Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Juggling September 19, 2021

This week felt a like a juggling act. I seem to say this every September and yet I continue to forget – September takes so much energy! It’s a lot of work. I thought without kicking off a new MOPS & MOMSnext year this fall, September would be less effort… less energy? I don’t know. Just less. But September 2021 chuckled at me and went on being just like the many Septembers before it.

We finally had our first four day school week and it made a huge difference. Getting into the school routine has taken more energy than I expected. Shocking, right?! I thought we would pick up were we left off on in May. Easy peasy. I didn’t account for how much we really slowed down over the summer. Graham being in kindergarten and using new curriculum has also taken more mental energy than I realized. Three weeks in, I am happy with the direction we are headed and I am hopeful that very soon we will be settled.

Hunting season for Jeremy means lots of single parenting for me. Jeremy’s alarm goes off at 4:30am and I do my best not to let it stir me. My mind doesn’t need to be awake and processing before dawn! Jeremy sometimes comes home in the afternoon for a short break before heading back out until after the boys’ bedtime. One of my highlights from the week was Jeremy falling asleep on Graham’s bed during afternoon quiet time. Graham also fell asleep and thought it was a dream come true to have a nap buddy (those were his literal words – dream come true). Our family routine is all thrown off, but it’s doable because it’s a season.

Our Friday adventure moved to Thursday because Friday was forecasted to be damp. I knew Jeremy would be out hunting so I invited my mom along for a hike at Lewis & Clark State Park. Let me tell you, I deeply appreciate Jeremy’s sense of direction. When I’m with him, I never worry about where I’m at or if I’ll be able to find my way back to our vehicle. I had a very specific trail I wanted to hike and it was embarrassing how long it took me to find it. I also had many moments on the trail where I hoped we were going the right way (and it was supposed to be a simple loop). We enjoyed hiking and exploring a new area, but I never had full confidence as we wandered the park. Being the co-pilot is a role I appreciate even more after trying to lead the way in unfamiliar territory. So thankful my mom came along as a second adult just in cause my worst-case scenario fears came true. I’m a big fan of the buddy system. Also, my mom carries bear spray, so that’s helpful, too!

On top of juggling school, Jeremy’s schedule, and extracurricular adventures, I had a conference to prepare for this weekend. Being real here, I have a complicated relationship with indoor church. I agreed to be a part of this conference at the beginning of July when COVID restrictions were loosening. Things have changed since I said yes. I’m not the type of person who backs of out a commitment easily, but I sure thought about changing my yes to a no. Ultimately, I decided to attend the full conference despite my discomfort. It was a lot of time in a mask (worshipping in a mask is possible, but a very sweaty experience) and I was in the minority for following current mandates. It’s uncomfortable being someone who noticeably stands out. Prepping for the conference while being on the hunting schedule was also challenging, but I felt prepared by the time Saturday’s workshop arrived. My class was small. Seven moms joined me to talk about finding time with God as a busy mom. The workshop had MOPS vibes so I felt in my element. Plus talking about how I love spending time with God and giving suggestions so others can connect with God was an awesome opportunity. I’m glad I followed through on my yes, despite the discomfort.

Side note: I’m thinking of turning my workshop into a mini-series here on the blog. As I was preparing my notes I realized that these suggestions for finding time with God could apply to anyone, not just busy moms. When busyness is a barrier, it’s good to go back to the basics and keep things simple. Stay tuned! I can’t let all those words I typed sit on my computer. I want to send them out!

Despite the juggling act and out of sync schedule, I still had what I needed to to get through this week. The boys begged Jeremy to take them out hunting on Friday which gave me a big window of quiet time to prepare for the conference and to be still before lots of activity. While church is complicated for me, I loved the moments of worshipping in a dark sanctuary. I’ve missed being surrounded by loud music, raising my hands, praising God with words that stir my soul. It was sweet to revisit a spiritual practice that means so much to me. Yes, I am tired after the big weekend… and yes, I still have another week of elk season left. But today I am happy to be home, to listen to praise music as I vacuum, and to know that nothing is pressing or urgent. God has been so good through all the juggling of this last week. He will continue to sustain me through September and that brings so much peace to my heart. I can do this!

