Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Happy May Day! May 1, 2021

Welcome to May! I knew it was coming, but it still gave a little shock when I realized it was May 1st today. The month of April went by in a blink. I was looking back over pictures from this last month and it was humorous to see how our chicks dominated the monthly documentation. Yesterday, the boys helped Jeremy built a new chicken coop so that our chicks could move to roomier accommodations. Our kiddos have loved checking in on the chicks throughout the day. Owen is always ready to hold one. Graham has been brave and petted a few. Our chicks are looking more like chickens each week. Their feathers are coming in and they are growing. It’s amazing how quick the chick phase goes by.

I’m happy to report that I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine this week. Everyone I’ve talked with has responded so differently to the vaccine. I was nervous to see what side effects I would have. The biggest side effect for me was a sore arm. I didn’t expect it to hurt quite so much. In fact, I’m still waiting for my arm to feel normal, but it’s only been two days… so hopefully that is right around the corner. While I have felt a little “off”, like my body is processing something, I haven’t felt as bad as I expected. I hear round two is what really gets you. Despite the discomfort and continued nerves over the second dose, I am thankful that process is underway. With how quickly time flies, I know this will be behind me soon enough.

What’s on the horizon for May? New floors and wrapping up school are the two main things. I’m planning a little celebration for the end of the school year. I had fun ordering some party supplies. I’m also organizing the loose school papers into notebooks for easy storage. With Owen’s schoolwork, it’s recommended that we keep all his work for two years as proper documentation. Owen keeps pulling out this books and looking over all he has accomplished this year. I can tell he is proud of his hard work. It’s a satisfying feeling to be near the end and know that a celebration is right around the corner. The only thing that has me slightly concerned is our house will be torn a part and a construction zone when our floors are replaced. This will happen in our final weeks of school. It won’t derail us, but it will certainly be something we have to work around. Never a dull moment here, that’s for sure!

I thought the kids would like a soccer ball after playing with one last weekend. Turns out the box is more fun.
For MOPS & MOMSnext on Monday, we assembled fruit and yogurt parfaits and talked about the Enneagram. I was in my happy place! Also, I should have picked a bigger jar for my treat.
I have a baking buddy who has been posting recipes monthly in our MOPS & MOMSnext group. April’s recipe was a citrus berry shortcake. So yummy!
Endless chicken adoration
This week my hubby and I attended an online conference. We worked our homeschool/work schedules around it. The week was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. Also, watching a conference with kids at home was… distracting. I am thankful for technology that allowed us to participate from home.
Dose one done!
The upgraded chicken coop!
May Day Flowers from my mama! She’s the sweetest!
 

The Home Stretch April 25, 2021

It feels like my life is in the “home stretch” on lots of levels right now! In the next month and a half, there is a lot to look forward to! I can feel that change is right around the corner. I’m deeply excited for these upcoming changes, but I’m also trying to stay in the moment and wait patiently. Honestly, to distract myself, I’ve been flying through novels this month. My next post will be all about the books that got me through this season of waiting. April has been a good book month.

What is right around the corner you might wonder? Well, first, we should have our floor replaced for (Lord willing) the final time either the 2nd or 3rd week in May. If you remember at the end of February we accepted and selected an upgrade. We are hopeful this upgraded product will hold up better and this will be the final fix! I can’t wait to see this new floor in place. I’m cautiously optimistic!

We will be wrapping up our 36th week of school on May 20th. I hope to have a small celebration for the boys to mark this accomplishment. Since Graham won’t get the same preschool graduation experience that Owen did, I ordered him a little cap and gown. I plan to do a little photoshoot with him to capture the memories. We’ve all accomplished so much this year and I’m proud of us – myself included. Learning a new role as homeschool mom had me nervous, but I’ve found a good groove and I’m enjoying it. It’s crazy to think we have just a few more weeks to go!

My ministry opportunities are about to shift as well. MOPS & MOMSnext will wrap up in the middle of June. I’m working hard to finish the year strong. Ending well is important to me. I am excited for all we have planned for our final meetings. I’ve been facilitating a Mastermind group that meets via Zoom monthly. I check-in with a small group of women ministers about life and ministry. This commitment will wrap up at the end of May. Our church gatherings plan to move outdoors in June. I’ve been watching church online and this move outdoors will be a good step forward. It feels like the right time to reconnect with my church family in-person.

