Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

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!

IMG_7340

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

IMG_7342

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

IMG_7349

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

IMG_7365

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!

IMG_7375

This trailer was the perfect spot for a getaway weekend!

IMG_7376

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

IMG_7390

Beach Buddies 

IMG_7398

Such a happy place to be!

HYSQ9486

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

PDCD4164

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

 

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.

IMG_6875

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

IMG_6881

Love listening Owen read out loud to his brother!

IMG_6894

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

IMG_6908

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

TSHQ4343

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

IMG_6945

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

SLRA5733

Every night is a pool party at our house!

YIUQ8538

Graham gives summer two thumbs up! 

PEUZ3344

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

IMG_6988

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

 

Post-Op Update July 13, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 1:36 pm

Here I am! I’m alive! (Okay, that’s a bit dramatic!) I am thankful to be on the other side of my surgery and I’m happy to share my weekly update!

Last week our family tried to lay low for self-isolation. Since I had to take a pre-op COVID-19 test, the hospital didn’t want me to pick-up something between taking the test and surgery. The only downside to this isolation meant a quiet week before my operation and a quiet week after my operation. I feel like this surgery has taken two weeks of my summer from me. While it might feel like a waste of summer days to just stay home, it’s honestly what I would be doing anyway – thank you, Coronavirus.

The only day that isolation was inconvenient was Wednesday (the day before my surgery). Wednesday was Jeremy & I’s 14th wedding anniversary. The boys were off to a sleepover at Nana & Papa’s house, so Jeremy and I had the day to ourselves. Now we could have stayed home and tried to pretend like the next day wasn’t a big deal, but that would have been hard. We needed a distraction. Since the weather wasn’t too bad, we took a drive to the beach. It was nice to talk on the ride out to the beach without having to talk over the kids. We got take-out from our favorite restaurant. We went to Costco (which is apparently how we spend our dates). This was the only non-isolated activity of the day and I was very careful to social distance. We took a walk on the beach and then took off for home. It was a quick outing, but it kept my mind occupied which was helpful.

Thursday was my surgery to remove a benign mass that had been growing quickly and causing me discomfort. I got to the hospital at 10:00am and spent a considerable amount of time waiting. Someone had arrived two hours late for their surgery and it threw off the timeline for the day. I had ample time to wait and be nervous. I had one moment where I shed a few tears. I was sweating in the plastic hospital gown with my mask on (these materials don’t breathe well). My IV wasn’t going into my hand and they couldn’t get a good temperature or heart rate from me. Apparently the forehead thermometer is very sensitive when you are sweaty so they had to find an oral thermometer to get a better reading. It was frustrating because I was fever-free when I entered the building only an hour before. I blame the plastic gown, face mask, and nerves. I was a sweaty mess. The IV had to be placed in my arm instead of my hand. I told the nurses I am an Enneagram Type 1 so I hate when things aren’t “right” and I struggle with failure. My most stressful moments were over things I couldn’t control and yet I felt like I was failing.

Once the actual surgery happened, things improved. I was told by one of the nurses that my doctor/OR nurse combination was the absolute best in the hospital. I’ve heard so many good things about my surgeon from multiple staff members. It gave me peace of mind. I opted for a form of anesthesia they call “twilight” instead of full-on general anesthesia. I was asleep for the surgery, but I had an easier time coming out of surgery. I can remember being in the OR both before and after surgery. I hate feeling out of control, so the ability to think clearly matters to me. I don’t like feeling out of it. I left the hospital fairly quickly post-op (especially in comparison to pre-op). I was numbed so well from the surgery that I really felt has “normal” as I possibly could have for just having surgery.

My recovery has gone better than I imagined. My pain level has been minimal. I’ve been able to rest and lay low with the help of family. Both Jeremy’s parents and my parents have provided meals for us. Jeremy’s parents kept the boys until I was comfortable and settled at home. My mom has watched the boys for me a few times. Jeremy took the kids on adventures. We even rested as a family last night by watching a movie in our big bed. I am doing my best to rest, but I glad that I am comfortable enough to do daily tasks like laundry and keeping the counters clean. I’ve taken a few short walks.