The sweet life of homeschooling. Popcorn from a science experiment and Teddy close by while working on math.
Binge reading The InvestiGators. Owen kept asking to read more chapters even though school was done. I love when a good book grabs him!
Graham was so proud to read the first story in his reader all by himself! Love seeing my kids excited to read! My bookworm heart is thrilled!!!
Feeding the monster with his reading words
Hiking at Lewis & Clark State Park
Hiking at Lewis & Clark State Park
Always drawn to water!
Hiking Buddy!
Strangest or coolest find?!?! Giant rocking horses!
When Jeremy comes home the boys are literally all over him!
Documenting my workshop before the ladies arrive
Enjoyed a cookie decorating workshop on Saturday afternoon. I’ve never used royal icing before. It was fun to learn something new, but also to have the prep work done for me. All I had to do was play! And then eat!
 

Beginnings and Endings September 13, 2021

This last week was a big one even though at a glance it might have looked somewhat average. It was far from that, though! This week could be defined by beginnings and endings. Some things are just starting and somethings have come to a close. So let’s dive in!

I’ve been praying about a big decision that I finally went through with last Tuesday. I took time to talk it out with trusted people and I sat with my decision over Labor Day weekend to see it stuck. I’ve been a part of a team that supports women ministers in the Northwest Ministry Network. When I said yes to this commitment two years, I thought I was heading into the school-age years with my kids and I would have more time to pursue vocational ministry. But… I couldn’t predict a pandemic. Because we are homeschooling, I’m still home with my kids 24/7. Also, due to COVID conditions in my area, my in-person attendance at church is limited. I’ve loved being a part of this team because the women are incredible. I enjoyed getting to know them and I’ve been inspired by their leadership. But I’ve felt like the odd duck on the team. I am not actively pursuing vocational ministry. It’s just not the season of life that I am in. I would love to be a part of this team in the future when my season of life aligns better with the purpose of the team. I’ve been feeling the conflict between the life I thought I would be living right now and the one that I am actually living in this moment. It’s okay to say that this isn’t a good fit right now, but I hope it will be someday.

The other ending in my life has been a long time coming. I finally let go of my Usborne Books & More business. For the last year, I’ve kept the business active so I could receive discounts on my personal purchases. Now the cost of keeping the business active is no longer saving me money. I’ve been a UBAM book lady for 4.5 years and I’ve loved it! I loved introducing families to great books. Our home library exploded because of this business. It was such a blessing to my family. In the season of building our house, this book business gave me something to focus on in the waiting period. It was an important part of that building season for me. I’ve collected the last of my rewards and placed my final order as a consultant. It’s bittersweet, but I’ve known the end was around the corner for awhile. I will remain a loyal customer. I truly love this company and their products. Books are the best!

Endings can be sad and it felt weird to end two things in one week. I will admit that as my commitments continue to scale back, I’m often left wondering what is God is doing. For so long I’ve been defined by all the things I’ve been able to juggle. The pandemic has certainly made my world smaller. Instead of being worried or upset, I’m choosing to see this as a strategic time in my faith journey. Letting go of things isn’t in my nature, so I know that God is teaching me and guiding me. I’m trusting that he has a purpose in all the change.

Let’s focus on the the beginnings! It’s still the beginning of the school year. Somehow I always forget how much adjusting goes into the month of September. We are getting into our new school routine. It’s mostly gone well, but I’ve learned a few things the hard way. With Owen, I had him hit the ground running with school instead of easing him back into it. Our schedule will be lighter this week. We’ve been doing five days of work in three days for the last two weeks. This week we’ll do five days of curriculum in four days. The extra day should make a difference.

I’m happy to report that Graham is beginning to read! It hasn’t fully clicked, but he has made so much progress! I’m starting to feel more confident in the program we selected and in my ability to teach him. I’m so excited because learning to read is the beginning of beautiful things! Reading is such an adventure. I can’t wait for Graham to experience the joys of reading. We’re starting small, but we’re definitely making progress! Praise the Lord!

