Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Week Nine at Home: A Thought-Full Week May 16, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 10:57 am

After the busyness of last week, I was ready to settle down into a quiet week. While my calendar wasn’t full, the week didn’t turn into the quiet week that I expected. This was due to my own pondering. I hit some triggers this week that sent me into planning, researching, and mulling mode. The amount of thoughts that bounced around in my brain made the week anything but quiet.

As the leader of a local MOPS & MOMSnext group, I feel a weight of responsibility that I have never felt before. As a group, how do we keep connection strong during a time of distance? How do we keep the natural rhythms of our group as much as possible? How do we wrap up the end of the year well? How do we build momentum for next year when we aren’t even sure what meeting in the fall looks like right now?  I’ve been thinking these thoughts from time to time, but now that there is less than a month left on the MOPS calendar these thoughts all seemed more urgent. My personality type likes to tackle a to-do list. I plot a course and get it done. This is a season where I can’t easily predict the future and my mind has a hard time letting go. I’ve continue to mull over details that I know are unsolveable at this time. As a leader, I don’t want to let my team down and I certainly don’t want to let our community of moms down. I have plans to talk with my co-coordinator next week so I can share the mental load with someone. I need to draw others into the conversation as we face circumstances we never planned for.

Another area of major thought-full-ness for me this week was the pros and cons of homeschooling this fall. We’ve found a good groove for school. I’m loving the pace and the schedule that comes with school at home. I’m loving not having to dash out the door for anything. There is no rush in our lives! The schedule mixed with the positives of homeschooling had me weighing our options seriously. After making a mental list and going back and forth, I sat down to talk with Jeremy about where I finally landed. This whole time Jeremy has been leaning toward public school and I was the one who was unsure. As of now, our plan is to still go with public school in the fall. We want our family to a light in our community. We believe that public school is a place to grow our faith muscles and be the light of Jesus to those around us. I’m sure volunteering will look different next year, but I want to be in the school offering support and hope to the staff and students. This was very important to me and something I was sad let go of when school closed. Now this decision isn’t a final one. We still don’t know what public school looks like in the fall. Our final decision will be influenced what what our district decides to do in September.

With plans to phase back into normal life being discussed, I’m taking this time to think about what life looks like going forward. There are still many unknowns that make planning a challenge. I’m not in a rush to go back to life as it was. I’ve found a sweet spot at home. I’m definitely processing what I am valuing in this current season and how can I take those values with me into the future.  Now enough on all my pondering and wondering. Here are few highlights from the week!

The first highlight of the week was Owen lost his first tooth! It’s been wiggly for weeks and with Jeremy’s help it finally popped out. Now he has another wiggly tooth in the same area. Looks like we are in a new season!

My highlight for the week was assembling thank you gifts for the MOPS & MOMSnext Steering Team. Since we can’t celebrate the end of the year together in person I created a party-in-a-bag for them. It took me over 5 hours, but I was able to deliver the gifts to each team member. I didn’t get to see all the ladies, but I saw most of them for a few short minutes. Seeing their faces made my heart happy. I also really enjoyed the quiet time in the van to listen to worship music and be with Jesus. After all the noise in my head this last week, I finally felt peace in my spirit. Also, I was glad to see that I still remember how to drive. It had been almost two months since I was last behind the wheel. Turns out it’s like riding bike – it all came back to me!

I never know what the vibe of each week will be. Life certainly hasn’t been boring in my little corner of the world. I’ll keep working on taking things one day at time and trusting God with all the unknowns.

UQXW0259

Owen’s 1st Lost Tooth!

IMG_E5115

Mini-bottle of sparkling cider + rainbow chip mug cake + pinata ornament + party hat + noisemaker = party in a bag!

IMG_5095

We had a popsicle themed week!

IMG_5108

Homemade juice pops!

IMG_5133

Pom Pom Popsicle

IMG_5143

Pom Pom Popsicle

IMG_5122

Using the sliding door as a white board

IMG_5156

These are the moments I end up filming when my husband is on video announcements.  Bath tub full of bubbles, industrial bubble maker on, and the Rubber Ducky song playing in the background.

IMG_5158

The next installment of fresh flowers! I’m loving this new tradition. Flowers on the counter bring me so much joy!

IMG_5162

Jeremy’s latest project! It’s not completed, but I had to share his hard work! I’m amazed at all he is doing around our house! Also, notice the grass is coming in where he took out part of the flower bed!

 

Week Eight at Home: The Busiest One Yet! May 10, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 6:26 pm

It’s crazy to say, but this last week was a busy week! I haven’t had one of those in a long time! While it wasn’t pre-pandemic busy, it was busy enough. It made me appreciate the quieter moments. I am truly thankful the change of pace this season at home has brought. I’m reminded that as we phase back into “normal” life, I might not want to be as busy as before. I’ve found peace and contentment in this new pace. With that being said, here are highlights from our busy week.