I’m so glad that this surgery is behind me now and checked off the to-do list. July is a bit of a business month. Between surgery and MOPS planning, I’ve been in grown-up mode. I’m looking forward to “fun” adventures in August. With the fall being unknown still, I want to enjoy this down time and make the most of these quiet moments. They might not be exciting, but I have a feeling that my soul needs to recover just as much as my body does right now. I’m praying for peace, comfort, and rest. While this hasn’t been the busiest, flashiest, or most fun summer I’ve ever had, I am grateful, I am blessed, I am loved.

IMG_6800

Extra time at home before surgery meant many large blanket forts for these boys!

IMG_6803

Enjoying fort life!

IMG_6816

When we have time alone together, we go to Costco!  It’s our love language! Haha! We do appreciate a kid-free trip to Costco!

IMG_6839

A walk on the beach to celebrate 14 years of married life!

IMG_6852

You can’t tell from this picture, but this one size fits all purple gown was practically a sumo suit on me!

IMG_6856

Post-op goodies from family! Feeling loved and taken care of!

IMG_6860

To give me some quiet time at home, Jeremy took the boys on an adventure with some of the cousins.

IMG_6863

Down time and s’mores go so well together! As you can see, Jeremy approves!

IMG_6869

I got a six pack of these ice packs on Amazon! Possibly the best thing I’ve ever purchased. Ice packs are my new best friend!

IMG_6867

Family movie night! Instead of sharing what I’ve read this month! I might share what I’ve watched instead!

 

July is here! July 6, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 11:02 am

This last week we said good-bye to June and hello to July. This summer certainly has a different feel to it. Usually July would mean daily swimming lessons at the local pool and multiple play dates a week. Now our days are mostly spent at home. We keep social events outside so we can have distance and limit the use of masks. Even with our endeavors to be outdoors, we are getting used to wearing masks when we aren’t home. We are adapting to this new normal and making the most of it.

This last week we made a couple of meal deliveries to families with new babies. I love that this ministry can continue even through a pandemic. Dropping a meal at a door is a quick and simple way to show love. We did two deliveries last week and we have another one to do today. Lots of babies to celebrate in our community!

With plenty of time at home, we’ve had time for puzzles, games, fort building, and baking. The days have been cloudy and gray for the most part so we’ve been snuggled inside playing and enjoying the free time summer brings. When it warms up, we head outside to play, explore, and exercise.

The special outing of our week was a trip up to see my sweet grandma (or GG has my boys call her). I’ve been keeping in touch with my grandma through phone calls and mail over the last few months. It was great to finally have an in-person opportunity to connect with her. My heart was definitely full after our visit!

This weekend was full of celebrating with family! We had Jeremy’s brothers and their kiddos over for the 4th of July. Our kids were so excited to swim with their cousins, show off the beaver dam, and light off fireworks. There is such a happy feeling watching cousins play and make childhood memories together! Yesterday was my dad’s birthday so we celebrated with my side of the family. My sister and brother-in-law joined us. It had been many months since we’d all been together. It was a great way to celebrate my dad! Nothing like good food and family to make a weekend feel special!

Now to share about my next “adventure”… I will be having surgery this Thursday to remove a benign mass that is growing and causing me discomfort. I’ve known about the mass for years, but this November it started to bother me. I went to the doctor and had it monitored for six months. It grew considerably during that time so it was decided that it was time to biopsy it in May. Thankfully the the results were benign. The fact that is continuing to grow and cause me discomfort is the reason I opted for surgery to remove it. I am nervous and not looking forward to the surgery, but I am trying to be a grown up and take care of my health. From having a biopsy, to having a mandatory pre-op COVID-19 test, to surgery – I keep reminding myself that I am capable of doing hard and uncomfortable things. I don’t have to like it, but I can get the job done and take care of myself.  Thanks to this being a slower summer, I will be able to rest and recover without too much disruption to commitments. I will be leading a MOPS leadership retreat 8 days after my surgery, so please pray that I will be able to lead without discomfort.

That’s the news for now! I’ll see you on the other side of my surgery and hopefully I’ll have a positive update to share with you all!

