Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Thoughts on Mothering in this Season May 11, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Parenthood,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 4:02 pm

We had a quiet Mother’s Day weekend as Jeremy continued to regain his stamina after fighting pneumonia. Our plans for the weekend changed so Jeremy could continue to rest. While I do love a good adventure to celebrate Mother’s Day, I also enjoy time at home. A quieter weekend was fine by me.

In my Mother’s Day Instagram post, I mentioned coming to motherhood with almost no knowledge of little boys. Growing up with just a sister, little boys have always been a mystery to me, even after years of observing them in children’s ministry before parenthood. Somehow God saw it fit to give me two boys and the adventurous life of a boy mom. Owen and Graham have given me quite the education on the ways and workings of little men. It’s been a fantasticating experience and I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.

I’m the first to admit that the baby and toddler years were sweet, but not necessarily my favorite seasons of parenthood. I have many fond memories of my boys as littles, but I was in survival mode most of the time. Each new stage of development has been exciting step forward. I especially appreciated moving into the preschool years and then the elementary school days. We aren’t to the tweens/teens yet, but I have have a feeling these middle childhood years are a sweet spot. I’m loving these not quite little, but not quite big boys. They still love to cuddle and be near their mama. They still want to tell me everything (in great detail). I’m doing my best to savor this season. I know moms who have great relationships with their tween/teen boys so I’m taking notes and studying even now.

The last two years of mothering have certainly been different than I expected. The pandemic nudged our family in the direction of homeschooling. I often wondered about homeschooling, but without the pandemic, I would have never taken the plunge. It turns out that homeschooling has been an amazing choice for our family. We’ve enjoyed the last two years so much that we are contemplating continuing next year. As an introvert, I do wish for a bit more peace and quiet in my life. My boys seem to come with loud as their default setting, but the noise and interruptions have been worth it. I could write a whole post on our homeschooling family structure and why I love it so much. Bottom line, I love doing life together. I enjoy learning together, playing together, reading together, adventuring together. (I also enjoy our daily “quiet time” when we take a break from being together – a must for this introvert ). I have the honor/responsibility of modeling our family values throughout the day and I get a front row seat to what the boys are learning and enjoying. It’s not, by any means, a perfect life. Sibling squabbles are real, the kids rarely cheer for chores, and lots of time at home means lots of time to make “creative” messes. Life might not be perfect, but it is good.

Motherhood hasn’t been easy, but it has been a joy. I am thankful for the opportunity to be home with my family. My mothering is in partnership with Jeremy and I am so glad we get to this child-raising gig together. I love how the boys take after their father. All my men are outdoorsy and this stretches me to keep up with them. Through the boys, I’ve learned to appreciate going on a hike or spending an afternoon outside. Hopefully, through me, they’ve learned to appreciate baked goods and good books. We are shaping and influencing each other. We are creating a family culture. It’s hard work (some days more than others), but I’m grateful it’s my work in this season.

The boys attempted to sleep in their forts last week. Owen made it to 9:30pm and Graham made it to 1:00am. Both decided their beds were more comfortable and relocated.
The vibe of our weekend… Owen birdwatching, me reading. Very exciting times at our house.
Took my first dive into Tolkien this weekend. Just like Harry Potter, I decided to find out for myself why The Lord of the Rings books are beloved by so many.
Mother’s Day Photoshoot
Jeremy played with some of the portrait settings on my phone. This was a fun one.
Mama & Owen
Mama & Graham
Marking art at co-op with oil pastels
The fire alarm accidentally got pulled at co-op so we got a visit from the local fire station.
I usually keep the front of our fridge bare, but at the moment it’s covered in Mother’s Day cards, end of curriculum awards, co-op art, and an orthodontist referral that keeps getting put off. This sums up our life pretty well right now.
 

My “Unofficial” Word of the Year… May 4, 2022

Filed under: Bible,Family Time,Getting Creative,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 1:47 pm

Many people select a word for the year. Something they are hoping for, looking to grow in, be more mindful of. Friends have chosen words like gather, peace, excellence, hope, and resilience. All good words. I’ve never done well with this practice. I’ve tried a few times and for some reason it doesn’t stick. However, some words seem find me. They seem to declare themselves, no matter my choosing. In complete jest (sorta), I’ve discovered my word for 2022 is cancel (or similar words such as reschedule/postpone). 2022 has been filled with plans that just didn’t come to be. I’m not upset. It’s humorous to me at this point. I’ve learned to roll with it. Plans change often enough that I am very practiced at canceling, rescheduling, and postponing.

