Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Finding Our Groove September 11, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 3:35 pm

We’ve wrapped up two weeks of homeschooling now! We have found our groove with the school schedule. Now I’m looking at my life as a whole and trying to fine-tune the rest of my time beyond school. But first, let’s chat about homeschooling! There is a lot that is working well for us with this new school year.

The school day starts with a discussion of the date and weather. We say the Pledge of Allegiance before separating. Graham goes to play and Owen goes to the table. I figure since Owen is a grade school student, he should go first. When Owen is finished with his daily lessons, we move on to reading and art with Graham. Graham has his preschool lesson after art. We are doing structured school Monday through Thursday mornings. Fridays will be flexible for outings, projects, and catch-up assignments. Since Jeremy’s day off is Friday this allows us to include him in our more hands-on school days.

I’ve enjoyed the pace of our school days and the curriculum we are using. Like pieces of a puzzle all coming together, it’s been fun to watch our school days unfold. After all the research and determining what direction we will go with for school, it’s rewarding to see it come to life successfully.

Being an introverted, homeschool mom in the midst of a pandemic has it’s struggles. The biggest struggle being the lack of solitude. I strive to have healthy habits. I’m investing in my faith, my health, my community, and my family. I do all of these things with a low to high level of chaos in the background. While I prefer structure, most of my solitude is spontaneous. This week that looked like a bubble bath before a big meeting, the boys drawing with chalk at Grandma’s house while I made dinner, and returning a book to the library by myself. I have to seize the quiet moments when they come my way!

I also realize that I’m using some new muscles or rusty ones (mentally that is). School is going well, but it is still new territory for me. I’m adjusting to the energy output. MOPS & MOMSnext is also launching this month. I’m active on Facebook and I’m Zooming again for this group. The summer was a nice break and now I’m finding my way leading an online group that was never intended to be entirely virtual. These things take up more brain space right now. Lord willing, these activities will eventually quiet down and become more familiar, which should mean less energy needed.

Right now I’m celebrating that homeschooling is doable. I am looking forward to launching MOPS & MOMSnext. I’m also praying for all these fires in the PNW to cease and for the smoke to clear so that the air can be healthy. My husband is hoping for the fire danger to go down so he can safely participate in hunting season. September is often a month of adjustment. Back to school, back to MOPS & MOMSnext, hunting season – these things happen every year. While I appreciate the predictability of their recurrence, it still takes time to find our groove.

We have a new hobby in the Scott household! Rock tumbling!
Friday fun! We kicked off Labor Day Weekend by hiking up Mt. Rainier (again). This time we made it to Panorama Point and a bit beyond. This hike is listed as strenuous and is probably not one I will repeat in my lifetime, but I followed my boys up the mountainside to make their dream come true.
A little ways above Panorama Point with the Tatoosh Range in the background.
Eventually the hike up to Panorama Point leads you beyond the tree line, but right here – this is one of my favorite parts of the hike! The alpine flowers smelled so good!
Mt. Rainier gets more impressive the closer you get!
Not a bad view!
Life with Graham!
Lamby and Benny got ready for fall!
Apple Stamping
Jeremy helped me up my Zoom lighting game with a flood light from the garage. I might have been seeing spots by the end of my meeting!
My flowers were starting to fade so I made a smaller arrangement. Just as pretty!
Fall crafting!
A moment of self-care! Getting a treat while running errands kid-free!
 

The Great Homeschool Adventure Begins September 3, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 12:10 pm

If you’ve been following my blog throughout the pandemic, you know that education has been on the forefront of my mind. I’ve spent months reading books about homeschooling. I asked homeschool friends for their opinions and recommendations. I’ve watched YouTube videos to look inside curriculum. I was contemplating homeschooling for the 2020-2021 school year and I wanted to be prepared. Jeremy and I agreed that we wouldn’t make a decision until we heard the final plan from our school district. Patience isn’t easy for me and it was a long wait before we heard from the school district on what the official plan for the school year would be.

The fateful day arrived the day before our Yellowstone vacation. We heard the distance learning plan from our school district and decided that it wasn’t for us. I love our school district. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with the staff and teachers. No matter what option we decided for schooling this year, our boys would have been in good hands. I believe that. I hope that our kids will return to our school district in the future. When it comes down to it, I’m not a fan of digital learning for primary grades. Owen would have been issued a Chromebook with apps he needed loaded. He would have had a daily Zoom schedule. He would have been watching recorded lessons from his teacher. I applaud our the district for doing the best they can with what they’ve got. I know that teachers are working harder than ever this year. But it’s still not what I would prefer for learning. If my kiddos are going to be home with me during the day, I want flexibility over their schedule. Homeschooling allows us to move at our own pace and have outings whenever they fit best with our schedule.