IMG_6517

Learning how to play checkers!

IMG_6524

This week’s baking project! The boys helped me make a red, white, and blue layer cake. They even put the sprinkles on the cake!

IMG_6558

Graham received his school art portfolio this week. He had a lot of fun walking down memory lane!

EUHR8435

Visiting GG!

IMG_6601

New puzzle! Oh how these kids love geography! They are obsessed with maps of any kind!

GLCW4579

Happy 4th of July from the Scotts!

IMG_6667

Parachute men are a favorite activity on the 4th!

IMG_6701

Introducing the cousins to the beaver dam!

IMG_6745

Sparkler Time!

VESS2984

I hope Grandpa didn’t want to blow out his own birthday candles!

 

 

Does It Feel Like Summer? June 27, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 10:21 am

We’ve had two weeks of our summer schedule and I keep pondering to myself – does it feel like summer? Now in Washington state, I could mean the weather. As I look out the window next to me, I am looking at gray clouds and the forecast even has showers for tomorrow. We’ve had some gray days this month, especially over the weekends. But really, I’m not referring to the weather when I wonder if it feels like summer. I’m referring to the change of pace, the summer vibes. Do I feel them?

My answer is kinda. They are there, but they aren’t as strong as years past. Usually the end of the school year brings a dramatic change to our household. With the kids being home all day since March, school being out doesn’t seem like a big shift. We started each day this week with 30 minutes of summer workbooks (15 minutes for each boy to keep their brains engaged) and then we moved into an hour of VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) at home. Rocky Railway was the theme this year and my kids LOVED IT! It was a great time to sing, dance, learn about the Bible, and do a fun craft/activity each day. In a way VBA took up the window of time that “school” had filled just weeks before. Our flow of focused mornings, quiet afternoons, and free evenings has remained even after school is out.

Now there are some ways that it does feel like summer. Over the last week, we’ve turned on the air-conditioning as the days have risen into the 80’s. That feels like summer, for sure! My boys have spent every sunny evening in the pool. Jeremy is doing swimming lessons at home with the boys. Graham’s confidence in the water has sky-rocketed in just the last week. It’s fun to watch them learn important life skills from their father. I can swim, but I don’t relish time in the pool (unless I can just sit on a lounge float and soak up the sun). I’m thankful that Jeremy can engage our little swimmers at their level! He is truly the best dad ever! Another way that it feels like summer is our family adventures on Fridays! Last Friday, we hiked around Mt. St. Helen’s. Yesterday, we went to NW Trek with Nana & Papa. What a unique experience we had as we drove our own van through the wildlife park! It was also our first family outing where masks were mandatory. The boys did a great job keeping their masks on in public. The whole experience gave me hope that we can continue to do fun things that we love even if they look different for a while.

I find that I’m living in a season with more questions than answers. I had no clue when things shut down in March that life would look this way heading into July. I honestly thought this whole virus thing would blow over by May. I thought kids would go back to school, I thought I would coordinated weddings at the church, I thought we would be back to “normal” by summer. Now I’m realizing that normal seems like a distant memory – the good old days. I’m wrapping my head around a new world where masks are necessary, schedules are disrupted, and adapting to change is crucial. It might not be the summer I expected, but summer is here. I told Jeremy that I don’t want to spend my summer wringing my hands with anxiety over what the future holds. I want to live this summer day by day, moment by moment. The big picture might be hard to see, so I’ll focus in on what I can see – today, this moment. As we continue to move forward, I’m hopeful the summer vibes will come our way!

IMG_6275

Collecting moths has become a thing to do around our house. I’m happy to report that as of last night all the moths have been released back into nature! 

RUVZ2268

Excited for their first day of Rocky Railway! I love that my kids didn’t miss out on a VBA experience this year! And they got to do it in their pajamas (which as you know is how we roll these days).

IMG_6291

Learning the Bible Lesson from Teacher Lauren! These boys were so excited to watch “their” teacher from church. Jeremy and the kids team worked hard to make VBA a fantastic experience for our community of kiddos! 

