Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

June-uary June 15, 2022

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 2:39 pm

I can see the rain falling as I sit down beside my bedroom window to type. I’ve clicked the thermostat up a few times already today. I’m trying not cringe that the house still needs heating. The term June-uary is jokingly said here in the PNW to refer to a June that feels much more like a January. A chilly June isn’t unheard, but it’s still disappointing. My summer bucket list of outdoor adventures continues to be put on hold while I wait for opportune weather. Owen dramatically asked me, “Will it ever be warm enough to swim in pool?” I don’t know, kiddo!

Here are a few highlights from the last week. The boys wrapped up the activities needed to get a free book for the library summer reading program. Since I was disappointed the selection at the library, I purchased them books of their choosing as a reward. Owen selected the first book in The Boxcar Children series and Graham selected a reader. The boys used the money they earned from selling their train table and play kitchen to purchase new items. Owen went for a video game and Graham got a LEGO set. New books, games, and toys have come in handy as we rest at home and avoid the rain.

We continue to fiddle with how best to use the playroom. We kept it open and empty for a few days, but now we have a card table and some chairs in the space. The card table isn’t my ideal playroom furniture, but it works for now. Graham used the table to build his new LEGO set and Jeremy used it to sort his own LEGOs he might be interested in selling. Every so often, we do a purge and sell of old items. It’s a good practice. It clears out space and gives us some fun money in return. I’m all for the playroom table being covered in LEGOs instead of the dining room table!

We were able to attend a reunion for Jeremy’s family on Sunday. It was good to see many familiar faces we haven’t seen in the last few years due to the pandemic and meet a few new faces as well. Jeremy let his parents borrow an inflatable from the church and the kids had a blast bouncing the afternoon away with the cousins. It was a chilly gathering, but thankfully, it only misted on us for a short time at the start.

Yesterday, I went to a potluck for our homeschool co-op to discuss plans for next school year. I brought pumpkin muffins because I still have pumpkin in my pantry that needs to be used and the weather seriously feels like fall. I’m just embracing the chilly vibes with my pumpkin roll scented Scenty warmers and pumpkin spice muffins. Summer might be the favorite season of many, but I’m always looking forward to fall. I might have gotten a jump start on longing for fall. Oops!

I do realize that summer hasn’t officially started (13 days to go). I’ve always viewed the beginning of June as the start of summer, though. Wrapping up our school year in May gave me high hopes of enjoying some special summer moments before the rest of the PNW was on summer break, but no such luck. Oh well. I might be mad at the rain for keeping my summer plans on hold, but I’m also okay with the cozy vibes inside – books to read and muffins to munch on while wrapped in a blanket. Not a bad trade off. I guess I’ll survive this June-uary just fine.

Summer reading program completed
The joy of selling old stuff to get new stuff
The kids barely came out of this inflatable on Sunday. They had so much fun!
The roof is a totally normal place to take a cousin picture, right?
We very rarely get a picture of us moms! So blessed to raise our kiddos together!
Graham loves all things pumpkin, just like me. He was my taste-tester of the pumpkin muffins and he approved!
We are really enjoying this book of poetry! The illustrations are beautiful, too! The Lost Words brings back to life 20 nature words that were removed from the Oxford Children’s Dictionary to make space for technological words. The purpose of the book is to revive the words and re-wild childhood. If we can’t be outside in nature, this is the next best thing! I might have to get my own copy for our home library.
 

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!
 

A Trip Down Memory Lane March 23, 2022

This last week, I got to visit a place that is very special in my childhood memories. Jeremy has agreed to co-direct kids camp for our church network. He has directed/co-directed kids camps for our entire married life. Two summers without kids camp on our calendar has been strange. Now that COVID numbers are coming down and things are opening up, kids camp planning is back on. Jeremy had a camp tour this last Friday and he mentioned taking the boys along for the outing. I also asked to tagalong because kids camp this year is at the campground I attended as an elementary school student – Lake Retreat! Because it was a full camp tour, we got to look inside all the buildings and wander all over the campground. As we walked through the different spaces, I could remember which “cabins” I stayed in. I had memories of lining up outside the cafeteria, eating camp meals, messages in the chapel, and stories by the campfire. The camp is right on Lake Retreat and I remember how high the diving board seemed as a kid. The strangest thing was how small the camp felt to me as an adult. My childhood memory was of this huge, expansive campground. While the campground really isn’t small, it just wasn’t quite as large as my childhood memory made it seem. I guess the walk across camp felt longer for little legs decades ago. It was very special to visit a place for vivid in my memories.

