Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Local Adventures August 23, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 11:40 am

After wandering all over the PNW, we stuck close to home this week. Note: we didn’t stay home, we stayed close to home. Big difference. Even though we were still out and about, it was nice to have small adventures that didn’t take hours of travel or full days away from home. The week was quieter than expected and that was a welcome change after so much go-go-go.

We started another round of swimming lessons on Monday. This time at 7:40pm. The lights come on at the pool while we’re there. It’s been a cool and cloudy week, so late night lessons have been a bit on the chilly side. Thankfully the pool is heated and our little guys are happy to jump on in. Graham is working on his floats, kicks, and pencil point. Owen is working on mastering a couple different strokes, treading water in the deep end, and kneel diving.

One of our outings this week was a nature walk with friends. My boys love to go fishing at Carlisle Lake in Onalaska, but since I’m not a fisherwoman, I’ve never tagged along. The lake has a nice gravel path all around it – perfect for a short hike. My boys and a friend ran out their energy and I took a slower approach so I could chat with my mom friends. We paused in the middle of the walk to pick blackberries. I love exploring new places, especially on a cool PNW day.

On Saturday, we had a friend’s birthday party out in the the east part of our county. Since Jeremy’s summer scavenger hunt had locations to check-in at out that direction, we took advantage of being at the party to accomplish some missions. We visited Riffe Lake and Mayfield Lake. We stopped at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants and took take-out to the local state park.

Our big adventure of the week turned out to be less big than we expected. On Monday, our local health department tried to shut down the fair which was set to open on Tuesday. While the fair didn’t get cancelled, masks and social distancing were suggested. I’m not keen on going to events that the health department tries to close, but Jeremy and I talked it out. We felt we could be wise and safe while still taking part in this community event. We went on Sunday which was half-priced admissions. Since we only stayed a couple hours, the lower admission price was worth waiting for. We did two rides, looked at a few animals, completed some missions for the scavenger hunt, ate a treat and called it good. The boys enjoyed the highlights of the fair without it a big, long outing.

Now we’re starting our final week of swim lessons. Jeremy has some time off this week, so we’re feeling the stay-cation vibes. We are enjoying some down time around the house and we might just have one more adventure awaiting us before we hunker down to start school. One final week of summer left! It’s crazy how those months flew by. I’ll be honest though – the siren song of autumn has started to call to me. I’ve loved this summer and I’m sad to see it go. But… I’m also ready to find our new school routine, for the weather to change, and for pumpkin goodies to take over the grocery stores (and thus my house). I’m re-reading the Anne books by L.M. Montgomery at the moment and, like Anne, I’m excited for the bend in the road. A new direction awaits.

Chicken adoration! Buffy got to nibble on some leftover corn on the cob.
Back in the swing of swim lessons!
A little summer science
Blackberry picking at the end of our driveway was “berry” profitable!
A lakeside Chinese dinner
Completing scavenger hunt missions
Sunday afternoon at the fair
Graham’s first time on the Wacky Worm was a blast!
 

Good-Bye July! August 3, 2021

Wow! July was such a fun month. One adventure after another! We made so many good memories. It’s hard to see such a fun month go, but here we are in August. There is a completely different vibe to August. We still have adventures in store, but August also carries that “summer is almost over” vibe. In July, I sorted all the kids clothes to see what still fits, what can become hand-me-downs, and what needs to be replaced. July was the time to get ready for school. Our homeschool materials have arrived and await use. July was prep mode, because August is go time! With how the calendar falls, we’ll be starting school at the end of August, instead of waiting for September. With the first day of school less than a month away, the countdown is on. Summer doesn’t last forever. We’ve made the most of our July and now it’s time for August to shine!

We wrapped up July with a couple of pool play dates. The boys love splashing around in the pool and hot tub with friends. It’s always a good time to catch up with mom friends on our back deck while we supervise the splash zone. Our family outing last week was to our local children’s museum. We were gifted a membership that has been slowly extended due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Our membership ends in a month, so we wanted to use it one last time. The museum was relatively quiet and we enjoyed some of our favorite activities – like the water table, the emergency vehicles, and the outdoor play space. After some bigger adventures, it was nice to have this one be local.