IMG_6302

Tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe to see if I could achieve a different kind of cookie… they turned out just like my go-to recipe, so apparently I only make one kind of a cookie… 

IMG_6305

Second play date of the season, so we had to go the beaver dam. It never gets old!

IMG_6337

The determined face of a kid trying to master the kick board.

TKAS9056

This feels like summer right here! 

JJWF2363

Family Outing to NW Trek! 

HXUU0468

Usually you ride through the wildlife park in a tram, but for a short window of time they are having personal vehicles drive through! Such a unique and memorable opportunity! 

UVBR2026

Even though the world feels weird, raccoons are still cute! 

PS: If you want to watch my 5 minutes of VBA fame, you can here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFFjU008neg. I had fun teaching a short and sweet Bible lesson about being good friends!

 

Officially Official! We are done! June 22, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 3:42 pm

I am happy to report that the 2019-2020 is officially over! We are done! Last week I shared my frustration over the confusion surrounding the last day of school. In true Amy fashion, I invested way too much energy into letting my mistake make me feel weird about the end of year.  It turns out that Monday really felt like the last day of school. On Monday, we received Owen’s report card in the mail. It included a diploma for making it through the COVID-19 closure and a 1st grade supply list. Monday was also the day that Owen’s school had a drive-thru pick-up of a summer packet and a small gift. The summer packet is meant to be worked on over the summer, so it didn’t feel urgent to complete it during the “last” week of school. We started our summer school workbooks last Monday and I’m fairly confident we’ll finish them quickly. Once the workbooks are done then we’ll move on to the packet from the school.  Monday definitely carried more of a school’s out vibe as we waved good-bye to the staff of Owen’s elementary school.

IMG_6064

Owen’s school drive-thru on Monday – it took us over an hour and a half round trip to pick up the summer packet and wave good-bye!

The days are starting to pick up in pace. Now that staying home isn’t mandatory, we’ve been slowly rejoining the world. On Monday, the boys and I went down to the church to work on the MOPS closet. The closet received some TLC in the form of new carpet and fresh paint. I came down to help get the items that were moved out for the work back into the closet.  My boys are very familiar with Monday mornings at the church with me prepping for MOPS so this felt somewhat normal. Tuesday we had dentist appointments. Many of our church members work at the dentist office so we got to say hello to friends we haven’t seen in a while. Thursday was a big deal for our family – we hosted our first play date in over three months! Since it was a sunny day, I kept the kids outside the entire time. It was fun to watch my kids play and it was a special treat to chat with a mom friend in person. The boys got to share their new tree fort and we took a hike down to the beaver dam. An outdoor adventure with friends was the perfect way to ease back into hospitality.

IMG_6069

Enjoying a stroll to the Beaver Dam

We spread the celebration of Father’s Day out over three days. We celebrated Jeremy on Friday with a hike near Mt. St. Helens. We packed a picnic lunch and ate near Coldwater Lake. After we ate, the boys dipped their toes in the water. This was our first family outing since February! It was so much fun to get into nature and explore a new trail! On Saturday, we celebrated with the Scott clan. Our kids had been waiting for the day when they could see their cousins again and it finally arrived! My heart was so happy to watch all the cousins running around in the backyard at Nana & Papa’s house! I was just as happy as my kiddos to chat and catch up with family. Sunday was dinner and dessert with my parents. The whole weekend was full of happy moments spent with the men who mean the most to us! My boys are blessed with an awesome dad, they have two grandfathers who are active in their lives and they have some crazy, cool uncles. Celebrating this year felt extra special after the time apart!

And that’s a wrap of the last week’s adventures. This week promises to be extra fun and special as well! All I can say is that we are ready for some summer fun!

IMG_6068

I’m “that” mom! Summer workbooks to avoid brain drain!

HCRQ6934

A visit to Mt. St. Helens

NSDC1885

First family outing in what feels like forever!

OZKV6395

What a beautiful way to spend time with our favorite dad! Jeremy is the best!

LRNL5861

So many great moments celebrating Father’s Day with these awesome dads!

