Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

35 January 16, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Recollections,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 3:18 pm

On Thursday, I turned 35. I am now officially closer to 40 than to 30. Hello mid-30’s, good-bye early-30’s. I’m okay with the shift. The wrinkles on my forehead and the gray hairs remind me that time is marching on. I’m thankful for each year I get. At this point, I don’t mind getting older. My opinion might change, but right now, I’m cool with owning 35. I will claim my years without remorse. If I’m going to be perfectly honest, I love love love birthdays. I love celebrating. I don’t need a big party, but I always strive to have as much fun as possible on my birthday – which usually involves eating all my favorite foods and spending time with my favorite people.

How did I celebrate 35? I kicked the day off with my free drink from Starbucks. Jeremy took the day off and we adventured up north to Bellevue. My one birthday request was going to The Container Store. According to their website, the Bellevue store had the two items I wanted. Sadly, when we arrived at the store, it was closed because it’s system was down. Bummer moment. We continued on with the plan and went to a nearby park. We walked in the sunshine, looked at the water and ducks, grabbed MOD Pizza and ate outside in the fresh air (indoor dining is still closed here in WA state).

After lunch, the kids twisted my arm and I agreed to visit a chocolate shop that Blippi (the YouTube star) filmed at. It was only 10 minutes away, so it seemed like a small, self-less act. I figured it would be a highlight of the day for them. After our Boehms Candies adventure, we took off for a different Container Store. I figured I might not get both items on my wish list, but I could at least get one. I was pleasantly surprised that the next store had restocked and both my coveted items were available. My birthday wish came true! What was I looking for? A large can riser for my pantry and more special hangers for my reusable bags. I sure do know how to party!

We ended our outing with a stop by Costco, where I picked up mac and cheese for dinner. I enjoyed my favorite meal followed by my favorite dessert – chocolate cake. It was a super fun and super tasty day from start to finish. The sunshine made it extra special. I enjoyed getting out of the area and adventuring with my boys. I wondered if COVID would put a damper on my celebration, but yet again, we rose to the occasion and had a great time despite restrictions. God is good and I am so blessed. I don’t take these good days for granted. I know how precious they are.

So where does 35 find me? A homeschool mom… which I never saw coming. I am home a lot… more than ever before and it turns out I love it. I keep my two wild boys alive, tidy my house, read books, bake treats, and try to make dinner as easy as possible. I’m obsessed with getting 10,000 steps a day and having my FitBit register that I exercised daily (usually 30 minutes of walking). I’ve restarted the habit of journaling alongside my Bible reading because I want to remember these days. I prefer to read but when I do watch television it’s mostly Hallmark channel, This Is Us, or The Pioneer Woman. The color navy is best color ever. I’m in my fourth year coordinating our local MOPS & MOMSnext group and my eighth year as a member. I occasionally work my side business through Usborne Books & More. I’ve learned that I enjoy hiking, especially if it’s through trees and on a level trail. I might not be super outdoorsy yet, but I’m making progress in outdoor appreciation. I love spending time with my family whether it’s running errands, eating out, exploring a new place, playing games, or enjoying the inflatable hot tub in our backyard. Jeremy, Owen, and Graham have been the best quarantine team. Our relationships have been strengthen by our time together. I am so thankful I get to do life alongside these three guys!

I mentioned in my last post that having a new year and a birthday so close together tends to make me extra reflective. Usually, I would go into each year with new goals, dreams, hopes, vision. 2021 and 35 feel different, though. I continue to hold to the motto that I am doing the best I can with what I’ve got. I don’t know what next month looks like, let alone the whole year. I plan to be faithful to things that I am doing right now. I am praying for discernment as the world returns to normal (hopefully) over the next year. I’ve set down so many commitments and expectations in 2020. I don’t plan to pick them all back up again. My biggest prayer for 2021 and 35 is to know what to invest in and what to completely let go of. This will be a crucial time in setting the pace for the second half of my 30’s. Wish me luck!

Free Birthday Drink – Hot Chocolate!
Park, ducks, water, sunshine, and happy boys!
Awkward family photo after lunch in the park.
The Blippi inspired visit to Boehm’s Candy.
One of my favorite places! Not as cool as Disneyland, but still pretty awesome!
Thankful for everyday with him!
35 candles on a chocolate cake!
The Home Edit inspired hangers for my bags. Organization makes me happy!
More The Home Edit inspiration – can risers in two sizes to fit various cans in my pantry! Love this look so much!
 