Now that August is here, our new routine involves swimming lessons. We started last night and we have seven more to go! We opted for an evening class so we could still be social (or restful) in the morning hours. Owen was a fish. He was super focused on the lesson. I was nervous about the gap between this year and his last lessons in 2019, but he surprised me with how well he did. Graham has grown in his water appreciation thanks to having a backyard pool, but you can tell that swimming lessons are pushing his comfort zone. He was so brave! For a kid who has been mostly home with his family, I know it’s a big deal to sit with a class of new kids and trust a new adult in the water.

July was a good one! One for the record books! Now that August is here, we’re ready for the last hurrah of summer. We’re going to make these August days count!

Cookies of the Month for July! I decided to use our camping/outdoor adventures as inspiration. This might be my new favorite way to appreciate the great outdoors!
The boys’ favorite part of the museum is the water table!
Our kids will play with trains any time, any place.
Having fun with the big bubbles Jeremy was so good at creating!
Firefighter Bros
Tailgating in Grandpa’s truck for church on Sunday
Saying hi to Papa!
Spray park fun before swimming lessons
The pool was too crowded to get a picture during lessons, so here is an after lessons victory shot! Also, look at that sky! So pretty!
 

The Month of Adventure! July 12, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:13 pm

July has turned out to be a month full of adventure! We are 12 days into the month and today is the first full day at home for the boys and I with no plans, no company, no errands. Insert a sigh of relief here. We’ve been having a lot of fun, but I’m glad for the break. I’m not used to this pace. (I apologize if I say that all summer). In my last post, I shared about our camping trip, our 4th of July celebration, and my Dad’s birthday dinner. Let’s pick up where I left off.

On Tuesday I had lunch with a friend. This was my first time going to lunch with a friend in a long time. The time with my friend was sweet, but I had one embarrassing moment. I dripped ketchup down the front of my shirt and didn’t notice it right away. I had some serious concerns about my ability to socialize after so much time at home but I didn’t realize I should be equally concerned about my eating skills. My friend laughed it off, but I was practically scandalized. I’m just not the type of person who gets food on her shirt. It was mortifying. I guess my eating-out skills were rusty.

Wednesday we had friends over for some pool and hot tub time. Wednesday morning was actually kind of drippy with a light rain. The pool was reading 74 degrees and it was only 60 degrees when the kids got in. Luckily, we have the hot tub as well, so the big kids had fun hopping between the pool and the hot tub, while the younger kids opted to stay in the hot tub the entire time. I love hanging on our back deck with friends. We’ve only a had few swimming playdates so far this summer, but they are always a hit. I’m looking forward to more!

Thursday was Jeremy and I’s 15th wedding anniversary! Woo hoo! Jeremy took the day off and we had a quiet morning/afternoon around the house before dropping the boys off at a sleepover with Nana & Papa. Jeremy and I took off for Portland to have dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and to do a little shopping. Jeremy was sweet and picked up another bookcase for our bedroom. I’m running out of room on our other two bookcases. We picked up some media baskets at Target so I can store our series DVDs out of sight. Storage/organization is my love language! I’m trying to talk Jeremy into getting premier access to Black Widow because I’m pretty sure Marvel movies are his love language. We enjoyed our kid-free evening immensely! Thank you to Nana and Papa for making that happen.

Jeremy picked up the boys early on Friday morning and we packed up for a family beach adventure. My sweet forever friend has a trailer near Long Beach and she offered to let us use it. It’s glamping at it’s finest! We got to the beach around lunchtime and spent a windy afternoon playing in the sand. We took off for Cape Disappointment where we visited the North Head Lighthouse and Waikiki Beach. We had dinner at the trailer before heading out on the Discovery Trail for a bike ride. Once we got back to the trailer, the boys settled into their sofa bed to watch Frozen 2. Thank you, Maggie, for sharing your home away from home with us.

We left the trailer early Saturday morning to have a day at the Oregon Coast. Our first stop was Pig’N’Pancake in Astoria (an OR coast must, in my opinion). Then we took off for the Tillamook Creamery. We were there in February 2020 before everything shut down and we hadn’t been back since. The Tillamook Creamery is a family favorite and we were delighted to watch medium cheddar cheese being packaged. We also did a little shopping at their store before getting ice cream. On our way back up the coast, we hit Arcadia beach for one more sandy, wet experience. Then we hit our favorite Costco in Warrenton and finished the trip with an early dinner at Mo’s in Astoria. The big highlight of Mo’s is they now have saltine crackers back in baskets on the table after a long absence. Our kids ate a whole basket themeselves!

