Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Easter, Chicks, and Anniversaries April 6, 2021

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 12:10 pm

The last week has been packed full of good things. Easter is always a busy season for our family. While this Easter wasn’t 100% back to business-as-usual, this Easter season felt like a step closer to normal. Instead of throwing two huge Easter egg hunts at our church, we offered a drive-thru event where families could pick up Easter baskets filled with candy and treats for their kids. The boys and I volunteered to hand out baskets to help Jeremy with this big event. It’s always a joy to watch my boys serve our community and give to other children. Many familiar faces drove through the line and I loved getting to say a quick hello to people I don’t get to see often. It was a beautiful day which also made being outside delightful. It was a different Easter event, but it was good to do something and bless our community.

Jeremy worked on Easter Sunday morning. I’m still watching church online so the boys and I did our church from home. Instead of hopping from family gathering to family gathering like years past, the boys and I said a quick hello to my parents after church. Once Jeremy got home from work, we opened Easter gifts and then went over to his parent’s house for an egg hunt with the cousins. It was great that the weather allowed for us to have an outdoor gathering. We missed seeing our extended family, but seeing some family, even for a short time, gave us a feeling of moving toward normal. The big highlight of Easter weekend is the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We love baskets, bunnies, and chocolate, but we are always aware that Easter is a celebration of so much more. This is celebration is so deep and personal. I love the meaningful moment of talking about God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice. As a mom, these conversations with the my kiddos are a time that I treasure.

We had some excitement on Easter Sunday beside the holiday. Our second round of incubator eggs started to hatch. Our first round was a flop, but round two came through for us! When we were putting on our shoes to say hi to my parents, the boys noticed that two eggs had cracks. We were ecstatic! When we arrived home from our egg hunt, we had found one chick waiting for us in the incubator. Before Jeremy and I went to bed later that evening we heard more peeping from the incubator. We discovered chick number two made it’s arrival as well. We only had two hatch at this point and we think that is probably all we will get from this batch. We’re letting the incubator run for a few more days, just to be sure. While picking up some chick supplies yesterday morning, Jeremy also got two more chicks from the farm store. Our chick total is now at 4. We are hopeful that these chicks will be hens so we can add them to our flock. Any roosters will will given to our local chicken auction down the road. It’s fun having chicks again!

It’s also been a week of anniversaries! Last Wednesday was the 3rd anniversary of us moving into this home. I celebrate “house-iversaries” as I call them. Building this house was such a long, hard process that I feel like throwing a party every year when the anniversary arrives. This home as been such a blessing for our family. I had no clue when moved here that we would spend so. much. time. here. More than ever, I am thankful for this safe place to raise our family. It’s been a wonderful three years here on the hill. So many good memories have been made here. I look forward to hopefully many more years celebrating life in this house.

Today is also my blogging anniversary! It’s been a decade of Amy Scott’s Thoughts. This blog has looked different throughout the seasons of my life. It might not be famous or well-read, but it’s my place. My small corner in the world where I can be real and honest. Sharing my life in this space as been good therapy and lots of fun. Thank you to all my readers! I’ve loved my blogging journey so far and I look forward to many more decades of writing ahead of me! Happy blog-iversary!

In case you were wondering, 2000 Easter baskets fills a gym! Thankful for all the volunteers who helped assemble these baskets and handed them out to the community. Team effort!
Cavity free club!
Cavity free club!
Happy House-iversary! My happy place!
Learning about bioluminescence in science
Egg Coloring
April’s Cookies of the Month: bunnies and eggs! I love how the dipped buttercream was fast, easy, and looks so neat!
Volunteering at Easter Eggstravaganza To Go
Egg hunt around the house
Using Resurrection Eggs to tell the Easter story
Hoppy Easter!
An egg-citing discovery!
Success! We hatched chicks!
Growing our little flock
 

Spring Break Birthday Vacation March 28, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 6:21 pm

We got away for a few days to celebrate Jeremy’s 40th birthday. Since we’re not taking a full week off for Spring Break, we decided this mini-vacation would act as our Spring Break. Celebrating Jeremy’s birthday throughout the trip also made it extra special. Last year, Jeremy’s birthday was the first day of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order in Washington State. We celebrated with just our little family of four. I remember being so glad that was his 39th birthday and not his 40th. Turning 40 is meant to be extra special. While we didn’t opt for a big party this year, I am thankful that we were able to eat out, travel, and celebrate with our family this year.