Starting 2021… January 11, 2021

I wasn’t ready for Christmas to be over. I built it up as this big, exciting, focal point of celebration. The anticipation of Christmas carried our family for weeks. It was a wonderful Christmas even with COVID limitations. I know the post-Christmas blues are a real thing and I saw them coming before they ever arrived. The last week of 2020 felt extremely odd without Christmas and with so many restrictions on our free time. I would say that my after-Christmas life has been a lot of little chores, reading, and family time in the hot tub time. All good things, but the days are blurring together. We’ve had a few interesting/exciting/adrenaline-inducing moments to break up the “sameness” that seems to have settled over us.

We waited until the last day of vacation to take down our Christmas decorations. The kids begged us to wait as long as possible. Usually, I’m ready for the Christmas décor to be boxed up and put away. I enjoy reclaiming the house. On the flip side, I feel like the house is empty once the decorations are gone. I was on the fence about taking down Christmas, so it made me easy to sway when it came to keeping it up as long as possible. The house is reset to “normal” which I haven’t seen since August, so yes, it feels weird. Adjusting to empty space takes time, but I’m getting there.

Last Monday was like ripping the band-aid off after vacation. It was back to homeschooling, back to solo parenting during the day, and back to leading my MOPS group all in one day. It was a good day, but a big day. I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy over being a responsible adult again. The combination of the end of the year and my upcoming birthday tend to make me super reflective in January. I can be more in my head and spend extra time processing where I’m at and how things are going. Back to adulting, COVID restrictions keeping us at home, extra contemplation – that’s where I was last week.

After surviving the big day “back” on Monday, Tuesday was supposed to be more relaxed, more restful. At least, that was the plan. Graham had other plans. As I was getting him ready for our afternoon quiet time, he fell backwards and cut his head on a windowsill. I’m not great with blood (I almost fainted). I quickly called in back-up. My mom and Jeremy are both more medically-minded and can handle the sight of blood. My mom (who lives next door) was home and came over to help me stop the bleeding. Jeremy came home to determine if Graham needed stitches. He was unsure, so off to the doctor’s office we went. Luckily, Graham narrowly avoided stitches. I narrowly avoided fainting. We both emerged victorious. Graham was quickly back to his happy self and I went in search of chocolate!

Wednesday was spent being shocked and upset with the situation at the US Capital. I was about to have a phone date with a friend when my mom texted to fill me in. My friend and I quickly prayed at the start of our phone call, but we decided to not let this incident dominate our discussion. At the time of our conversation, I was still in the sick-to-my-stomach, is-this-really-happening stage of processing. It just seemed impossible that something like that could happen. So… anyway… like many others, Wednesday was shadowed by a whole slew of emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

I was dragging on Thursday. It dawned on me that first week of 2021 had certainly not turned out how I expected. When life feels like too much, I usually move from focusing on the big picture to looking for the small moments of goodness. On Thursday, the weather had shifted and the rain was gone. I was able to take an afternoon walk outside, under a blue sky. I needed the chance to walk with my thoughts while taking a deep breath of fresh air. I walked down to our mailbox and was surprised by an early birthday card. Small moments of goodness were all around. My soul was starting to feel some restoration after a rocky week.

The excitement of the weekend was that my hubby completed a house project that has been on the to-do for years now (pretty much since we moved in). We had hoped to add a tile backsplash around our master bathtub over Christmas vacation. After looking at title options, we decided to order online which delayed the start of the project. The tile arrived last week and Jeremy spent the weekend installing it (with Owen supervising from time to time). I love having a handy hubby! Since our master bathtub is used by two wild, splashy boys, our walls are now better protected from the tidal waves and hurricanes that occasionally occur. I love that the tile we chose pulls in the colors of our flooring and the pre-existing tile around our countertop. I look a celebratory bubble bath last night and loved being surrounded by my hubby’s handiwork. Way to go, Jeremy!

And here we are at the start of another week. I’m curious to see how week two of 2021 treats us. It’s my birthday week, so I’m optimistic it will be an improvement over last week. On Thursday, I will be 35 and officially closer to 40 than to 30. The first half of my 30’s have been a wild ride. There have been some serious lows, but also some amazing highs. In my 30’s, I have genuinely worked to understand myself better and to appreciate who I am and how I got here. It’s gives me hope for the future. I keep believing that best is yet to come!