The last thing is kind of big deal for me. I’m in the home stretch of waiting for my COVID vaccination. I have an appointment this week to get my first shot. My second shot (and the two week waiting period for the full efficacy) will be just in time for my return to church and hopefully the start of a somewhat-more-normal summer experience. I realize that the pandemic isn’t over and that precautions will still be necessary, but I looking forward to a little more peace of mind and a taking a step in the right direction.

I’m in the home stretch! Change is right around the corner! Until then… you’ll find me reading novels and passing the time as best I can with my little family.

The blossoms on this tree stopped me in my tracks this week. So pretty!!
Introducing the boys to minions with a special movie matinee at Grandpa & Grandma’s house. My space geeks loved the plan to steal the moon.
We’re not super sportsy, but I think we might have to invest in a soccer ball. The boys had a blast kicking the ball around my friend’s neighborhood while we took a walk.
This same neighborhood had a perfect spot to watch trains. My kids were in heaven.
Owen got pooped on to get this picture, but I’m sure he thought it was worth it. All 5 chicks sitting on him! He declared himself the Chicken King!
 

Realignment April 15, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Bible,Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 11:32 am

I was talking with a friend this weekend – catching up on life. She asked me for an update on my life. As I started to share, I felt frustration and disappointment rising within me. The conversation felt like Groundhog’s Day. This wasn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation. The big things in my heart and in my life are same things that have unfolded throughout this last year. I had some new news, but mostly just the same old, same old. It was discouraging. Not that I want new challenges to replace my current ones… It would just be nice to not feel like a broken record when asked how I am doing.

I’d been mulling on the discontent that followed my conversation. When something weighs heavy on my heart I take it to the Lord in prayer. I journal about it. I talk about with my people. I try to process what I’m feeling and get to the heart of the matter. After doing some reading on “feelings” this year, I’m trying my best to acknowledge them, feel them, but also realize that feelings are not the standard of truth. God is good and he quickly brought words to my heart to encourage me.

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4

It was very clear as I was reading this verse that I can get so focused on the big picture and looking ahead to the future that I forget to pay attention to the work right in front of me. I want to give my best effort and energy to my right-now life. I want to focus on my family, homeschooling, keeping house, making meals, taking care of my health (physical, mental, spiritual). I have a good work right in front of me. It’s a simple truth. It’s one I’ve championed before. But the comparison trap is real. I often process what I’m called to do in light what others are doing. Contentment comes with gratitude, not comparison. I want to be thankful for the here and now. I want to do my work well and find satisfaction in a job well done. I want to let go of comparison.

The next form of encouragement came from good, old Instagram where I follow many Enneagram accounts. One account specifically for Type Ones shared this: Dear Little One, enjoy your life for how it is right now, not for what you wish it could be (@menneagram). I left my conversation with my friend wondering when the things that I’ve been discussing for what feels like forever will be over. When will this conversation not be the main conversation of my life? When can I move on? All that processing led me to ponder what’s next. What could life look when things change? I read this post the same day I read the verse in Galatians. They fit so perfectly together. I can daydream about life after COVID or after fill-in-the-blank challenge. It’s good to have a vision for the future. I am looking forward to so. many. things. But… looking forward to the future can’t come at the expense of today. Wishing life could be different doesn’t help me thrive in my current, daily, right-here life. I can tuck dreams and visions for the future away in the corner of my heart knowing someday I can pull them out and work toward making them a reality, but for now, for the sake of contentment, I choose to live in the moment.

This seems like an ongoing lesson in my life. One that I grasp for a while and then loose my grip on. I will probably continue to wrestle with contentment and focus until I am old and gray. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, though. I won’t give up. This week felt like a realignment of my thought life. A chance to acknowledge the hard, but also to embrace the good. A chance to dream for the future, but also to love today.

We now have 5 chicks! One last baby decided to hatch and join us a few days later than the rest.
This kid loves his chickens!
Pandemic Homeschooling! We stay home. I could have died laughing when I saw that answer!
Creating animal habitats for school
Completing my L.M. Montgomery library! I used Thiftbooks.com to get the last 6 books in my collection. Not only was the price great, but I wanted the cover art to be what I remember seeing as kid.
 