This week we met up with a few other homeschool families to launch rockets. We aren’t a part of a formal homeschool group, but a friend of mine hopes to facilitate a monthly outing or experience for homeschool families. The boys had a blast chasing rockets through the field with friends. We used bigger engines this time and that made our rocket even more impressive than when we launched it last fall.

Hunting season has also begun. Jeremy needed a new long sleeve camo shirt and while running errands, he picked up shirts for the boys, too. They got to join him for the evening hunt yesterday. Graham talked with me for a solid 10 minutes about his adventure when he got up this morning. The highlights were seeing the other family members out hunting. He also mentioned that he would be sad if they killed an elk. I’m guessing he is going to be a social outdoorsman verses a serious hunter (at least at this at this point in his life). Hunting season can be an intense season with early mornings, late nights, and a lot of single parenting. Since Jeremy took the boys out last night, I was able to work on my upcoming workshop I’m teaching next weekend. My parents also watched my boys for a few hours this weekend so I could prepare. I’m thankful for the extra support during hunting season.

That wraps up this week’s recap. Lots of big decisions, but also lots of fun. I’m glad the school year is underway and we are finding our groove again. September always takes way more energy than I expect, but it’s full of good things and important adjustments. I am learning a lot in this season and I’m keeping my eyes open for what God is doing in my right now, right here, ordinary life. It’s good and I’m grateful!

Network of Women Ministers Team Day – November 2019
We had so much fun with the freebies I earned through my book business – June 2017
Working my book business at a vendor event – June 2017
Cookies of the Month: September! Apple Season! My mom asked if I could make a treat for her to share with friends and I thought I would experiment with apples!
We ran errands to get rocket engines and a new camo shirt for Jeremy. I joked with Jeremy that we should get pumpkin spice doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and he was totally up for it. They got our order wrong, so Jeremy kindly went in to fix things. We got the correct dozen for free! Gotta love an unexpected surplus of treats!
Getting to launch our rocket
Blast off!
Rocket retrieval
Ready for hunting season to begin!
 

Back To School & So Much More September 6, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 1:23 pm

We are officially one week into the new school year! Praise the Lord – it went well! We did a homeschool preview day on Monday to go over our books and talk about expectations. Our schedule is very similar to last year, so the expectations part was fairly simple. Owen’s curriculum is a continuation of what we used last year. It felt like picking up where we left off. I really enjoyed the feeling of falling back into routine, but I will admit that I was exhausted after being in “teacher” mode again. I need to rebuild some stamina!

Graham’s reading program is new to me and it will be the thing that stretches Graham and me most this year. It took Owen about a month to learn to read in kindergarten. He was in public school at the time, so I just assisted with the reading homework that was sent home. After three days of school, it will come as no shock to anyone that Graham isn’t reading yet. His reading journey has only begun and until it clicks, I’m sure it will mean slow progress. I need to look at learning to read not as a pass/fail subject, but one that is built on daily progress. I can tell this will be the greatest challenge of this school year. Prayers appreciated for both Graham and myself!

One of the highlights of this last week was harvesting our little pumpkins. Jeremy had a great crop this year. I always love picking my favorites and placing them around the house to spread some festive, fall cheer. I had dinner with a friend this week as well. It was nice to catch up with her and chat about our busy lives. Since I don’t often leave my boys, they acted like I had returned from a week away instead of the actual three hours I was gone.

Fridays are a favorite family day for us. With Jeremy having the day off, we like to have family adventures. The bonus of homeschooling is that we can call these field trips. I love that learning can happen outside of the “classroom” (aka our dining room table) and without textbooks. Our first field trip of the school year was to Lattin’s Cider Mill and Farm. It had been over a year since we last visited so it was nice to reconnect with a well-loved location. We looked at the chickens, ducks, peacocks, rabbits, sheep, and goats. We picked up fresh apple fritters and a bag of apples from their store. It was a wonderful kick-off to school field trips.