The last night with the glow of the Christmas tree. I think the lighting of the Christmas tree at night is one of the things I miss most when the decorations come down.
We started a new art book in January. On Mondays, we learn about famous artwork and follow step-by-step directions to replicate the style. This is the boys’ attempt at van Gogh last week. This week’s sea prints didn’t work as well, so the boys’ started painting volcanoes instead.
Glad Graham didn’t need stitches! And because of delayed well checks, this was the first time to the doctor’s office in over a year. Staying home has some advantages.
It was chilly but we were thankful for outside time (and the pavement at the grandparent’s house). I’m sensing the difference between staying home in the winter vs. staying home in the spring. We all miss our outdoor adventures!
My Thursday walk in the fresh air!
I needed this blue sky!
Master bathtub – before
Master bathtub – after
Saturday morning shows and snuggles
I made yellow cake mix cookies for the first time. The texture and flavor is awesome! The sprinkles give it a funfetti flare. Making these cookies felt like a happy way to end a weird week.
 

Reflecting on 2020 January 1, 2021

2020! What a year! Mostly, I feel profoundly grateful for 2020. This year also brought a whole new level of anxiety and was not without struggle. Despite the ups and down, God has been faithful and good through it all. In a world where the term “shelter at home” has become common, I am thankful for the shelter my family, my home, and my faith have provided.

Let’s recap 2020. In January, I celebrated my 34th birthday with a snow day. Our calendar was full with church and school commitments. For President’s Day, we took a trip to the beach. Not realizing that the world would shutdown a month later, we are thankful we took that day trip. In March, I helped coordinated my first (and so far, only) wedding for our church. The same weekend as the wedding, school closed for what we thought would be six weeks and we got our first taste of homeschooling. We celebrated Jeremy’s birthday on the first official day of the “stay home, stay healthy” order. We started doing church through video recordings and our family jumped in to help Jeremy when needed.

Six weeks of no school turned into the entire school year. We wrapped up Graham’s first year of preschool and kindergarten for Owen by documenting the moment in our pajamas. In 2020, we neglected our put-together-outfits and opted for sweatpants and pajamas around the house. I used Zoom for the first time in 2020. While Owen never had to Zoom for school, this became the way my MOPS & MOMSnext group stayed connected and as well our virtual small group for church.

Summer 2020 was spent mostly in the backyard pool that we were gifted by a friend. In July, I had surgery to remove a benign mass that was causing me discomfort. My recovery went well and quickly I was back to keeping up with my wild, outdoor men. We enjoyed lots of hiking, got to go camping, and took a vacation to Yellowstone.

This fall, we opted to homeschool for a less digital learning experience for our kids. Homeschooling has been a positive experience. I truly love being a part of my kids’ education. In October, we celebrated Owen and Graham turning seven and five. We also participated in a Family Scavenger Hunt with our church that kept us busy and having fun! We celebrated Halloween with a massive drive-thru kids event at church.

This holiday season has been unlike any other. Washington State COVID restrictions called for no gatherings with those outside of our household. To pass the time at home for the holidays, we invested in an inflatable hot tub. We made the most of all the holiday celebrations at home. We have missed our people, but we also enjoyed a simple and scaled back holiday season.

I will admit that before 2020, I often wished I could scale back my commitments and live a quieter life. 2020 granted me that wish. As an introvert, I’ve enjoyed the extra time at home. The blessing of this roof over my head is one that I don’t take for granted. I’m so glad I got to “shelter in place” in this home on the hill with my little family. I’ve loved spending more time with my family. We’ve grown closer and made some amazing memories together. The anxiety and uncertainty of 2020 has not outweighed the goodness I have experienced and for that I am incredibly thankful!

The one thing that fell apart in 2020 was publishing my book. I spent the first three months of 2020 editing my book with the hopes of self-publishing before the end of 2020. I wrapped up editing my book in March and then walked away from it. My brain just didn’t have the capacity to move the project forward. I want to say a huge thank you to the friends and family who read it, helped me edit, and offered feedback. While I don’t plan to complete this project, I believe God will use this experience as a foundation for the future. Publishing a book isn’t impossible, it’s just not on my agenda right now.

What is in store for 2021? I honestly have no idea. Our current COVID restrictions will expire on January 11th. It’s almost impossible to plan when you don’t know what will be allowed. We will be jumping back into school. MOPS & MOMSnext took a holiday break and will resume again. We will continue to meet online at least through March. My birthday is in two weeks and I’m unsure what celebrating it will look like.

I’ve heard sentiments about wanting 2020 to be done, but it looks like 2021 is going to start out very similar to 2020. The virus and it’s ramifications aren’t going to disappear because it’s a new year. I am hopeful that we will see change toward “normal” in 2021. I will continue to do the best I can with what I’ve got. I will prioritize my faith, my family, and my community (however COVID restrictions allow). As the world works to return to normal, I will prayerfully consider what old things I pick back up and what things I have truly walked away from. 2021 is a chance for a fresh start. Happy New Year!