Now we arrive at Sunday – our official return to in-person church. Our church is doing outdoor gatherings this summer due to construction inside. Jeremy has a swing chair ride and inflatables for kids to enjoy for the hour before church. The boys were so excited that they got up early despite being tired from our trip. They helped Jeremy set-up and then got to be the first to enjoy the kids zone. I used the time they were gone in the morning to work on the mountains of beach laundry and get myself ready for church. I will admit that I tried to keep a low profile (introvert alert). While I’m ready to be back in-person, but I didn’t want to have the same “It’s been forever since I’ve seen you” conversation on repeat. I talked with a handful of people and I’m sure each week I will build up the muscles to engage in church socializing. I enjoyed worshiping with my family. Worship is the one thing that doesn’t always translate well with online church. I’ve been singing alone at home for over a year now so it was nice to sing with the congregation again. Having church outside was a first for me, but I enjoyed the vibe and I’m looking forward to next week.

And that, my friends, is an update full of adventures! We loved having some extra time with Jeremy this last week thanks to the holiday and vacation. It was great to rejoin him at church as well. Family is important and I love the memories we are making together. I created a summer bucket list on our white board last week and we are working our way through a list of exciting adventures. I can’t wait to share what we’re up to next!

After 15 years of marriage, we’re still shopping at Ikea!
Glamping!
Sand art by Jeremy
North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment
Getting wet at Waikiki Beach
Bike ride on the Discovery Trail
All cozy watching Frozen 2
First ones in the Cheese Bus at the Tillamook Creamery
Getting sandy at Arcadia Beach
This swing chair ride will ensure that my kids are at church early all summer long.
 

Father’s Day, VBA, & a Heat Wave June 27, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Simply Me,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 2:09 pm

June has been an unpredictable month. While it’s been busy, we’ve also had some unexpected down time. I will always cheer for a day at home, but this month, I would have preferred the reason we stayed home not to be because of colds. It’s been an over a year since our family has shared the sniffles with each other and last weekend was our time to go down with a bug. Right before Father’s Day weekend, Graham came down with the sniffles so we canceled our Father’s Day Friday plans with Jeremy in order to rest. Then Owen got the bug so we canceled our Saturday plans with Jeremy’s family. Then Jeremy and I caught it and we canceled our Sunday plans with my family. It was a bummer way to celebrate Father’s Day weekend, for sure. Jeremy deserved more of a celebration than he got and we missed spending time with our families. Jeremy is the best dad ever. Hopefully, we can enjoy a make-up outing to compensate for the quiet holiday weekend.

When Jeremy realized that he was under the weather, he took off for the pharmacy to get an at-home COVID test. Jeremy and I are both fully vaccinated so we highly doubted this cold was anything to be concerned about. However, we had VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) right around the corner (like the next day). We wanted to make sure that if we were working with kids we were officially okay. The test was negative and Jeremy and I refamiliarized ourselves with the flavors of Dayquil to get through the big week ahead. I was concerned about the kids being healthy enough for VBA, but they pulled through just in time. While they were good to go by Monday, their stamina (mine included) wasn’t 100% yet. We had fun, power-packed mornings at VBA and then quiet, restful afternoons to make sure we had the energy to attend the next day. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but I’m so glad that everything worked out. This was my first time leading kids in over a year. I was nervous, but it was like riding bike. Even with a cold, it all came back to me and I was ready to roll. So many of the kids in my crew I hadn’t seen in over a year. They had all grown so much. I think I had just as much fun as my kids as we reconnected with friends.