Other than back to school, the big milestone of the week was Owen being baptized yesterday afternoon! Our church had it’s final outdoor gathering and wrapped up Summer Sundays with one last chance to be baptized in the river behind our church. Owen has been contemplating getting baptized for a while now and this seemed like the right opportunity. Owen was nervous, but brave. It was an honor for Jeremy and I to be the ones to baptize him. It was a little out of my comfort zone since I’m not a fan of water, but I’m glad I braved the cold water to participate. We are thankful that many family members were able to cheer him on as well as our church congregation. We had a taco lunch back at our house to celebrate afterwards. It was a very special day and a great way to wrap up our season of outside church. It’s such an honor and a joy as a parent to watch my kiddos grow in their faith. I’m so proud of Owen and the decision he made to get baptized!

It seems like September is always a busy month! Back to school is an adjustment after being in summer mode. Jeremy is excited for hunting season and has all kinds of plans to be out in the woods this month. I hope the weather stays nice so we can have many outdoor adventures. I even have an opportunity coming up to lead a workshop at a ladies conference at our church. Lots of good stuff ahead to prepare and plan for!

Graham’s first day of kindergarten!
Owen’s first day of 2nd grade!
One of the things I miss most about public school is school pictures. I borrowed my mom’s phone so I could use portrait mode and snap some school pictures myself!
Had so much fun with this mini photo shoot!
Scott Family Academy. Enrollment: 2.
When Buffy crashed the photo shoot…
The grass might be dead, but the pumpkins are vibrant! Our pumpkin harvest!
Gone for 3 hours and they both sat on me when I got home.
First fall field trip: Lattin’s Cider Mill and Farm
Fun with cousins at church!
Final outdoor church gathering
Celebrating Owen’s decision to get baptized
Thankful to be a part of moments like these!
I love the pops of fall color on my daily walks!
 

Summer Comes to an End August 29, 2021

Our final week of summer vacation has come and gone. It wasn’t full of big adventures like I thought it might possibly be. It turned out to be fairly quiet. Last Sunday, Jeremy tweaked his back and as a result, our final summer adventure was postpone. Late in the summer, Jeremy added a hike at Mt. Rainier onto our bucket list. We’d been waiting for the weather and our free time to line up. Unfortunately, that didn’t pan out this week. The quiet week wasn’t what I expected, but it was good in it’s own way. Time at home and quieter days are never a bummer in my book. The weather was also cool and cloudy which gave me all kinds of cozy, stay home vibes.

Around the house, Jeremy tidied up the yard after a playful summer. The pool came down since the weather is too cool to heat it now. Inside, I worked on lesson plans for our first quarter of school. I looked over our school books one more time to make sure I know what to expect next week. I’m feeling fairly confident heading into next week. For Owen, it feels like picking up where we left off in May. But for Graham, I feel very different vibes. I have to keep reminding myself that kindergarten shouldn’t be intimidating. We can do this!

We had a few smaller adventures this week. For the scavenger hunt we visited many local area parks. The boys got to see trains our local Napavine park twice this last week. Railfanning is always a highlight of our kids’ week. We went out to breakfast one morning at a favorite restaurant. On Friday, we had a movie and sleepover with the boys in our bedroom. We pulled their mattresses into our master bedroom and introduced them to Kung Fu Panda. We wanted to make one more end of summer memory. On Saturday, we went to a park and splash pad to celebrate a special 5th birthday with a cousin.

We finished swimming lessons on Thursday. The boys didn’t pass their levels this time, but we expected that. I was surprised that they were both a skill or two away from passing, though. I’m so proud of them for all their growth over the last four weeks. With another year of growth, they’ll be ready to tackle those levels next summer. I was so glad that swimming lessons were wrapping up. Or so I thought. Thursday night a weird feeling hit me. I was actually sad that lessons were over. It had been so fun to watch the boys learn from a teacher other than Jeremy and I. The pool wasn’t a typical classroom, but it had done my heart good to see them in a “class” with other kids. Swimming lessons just felt like a normal summer kid activity. The pandemic has changed so many things for our family and swimming lessons just felt so normal. It was hard to see that come to an end.