Watching their friendship deepen has been one of my biggest blessings in 2020.
Found some snow on the last day of 2020!
First time sledding was a hit!
Owen lost his 3rd tooth of 2020!
We spent NYE air frying everything! We are loving this air fryer lid for our Instant Pot.
My Top 9 Instagram Posts of 2020: Family Pictures. Easter. Baby Blanket Quilts by Nana. Green Eggs and Ham Cookies. Mother’s Day. Visiting GG. Sunset. Decorating for Christmas. Mother’s Day Shoutout to Friends & Family.
 

What I’m Reading & What I’m Loving – December 2020 December 30, 2020

Here marks one year of keeping track of my books on the blog, as well as the things that made me happy each month. It’s been fun to document each month and share the simple things that made an impression on me. Now that we are wrapping up 2020, I can say that I surpassed my goal of reading 100 books this year and landed at 137 as of this afternoon. Obviously, books mean a great deal to me, but never before have they matter quite as much as they did in 2020. Books took me to new places and introduced me to new people during a time where I was told to stay home and limit my social circles. Books were my entertainment as well as my distraction. This year has been unlike any other and books kept me going. It’s no surprise I read so many. 2020 afforded me plenty of opportunity to read. So here’s to 137 books!

What I’m Reading:

  • Out to Canaan, A New Song, A Common Life, Shepherds Abiding, In This Mountain, Light from Heaven (books 4-9 in the Mitford Series) by Jan Karon – It took me a while to get into the pace of the Mitford series, but after a few books I was sold on the characters in this charming small town. I’m a huge fan of reading a series and love having book after book to dive into. This series took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.
  • Home to Holly Springs (book 1 in the Father Tim Series) by Jan Karon – This series picks up after the Mitford series. Father Tim is still the main character, but this book finds him outside of Mitford and revisiting his childhood hometown. Throughout the Mitford series you would get glimpses into Father Tim’s traumatic childhood, but only small bits. This book pulled back the curtain and shared the raw truth of Father Tim’s past.
  • The Home Edit Life by Clea Shearer & Joanna Teplin – I follow these home organizers on Instagram. I read their first book and recently watched their series on Netflix. I love the pictures in this book. I love the step by step instructions. I love home organization. These ladies inspired me to take it up a notch with my organization this Christmas season. I enjoyed having a project and I loved the book so much I bought my own copy with Christmas money.
  • The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson (not pictured – Kindle library book) – Reading a book by Melody is like watching a Hallmark movie. After the pace of the Mitford books, I wanted a book that I could sail through. This story about about a women who fixes up a beat up camper was sweet.
  • The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson – I read this book right before Christmas and it was perfect for celebrating Christmas week with a Christmas book. Again, I enjoy the Hallmark plotline that is fairly predictable, but heartwarming. Melody’s books are like comfort food for me!

What I’m Loving:

  • Baking – Other than reading, baking was my main project this month. I made five different kinds of cookies. Two of the recipes were an experiment to find a chocolate cookie recipe that Owen would approve of. It was fun to make some Christmas classics like cut-out cookies and gingerbread, but it was also fun to try something new! Bonus, my sister got me a cookie decorating book for Christmas, so more cute cookies are hopefully in my future!
  • Christmas – I needed Christmas this year! I needed books, movies, decorations, crafts, outings – the works! Christmas gave me a something hopeful and exciting to focus on. Currently in Washington state, our COVID restrictions are tight. With so much time at home, Christmas was the perfect distraction. I’m so thankful for the Christmas season we got to celebrate as a family. Even though it was very different than our usual experience, it was a unique gift.
  • Home Organization – I’ve had some fun tweaking my home organization. I picked up more storage containers, rearranged our books by color, and replaced broken or worn household times. It was a fun project to focus on the house and fine-tune our systems. After a year spent mostly at home, I can see how our home has changed. The boys’ rooms now display more artwork and things that matter to them. Toys are played with often. The kitchen and laundry room are well-used. A well-lived-in house calls for practical systems of maintenance. I’m a nerd, but I love it!
  • Playing UPS – One of the highlights of my month was our gift delivery days to our families. We got to see the people who matter most to us even if the visits were short, distanced, and in masks. I miss long, leisurely visits with my people, but seeing them in-person for a short time did my soul good.