Monday was a MOPS day for me. My monthly steering team meeting happened through Facebook posts to discuss the end of the year and we also met via Zoom in the evening. Half of the team wanted to meet through Facebook and the other half wanted Zoom so I opted to do both. I learned the hard way that this makes the day feel like I did double the meetings. It was good to connect with my team, but it took more energy that I had anticipated.

Tuesday was a meal/gift delivery to friends who are home from the hospital with their twin baby boys. The family was on the front deck when I dropped off the food at their door and I waved at them from a distance. It was so hard not to snuggle a tiny baby (or in this case – two)!

Wednesday was a full day! I had an appointment in Olympia so the whole family joined to make it an outing. The boys sat with Jeremy in the van during my appointment and then I sat with the boys while Jeremy ran into a few stores. Our big treat was getting Chipotle for lunch and eating it in the van. We got home in time for me to have a coffee date with a friend via Zoom. This was my first time using Zoom for a coffee date and it was delightful! After the coffee date, our family jumped into the van to do a birthday drive-by celebration for one of the girls in my Wednesday night class. It made my heart so happy to celebrate this lovely young lady and to see her family for a few brief minutes.

Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. Jeremy watched a local prayer gathering at home before heading into work. I got to have a phone date with a friend during nap time. Later that evening, I joined Jeremy on the couch to watch what our fellowship called a Sacred Assembly. It was a day to remember we are all in this together and the power of prayer. It was also the kick-off to our weekend. Since the boys had another great week of school, they got to have a sleepover again. This time Graham got to host the shindig in his bedroom.

Friday and Saturday had less of an agenda for me – mostly housework and books on my to-do list. Jeremy is always conquering a project and the big project for the weekend was setting up a swimming pool that was gifted to us. Owen learned a lesson in patience (aka a watched pool never fills). Jeremy learned a lesson in chemicals and well water. Unfortunately, the iron in water our reacted with the pool chemicals. Jeremy spent most of the weekend filtering out the rust color to return the water to a more appealing color.  One highlight of Saturday was getting to attend the wedding of the worship pastor at our church via Zoom. I was supposed to help coordinate her big church wedding this weekend, but obviously plans changed. It was great to still be a part of her special day even if it was through a screen.

And that leads us to today! Mother’s Day! It’s been a day filled with special moments! Church online in the morning, picnic lunch in the yard with my parents, gift delivery to Jeremy’s mom, two birthday (at a distance) hellos and then take-out for dinner. I’m a pretty easy girl to please. My family showered me with my favorite foods (chocolate cake and macaroni & cheese), books and flowers! I’m so thankful for my family. I’m honored to be the mama of my two wild boys. They keep me on my toes and make life an adventure.

And now we head into week nine at home. I expect it to be a slower one than last week. I’m very much okay with that. It took a few weeks (okay, months), but I’m feeling pretty settled in this new quarantine life. Oh, and Benny the Betta is still alive. Life is good!

IMG_4808

Adding a little flare to Cinco de Mayo. Always looking for something to celebrate!

IMG_4810

My first time out in the real world on Wednesday. I can’t say I love this look.

IMG_4811

Hanging in the van!

IMG_4812

Hello Chipotle! I’ve missed you!

IMG_E4822

Coffee Date!

IMG_4829

Science activities!

IMG_4857

Owen wanted to read Graham a book he made before bed. So sweet!

IMG_4862

Sleepover in Graham’s room!

CLJM1997

When I tell them to look at each other and laugh! Haha! This sums up their relationship fairly well. Mostly happy and loud!

IMG_4972

Wished a couple of special family members happy  birthday from a distance!

EKMC4470

The progression of the pool water! So glad it’s clear again!

OERJ5674

We are ready for the summer pool parties!

IMG_4957

This cake with lunch and mac & cheese for dinner! Perfect food day! Also, loved the flowers, cards, and books I received as gifts!

RDMM1793

Life with these boys is a wild adventure! So glad I’m their mama!

 

Week Seven at Home: Change and Rewards May 2, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 3:36 pm

When school closed in March, I created a schedule for our weekdays to accommodate school at home. I, personally, thrive with a schedule. I knew that my boys were used to following a classroom schedule at school. I agree with the opinion that structure brings freedom. Our days might be predictable, but the flow we’ve created is important. The boys know what to expect and what it is next. The schedule is a guideline. It’s not household law, not written in stone. It is flexible and adaptable. I’m certainly learning as I go!

A month into our time at home, I decided to give Graham more structure to his schoolwork. Up until that point, I’d been printing busy work to keep Graham occupied while I focused on Owen’s kindergarten work. I ordered Graham a preschool workbook and was surprised to see him dive into it with enthusiasm. He has impressed me with his attitude and aptitude. Graham’s workbook is bright, colorful and easy because it’s for a preschooler. However, it turns out it’s also extremely distracting to a kindergartner who is working on black and white worksheets. For two weeks, I struggled with Owen being distracted by Graham’s work. I would stop to explain something to Graham and Owen would just freeze. He’d quit doing his work and just start watching Graham. It was perplexing to me that Owen went from being able to do his own work in a classroom of twenty-one students to needing me to watch him write every letter or number. The second I stopped watching him, he stopped working. Why?  I have no clue. I’ll be honest, my frustration level rose. I wasn’t doing well teaching two learning levels at the same time.

