Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

The Home Stretch April 25, 2021

It feels like my life is in the “home stretch” on lots of levels right now! In the next month and a half, there is a lot to look forward to! I can feel that change is right around the corner. I’m deeply excited for these upcoming changes, but I’m also trying to stay in the moment and wait patiently. Honestly, to distract myself, I’ve been flying through novels this month. My next post will be all about the books that got me through this season of waiting. April has been a good book month.

What is right around the corner you might wonder? Well, first, we should have our floor replaced for (Lord willing) the final time either the 2nd or 3rd week in May. If you remember at the end of February we accepted and selected an upgrade. We are hopeful this upgraded product will hold up better and this will be the final fix! I can’t wait to see this new floor in place. I’m cautiously optimistic!

We will be wrapping up our 36th week of school on May 20th. I hope to have a small celebration for the boys to mark this accomplishment. Since Graham won’t get the same preschool graduation experience that Owen did, I ordered him a little cap and gown. I plan to do a little photoshoot with him to capture the memories. We’ve all accomplished so much this year and I’m proud of us – myself included. Learning a new role as homeschool mom had me nervous, but I’ve found a good groove and I’m enjoying it. It’s crazy to think we have just a few more weeks to go!

My ministry opportunities are about to shift as well. MOPS & MOMSnext will wrap up in the middle of June. I’m working hard to finish the year strong. Ending well is important to me. I am excited for all we have planned for our final meetings. I’ve been facilitating a Mastermind group that meets via Zoom monthly. I check-in with a small group of women ministers about life and ministry. This commitment will wrap up at the end of May. Our church gatherings plan to move outdoors in June. I’ve been watching church online and this move outdoors will be a good step forward. It feels like the right time to reconnect with my church family in-person.

The last thing is kind of big deal for me. I’m in the home stretch of waiting for my COVID vaccination. I have an appointment this week to get my first shot. My second shot (and the two week waiting period for the full efficacy) will be just in time for my return to church and hopefully the start of a somewhat-more-normal summer experience. I realize that the pandemic isn’t over and that precautions will still be necessary, but I looking forward to a little more peace of mind and a taking a step in the right direction.

I’m in the home stretch! Change is right around the corner! Until then… you’ll find me reading novels and passing the time as best I can with my little family.

The blossoms on this tree stopped me in my tracks this week. So pretty!!
Introducing the boys to minions with a special movie matinee at Grandpa & Grandma’s house. My space geeks loved the plan to steal the moon.
We’re not super sportsy, but I think we might have to invest in a soccer ball. The boys had a blast kicking the ball around my friend’s neighborhood while we took a walk.
This same neighborhood had a perfect spot to watch trains. My kids were in heaven.
Owen got pooped on to get this picture, but I’m sure he thought it was worth it. All 5 chicks sitting on him! He declared himself the Chicken King!
 

Realignment April 15, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Bible,Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 11:32 am

I was talking with a friend this weekend – catching up on life. She asked me for an update on my life. As I started to share, I felt frustration and disappointment rising within me. The conversation felt like Groundhog’s Day. This wasn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation. The big things in my heart and in my life are same things that have unfolded throughout this last year. I had some new news, but mostly just the same old, same old. It was discouraging. Not that I want new challenges to replace my current ones… It would just be nice to not feel like a broken record when asked how I am doing.

I’d been mulling on the discontent that followed my conversation. When something weighs heavy on my heart I take it to the Lord in prayer. I journal about it. I talk about with my people. I try to process what I’m feeling and get to the heart of the matter. After doing some reading on “feelings” this year, I’m trying my best to acknowledge them, feel them, but also realize that feelings are not the standard of truth. God is good and he quickly brought words to my heart to encourage me.

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4

It was very clear as I was reading this verse that I can get so focused on the big picture and looking ahead to the future that I forget to pay attention to the work right in front of me. I want to give my best effort and energy to my right-now life. I want to focus on my family, homeschooling, keeping house, making meals, taking care of my health (physical, mental, spiritual). I have a good work right in front of me. It’s a simple truth. It’s one I’ve championed before. But the comparison trap is real. I often process what I’m called to do in light what others are doing. Contentment comes with gratitude, not comparison. I want to be thankful for the here and now. I want to do my work well and find satisfaction in a job well done. I want to let go of comparison.