 

Merry Christmas 2020 December 27, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 2:01 pm

As expected, our week leading up to Christmas was quiet. Because I’m a planner, I wrote out a daily agenda on our family whiteboard. Each day had a featured activity to capture the Christmas spirit. Monday: Christmas movies/books. Tuesday: driving to look at Christmas lights. Wednesday: Christmas cookies. Christmas Eve: opening the first round of presents from my family. Christmas Day: opening our family presents and gifts from Jeremy’s side of the family. We also Zoomed with the whole Scott crew to celebrate together. Yesterday was our traditional day after Christmas shopping adventure. It was a festive week from start to finish!

It was interesting to be home for Christmas with no travel plans. Usually, we are racing from place to place so our kids open their gifts, but rarely do they get to play with much more than one item before the rest of the gifts are tucked away. The thing I noticed most about being home was the kids opened EVERYTHING on Christmas day. All the toys, crafts, kits, games, etc. where opened to play with. The boys hopped from activity to activity all. day. long. I thought Christmas would be this quiet, relaxing day, but actually it was non-stop package opening, adding batteries, assisting with crafts, and assembling toys. The boys had a ton of fun and their contagious joy made it a Christmas to remember.

We have certain family members who do Christmas cash instead of gifts, so with that in mind, our family tradition is to go shopping the day after Christmas. Also, Jeremy and I don’t do gifts for each other. We buy what we like on our shopping day and enjoy spending time together. It’s as close to “Treat Yourself” from Parks and Rec as we can get. While the boys happily spent their Christmas cash on more toys, I went for a home theme this year. I had items I wanted to replace around the house. My shopping included new tongs, kitchen knives, glasses, bath mats, hangers, and storage totes. Jeremy opted for the online route this year.

Storage cubes from IKEA were also a top priority on our shopping trip. I’m a huge believer in every item having a home – especially when it’s tucked away in a storage bin. After Jeremy skillfully assembled the new storage cubes, I spent hours sorting and finding homes for all the new treasures. I will admit that this process felt odd at times. The boys and I did some purging, but we kept most of our toy collections. I’m still in the process of figuring out what preschool toys to keep for company (and feeling the tension that we’ve had almost no indoor company this year). Also, with all the extra time at home these days, we often cycle through older toys that become cool again after a long absence. I’m sure as the world moves toward “normal” in 2021, it will become clearer what items to keep and donate.

With less than one week left to 2020, I am contemplating what 2021 holds. Our current set of COVID restrictions are set expire on January 4th. Until I know what it is allowed, it is hard to make plans for January. I’ve spent so much time and energy on making sure that Christmas was special for my family, I’m a little unsure of what life after Christmas looks like. We have one more week of vacation left. While we have no set plans, a house project has been proposed and a suggestion has been made to go find snow. We will have to see what adventures lay ahead as we close 2020.

I got to see my forever friend, Christa, this week! We took a (short, chilly, socially distanced, outdoor) walk. We are hopeful that the next time we hang out, we can do it indoors!
The next round of cookies! I made snow and chicken themed cut-out cookies. I also finally found a cookie recipe that Owen will eat – milk chocolate cake mix cookies! They had the right chocolate flavor and texture.
When the seven year old asks to snuggle, you stop and snuggle. I am aware that these little days are flying by and that my big boy is growing up quickly. Gotta get these snuggles while I can!
Based on the amount of dessert in our house, you’d think we hosted a large gathering! Apple pie, two kind of a cookies, a coffee cake delivered by a friend, and mini bundt cakes from my parents. Special treats are of my favorite way to celebrate any holiday.
Starting Christmas day with our Advent time. Thankful for Jesus being the light of the world and the true meaning of Christmas.
These mini lava lamps were a huge hit with the boys because they look like the trophy from Floor is Lava.
Christmas LEGO building session
Not our typical Christmas gathering picture! Love this crew and I can’t wait for us to be together again.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
 

Made it to Christmas Vacation! December 19, 2020

We made it to Christmas vacation! Celebrate and cheer! Okay, I think I’m the most excited member of my family, but we are all pretty jazzed! The boys opted to double up on their school work this week so they could finish early. We did extra work on Monday and Tuesday, so on Wednesday they each had only a tiny amount of school left. We were all thrilled to wrap up school for 2020. Bring on vacation mode!

In my last post, I shared how I’m rising to the occasion to make all the Christmas things happen around the house. Usually, I would rely on school parties and church events to add the festive fun to our days. In the absence of the parties and performances, I’ve leaned into Christmas crafting, Christmas outings, and Christmas movies. Not a bad way to spend the days.

