We’ve spent the last week wrapping up our school year. The boys completed their 36 week curriculums on Thursday. It’s always a celebration to finish the school books. To mark the occasion, we had Dominos pizza for dinner and I baked cinnamon rolls and brownies as a special dessert for each kid. It was a quiet close to the school year, but still very much a celebration.
We’ve made the decision to homeschool again next year. We are enjoying the homeschool process. The kids are enthusiastic about it and we have good momentum. We were a part of a co-op for the last 7 weeks of school and we all appreciated this learning environment. The co-op is hoping to continue next year and we are looking forward to being a part of it again. Adding a social/classroom environment was a positive enhancement to our homeschool experience.
At the end of 2nd grade, Owen was required by our state (Washington) to do an end-of-the-year assessment. There are multiple options depending on the student. We opted for the California Achievement Test. We used an online, untimed version which was super convenient. I was a little nervous about what to expect since this was our first time. It went surprisingly well and it was quite the celebration to complete it this morning. It was the last thing to finish for this school year. We are now 100% done!
We are taking an extra long Memorial Day weekend before starting our summer workbooks in June. Reading and books will continue to be a focus over the summer. We’ll visit the library to participate in their summer reading program. We also hope to visit some historical sites for educational outings. We’re trying to sneak in some learning with the summer fun. It’s been a great school year, but a change of pace will be nice. Bring on summer mode!
We had a quiet Mother’s Day weekend as Jeremy continued to regain his stamina after fighting pneumonia. Our plans for the weekend changed so Jeremy could continue to rest. While I do love a good adventure to celebrate Mother’s Day, I also enjoy time at home. A quieter weekend was fine by me.
In my Mother’s Day Instagram post, I mentioned coming to motherhood with almost no knowledge of little boys. Growing up with just a sister, little boys have always been a mystery to me, even after years of observing them in children’s ministry before parenthood. Somehow God saw it fit to give me two boys and the adventurous life of a boy mom. Owen and Graham have given me quite the education on the ways and workings of little men. It’s been a fantasticating experience and I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.
I’m the first to admit that the baby and toddler years were sweet, but not necessarily my favorite seasons of parenthood. I have many fond memories of my boys as littles, but I was in survival mode most of the time. Each new stage of development has been exciting step forward. I especially appreciated moving into the preschool years and then the elementary school days. We aren’t to the tweens/teens yet, but I have have a feeling these middle childhood years are a sweet spot. I’m loving these not quite little, but not quite big boys. They still love to cuddle and be near their mama. They still want to tell me everything (in great detail). I’m doing my best to savor this season. I know moms who have great relationships with their tween/teen boys so I’m taking notes and studying even now.
The last two years of mothering have certainly been different than I expected. The pandemic nudged our family in the direction of homeschooling. I often wondered about homeschooling, but without the pandemic, I would have never taken the plunge. It turns out that homeschooling has been an amazing choice for our family. We’ve enjoyed the last two years so much that we are contemplating continuing next year. As an introvert, I do wish for a bit more peace and quiet in my life. My boys seem to come with loud as their default setting, but the noise and interruptions have been worth it. I could write a whole post on our homeschooling family structure and why I love it so much. Bottom line, I love doing life together. I enjoy learning together, playing together, reading together, adventuring together. (I also enjoy our daily “quiet time” when we take a break from being together – a must for this introvert ). I have the honor/responsibility of modeling our family values throughout the day and I get a front row seat to what the boys are learning and enjoying. It’s not, by any means, a perfect life. Sibling squabbles are real, the kids rarely cheer for chores, and lots of time at home means lots of time to make “creative” messes. Life might not be perfect, but it is good.
Motherhood hasn’t been easy, but it has been a joy. I am thankful for the opportunity to be home with my family. My mothering is in partnership with Jeremy and I am so glad we get to this child-raising gig together. I love how the boys take after their father. All my men are outdoorsy and this stretches me to keep up with them. Through the boys, I’ve learned to appreciate going on a hike or spending an afternoon outside. Hopefully, through me, they’ve learned to appreciate baked goods and good books. We are shaping and influencing each other. We are creating a family culture. It’s hard work (some days more than others), but I’m grateful it’s my work in this season.