While visiting camp was partially for nostalgia, I also had another purpose for tagging along. This is the first summer that Owen is old enough to attend. It’s crazy to think of him going off to camp. I wanted to get a glimpse of what camp might look for him. Could I picture him there? Owen and Graham both enjoyed the camp tour. It certainly inspired them to want to attend. One of the advantages of Owen visiting camp in advance is he can now picture where this new experience would take place. We’ve haven’t done overnight experiences beyond a night or two at a grandparents’ house. In the aftermath of a pandemic, we’re still processing if summer camp is a step we’re ready for. Seeing the camp in-person was helpful as we process our summer plans. It’s hard to believe that we have a kiddo that is old enough to be a camper!

Okay, visiting camp wasn’t the only highlight of the last week. I’ll try to hit the others quickly. On Thursday, we visited friends and saw quite a few trains on our journey to/from their home. The boys are still obsessed with trains, so it was a very good day! We met Jeremy for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant (which I find funny since it was St. Patrick’s day). Friday night, I attended book club. I enjoy discussing books with other moms and my book recommendation list is super long now. On Saturday, we had a beaver walk up our driveway and into our front yard! We apparently live in a zoo or maybe Narnia. Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner and the boys got to do their favorite thing – flashlight tag in the yard. Sunday, our chickens got attacked by an eagle. We missed the drama but my parents saw it happen. A crow attacked the eagle and scared it off before it could harm our chickens. A big thank you to that crow! Between a beaver in the yard on Saturday and an eagle on Sunday… we seriously live in a zoo!

After a few days of activity, I’ve been enjoying some quieter days at home. I’m almost finished with the Harry Potter series. I’m currently on book seven and hope to finish it today or tomorrow. It’s been fun to discuss the books with my friends (and hubby) who are fans. I’m often asked what I think about the books, but it’s also neat to hear what books, characters, and moments other readers like best. Oh, and the very important discussion of what Hogwarts house you think you’d be in! I’m torn between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but I’m leaning toward Hufflepuff. I’ll have to give my final HP thoughts at the end of the month in my book blog!

Well, that’s all for now! Until next time!

Watching for trains while waiting for Jeremy to arrive at the restaurant.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at Plaza Jalisco!
Past camper and potential future camper
Introducing the kids to carpet ball
Tripe stacked bunk beds!
Enjoying the lake
The beaver and the wildlife photographers
A visit to Dad’s office on Sunday to check out the sprouts in the Aerogarden
Learning about fossils in amber with gummy worms and orange Jell-O
Learning about weather in science
 

The Other Days March 16, 2022

It can be easy and exciting to write about the big adventures and outings. However, life is mostly made up of the “other” days. They might not be thrilling, but each ordinary day is an adventure all it’s own. With the future unknown, I am trying to intentionally savor these days at home. The last two years have greatly changed how we live our day-to-day lives. While many have rushed back to normal, we are trying to hold on to the benefits we’ve found in living differently.

Our mornings are spent at the dining room table doing school. We are one week away from the end of our 3rd quarter. The boys already have their 3rd quarter rewards selected and they are counting down the days until we can celebrate. It is very exciting to see the pages left in our school books dwindling. Some of our curriculum doesn’t end at exactly 180 days of lessons. A few books will be completed before we are officially finished with the school year. (When that happens, I supplement that subject with other worksheets/books.) It’s always a celebration when a textbook is completed. The finish line for the school year is in sight!