This led me to make a change. I rearranged our homeschool schedule to allow for one-on-one time at the table to do age specific work with each boy. Our day starts together on the rug in the living room – we talk about the date, the weather, say the pledge of allegiance, we pray together, and we sing and dance to worship songs on YouTube.  Then we divide up to do table work. One child gets alone time to play while the other gets one-on-one time to do schoolwork. There is value in giving individual attention to each boy. There is also value in giving space so they can have time alone. In a season where we are together a lot, this new structure adds two elements that have been missing. After we’ve worked at the table, we come back together on the couch to read books and do 10 minutes of educational apps (IXL or ABCmouse). We close our school time with a craft or science activity and play a board game. All of this happens in less than two hours a morning.

This was our first week with the new flow and it worked well. I told the boys if we had four good days of school in a row then they could have a special sleepover in Owen’s room on Thursday night. They did a great job rising to the occasion. The reward at the end of the week helped them to embrace the change with positive attitudes. Throughout this process of schooling at home, I’ve made changes along the way. I often wonder about what my boys will remember from this time. I’m doing my best to make sure it’s as positive as possible. The sleepover reward at the end of the week was a major success and they are already hopeful that they can earn another sleepover next week.

We are also celebrating another reward becoming a reality in our household. Owen has been saving money since the beginning of the year. At the beginning of April, he latched on to the idea of buying a fish. He worked hard to do extra chores around the house and prove he is responsible. We told Owen that he wouldn’t be able to go into a pet store until May and that he would need to work hard and be patient. With the announcement that the stay home order is extended through May 31st in Washington State, we knew our six year old would have a hard time waiting until June to go to the pet store.

I started to explore a way to get Owen his desired fish by sending Jeremy into a pet store and then video chatting with Owen so he could select his fish. After calling multiple pet stores, I soon realized that most aren’t carrying live fish at this time. It was a shocking discovery. Owen was concerned, but I’ve been impressed with his readiness to accept current conditions. He knows that things are different right now. After talking with three pet stores, I finally found one locally that had betta fish in stock. So to stimulate the local economy and for the mental health of our six year old, we went fish shopping. Jeremy video chatted with Owen so that Owen could have the joy of selecting the exact fish he wanted. We got a new tank, some fish food and took off for home with Benny the Betta in tow. I’ll keep you posted on the new adventures of Benny (may he live long and prosper).

It seems like each week brings change to process. The world is different these days and we are adapting. While I’m usually not a fan of change, I am thankful for how rewarding these changes can be. We are working hard, doing the best we can, and celebrating the wins as they come!

IMG_4575

Love looking out the window at my boys playing together. They aren’t perfect, but I’m so glad they have each other!

IMG_4584

Super into geography right now thanks to their favorite YouTube channel. 

IMG_E4588

First MOPS & MOMSnext Zoom Meeting! It was so great to see all these lovely faces!

JUJS8040

Owen’s class assignment for the week was to make a terrarium! We call this Bunnies in a Cactus Garden.

IMG_4652

Using my knees as a head rest!

LHVA4266

Special sleepover as a reward for a good week of school.

IMG_4686

While the Governor talks, I bake. 

IMG_4752

More change! We changed the layout of our front flower beds.  We took out the corner bed and now have grass seed down. Jeremy joked that we’ll need before and after quarantine photos of our property! My hubby keeps tackling project after project! 

IMG_4759

Meet Benny the Betta!

 

Week Six at Home: Celebrating the Earth April 25, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 1:20 pm

I’m looking for all the ways to celebrate these days – big and small. With this in mind, I decided to turn Earth Day into a week long celebration! Here some of the highlights from our sixth week at home:

KEVH6530

Jeremy completed his fence with an arbor the entrance!

IMG_4422

Earth Week Activity: Making planters out of milk jugs.

IMG_4440

Earth Week Activity: Watering the newly planted flowers.

IMG_4456

Earth Week Activity: Nature Scavenger Hunt

FUNF0495

The beginnings of a tree fort! Jeremy continually wins the coolest parent award!

SYFT5036

Tree Fort!

LQMT8110

All celebrations deserve cake! I had fun creating this special treat for Earth Day. I even had enough batter to make the moon just for fun!

IMG_4472

Earth Week Activity: Earth Paintings

IMG_E4485

Earth Week Activity: Earth Paintings

IMG_4488

Trying a new cookie recipe. We made these as a special gift for Owen’s teacher since sugar cookies are her favorite.

IMG_4496

Tin foil boats!

XZTU5177

Take-out makes us very happy!

IMG_4533

Owen’s teacher made a home delivery to drop off his items from school. It brought some closure to the school year to say good-bye in person. I am continually sad about how this school year ended even though we are making the most of the situation.

TMFD5621

Celebrating Aunt Beckie’s graduation from nursing school!