 

We’re done! Just Kidding! June 12, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 8:18 pm

I spent months pouring over our district website to confirm the date for the end of school. Many school districts in our state have extended their school year through June 19th and I expected ours to do the same. However, when I couldn’t find that information anywhere by the end of May, I stopped checking. This means that I had been hyping up June 11th as the last day of school with my kids. We had special plans, special food, special gifts to celebrate. I took the official last day of school photos and shared them on social media… and then I got a message from a parent informing me that our district was going to the 19th and another homework packet was expected to be given out this coming Monday. I asked where this information was shared and I was told at the end of the last robocall. I don’t receive the school phone calls and my husband missed that information when he took the call. I’m a little frustrated that there was no letter from the district on the website or an email explaining this change to the calendar. Owen’s teacher didn’t mention this change while sending her weekly assignments.

As an Enneagram Type 1, I strive to do everything right/correct.  I have been the champion of the homework packets, we didn’t take Spring Break because I thought the endless free time with nowhere to go would be hard on my kids, we’ve done 13 full weeks of school at home and I was ready to celebrate right alongside my kids. I quickly took the pictures off social media because I didn’t want people to think I was blowing off the last week of school. This situation was embarrassing and frustrating. I’m not upset about another homework packet or that school isn’t officially done. It’s not a big change for my kids since we plan on doing workbooks over the summer. My big issue is the lack of communication took the wind of my sails. We still celebrated with the boys, but it wasn’t the same level of joy that I had been hoping for. Now that I’ve processed my frustration and embarrassment, I’m choosing to look at next week as a chance to continue celebrating the end of the school year. Let’s make the party last longer!

Even though the school year didn’t officially wrap up this week, MOPS & MOMSnext did! Monday was a big day for me as I met with the ladies through our online Facebook group and a Zoom call in the evening. This year certainly didn’t end the way I had expected, but I am thankful for how things turned out. Our online format allowed ladies to connect with the large group and expand their relationships outside of the 6-8 ladies at their table. We saw new relationships form and a deeper sense of connection come from our online experiences. One of my favorite things about the last meeting is our group picture. Since we couldn’t take a group picture this year, I asked the ladies to send me a photo so I could assemble a collage. I’m so happy with how the picture turned out! I prayed over each lady as I assembled the collage and it made my heart happy to celebrate that each one was a part of our group. Community matters and in a season of separation, MOPS & MOMSnext has kept me grounded in my community. It is easy for me to turn inward and focus on my family during this time, but MOPS & MOMSnext continually brought me out of my shell and reminded me to think of others.

On Tuesday, I filmed a Bible lesson to be included in our upcoming VBA. My hubby and his team got creative and transformed VBA into a home-based experience. Families get all the supplies from the church and then videos will shared to walk them through the VBA experience. Jeremy was able to film many of our key kids leaders so this experience will be unique to our church and local area. My boys froze in wonder when they saw their Pre/K teacher on the preview. While I didn’t want to be on film, I was reminded how much it will mean to my Wednesday night girls and the kids that I hang out with at children’s church. They haven’t seen me in months. I haven’t been able to teach them in a classroom environment. While it was a stretch for me to teach on camera, I am hopeful that it will encourage our kiddos.

My adventures on Wednesday took me up to Olympia for an appointment and errands. For the first time in months, my boys stayed home with my mom while Jeremy and I went out alone! It was our first date in what feels like forever! We grabbed Red Robin to go and went to Target and Costco. I’ve been dreaming about Target for months and I was so hopeful that it would fill a void in my heart. First of all, we were on a time crunch so the experience was rushed and secondly, the vibe was weird. It wasn’t the shopping experience that I had dreamed it would be. I was bummed about that, but I was still thankful for the opportunity.

And now on to today – the final part of this update! Owen was given an award for most improved in math from the school. His math abilities surprised me this year. He surpassed all my expectations. By the middle of the year, he was confidently doing first grade math. It was mind blowing for me since I struggle with math. The award was given to Owen outside of the school by his teacher and the principal even came out to say hello and congratulate Owen. The smile on Owen’s face was worth the outing even though there was a fair amount of shyness as well.  To wrap up the day, we celebrated my mom’s birthday! It’s a special treat to go over to Grandpa & Grandma’s house since we didn’t go inside each other’s homes during the stay-at-home order. Now that we are entering new phases in our state, being able to see our people and visit their spaces is a fun treat!