Homeschooling has been an unexpected chapter in our family story. It’s been a good chapter, though. Our plans for school next year are still undecided. There is a chance that the boys will be back to public school in the fall. With that in mind, I’m doing my best to enjoy this homeschool season for all that it is. It’s not over yet and I want to make the most of it. Often that means putting thoughts (and, being real here, anxieties) about next year on hold for now. I don’t want to miss this current time at home pondering (or fretting over) future decisions.

After school, we have lunch and then quiet time. This used to be nap time, but the boys have long outgrown naps. Now they are allowed to play on their beds or read books during quiet time. While they might not sleep anymore, the down time is restorative. It reminds me of the “flat on bunk” time I used to have at kid’s camp when I was in elementary school. Sleep is optional, but rest isn’t. This quiet time is just as important for me as it is for the boys. I appreciate the break! I often use it to read, research (aka look things up on Amazon), contact friends (Marco Polo), and do “grown-up stuff” (like make dentist appointments).

When quiet time is over, it’s afternoon free time. If the weather is nice, we’ll walk to the mailbox. I usually start dinner prep while the boys play. LEGO Super Mario is still the toy of choice around here. If the boys have chores, they do them in the afternoon/evening free time. Some of their chores are emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, collecting eggs, and helping with the laundry. We have dinner when Jeremy gets home and then usually there is a little time to play on the Switch. Some days wrap up by watching a baking show in the hot tub.

These days can feel a bit like Groundhog’s Day. Wake up and repeat… again… and again. Despite the repetition, these are good days. The last two years have certainly been challenging, but they have also been a gift. This last week Washington State removed it’s mask mandate, so it really has been two years living in pandemic mode. While I don’t view the pandemic as over, I can recognize that things are changing. I don’t know what that means for the future, but I do know that I want to make the most of right now. I am so thankful to the small things that make these ordinary days special. We do have rocky moments (like the fights over LEGOS pieces – a real-life example from 11:30am today). I remind myself that these difficult moments are a chance for us to grow together. It might seem like sibling squabbles are a chance for the kids to learn, but these are growth moments for me as well. How will I respond? Is my attitude helping or hindering the situation? So yes, lots of learning together beyond our school time. These home days don’t make for the most interesting updates, but day-by-by, they are making for a pretty interesting life!

A special stop for fro-yo while running errands
Pizza Friday! This was our second time getting Mini Murph take-an-make kits. The boys love them!
My latest attempt at cake decorating. Used some new tools. Looking forward to trying again since I’m learning a lot through trial and error!
Getting some new dirt into Jeremy’s new raised beds
My latest used book acquisition with the last of my birthday money
A quick visit to Nana & Papa’s house where Owen got to be a firefighter and help put out a burn pile.
Jeremy’s birthday present arrived a little early! He requested (then purchased for himself) an Areogarden for his office at work. After 5 days, he already has sprouts popping up!
Time to make leprechaun traps!
Homemade pizookies for Pi Day on Monday
I had a migraine yesterday, so the boys joined Jeremy for an out-of-town errand and then an afternoon of helping at the church. Jeremy sent me this picture of Graham leading a “Bible study” in the church’s church classroom! Graham has been watching Jeremy in action on Sundays and it shows!
 

Good Times & Games February 23, 2022

I want to take a moment to say thank to those of you who read this blog and journey alongside my family. These posts feel like writing letters to a friend and it has been so meaningful for me to have this space to share. Especially over the last few years as the world turned upside down and our daily life got smaller, these blogs are proof (mostly to myself) that we are holding on, making it day by day, finding joy despite the trials of a pandemic. As we move toward spring, the world is shifting again. With pandemic restrictions changing in our area, I’m intrigued to see how the future unfolds. While my mind is often pondering what’s next, I am praying that I can stay grounded in the present and enjoy the time that I currently have – right here, right now.

This last week was full of good times and games! We hosted both a play date and a family dinner at our house. Both families we invited over had all boys and our house was filled with wild things running about. There was much laughter and shenanigans. The boys were thrilled to have their friends over and it made my heart happy to see all the smiles. For me personally, it was also nice to catch up with the parents and have adult conversation, even if it was hard to hear at times or was interrupted. Friend time for my kiddos also means friend time for myself. Yay!