Easter, Chicks, and Anniversaries April 6, 2021

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 12:10 pm

The last week has been packed full of good things. Easter is always a busy season for our family. While this Easter wasn’t 100% back to business-as-usual, this Easter season felt like a step closer to normal. Instead of throwing two huge Easter egg hunts at our church, we offered a drive-thru event where families could pick up Easter baskets filled with candy and treats for their kids. The boys and I volunteered to hand out baskets to help Jeremy with this big event. It’s always a joy to watch my boys serve our community and give to other children. Many familiar faces drove through the line and I loved getting to say a quick hello to people I don’t get to see often. It was a beautiful day which also made being outside delightful. It was a different Easter event, but it was good to do something and bless our community.

Jeremy worked on Easter Sunday morning. I’m still watching church online so the boys and I did our church from home. Instead of hopping from family gathering to family gathering like years past, the boys and I said a quick hello to my parents after church. Once Jeremy got home from work, we opened Easter gifts and then went over to his parent’s house for an egg hunt with the cousins. It was great that the weather allowed for us to have an outdoor gathering. We missed seeing our extended family, but seeing some family, even for a short time, gave us a feeling of moving toward normal. The big highlight of Easter weekend is the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We love baskets, bunnies, and chocolate, but we are always aware that Easter is a celebration of so much more. This is celebration is so deep and personal. I love the meaningful moment of talking about God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice. As a mom, these conversations with the my kiddos are a time that I treasure.

We had some excitement on Easter Sunday beside the holiday. Our second round of incubator eggs started to hatch. Our first round was a flop, but round two came through for us! When we were putting on our shoes to say hi to my parents, the boys noticed that two eggs had cracks. We were ecstatic! When we arrived home from our egg hunt, we had found one chick waiting for us in the incubator. Before Jeremy and I went to bed later that evening we heard more peeping from the incubator. We discovered chick number two made it’s arrival as well. We only had two hatch at this point and we think that is probably all we will get from this batch. We’re letting the incubator run for a few more days, just to be sure. While picking up some chick supplies yesterday morning, Jeremy also got two more chicks from the farm store. Our chick total is now at 4. We are hopeful that these chicks will be hens so we can add them to our flock. Any roosters will will given to our local chicken auction down the road. It’s fun having chicks again!

It’s also been a week of anniversaries! Last Wednesday was the 3rd anniversary of us moving into this home. I celebrate “house-iversaries” as I call them. Building this house was such a long, hard process that I feel like throwing a party every year when the anniversary arrives. This home as been such a blessing for our family. I had no clue when moved here that we would spend so. much. time. here. More than ever, I am thankful for this safe place to raise our family. It’s been a wonderful three years here on the hill. So many good memories have been made here. I look forward to hopefully many more years celebrating life in this house.

Today is also my blogging anniversary! It’s been a decade of Amy Scott’s Thoughts. This blog has looked different throughout the seasons of my life. It might not be famous or well-read, but it’s my place. My small corner in the world where I can be real and honest. Sharing my life in this space as been good therapy and lots of fun. Thank you to all my readers! I’ve loved my blogging journey so far and I look forward to many more decades of writing ahead of me! Happy blog-iversary!

In case you were wondering, 2000 Easter baskets fills a gym! Thankful for all the volunteers who helped assemble these baskets and handed them out to the community. Team effort!
Cavity free club!
Cavity free club!
Happy House-iversary! My happy place!
Learning about bioluminescence in science
Egg Coloring
April’s Cookies of the Month: bunnies and eggs! I love how the dipped buttercream was fast, easy, and looks so neat!
Volunteering at Easter Eggstravaganza To Go
Egg hunt around the house
Using Resurrection Eggs to tell the Easter story
Hoppy Easter!
An egg-citing discovery!
Success! We hatched chicks!
Growing our little flock
 

Spring Break Birthday Vacation March 28, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 6:21 pm

We got away for a few days to celebrate Jeremy’s 40th birthday. Since we’re not taking a full week off for Spring Break, we decided this mini-vacation would act as our Spring Break. Celebrating Jeremy’s birthday throughout the trip also made it extra special. Last year, Jeremy’s birthday was the first day of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order in Washington State. We celebrated with just our little family of four. I remember being so glad that was his 39th birthday and not his 40th. Turning 40 is meant to be extra special. While we didn’t opt for a big party this year, I am thankful that we were able to eat out, travel, and celebrate with our family this year.