Wow! That was a long update! It was a big week, though. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of good things. Lots of good work. I look forward to fully, wholly, and completely celebrating the end of the school year with you all next week! Stay tuned!

IMG_5745

Owen lost another tooth!

LCNQ7784

Love this group! They hold such a big place in my heart!

IMG_5752

Is it really June? Here I am snuggled up with my electric blanket on a rainy day.

IMG_5754

Even though we have to mask up to go out, I am thankful for kid-free, alone time with my hubby!

AFOV3147

Since Graham is in preschool, his last day of school could really be whatever day we wanted!

XCEZ6254

Let’s pretend this picture was taken on June 19th ;)

BIYD1578

Love my little learners! While they may have spent the last 13 weeks in their pajamas, they have accomplished so much! I am proud of them!

YKCE9883

Seriously, this kid! So expressive!

IMG_5984

Sticker books with flags and maps are perfect for these geography lovers!

IMG_5986

Special sleepover in Mom & Dad’s room!

QAKR9173

Owen accepting his award at school!

VYJN5306

Happy birthday, Grandma!

 

One More Week of School! And Quarantine Reflections… June 7, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 4:57 pm

Just one week left in our homeschooling adventure! We will have accomplished a grand total of 13 weeks of home education by this Thursday. You can tell that summer is right around the corner. Our schooling times are the basics now – math, reading, and writing. Owen still has a weekly assignment from his teacher. My supplements of crafts and board games have become optional. We have been doing quite a few science experiments throughout the week, so that counts as extra credit, right?

We had a milestone at our house this week – we had kid-led sorting/purging take place. I’m a tidier and I am constantly evaluating what needs to stay or go in our house. I was talking with my MOPS & MOMSnext group this spring about keeping clutter down and they asked me how I do this with the kids. I shared that most of the time I de-clutter when the kids are not aware and they very rarely notice the items I get rid of. I did acknowledge though that my kids are getting older and that soon I would need to include them in this process. The reason for this is two-fold – 1) I need to honor their belongings and 2) they need to learn how to sort/purge their own items. I’m a big advocate of leading by example. My kids have watched me sort and giveaway items their whole lives. This week, they decided to go through their bins and take down the clutter. I was proud of them as they recycled papers and tossed happy meal toys that were no longer played with. A few nicer items were added to our donation stockpile. It was a highlight of the week for me! 

Now that we have moved out of the quarantine season, I’m reflecting on the things that I’ve learned through this whole experience. One of the biggest wins for me is I broke the social media addiction in my life. I am now averaging around an hour of screen time on my phone a day and that is because I limit my use of Instagram and Facebook. Now my phone sits on the counter or my nightstand, but I don’t feel the need to check it every few minutes. This discipline has been life-giving through my time at home and I hope I can continue to keep my phone usage down in the future.

I’ve also been reflecting on the pace of life. I’ve valued the slower pace of quarantine and I want to take that pace with me as I move forward. I used to pack the summer weeks with all kinds of plans because I thought my kids needed to be busy. I’ve since learned that my kids do well for long periods of time at home. It turns out we are a family of four introverts. While we enjoy people, we don’t need to go out and do something everyday to be fulfilled. Right now in Phase 2, we can see one household outside of our own a week. This pace sounds about right to me. We can add seeing people in person, but one outing/play date/dinner a week is just enough. As I made a play date for later in the month with a friend, she remarked that her family tires out easily after play dates. We have some muscles to rebuild in the socializing department. Building muscle takes time and I am ready to slowly build our schedule back up. I am hesitant though to go back to the way things were before.

The last things that I’ve learned to value during quarantine is my health. I also give credit to my fitbit for this realization. Since the first week of quarantine, I’ve been exercising daily and making sure to get my 10,000 steps a day. Before quarantine, I didn’t have “time” to prioritize daily exercise, now I make it a daily goal to have my fitbit register that I have exercised. For me, my exercise of choice is walking. Moving my body is important not only for physical health, but also mental health.