Games! So many games this week! On Thursday, Jeremy surprised us by coming home from work with a Nintendo Switch. It was an anonymous and extremely generous gift to our family. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Words cannot even express the excitement our kids felt when Jeremy revealed the box. Friday morning we went on a mission to buy a game and another set of controllers. Over the long weekend, Jeremy and the boys worked on passing levels and battling bosses in hopes of saving Princess Peach. The Super Mario obsession in our house as definitely increased.

On Saturday, Nana and Papa invited us to join them for glow-in-the-dark golf with some of the cousins. We love cousin time! And surprisingly, for glow golf being a local activity, we had never been before. It was a win-win – time with family and a fun outing! I’m not a great golfer (mini golf or otherwise), but this glow golf course was right up my alley. I completed a majority of the holes in three strokes instead of my usual six or more. It was very good for my confidence! After we wrapped up golf, Nana and Papa treated the kids to a few arcade games in the lobby. They loved every moment of the outing.

Saturday night after bedtime, Graham came out of his room saying he wanted to talk. It turns out that he was very sad that the Olympics were ending. We enjoyed watching the Olympics in the evenings as a family. We cheered for Team USA. We marveled at the skill of the athletes. When explaining that the Winter Olympics happen every four years, the kids got wide-eyed. Four years feels like a lifetime right now. Telling them that the Summer Olympics would happen in just two years didn’t help ease the disappointment much. We made sure to watch the closing ceremonies as a family on Sunday. Part of me is slightly glad the games are over – only for the fact that the boys were starting to do more stunts off the furniture in the living room. Watching all the airborne athletes was inspiring them a little too much! Now we’re back to baking shows. The current family show is season two of Zumbo’s Just Desserts.

In closing, I will mention that after almost two years of watching church online, the boys and I returned to church in-person on Sunday. With case numbers going down and our family being fully vaccinated/boosted, it seemed like it was a good time to re-engage with this community. The boys and I enjoyed being a part of children’s church with “Pastor Jeremy” (aka Daddy/Hubby). We are excited to be at church as a family again.

Okay, that concludes all the major and minor life updates for the time being!

Learning to play Super Mario Bros
Good times golfing!
Wrapping up glow golf!
Arcade time
Back at children’s church! The boys did a great job participating and they were thrilled to come home with special treats.
Sunday mac & cheese tradition is still going strong!
When Amazon sends a box that is big enough to fit two kids!

 

February Fun! February 16, 2022

This last week was full of fun! I love holidays and any reason to celebrate. Valentine’s Day definitely was celebrated over the course of the week as well as on Monday. Jeremy surprised me with a 4-pack of pizzas from Lou Malnati’s in Chicago as a Valentine’s gift. Such a special and thoughtful treat! The pizzas arrived last Wednesday and I made one that evening. I couldn’t wait until Valentine’s day! The package came with dry ice to keep the pizzas frozen, which meant our evening was spent playing with dry ice. The kids had a blast! It was just as exciting as the pizzas in the package.

On Thursday, I promised to take the kids to the park after school. I thought it would be cloudy, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be foggy/misty. The park was damp but mostly empty as a result. The kids got super wet despite the towel I brought along to dry things off. My mom joined us for this outing and after the park we took off for the library. Mom treated us to a fast food lunch on our way home. It was a fun morning out and about – even if it was chilly and damp. Those of us in the PNW don’t let a little wet and chill keep us inside (okay, some time it does, but not all the time).

After a wet morning on Thursday, the skies cleared. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were beautiful. False spring as it is known around here. I enjoyed walking outside each day to get my steps in and my daily dose of vitamin D. Jeremy spent his days doing yard projects and the boys happily worked alongside him. When they weren’t tagging along with projects, they were in the drainage ditch near our house building dams. I’m so thankful the sun came out and we all got to appreciate the great outdoors!