Earlier in the week, we had dinner with my parents to celebrate Jeremy. It was fun to put up the birthday banner and use the coordinating plates and napkins. I believe in throwing birthday parties for adults just the same as for kids – with coordinated paper tableware and décor. Jeremy requested an apple pie as his birthday dessert. I was happy to have a chance to bake something for him since we would traveling on his actual birthday.

For the official birthday, we celebrated at Top Golf in the morning. All of my guys adore Top Golf. We played their new Angry Birds game and I enjoyed it. You don’t have to get the ball into any holes. You just shoot in the general direction of the field which works well for me. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at The Cheesecake Factory after golfing. We did some shopping and then let the boys play at a local park. Jeremy decided that he wanted dessert before dinner so we got Salt & Straw ice cream after the park. Jeremy and I joked that our plans for this trip mostly revolved around where we planned to eat. We filled in the other activities around our eating destinations. We checked in our hotel and ran to pick up a new board game to end the evening. We introduced the boys to Mouse Trap and it was a huge hit! We also got a late dinner at Chick-fil-a because we super full from the ice cream.

The next day we took off for the beach. We stopped at Camp 18 for breakfast. Graham enjoyed a cinnamon roll the size of his head (possibly bigger). Jeremy and I did help him some, but for a tiny kid, Graham did some serious work on that cinnamon roll. We walked on Cannon Beach that morning. According to my phone, it was only 39 degrees outside – overcast, windy, cold. The temperature did not stop the kids from getting soaked in the ocean. I didn’t see that coming! I thought for sure we would just “walk” the beach, but apparently the beach is meant for water play. We got cleaned up and did a little shopping in Seaside before heading to Fort Stevens. I love visiting the forts in this area. I have childhood memories of running all around them. It’s cool to explore the abandoned concrete structures. They are super fun for making echoes. We spent some time at the jetty watching the waves before checking into our hotel in Astoria. We stayed right on the Columbia River where you could see the big ships anchored off shore. When you opened the door to our balcony, you could hear a chorus of sea lions barking on the docks below. Dinner at Mo’s was super tasty and a must every time we head to the coast.

Our final day started with breakfast at Pig’N’Pancake – another Oregon Coast family favorite. We crossed the big bridge in Astoria and spent the morning at Cape Disappointment and Fort Columbia. As the morning wrapped up, we made our way back toward home. We planned a small park gathering with Jeremy’s family in Kalama. This riverfront park features trains beside it, covered shelters with picnic tables, and a nice playground. We brought our new bat and ball out and Jeremy’s brothers brought some frisbees. The weather was beautiful and it was nice to enjoy some outdoor time with family. We haven’t gathered in months, so it felt extra special. The cousins ran amok and had a blast which always makes my heart so happy. We took off for the final stretch to home completely spent of all our energy, but super happy.

Today has been a catch up on mounds of laundry kind of day. It was good to get away for a few days, but it’s equally nice to come home. I actually enjoy unpacking and getting all our items back into their places. We are now in prep mode for Easter. Jeremy has a big Easter event next Saturday. I’ve started filling Easter eggs for our family egg hunt. The Easter basket items are tucked away for safe-keeping. Easter window clings and an egg coloring kit have been purchased. Now to buy white eggs because we learned last year that the brown eggs from our chickens don’t color as well. It’s the one time of year we have to buy eggs. I love picking Easter shirts for the boys and taking pictures with their bunny ears. Even though this Easter won’t be completely back to normal this year, I am still looking forward to celebrating it. Easter is always worth celebrating. No matter how big or small the celebration, Easter is always a BIG deal. More than ever, I am thankful for a Redeemer as I look around this broken world. I am thankful that not only am I redeemed, but this planet and this mess will be redeemed someday, too. Definitely something to celebrate!

Spa Day was a big hit this last week for my MOPS & MOMSnext group!
Birthday Apple Pie!
Level 40 Complete!
The special birthday activity!
Ice cream before dinner? Yes! Especially on your birthday!
Graham’s dream come true! A huge cinnamon roll for breakfast!
Apparently it’s never too cold to play in the ocean.
Watching the waves – a favorite pastime of the Scott men.
Different Day. More wave watching.
I’m watching the wave watchers
Exploring Fort Columbia for the first time!
Wide open spaces and cousins at play! The perfect way to end a great trip.
 