 

 

Week Five at Home: Embracing the New Normal April 18, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 6:17 pm

Well, here we are. Five weeks at home completed. After the excitement of Holy Week, we’ve fallen back into the calmness that is our day-to-day routine. Once the decision to close schools for the year was made, I could feel a release within me. I was disappointed to hear this news, but at the same time, it set me free from the last concern I had in my heart. Until the announcement was made, I had a source of anxiety – would they or wouldn’t they close schools? While wondering does me no good, I couldn’t help but do it. With the answer to that question, I was able to release that wonder from my mind and settle into the new normal that will now be the end of the school year for my boys.

IMG_E4229

On Monday, we picked up Owen’s next school packet. I am thankful for a district that is providing screen-free learning. I am thankful for sitting down at the table with my kids and doing schoolwork with a pencil and paper – just like they would at school and just like I would prefer if I had chosen homeschooling. We use four different educational apps throughout the course of the week, but they are a small amount of our school time. Our school district also provided Owen with a bag of school supplies to accomplish his work at home. Graham started his new preschool workbook on Monday and he is doing well with it each morning (better than I expected). I’m glad I have these resources as I work in this new endeavor of school from home.

IMG_4228

Owen’s spring portrait from school

The last week has been fairly routine. School, chores, free time, rest, outside time, meals as a family, walks at the end of the day. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Jeremy got the boys up early on Thursday morning to see the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Owen was so excited that he barely slept a wink the night before. He was sitting up in bed when Jeremy came to get him up. Owen was ready to go! It was a special experience and a memory was certainly made. The boys were extra tired that day, but it was well worth it to have a space adventure.

IMG_4321

My special project for the week was making a teaching video for my MOPS & MOMSnext group. Last week we had a discussion question that asked the ladies what would they teach if they had the chance.  We had so many great responses that we challenged our ladies to make a video and share it with our group. I made a video about home tidying. It was a lot of fun to work on a project and share something that I enjoy. I had too much footage to post in one video, so I have requests for another episode. I might take that on this next week. Who knew I missed my calling as a reality TV home organizer? Haha!

IMG_4349

Filming in my studio (aka my bedroom)

Jeremy has been busy in project mode around the house. He has been clearing brush around our property and burning the debris. He also built a fence around his garden to keep out the deer. Owen was Jeremy’s prime fence helper. Graham was out in the yard most of the day either helping Jeremy with the fence or helping to move tree debris. Both boys worked so hard that we rewarded them with a meal from McDonald’s as our thank you to them. Owen also had a certain lawn ornament he wanted to purchase for the garden and Jeremy told him he would order it if Owen helped him build the fence. So now we are awaiting the arrival of a Whirligig Lovebird (google it). I love watching my boys out in the yard being so helpful and involved in projects with their dad. Jeremy does such a great job of letting our boys learn alongside him. I feel like the boys are learning their school skills from me right now and they are learning vocational skills from Jeremy. It’s a good combo!

IMG_4335

The start of the fence with the brush debris in the background. This is round two of debris clearing. Jeremy burned an equally massive pile before this one a week ago.

IMG_4358

The fence is almost complete. Jeremy plans on building an arbor over the entrance. Notice the brush in the background is gone!

That wraps up week five at home. I’m looking forward to making Earth Day a special focus of this coming week. With the boys being so into space and planets right now, we are very excited to celebrate our planet. I’m not usually too jazzed about Earth Day, but in this new season, I will look for as many ways to celebrate as possible! There is a blessing to life being small and slow. Instead of needing big, flashy things to get my attention, I can more clearly see and celebrate the smaller things. Every day is a new opportunity and I hope to make the most of each one I’m given!

IMG_4232

Graham found my box of birthday cards and sorted them for me. How helpful!

IMG_4249

We got a new book full of science activities! We’ve been having fun experimenting as a part of our school time.

IMG_4265

All four of us worked on this solar system puzzle! The boys love the fold-out book that came with it!

AVOQ0367

Typing his manifesto. In his swimsuit.

 

Week Four at Home: The Easter Edition April 12, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 6:37 pm

Hello! I hope you’ve had a lovely Easter! Our weekend plans were very different from the usual hustle on Easter weekend. While I missed gathering with our church family in person, I enjoyed the change of pace to our Easter celebration. We kept up with our church through online gatherings. We participated in a Seder meal experience. We watched Good Friday gatherings together and Easter weekend gatherings. I love seeing our staff get creative during this time.

Along with our church commitments, we did all the fun Easter traditions we could at home. We dyed eggs. We bought white eggs for the first time in months since our chickens are such excellent layers. They produce more eggs than we can eat, but we wanted to do an experiment coloring both white and brown eggs. We did multiple egg hunts around our house. This morning, we did Resurrection Eggs with our boys which share the Easter message through an egg hunt. The boys got Easter baskets and happily played with their new toys and munched on candy. We made flower deliveries to the grandparents and called GG on the phone to wish her a happy Easter. Our family enjoyed a yummy special meal together to complete the holiday. Because it’s such a lovely day here in the PNW, we spent a good amount of time outside just enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.