After VBA, we started to prep for our local heat wave. Washington state has mild summers, but our weather this weekend is much more like Arizona than the PNW. We’ve been spending plenty of time in our backyard pool and doing our best to keep our chickens in the shade. We don’t want any chickens to literally roast in the yard. I’ve visited Arizona in August, so I’ve experienced high temps before, but never anything like the forecast for today and tomorrow in Washington. We are forecasted to be 111 degrees tomorrow. I’m just praying our air-conditioner can keep up and keep us cool. Just like the unpredictable theme of this month, the heat has been shifting all our plans this weekend. I made it up to Puyallup to celebrate a baby shower and a birthday yesterday. It was a early and quick visit before the heat of the day. The boys stayed home to rest after the big week and to keep an eye on the chickens. The boys and I had plans to help Jeremy at our Downton church campus today, but those changed when I realized there would be no AC in the building. We even canceled our dinner plans with a family today because we didn’t think it would be safe to outside. While we have air-conditioning, we didn’t want to overtax our system. We’ve stocked up on microwaveable food and items for cold sandwiches so we don’t overheat the house with cooking.

Every week comes with it’s own surprises. So many ups and downs. While I’m not a fan of plans shifting, I am thankful for flexibility. We’ve been able to rest when we need to rest. We were able to show up for our church. And now we’re able to lay low and be chill as we ride out this heat wave. Crazy times in the PNW. Hopefully next time I touch base with you all, it be under much cooler circumstances. Wherever you are, stay cool and stay hydrated!

Helping Jeremy set up for VBA before the sniffles set in!
Loving our pool time! Well, Owen is. The look on Graham’s face would say otherside. Silly kid!
One of the few things we got to do to celebrate Jeremy – lunch at Chick-fil-a!
Strawberries from my mama! She is so sweet!
These strawberries were the highlight of Father’s Day weekend. It was a bummer to stay home, but the special treats helped!
So glad these guys were able to attend VBA! They had such a great time! It was fun to be back at an in-person church event.
Our VBA crew! I enjoyed being their leader for the week!
Love seeing all these hearts that represent kiddos who chose a relationship with Jesus
Pool party with some of the cousins before the heat wave picked up
The last time the hot tub will feel good for a while
 

A Chapter Ends June 16, 2021

This week a chapter of my life came to a close. I’ve been keeping this to myself since the news wasn’t known in my community until this week. Our MOPS & MOMSnext group has decided to pause for the time being. There are a few factors that went into this decision, but the main factor was childcare being complicated in these COVID days. Our facility has a learning center in the building and with new cleaning protocols, our group start time would be too late to serve young families well. Not to mention, rebuilding a childcare team is a challenge. Some are willing to volunteer again, but MOPS & MOMSnext takes a large volunteer team and some aren’t ready to dive back in yet. COVID and kid germs are still a concern and I totally understand.

When I was asked to coordinator our MOPS & MOMSnext group, we were a daytime group of mostly stay-at-home moms. The learning center opened right as I started coordinating. I got to be a part of the pioneering process as we moved from a daytime group to an evening group. Meeting in the evening allowed working moms to join us and we saw a rise in attendance. When the pandemic shut down in-person gatherings, I got to be a part of another pioneering process. This time it was moving from in-person to online. This year of MOPS & MOMSnext online has had it’s ups and downs. We’ve definitely made the most of the online platform. We had wonderful guest speakers. We still managed to do group crafts and have a spa night and a game night. We got creative and made it work! However, we also saw a decline in attendance as the year went on. We heard often how complicated it is for moms to meet online especially without childcare. I am blessed to have my husband watch our kids while I’m online. I was able to be fully present for the meetings, but I know my mom friends felt the frustration of managing both their homes and the meetings at the same time.

I knew that my term as coordinator would last through my youngest’s preschool years. Once Graham graduated preschool, I knew my time was up. I’ve known this end date was coming from the very beginning of saying yes to leading. I just didn’t predict a pandemic. I will admit that I’m disappointed that I’m not handing a the group over to a new leader. I always thought I would hand over the leadership of the group and still be involved – either as a team member or a group member. I am wrestling with my emotions because this ending looks different than I had expected. I believe in the heart and purpose of MOPS & MOMSnext. I will miss the community it created in my life. I joined MOPS when I was pregnant with my oldest son. I have never known motherhood without it. Despite my disappointment, I am optimistic that the group can relaunch in the future when factors have changed. I believe this pause could be a catalyst for change and bring a new vision for the group. God does great things in and through what we see as disappointments. I believe there is a greater good still possible that I can’t clearly see at this moment.