Super Bowl Sunday was a highlight of the weekend. I’m not super into football, but the food is usually what gets my attention. My parents picked up a family meal from Olive Garden so our Super Bowl food consisted of lasagna, salad, and breadsticks. There were chips to munch on and Costco bakery items for dessert. I made some Valentine themed sugar cookies and contributed them to the game day goodies. Jeremy and my dad watched the game in one room while the boys played video games in the other room. After halftime, I excused myself to head home for some quiet time. The sunset on my walk home was lovely and really the best part of the evening (or maybe it was a tie with the breadsticks).

Our Valentine’s day celebration on Monday was fairly simple. We got the boys special boxes with Hershey Kisses inside. We picked up Power-Up Packs for their LEGO Super Mario characters. The fire suit makes a little flower appear on Mario and Luigio. It was fun take on chocolates and flowers for our little Valentines. I made mini bundt cakes for dessert and Jeremy picked up a heartbreaker pizza from Papa Murphy’s. Cheese pizza from Papa Murphy’s is definitely our boys’ love language. We had a bottle of sparkling cider left over from the holidays and we enjoyed our meal by candlelight. Nothing too fancy, but lots of fun!

Between the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and a three-day weekend coming up, February is full of fun! After an unusually quiet month in January, February seems to be a step in the direction of good times and community. The pandemic has given me fresh insight into into how much fun the little celebrations can be. I don’t take the small things for granted quite as much. They bring so much joy to our daily life!

The very best kind of frozen pizza! And the fact that it’s heart shaped makes it even better!
Fun with dry ice and dish soap. When the bubbles popped it would release the steam from the dry ice. Super cool!
Park Time!
My little monkey
Valentine crafting
Valentine baking
Super Bowl Sunday Sunset
Flowers and chocolates for the boys!
All the Valentine vibes
Another day, another heart shaped pizza!
Dinner by candlelight! It wasn’t dark outside yet, but it was still fun.
 

Friends, Family, and Neighbors February 8, 2022

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 2:49 pm

For almost two years now, our lives have been scaled back, especially socially. Our circles are smaller these days. I sometimes grieve the “good old days” while simultaneously seeing the benefits of our current choices. This week was a good example of the blessing of community. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity. Even if our community is smaller, it is still good!

Friends: This weekend, I had lunch dates with both of my forever friends, Christa and Maggie! Words can’t adequately describe how life-giving these friendships are to me. The range of topics we cover in a lunch date is always fascinating. At some point, we might be near tears with the intensity of the conversation and then at other moments, we are laughing a bit too loudly (or at least, I am). Getting to see both of them in one weekend was amazing!

Family: Our families are such a source of support, friendship, and love in our lives. My parents will invite the boys down to play video games a few times a month. They often do this on Wednesdays (when Jeremy is at church), so I am completely alone for about an hour. As an introvert, that one hour of solitude fills my soul in a way very few things can.
This weekend, Jeremy’s parents offered the boys a spur of the moment sleepover. Not only did the boys have a great adventure, but Jeremy and I are were equally excited for uninterrupted time together. Jeremy was kind and drove me up to my lunch date in Tacoma on Saturday. Not only did we get to have that extra time together, but he also knows that I don’t love driving and he wanted to bless me. He is seriously the sweetest! (Side note: between the lunch dates and time with my hubby, I probably used two months worth of words in two days. So much talking, so much fun!)

Neighbors: Our friends moved in just down the road over the holidays. We visited them yesterday at their developing homestead and got the update on their building plans. When we drive by, we often comment on how things are progressing with their property. We are thrilled to have friends right down the road since we live in a rural setting (any visit to a friend’s house usually requires a 20+ minute drive). We were walking to the mailbox when these friends drove by the other week. It’s so nice to have a familiar face to smile and wave at! It’s a joy to welcome them to the neighborhood!

Our time at home has been and still is meaningful. So much of our life happens under this roof and it is a good life. Whether is homeschooling in the morning, eating together in the evening, or watching a show (currently the Olympics) in the hot tub before bed, our family has enjoyed this extra time together thanks to pandemic life. But equally, we love our people and we are thankful for our community. It’s a delight to do life alongside our friends, family, and neighbors!

