Day as part of school. We will give Thanksgiving it’s proper time and attention. But we will also anticipate the coming season with joy. We will talk about Christmas and prepare for it.

We have space in our life for both – Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have space in our life for both the sad moments and the joyful moments. Good and bad can co-exist and God is still there with each up and down. I’m learning to live at peace with the tension. It reminds me what we haven’t arrived yet. We are still looking ahead to a fully redeemed creation. Owen recently got a Bible and has focused in on the New Heaven and New Earth – the time when everything will be made right. I need that reminder. This isn’t it. We were made for more – and it is coming! Joy to the world!

Owen and his new Bible! Now that he is attending church again, we felt he needed an upgrade from his storybook Bible.
Launching rockets with some of our homeschool friends.
Don’t worry – autumn is still alive and well at our house!
I feel a little silly saying “Happy Red Cup Day” when my cup is green, but you get the idea!
Graham’s treat of choice today. He hugged this box the entire way home.
Using the online option to fill our Operation Christmas Child boxes this year. It was simple, easy, and fun. We love giving a gift and good news to children around the world!
 

Halloween 2020 November 2, 2020

Our out of this world astronauts!

This Halloween looked different than any other Halloween in our past. Thank you, 2020. Instead of our usual harvest, carnival style event at church, we offered a “Fall Fest To-Go” event for our community. The church offered a bag of candy, carnival game ideas to do at home, small prizes and a teddy bear to each child that drove through our parking lot.

It’s been a while since I volunteered on-site for a church event. The boys and I have been sticking close to home these days. The nice thing about this event was our family wore our masks and our exposure to the community was as quick as passing a bag through the window of a car. I felt fairly safe with this ministry opportunity. I had a friend question me about the boys being at the event for the entire time (about three hours). I told her that my kiddos are pastor’s kids and they haven’t had to fill that PK role in a while. We could all step up for the night.

When our family pulled into the church over an hour before the event, we already had cars waiting in the parking lot. We knew that our social media posts had received a lot attention, so we weren’t shocked, but it was still a surprise. We quickly got our materials ready and we started handing out bags an hour before the event was set to start.

Jeremy planned for 300 pre-prepared bags. This was on par with our usual Fall Fest kid attendance in the past. However, this is 2020. Our community was desperate to make Halloween special and safe. Jeremy quickly asked me to move from passing out bags to creating more bags. We were handing out bags as quickly as we were making them. At one point, we ran out of candy and sent team members to buy more. When the event wrapped up at 8:00pm, we had handed out a 1,000 bags to kids in our community. It was truly mind blowing. My Fit Bit said I had been “swimming” for and hour and a half due to the pace and movement of my gift bag filling.

The number of kids we saw was shocking, but what really impressed me on Halloween was Owen and Graham. Our boys showed up to volunteer at the event and they took that role seriously. They transported bags for us, they filled bags, they handed out bags. They were little worker bees. It was truly an honor to serve together as a family. My mama heart was so blessed to see my kids buy into the idea of giving to others.

Jeremy and I came home tired from the hopping pace of the night, but also amped up from the results. We definitely didn’t expect this drive-thru event to explode the way it did. 2020 is so unpredictable. You plan the best you can and make the most of what you’ve got. We saw major success with this event and it left us with questions of what does mean for next year? Was this a special one-time thing? Is this the new way events should look? It’s impossible to answer those questions right now, but we are mulling them over and taking notes.

This Halloween was memorable to say the least. We had fun, we served our community, we worked together as a family. Halloween 2020 was one of the record books. It was certainly a special way to wrap up such a special month.

Panda Amy! I bundled up because I thought I would be out in the cold all night. Turns out I worked up a sweat filling gifts bags indoors!
Graham is helping to fill bags and Jeremy (on his dinosaur) is coming to pick up more bags to take out! It was fast paced evening!
Owen’s orange helmet blends with the orange bags on the table. Owen helped Papa hand out bags to vehicles.
 

On Tuesdays… October 27, 2020

On Tuesday, I have less words (which will probably be a benefit to you). I use them up on Monday and Tuesday is a recovery day. Mondays are marathons and Tuesdays are tranquil. I am thankful for Tuesdays. We all need Tuesdays. A day to reflect, to slow down, to recover, to give yourself grace, a buffer, margin.