Earlier in the week, we had dinner with my parents to celebrate Jeremy. It was fun to put up the birthday banner and use the coordinating plates and napkins. I believe in throwing birthday parties for adults just the same as for kids – with coordinated paper tableware and décor. Jeremy requested an apple pie as his birthday dessert. I was happy to have a chance to bake something for him since we would traveling on his actual birthday.

For the official birthday, we celebrated at Top Golf in the morning. All of my guys adore Top Golf. We played their new Angry Birds game and I enjoyed it. You don’t have to get the ball into any holes. You just shoot in the general direction of the field which works well for me. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at The Cheesecake Factory after golfing. We did some shopping and then let the boys play at a local park. Jeremy decided that he wanted dessert before dinner so we got Salt & Straw ice cream after the park. Jeremy and I joked that our plans for this trip mostly revolved around where we planned to eat. We filled in the other activities around our eating destinations. We checked in our hotel and ran to pick up a new board game to end the evening. We introduced the boys to Mouse Trap and it was a huge hit! We also got a late dinner at Chick-fil-a because we super full from the ice cream.

The next day we took off for the beach. We stopped at Camp 18 for breakfast. Graham enjoyed a cinnamon roll the size of his head (possibly bigger). Jeremy and I did help him some, but for a tiny kid, Graham did some serious work on that cinnamon roll. We walked on Cannon Beach that morning. According to my phone, it was only 39 degrees outside – overcast, windy, cold. The temperature did not stop the kids from getting soaked in the ocean. I didn’t see that coming! I thought for sure we would just “walk” the beach, but apparently the beach is meant for water play. We got cleaned up and did a little shopping in Seaside before heading to Fort Stevens. I love visiting the forts in this area. I have childhood memories of running all around them. It’s cool to explore the abandoned concrete structures. They are super fun for making echoes. We spent some time at the jetty watching the waves before checking into our hotel in Astoria. We stayed right on the Columbia River where you could see the big ships anchored off shore. When you opened the door to our balcony, you could hear a chorus of sea lions barking on the docks below. Dinner at Mo’s was super tasty and a must every time we head to the coast.

Our final day started with breakfast at Pig’N’Pancake – another Oregon Coast family favorite. We crossed the big bridge in Astoria and spent the morning at Cape Disappointment and Fort Columbia. As the morning wrapped up, we made our way back toward home. We planned a small park gathering with Jeremy’s family in Kalama. This riverfront park features trains beside it, covered shelters with picnic tables, and a nice playground. We brought our new bat and ball out and Jeremy’s brothers brought some frisbees. The weather was beautiful and it was nice to enjoy some outdoor time with family. We haven’t gathered in months, so it felt extra special. The cousins ran amok and had a blast which always makes my heart so happy. We took off for the final stretch to home completely spent of all our energy, but super happy.

Today has been a catch up on mounds of laundry kind of day. It was good to get away for a few days, but it’s equally nice to come home. I actually enjoy unpacking and getting all our items back into their places. We are now in prep mode for Easter. Jeremy has a big Easter event next Saturday. I’ve started filling Easter eggs for our family egg hunt. The Easter basket items are tucked away for safe-keeping. Easter window clings and an egg coloring kit have been purchased. Now to buy white eggs because we learned last year that the brown eggs from our chickens don’t color as well. It’s the one time of year we have to buy eggs. I love picking Easter shirts for the boys and taking pictures with their bunny ears. Even though this Easter won’t be completely back to normal this year, I am still looking forward to celebrating it. Easter is always worth celebrating. No matter how big or small the celebration, Easter is always a BIG deal. More than ever, I am thankful for a Redeemer as I look around this broken world. I am thankful that not only am I redeemed, but this planet and this mess will be redeemed someday, too. Definitely something to celebrate!

Spa Day was a big hit this last week for my MOPS & MOMSnext group!
Birthday Apple Pie!
Level 40 Complete!
The special birthday activity!
Ice cream before dinner? Yes! Especially on your birthday!
Graham’s dream come true! A huge cinnamon roll for breakfast!
Apparently it’s never too cold to play in the ocean.
Watching the waves – a favorite pastime of the Scott men.
Different Day. More wave watching.
I’m watching the wave watchers
Exploring Fort Columbia for the first time!
Wide open spaces and cousins at play! The perfect way to end a great trip.
 