The next form of encouragement came from good, old Instagram where I follow many Enneagram accounts. One account specifically for Type Ones shared this: Dear Little One, enjoy your life for how it is right now, not for what you wish it could be (@menneagram). I left my conversation with my friend wondering when the things that I’ve been discussing for what feels like forever will be over. When will this conversation not be the main conversation of my life? When can I move on? All that processing led me to ponder what’s next. What could life look when things change? I read this post the same day I read the verse in Galatians. They fit so perfectly together. I can daydream about life after COVID or after fill-in-the-blank challenge. It’s good to have a vision for the future. I am looking forward to so. many. things. But… looking forward to the future can’t come at the expense of today. Wishing life could be different doesn’t help me thrive in my current, daily, right-here life. I can tuck dreams and visions for the future away in the corner of my heart knowing someday I can pull them out and work toward making them a reality, but for now, for the sake of contentment, I choose to live in the moment.

This seems like an ongoing lesson in my life. One that I grasp for a while and then loose my grip on. I will probably continue to wrestle with contentment and focus until I am old and gray. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, though. I won’t give up. This week felt like a realignment of my thought life. A chance to acknowledge the hard, but also to embrace the good. A chance to dream for the future, but also to love today.

We now have 5 chicks! One last baby decided to hatch and join us a few days later than the rest.
This kid loves his chickens!
Pandemic Homeschooling! We stay home. I could have died laughing when I saw that answer!
Creating animal habitats for school
Completing my L.M. Montgomery library! I used Thiftbooks.com to get the last 6 books in my collection. Not only was the price great, but I wanted the cover art to be what I remember seeing as kid.
 

Hello Spring! March 21, 2021

Spring arrived yesterday with off-and-on showers. Seems about right for the PNW. Our sunshine streak ended and we are in are another showery stretch. We have plenty to do tucked away indoors. This last week the boys completed their 3rd quarter of school. We are in the home stretch for this school year. I’m proud of my kiddos. They’ve made homeschooling a joy. This last week also marked one year of homeschooling for us. When school closed last March, I immediately created a plan for school at home. I’m also the “summer school” kind of mom. We worked through the summer with a lighter load. I already have our summer school plans drafted. When we wrap up school in May, we will actually be shifting directions to a lighter summer schedule. Don’t worry. We will have plenty of fun this summer! I love when the weather changes and education can move outdoors! From hiking to day trips to backyard play, there is so much to see and do. All of life is an education and outside is one of the best classrooms.

Here are a few highlights from our week. On Monday, we made leprechaun traps. Owen made these last year in kindergarten and he wanted to make them again. Graham also wanted to get on the fun. We spent the first half of the week being shocked when the traps were set off but surprisingly no leprechauns were caught. On St. Patrick’s Day, the leprechaun made a mess on our kitchen counter and then disappeared. We purchased silly glasses at Target and took some picture wearing them. We talked about St. Patrick and how the holiday is about more than leprechauns and luck.

Tuesday, my husband had an out of town day trip for work. He asked to take Graham with him. Owen has gone on plenty of adventures while Graham has stayed home. It was time for Graham to have a special outing. Owen and I did school in the morning. We ran a MOPS errand and then we got lunch at Arby’s together. Curly fries are my kiddos new favorite fast food treat. Arby’s has mac and cheese on their menu, so I got behind this decision quickly. We came home after driving to look for trains and played Crazy Eights. It was special to spend one-on-one time with my oldest kiddo. I tried to savor and make the most of our day together.

Over the course of the last week, I assembled Spa Day gift bags for the ladies in my MOPS & MOMSnext group. The bags were ready for pick-up/delivery on Wednesday and Thursday. I had a few ladies opt to pick-up from my house. When each mom arrived, I put on my mask and chatted on the front porch for a few minutes. It’s always a treat to see ladies I usually see online in-person. Our Spa Day is tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to doing a face mask and looking silly with our group. Being online isn’t always the easiest way to meet. This year has challenged me to make the most our limitations. I think Spa Day is going to be fun!

My husband was able to get his first COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. It was a bit unexpected, but he took the opportunity. I’ve been watching him all weekend like he is a science experiment. He was tired the next day so we canceled our plans and stayed home. It’s a good thing NCAA basketball is on and filled the time. Our whole family made brackets this year, even the boys. My bracket is so messed up at this point. This is not my year for correct picks. The kids get are super into it and that’s been fun to watch.

This spring feels like a transition season. Since I’m not eligible for the vaccine until most likely May, I’m still in the waiting game. I am hopeful that current predictions will pan out. I want to believe that by summer things will improve. I am okay waiting because I am optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Recently my internal motto has changed to “this won’t last forever.” I am hopeful that these strange days won’t last forever and that change is maybe just a season away!