As I process school starting, the season changing, and a pandemic that continues on, I’m not 100% sure what to expect this fall. I am trusting that God will guide us each day. I can’t see the big picture and I don’t how this is all going to pan out. All I can do is live each day with an expectation that God is here and in each moment. I’m looking forward to getting back into our school routine. I’m looking forward to fall outings and traditions. These are some of my favorite family times and I’m ready to make new memories. Autumn holds a special place in my heart. There is such beauty in this season of change. I might be unsure about what lies ahead, but I’m ready to walk forward and find out next!

Graham and the skyscraper sunflowers
Sitting down to write out lesson plans for the fall
Fiddling with flowers for my August cookies!
Waffle Day for the Scavenger Hunt
Breakfast at Berry Field’s
A little front yard golfing
Stay-cation vibes hanging out on the front porch
My mom tagged along with the boys on a walk to retrieve Jeremy’s trail cameras from where he hunts. She sent me this picture from their adventure.
Sleepover and movie night!
Splash pad birthday party!
Park play!
Something we don’t see often – two trains at the same time at our train park!
 

Local Adventures August 23, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August Adventures Abound August 15, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 5:49 pm

July was a month full of adventures and it turns out that August is doing a pretty good job of keeping up. The August adventures have been plentiful as we pack as much as we can into the last few weeks of summer. When I think of all we’ve accomplished and all that we still have planned, I’m amazed at what we’ve been able to do this summer. Our weekly explorations give us something new to look forward to and we’ve discovered some awesome new locations in the beautiful PNW.

So many big moments happened this week and they all fell back to back. Thursday was the “big” day at swimming lesson. The last class of the two week session is always a fun day for the students. The kids are allowed to swim for fun and jump off the diving board – even Graham’s beginner class. Graham informed us his plan was not to jump off of the diving board, but when the moment came he diverted from the plan. He donned his life jacket and took the plunge. By the look on his face, I don’t think he loved the experience. I’m so proud of him for being brave. I didn’t expect him to jump. Owen surprised us by jumping off the diving board with no life jacket. It turns out that Owen has officially learned to swim over the last two weeks. The kid is a fish and will swim laps just for fun these days. The big moment of the night came at the very end when they handed out the report cards. Both boys were thrilled to find out that they passed their levels! They were so excited about swimming lessons that they asked to do another two week session. I don’t love having a daily commitment, but it’s hard not to capitalize on their momentum. We opted for another evening session that will allow us to have playdates and daytime adventures. Swimming lessons won’t interfere with any plans we have for the end of summer.

On Friday, our family took off early to head to North Cascades National Park. It was on our summer bucket list to visit all of Washington’s national parks. Jeremy and I have been to the east side of NCNP, but the boys hadn’t been to the park. We love the NP junior ranger program and this park gave the boys another chance to earn junior ranger badges. The bummer about our trip was that smoke moved into the PNW the day of our adventure. The views were hazy, the air quality was unhealthy, and it was hot. I would love to return when I can see the towering mountains clearly. Ross Lake and Diablo Lake were beautiful even through the haze. We took the Ladder Creek Falls Trail and found some natural AC blowing off the creek. We also discovered a Seattle City Lights steam train at Newhalem (which our train lovers climbed all over). Our time in NCNP was brief due to the weather conditions, but still worthwhile and we would definitely go back. The day ended for us in Burlington where we got a hotel room. NCNP is bit far away for a day trip and we didn’t want to make it a super long and late drive home. The kids swam in the hotel pool for an hour and we saw many families come and go. Our little fish just kept swimming. The hotel pool might have the highlight for the kids.