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!
 

The Magic of Snow February 15, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Getting Creative,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 2:49 pm

We finally got our winter snow! The combination of snow, Valentine’s Day, and a long weekend made for pure magic. Snow was just the adventure we needed to break up the Groundhog’s day vibes that had settled on our house. Coupled with the countdown to Valentine’s Day and a long weekend to enjoy it all, this week (specifically, this weekend) was practically perfect!

We had a very Valentines focused week. We wrapped up Valentine’s Day cards and got them into the mail for family and friends. The boys made a cute craft from Target. We don’t make a lot of craft kits, but when we do, I always appreciate the extra fun it provides. I enjoy having all the supplies in one package instead of hunting down all the elements. After school on Tuesday, I set out to make my February sugar cookies. In keeping with my goal to make decorated cookies from my new cookie book each month, I decided Valentine’s Day was the perfect fit for my cookie project. I made the cookies in advance of the holiday, because I wanted to share them with family. I also wanted to save the chocolate treats for the weekend since chocolate is extremely necessary (in my opinion) for the actual celebration of Valentine’s Day.

On Thursday, we woke up to a dusting of snow with snowflakes lightly falling. We raced through school so that snow could become our sole focus of the day. Jeremy worked in the office that morning and then opted to work from home in the afternoon since greater snow totals were in the forecast. My hubby knew my hopes for a heart-shaped pizza on Sunday, but he also knew it wasn’t likely we could get out of the house due to snow. Jeremy picked up our special pizza on Thursday before coming home. He is the best! After work, our family took a walk to our nearby beaver dam. Walking through the snow covered woods literally felt like walking into Narnia.

Friday was Chinese New Year. This isn’t a holiday that I’ve celebrated before. Owen remembered celebrating it at school last year. Also, a TV show the boys have been watching recently shared Chinese New Year traditions. Because I’ll look for any reason to celebrate, I decided to go with it. The boys received make-shift red envelopes with $1 inside. They wore red for luck. They swept out the old year and hid the brushes (aka Swiffers) to welcome the new year. We made Chinese food at home from freezer food. My original plan was to get take-out, but the snow changed that. We read books about Chinese New Year. It was a fun, educational, and new experience.

The snow had many highlights! I love when the world goes white. The combination of white snow on deep green trees just does something to me! We took many family walks. Because we live in the country, our sledding hill just happens to be our septic mound. The boys loved sledding the most of all the snow activities. A traditional Snowman was made as well as many snow angels. On one walk down to the main road, the boys went “skating” (aka sliding) on the icy roadway. We enjoyed warming up in our hot tub while snowflakes fell around us. Simply magical! Oh, we also lost power briefly during the day on Saturday. Luckily it was back on quickly and we didn’t get too chilly. And, we had an adventure on Friday with a weasel in our yard. The little guy seemed bent on hanging out under our deck. Never a dull moment around here!

Valentine’s Day looked different than my original plan. Jeremy wasn’t able to get out of our driveway, so he was home on Sunday which almost never happens. (He is a children’s pastor so Sundays are work days). I spent the morning baking chocolate treats and trying to make as many heart-shaped foods as possible (pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch). I would have had a heart-shaped food for every meal if my original pizza plan had panned out. (Next year!) The boys got a new board game for Valentine’s Day that occupied them most of the day. We played Valentine’s Day Bingo as family and munched on treats. I’m finding that my favorite way to celebrate is with food. Overall, it was a quiet family day. The only downside was the beloved snow transitioned to rain midday. Good-bye my little snowflake friends!

Now with rain slowly melting our snow, we will head back to the real world tomorrow. The countdown is on for longer days, St. Patrick’s Day, and the arrival of Spring. Oh, and my hubby’s 40th birthday (38 days and counting). As you can see, I will find plenty more reasons for fun and celebration soon!

I got into the crafty mood with the the kids and made some Valentines too!
The boys had super-belated well checks in a very yellow room! Owen was thrilled since it’s his favorite color.
We had a blast with these crafts from Target.
February’s Cookies of the Month!
Walking in Narnia
Snowman time!
Pizza love!
My red envelopes made from construction paper. I’m finding all kinds of uses for construction paper these days.
Family snow walks are my favorite!
Sledding buddies!
My Valentine!
All about the treats on Valentine’s Day!
 