Hello Spring! March 21, 2021

Spring arrived yesterday with off-and-on showers. Seems about right for the PNW. Our sunshine streak ended and we are in are another showery stretch. We have plenty to do tucked away indoors. This last week the boys completed their 3rd quarter of school. We are in the home stretch for this school year. I’m proud of my kiddos. They’ve made homeschooling a joy. This last week also marked one year of homeschooling for us. When school closed last March, I immediately created a plan for school at home. I’m also the “summer school” kind of mom. We worked through the summer with a lighter load. I already have our summer school plans drafted. When we wrap up school in May, we will actually be shifting directions to a lighter summer schedule. Don’t worry. We will have plenty of fun this summer! I love when the weather changes and education can move outdoors! From hiking to day trips to backyard play, there is so much to see and do. All of life is an education and outside is one of the best classrooms.

Here are a few highlights from our week. On Monday, we made leprechaun traps. Owen made these last year in kindergarten and he wanted to make them again. Graham also wanted to get on the fun. We spent the first half of the week being shocked when the traps were set off but surprisingly no leprechauns were caught. On St. Patrick’s Day, the leprechaun made a mess on our kitchen counter and then disappeared. We purchased silly glasses at Target and took some picture wearing them. We talked about St. Patrick and how the holiday is about more than leprechauns and luck.

Tuesday, my husband had an out of town day trip for work. He asked to take Graham with him. Owen has gone on plenty of adventures while Graham has stayed home. It was time for Graham to have a special outing. Owen and I did school in the morning. We ran a MOPS errand and then we got lunch at Arby’s together. Curly fries are my kiddos new favorite fast food treat. Arby’s has mac and cheese on their menu, so I got behind this decision quickly. We came home after driving to look for trains and played Crazy Eights. It was special to spend one-on-one time with my oldest kiddo. I tried to savor and make the most of our day together.

Over the course of the last week, I assembled Spa Day gift bags for the ladies in my MOPS & MOMSnext group. The bags were ready for pick-up/delivery on Wednesday and Thursday. I had a few ladies opt to pick-up from my house. When each mom arrived, I put on my mask and chatted on the front porch for a few minutes. It’s always a treat to see ladies I usually see online in-person. Our Spa Day is tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to doing a face mask and looking silly with our group. Being online isn’t always the easiest way to meet. This year has challenged me to make the most our limitations. I think Spa Day is going to be fun!

My husband was able to get his first COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. It was a bit unexpected, but he took the opportunity. I’ve been watching him all weekend like he is a science experiment. He was tired the next day so we canceled our plans and stayed home. It’s a good thing NCAA basketball is on and filled the time. Our whole family made brackets this year, even the boys. My bracket is so messed up at this point. This is not my year for correct picks. The kids get are super into it and that’s been fun to watch.

This spring feels like a transition season. Since I’m not eligible for the vaccine until most likely May, I’m still in the waiting game. I am hopeful that current predictions will pan out. I want to believe that by summer things will improve. I am okay waiting because I am optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently my internal motto has changed to “this won’t last forever.” I am hopeful that these strange days won’t last forever and that change is maybe just a season away!

Cookies of the Month for March. A nod to St. Patrick’s Day and Spring. Flowers are so hard! My icing was too soft and some of the cookies I didn’t photograph because they didn’t turn out like I had hoped. What I love about trying something new each month is I’m inspired to keep practicing. I don’t expect to be a pro on my first try. This is a good lesson to keep learning!
Trap #1
Trap #2
Owen & Mommy Day
The contents of our MOPS & MOMSnext Spa Day gift bags! I love how they turned out and I hope our mamas are encouraged by them!
A fun St. Patrick’s Day with the Scott crew!
 

Springing Forward March 12, 2021

This coming weekend is my least favorite weekend of the year. I always dread springing forward. In my humble opinion, daylight savings needs to be abolished. I didn’t like before having kids, but now I dislike it even more as it messes up our family rhythm. On the bright side, we are a homeschooling family completely untethered from the real world (well, expect for my hubby, Jeremy). My hope is we can gradually adjust this year. We shall see.