On Monday, we focused the nativity with a sticker craft and book. The boys and I joined Jeremy to film the introduction to our Christmas Eve gatherings for church (the boys got to hold lit candles… a job they were thrilled about… and I was nervous about). I also had my last MOPS & MOMSnext meeting of the year that evening. The theme was holiday attire, so I dressed up from head to toe even though you could only see from my shoulders up thanks to a virtual meeting.

On Tuesday, we drove up north to deliver our Christmas gift to my grandma. There is a Christmas light drive nearby her house, so we did that on our way home. It was like our local park display, only much bigger. Graham exclaimed loudly over all the lights. The whole park knew his joy since since his window was rolled down. He wasn’t the only kid you could hear jazzed about the festive display.

On Wednesday, we finished school and worked on Christmas ornaments we purchased the night before. Thursday was our first official day of Christmas vacation. We decorated gingerbread houses that had been gifted to us. Instead of doing another candy house, we used peanut butter and bird seed to make a treat of our feathered friends. The boys got to kick off vacation with a sleepover in Jeremy and I’s room. We watched Christmas shows in bed as a special treat.

Friday, we collected Christmas presents from Nana & Papa. We added these to our own gifts to deliver down south to our extended family. Our family is starting our own holiday delivery business. The goal was to make sure all the relatives had their gifts in time for Christmas. Today was our big delivery day! It was good to see our family members even though it was just quick door deliveries. We look forward to the day when we can safely gather and celebrate being together again.

As I look at the week ahead, I know it will be a quieter Christmas than ever before. As someone who has spent my Christmas’ traveling, I am looking forward to my first Christmas day spent fully at home. I will miss seeing family, that is for certain, but 2020 has given us new opportunities. I’m viewing our opportunity to stay home as a gift. I can’t wait to munch on cinnamon rolls, drink cider, and watch the kiddos open their presents on Christmas morning. I’m looking forward to a day of endless play with no where to go. I’m sure it will be a pajamas and yummy treats kind of day. I’m very hopeful that it will be a very Merry Christmas this year.

Talking about joy on our third week of Advent!
Nativity Crafting
Glad to see my Christmas sweater could get a little use this season!
Christmas delivery to our sweet GG!
Jeremy was a good sport about the birdseed gingerbread houses. We struggled with structural integrity, but we finally succeed!
Kicking off Christmas vacation with a special sleepover!
Attempting a new cookie recipe to celebrate vacation. These milk chocolate cookies are excellent – especially with vanilla frosting. I’ve been making cookie sandwiches with them!
 

All Things Christmas December 11, 2020

We are ramping up our Christmas activities in the Scott household. There has been a new Christmas activity every day this week and my kids are loving it! The only downside with starting a Christmas-activity-a-day pattern is that the kiddos have come to expect something Christmas-y everyday. It’s addictive and habit-forming. So to keep them from going through withdrawals, I’m stepping up to the challenge. This week has been full of Christmas crafts, Christmas books, a Christmas outing, and Christmas baking. I realize that this pace isn’t sustainable forever. Good thing we are at the two week countdown to Christmas. I love that these small things (mostly done at home) are making our days festive and fun. I am truly thankful for the extra time to celebrate with my family this year. Home for the holidays is okay with us.

Monday was Nutcracker day! We painted these nutcrackers from Hobby Lobby and read the story from our home library.
Watching clips from the Nutcracker ballet to see how the story is told through music and dance.
Tuesday was cinnamon ornaments. This is a classic school craft, but I’ve never personally made them before. The cinnamon smell was so strong that the boys abandoned me after they each made two ornaments. The dough actually made more than I expected.
The finished results – we have now have plenty of cinnamon trees, men, snails, chickens, hedgehogs, lights, and squirrels around our tree. We also gifted a few ornaments to family members, because we had a ton!
On Wednesday, we read for the first time the original How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The boys love the cartoon version, so this seemed like the perfect addition to our home library. Also, another classic kid Christmas thing and I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever read the actual book before… at least not in a few decades anyway… I really can’t remember.
On Thursday, we drove through a local park to see the Christmas light display. We love this tradition! This year, we added Santa hats to the outing to make it more festive.
Friday was Christmas cookies!
I enjoy making the pretty cookies first and then I let the boys have at the rest of the cookies. I’m always intrigued to see how they decide to decorate.
 

Advent Season December 6, 2020

This last weekend, we wholeheartedly entered Advent season! Advent is not just counting down the days to Christmas, but it focuses on the expectation of Jesus’ arrival and the salvation he brings to the world. This is our second year of lighting a candle once a week and focusing on the spiritual story of Advent. We also have an Advent calendar filled with Hershey’s kisses to open each day. Jesus and chocolate are helping us celebrate this season to the fullest!