Late night snuggles with an 8 year old who should have been asleep…
Owen likes to bring toys to the table if they fit with the lesson.
Meeting Nana & Papa’s new neighbor! Big cow!
Yes, we just had a playdate together, but… it’s been months since we had a mom lunch date!
Helping Grandpa with a project! At least Jeremy was… I’m not sure about the boys. I think they might have just gone over for treats.
 

Birthday Baking, Books, & Boosters February 1, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 5:48 pm

I had fun thinking of the alliterations I could use for this post. Like bestie birthday brownie baking, books, and boosters. That title felt a bit long, so I shortened it a smidge. I love a good alliteration, especially if it sums up my week so well.

The week has some highlights. One being a book swap with a friend. About once a month, we swap books from our home libraries. I love it! It’s fun to talk about the books we share as well as catch up on life. This time I was able to make the book swap while Jeremy watched our boys. It was such a special treat! Kid-free/mom-friend/book-time is amazing!

The other major highlight of the week was my forever friend, Maggie, came down with her kiddos for a birthday celebration. Maggie and I share a birthday month, so we played up celebrating us! I haven’t done a ton of baking this month, but I made up for it one day. I made chocolate chip cookies, a brownie cake, and brownies without frosting for our time together. Maggie and I have been friends since we were 16 and I love that we are still celebrating birthdays together at 36. Her friendship is such a gift! It’s also fun that our kiddos are becoming buddies. Maggie and I have sacrificed a bit our friend time to have more family outings over the last few months. While our conversation is often interrupted, it’s a joy to watch our kids play together. On this particular play date, the kids thought they saw an “X” in the yard, so they started to dig for treasure… by our septic! Luckily, I clued into their plan before anything degusting was unearthed! There were lots of giggles when I explained they wouldn’t be finding treasure in that certain spot in our yard.

Other than the book swap and the birthday play date, our week has been pretty low-key. Jeremy got his booster on Thursday and the side effects gave him an off and on fever all weekend. We all did our best to be quiet and keep a restful vibe around the house for Jeremy’s sake. On Friday, I took the boys on an errand to the library and to get Papa Murphy’s pizza. There is nothing quite like stocking up on pizza and letting it be at least 3+ meals over the weekend. As a special treat for being quiet, I got the boys Mini Murphs. They are take and make pizza kits with personal sized pizzas. The boys loved the experience of assembling their own pizzas and declared them the best pizza they’ve ever eaten. Owen now thinks he is qualified to work at Papa Murphy’s. He just might be right.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, all the extra time at home has created plenty of reading time. I’m loving my new Kindle Paperwhite. At one point this last month, I picked up a paperback with small font and immediately wished I could make the font bigger like on my Kindle. This is 36, folks. I’ve also had a lot of fun pre-ordering books. I have new releases arriving in February, April, and May. I need to find a new release to order in March so I can create my own book of the month vibe. In case you are wondering what books I’ve pre-ordered, here’s the list:

  • Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie – Release Date: February 15
  • I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist – Release Date: April 22
  • Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White – Release Date: May TBD

Okay, I should wrap this up. My hubby is home from work. We’re having orange chicken tonight in honor of Chinese New Year. No recipe to share here. It’s the boxed stuff from Costco. Tasty, though, and it’s a staple in our meal rotation. We’ll walk to the mailbox afterwards to get some fresh air and daily steps. Simple times, but good!

Fun fact: I put this birthday banner up for every birthday celebrated at our house (unless it’s the boys’ birthday party when I go with a themed one just for them). I’m a big fan of birthday dĂ©cor.
My version of a brownie cake! Happy Birthday Month!
Silly kids! Or should I say pirates!
Super excited to make their own pizzas!
I got up and someone stole my reading spot!!!
 