This week felt like springing forward in other ways. Some of our family members have started to get their vaccines. My mom said getting her vaccine is a good way to spring forward. I am hopeful that I can see these relatives in the future without the worry of what if I put them in the hospital. The entire state of Washington is moving into Phase 3. I don’t know 100% what that means yet, but it does mean a move up to 50% capacity for most (if not all?) industries. I’m curious what phase 3 will allow for social gatherings. More information should be coming this next week. This move to Phase 3 feels like a spring forward.

One big spring forward for our family this week was we bought a new to us vehicle. We were going to start vehicle shopping at the beginning of 2020, but then life got in the way (thank you, Rona). We started our search again this summer, but it just didn’t pan out. Then suddenly this week the right vehicle at the right price with the right mileage came up. Since vehicles sell fast, we were on it quick. The downside of this adventure was I had to drive our minivan home through Seattle during rush hour traffic. I’ve never driven through Seattle by myself and honestly, my driving experience is super limited right now. I was a little concerned, but I survived. The upside of driving home was my boys wanted to ride with Jeremy in the new vehicle. I had plenty of alone time to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack.

The weather feels like it’s springing forward, too. It’s been a lovely week. I’ve been able to walk outside in the sunshine and fresh air. The boys have jumped on the trampoline, played on the swing set, and captured frogs in the ditch along our driveway. My hubby mowed today. The windows are open as I type this! Today for dinner, we ate outside and barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs. The weather and these happy days around the house are so life-giving.

Change is always right around the corner. The narrative in my head is often “what is happening next?” and “what does this mean for our family?” Lots of processing, wondering, and daydreaming. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am cautiously optimistic when I see forward motion. Especially in light of the one year anniversary of the pandemic, it’s good to see progress. It’s good to know that we’re moving forward. Even if it’s inches, it’s movement. I’ll take it and celebrate!

Since it was a little too wet outside to make a nest with natural materials, we used blankets and pillows instead. Science is fun!
Only 15 months in the making! So excited to have a reliable second vehicle!
This week’s special art project was tin foil sculptures
Creepy or cool? I can’t decide.
First meal on the back deck!
 

This Time Last Year March 7, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 6:37 pm

This is the last week that I can think “This time last year the world was normal.” Well, it wasn’t normal. Things started to unravel fast this time last year. On March 9th, I had MOPS & MOMSnext in-person. We had a blindfold taste test that night that involved having all the volunteers sanitize heavily before feeding their teammate. I had a friend over for coffee on the morning of March 12th while my boys were at school. On Friday the 13th (seems fitting), my son’s elementary school closed for what we expected to be six weeks. I was at church when the announcement was made – I was working at my first and so far only wedding as facility coordinator. The wedding was expected to be quite large and was cut down in size due to restrictions (coming into play for the first time). Homeschooling become my new job. Making memories at home became my top priority. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought “Is this real?” over the last year. It seems like a sci-fi movie.  When I pictured my children’s childhood memories, I never thought they would include a pandemic.  Remember when we thought this would only be six weeks? A whole year later, my world is still incredibly small. I’m still waiting for normal.

I will admit to weariness. I will admit that it was and still is an adjustment. Some moments have been harder than others. I’ve been scared, worried, concerned, unsure, unsettled, upset.  There has also been goodness in the changes to our lifestyle. Turns out, I like homeschooling and I’m pretty sure my kids do too (or so they say). Turns out, running amok around our yard is just as good as playing on a playground. Turns out, my boys are best friends and have bonded in an incredible way. Turns out, my hubby is a master project pro. Turns out, I had plenty of time to read, bake, and appreciate the roof over our heads.

I never thought we would be where we are. This year has been a shake-up. It has changed everything. I’ve learned to appreciate a smaller, quieter world. I’ve learned to not scroll on social media. I’ve learned to follow my conscience and my gut (and pray a lot). I feel the weight of my kids watching me. They have a front row seat to “How Mom Handles A Pandemic.” Showing up for my life these days involves getting 10,000 steps, playing board games, it looks like sitting at the dining room table watching a math problem be solved, or listening to fast facts about Jupiter’s moons. Showing up for my life looks like reading good books, baking yummy treats, and watching TV with my hubby. We’re daydreaming about summer camping trips and putting the pool up in the yard. The good things in life are still good. The hard things in life are still hard. It ebbs and flows. While every day isn’t sunny, there are rainbows to be found after the downpour. The sun doesn’t stay hidden forever. Four seasons have come and gone since the world went crazy. But every season that passes reminds me another is coming. There is hope in the midst of it all. I’m clinging to that hope and believing for better days head.