We’re supposed to be at conference in Idaho this week. As you can guess, we aren’t… For the last few weeks, I’ve been preparing for this big trip. I got the kids ahead in school. I purchased “distractions” to keep them busy. Graham got a new backpack big enough to carry these new treasures. New leak-proof water bottles were selected at Target for the adventure. In a moment of insanity and weakness on my part, giant stuffed animals were purchased at Costco as travel companions. The kids knew there would be time to go to the nearby park, swim in the hotel pool, and walk by the lake. Oh, and the snacks! We had a huge tote of snacks ready to keep blood sugar levels good and make sure no one (adults included) got hangry. We were as ready as you could be for an out-of-town adventure.

I’m reminded of the Bible verse, Proverbs 16:9 – “We can make our plans, but the┬áLord┬ádetermines our steps.” We were as prepared as possible for this trip, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be. Jeremy started to feel under the weather at the end of the week. On Saturday, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and he started antibiotics right away. We were supposed to leave on Sunday, but he was still feeling crummy and he didn’t fall under the conference health code.

Instead of traveling, we’ve had a quiet week at home. We are ahead now in school and using this time to keep that momentum going. We might be able to finish the school year sooner than expected. The boys and I were able to attend our homeschool co-op yesterday. Owen especially didn’t want to miss a meeting, so the boys were happy to make it. They’ve had blanket forts up all week. Tomorrow they will attempt to sleep in their forts. I’m not sure they’ll last all night. Their beds are way more comfortable than the floor, but they can learn from experience. I’ve used the extra time at home to do a baking project, organize/purge toys, and create a new storage system for schoolwork. We’re making the most of these surprise days at home.

With plans changing so often, I am grateful for friends, family, and collogues who are gracious with these adjustments. Our people are understanding and supportive which is a huge relief. I am thankful for our home and the space it provides for rest. We are always able to fill days at home without issue. Owen is pouring through books at a shocking rate. Graham is loving the Bluey activity books I got as conference distractions. Art is being created and cookies are being eaten. Staying home isn’t too bad. On the bright side, Jeremy is improving. He needed this week to rest. We might have been surprised by our change of plans, but God knew. He is faithful through all the unexpected twist and turns life throws our way.

It’s been months since I’ve decorated sugar cookies! I felt bad that I purchased these LEGO cookie cutters in December and hadn’t used them yet. I had some extra free time, so it seemed like it was the right time to make a special treat.
Graham is my cookie shark. He is always close by waiting for a chance to chomp into a treat!
My completely unnecessary purchase for the conference. Instead of travel companions, they turned into consolation prizes!
 

A Trip Down Memory Lane March 23, 2022

This last week, I got to visit a place that is very special in my childhood memories. Jeremy has agreed to co-direct kids camp for our church network. He has directed/co-directed kids camps for our entire married life. Two summers without kids camp on our calendar has been strange. Now that COVID numbers are coming down and things are opening up, kids camp planning is back on. Jeremy had a camp tour this last Friday and he mentioned taking the boys along for the outing. I also asked to tagalong because kids camp this year is at the campground I attended as an elementary school student – Lake Retreat! Because it was a full camp tour, we got to look inside all the buildings and wander all over the campground. As we walked through the different spaces, I could remember which “cabins” I stayed in. I had memories of lining up outside the cafeteria, eating camp meals, messages in the chapel, and stories by the campfire. The camp is right on Lake Retreat and I remember how high the diving board seemed as a kid. The strangest thing was how small the camp felt to me as an adult. My childhood memory was of this huge, expansive campground. While the campground really isn’t small, it just wasn’t quite as large as my childhood memory made it seem. I guess the walk across camp felt longer for little legs decades ago. It was very special to visit a place for vivid in my memories.

While visiting camp was partially for nostalgia, I also had another purpose for tagging along. This is the first summer that Owen is old enough to attend. It’s crazy to think of him going off to camp. I wanted to get a glimpse of what camp might look for him. Could I picture him there? Owen and Graham both enjoyed the camp tour. It certainly inspired them to want to attend. One of the advantages of Owen visiting camp in advance is he can now picture where this new experience would take place. We’ve haven’t done overnight experiences beyond a night or two at a grandparents’ house. In the aftermath of a pandemic, we’re still processing if summer camp is a step we’re ready for. Seeing the camp in-person was helpful as we process our summer plans. It’s hard to believe that we have a kiddo that is old enough to be a camper!