The whole weekend was special and really did feel like a holiday even though we were at home. My boys have such joy and enthusiasm for celebrating and their joy is contagious! I might be aware of what is missing from our usual Easter weekend, but the boys don’t have a feeling of loss at all. They are happy and blessed – just living in the moment. I am thankful for the way they lead me and show me the right attitude to have during this unique season.

Switching gears… We’ve now completed four weeks at home. I’ve seriously contemplated when I’ll stop counting the weeks. Before it was the countdown back to school opening, but now? What is the end game? I’m not sure. We’ll see when the mental shift happens. I’m still waiting.

April was a busy month for our calendar. Our church hosts many large gatherings for Easter. We had an annual conference with our church network. I had multiple showers – one baby, one bridal – to host/attend. We had a graduation ceremony to attend. The boys were supposed to have Spring Break. It seems like almost every day I think “I would have been doing *insert activity here* today.” While I don’t mind the freedom from the busy calendar, it’s a strange feeling to think of all that would have been and all that didn’t happen.

Tomorrow, we will pick up another homework packet from Owen’s school. We are starting our fifth week of homeschooling. The packet we receive tomorrow will introduce new concepts that Owen would have learned at school this spring. Up to this point, I’ve been trying to decrease brain drain, but I haven’t been teaching Owen anything he didn’t know already. This packet will be a step in the right direction. We will also receive a weekly assignment from his teacher as a way to stay connected to her.

As for Graham’s education, I’m starting to hone in his educational needs more. This last month, I’ve kept Graham busy with school-like work so I could help Owen. I ordered a preschool workbook that will give me more direction. My hope is to move into a teaching mode with Graham and less keeping him occupied/distracted. I will admit that I feel the tension of teaching two kids at different learning levels. I remind myself that I am not alone in this endeavor. I’m working on it. That’s the best I can do and that’s okay.

It seems like each week brings something new to process. It’s almost impossible to plan beyond May 4th. I’m trying to take things day by day, week by week – sometimes minute by minute or hour by hour. There is so much to be thankful for. Our family had a lovely week celebrating Easter together. In light of all that is going in the world, I am ever more thankful for the hope I have in Jesus. I am thankful that I had extra time with my family during Holy Week. We are making the most of the moments, making memories, and rising to the occasion. While this strange season has its difficulties, I’m choosing to find beauty and joy in these circumstances.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13

VCOD2940

Playing his violin for Palm Sunday worship!

IMG_3890

The boys and I helped Jeremy film his sections for the Seder meal. I’m sure my boys will remember making videos as a family as a part of this time at home.

ARAG8983

Meanwhile… baking might be my coping mechanism.

IMG_3982

Seder dinner with our church family… and Zerg & Alien.

SUUZ8910

First s’more of the season! So good!

HJMJ3726

Coloring eggs!

BAJP2268

Fresh flowers for Easter and the colored eggs. So pretty!

JUCZ4944

Before the egg hunt

RLUJ8010

During the egg hunt

AMJE8439

After the egg hunt

IMG_4123

Virtual egg hunt at our church

IMG_4129

Easter basket time!

IMG_4148

Resurrection Eggs

ISLM1142

Happy Easter from the Scotts!

VWLR9680

Best Buds!

PMWX9305

Anyone else notice that Graham has become the master of the closed mouth smile?

IMG_E4226

Making Easter special with yummy food! We’ll be eating leftovers for days!

 

Week Three At Home: Feeling Like Groundhog’s Day… April 4, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 9:00 am

We’ve now accomplished three weeks at home with another month still ahead. The days are starting to feel a bit like Groundhog’s Day. Once the morning routine of getting ready, tidying bedrooms, and eating breakfast is finished, we jump into school. Then it’s time to do a chore, eat lunch, and head into quiet time. After we’ve rested, it’s free time, dinner time, and family time. Repeat. Friday and Saturdays are school-free. Sunday mornings are spent in the living room watching church online. Repeat the week. 

I’ve found myself interested more than ever in social media. What is everyone up to these days? I’m curious because I miss people and because I’m looking for inspiration for new things I can try at home. I lack new content to share on my social media pages right now. I can only post so many pictures of school being done at the table, the boys playing games, and outside time. With so much sameness in each day, I’m not feeling too original. I realize that this is not a big deal. So what if we’re doing the same things on repeat? They are good things. We are trying our best to make healthy choices and enjoy our time as a family. This new routine might not be flashy or glamorous, but it is good. It’s working. We’re doing the best we can and that’s all that matters.

Despite my curiosity with social media, I have found a growing tension. I’ve noticed a theme where a topic is presented in two extremes. Here are some examples. People are sharing about homeschooling and there are counter-posts about not schooling at home during this period of time. People are sharing the ways they are working out and staying healthy during this time and there are posts asking people to stop sharing their workout videos. Yesterday I saw a post about choosing joy and then another post about stopping the spread of false joy. It seems like there are mixed messages.