Cookies of the Month for March. A nod to St. Patrick’s Day and Spring. Flowers are so hard! My icing was too soft and some of the cookies I didn’t photograph because they didn’t turn out like I had hoped. What I love about trying something new each month is I’m inspired to keep practicing. I don’t expect to be a pro on my first try. This is a good lesson to keep learning!
Trap #1
Trap #2
Owen & Mommy Day
The contents of our MOPS & MOMSnext Spa Day gift bags! I love how they turned out and I hope our mamas are encouraged by them!
A fun St. Patrick’s Day with the Scott crew!
 

Springing Forward March 12, 2021

This coming weekend is my least favorite weekend of the year. I always dread springing forward. In my humble opinion, daylight savings needs to be abolished. I didn’t like before having kids, but now I dislike it even more as it messes up our family rhythm. On the bright side, we are a homeschooling family completely untethered from the real world (well, expect for my hubby, Jeremy). My hope is we can gradually adjust this year. We shall see.

This week felt like springing forward in other ways. Some of our family members have started to get their vaccines. My mom said getting her vaccine is a good way to spring forward. I am hopeful that I can see these relatives in the future without the worry of what if I put them in the hospital. The entire state of Washington is moving into Phase 3. I don’t know 100% what that means yet, but it does mean a move up to 50% capacity for most (if not all?) industries. I’m curious what phase 3 will allow for social gatherings. More information should be coming this next week. This move to Phase 3 feels like a spring forward.

One big spring forward for our family this week was we bought a new to us vehicle. We were going to start vehicle shopping at the beginning of 2020, but then life got in the way (thank you, Rona). We started our search again this summer, but it just didn’t pan out. Then suddenly this week the right vehicle at the right price with the right mileage came up. Since vehicles sell fast, we were on it quick. The downside of this adventure was I had to drive our minivan home through Seattle during rush hour traffic. I’ve never driven through Seattle by myself and honestly, my driving experience is super limited right now. I was a little concerned, but I survived. The upside of driving home was my boys wanted to ride with Jeremy in the new vehicle. I had plenty of alone time to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack.

The weather feels like it’s springing forward, too. It’s been a lovely week. I’ve been able to walk outside in the sunshine and fresh air. The boys have jumped on the trampoline, played on the swing set, and captured frogs in the ditch along our driveway. My hubby mowed today. The windows are open as I type this! Today for dinner, we ate outside and barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs. The weather and these happy days around the house are so life-giving.

Change is always right around the corner. The narrative in my head is often “what is happening next?” and “what does this mean for our family?” Lots of processing, wondering, and daydreaming. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am cautiously optimistic when I see forward motion. Especially in light of the one year anniversary of the pandemic, it’s good to see progress. It’s good to know that we’re moving forward. Even if it’s inches, it’s movement. I’ll take it and celebrate!

Since it was a little too wet outside to make a nest with natural materials, we used blankets and pillows instead. Science is fun!
Only 15 months in the making! So excited to have a reliable second vehicle!
This week’s special art project was tin foil sculptures
Creepy or cool? I can’t decide.
First meal on the back deck!
 

This Time Last Year March 7, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 6:37 pm

This is the last week that I can think “This time last year the world was normal.” Well, it wasn’t normal. Things started to unravel fast this time last year. On March 9th, I had MOPS & MOMSnext in-person. We had a blindfold taste test that night that involved having all the volunteers sanitize heavily before feeding their teammate. I had a friend over for coffee on the morning of March 12th while my boys were at school. On Friday the 13th (seems fitting), my son’s elementary school closed for what we expected to be six weeks. I was at church when the announcement was made – I was working at my first and so far only wedding as facility coordinator. The wedding was expected to be quite large and was cut down in size due to restrictions (coming into play for the first time). Homeschooling become my new job. Making memories at home became my top priority. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought “Is this real?” over the last year. It seems like a sci-fi movie.  When I pictured my children’s childhood memories, I never thought they would include a pandemic.  Remember when we thought this would only be six weeks? A whole year later, my world is still incredibly small. I’m still waiting for normal.

I will admit to weariness. I will admit that it was and still is an adjustment. Some moments have been harder than others. I’ve been scared, worried, concerned, unsure, unsettled, upset.  There has also been goodness in the changes to our lifestyle. Turns out, I like homeschooling and I’m pretty sure my kids do too (or so they say). Turns out, running amok around our yard is just as good as playing on a playground. Turns out, my boys are best friends and have bonded in an incredible way. Turns out, my hubby is a master project pro. Turns out, I had plenty of time to read, bake, and appreciate the roof over our heads.