Once we made the decision to homeschool Owen, it made sense that we would do the same for Graham. I’ve loved the years that our kids have spent at the Bethel Kids Learning Center. They both learned and grew so much through their time there. We’ve kept our social circles small and the idea of introducing Graham to a classroom full of kids didn’t sit well with me. Let’s be honest, daycare centers and preschools are germ factories. New procedures are in place to keep families healthy, but it still wasn’t enough for me (I say “me” because I am much more germophobic than Jeremy, but he does a wonderful job of listening and supporting my preferences).  Graham has gone through 6 months of preschool at BKLC and by the end of January he will have worked through 4 different preschool/pre-k workbooks. If he has the concepts masters, I am hopeful we can start him on a gentle kindergarten program for the second half of the school year. Again, this is the bonus that homeschooling brings. We can be flexible and work at the pace that is best for each student.

After all the pro/con lists, all the research, all the prayers, we are officially homeschooling! Monday was an introduction to school day. I laid out all the school books on the counter so the kids could flip through them. We talked about our new schedule and school expectations (no pajamas being the biggest change). We did a craft and read a magazine. We took school pictures. It was a simple start to the school year. Tuesday began the official school year with textbooks open and pencils to paper. The first day went well. It was super encouraging to my soul. We can do this! The rest of the week was just as great as the first day.  My confidence in this decision is growing! I am thankful for such a positive start and I am optimistic for our school year!

This school year was going to be different no matter what decision we made. I am still mourning the fact that my kids won’t have the pre-k and first grade years I would have hoped for them. I am excited about new possibilities, though. I’ve always wondered about homeschooling. Doing school from home this spring went so well that it gave me the courage to do it for this school year. Without a pandemic, I would have never tried this option. I am thankful for the ability to be home with my kids. I will admit that I have doubts and fears, but I also know that no matter what this year looked like I would have been nervous at the start. Change always makes me nervous. My nerves are a reminder to trust God. He’s got this! I believe with God’s help we will find our groove. Soon we will be established in our new normal. I will keep you posted as the great homeschool adventure unfolds!

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Homeschool introduction day on Monday!

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First Day of Pre-k

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First Day of First Grade

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I needed a blindfold for a game. It turns out face masks make great blindfolds!

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Learning right alongside my kids! These are my doggie doodles!

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Cotton Candy Sunset

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Excited to add these new UBAM books to our school resources!

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Finally ironed on their Junior Ranger badges on to their Junior Ranger shirts from Yellowstone! So official!

 

Yellowstone Road Trip August 23, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 10:58 am

Back in December, we made plans with my family to go on a road trip to Yellowstone this summer. We had some concern that the pandemic would cancel our plans. This was actually the 4th trip that my family has planned to Yellowstone – the first three were canceled, so it seemed possible that this 4th attempt would also be foiled. Thankfully, we were able to make it and what a trip it was!

Our mornings were early, our days were long, but each day was worth the effort! The boys love nature and trails, so add geothermal sites and it was the perfect park of the kiddos to explore. I loved walking the geyser basins in the cool of the morning with the steam pouring out of the springs and geysers. The sight of steam billowing over the landscape was awe-inspiring and never got old! We also really enjoyed visiting Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. God’s creation is beautiful and powerful! We spotted animals like elk and bison throughout the park. We never saw a bear, but multiple times we were very close and had just missed sightings moments before. Jeremy was praying we would see a bear. I was praying that we wouldn’t. I know the boys were bummed that we had no bear sightings, but I was thankful. Bears that aren’t in a zoo setting scare me. Even the bison and elk caused my adrenaline to rush. We were so close to these wild animals!

Yellowstone was the main event on this road trip, but we also saw a few other sights along the way. On our journey to Yellowstone, we stopped at Craters of the Moon National Park. We have visited lava fields and cinder cones in Bend, OR so we knew that this would be a fun stop for the family. We collected lava rocks, climbed a cinder cone, and admired the vast fields of cooled lava.

One of our days in Wyoming was spent driving through Grand Teton National Park. We drove one route through the park into Jackson, WY and then we drove back to our rental house through another park route. The views of the Tetons were stunning. The mountains views on this day of travel are some of my favorite from our whole trip. One of the mountains in the range is named Mt. Owen so that held special meaning to our Owen. We didn’t spend too much time in Jackson, WY. The city was neat, but busy. On our way home, we stopped by Jenny Lake (where we were 100 yards away from a grizzly bear that Wildlife Management was tracking) and Colter Bay.

Our last special stop on the way home was a visit to the Lewis & Clark Caverns. The tour was brief. Due to COVID-19, the tours are limited to one room in the cavern. We were shown the Paradise Room which is impressive. The only downside was we could see the pathways that lead deeper into the caves and we weren’t able to explore them. I guess that gives our family motivation to visit again in the future.