Here is my take on the tension – let’s offer love and grace right now. People are posting about what they value, what they are passionate about, what is helping them get through this season, and how they are feeling. We are all making different choices based on what we can handle and what is best for our ourselves and our families. Hearts are tender – at least I know mine is. I want love and grace to be what I share with others, even if they are making different choices than me. If the tension becomes too great, I will scale back my exposure or step away from social media. This would be my suggestion to anyone who is frustrated, overwhelmed, or annoyed with the content that is coming up in their social media feeds. I quickly learned that I could only access news updates once or twice a day. I can only absorb so much. Now I feel like the same might true of social media. 

My hope and prayer right now is that we will find ways to stand on common ground. While we might be separated by distance, may our hearts not become distant. This is such a unique time to sift through all the noise in our lives. We decide which voices we will let be the loudest. I am praying for health – both physical and mental. I am praying for strength and endurance has we continue this marathon. I am praying for joy – in the small, ordinary moments. It will be so interesting to see what the takeaways will be on the other side of this crisis. I remain hopeful for the future – even if the foreseeable future looks a lot like Groundhog’s Day.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

My Groundhog’s Day Photo Reel:

IMG_3478

You will notice that we are living in the same few sets of pajamas these days. They are washed daily and put right back on.

IMG_3627

Owen has started naming craters on the moon. So far he has named the pickle crater and the cotton ball crater.

IMG_3630

Working on an April Showers activity with washable markers and water droppers.

IMG_3636

The water droppers were so much fun that I gave them two cups and let them squirt water from one cup to the other. They loved it!

IMG_3640

Making a private phone call in the minivan since my usual spot phone call spot was occupied!

IMG_3643

What my mornings look like – school supplies laid out on the counter so I’m ready for each activity.

KYIF6211

Chicken adoration time!

MHZL6679

Graham was brave and petted Perch!

IMG_3668

Owen’s solar system set up!

 

Like A Spring Day April 1, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 7:03 pm
IMG_3621

One of the many moments of hail this week.

Our spring days this week have been quite the roller-coaster. One minute it’s beautifully sunny with blue sky then the clouds turn dark and it’s pouring rain and hailing. This pattern repeats itself throughout the day. Sunny and cheerful to dark and gloomy and back again. I feel my own emotions reflected in the ever-changing weather. At moments, I am sunny and positive. It’s like a breath of fresh air. I can do this. At other moments, I am stormy and gray. My emotions are dark. The blue skies are hidden from view. I can rotate through these very different outlooks in a matter of minutes. 

As I wrestle with all these thoughts and emotions, I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone. Everyone I’ve talk with about this analogy has been able to relate. While I am isolated in my home, I am not isolated in my feelings. Many others understand right where I am at and that helps me make peace with the whirlwind inside me.

Monday was a hard day for me. It was the day I noticed my heart reflecting the weather. I sat down to journal my thoughts because I figured it would be healthy to write down some of the emotions I was carrying. As I was writing, I could feel panic rising within me. Normally writing helps me process, but this wasn’t working as planned. I was being stirred up instead of calmed down. I needed a new plan.

As my husband’s work day wrapped up, I shared with him that I needed to get out of the house. He agreed and before long we had our family loaded up and heading to McDonald’s (don’t judge). My family ordered meals, I ordered a chocolate milkshake and ate Owen’s chicken nuggets. As the boys happily munch and played with new toys, Jeremy drove us around back roads. It wasn’t a long outing, but it was a game changer. It was the reset I needed.

I don’t mind time at home. My home is my happy place, but this is the first time that I have ever spent this much time at home. I’m realizing that while I’m good with spending long periods of time at home, I do need small windows were I get out. I used to schedule one day a week were I intentionally stayed home. Now I’ll need to have one a day week where I intentionally get out of the house. What a flip! For the first week home, the boys and I stopped by the office to say hi to Jeremy (this was before the stay home order in our state). For the second week at home, we drove to pick up a homework packet from Owen’s school. This week it was the drive to McDonald’s and taking the long way home.

IMG_3616

Sometimes mental health looks like a milkshake and taking the long way home!

I’m learning about myself through these new circumstances. It is a journey of self-discovery going through these new waters. I’ve found myself slow to jump into big projects or to schedule video meetings. I needed time to absorb the changes to my world and figure out my new priorities. At first, I went into family protection mode – how can I make this okay for my boys? How do I make our home the haven it needs to be for our family? I truly feel that my biggest responsibility is now within the walls of my house. The responsibilities of school, faith, family and friendship all happen here now. I want to make the most of this unique opportunity.

It seems like the world has slowed down and sped up at the same time. I’ve been bombarded with nonstop online content at my disposable. Suddenly every ministry and organization has videos to watch and articles to read. Calendars are being filled with phone calls and video conferences. These are all good things, but I’ve hit a sensory overload of screen time and information absorption. I can only handle so much. I don’t want to waste the gift of this season. There is always something I could be doing – a new project to start, another person to connect with. But I also know that I am a finite being. I am processing a major shift in my world. It’s okay to scale back. I want to keep the main thing the main thing. And right now that is my family.