I never thought we would be where we are. This year has been a shake-up. It has changed everything. I’ve learned to appreciate a smaller, quieter world. I’ve learned to not scroll on social media. I’ve learned to follow my conscience and my gut (and pray a lot). I feel the weight of my kids watching me. They have a front row seat to “How Mom Handles A Pandemic.” Showing up for my life these days involves getting 10,000 steps, playing board games, it looks like sitting at the dining room table watching a math problem be solved, or listening to fast facts about Jupiter’s moons. Showing up for my life looks like reading good books, baking yummy treats, and watching TV with my hubby. We’re daydreaming about summer camping trips and putting the pool up in the yard. The good things in life are still good. The hard things in life are still hard. It ebbs and flows. While every day isn’t sunny, there are rainbows to be found after the downpour. The sun doesn’t stay hidden forever. Four seasons have come and gone since the world went crazy. But every season that passes reminds me another is coming. There is hope in the midst of it all. I’m clinging to that hope and believing for better days head.

Some of my favorite moments happen around our dining room table. I love watching these kids be creative!
Getting outside whenever we can!
Graham and I did a baking challenge with my MOPS group. Our brownies didn’t turn out like expected, but they tasted pretty good. Quarantine baking is still alive and well here.
Sometimes self-care looks like clearing the DVR and eating chocolate. At least it looked like that today.
My kids (and husband) may have thrown on their coats and boots to chase this rainbow because it looked like it ended in my parent’s yard. Why not? It’s a good day to chase a rainbow.
 

Vulnerability, Flooring, and Space Sheets! What a week! March 1, 2021

Last week was the kind of week where if you looked at my calendar, you wouldn’t have thought it was a challenging week. It was the kind of week where under the surface, I was brimming with stress, anxiety, and tension. Part of working through my big feelings was being honest about them and talking about them. It wasn’t easy. It was actually exhausting, but I came out the other side of those conversations better for having them. After every conversation that felt heavy, I received messages from friends saying they were glad I spoke up. As an overthinker, these words of affirmation after a difficult conversation are so life-giving to me. Vulnerability is scary, but this week it paid off for me.

It’s funny how a week can be quiet and busy at the same time. Last week, I had multiple Zoom calls. Those always take a certain level of energy. Two of them I led which takes an extra level of energy. I am the first to admit that I don’t love Zoom, but I am grateful for what I am able to accomplish through this platform. I can be a part of meetings and have relationships that I wouldn’t be able to have otherwise. This week I also got to see a few friends at a distance. Seeing faces that I haven’t seen in many months, even just for a few minutes, made my heart happy. One more fun element to February, two of our MOPS mamas had new babies. Over the last two Fridays, I’ve been able to door drop meals to these families. Giving a meal to a new mama is one of my favorite ways to show love!

On Thursday, we drove up to Olympia to pick a new flooring option for our home. If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know that we have an ongoing issue with our floor. The product itself keeps breaking, no matter the number of “fixes” performed on it. We’ve finally been offered an upgraded product and we are optimistic this could be the final solution. We found an option that matches the coloring of our current floor fairly well. I know that tearing up the floor (again) will be inconvenient, but I am hopeful this could be the last time. I’ll keep you posted when the big replacement is set to happen!

We had a fun family day and did some shopping this weekend. We purchased new sheets for the boys. They both decided on space sheets and it felt like a small sacrifice for me. When we first moved into this house almost three years ago, the rooms had themes and color schemes. While those themes are mostly still intact, a whole lot of other items have moved into their rooms as well. I might enjoy the bedrooms looking like a magazine spread, but I’m slowly relinquishing control and letting the spaces be more theirs. This means hand-drawn art and posters on the walls, crafts on display, paper lanterns and homemade mobiles hanging from the ceiling. The outer space sheets don’t fit the themes (Owen: transportation/travel, Graham: outdoor/nature), but it’s okay. It’s their room, their beds. They are happy. I’ve read in parenting books about giving kids control of their rooms. I know this will be hard for me. Currently the boys are good at putting their items away in the proper place. New skills to learn in the future will be making their beds and putting their laundry away. I am a firm believer in treating “stuff” with respect, so hopefully this principle will transfer. Maybe giving them full control in the future won’t be as painful as I expect. And if it is… well… we can always keep the doors shut.