Marathon January 25, 2022

I probably shouldn’t use an athletic metaphor. I’m the least qualified human to talk about anything sports-y. I wasn’t sure if I would post this week. I didn’t have too much to say (which is never true, but sometimes it feels that way). This month has been fairly quiet and low-key in some ways ( household volume is not one to them). Processing this month brought a marathon to mind. I’m in the middle of one…. or a few depending on how you look at it. I wouldn’t know from experience, but I’m guessing the middle of a marathon looks a lot like putting one foot in front of the other and carrying on.

The first marathon we are in the middle of is homeschooling. Last week we wrapped up our 2nd quarter. We are officially halfway done with the school year! Woo hoo! Last year, the middle of the school year felt like a major milestone. Now in year two, the halfway point got a little less fanfare. It’s still a mile marker worth celebrating, though. We give money rewards for school quarters – as long as they go well. The boys used their dollars to buy LEGO Super Mario character packs. No shocker there. It’s their current obsession.

The glamour of homeschooling has worn off a bit in this second year. Last year felt magical and this year feels… average. I’m not sure how to describe it. Maybe the honeymoon phase is over. Homeschooling is still great with so many benefits. I love our daily routine. I enjoy being a part of my kids’ education. Teaching Graham to read has been harder than I expected. A did a very un-Amy-like thing and scrapped his reading program when we came back to school in January. We’re back to the basics and taking things slower. I think it’s helping. We are currently using BOB books and the corresponding workbook for our new reading program. Graham is super into books so we are reading together a lot as well. I’m hopeful we are building a good foundation for not only reading skills, but also a love of reading.

Owen schoolwork take a bit more time this year and that’s been an adjustment. He’s favorite subjects are still science and social studies. One of my greatest joys this year has been watching Owen fall in love with reading. Most days during quiet time, he will devour a short chapter book. I’m having a hard time keeping up with his need for reading material. It’s a good problem to have! With the help of our local library and Thrift Books, I’m doing my best to keep him excited about reading.

January has had a different vibe. The weekdays have been fairly quiet as we adjust to being back to school and having Jeremy back to work (he was on Sabbatical for the month of December). Getting back to routine has been good, but certainly not flashy. Lots of ordinary days around here. 3/5 weekends in January have been/will be dedicated to getting the COVID vaccine or booster. The boys got their second vaccines earlier in the month and we kept the weekend low-key just in case of side effects. This last week was my turn to get my booster. Thankfully, my reaction wasn’t was strong as the second shot, but I still developed a fever, body aches, and a headache that lasted the entire next day. Jeremy was kind and took the boys on a big errand adventure so I could rest in a quiet house. I might have been sensitive because of my headache, but it sure felt my family yelled everything that day instead of using their inside voices. The vaccine marathon wraps up this weekend with Jeremy getting his booster. Again, our weekend will be set aside for recovery in case it’s necessary. It’s not fun taking care of business like this, but I’m glad it’s almost behind us.

January has been a mix of getting back to routine, wild weather, and vaccines/boosters. My birthday and post-holiday book shopping has certainly been a bright spot in the month. Walking to the mailbox for a package of books, playing a family game after dinner, watching the Great British Baking Show in the hot tub at the end of the day – these are a few of the highlights of our quieter days. It might not make for thrilling writing material, but I’m in the midst of a marathon. I won’t judge the middle. I’ll just keep going. One foot in front of the other – hoping and praying that I’m heading in the right direction.

Labyrinth has become a family favorite! The boys used LEGO Super Mario characters for a more authentic experience.
Forgive my tired eyes, this was taken on booster day. Graham found me reading and went to grab his own book to read with me!
Weekends around the house are great for blanket forts
Relocated blanket fort
Reclaimed my living room by moving the forts to the bedrooms.
I love kid art!
My Thrift Books package arrived! Book Girl for the book lists, Wild Things for future reference, Just Between You and Me because it was a great price and buying it was the only way I could read it, A Name Unknown because I randomly own book three of this series so I hope to buy cheap copies of the other books to complete the set!
Learning about the tectonic plates with frosting and graham crackers. Science can be sweet!
 