I want to make meals and eat around the table. I want to do chores as a family. I want to read books, do art projects, and help my boys do school from our dining room table. I want to help my husband with his creative ideas. I want to support him as he learns his new schedule as well. I want to watch to TV and just generally enjoy being together for this season. Home takes top priority. And so does mental health. I will do my best to be happy at home while occasionally driving to get milkshakes.

In the stormy moments, when it feels like life is a down pour and the hail is hammering the ground, I will remind myself that the sun is just behind those clouds. If I give it a minute, the storm will clear and the light will shine again. I will find a break in the rain, a breath of fresh air, and hopefully a second-wind to keep going.

Here are the a few Bible verses I’ve been keeping close on hand these days:

Psalm 33:4 ~ For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.

Proverbs 3:5 ~ Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Psalm 23:1-3 ~ The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

 

The Ups and Downs of Week Two at Home March 27, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 12:27 pm

Last week was truly a remarkable start to our time at home. I was in crisis management mode and threw myself 150% into making things as okay as possible. I’m not sure if the extra stress and energy I used caught up with me, but I woke up on Saturday with a migraine. I  randomly have one or two a year. The only solution is to sleep them off. Unfortunately, I spent the entire day in bed last Saturday. It was extremely disappointing and I felt like my body was really letting me down. I’m not going to pretend like everything is okay. Everyone knows that things are crazy right now. I can’t pretend to be unaffected.

I assumed that things would improve this week as I adjusted to our new normal, but that was a false assumption. I’m good at false assumptions these days. When the world started to change, I envisioned life getting smaller and slower, but still including people. I saw myself having a few play dates, maybe having family over for dinner, or hosting church for a small group in our house. I saw our family going on special outings to fill the time. None of these assumptions have panned out. There have been so many small disappointments to absorb. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t taking its toll. 

Despite the disappointments, I am incredibly grateful for how week two at home has gone. The boys continue to do well with our new schedule. We’ve found a good flow. They are excited for school each day. Since we are doing school only a few hours a day, it’s very manageable (and fun). The boys have had plenty of time to play inside and outside. Even with the rainy weather, we’ve all been outside everyday. You can’t keep us indoors! I’m enjoying the fresh air and exercise daily. My fitbit is very happy with me!

Wednesday was Jeremy’s 39th birthday. I’m so glad it wasn’t the big 4-0 because I hope to make that birthday a big deal. 39 can be quiet, but 40 needs to be extra special! Jeremy was working from home that day. He worked on a film project with a special friend, Wilson (think Castaway). He included the whole family in his creative project. We hope that his video will be included in our church’s video announcements this Sunday. It was fun to have a family project to work on and the boys love Wilson. To celebrate Jeremy, we gave him birthday cards from each of us. For our school craft, we baked treats and read a book about making a birthday cake. My parents dropped off pizza for us at the door. We sent home pieces of dessert with them. I was bummed that the birthday celebration had to be small, but Jeremy had a great attitude. I’m thankful that we got extra time with him on his special day.

My mental countdown is to April 27th when hopefully my boys will be back at school. Right now in Washington State, we are under a “Stay home, Stay Healthy” order that lasts for two weeks. The order to stay home didn’t really change all that much for the boys and me. We’ve been home and we will continue to be home. We are 1/3 of the way through our school break. After this next week, we’ll be half way done! There are so many things to be thankful for right now. I’m thankful that our family took a drive to pick up a kindergarten homework packet on Tuesday. I got to see the outside world and have a quick conversation with non-relatives. I’m thankful for the fun mail the boys got from Nana & Papa yesterday with projects and a game to keep them busy. I’m thankful for pizza leftovers. I’m thankful for Jeremy’s birthday and reasons to celebrate.

I’m learning as a go. I’m hoping I can work through the stress in a healthy way. I’m allowing myself to rest more. I’m spending time in my Bible and praying. I’m memorizing Scripture. I savor the few quiet moments as I find them. I couldn’t sustain 150% effort for six weeks. I’m learning how to stay engaged without overdoing it. This isn’t a short sprint, this is a marathon. I want to finish well at the end of this extreme season.

IMG_3212

Apparently collecting tadpoles is an annual experiment for our family. This is our third year! 

HZQD7129

Church from home with the family. It was a special treat to sit with Jeremy through an entire gathering. Owen sang at the top of his lungs during worship. I almost couldn’t sing because I was fighting back tears. 

IMG_3256

Jeremy was able to get so much yard work done during the nice weather. The house looks great. Here are the boys enjoying some outside time and checking on the tadpoles.

IMG_3291

Owen is Jeremy’s shadow. Owen is always close beside Jeremy when he is home.

YBLH3156

The rain can’t keep us inside!

IMG_3319

Rainy days call for blanket forts!

IMG_3330

Working from home is easy, right?

IMG_3380

Family dinner with Wilson

CHWJ4752

Happy birthday, Jeremy!