Our schedule this October has been vastly different than years past. Even with a slower October, I’ve been surprised at how full our month has become. We’ve celebrated Graham and Owen’s birthdays. Each boy got to chose their own adventures on their birthday. We had two special birthday meals – one with each side of the family. That’s a total of four birthday celebrations (just for our kids alone). We’ve celebrated family birthdays and we’ve celebrated a few friends’ birthdays, too. The amount of dessert I’ve eaten this month is impressive!

The Fall Family Scavenger Hunt has filled in a large amount of our time as we race to complete missions and earn points. This hunt has included many of our favorite autumn traditions, but it’s also inspired us to visit places we probably wouldn’t have gone to this month (Rainbow Falls State Park & Mt. St. Helens to name a few).

These October days have been full of celebration, tradition, friends, and family. Everything has been on a smaller scale this year. I’ve appreciated the smaller gatherings. There is less pressure to make things big and impressive. The focus is on spending time with loved ones and doing things we enjoy. October is always my favorite month of the year and this October has been no exception. 2020 can’t take the autumn magic away!

Sunday morning hot cocoa with Owen. This week Owen asked to go back to church and attend Jeremy’s elementary class. I dropped Owen off with Jeremy for the 2nd gathering. Graham and I spent some one-on-one time together. This will be our new Sunday morning normal until Graham’s class reopens.
Family walk for the scavenger hunt – I love the amount of colors and patterns in this photo!
I snapped this photo on a chilly evening walk. I’m still trying to get outside everyday and get my exercise. Super cold, but worth it!
Lunch date with my forever friend, Maggie! We finally could meet up now that you can eat indoors with people outside of your household.
October has been a waterfall month! Winston Creek Falls makes waterfall #7!
2020 Family Pictures
2020 Family Pictures
2020 Family Pictures
Spur of the moment trip to Mt. St. Helens to get points for the Fall Family Scavenger Hunt. Such a cold adventure, but beautiful!
Dressed up in a costume for MOPS & MOMSnext last night. Chef Amy!
Making clouds in school this morning. Owen always picks science as his first subject of the day.
 

Pumpkin Day October 21, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 11:00 am

Pumpkins have to be my favorite thing about fall. They are my favorite way to decorate, my favorite flavor, and my favorite scent. I look forward to the pumpkin patch every year. In fact, most years you will find our family at the pumpkin patch multiple times in October. We go with friends, family, school, MOPS & MOMSnext… if there is a pumpkin patch outing, we’re there.

Because of COVID-19, we only visited one pumpkin patch this year. In a way, this created some pressure. Which pumpkin patch? We usually go to a variety of pumpkin patches and usually the location is determined by who we are going with. This time it was completely up to us. We finally settled on a pumpkin patch right down the road from us. We pass it every year and the boys always ask about it, but it’s never on the list of scheduled patches to visit. It was important to Jeremy and I to support a local pumpkin patch, so the one closest to our house seemed like a great choice.

In his need for independence, Owen grabbed the wagon and pulled it for almost the entirety of our visit. Graham (true to his nature) took the longest to select his pumpkin. I picked a pumpkin and Jeremy carved it. We did a “Team Parent” pumpkin this year. There were three challenges involving pumpkins for the Fall Family Scavenger Hunt, so we were able to accomplish those during our pumpkin day. Graham scrubbed the pumpkins clean when we got home and helped set them in the sun to dry.

Graham wanted a jack-o-lantern with a big nose this year. Jeremy made a traditional jack-o-lantern for our pumpkin. Owen wanted a spooky pumpkin. He decided to make his pumpkin look like it was saying “Boo!” I’m thankful that is his idea of spooky at this point. Owen did all the cutting of his pumpkin with supervision and guidance this year.

Every year, I am thankful for pumpkins! They make me happy. They bring joy to my world. Little things can make a big difference. For me that means pumpkins! Pumpkin day was a good day. Pumpkin season is a good season.

Commander of the Wagon
Taking his time to find the perfect pumpkin
Fall Family Scavenger Hunt: Visit a pumpkin patch
Fall Family Scavenger Hunt: Carve pumpkins
Fall Family Scavenger Hunt: Take a picture of the inside of a pumpkin
The end results! Our 2020 pumpkins!
 

Welcoming October October 4, 2020

We are always excited for the arrival of October. It’s birthday month for my boys and it’s fun to make it a month long celebration. October is also prime-time for my favorite autumn activities! Our church is doing a Family Scavenger Hunt through an app for the entire month of October. The app features missions with all kinds of challenges and activities – many of them are seasonal as well. We’ve had a blast working our way through the missions. This game will be a highlight for our family all month long!