I almost didn’t share this news here. I thought maybe I would silently let my MOPS & MOMSnext updates fade away. But I’m learning that it’s okay to acknowledge disappointments. I try to keep my posts optimistic while being realistic as well. MOPS & MOMSnext has held a huge place in my heart and has been a vital part of my calendar and community. I’m proud of what this group has accomplished over the years. We’ve been through so many transitions. Adapting isn’t always easy, but we’ve been able to bless moms in our community through creativity and flexibility. It’s been an honor to serve on a team with amazing women. It’s been an honor to encourage the moms in our community. These last eight years have been a meaningful chapter of my life. I’m giving myself space to feel my feelings and celebrate all that has been accomplished. It’s been good. God has been good to us.

MOPS & MOMSnext was a huge ministry opportunity for me. I grew so much through leading this group. One of the hardest parts of letting go is I’m not sure what’s next. God is stirring my heart. He is about to do a new thing. I’m not sure what it is yet, but my eyes are open and my heart is ready. A new chapter always begins as another chapter comes to a end.

A Walk Down Memory Lane:

My 2nd year of MOPS and my 1st year as table leader
Speaking at MOPS for one of our Christmas parties
MOPS outings every month were a highlight for my boys! So many trips to the pumpkin patch, fire station, trampoline park, zoo, and many more fun activities.
Last meeting as a daytime group! This was right before I started coordinating.
Loved seeing tables filled with mamas being encouraged
Silly “MOPS” moments
Wrapping up my first year coordinating
Steering Team Christmas Party
Planning the year and bonding as a steering team at our summer retreats was always a memorable time
Good times around the table with Mom’s Night Out
That one Memorial day BBQ when we had over 80 people over to our house!
Last year’s “socially distanced” online group picture
Our final meeting on Monday. Group pictures are still kind of weird, so I took a quick selfie before the meeting started to document the moment. We had our only in-person meeting this year on the playground at church. We chatted while kids played and we offered individually wrapped snacks. Such a different way to wrap things up.
 

Wow! It’s June! June 5, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Home Improvement,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 11:30 am

My brain never fully accepted that it was May. My mind weirdly paused at the end of April. I don’t know how many times in May I was surprised by the date. Could time really be flying so quickly? And now it’s June and I’m awestruck. How did that happen? I had a vision in my mind for June. I thought it was going to be super chill. I envisioned playdates galore with nothing but free-time to kill. But… I was wrong. It’s only the start of the month and I’m shocked at how quickly it has filled in. Thanks to COVID rewiring our family schedule, I’m used to a much slower pace of life. June looks a bit tricky because I haven’t had to function at this level in a long time. I feel like I’m at the top of a rollercoaster and the plunge is coming! Here we go! Welcome to June!

Before I share all about adventures ahead, let’s take a quick look at last week. We spent Memorial Day exploring new beaches. The weather was lovely and the kids had a blast in the water and sand. Our family enjoys visiting new places, so we had a grand adventure. The rest of the week was spent in the pool (it was finally warm enough), reading, baking, running errands, and included a visit the park. Even though we were out and about multiple days this week, it would appear that this week is the quietest of the month. In fact, today is the last Saturday we don’t have plans for the next four weeks. Today is rainy and I’m feeling all the cozy, stay-at-home vibes! I plan to savor today because I know things are ramping up.

Next week got a bit crazy when Jeremy received a call on Thursday saying that our new flooring would be delivered on Friday (yesterday). The plan is to install them next week. It was short notice, but it worked with our schedule, so here we go. The install is projected to last Wednesday through Friday, but we’re hopeful that it will only take two days. This means on Tuesday we will relocate all the dining/living room furniture into our carpeted rooms. We will clear out all closet floors and move all the food out of our kitchen fridge and into our smaller mudroom fridge. Starting Wednesday, it will be full-on construction zone mode here. I’ll be responsible for getting the kids out of the house and away from the work. My hope is that we can get the house put back together in time to host a family dinner on Saturday to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It’s a tight timeline, but I’m hopeful we can make it work. Never a dull moment around here!

By this time next week, I will have brand new floors in my house. I’m glad that this project is moving forward and it will soon be in the rearview mirror. I’ve been staring at the new boards that are boxed in my living room. They are similar to what we currently have, but also different. The new flooring will be slightly lighter and the pattern less busy. I’ve always struggled with visualizing changes when it comes to home projects. I think I’ll like it. I just won’t know for sure until I can see it down. I’m praying that it’s a good change. The higher quality product already makes it a good change. I hope to love the look as much as I love the quality. Like any change, positive or negative, I know there will be an adjustment period while I adapt to the new look. Who knew flooring could take up so much mental and emotional energy?