Many people select a word for the year. Something they are hoping for, looking to grow in, be more mindful of. Friends have chosen words like gather, peace, excellence, hope, and resilience. All good words. I’ve never done well with this practice. I’ve tried a few times and for some reason it doesn’t stick. However, some words seem find me. They seem to declare themselves, no matter my choosing. In complete jest (sorta), I’ve discovered my word for 2022 is cancel (or similar words such as reschedule/postpone). 2022 has been filled with plans that just didn’t come to be. I’m not upset. It’s humorous to me at this point. I’ve learned to roll with it. Plans change often enough that I am very practiced at canceling, rescheduling, and postponing.
We’re supposed to be at conference in Idaho this week. As you can guess, we aren’t… For the last few weeks, I’ve been preparing for this big trip. I got the kids ahead in school. I purchased “distractions” to keep them busy. Graham got a new backpack big enough to carry these new treasures. New leak-proof water bottles were selected at Target for the adventure. In a moment of insanity and weakness on my part, giant stuffed animals were purchased at Costco as travel companions. The kids knew there would be time to go to the nearby park, swim in the hotel pool, and walk by the lake. Oh, and the snacks! We had a huge tote of snacks ready to keep blood sugar levels good and make sure no one (adults included) got hangry. We were as ready as you could be for an out-of-town adventure.
I’m reminded of the Bible verse, Proverbs 16:9 – “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” We were as prepared as possible for this trip, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be. Jeremy started to feel under the weather at the end of the week. On Saturday, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and he started antibiotics right away. We were supposed to leave on Sunday, but he was still feeling crummy and he didn’t fall under the conference health code.
Instead of traveling, we’ve had a quiet week at home. We are ahead now in school and using this time to keep that momentum going. We might be able to finish the school year sooner than expected. The boys and I were able to attend our homeschool co-op yesterday. Owen especially didn’t want to miss a meeting, so the boys were happy to make it. They’ve had blanket forts up all week. Tomorrow they will attempt to sleep in their forts. I’m not sure they’ll last all night. Their beds are way more comfortable than the floor, but they can learn from experience. I’ve used the extra time at home to do a baking project, organize/purge toys, and create a new storage system for schoolwork. We’re making the most of these surprise days at home.
With plans changing so often, I am grateful for friends, family, and collogues who are gracious with these adjustments. Our people are understanding and supportive which is a huge relief. I am thankful for our home and the space it provides for rest. We are always able to fill days at home without issue. Owen is pouring through books at a shocking rate. Graham is loving the Bluey activity books I got as conference distractions. Art is being created and cookies are being eaten. Staying home isn’t too bad. On the bright side, Jeremy is improving. He needed this week to rest. We might have been surprised by our change of plans, but God knew. He is faithful through all the unexpected twist and turns life throws our way.
It’s hard to believe that we are quickly moving toward the end of April. For the longest time I felt like April was just beginning and then shockingly, I realized that it’s almost over! This month has been quieter due to many canceled plans. It seems like spring colds/flus have running around our area. The first half of the month, we canceled quite a bit due to illness. The second half of the month, others canceled on us due to illness. We’re flexible with plans and hold them loosely these days. We’ve rescheduled so many outings and meals to May. We’ll see if they pan out!
My weekend kicked off with book club on Friday night. I decided to bring a gift for the group. My friend is a talented artist and she posted some watercolor bookmarks she’d made recently on her Instagram. I saw them and was inspired! I commissioned her to make floral bookmarks for the book club ladies. The bookmarks were a huge hit. I love our book club! I appreciate having a space to talk about books and not overwhelm people! To be in a room of readers who are genuinely interested to know my thoughts on books is like a small piece of heaven here on earth. I’ve read so many good books this month. I can’t wait to share more in my end-of-the-month book post on Saturday! Yay!
Jeremy was active this weekend! The weather was beautiful and he used his free time to work in our outdoor spaces. On Friday, he arranged our back deck into our summer configuration. He pressure washed the deck so it now looks clean and fresh. Our patio table is pulled out with the chairs around it – ready for meals on sunny days. Saturday, he ordered new dirt for his garden. It was delivered via dump truck, so of course, our kids were thrilled! Jeremy is expanding our pumpkin patch this year and I couldn’t be more supportive! Give me all the pumpkins – big, little, yellow, orange, white! I adore pumpkins! His next project is to create concrete pathways between his raised beds. He is so ambitious and the boys love tagging along when he is in project mode.