A Very Bookish Birthday January 18, 2022

Friday was my 36th birthday! I love birthdays! I adore a day where I get to set the plan and pick all the places to eat. Mostly birthdays are about food for me, but this year, I had another theme – books! I’m definitely heading into 2022 and 36 with books on the brain. My birthday plans this year revolved around visiting bookstores in Portland, OR as well as stopping at a few other favorites like Target and Costco. I love a trip to the big city!

My first bookstore of choice was Powell’s City of Books on Burnside. The flagship store of the Powell’s empire is funky and fun. Jeremy helped the boys each pick a new book (their children’s department might be my favorite part of the store) as I wondered quietly through rows of books. If visiting one Powell’s wasn’t enough, I also visited their Cedar Hills location and the Amazon Bookstore. It was a really good day! To be cozy while reading, I updated my sweatshirt wardrobe and came away with a super cute reusable cup from Starbucks. It was a victorious and very Amy shopping day! So many favorite things!

To make our outing a bigger adventure, we opted to spend the night in the city. Our boys are always up for a hotel experience especially if there is a pool! We planned to take off the next morning for Camp 18 in Elsie for breakfast and a day at the beach. However, our beach plans changed due to a tsunami advisory. We still made it to breakfast at Camp 18, because we have priorities, and food is high on the list! Instead of heading to the beach, we ran some errands and took off for home earlier than expected. January has been wild! The first weekend had compact snow and ice still on the ground. The second weekend had flooding and now the third weekend had a tsunami advisory. Kind of makes me wonder what might happen next…

Our trip was sandwiched between family dinners with my parents and Jeremy’s parents. I feel very loved and celebrated! Like I said, food is a big deal for me when it comes to my birthday. I am always grateful when I don’t have to make dinner! The birthday menu (spread out over the weekend – it feels important to say that) included my favorite foods like pizza, orange chicken, mac and cheese, French toast and waffles. Chocolate, lemon, and red velvet cake were also consumed! Plus, a free birthday drink from Starbucks is always a treat!

I’ve also been book shopping online. I pre-ordered a new release from one of my favorite authors, Roseanna M. White. I also placed a Thrift Books order. I will admit that I’ve never been a fan of “used” items, but I’ve recently found a fondness for used books. First, they are cheaper. Books have gotten expensive and buying used gives me more bang for my buck. Also, I now like the look of an aged and well-worn book. Gives me cozy vibes! Thrift Books has quickly become a favorite for me. Not only do I get a great price on used books, but they have a reward system that allows me to earn free books. I’m all about free books!

Okay, indulge me one more bookish moment, I also reorganized my bookshelves yesterday. My system was loosely based on genre and it wasn’t working for me anymore. I decided to arrange alphabetically author. This was fairly simple with fiction because I have so many series’ in my collection. Non-fiction took a bit more work, but I like the finished project. I have room to grow my home library and a logical place for my future purchases. Also, I got rid of quite a bit of dust that was hiding behind all my books, so it was a fresh start in more than one way!

Now that all the big birthday celebrating is behind me, we are looking at a business-as-usual/have-to-be-a-grown-up type week. A three day school week means the workload is heavier and we have to focus more. I have my COVID booster coming up on Thursday. Nothing like heading into the weekend with the potential of feeling crummy. I’m optimistic the good book vibes and leftover birthday cake will carry me through!

My mom is so sweet! She orders me this chocolate cake from Safeway each year and it’s become a birthday tradition. A yummy tradition!
Watching for the streetcar in downtown Portland
Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s Books at Cider Hills Crossing
Thankful for this man! He made my birthday/bookstore dreams come true!
My book haul from Powell’s
Pool time! I’m not a water bug, but after my time in the hot tub, I love watching these guys play!
Enjoying a birthday bundlet!
We love family adventures!
Camp 18 is always an experience!
These are a few of my favorite things! Books from Powell’s, journals and two sweatshirts from Costco, cup and two sweatshirts from Target!
Reading his new Magic Tree house book from Powell’s
Graham was very excited to take his new Christmas game over to Nana & Papa’s. He aske me to take this picture.
Celebrating at Nana & Papa’s House
Graham thought I was making an obstacle course for him with books!