Because we were staying so far north, we decided to have another big adventure on Saturday before heading home. We took the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We love exploring new places. Owen is actively keeping track of how many Washington State counties he has visited and he can now add San Juan County to the list. We didn’t see any orcas on our ferry rides which was my not-so-secret hope for this adventure. We did see a harbor seal and Jeremy saw a porpoise. The ferry ride itself was the highlight and the novelty of the day. Our time in Friday Harbor was a bit of a misadventure. We didn’t do much research before going so we wondered aimlessly around town. Around 11:00am we put our name in at a restaurant that looked popular and then Jeremy went online to research. It looked like a super promising lunch spot (like featured on Food Network good). After an hour of waiting outside for a table, we took our name off the list. We only had a few hours on the island and we didn’t want to spend them waiting to eat. This led us to the market across the street for apples and goldfish crackers. The lunch of champions! We wondered through gift shops, played at a small park, grabbed goodies at a bakery, and spent plenty of time by the water. Our ferry back to the mainland was over an hour late, so we might have had time to eat at the popular lunch spot. Oh well. Despite the hiccups, it was still a fun day.

We made it to church this morning a little tired and smidge cranky. Owen and I were leaning towards staying home, but Graham really wanted to go. He knew there would be foam gliders in the activity bags are hand out during service. He also knew that Pastor Josh was going to do the classic Diet Coke and Mentos experiment. Jeremy also hides a gnome each week that you get points for finding in the Summer Family Scavenger Hunt. It turns out that gnome is keeping our summer attendance in check. Last week I almost didn’t go because of the weather, this week because of exhaustion… and yet the gnome must be found and documented so off we went. I’m thankful for a quiet afternoon to rest today. We did a Walmart pick-up order and I’m working through mounds of laundry, but still it’s been a chill day. We have more fun in store for the coming week – starting with another round of swimming lessons tomorrow! Like I said, we gotta pack in all the summer fun we can into the next few weeks. You never know where we’ll end up next!

Root beer floats were a mission for the scavenger hunt
Slip and slide time also because of the scavenger hunt
Late night swim!
(after swimming lessons – these kids love to swim)
So excited they passed their levels at swimming lesson!
North Cascades Exploration Day
Junior Rangers
It was so hard to document the turquoise water through the smoke
Ladder Creek Falls
What are the odds of finding a train in a national park?
Hotel pool time – I feel like just keep swimming is their motto this summer!
A ferry fun day!
Owen the map reader
Graham the cinnamon roll eater
Ferry ride home!
 

Wet & Wild August 8, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:26 pm

August is off to a wet and wild start! The boys are halfway through swimming lessons and they are going swimmingly! Owen has taken to swimming lessons like a fish to water. He is in his element when he is in the pool. Graham’s week started off a bit rocky, but now that he knows what to expect, he is doing great. We were in the hot tub last night and Graham wanted to show me how he blows bubbles and what his pencil point hands look like. Both sets of grandparents came by to watch swimming lesson this last week. The boys loved showing off their skills and for Graham, I think the cheering section was a big confidence booster. We can’t wait for another week!

Swimming lesson definitely count as the wet part of this post, but we’ve also had some wet weather move into the PNW. As a true Washingtonian, I’m all for cool, cloudy days. I even love some drizzle (when I don’t have to be out in it). Our weekly adventure found us at the Oregon Zoo this Friday – in the drizzle! Of all the days to go to the zoo… Actually, it worked out in our favor. The zoo wasn’t too crowded and all the animals were out. While we did get a little wet, we weren’t soaked and we dried out quickly. We hadn’t been to the Oregon Zoo in over a year and they’ve completed some major construction since the last time we visited. It was a blast revisiting one of favorite places. We had a wet and wild time!

Back in October, you might remember that our children’s ministry at church hosted a Fall Family Scavenger Hunt. Our family participated and had so much fun earning points for completing challenges. Jeremy is hosting another scavenger hunt this month and we are in it to win it. Well, not really… But we’re having a good time. Some of the challenges we’ve enjoyed so far are making Jello Jigglers, making chocolate chip cookies, making popsicles (we apparently like food challenges), and having a water fight with squirt guns and water balloons. Grandpa and Grandma might have been outside walking when the water balloons were filled and they may have been ambushed by two wet and wild boys. Such good summer memories!

I’m enjoying a rare evening home alone as I type this. My guys are out scouting and checking trail cameras. I’m between books at the moment so I took this evening to watch Finding You which is a movie based the book There You’ll Find Me (see my July reads post). I don’t usually let myself eat popcorn for dinner while watching a chick flick. This was a special treat! I also love comparing books to movies. I laughed that even when I have a movie night it’s still related to books. The bookworm in me is strong! With that being said, it’s time to find a new book and snuggle in for the last bit of my quiet time.