As we continue to find our homeschooling groove, I’m loving the routine that we’ve created. We had forest school on Monday. We learned how to make outdoor shelters. Monday night, we had a fantastic guest speaker at MOPS & MOMSnext. I’ve been nervous to see how MOPS & MOMSnext would pan out this year, so this meeting was a boost in confidence. Tuesday, we dropped of a meal for a MOPS family recovering from surgery and then we picked up a brand new trampoline for the boys. This newer, bigger, upgraded trampoline was a combined birthday present for the boys from my parents and Jeremy & I. The boys are thrilled with more bouncing space!

Friday was our field trip to the corn maze. It was neat to see Owen following the map of the maze closely and tracking our movements. Saturday morning, I joined my mom to watch a conference via Zoom for our church ladies. It was an amazing time to see ladies online, worship, and hear a great message. Saturday afternoon, we had a small, family-only gathering to celebrate the boys’ birthdays. The kids ran wild, outside in the sunshine playing with their cousins. This is our 5th year of joint birthday parties and the theme was space. I always enjoy making a theme come to life. Today has been a combination of working on scavenger hunt challenges and playing with new toys. I’ve spent a good portion of my day assembling LEGO creations for Graham. Owen would prefer to build his own creations without assistance.

October is off to a great start and we have so many exciting adventures still ahead this month. The next big adventure this coming week is the celebration of Owen officially turning seven! It’s crazy how fast he is growing up. I’m so thankful that during this homeschool season, I get a little extra time to watch this super cool kid grow!

Monday Forest School: This week we learned how to make shelters!
Upgraded to a bigger trampoline since we now have big kids!
Friday Field Trip: The Corn Maze
It’s always an adventure following these boys through a corn maze. Every year I’m pleasantly surprised we make it out as quickly as we do. This is probably because my boys (Jeremy included) follow the map. I just follow my gut which means when I’m wondering the maze, we get extra quality time in it!
Conference zooming with my mom
Celebrating these two boys with an out of this world birthday party!
Some of the pictures we’ve collected during the Fall Family Scavenger Hunt!
LEGO Time!
 

On to Autumn September 26, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 3:36 pm

We are officially done with summer and on to autumn. While I eagerly anticipate this transition every year, I found myself slightly sad at it’s arrival. The official arrival of autumn was a mile marker – 6 months of this new world. Two entire seasons spent completely differently than I would have planned and now on to a third. We are adjusting well to our new homeschool schedule, but there are times where I’m walking on the driveway and the lighting reminds me of walking to meet Owen at the school bus. Small moments of remembering “this time last year” make me pause. While I might have been slightly less anxious for autumn this year, I am still glad that it is here.

This last week the bad air fully cleared out and we were able to enjoy what I would call our most “normal” week of homeschool yet. This week was more along the lines of what I envisioned our homeschool experience would look like. On Monday, we joined a few homeschool families for “Forest School – an outdoor learning experience. We learned about apples and made apple cider. On Tuesday, the boys got to join Jeremy for an evening hunting experience. They chased elk in the wilderness and had a blast being a part of the hunting crew. Wednesday, was a quieter day after a late night out, so we declared it a pajama day and put a fake fireplace on the TV while it rained outside. Wednesday was all of about quiet and cozy. Friday, we visited our local children’s museum for the first time since January.

I love that were able to connect outdoors with other homeschool families. I appreciate that I am not teaching forest school, so my boys are learning for other adults in our community. I love that the boys got to spend time with Jeremy doing something that he loves. The boys were able to stay out late on Tuesday and have the flexibility on Wednesday to be extra restful. We were able to do a family outing on Friday and enjoy hands on learning . These experiences are what I hoped for when we committed to a different school year.

The beginning of autumn as been beautiful and adventurous! Autumn is season full of traditions and celebrations. I am so excited for all that lies ahead – the corn maze, birthdays, pumpkin patch, all the goodies and treats! Autumn is full of so many good things!

Forest School – Apple Day
A beautiful first day of autumn! So thankful for blue skies and fresh air!
A cozy, fake fireplace on a quiet, rainy morning
Pajama day and learning about light wavelengths
Friday Field Trip: Hands on Children’s Museum
Friday Field Trip: Hands on Children’s Museum
Friday Field Trip: Hands on Children’s Museum
Friday Field Trip: Hands on Children’s Museum
 

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!