These April days are quickly disappearing. They have been filled with both rest and play. Our days are simple, but we enjoy them all the same. Whether it’s a trip to the park to watch trains, attending Sunday church, playing at our homeschool co-op, or just hanging in our own yard, we are delighting in this spring season. These April days have been good!
This last week was filled with all the quintessential Easter activities! On Friday, Jeremy participated in a Good Friday gathering at church. Saturday was our day to dye eggs and do an egg hunt with the boys. We also gave them their Easter baskets on Saturday so they had time to play with them. Saturday night, we had my parents and sister over dinner. My parents brought some eggs for the boys to hunt and special gummy treats for each kid.
Sunday was our first in-person Easter at church since 2019. After two years at home for Easter, I wasn’t quite prepared for the hustle of church and a family gathering in the same day. You’d think I would remember how busy Easter Sunday can be… but no, it surprised me! Once we got over to Nana & Papa’s house, we were able to settle into family mode. The boys did their third egg hunt of the weekend with their cousins. They are now well-stocked on candy! It was fun to watch the boys play hard with their favorite people!
Since we weren’t able to attend my extended family gathering on Sunday, we made a special visit to see GG (Great Grandma) on Monday. We always love a visit to GG’s house. The boys play with decades old Fisher-Price toys while I enjoy a good chat with GG. After our visit with GG, we took off for a quiet afternoon and evening at home. The big weekend definitely caught up with us and we were ready for some downtime.
When I think back over the weekend, I am so thankful for the time we got to spend with our families. We are blessed by the friendships we share with our relatives. It’s always a good time when we get together. The boys had a blast with all the Easter activities, get-togethers, and treats. We might be a bit tuckered out now, but it was worth it!
Each season is full of it’s own surprises. We can make a plan, but there is no guarantee things will pan out. We definitely hold plans loosely these days!
The last few weeks have been fairly quiet for us because our family seems to be catching all the bugs that are going around. Thankfully, we’ve avoided COVID (we’ve tested to be sure), but each boy had a 24-hour flu and our whole family had a mild cold. I thought we might catch something with the mask mandate lifting in our area, but I wasn’t expecting a new illness each weekend. Someone starts to feel under the weather on a Friday and then our weekend plans disappear. (This has been the pattern for the last three weekends). On the bright side, the flu bugs were over quickly and the colds were minor. I’m really hoping we got all of our spring sickness out of the way so we can move on to a social spring now!
We had a surprise power outage on Sunday morning. We were home from church for a rest/recovery day. I had promised a morning of screen time for resting… and then we had no power! Oops! The kids were bummed, but Owen made due with an audiobook that was downloaded on my tablet. Graham was healthy so he took his energy over to play at the neighbor’s house (aka Grandpa and Grandma’s). It was super chilly without power! Owen and I bundled under blankets and had book time instead of screen time. It certainly wasn’t the morning we planned, but we rolled with it!
The biggest spring surprise this week was snow! Lots of snow! We woke on Monday to a spring snowstorm. We took a snowy walk before school and then the boys did some sledding in the afternoon. I’ve never seen snow like this in April. We are used to a spring weather mix, but not inches of snow on the ground. It was crazy. It felt like we should be prepping for Christmas instead of Easter this weekend. We’ve seen snowflakes each day this week and even yesterday, we woke up to a white world again (just not as much as Monday).
Now that we’re feeling better, we were excited to start a spring homeschool co-op on Tuesday. In the afternoon, the boys participated in PE and art classes. They both enjoyed co-op and are looking forward to next time. Yesterday afternoon was spent at the dentist. The boys were cavity-free and Owen walked away with an orthodontist referral. Orthodontics are a new adventure awaiting us… Oh goody!
After school today, we went down to the church to help Jeremy move Easter baskets into the front lobby. Every kid will get to take home an Easter basket on Sunday. Graham had a great time assembling the baskets at a work party a few weeks ago and he was very excited to show us the project he was a part of. Moving baskets and preparing for Easter is one of the ways we serve our community together as a family. Our kids get a front row seat to to the joy of giving to others.