Signs of a pandemic were seen throughout our travels. Masks were worn indoors – regardless of what state we were in. Outdoors we wore masks when distancing wasn’t possible. Mornings were the calmest in the parks, so we were able to roam without too many people nearby. As more people entered the park midday, the more often we had to wear masks. On the cold chilly mornings, wearing a mask actually helped keep our faces warm. When the day heated up, I will say that wearing a mask became less ideal, but we did it. Hand sanitizer was found throughout the parks. We also had stock piles of sanitizer in our vehicles. Overall between masks, sanitizer, and being able to do laundry at our rental house, I felt like we were safe and cautious while traveling.

With all that has been canceled due to COVID-19, I am thankful that this long awaited family trip was able to happen as planned. We caravaned with my parents to and from the park and we met my sister and brother-in-law there. We haven’t had an all-family vacation since Graham arrived in the family. It was fun to show the boys a Vitzthum-style vacation. My dad always packs way too much food. Snacks abounded and dinner was always tasty with many options for everyone! The house we stayed at was the perfect set-up. My sister and her hubby had the upstairs with their own bedroom, bathroom, and loft for their little dog to hang out in during the day. My parents had the master on the main level. Our family had two downstairs bedrooms and a bathroom. The boys had bunk beds to sleep on which are a special treat!

Okay, I could ramble on about the great memories we made and the fun times we had! There is just so much to share after an adventure to Yellowstone. It was a beautiful trip. From geysers to thermal springs to mountains to lakes to rivers and waterfalls – there is something awe-inspiring around every corner! I’m so glad we got to explore this lovely part of God’s creation. God’s artistry through nature never ceases to astound me!

Here is an itinerary of our daily explorations and photos from our adventures:

Day 1: Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Mud Volcano, Hayden Valley, Upper & Lower Yellowstone Falls. Day 2: Lower & Midway Geyser Basins, Artist Paint Pots, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, Roosevelt Arch. Day 3: Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, WY, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay. Day 4: Biscuit Basin, Castle Geyser, West Thumb Geyser Basin, hike to Brink of the Lower Falls.

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Craters of the Moon National Park

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Elk sighting

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Old Faithful

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Bison sighting

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Lower Yellowstone Falls

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Grand Prismatic Spring at the Midway Geyser Basin

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Norris Geyser Basin

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Norris Geyser Basin

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Officially Junior Park Rangers!

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The classic vacation picture!

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Grand Teton National Park

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Such a beautiful drive through the Tetons!

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Visiting Jackson, WY

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Dipping their toes in Jenny Lake

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My hubby walking through the Biscuit Basin on a smokey and steamy morning.

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We were all alone for this walk, but face masks helped keep us warm! 

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Watching Castle Geyser erupt

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Lewis & Clark Caverns 

 

 

A Garage Sale, A Getaway, and Fall Preparations August 9, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Travels — Amy Scott @ 5:45 pm

Life at home on the hill has been quiet. Our days have been spent enjoying the down time that a slow summer affords. We did a have a bit of excitement over the weekend in the way of a garage sale and a getaway trip.

Before COVID-19 was ever on our radar, my friend, Maggie, and I had set a weekend aside for a summer getaway. We did this last year and loved it so much that we are trying to make it an annual tradition. Maggie owns a vintage trailer at the coast and we settled in for two nights away. We ate all our meals at the trailer, we took walks, watched movies, read books, picked blackberries, and talked (a whole lot). We are used to seeing each other every other month for lunch dates, but we haven’t been able to get together since January. This time in person felt long overdue. A weekend away to rest and relax with my forever friend was just what I needed. We were walking back from the beach at twilight and we could see families insides houses enjoying their evenings. The smell of barbecue was on the air and I couldn’t help but smile because it felt like a “normal” summer evening. Sometimes between my isolation at home and what I hear on the news, I think the world is ending and everything is falling apart. Walking home from the beach after sunset, seeing families gathered, being in the company of a good friend – these things were so restorative to my soul.

While I was away at the beach, my boys decided to join a family garage sale. Jeremy and I have never participated in a garage sale before, so this was an entirely new experience for our family. I was able to help my family prepare for the garage sale before I left. Jeremy kept me up to date on the sale happenings. The garage sale did much better than I expected! The boys even walked away with some new math flashcards and a set of kids golf clubs. It was a very positive first garage sale experience!

These quiet days have been good for fall preparation (yay online shopping). We’ve kept tabs on the big school situation and we are fairly confident our boys will be home this school year. We haven’t made any official decisions yet. We are waiting for more details before we make the final call. I do know that more time at home is in our future. Back to school shopping this year looks like new sweatpants, socks, and underwear (not our most glamorous year to prep for, but necessary). With school at home being the our next great adventure, I’ve purchased a daily planner to keep us on track. We have curriculum ready in case we decide to do our own form of school and take a year out of the district. It’s been exciting to dream about what homeschooling will offer our family. Thanks to the garage sale and the fall prep, I’ve been sorting through clothes and getting us ready to be slightly more put together at home this fall. I am not ashamed that we spent our spring/summer mostly in pajamas. Now I have hopes of another comfy season at home, but just not spent in sleepwear. Time to raise our standards a little!