Overall, quarantine has given me time and space to evaluate healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle. I’m determined to take the lessons I have learned over the last few months and to live differently here from here on out. The nice thing is that they say it takes 21 days to build a habit. I’ve had almost three months to build new habits. This gives me confidence that these changes might just stick.

IMG_5648

The boys requested that I take a picture of our newest backyard buddy. I find him much cuter than the birds that Jeremy draws to the house.

IMG_5656

First time making mini pies!

IMG_5658

So cute! And yummy!

IMG_5662

Still hoping a summer vacation might happen!

IMG_5672

Celebrating National Doughnut Day

IMG_5676

Baking soda and vinegar never gets old! Yay for science!

IMG_5665

Owen claimed this island in the creek near our house. He has a flag to make it official. Welcome to Owen Island.

IMG_5660

Exploring the beaver dam is always a fun outing.

OIOM5668

Papa & Nana came over for pizza on Friday night! We showed them all the changes around the house from our quarantine projects. The boys got to show them the beaver dam for the first time!

IMG_5682

Everything is sooooo green!

IMG_5695

Owen helped Jeremy with the video announcements this week! Moments like this make my heart happy!

 

 

A New Season May 31, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 1:05 pm

We are at the start of a new season. Slowly our area is opening again after the coronoavirus shutdown and slowed down our country for months. Change is happening all around us as the next season unfolds for our family and our community.

Today was Jeremy’s first Sunday back at church in over two months. This week our governor made it possible for churches to gather indoors with small numbers and social distancing guidelines. The announcement was made on Wednesday and the church staff jumped into action so that Sunday morning could happen. Since the number of people in the building is limited, the boys and I stayed home to continue watching church online. The transition back to church will be one of patience for our family. Jeremy, obviously, will be there because it’s his job as a pastor. The boys and I will wait for larger gatherings sizes. It felt strange to send Jeremy off on his own this morning. While we were home together, we enjoyed having a sit down breakfast on Sunday mornings. As a pastor’s wife, I got the special treat of sitting through a Sunday morning message with my husband. I wholeheartedly believe that the church is meant to gather together in person, but I’ve also enjoyed Sunday mornings at home together as a family. It will be an adjustment as we move forward.

In month of June more change is coming. The MOPS & MOMSnext year is wrapping up for me. The school year is wrapping up for the boys. We are moving towards summer mode – whatever that looks like. Summer is still a bit of a mystery. One of the lesson I’ve learned during the stay-home season is to take things one day at a time. The big picture can be unclear and that is okay. What am I doing today? What needs to be done? What should be celebrated? Each day holds so much potential. I don’t need to know all the answers and see the whole picture, I can trust that today is enough. June will definitely bring changes to the new normal we’ve established.

At the end of Christmas break this winter, I got teary-eyed. It had been such a fun time. I enjoyed the break and part of me wished I could freeze time. In a lot of ways I have that same feeling now. It’s been a good “break”. It started off weird, but eventually our family found our groove. While things are changing slowly, it does feel like a break is coming to an end. Our stay-home mandate might be gone, but we are also heading into the summer months. Maybe I should look at it as a shift from one break to another – from quarantine spring to summer break.

I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to have lots of feelings – both positive and negative – about change. It’s okay to be excited and unsure at the same time. There is still tension to be lived in. I realize that I prefer to operate in an all-or-nothing kind of a way. I either want to stay home 100% or be back to normal 100%. There is going to be an window of time where we live in-between those two extremes. We are not mandated to be home, but we are not back to business as usual. I’m reminded that grace for myself and grace for others is so crucial. The tension is yet another opportunity to give grace and show love.

I can see the new season on the horizon. Parts of it have arrived and are becoming clear. Many elements of the new season are yet to be discovered. I went to into quarantine thinking of it as an adventure. This mindset is helpful in tackling something new, especially when I feel unsure.  There is another new adventure unfolding – the start of re-opening, the start of summer, the farewell to quarantine. I want to meet this new season with a hopeful heart. If I keep my eyes on Jesus and follow his lead, I can go into the great unknown, ready for the next adventure.