Some of my favorite moments happen around our dining room table. I love watching these kids be creative!
Getting outside whenever we can!
Graham and I did a baking challenge with my MOPS group. Our brownies didn’t turn out like expected, but they tasted pretty good. Quarantine baking is still alive and well here.
Sometimes self-care looks like clearing the DVR and eating chocolate. At least it looked like that today.
My kids (and husband) may have thrown on their coats and boots to chase this rainbow because it looked like it ended in my parent’s yard. Why not? It’s a good day to chase a rainbow.
 

Vulnerability, Flooring, and Space Sheets! What a week! March 1, 2021

Last week was the kind of week where if you looked at my calendar, you wouldn’t have thought it was a challenging week. It was the kind of week where under the surface, I was brimming with stress, anxiety, and tension. Part of working through my big feelings was being honest about them and talking about them. It wasn’t easy. It was actually exhausting, but I came out the other side of those conversations better for having them. After every conversation that felt heavy, I received messages from friends saying they were glad I spoke up. As an overthinker, these words of affirmation after a difficult conversation are so life-giving to me. Vulnerability is scary, but this week it paid off for me.

It’s funny how a week can be quiet and busy at the same time. Last week, I had multiple Zoom calls. Those always take a certain level of energy. Two of them I led which takes an extra level of energy. I am the first to admit that I don’t love Zoom, but I am grateful for what I am able to accomplish through this platform. I can be a part of meetings and have relationships that I wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. This week I also got to see a few friends at a distance. Seeing faces that I haven’t seen in many months, even just for a few minutes, made my heart happy. One more fun element to February, two of our MOPS mamas had new babies. Over the last two Fridays, I’ve been able to door drop meals to these families. Giving a meal to a new mama is one of my favorite ways to show love!

On Thursday, we drove up to Olympia to pick a new flooring option for our home. If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know that we have an ongoing issue with our floor. The product itself keeps breaking, no matter the number of “fixes” performed on it. We’ve finally been offered an upgraded product and we are optimistic this could be the final solution. We found an option that matches the coloring of our current floor fairly well. I know that tearing up the floor (again) will be inconvenient, but I am hopeful this could be the last time. I’ll keep you posted when the big replacement is set to happen!

We had a fun family day and did some shopping this weekend. We purchased new sheets for the boys. They both decided on space sheets and it felt like a small sacrifice for me. When we first moved into this house almost three years ago, the rooms had themes and color schemes. While those themes are mostly still intact, a whole lot of other items have moved into their rooms as well. I might enjoy the bedrooms looking like a magazine spread, but I’m slowly relinquishing control and letting the spaces be more theirs. This means hand-drawn art and posters on the walls, crafts on display, paper lanterns and homemade mobiles hanging from the ceiling. The outer space sheets don’t fit the themes (Owen: transportation/travel, Graham: outdoor/nature), but it’s okay. It’s their room, their beds. They are happy. I’ve read in parenting books about giving kids control of their rooms. I know this will be hard for me. Currently the boys are good at putting their items away in the proper place. New skills to learn in the future will be making their beds and putting their laundry away. I am a firm believer in treating “stuff” with respect, so hopefully this principle will transfer. Maybe giving them full control in the future won’t be as painful as I expect. And if it is… well… we can always keep the doors shut.

This morning, I had a mountain of laundry on my bed. It seemed like a good visual representation for my day. It seemed like a mountain to climb with lots to do. However, now that I’ve had a few productive hours and I can see my to-do growing smaller, I’m starting to breathe a bit easier. For one thing, the pile of laundry has been tackled. Sometimes I get so stressed by the big picture – chores to do, posts to make, meetings to run, homeschool, a trip to the dentist – that I forget that over time these things are manageable. My stress level comes down when I see what I need to accomplish in the next hour verses an entire day or week. I’m working hard to tackle my to-do list this morning so the boys’ quiet time this afternoon can be my quiet time as well. Rest settles my soul and brings peace. It’s a priority on the to-do list as well!