Taking a deep breath
My phone is super old so the zoom quality isn’t so great. That doesn’t stop me from documenting!
Homemade popsicles for the scavenger hunt
Another scavenger hunt challenge
Wet and wild at the Oregon Zoo
We saw so many animals up close!
These boys had a blast with the water balloon challenge
The bonus of a rainy summer day!
Dahlias from Jeremy’s garden
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
 

Good-Bye July! August 3, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Let The Good Times Roll July 27, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:10 pm

We’ve been having so much summer fun! We’ve opted for day adventures this summer instead of a longer vacation. It’s always fun to have a “big” trip to look forward to, but honestly, these day trips have been just as fun. Each week we have a new destination to get excited about. Here are the highlights!

Last week, we went for a river float. Jeremy has been on working our church’s riverfront property and he wanted to show it to the boys. The kiddos loved checking out the river and Owen brought his goggles so he could see minnows. We had a park play date with friends we haven’t seen in a few years. I was nervous that it would be awkward, but our new rec park is so much fun that the kids just dove into the play date and had a great time. The boys went out scouting with Jeremy one night in preparation for hunting season in September. I was informed that they saw elk and a bear. I don’t love that they saw a bear, but I guess that is the price I paid for a quiet evening at home alone.

Our weekend was full of action! On Friday, we took off to do some shopping south of Portland, Oregon. Our kids are growing like crazy. New clothes have moved from a fall priority to a summer one. Our shopping was quick and successful and then we finally achieved our original Father’s Day plans for Jeremy. We went mini-golfing! Jeremy has been interested in Crumbl Cookies so we also made a special stop to try something new. Very yummy!

We took our three roosters to a local auction late Friday afternoon. The whole process was a bit dramatic, but the real drama happened when we got home. Jeremy and Owen went to console our hens who had been freaked out by the process of catching the roosters. When they arrived at the pen, they discovered that four of our five full-grown hens were missing. Our three little hens were secure in their pen still. Owen adores his chickens. I thought for sure he would breakdown over this situation. He was concerned, but joined the search party without tears. We searched our property for 40 minutes! I walked through the woods, up and down our driveway, through my parent’s property next door. I prayed the whole time. I was the one to finally discover our the hens in the bushes near our house. They had wondered back home! Praise Jesus! I literally had tears in my eyes as I called the family over from their searching. Who knew that chickens could be such an emotional investment?!

Saturday, we had the whole cousin crew over a pool and pizza party. The boys love anytime they get to spend with their cousins. Add pool time and pizza and you have an ideal summer day. Childhood at it’s best! Sunday, we had a dedication ceremony for our new church property. It has river access and we were able to baptize 31 people in the river that afternoon. It was a big celebration! Our Sunday evening wrapped up in Tacoma where I met my forever friend, Maggie, for dinner. Jeremy and the boys tagged along. They got a special dinner of their own and did some window-shopping.

You’d think that was it, but wait there’s more!!! The summer fun just keeps on coming. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Mayfield Lake with the church staff. Our lead pastor took families out on his boat for tubing. Graham gave it a go for a the first time. I was so proud of him. I love boat rides and was happy to document all the tubing action.

Today we went to a local park to watch for trains – railfanning! My boys are super into trains again. Owen took a break and got into space for awhile, but trains have resurfaced as his true love yet again. We saw an Amtrak Cascades passenger train and a BNSF freight train. This outing was definitely a win!

Tomorrow I plan to go nowhere! I absolutely need a home day to recover from all this goodness! I love that we are making summer memories left and right, but wow, it’s tiring business! Life can feel like a balancing act sometimes. We’ve had a lot of go-go-go and now we need some slow-slow-slow. Summer is a good time for both of those vibes!