Okay, visiting camp wasn’t the only highlight of the last week. I’ll try to hit the others quickly. On Thursday, we visited friends and saw quite a few trains on our journey to/from their home. The boys are still obsessed with trains, so it was a very good day! We met Jeremy for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant (which I find funny since it was St. Patrick’s day). Friday night, I attended book club. I enjoy discussing books with other moms and my book recommendation list is super long now. On Saturday, we had a beaver walk up our driveway and into our front yard! We apparently live in a zoo or maybe Narnia. Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner and the boys got to do their favorite thing – flashlight tag in the yard. Sunday, our chickens got attacked by an eagle. We missed the drama but my parents saw it happen. A crow attacked the eagle and scared it off before it could harm our chickens. A big thank you to that crow! Between a beaver in the yard on Saturday and an eagle on Sunday… we seriously live in a zoo!

After a few days of activity, I’ve been enjoying some quieter days at home. I’m almost finished with the Harry Potter series. I’m currently on book seven and hope to finish it today or tomorrow. It’s been fun to discuss the books with my friends (and hubby) who are fans. I’m often asked what I think about the books, but it’s also neat to hear what books, characters, and moments other readers like best. Oh, and the very important discussion of what Hogwarts house you think you’d be in! I’m torn between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but I’m leaning toward Hufflepuff. I’ll have to give my final HP thoughts at the end of the month in my book blog!

Well, that’s all for now! Until next time!

Watching for trains while waiting for Jeremy to arrive at the restaurant.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at Plaza Jalisco!
Past camper and potential future camper
Introducing the kids to carpet ball
Tripe stacked bunk beds!
Enjoying the lake
The beaver and the wildlife photographers
A visit to Dad’s office on Sunday to check out the sprouts in the Aerogarden
Learning about fossils in amber with gummy worms and orange Jell-O
Learning about weather in science
 

The Other Days March 16, 2022

It can be easy and exciting to write about the big adventures and outings. However, life is mostly made up of the “other” days. They might not be thrilling, but each ordinary day is an adventure all it’s own. With the future unknown, I am trying to intentionally savor these days at home. The last two years have greatly changed how we live our day-to-day lives. While many have rushed back to normal, we are trying to hold on to the benefits we’ve found in living differently.

Our mornings are spent at the dining room table doing school. We are one week away from the end of our 3rd quarter. The boys already have their 3rd quarter rewards selected and they are counting down the days until we can celebrate. It is very exciting to see the pages left in our school books dwindling. Some of our curriculum doesn’t end at exactly 180 days of lessons. A few books will be completed before we are officially finished with the school year. (When that happens, I supplement that subject with other worksheets/books.) It’s always a celebration when a textbook is completed. The finish line for the school year is in sight!

Homeschooling has been an unexpected chapter in our family story. It’s been a good chapter, though. Our plans for school next year are still undecided. There is a chance that the boys will be back to public school in the fall. With that in mind, I’m doing my best to enjoy this homeschool season for all that it is. It’s not over yet and I want to make the most of it. Often that means putting thoughts (and, being real here, anxieties) about next year on hold for now. I don’t want to miss this current time at home pondering (or fretting over) future decisions.

After school, we have lunch and then quiet time. This used to be nap time, but the boys have long outgrown naps. Now they are allowed to play on their beds or read books during quiet time. While they might not sleep anymore, the down time is restorative. It reminds me of the “flat on bunk” time I used to have at kid’s camp when I was in elementary school. Sleep is optional, but rest isn’t. This quiet time is just as important for me as it is for the boys. I appreciate the break! I often use it to read, research (aka look things up on Amazon), contact friends (Marco Polo), and do “grown-up stuff” (like make dentist appointments).

When quiet time is over, it’s afternoon free time. If the weather is nice, we’ll walk to the mailbox. I usually start dinner prep while the boys play. LEGO Super Mario is still the toy of choice around here. If the boys have chores, they do them in the afternoon/evening free time. Some of their chores are emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, collecting eggs, and helping with the laundry. We have dinner when Jeremy gets home and then usually there is a little time to play on the Switch. Some days wrap up by watching a baking show in the hot tub.