We’ve been around the house quite a bit. While the days might seem ordinary and slow, I’m impressed when I look back over all we’ve accomplished. Both boys are plowing through their schoolwork. Owen finished the first half of his math curriculum. It’s set up in two books (1A and 1B), so we’ll start his new book on Monday. Graham finished up his last pre-k workbook this week. He is now working on a book that is actually meant for the summer between pre-k and kindergarten. Once he completes this smaller workbook, he’ll start a kindergarten curriculum in January. He is so excited about being a “kindergartener.” I keep telling him that he will be doing kindergarten work and He isn’t actual going to kindergarten. In his mind, he is about to graduate to the big leagues. I’m trying not to squelch his excitement too much because a kid excited about school is a good thing.

Jeremy has started a new project… well, he is continuing a project from this spring. He has started clearing brush in a new spot on our property. His chainsaw has been busy this weekend. Now he is looking forward to the massive burn piles that await him. I’ve been keeping busy with my Usborne Books & More business. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but I’ve had parties over the last three months. I’m not actively drumming up business, but if someone asks to host a party, I say yes. The parties have been fairly successful thanks to the Christmas selling season. It’s been fun not only to share these great books with friends, but also to add some extra income during the gift giving season.

Our family has been enjoying our new hot tub immensely. The boys are in it almost every night. We’ve had a lot of fun looking at stars together on clear nights. One night the moon was so bright that we could see shapes in the clouds as they floated by. Our favorite shape we spotted was Snoopy in a chef’s hat on skis. Jeremy got a floating light that changes colors so the hot tub has become the party pool recently. Hot tub time has been a wonderful addition to our daily routine.

Celebrating Christmas has made the extra time at home feel festive and special. We have a list of Christmas activities to accomplish over the coming weeks and there is a lot of excited anticipation. Today after dropping Owen off at church with Jeremy, Graham and I went to the store to purchase Graham’s Christmas gift for Owen. After church, Jeremy took Owen to the store to shop for Graham. It’s fun to see what they pick for each other. I’m always curious to see if they can keep the secret until Christmas. Only 19 more days of secret keeping left!

Kicking off Advent last Sunday! Looking forward to lighting the second candle tonight.
Benny the Betta is also feeling festive these days.
So… I might be watching Get Organized with The Home Edit now that we have Netflix again.
Yesterday was a screen free afternoon. Things got a bit messy, but I am so thankful these two have have each other!
Turning folding chairs into a space shuttle with their stuffed animal crew. We also set up a floor is lava course with these chairs.
I had extra kisses from the Advent calendar, so why not?
Party pool!
Santa’s helpers!
 

A Very 2020 Holiday November 28, 2020

I’m sure most of us had a different Thanksgiving this year. Even though I missed seeing the smiling faces of my extended family, I did enjoy the slower pace and quieter holiday. This seems to sum up 2020 for me fairly well. It’s been different, but I haven’t minded the slower, quieter lifestyle that it’s brought.

Our MOPS & MOMSnext group met online on Monday night. It was our Christmas craft meeting. It’s been an adventure adapting our usual format into an online experience. Our creative team assembled kits so the moms could create a rustic nativity set at home. We did porch pick-ups for the kits and I had a few ladies opt to pick-up from my home. I enjoyed putting on a mask and heading outside for a few minutes to say hello while the ladies loaded up their kits. I’m not a super crafty person, so this craft had me a little nervous. I was so pleased with the end result, though! All I had to do was paint, accessorize, and glue. It’s been fun to see how the other ladies decorated their kits. This experience was definitely a win for our group!

Even though we only did school three days this week, we were able to condense all five days of learning into three, so the boys didn’t miss a day even through they took Thursday off. I love this element of homeschooling. The amount of school is so manageable. It’s been easy to stay on track. I will admit that I am looking forward to Christmas break in a few weeks. We didn’t take a Spring Break in 2020. We worked on summer workbooks all summer expect for one week when we visited Yellowstone (which was like a week long field trip). Our homeschool pace hasn’t led to burn out, but I am still looking forward to having a pause. This mostly comes from my own perspective as the main educator of my children. Mama/Teacher is ready for a break! Just three weeks to vacation! Let the countdown begin!