River float!
The last of our homeschool books have arrived! Our homeschool shelf is restocked and ready to roll!
Jeremy and the boys brought me flowers last week! So sweet of them!
Crumbl Cookies! 3 out of 4 Scotts approve! Owen was not into it.
Graham and I are cookie buddies!
Belated Father’s Day Mini-Golf!
Pool Party!
Pool Party!
Excited to have Grandpa & Grandma sit with us at church!
Baptisms in the river
Almost 20 year of taking pictures with Maggie!
Maggie & I’s first picture together! 10th Grade Biology – this picture was dated 6.12.02!
Lake Day! Out on the boat!
Literally jumping for joy at the sight of a train!
 

Olympic National Park Exploration July 17, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 11:15 am

Our family adventure this week was exploring part of Olympic National Park. The park is so big that couldn’t do it all in a day trip and that’s okay. We have a reason to go back and explore another day! Last summer we purchased an annual national park pass as a part of our trip to Yellowstone. We’ve used the pass to get into Craters of the Moon, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt. Rainier (multiple times), and now Olympic National Park. Our hope is to make it to North Cascades before our pass expires at the end of the summer. I’m the first to admit that I’ve never been a nature person, but I’ve grown in my outdoor appreciation (thanks in part to my enthusiastic husband and boys). I now think that national parks are pretty neat. I look forward to exploring more in the future!

Our day at Olympic National Park started at Kalaloch Beach. We stopped by the ranger station there so the kids could turn in their Ocean Steward booklets and get their badges. We also picked up the Junior Ranger booklets for ONP so we could turn them in at the next ranger station. We had no clue what to expect at Kalaloch and we were so surprised by the cool rocks and tide pools. Being freshly appointed Ocean Stewards, our kids took looking around the tide pools very seriously. We discovered sea stars, anemones, mussels, acorn barnacles, and seals off shore.

After our time at the beach, we took off towards the Hoh Rainforest. This is where our plans slightly went off course. We didn’t expect the wait to enter the park. The parking lot was full, so the rangers were only letting a vehicle into the park once a vehicle left. Once we made it in, our first stop was the visitor center to get the boys their ONP Junior Ranger Badges. I love the National Parks Junior Ranger program. Our kids have so much fun with it (me too)! We did a hike through the Hall of Mosses. Visiting at another time of year might have been better. I appreciated the dry day in the rainforest, but our recent heat wave made the moss crispy. It wasn’t as lush as I remembered (from my middle school field trip two decades ago). The Hall of Mosses is a kid-friendly hike. My favorite kind of hiking includes limited/no incline and mostly just walking through shaded forest. The Hall of Mosses was right up my ally. Due to attitudes and the late time, we didn’t do the second hike. Again, it’s always good to have a reason to come back.

Our final stop on the way home was Ruby Beach. This beach had interesting rock features in and by the water. It was beautiful! It was a rocky beach with flat stones perfect for skipping. There was a little pond (or creek, I’m not sure) near the beach and our boys (including Jeremy) had fun skipping and throwing rocks. Because we had no beach expectations, the beaches were a highlight of the trip. They were so unique. We love exploring and discovering new places.

The end of our trip was a bit eventful. We had packed lunches, but didn’t have a plan for dinner. Our eating schedule was off. The long, winding drive back home was more than our tummies could handle. I got a touch of carsickness, but both of our boys threw up. After camping laundry at the beginning of the month and beach laundry last weekend, I thought for sure this day trip would mean less laundry upon arrival home. Nope. I was wrong. I got to spend the next day washing clothes, blankets, towels, and car seat covers. Oh well! It was a fun adventure even if it ended dramatically.

We keep checking activities off our summer bucket list. We’ll see where our next adventure takes us!

Officially Ocean Stewards
Kalaloch Beach 4
Kalaloch Beach 4
Kalaloch Beach 4
Officially ONP Junior Rangers
Hall of Mosses
Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach

A few pictures not related to our ONP exploration:

Raspberry Crumble Bars with berries from Jeremy’s garden!
We visited our sweet GG this week! It’s always a treat to spend time with her!
When we visit GG, the boys play with the same toys I did as a kid. It always does something to my heart! Such good memories!