Looking forward to sharing the before and after with you soon! Stay tuned!

Wide open spaces, blue skies, and following my guys. Always the sign of a good day!
One in the sand and the other with his toes in the water. These kids have different beach styles.
They called the little pools “hot tubs” because they were so warm in comparison to the ocean.
Proof I was there!
Finally warm enough to get in the pool!
My summer plans involve reading poolside… as much as possible.
A visit to the park is always a highlight of our week. When we arrived it was quiet and peaceful… then a large crowd of 5th graders arrived. We left to run our errands and came back after the 5th grader had returned to school.
Here we go! New floors are coming soon!
The boys went to Home Depot for dirt and came home with building projects!
 

The Little Things May 29, 2021

I have so many little things to share today. I guess I’ll just dive in! This week was the start of our summer schedule. The kids did three days of summer school. We took Thursday off since I got my second COVID vaccine that morning. The kids were very excited that our long weekend got to be a day longer. I love the flexibly of our new schedule. Week one was great!

I’m thankful my second vaccine is behind me. It certainly lived up to the hype. Fever, chills, aches all over. I didn’t sleep Thursday night and as a result I was exhausted yesterday. Thankfully, by getting vaccinated on a Thursday, my hubby has Fridays off and he was able to take care of the kiddos while I had a down day. Jeremy is always industrious on his day off. He enlisted the kids’ help in building a canopy to cover part of our back deck. Now in the summer we can have shade over the table and in the winter we can have cover over the hot tub on rainy nights. We’ve really enjoyed the process of getting our yard ready for summer. I look forward to reading a good book in the shade while my kids run amok in the yard!

The start of the week was gray, cold, and wet. On Monday afternoon we did a what I called Movie Matinee Monday. Owen loved the title and has asked that this be a Monday tradition. I told him maybe on wet Mondays. We watched Beauty and The Beast (2017) which is a favorite of mine and put me in a happy mood. Graham played throughout the movie, but Owen got into it. Tuesday also started out gray and cold. To add some sunshine to our day, Graham helped me make sprinkle sandwich cookies. I’m enjoying baking my way through Cookie Class by Jenny Keller. I’m positive I will be making these sandwich cookies again. They are so cheerful!

On Tuesday, I made a fun discovery. I purchased The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery online from a used bookstore a few months ago. I picked up my copy to start reading it this week and discovered a stamp on the title page. It said “Site of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish Home” in red ink with a border around it. Suddenly, I had a mystery on my hands. Did my book come from Prince Edward Island? I did some research and sent a message to the home site. I got an email reply the next day confirming that my copy of The Story Girl was purchased from their bookstore. Not only was it hand-stamped by a descendant, but the reply was from a descendant of L.M. Montgomery as well. It was a very exciting discovery for me. Visiting PEI is on my bucket list so this book only deepened my desire to go there! Someday!

As you can see my update this week is a bunch of little things. Even though it’s been a fairly low-key week around the house, we’ve managed to have some excitement and we always find fun. The little things matter. Making cookies, watching a movie together, reading a book, playing in the yard. So thankful for these small things, because really they are the big things – family, comfort, cheer, home.

Drumming his way through Be Our Guest. The arm of the couch was transformed into a musical instrument.
Such friendly and fun cookies!
My special discovery! It was the highlight of my week to find out this book came from PEI and that I got to correspond with a descendant of LMM! So cool!
Vaccine Two Complete!
Roses from my mama! Such a sweet encouragement!
Since I took this picture this morning, the shade isn’t on the table. In the cool of the morning, it’s not necessary. The shade will be great on warm afternoons/evenings. Love our party deck!
 

