Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

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 d├ęcor.
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!
 

Thoughts on Reading in 2022 January 11, 2022

Merry Bookmas! Such a happy sight!

The start of 2022 has mostly been spent at home. Last week was set at a slower pace so we could get back into the school routine. Our weekend plans were slightly altered by local flooding. My childhood home was flooded in 1996 and though I live on a hill now, flooding raises my anxiety level and stirs uncertainty. My appointment to get my COVID booster was rescheduled because the pharmacy was closed due to flooding nearby. Our boys were able to get their second vaccine dose over the weekend as the area reopened. We went into a very empty Safeway afterwards to find celebration donuts. Even though the shelves were almost bare, there were donuts in the case. Praise the Lord!

The major highlight of this last week for me was packages arriving filled with books and book-related things! I used Christmas cash to invest in a Kindle Paperwhite, an assortment of books, and two journals. One journal is a reading journal. I’ve kept lists of what I’ve read yearly, but I’ve never journaled about my reading. I am looking forward to using this journal as a companion to my reading year. It has space to document 100 books and I’ve decided 100 books will be my reading goal for 2022.

I’ve been thinking about my reading life – what it’s looked like and what I want it to look like. In 2020 and 2021, I read more books than I ever expected. To expand beyond my limited home library, I’ve taken to following the recommendations of others. This habit of asking around has led me to many books that I loved and some I didn’t. I wish that books came with ratings like movies. If a book has too much language, violence, darkness, or sex, it makes me uncomfortable. I had a light bulb moment as I was reading in my new book journal (My Reading Life: A Book Journal by Anne Bogel). Anne suggested that you search for content warnings online before starting a new book. I can’t believe this didn’t occur to me before! I hope to be a more informed reader in 2022. Not to focus on the negative, I read many great books I loved with no reservation. I also don’t share this as judgement of those who might hold different reading tastes than my own. I’ll still be asking for recommendations. I’ll just do more research in advance of placing a library hold.

I mentioned in my last post, I plan to change how I blog about reading. Instead of sharing a short paragraph about each book I read in a month, I’ll change to a list with a star-rating. I’ve started using my Goodreads account again and I plan to use their star-rating system. I have so. many. words. when it comes to books and my monthly posts have gotten too long. I’ll share about my favorite non-fiction and fiction books of the month with reasons why beyond the star-rating. There is a comment section on each post, so if you ever have a question about a book I list, please feel free to ask and we can dive into a deeper conversation on that title.

I am also excited to be a part of a new book club with a few friends (we technically haven’t met yet, but we’re working on it). One of my friends came up with the idea of meeting once a month to talk about books – any book. It could be one we’ve read recently or in the past or one we’re eyeing. It can be hard for moms to all read the same book at the same time and come ready for a discussion. This will take the pressure off of finding material we all like and completing it on a timeline. I love hearing about what others are reading and I can see my to-be-read list growing as a result. I also love talking about my current reads. I’m positive this will be a good outlet for me in more than one way!

As you can see, I’ve thought quite a bit about reading in 2022. I want to be intentional with my reading and my time. I read for both pleasure and growth. I want to have a diverse reading life. Some of the most impacting books I’ve read have been by people very different from me. Seeing the world through their lens has been life-altering. I don’t want to shirk from books that make me uncomfortable. I just want it to be for the right reasons. All this talk about books has me excited to share my reading list with you at the end of the month. I’m certainly starting out 2022 with plenty to read. I’m in book heaven! Woo hoo!

It’s been a slow photo week. But in the theme of books, this is the new book we are using for art. The kids love Mo Willems and they are having fun drawing their favorite characters!
Jeremy made homemade soup and bread on Friday! Very impressive and tasty!
Wrapping up dose number two! So proud of these brave kiddos!
 

Happy New Year! January 4, 2022

We made it to 2022! This week is back to school for the boys and I and back to work for Jeremy. We loved our month of December with Jeremy on sabbatical. Our family had so much fun with all the Christmas activities and celebrations. Like most, we weren’t ready for the vacation vibes to end. We have an intentionally quiet week at home to help us ease back into routine.

We wrapped up 2021 with a shopping trip to Portland. Even though the roads around our house were snow/ice, the freeway was fine and the roads improved as we went south. The stores were hit hard by Christmas, low staff, and low stock. The snow certainly didn’t help. The boys each got LEGO sets and then we hopped online to shop for the items that were missing in the stores. Mostly, we just wanted a day to get out of the house after a few snow days. Our shopping tradition after Christmas isn’t about the items we purchase, it’s about spending the day as a family in the big city.