This morning, I had a mountain of laundry on my bed. It seemed like a good visual representation for my day. It seemed like a mountain to climb with lots to do. However, now that I’ve had a few productive hours and I can see my to-do growing smaller, I’m starting to breathe a bit easier. For one thing, the pile of laundry has been tackled. Sometimes I get so stressed by the big picture – chores to do, posts to make, meetings to run, homeschool, a trip to the dentist – that I forget that over time these things are manageable. My stress level comes down when I see what I need to accomplish in the next hour verses an entire day or week. I’m working hard to tackle my to-do list this morning so the boys’ quiet time this afternoon can be my quiet time as well. Rest settles my soul and brings peace. It’s a priority on the to-do list as well!

Our MOPS & MOMSnext craft last week. 40 random ideas for the boys to do.
Grandma delivered this cool craft. The boys loved it!
A friend surprised me by delivering this frosting set to my house last week. It was so thoughtful of her. I felt so loved!
Loving the new space sheets!
Thankful that my favorite Girl Scout (well, actually, her mom) delivers!
Graham’s outfit of the day: dinosaur rashguard and dinosaur pajamas. I let my kids pick their outfits each morning. As long as it’s clean clothes, anything goes. One of the perks of being homeschooled and going no where!
We traced Graham’s shadow for a self-portrait for school today. Looks just like him, right? This kid cracks me. The bumps under his smile aren’t teeth like you might expect. According to Graham, it’s his beard! Oh my!
 

A Little Bit of This and That… February 7, 2021

Can you guess what I’m going to say? It’s been a quiet week. I am becoming the poster-person for staying home. I usually only leave the house once a week. Last week it was to drop Owen off at church with Jeremy. This week, I got a morning out with the family to run errands. We are almost 11 months into this pandemic and the amount of time that I spend at home still amazes me. I often wonder will this ever feel normal? Do I really want things to go back to normal? What is normal? Each day I remind myself to keep doing the best I can with this day, this moment. My world might be small, but it is good.

Most Monday nights I have MOPS & MOMSnext Zoom meetings. This week was our leadership team meeting. The intro question to get us all talking was what was your worst haircut ever? I shared a funny story about when I was a kid I thought getting a perm would give me lovely curls like a friend in my class. What I didn’t know was my friend’s mom curled her hair with a curling iron. My perm curls looked nothing like my friend’s curls. The only way to get rid of the disappointing perm was to cut my hair… which lead to (what I believe) is my 1st grade school photo with probably my least favorite childhood haircut. My parents weren’t the best at photo documenting so there are no pictures that I am aware of that contain my perm. This is probably a blessing. But for a laugh I will share my worst haircut picture with you below like I did with my MOPS friends.

The boys and I have been counting down to Valentine’s Day. It looks different this year without a class to hand cards out to and no teachers to buy chocolate for. I am reminded of how much I relied on school to make celebrations extra special. With no class, no party – what will make Valentine’s Day special this year? I purchased a container of Valentine stickers from Target and the kids have been making cards for family. The boys also selected cards that would normally be handed out in class. We will be mailing them to family as well. My mom delivered heart-shaped balloons for the boys. I spent an evening making construction paper hearts and putting them all over our dining room wall. I also made a garland to hang. I’m trying to make the vibes festive as we head into Valentine’s week. Graham has an daily countdown going for Valentine’s day. I’m doing my best to plan and prepare so it hopefully lives up to his expectations. I’m thankful for holidays like this that give me a project to work on and something to celebrate. The excitement and joy that it brings to the kiddos is worth it!

The biggest highlight of the week was Jeremy ordered an egg incubator and we added eggs to it on Friday. The boys call it an “inky-bator” which I think is the cutest thing. They are super jazzed for baby chicks in our future. Or at least we hope that there are baby chicks in our near future. This is our first attempt at growing our flock and we are all nervously excited to see how it pans out. Jeremy took some time last weekend to add space to our chickens current pen. We technically could use a few more hens to even out our flock. If all these chicks turn out to be roosters, we conveniently have a chicken auction that operates on the weekends just down the road from us. All unwanted roosters will find new homes at the auction. Here’s hoping our eggs hatch and that they are mostly ladies!