End of the Year Celebration! May 22, 2021

We did it! We finished the 36th week of our homeschool curriculum! It’s crazy to finish so early when I’m used to preschool wrapping up at the end of May and elementary school in the middle of June. We only two weeks off of school for Christmas break, so it really made the school year fly by. In January, Graham started a kindergarten program that he’ll complete over the summer. We could have had his preschool graduation in January, but that felt weird, so we celebrated with an end of the school year and preschool graduation party. Owen will start summer school on Monday and Graham will continue his kindergarten program. The summer slide is a real thing. To avoid learning loss, we’ll do about 30 minutes of summer school a few days a week. My kids (and I) enjoy the Summer Brain Quest books. Graham did his summer between Pre-K and K book in December (haha!), but Owen is ready to kick off his Summer Brain Quest on Monday.

Thursday night was our end of the school year celebration and preschool graduation. I was looking forward to this party as much as the kids. I’m a big fan of celebrating – big things, small things, all things. If I can get themed partyware and put up decorations, I’m a happy camper. After we wrapped up school, we created a table to display the boys’ work. The grandparents got to “ooo” and “ahh” at what the kids have accomplished. We did dinner and dessert. The boys’ favorite food is Papa Murphy’s pizza. Owen picked chocolate cake for dessert and Graham selected cinnamon rolls. We got mini bottles of sparkling cider to add a festive flare. Jeremy helped me create a slideshow with pictures from our school adventures. We created a balloon garland and had some fun props for photos. Graham donned his cap and gown and we took pictures with Pomp and Circumstance playing in the background. We had a blast! It was the perfect way to wrap up the school year.

The good times kept coming on Friday morning when we went to a newly opened park in our city. The old park had been torn down and a new play structure replaced it. The park has been completed for over an year, but was fenced off due to COVID. Last week the fence came down and it’s been a happening place ever since. We figured Friday morning was a good time to go since most kiddos would be in school. The timing worked out well and we got to enjoy the park before it got too busy. The new playground is so cool. I have a feeling we will spend a lot of time there this summer!

I know I’ve said it a lot in the last few posts, but we are so excited for summer! Memorial Day weekend is sort of the unofficial start of summer. Once all the party goodies are eaten up, I plan on making some special cookies to munch on over the holiday weekend. I’m all for adding festive vibes with sweet treats. Jeremy and I continue to daydream about our backyard and how we plan on making it the place to be this summer. I get my second COVID vaccine this week, so it really does feel like change is right around the corner. I can’t wait to be fully vaccinated. I never thought I could be so excited about getting a shot. I’m ready to have this process behind me. I’m ready to move on. I’m ready for some summer fun!

Last Day of Preschool! Ready for Kindergarten!
Last Day of First Grade! Ready for Second Grade!
All official with the cap, gown, and diploma!
The boys loved the funny headbands and silly grad glasses!
Thankful for supportive grandparents who blessed our kiddos by helping us celebrate all the boys accomplished this year.
The balloon garland was an adventure to create and hang, but it was the perfect backdrop for all our party pictures!
Silly Kid!
Our new city park is so much fun!
 

The Smell of Sunscreen May 16, 2021

We’ve had a stretch of nice weather. We busted out the slip and slide, set up the swimming pool, and stained the play structure in the backyard. Summer is right around the corner and we are ready! The sunscreen has come out as our kiddos run wild around the yard. We’ve had more outside time than inside time. Everyone is sleeping soundly at night after full days of activity. This is just the start of the summery vibes with plenty more fun in the sun to come!

This last week Graham reached a childhood milestone. He had his kindergarten screening. I completely forgot about it. Good thing Jeremy remembered! We are leaning towards homeschooling again next year, but we want to keep all doors open at the moment. Even if we homeschool next year, it was good for Graham to go through the process. After so much time with just family, it’s important that he can follow directions and talk with adults who aren’t relatives. He told me he wasn’t nervous at all and He came home chattering away about the experience. I’m glad he wasn’t nervous, because I sure was! I didn’t know how he would respond after so much time at home. I’m so happy that it went well!

Another exciting milestone for our family is that the little chickens moved out of the garage this weekend and into their own enclosure. They aren’t old enough to join our big chickens yet, but they are now neighbors. Having the little chickens in the garage came with a certain odor. Pine shavings also frequently got walked into the house on the socks of my little chicken checkers. It’s nice to have the smell and the mess out of the garage. Owen is thrilled with how the chicks are doing. He is quiet the chicken whisperer.