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.
 

Small Improvements January 29, 2021

At the beginning of April 2020, I shared a post that said it felt like Groundhog’s Day (the movie). At that point, we were only two weeks into our stay-at-home order. The experience was still completely new. Now I find myself in January 2021 and that same Groundhog’s Day feeling is plaguing me. You’d think after 10+ months of this COVID business, it would feel normal to go nowhere and live such a quiet life. As far as days to live over and over again, these days are good. They consist of homeschooling, chores, baking, reading, family time… All good stuff. But when I go to blog, I feel stuck. Like what am I going to share? Each week is so similar. I apologize if this post feels like déjà vu, I can’t help but process my world through words. I must write.

The biggest excitement for me this week was the arrival of eight barnwood picture frames that I had ordered at the beginning of the month. There were some hiccups with tracking the package, so I was relieved to have the package finally in my possession. Last January, I used my birthday cash to purchase a United States travel map and prints for our dining room wall. Because I didn’t have extra funds for frames, the art has been displayed with pushpins. Super classy. Very much dorm room chic. I was happy to add the next phase of the display by adding frames to the prints. Maybe a year from now, the final phase will be framing the map. Baby steps. I am pleased with how the frames look on the wall. I’m also proud that I hung them myself. Almost all the prints fit well into the new frames, except for one. Our picture of Mt. Rushmore would have been Jeremy and I with a pile of rocks or Jeremy with the presidents. I decided to cut myself out of the photo and use it as a place holder until I can replace the picture. I sent Jeremy a picture of my crop job and he had good laugh. He told me that my forehead makes a great travel companion. I shared the picture on social media and my friends are encouraging me to leave the picture as it is as a conversation piece.

In the same theme as the picture frames, I used the last of my birthday cash this year to purchase some new desktop storage. I’ve been using clear plastic drawers on my desk for years and I decided that I no longer enjoy seeing all the colorful office supplies so clearly. The pieces I ordered feel classy and grown-up. They are also navy which just happens to be a color that makes me extremely happy. For both Christmas and my birthday, I’ve invested in new home organization or décor. We’ve now been in our home almost three years and while my systems have been good, I realize that I have room to make improvements. I’m a type one on the Enneagram which means my default mode is to make things better. Since we now spend a considerable amount of time at home, these improvements are a positive boost in how I feel about our space.

Speaking of the Enneagram, I’ve been taking a deep dive into the topic this last week. I gave myself a refresher course by reading a few books. One book was new to me and it addressed self-care for each type. One of the suggestions for type ones is to create something just for the fun of it. The author encouraged type ones to do something they love even if they aren’t good at it. I feel like baking often is my creative outlet of choice. I am by no means a professional baker. I have quite a few “flops” in my baking adventures, but I love honing my baking skills. The hard part for me is to do it just for fun and not to be disappointed in myself when my projects don’t turn out how I visualized they would in my head. I was frosting cookies today and I kept reminding myself that the goal wasn’t perfection, but fun.

Fiddling with my space, baking goodies, reading, hanging with my family… this is how I spend my days. We never did get the snow that the forecast teased us with (see last post). We did see snowflakes a few times, though they never stuck. The snowflakes graced us with their presence while we were out in the hot tub. It was a blast to watch them fall, catch them on our tongues, and examine their unique shapes as they landed on our heads. Winter isn’t over yet, so maybe we’ll get a good snow eventually. Our region in Washington State was just approved to move to “phase two” in our healthy restart plan. This means we’ll have some flexibility when it comes to seeing people. We will remain cautious and keep our circle small, but I will be thankful to have a play date or dinner with friends be an option again. Small improvements make a big difference!

Sunday mornings are always an adventure. I try to tuck myself away in a quiet corner so I can watch church, but for some reason my kids are drawn to me like a magnet.
I made hand-pies this last week. Only this one was photo worthy. Good thing the others were just as tasty!
The one print that didn’t transfer to the new frames well! So good for a laugh whenever I look at it!
Refreshed our dining room space with new picture frames, tablecloth, and a tray to make moving our napkins and coasters easier.
My creative project for the day! My sister got me a cookie decorating book for Christmas. I might attempt a new cookie from the book once a month. Here is January!
 

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!