It’s full Easter prep mode here! Jeremy is making sure all the details are set for Sunday. We’ve nailed down plans to celebrate with family. Jeremy and I filled plastic eggs with candy for a small hunt. We’ll hard boil eggs and dye them at some point in the next few days. I have all the elements for Easter baskets ready to go. I’m praying these weekend plans finally pan out! Some spring surprises are fun, but I think I would like a little bit of predictable right now! Just a little bit!
Thursday marked four years of being in our home and we celebrate the day as our house-iversary. I’m all about making celebrations out of the little details of life. While some might not hold on to dates, I tend to revisit certain dates over and over again in my mind. For example, today – April 6th, is my 11th year anniversary of blogging on Amy Scott’s Thoughts. It was also the date Jeremy and I moved into our first house many years ago. Some things stick… and March 31st is one of those dates. I am thankful for each house-iversary we get to celebrate here.
Jeremy had Thursday off, so we got to spend our house-iversary at home together as a family. The boys and I did school in the morning while Jeremy worked on projects around the house. Once school was done, the weekend vibes hit hard! Jeremy and I watched a movie during quiet time and finished it after bedtime. We spent the afternoon playing outside and just hanging out as a family. It was a sweet day! I even made a cake to mark the occasion!
The journey to get into this house was a long and challenging one. I’m thankful that time is starting to blur some of the memories. It was a difficult season, but I don’t feel the pain quite as acutely as I did a few years ago. Because I remember the road was rocky at times, it makes me extra grateful to be settled in and living our life here. At this point, Owen has lived almost half his life in this house and Graham has lived two-thirds of his. We have planted roots here (literally and figuratively). It feels good to be home.
Jeremy continues to impress us all with care of the outdoor spaces. He has shared his love of gardening with our boys. They are all excited about the spring planting. I never saw us having chickens when we first moved here, but Jeremy is full of surprises. The chickens were his birthday purchase three years ago. We have since become chicken people… Owen, especially, views our little ladies as pets. Birds seem to be a thing for my guys… Jeremy and the boys keep the bird feeders in the backyard well-stocked with seed. On the front of our house, Jeremy has three hummingbird feeders that see a lot of action. We often have a handful of hummingbirds zipping around our front windows.
Currently the boys’ bedrooms and the playroom are covered with LEGOS day in and day out. I admire how creative the boys are at building new creatures from miscellaneous pieces. My favorite space in the house is the loveseat in Jeremy and I’s room. It’s the perfect reading nook! Jeremy has been kind in letting my home library take over our bedroom. If we stay in this home long enough to be empty nesters, it’s my dream to turn the playroom into a library. My favorite wall décor is our travel wall by the dining room table. It’s been fun to showcase our travels and adventures as a family.
In four years, we’ve started to collect cobwebs and we certainly have our fair share of dings around the house. Our space is lived in! We are thankful for this roof over our heads. We’re thankful for outdoor space, too! I love walking laps on our long driveway. The boys love roaming the woods near our house, swinging on the playset, and bouncing on the trampoline. Jeremy can often be found in his garden, greenhouse, or in the hot tub. I hope we never take these spaces for granted. These are not small things. They are the foundation of our day-to-day life. It’s such an adventure and a joy to be at home with my guys! It’s definitely reason enough to celebrate a house-iversary!
This last week was my hubby’s birthday! He can be a hard birthday boy to celebrate. Easter season is one of the biggest and busiest seasons at his work. Unfortunately, his birthday falls during that same time. I spent weeks asking Jeremy what he wanted to do for his birthday and he just didn’t know. His mind was other places. After I asked about his plans a few times, the conversation became a game. Jeremy intentionally wouldn’t tell me what he was thinking because he knew it pushed my buttons. I like to make a big deal of birthdays because it’s one of the ways I express love to people. I want to celebrate them and have them feel special. I wasn’t too worried about what the plans were. I just wanted to make sure he felt loved on his birthday.