Our weekend was all about snow and family. We celebrated my sister’s birthday on New Year’s Eve. Jeremy attached the sled to our riding lawn mower and that became a big hit on Friday and Saturday. We had some of the cousins (and their parents) over on Saturday for games and snow fun. After we played at our house, we dropped the kiddos at Nana & Papa’s house and the parents went to see the newest Spider-Man movie. I haven’t been to the theaters since Frozen II in 2019! It was good to get back to the movies, but I honestly love streaming at home just as much (probably even more). It was a treat to go on a double date and have some kid-free time with other adults – this rarely happens in my world.

As I reflect on 2021, I am grateful. The beginning of the year started quietly with COVID restrictions and stay-at-home orders revived. We celebrated Jeremy turning 40 in the spring with a “spring break” trip to Oregon. We thrived in homeschooling and wrapped up preschool for Graham and 1st grade for Owen with a family celebration at the end of May. Our summer was full of local-ish adventures. We visited the WA/OR coast, Mt. Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We enjoyed swim lessons in the month of August. We started our second year of homeschooling in the fall. The boys turned 8 and 6 in October with family adventure days to the Space Needle and Top Golf. November was our magical trip to Disneyland. December wrapped up the year with Jeremy’s sabbatical filled with family time and Christmas adventures. Despite the hardships of living in a pandemic world, our family experienced so much goodness in 2021.

Thanks to the pandemic, my expectations for goal setting have gone way down. Last year, my goals were to beat my 2020 reading total and to decorate sugar cookies once a month. I succeeded in both those goals and had a blast investing in my hobbies. As I look to 2022, my current goals are to read the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books for the first time. They are on most recommended reading list that I encounter. I’m ready to find out why. I plan to change how I keep track of my reading and how I rate books. I will also tweak how I blog about my reading this year. My one serious goal for 2022 is to get back to church in-person. I have reservations about in-person church, but it’s important that our kids get back into a faith community. Because of homeschooling, it will be beneficial for them to be in a classroom environment with peers again.

That about does it! Wrapping up 2021, welcoming 2022. I don’t know what’s on the horizon for 2022. I am believing that the same goodness I found in 2020 and 2021 will be present in 2022. God’s faithfulness never falters. Life has taken unexpected turns with the pandemic, but I’ll just keep doing the best I can with what I’ve got. God can work with that. He makes up the difference. I can go into 2022 knowing that God goes with me – before me, beside me, behind me. I am not alone and I can do this with him.

Introduced the kids to World Market. The boys fell in love with this chair. Our big purchase from this store was coconut syrup from Hawaii.
Post shopping LEGO building
Checking on the chickens
Blue skies and tractor rides
Making memories with the cousins
Movie date!
My 2021 goal of decorating cookies!
 

Deck the Halls! November 28, 2021

It’s that time of year again! Time to deck the halls! Our kids were ready to decorate for Christmas the day we got back from Disneyland. The Christmas magic they experienced at Disneyland definitely inspired them! Our family has no rules for when Christmas decorations are allowed to come out. It changes year to year based on our schedule. This year we needed to recover from Disneyland before diving into Christmas mode. We don’t mind waiting until after Thanksgiving (but we also don’t mind decorating before Thanksgiving either – no rules).

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a day full of family and yummy food. We were back to our pre-pandemic schedule of two family gatherings in one day. It’s was the first time that our family has joined my extended family for a gathering since Christmas 2019. It was good to be back to “normal” but I forgot how long it can make a day when you hop from gathering to gathering. Seeing family was worth the effort, though! It was a great day and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for!

Getting back to school to after Disneyland was a bit of a struggle. If it didn’t mean going to school until the end of June, I would have just declared us on holiday vacation until January. It was nice to come back to a short week and a holiday weekend. Just three more weeks of school until Christmas break! That seems like forever, but I know it will go by in a blink (at least, I hope so)! Jeremy was offered a sabbatical for the month of December. Our family is excited to have extra time together during this special time of year. We are looking forward to Christmas activities and outings as well as plenty of time around the house enjoying Christmas movies, books, and treats! It’s such a joyful season and we are ready for it! Bring on all things Christmas!

PS – You’ll notice that Disneyland has seeped into our Christmas celebration this year. We got matching Christmas Mickey pajamas for our trip. At Disneyland, we picked up a Mickey ornament for our tree. Once we got home, we picked more Mickey ornaments and a Disney advent book. Our Christmas cards will also feature Mickey this year. Our annual photo ornament has been ordered with pictures from our vacation. Disney is our theme this holiday season!

Cookies of the Month for November! Sweet as pie!
I made 59 cookies this last week (gotta love that odd total). I brought them to each family gathering and made some for a friend. This photo features 2/3 of them decorated for Thanksgiving day.
Graham is my official cookie taste tester!
Cousin time at Thanksgiving!
The Scott Family – Thanksgiving 2021
It’s going to be a very Disney Christmas this year!
Each year they get a new ornament to put on their mini trees in their bedrooms. Mickey Mouse was an obvious choice this year!
Placing the star on top of the tree is such a dramatic moment…
The tree is officially decorated!
They are a little amped up for Christmas!
Grandma got them this LEGO wreath at The LEGO Store in Downtown Disney. Such a fun project and super festive. It also can be made into an advent wreath with LEGO candles!
The nativity set and the Christmas train have met… I keep reminding the boys that Baby Jesus isn’t allowed on the tracks.
Beautiful sunrise this morning!
 