I’ve been making a list of Christmas activities we might wish to participate in this year. Given current guidelines, most of my ideas center around driving to look at Christmas lights. Our local park puts on a Christmas light drive-thru. We might travel north or south to see a bigger display in one of the larger cities as well. I’m a bit sad that my kiddos won’t be in any Christmas performances this year. Those are always fun memories and sweet photo opportunities. Instead of focusing on community activities, it’s time to focus on Advent (starting this weekend), making Christmas cookies, watching Christmas movies, and doing Christmas crafts. (I went into Hobby Lobby in October thinking I didn’t need anything and came out with Christmas crafts for school – totally justifiable.)

We were able to make one indoor Christmas activity happen today. We visited Santa! It was too tempting to pass up an 2020 photo opportunity of what the holidays really looked like. Santa was not only wearing a mask, but he was also behind a plexiglass shield. We all had our temperatures checked before waiting in a socially distanced line. The boys had to keep their masks on for the photo, so as they “elf” said, they had to “smile with their eyes!” Graham took that advice to heart as you can see in the picture below. The kids asked Santa for a drone and a spy kit. The store sent us off with ornament crafts, packets of hot chocolate, and tiny candy canes.

I don’t know how the next month will pan out. I’m processing that Christmas probably look “different” – just like Thanksgiving. Our family is brainstorming ways to be creative and celebrate safely. 2020 certainly isn’t going to wrap up the way I expected, but I believe it will be filled with goodness, light, love, and plenty of holiday cheer!

My MOPS & MOMSnext Nativity Craft
Owen starts every school day with science! He loves it! This week he studied the layers of the Earth.
Our garbage day is Thursday. We made a sign for our garbageman. Every week the boys wave at him from the window. He always waves and honks his horn in return.
A Thanksgiving morning soak in the hot tub
Zooming with family on Thanksgiving morning
We caught some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Picture with Santa – 2020
 

Merry & Bright November 22, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 2:38 pm

Well, we did it. We decorated for Christmas. Inside and out. I don’t feel a bit bad about not waiting. We were intentionally keeping up the autumn décor because we planned to host a small Thanksgiving meal at our house. True to 2020, those plans were canceled (or “postponed…” probably until 2021, who knows?). With no autumn holiday to celebrate in our home, we decided that we were in the clear to decorate for Christmas. This decision was highly influenced by our children who believe the Christmas seasons starts weeks before December. Their joy is contagious and we love Christmas, so why not? Also, the house has been decorated for fall since September 1st. Autumn has had plenty of time to reign. Now it’s time to give Christmas the spotlight.

Thanksgiving will still be the focal point of our upcoming week. We have yet another turkey craft to create for school. I have printed handouts and coloring sheets on the first Thanksgiving. We will read books about Thanksgiving each day. The week will be filled with yummy food. We’ve been working on special mail for the family members we won’t see this year and I’m sure there will be video chats and phone calls to check in on loved ones. Even though this Thanksgiving will be different, I am still looking forward to our scaled back version of Thanksgiving with much anticipation. The heart of this holiday is true now more than ever. We have come through so much and yet we have so much to be thankful for. Looking on the bright side, finding joy, and celebrating with gratitude are all traits I want to model and pass down to my children.

Decking the halls isn’t the only major update we have to share, this week we also debuted our brand new inflatable hot tub (the last part of that sentence needs to be read with a television game show host voice). Jeremy and I have been joking about getting an inflatable hot tub since they became super popular this spring. We learned two things from having the pool this summer – the boys are water bugs and the pool water was never warm enough for me. Even when I visit indoor pools, I never get in. It’s too cold. I’m a hot tub girl. Jeremy is also fond of hot tubs, so this seemed like the fall/winter version of the pool for our family. Our kids were so excited to watch the hot tub arrive and get set-up. They were the first ones to enjoy it and gave it rave reviews. I’ve also had a chance to soak in it and I am impressed at what can be achieved with inflated plastic! We realize that our holiday season will include more time around the house this year. This hot tub seemed like the perfect investment for our family this season.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving this year!

Graham kept yelling “I knew I’d like it” has he played happily! Owen is very good at keeping track of the hot tub temperature and giving status updates every few minutes.
I asked Owen if he’d like to help me make dinner and this was how he responded!
Decorating the Christmas tree
All done! Owen remarked that we could put the breakable ornaments anywhere since no little kids are coming over this year. Interesting point, but very true.
The grown-ups prefer the white lights when the kids go to bed!
The boys have been asking to decorate this gingerbread house since the day we bought it (11/10). We were able to hold them off for 11 days…
In the decorating zone!
The completed house!
Watching church from home with all the cozy Christmas vibes.