I’ve had a few moments that made me feel a bit old this week. I am newly 35… but I feel like I have crossed a line. Between Christmas and my January birthday, I get most of my gifts in a 3 week window. This year’s gift theme (apart from books) has been home organization, storage, and décor. I feel a little self-conscious making post after post about how excited I am for my “new” stuff, but now for 11 months I will mostly be radio silent in this department. I posted this week on Instagram how I felt a bit old because I was so excited to spend the last of my birthday money on desktop storage. A few days later, a younger friend made a post asking about how you can tell when someone is “flexing” in social media or just sharing something they enjoy? I had no clue what flexing meant. I had to google it. Turns out it means bragging/showing off to enhance your status. I thought back to recent posts where I shared new purchases/gifts. I wondered if those posts could be viewed as flexing. Truthfully, I never try to look cool on social media. I’m too old to keep up with the youngsters and their trends. I’m mostly a mama who shares her daily adventures with her boys and life around our house. My friend’s post did give a pause to think and I learned something new.

And that’s it! Another week in the books. The Super Bowl is happening right now… I spent the first half of the game air-frying food with my family. I’m blogging now and will move on to reading soon. As you can see, I’m not a big football fan. I mostly enjoy the Super Bowl for the snacks. Anyone else? Happy Snacking!

Somebody is now missing their two front teeth!
For a laugh, my worst haircut ever!
A glimpse into my Instagram
Flowers from my hubby! Phil (the groundhog) might think winter isn’t over, but my kitchen feels like spring!
Getting ready for Valentine’s Day!
Carefully filling up the inky-bator
Good to go! Hopefully! Time will tell… about three weeks till we know for sure.
 

Wintertime Waiting January 24, 2021

I purposefully waited to write this blog until today. I had hoped that it would snow overnight and I would have a new highlight and maybe some pretty photos to share. But… it did not snow overnight. We have a chance of snow mixed through this week’s forecast. I’m just like the kids. I am waiting for that first snow day. Living in Western Washington means that snow days are rare. Whenever a snowflake appears in my weather app, I can’t help but hope, pray, and dream. I’ll just keeping waiting…

I find that in this stay-at-home season, I spend a lot of time waiting for the next big thing. Right now that looks like prepping for Valentine’s Day. I picked up holiday window clings at Target this week. The kids got to pick out Valentine cards to mail this year. I ordered special heart shaped plates to use on Valentine’s day. I also ordered some crafts for school. I’m already daydreaming about the menu for the day and what treats I want to create. I love knowing that fun is on the horizon. We will wait for Valentine’s Day with excitement and enthusiasm.

Instead of looking forward, let’s look backward for a minute. Life is seriously quiet these days, but there are good things to celebrate and share. The kids have completed 19 weeks of school. They are over halfway done with their school year. Graham finished his final preschool workbook this week. He’ll start two kindergarten workbooks this coming week. He is so excited! And so am I. I love watching my kids learn as we sit around our dining room table. Homeschooling continues to be our grand adventure. The first half of the year has gone better than I expected and I am hopeful the second half will end well.

We’ve had a few chances to get out and about this week. Our outdoor time has looked like taking walks when the sun is out and getting into the inflatable hot tub together. Jeremy created a new sprinkler system for his garden this weekend. He collected all his supplies and went to work installing it despite the cold weather. On Friday, I met up with a friend in Olympia to run errands at Hobby Lobby and Target. Since we aren’t supposed to hang out in homes right now, a shopping outing seemed like a creative solution. On Saturday, I participated in a drive-by baby shower for a MOPS friend. It was good to see people I care about in-person and in a way that respected our current guidelines.

Okay, that wasn’t the most thrilling update. It’s been a good week, even though it had plenty of quiet moments. The days seems to repeat themselves with school, family time, reading, chores, hot tub time, making meals, making snacks, walks, etc. I remind myself that these are all blessings, no matter how repetitive they are. I am thankful for this roof over my head, for my family to do life alongside, and for creative ways to connect with my community.

Their friendship is seriously one of the best things about being home together!
Owen’s Winter Trees
Jeremy taught us about hair frost as few weeks ago. We now get excited when we find it on our walks!
We figured it wasn’t a coincidence that the air in our house was dry and that Owen was getting frequent bloody noses. He was so jazzed (look at his eyes) that we got him this humidifier. So far, it seems to be working!
I shared some pancake confessions in my Instagram stories this week and got the most DMs in response than I ever had. Pancakes are a relatable topic! I confessed that I only make small pancakes because I can’t flip big ones. Also, 1/3 of my griddle burns everything so I don’t use it. That’s what I get for using a 14 year old appliance!
More breakfast food confessions: My doughnut of choice is a maple bar. When that isn’t an option, I usually go for chocolate and if there are sprinkles, I will go for those as well. I love sprinkles! I think they are edible confetti and make life more festive!
 

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.