The Magic of Disney November 21, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Recollections,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:01 pm

I’ve been dreaming of taking my family on a Disneyland vacation long before I was married and had kids. Disneyland is a classic family vacation filled with magic! My first Disneyland experience was in the 5th grade and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I’ve visited Disneyland multiple times, but nothing can quite compare to that magic of a child’s first visit. Now that I’m a parent, I’ve been slowly watching Graham (my youngest and shortest son) grow with Disneyland in the back of my mind. I’ve been waiting for that milestone moment where he would be tall enough to go on most of the rides. We reached that perfect height this summer and I promptly suggested we take a Disneyland vacation!

This trip came with other first time experiences for the boys such as their first flight and first time to Southern California. The whole airplane heard them loudly exclaim over palm trees as we got ready to land. The boys enjoyed their first flight and were excellent travelers. My parents joined us for the adventure so we took up an entire row on the airplane. Graham flew down with the grandparents and Owen sat with Jeremy and I. We switched kids for the flight home to mix it up. Once we got into LAX, we picked up our rental car and took off for our hotel, dinner at In-N-Out, and grocery shopping. We went to sleep in matching Mickey Christmas pajamas that I bought specifically for this trip and the holiday season.

Our first day was at Disneyland! The park was all decorated for Christmas which made the experience extra special. Our strategy was to start with the smaller rides in Fantasyland to get the boys warmed up. Things started well with our first ride on Alice in Wonderland. Then Jeremy diverted from the plan when he saw the Matterhorn Bobsleds had a 5 minute wait. We might have traumatized the kids with the yeti on that fast-paced, jerky ride. Oops! Owen loved Big Thunder Mountain, but that was too intense for Graham. At one point during the ride, Graham told us his heart was racing. Both boys loved Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters the most. Part of the fun of the first day was introducing Graham to Disney churros. I got a tasty Gingerbread cookie shaped like Mickey. We watched the Christmas Fantasy Parade. Our kids are now obsessed with the song that played a dozen times on repeat. We didn’t do the big rides or anything spooky. I thought I might miss them, but I didn’t. I had so much fun watching the boys enjoy themselves that I didn’t mind sacrificing some of my past must-do rides.

Our second day was at California Adventure. We did Radiator Spring Racers right when the park opened because the wait time for that ride is insane. The boys loved all the rides at Cars Land. Honorable mentions would also be Goofy’s Sky School, the Pixar Pal-A-Round, and Soarin’ Around the World. One of my highlights was the Boudin Sourdough Bakery at the Pacific Wharf. I enjoyed a sourdough bread bowl with mac & cheese for lunch. We also bought a pull-a-part loaf of bread in the shape of a Christmas tree. The loaf turned out to the huge! Oops! We were able to munch on it throughout the week and then we packed it home. After lunch, we went back to the hotel for a rest. Everyone napped so we would have enough spunk to make it through the evening. It’s magical to see the parks all lit up at night especially with the extra Christmas lights and decorations. After an evening of rides, we made our way to Salt & Straw in Downtown Disney for ice cream. We got back to the hotel in time to watch the firework show from the window at the end of the hallway.

We park hopped on our last day. We started the day in Disneyland. We did a few new rides and repeated some favorites. We secured a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance which was a bucket list ride for both Jeremy and my dad. Even though the boys have little Star Wars knowledge, they enjoyed it. In fact, all the Star Wars rides were a hit. Actually, almost all the rides were met with enthusiasm. Just not the Matterhorn. It became a running joke that we wanted to go back to the Matterhorn and the boys would groan. Our last day was also our shopping day. Both boys settled on bubble wands as their souvenirs. We napped in the afternoon and then started our evening at California Adventure. We revisited a few favorite rides before heading back to Disneyland for the firework show. We waited for the show while munching on snacks of churros, Dole whip, and popcorn. As we walked out the park that night, Owen got a bit teary. He didn’t want to leave and honestly, I didn’t either! Owen quickly cheered up as he got use his bubble wand for the walk back to the hotel. We filled the roads around Disney with bubbles! It was like taking a bit of the magic with us outside of the parks.

3 days in the parks. 30 miles of walking. 37 rides. A parade and a firework show. So many magical moments! We were tired and worn out, but happy in a way that only the happiest place on Earth can provide. I was definitely ready to rest, but now that I’ve had a day at home to recover, I’m ready to go back. Anytime. Tomorrow would be great. Okay, I don’t know when our next Disney adventure will happen, but I am so thankful for the experience that we just had. Disneyland did not disappoint. It was exactly the trip that I dreamt it would be. What a magical Disneyland adventure we had!