IMG_5291

Another science experiment! 

IMG_E5339

It was too chilly to swim in the pool, but not too chilly for a float! I got into the pool the day after this picture was taken and it was too cold for me! I did one lap around the pool on the turtle float and then I was out! Brrr….

IMG_5408

I’m much more of a dessert-eater than a swimmer! It’s fun watching my family enjoy the pool. I’m hopeful that I will get some pool time this summer once the water warms up more!

IMG_5414

Owen selected the next round of fresh flowers. I originally planned on keeping flowers on the counter during quarantine, but now I might be addicted. I love having flowers in my kitchen. It brings me so much joy! 

 

IMG_5433

The boys are super into astronomy and geography right now. My mom found these felt maps at Target and the boys were so excited! 

IMG_5440

The front walkway is looking good! Jeremy just added special sand to fill in the cracks between the stones.

 

Week Ten at Home: The Last One? May 23, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 3:53 pm

Could this be the last official Week at Home post? Just yesterday, our county was approved to move to Phase 2 of reopening. I had to do a little research on what that means. We can now gather with 5 or fewer people from outside of our household per week, more stores should be opening for in-store shopping, restaurants can reopen at 50% capacity.  I feel a bit conflicted. There is this part of me that is celebrating and part of me that is still unsure. I probably won’t rush out to stores and restaurants, but I am happy to have the option of a play date or dinner with another family.

While it’s not quite as imperative that we all hunker down at home, I’m realizing that my life won’t change too much with this phase change. We will still be homeschooling. Jeremy will probably still remain our designated shopper, but we can relax a bit on the kids going into stores. With so many community events canceled, we still have plenty of time at home moving forward. VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) will be at home this summer. Swimming lessons will take in the backyard pool. We had every weekend of summer planned before the world shutdown. Now we are hopeful to regain some of our plans, but we are also aware that it won’t be the same summer we had originally envisioned.

So what did week ten at home look like? If there was a theme to the week it would be Zoom.  On Sunday, we had our first virtual group with our church. We had 3 other families join us to catch up and say hello. On Monday, Jeremy and I watched a Zoom call on what reopening children’s ministries might look like in the future. On Tuesday, I had a Zoom call about MOPS with my co-coordinator. It was really good to talk things out with her and work through so many of the thoughts that were bouncing around in my head! On Wednesday, I had a Zoom call with a friend just to check in and catch up. On Friday, I had a Zoom call with the Network of Women Ministers. We’ll have another Zoom call on Sunday to hang out with more church families. Zoom, zoom, zoom. While I don’t love Zoom calls, I am thankful for the connection they bring. I love sitting in my pajamas with only my shoulders up being presentable. I love that there is no travel time involved. Hosting a call means that I don’t need to clean the house or provide food.  Thanks to technology like Zoom, Marco Polo, Facebook and Instagram I have felt very connected to my community during this season of separation.

I realize that moving into the next phase doesn’t change a whole lot for me. I am thankful that my hubby got to go golfing with his brothers and dad today. I am thankful that Owen got to tag along with Jeremy to Home Depot this morning. I am thankful for the quiet day I had at home yesterday while the boys had a play date with Nana and Jeremy and Papa worked outside on a project. This Memorial Day weekend looks different than what I had planned three months ago, but I am thankful for time to read, tidy, bake, catch up on the DVR, and rent a movie. Life at home has been good!

IMG_5183

Thanks to watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Owen was very curious about coconuts.

IMG_5186

Hacking a coconut to pieces counts as homeschool science, right? 

IMG_5210

Owen buried a treasure in the backyard and Jeremy helped him mark the spot. Once Graham saw this, he did the same. I’m living with pirates!

CXCW7936

Pulled the boys out of bed so they could enjoy the sunset!

IMG_5218

Prepping for a Zoom call! I saw this view quite a bit this week.

CHAT5188

Since Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, I figured cookies with way too much frosting would be a great way to celebrate!

IMG_5248

Graham approves!

IMG_5254

We have loved this science activity book!

IMG_5266

Nothing like ice, salt, and food coloring for a good time!