I was not surprised when the birthday plans turned out to be a morning at Top Golf. This seems to be where the Scott men celebrate their birthdays. We’ve now been four times as a family – all birthday celebrations. We took off early on Friday morning so we could have breakfast at Cracker Barrel before hitting Top Golf. I am not a golfer, but I can enjoy whacking a ball with no particular talent. We all have a good time at Top Golf and it’s a fun way for my golfer hubby to enjoy a golfing activity with his non-golfing family. I’m sure it’s a just a matter of time before Jeremy has the boys on the golf course with him. Good father-son bonding ahead!
Jeremy’s lunch of choice was a burger at Five Guys. We had a buy one, get one free coupon from Nothing Bundt Cakes, so we picked up bundlets as his birthday dessert. After two meals out, we made it home for Chinese food leftovers from a family dinner the day before.
A non-birthday related highlight of Friday was Owen got a new betta fish. Last week, our second betta, Finn, died. We knew Finn’s end was near so it wasn’t a shock. Owen was very excited to look for a yellow betta to replace Finn. Our local pet stores haven’t carried yellow bettas in the past so we wanted to look in the “big” city for more variety. The pet store we visited had only one yellow betta and Owen jumped at the chance to take him home. Owen is now the proud owner of Sunny.
Owen came home from the birthday outing with more than a betta fish. He also acquired a 24-hour flu bug. At first we thought it was carsickness, but when he was sick into the night and the next day, we realized we were dealing with something more. Thankfully, he was fine by Saturday afternoon. The flu bug changed our weekend plans, though. Jeremy and Graham went to a church work party on Saturday morning while Owen and I stayed home. Graham surprised us all by being super social on Saturday. Not only was he helpful at the work party, but he made new friends, too. I was so proud of him. Graham can to be our shy guy and he often feels most comfortable tagging along with his older brother. It was neat to hear how he was brave and had a great time at church. Owen started to feel better Saturday afternoon, but we stayed home on Sunday from church just to be safe. It was a quieter weekend then I expected, but that’s okay. Plans often change, but I’m glad the birthday plans came together! We love our spring birthday boy! Happy birthday, Jeremy!
This last week, I got to visit a place that is very special in my childhood memories. Jeremy has agreed to co-direct kids camp for our church network. He has directed/co-directed kids camps for our entire married life. Two summers without kids camp on our calendar has been strange. Now that COVID numbers are coming down and things are opening up, kids camp planning is back on. Jeremy had a camp tour this last Friday and he mentioned taking the boys along for the outing. I also asked to tagalong because kids camp this year is at the campground I attended as an elementary school student – Lake Retreat! Because it was a full camp tour, we got to look inside all the buildings and wander all over the campground. As we walked through the different spaces, I could remember which “cabins” I stayed in. I had memories of lining up outside the cafeteria, eating camp meals, messages in the chapel, and stories by the campfire. The camp is right on Lake Retreat and I remember how high the diving board seemed as a kid. The strangest thing was how small the camp felt to me as an adult. My childhood memory was of this huge, expansive campground. While the campground really isn’t small, it just wasn’t quite as large as my childhood memory made it seem. I guess the walk across camp felt longer for little legs decades ago. It was very special to visit a place for vivid in my memories.
While visiting camp was partially for nostalgia, I also had another purpose for tagging along. This is the first summer that Owen is old enough to attend. It’s crazy to think of him going off to camp. I wanted to get a glimpse of what camp might look for him. Could I picture him there? Owen and Graham both enjoyed the camp tour. It certainly inspired them to want to attend. One of the advantages of Owen visiting camp in advance is he can now picture where this new experience would take place. We’ve haven’t done overnight experiences beyond a night or two at a grandparents’ house. In the aftermath of a pandemic, we’re still processing if summer camp is a step we’re ready for. Seeing the camp in-person was helpful as we process our summer plans. It’s hard to believe that we have a kiddo that is old enough to be a camper!