IMG_E3407

ABC Activities

IMG_3441

Helping Jeremy make video announcements

IMG_3452

A new shark game from Nana & Papa!

IMG_3456

Nana & Papa got Owen a space science kit. He is in heaven!!! 

 

Week One at Home! March 20, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 9:20 am

On Thursday, March 12th, I had a friend over in the morning with her son. My friend and I talked on the couch while her son played happily in the playroom. It was nice to catch up and enjoy community together. We talked briefly about the coronavirus, but it wasn’t our main topic of discussion. It’s crazy the difference a day makes. I had no clue on the March 12th all that would unfold on the March 13th. I heard people making jokes about Friday the 13th, but I put no stock in such superstitions. And then it seemed that everything changed on that Friday the 13th.

We’ve had one week of our new routine and so far, so good! The weather has been sunny and that is a huge part of this week’s success. The boys have had plenty of outside time to play. We’ve found a good flow with doing schoolwork in the mornings, resting in the afternoons, and playing in the evenings. The days have been different, but different isn’t bad. This change has been good.

Our two hour window for school includes reading, writing, math, crafts, music, games and exercise. We pause for snacks. I’ll stop to move the laundry along. It’s been a relaxed pace with no stress, rush, or deadlines. Our extra free time has been spent outside. Next week when the rain comes back, we’ll focus on building blanket forts, watching movies, baking together. Next week is also Jeremy’s birthday, so we can pour ourselves into birthday prep – making cards, making a special dessert, decorating the house to celebrate.

We’ve celebrated as much as possible this last week. St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring gave us plenty to get excited about! For St. Patrick’s Day, we watched a video about St. Patrick and why we celebrate him. We also watched a Riverdance video and a time-lapse video of dying the Chicago River green (that was the favorite). I’ve been playing instrumental music around the house, so on Tuesday we listened to Celtic/Irish music. We did some St. Patrick’s Day coloring sheets. I attempted to dye as many things possible green at dinner, but the boys weren’t a fan. Graham did eat the green pancakes, but passed on the green eggs. Our small gift to the boys for St. Patrick’s Day was a set of glow in the dark stars for their bedrooms. Since they glow green, Jeremy and I felt like the gift was on theme. The stars were a big hit and the boys enjoyed putting them up on their walls.

The first day of spring was a little less exciting than St. Patrick’s Day. Our craft for the day was supposed to be painting flowers, but the boys wanted to paint space images instead. I didn’t mind since they were being creative. We read a book about apples growing (starting at blossoms in spring) and played Hi-Ho Cherrio (math). We talked about the cycle of the seasons and how everything is waking up and coming alive again. Once it warmed up, we went outside to document signs of spring. We found flowers, seed pods and a few green leaves starting to form on trees.

When I look at the week we’ve had, I am hopeful for the remaining weeks ahead. We’ve had a great time at home. The boys are living an adventure everyday. I’m thankful for the friendship they share. I’m thankful for the exploration they’ve done in the sunshine. I’m thankful for the time they’ve had to play. The boys know that there is a virus going around that it makes certain people sick. They know that our risk level is low, but we are staying home to make sure other people don’t get sick. The boys aren’t showing signs of stress or fear (they don’t quite understand the magnitude of this crisis). Jeremy and I are careful about our own attitudes and what we are reflecting to the kids. We are trying to make life as normal and as fun as possible right now.

When I first thought about being home for six weeks with the kids, my first concern was their education. I’ve calmed down a bit from the initial concern I felt. I had a friend share that 2-3 hours a week of academic time wards off the brain drain that kids experience over a long break. I still plan on taking our spring break at the beginning of April. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with no play dates or outings, but we’ll take a true break from the new routine we’ve started. As much as I miss sending my boys to school, I love that I’m not making a lunch every morning or waking up kids to get ready. Owen has been staying up a little later than usual to use the telescope before bed. He has been sleeping in and resting during nap time. I know this is good for him. Graham loves having Owen home as his buddy. Even though they fight, I love watching their friendship. I’m glad they have each other during this time.

We are forging a new normal and it’s been good. I’m all for slowing down. I’m all for having fun. I’m all for making the most of teachable moments. When my boys reflect on this unexpected break, I’m hopeful they will remember it as a positive adventure. So far, so good. Possibly five weeks more to go!

IMG_3111

Our crazy St. Patrick’s Day outfits. We are living life in our pajamas these days. We do change into clean pajamas each morning.

IMG_3123

Day two of school around the table.

IMG_3124

A glow in the dark puzzle needed to be assembled in the pantry so we could see the end results.

IMG_E3137

My attempt at pancake art to look like a clover, green eggs, and green pears.

IMG_3140

Stars on the wall and saying “space!”

IMG_3159

The boys have been hitting the trails in the evening, so I get a few quiet minutes alone. Time to journal and read my digital library book.

IMG_3163

Painting stars and black holes instead of flowers.

THUX3255

Documenting signs of spring

IMG_3170

Pausing to smell the flowers

IMG_3189

Thankful that the “neighbors” let us draw with chalk on their driveway!