First time flying!
When in California, you must stop at In-N-Out
The night before Disneyland!
Spotting characters was so much fun! Due to COVID, you couldn’t hug them, but we still enjoyed snapping pictures from a distance.
Santa in the Christmas Fantasy Parade! I haven’t done a Disney parade in decades, but I know the boys appreciated it.
A magical day at the happiest place on Earth!
Radiator Springs racers made my hair stand on end!
Christmas in Cars Land
Graham enjoyed spotting the characters, but didn’t want to take pictures. Owen happily filled that role.
The Avengers Campus
Salt & Straw
Watching the fireworks from the hotel
Last Day! Also it happened to be Micky & Minnie’s birthday so we got free buttons.
Waiting to board Rise of the Resistance
Happy boys with bubble wands
The Pixar Pal-A-Round with Grandpa, Graham, and Grandma.
So magical at night!
Ending our time with a bang!
 

Happy Halloween 2021 November 1, 2021

Like most families, yesterday was a big day! Halloween has always been a big deal to our family. Not because of spooky season, though. Annually, Jeremy plans and hosts a major holiday event for our community on Halloween. Fall Fest is a long standing tradition at our church. When I was in high school, I volunteered at this same event, but back then it was called the Fall Family Fun Festival. Jeremy shortened the title to Fall Fest when he became the children’s pastor. October 31st means big church event in our world and we were ready for it!

Last year, we did a drive-thru event due to COVID restrictions. This year we did an outdoor event for the first time. The weather was absolutely beautiful! We couldn’t have asked for a better day. We were so thankful! Jeremy had canopies over every game so the event could have been rain or shine. Being in the PNW, we roll with wet weather, but I’m glad we didn’t have to! Another fun element of Fall Fest this year was the Candyland theme. The decorations and games all revolved around the classic candy-themed board game. The boys and I arrived early in the afternoon to help Jeremy set-up. Pastor’s kid privileges meant our kiddos got to test out the games before it got crowded. They even got an extra long jump in the inflatable bounce house. The boys were very helpful in the set-up process. I love that we are at an age when were we can serve our community together as a family.

While Halloween and Fall Fest were the highlight of the week, I also had some fun moments with a few mom friends. On Monday, I did a book swap with a friend. She came over to look over my home library and share some of her books with me. It’s always interesting to see what books we’ve already read and what books we can introduce each other to. It’s a rewarding challenge! In the theme of books and friends, I went to the 30th birthday party of a good friend this weekend. The guests were asked to bring a wrapped book for a gift exchange. The exchange was a classic white elephant style, but instead of gag gifts, it was everyone’s favorite books. The party was kid-free and the time to chat with other mom friends was priceless. I even road out to the party with another friend so I could get more kid-free socializing into the night. What’s not to love about books and kid-free mom time with friends. Such a special treat!

As I reflect on this last week, I’m so grateful that Fall Fest went so well. I am thankful for the friends and community we get to do life with. It’s mind-blowing that we now find ourselves in November! We have so many fun things ahead. I have a few coffee dates on the calendar. Red Cup Day at Starbucks is right around the corner. We have some homeschool outings planned with other families. And… we have Disneyland on the horizon! So much to be thankful for as we make our way toward Thanksgiving! I’ve added a gratitude practice to my daily journaling as effort to find and remember the good moments scattered throughout each day. I’m not immune to the struggles and challenges of these different days. When things seem hard or overwhelming, I fall back into thankfulness. Oh! That’s another blessing in November – falling back with daylight savings. I used to love falling back just as much as I loved Christmas (before kids). Now… it’s not quite the holiday it once was, but I still get excited for it. I’m certainly counting my blessings as we head into November.

Graham helped me make this super tasty pumpkin cake. He requested no frosting but I couldn’t agree to that. We compromised… and then he didn’t eat any of it. No worries! I ate all the unfrosted pieces with the extra frosting I had leftover.
This playroom usually looks like a bomb went off it in. I can accept they worked hard to creatively make this mess. The fun discovery this week was Mario Kart Hot Wheels cars. They used birthday money and their first-quarter-of-school reward to start a collection of vehicles.
Taking on the world together! These ninjas had a fantastic Halloween!
If you give a kid a sword…
Setting up for Fall Fest. Every year I wear a headband as my costume. This year I rocked the Minnie Mouse ears leftover from the boys’ birthday party.
Jeremy as King Candy! Seems fitting as the leader of this candy-filled event.
Donut Hole Game
Classic fishing pond with a licorice twist!
Graham got warm during set-up and took his costume off. I couldn’t get him back into it for the actual event. Graham was his own person for Halloween.