Okay, visiting camp wasn’t the only highlight of the last week. I’ll try to hit the others quickly. On Thursday, we visited friends and saw quite a few trains on our journey to/from their home. The boys are still obsessed with trains, so it was a very good day! We met Jeremy for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant (which I find funny since it was St. Patrick’s day). Friday night, I attended book club. I enjoy discussing books with other moms and my book recommendation list is super long now. On Saturday, we had a beaver walk up our driveway and into our front yard! We apparently live in a zoo or maybe Narnia. Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner and the boys got to do their favorite thing – flashlight tag in the yard. Sunday, our chickens got attacked by an eagle. We missed the drama but my parents saw it happen. A crow attacked the eagle and scared it off before it could harm our chickens. A big thank you to that crow! Between a beaver in the yard on Saturday and an eagle on Sunday… we seriously live in a zoo!
After a few days of activity, I’ve been enjoying some quieter days at home. I’m almost finished with the Harry Potter series. I’m currently on book seven and hope to finish it today or tomorrow. It’s been fun to discuss the books with my friends (and hubby) who are fans. I’m often asked what I think about the books, but it’s also neat to hear what books, characters, and moments other readers like best. Oh, and the very important discussion of what Hogwarts house you think you’d be in! I’m torn between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but I’m leaning toward Hufflepuff. I’ll have to give my final HP thoughts at the end of the month in my book blog!
It can be easy and exciting to write about the big adventures and outings. However, life is mostly made up of the “other” days. They might not be thrilling, but each ordinary day is an adventure all it’s own. With the future unknown, I am trying to intentionally savor these days at home. The last two years have greatly changed how we live our day-to-day lives. While many have rushed back to normal, we are trying to hold on to the benefits we’ve found in living differently.
Our mornings are spent at the dining room table doing school. We are one week away from the end of our 3rd quarter. The boys already have their 3rd quarter rewards selected and they are counting down the days until we can celebrate. It is very exciting to see the pages left in our school books dwindling. Some of our curriculum doesn’t end at exactly 180 days of lessons. A few books will be completed before we are officially finished with the school year. (When that happens, I supplement that subject with other worksheets/books.) It’s always a celebration when a textbook is completed. The finish line for the school year is in sight!
Homeschooling has been an unexpected chapter in our family story. It’s been a good chapter, though. Our plans for school next year are still undecided. There is a chance that the boys will be back to public school in the fall. With that in mind, I’m doing my best to enjoy this homeschool season for all that it is. It’s not over yet and I want to make the most of it. Often that means putting thoughts (and, being real here, anxieties) about next year on hold for now. I don’t want to miss this current time at home pondering (or fretting over) future decisions.
After school, we have lunch and then quiet time. This used to be nap time, but the boys have long outgrown naps. Now they are allowed to play on their beds or read books during quiet time. While they might not sleep anymore, the down time is restorative. It reminds me of the “flat on bunk” time I used to have at kid’s camp when I was in elementary school. Sleep is optional, but rest isn’t. This quiet time is just as important for me as it is for the boys. I appreciate the break! I often use it to read, research (aka look things up on Amazon), contact friends (Marco Polo), and do “grown-up stuff” (like make dentist appointments).
When quiet time is over, it’s afternoon free time. If the weather is nice, we’ll walk to the mailbox. I usually start dinner prep while the boys play. LEGO Super Mario is still the toy of choice around here. If the boys have chores, they do them in the afternoon/evening free time. Some of their chores are emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, collecting eggs, and helping with the laundry. We have dinner when Jeremy gets home and then usually there is a little time to play on the Switch. Some days wrap up by watching a baking show in the hot tub.
These days can feel a bit like Groundhog’s Day. Wake up and repeat… again… and again. Despite the repetition, these are good days. The last two years have certainly been challenging, but they have also been a gift. This last week Washington State removed it’s mask mandate, so it really has been two years living in pandemic mode. While I don’t view the pandemic as over, I can recognize that things are changing. I don’t know what that means for the future, but I do know that I want to make the most of right now. I am so thankful to the small things that make these ordinary days special. We do have rocky moments (like the fights over LEGOS pieces – a real-life example from 11:30am today). I remind myself that these difficult moments are a chance for us to grow together. It might seem like sibling squabbles are a chance for the kids to learn, but these are growth moments for me as well. How will I respond? Is my attitude helping or hindering the situation? So yes, lots of learning together beyond our school time. These home days don’t make for the most interesting updates, but day-by-by, they are making for a pretty interesting life!