Our MOPS & MOMSnext craft last week. 40 random ideas for the boys to do.
Grandma delivered this cool craft. The boys loved it!
A friend surprised me by delivering this frosting set to my house last week. It was so thoughtful of her. I felt so loved!
Loving the new space sheets!
Thankful that my favorite Girl Scout (well, actually, her mom) delivers!
Graham’s outfit of the day: dinosaur rashguard and dinosaur pajamas. I let my kids pick their outfits each morning. As long as it’s clean clothes, anything goes. One of the perks of being homeschooled and going no where!
We traced Graham’s shadow for a self-portrait for school today. Looks just like him, right? This kid cracks me. The bumps under his smile aren’t teeth like you might expect. According to Graham, it’s his beard! Oh my!
 

Cautious Thoughts February 22, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 3:16 pm

I wasn’t sure if I wanted this to be a blog post, so I did something that I don’t normally do. I started this as a Word document on my computer. I knew that I needed to write. My brain is overactive, always processing, and mulling. It can be exhausting to keep up with the thoughts inside my head. At this point, I have the feeling of a balloon about to pop. I turn to writing as a way to clear my head. Sometimes the world makes more sense after I have written my thoughts down. Sometimes it just helps to acknowledge my thoughts even without resolution. This is where I find myself today.

We are coming up on one year of pandemic life. I am experiencing a fresh wave of exhaustion and fatigue. At the beginning of this month, our area went to “phase two” of our recovery plan. This means that we can see another household for social gatherings. At first I was excited for the prospect of a play date or a dinner with friends. After such a quiet season, I thought I was ready to shake things up and see people again. Because our family is trying to keep our social interactions limited, we’ve been operating mostly in response mode to social gatherings. We aren’t creating or seeking out opportunities, we are responding to them as they come our way. Eventually the first “ask” came. Would we be open to a family dinner with friends? You would think that would be an easy yes, but it wasn’t.

There are so many factors that play into saying yes to a social gathering. After all the processing, we said yes, but I’ll be honest, I was a nervous wreck over the decision. Following the guidelines and being mindful of the rules doesn’t protect my family from risk. This isn’t a new development, but after four ultra-cautious months, I felt this truth acutely. I prayed continually before the dinner and I’m still praying after that there would be no negative consequences.

We all have different opinions on the rules. I respect the differences. At the end of the day, I am only accountable for my own actions. I often feel like I am the most cautious person I know and this has left me in a lonely place. I am not cautious because I am fearful. I understand that my immediate family isn’t high-risk when it comes to surviving the virus. I am cautious because I am trying to be considerate of others. I don’t want to be the reason someone gets sick especially those who are at risk.

Lord willing, the virus will run its course and herd immunity will be reached. The need for rules and regulations will lax and we will have more freedom in making personal choices like how many people we see in a week, if we wear a mask, etc. We are not there yet, but I’m already sensing the struggle it will be to re-enter the world. Some people will race back to “normal” life. They will dive head first into waters of normalcy. I have a suspicion that for me returning to normal will look like dipping my toe in and then maybe wading in to my ankles, my knees, and my waist. Will I ever feel comfortable going all the way in? I don’t know and that feeling of uncertainty is unsettling.

Living with all the unknowns and the loneliness of being cautious feels like a heavy weight today. I know that “this too shall pass.” I will pray through the discomfort and the tension. I sincerely don’t know how I would survive without my faith. I don’t have to have all the answers. I can trust. I can believe. I can hope. I can pray. God is in this and I will hold on to Him. And to wrap this up, here are a few pictures from our mostly quiet week at home!

ROAR! After school on Tuesday, we built LEGO dinosaurs.
We were shocked to find a wooly worm crawling over the snow.
We got a new haul of books this week. The joke books are getting the most use out of the bunch!
Graham and I are home on Sunday mornings. We watch online church and make mac & cheese. It’s been our Sunday tradition for a few months now.
Baking is my one of my coping skills. I love playing with frosting. While I don’t usually love my creations because I’m a perfectionist, I am enjoying the process and learning from each experience!
Vision is protecting the inky-bator. In less than a week, we should discover if we have baby chicks or just really slow cooked eggs.