Every time I look at the calendar, I’m blown away that even the quiet days seem to disappear quickly. Summer never lasts forever. This fall will certainly bring change and new adventures. We are doing our best to prepare for them, but at the same time, we are savoring the fact that is still summer. There is still plenty of summer fun to be had!

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

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

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

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We’ve never played with Facebook Messenger for video calling. The boys had so much fun with all the filters! Owen is the pizza face on the left!

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This trailer was the perfect spot for a getaway weekend!

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

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Beach Buddies 

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Such a happy place to be!

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

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

 

Summertime Downtime July 23, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 12:39 pm

I am two weeks post-op and doing well. I had my post-op appointment with my surgeon yesterday and it was wonderful to hear that I am healing well and that this process has finished. I’ll experience discomfort for a few more weeks as my body adjusts, but it should be minor. I’m back to my regular activity level and it’s been such a relief to have this recovery process go better than I expected. I tend to be imagine the worst and I then am pleasantly surprised when the worst doesn’t pan out. I am grateful to have this all behind me.

Because of my recovery, our family has had plenty of downtime these last few weeks. I’ve enjoyed reading (of course) and I’ve started watching a bit more television to help me relax. The boys are swimming every night in the pool. We’ve been doing workbook pages in the mornings, crafts and experiments, and there have been plenty of hours at play.  Jeremy has on the hunt for a small SUV and a great deal. We test drove a Nissan Rogue last week. While we didn’t purchase that vehicle, the test drive was good for our research. We aren’t in a hurry for a new vehicle. I appreciate Jeremy taking his time to search out the best fit for our family and budget.

I’ve enjoyed the slower pace for my recovery season. This week things picked up. I had dinner for the first time with a friend inside a restaurant.  We had a play date at a friend’s house. The one piece of my plans that didn’t pan out this last week was my MOPS & MOMSnext Leadership Retreat. At the last minute, we had to postpone due to unforeseen circumstances. This was a disappointment because I was ready to have the “big” discussion about how our group will operate this coming year. I was looking forward to having it settled. I am still living with the unsettled feeling, but having our conversation in August might give us more clarity. With local guidelines changing every few weeks, we might have more insight closer to our September launch time.

Living with an unsettled feeling seems to be the new normal for me. Like most parents, I am waiting to know what our local school district plans for the fall. I am waiting to settle details for MOPS & MOMSnext. I am aware that cases of COVID-19 are rising in my area. When the world shut down in March, I had no clue that our present reality at the end of July would still be so affected by this virus. It’s hard to live with so many unresolved questions on my mind. I know that I am not alone in this mental struggle. I’ve stopped reading books about homeschooling because constantly contemplating education was making it hard for me to relax. When my anxiety level rises, I pause to journal, read my Bible, and pray. I am reminded that I don’t need all the answers. I know the One who does. Trusting God is a daily decision and sometimes it feels like a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour decision.

What helps with my unsettled feelings is living in the present. I can’t answer questions about tomorrow, next week, next month, the fall. I can make plans, but I have seen how easily they change. Nothing is certain. So I focus on today, on this moment. I read stories to my kids and bake muffins with blueberries from Jeremy’s garden. I read on the deck while my boys swim in the pool. The sweet, slow moments add up and they create momentum. I gain optimism from these good and lovely moments. I count my blessings. I do my best to rest and take of my body and my family. While I would love to know more, I learning contentment. It’s a lesson I never seems to fully master, but it is a good ambition. I will keep practicing.

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

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Love listening Owen read out loud to his brother!

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

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

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

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

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Every night is a pool party at our house!

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Graham gives summer two thumbs up! 

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

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

 

Post-Op Update July 13, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Enjoying fort life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

July is here! July 6, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Learning how to play checkers!

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

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

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Visiting GG!

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

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Happy 4th of July from the Scotts!

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Parachute men are a favorite activity on the 4th!

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Introducing the cousins to the beaver dam!

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Sparkler Time!

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

 

 

Does It Feel Like Summer? June 27, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This feels like summer right here! 

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Family Outing to NW Trek! 

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

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

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

 

Officially Official! We are done! June 22, 2020

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

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

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

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

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Enjoying a stroll to the Beaver Dam

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

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

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

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A visit to Mt. St. Helens

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First family outing in what feels like forever!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Owen lost another tooth!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seriously, this kid! So expressive!

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

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Special sleepover in Mom & Dad’s room!

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Owen accepting his award at school!

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Happy birthday, Grandma!