We are about to start our 36th and final week of school. I am so excited to wrap up this homeschool year. We have fun plans – especially for Graham with a preschool graduation of sorts. I’ve always been curious about homeschooling, but I don’t think I would have ever gone this direction without the pandemic giving me a giant shove. We’ve had such a fantastic year. I am thankful for my kiddos who love to learn and who have made the most of our extra time at home. I am thankful for the friends and family who encouraged me through this process. This whole experience was a grand adventure – an unexpected blessing during strange times.

With school wrapping up soon and the sun shinning brightly outside my window, it’s easy to see why it feels like summer is almost here. The kids smell of sunscreen. Last night we had a wash off little feet that were dirty from running around barefoot on freshly mowed grass. Life is never perfect, but it is good. I am thankful for these moments, these memories around the house with my little family.

Sun’s out! S’mores Time!
Don’t let the focus-face fool you, Owen loves reading stats. I read The Tech-Wise Family this last week and Owen kept coming over to look at the stats.
Out of this World Cookies for May!
Such a cool sky earlier this week!
Found the Slip and Slide in the garage. We got it all cleaned up and ready for fun on a warm afternoon.
The Big Chickens got some new neighbors! Owen helped moved the Little Chickens out of the garage.
More water fun! Getting the pool set-up!
Graham was ready for a morning in the yard to help Daddy!
I helped Jeremy stain the play structure. Since outdoor projects aren’t usually my thing, I had to document that I helped!
The Chicken Whisperer. They literally come flocking to him!
It’s looking like summer in our backyard!
 

These May Days May 11, 2021

Our floor replacement project was supposed to start today. But… it’s been postponed. Our flooring situation feels like an epic saga (a never ending one at that). There was an internal miscommunication with the building company and now we’re looking at the end of May or beginning of June for this project to take place. As much as I want this project behind us, I’m okay with the pause. I wasn’t thrilled to homeschool around the flooring project. With only 1.5 weeks of school left, I’ll be glad to do this project after we wrap up school. We will have summer school, but the summer schedule is lighter. Postponing the flooring project fits better later. I guess a delay can be a blessing.

When my hubby asked me how I wanted to celebrate Mother’s Day, I originally thought the house would be torn up right after the weekend. I didn’t want a busy weekend on top of a crazy week. This year I opted for a quiet day at home to read and eat my favorite foods. We ran errands on Friday and then had dinner with my parents to celebrate my mom. Saturday was my quiet day. Sunday morning was restful around the house with the kids while Jeremy worked. Once Jeremy got home, we went over to celebrate with his mom. I enjoy the flow of celebrating Mother’s Day over the whole weekend. Instead of celebrating three moms in short burst of time, it allows us to have a laid back flow to the weekend. No need to rush. Expanding the time we celebrate allows our family to be in the moment and present. Maybe I won’t feel this way ever year, but a low-key Mother’s Day was perfect this year.

Without a major construction project in the immediate future, things around our house are business-as-usual. Homeschooling, reading, baking, walking, outside time, hot tub time… All the usual things. The weather has been nice so we have been outside everyday. The sunshine reminds me that summer is right around the corner. We had a chat with the kids this week about our summer bucket list. We’re starting to daydream about how to fill our summer days. We have a camping trip on the books. I hope to visit the zoo. The kids hope to go to the beach. We’re looking forward to more play dates and backyard hangouts. The boys and I will return to church on Sundays for outdoor gatherings. We are enjoying this slower-paced Spring, but we are also looking forward the promise of Summer!

Graham directed me on how to decorate this cake. He was also my sprinkler of the sprinkles. He was so proud of our team effort. It was a bit busy for me, but apparently the 5 year-old sees the world differently!
Our final MOPS & MOMSnext craft! I might add some ribbon for a finishing touch.
My favorite place to read is a loveseat in my bedroom. These two are always close by. Here you can see the pillow fort bedrooms that they created. The orange vest were used for the construction phase and then cast off for “bedtime.”
My Saturday Mother’s Day Plans: Reading, dinner of mac & cheese with brownie sundaes for dessert, and then movie night with my hubby. Perfect day!
Mother’s Day 2021 – Love being their mama!
Silly Bedtime snuggles
Our MOPS & MOMSnext group did a fun challenge to share a picture of yourself in middle school. Here is 8th grade Amy. Awesome bangs and braces!