These days can feel a bit like Groundhog’s Day. Wake up and repeat… again… and again. Despite the repetition, these are good days. The last two years have certainly been challenging, but they have also been a gift. This last week Washington State removed it’s mask mandate, so it really has been two years living in pandemic mode. While I don’t view the pandemic as over, I can recognize that things are changing. I don’t know what that means for the future, but I do know that I want to make the most of right now. I am so thankful to the small things that make these ordinary days special. We do have rocky moments (like the fights over LEGOS pieces – a real-life example from 11:30am today). I remind myself that these difficult moments are a chance for us to grow together. It might seem like sibling squabbles are a chance for the kids to learn, but these are growth moments for me as well. How will I respond? Is my attitude helping or hindering the situation? So yes, lots of learning together beyond our school time. These home days don’t make for the most interesting updates, but day-by-by, they are making for a pretty interesting life!

A special stop for fro-yo while running errands
Pizza Friday! This was our second time getting Mini Murph take-an-make kits. The boys love them!
My latest attempt at cake decorating. Used some new tools. Looking forward to trying again since I’m learning a lot through trial and error!
Getting some new dirt into Jeremy’s new raised beds
My latest used book acquisition with the last of my birthday money
A quick visit to Nana & Papa’s house where Owen got to be a firefighter and help put out a burn pile.
Jeremy’s birthday present arrived a little early! He requested (then purchased for himself) an Areogarden for his office at work. After 5 days, he already has sprouts popping up!
Time to make leprechaun traps!
Homemade pizookies for Pi Day on Monday
I had a migraine yesterday, so the boys joined Jeremy for an out-of-town errand and then an afternoon of helping at the church. Jeremy sent me this picture of Graham leading a “Bible study” in the church’s church classroom! Graham has been watching Jeremy in action on Sundays and it shows!
 

Hints of Spring March 9, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Parenthood,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 12:29 pm

There are hints of spring all round these days. At the moment, the sun is shining bright and bringing me so much joy. There will be a walk to the mailbox, jumping on the trampoline, and drainage ditch exploration outside later today. Anytime we can spend the afternoon out in the sunshine, it’s a good day!

This weekend, Jeremy started a major project in his garden. He creatively built raised beds out of discarded building materials a few years ago. These raised beds were starting to break apart and a replacement was necessary. Jeremy had saved up for new raised beds and assembled them on Friday. It was supposed to be a sunny day, but the morning turned out to be showery. Because it was messy work, I would often find Jeremy sitting under our covered porch waiting out the weather. At one point when Owen was out helping him, they took shelter in the greenhouse. The new beds need some additional dirt and then they’ll be ready for spring planting.

While the boys worked outside in the mud, I worked inside on a chocolate cake. Owen mentioned earlier in the week that he hadn’t had cake in a while. It’s not too hard to talk me into baking. Especially chocolate cake. I decided after baking this cake, I would pick up some new baking tools. My cakes just never turn out to my hopeful standard. I purchased a cake level and a turntable online this week. They arrive tomorrow and I’m optimistic to make another cake soon to see if I can improve. The boys gave the chocolate cake rave reviews which were quite humorous. You can tell we’ve been watching baking shows as a family because they “judged” my cake as a “moist sponge with good texture and flavor.” Oh, the things these kids say!

Saturday was a beautiful day and the boys practically lived outside! They checked trail cameras with Jeremy near our property in morning. They spent the afternoon outside playing with cousins at Nana & Papa’s house. At dinner with friends, they built natural boats (thinks leaves and sticks) and raced them down a backyard creek. At Nana & Papa’s house, the adults played board games for a few hours. Jeremy and I learned a new game called Dixit. It’s a picture game and reminded me of Apples to Apples but with images. Jeremy won the first round. I won the second. (I don’t win often, so I felt it deserved mentioning here.) We’ve now spent two Saturdays in a row playing games. Fun times! After an afternoon of gameplay, we went to dinner with family friends. My friend recently borrowed my Enneagram books and was excited to talk with me about the Enneagram after dinner. I adore the Enneagram and will happily talk about it with anyone for as long as they are willing! It was such a treat!

This coming weekend is my least favorite of the year with the time change. I’m not a fan of springing ahead and losing an hour of sleep, but I know it will mean light later into the evening. As the weather improves, we’ll have more playtime outside after dinner. Afternoon walks can become evening walks. I do look forward to the sun setting after 7:00pm. Jeremy has tulips and daffodils making an appearance in the yard. His miniature bulbs have flowered first. They make the back deck feel so friendly! I love seeing hints of spring popping up all around. A new season is on the horizon. I’m a ready to greet it and see what it brings.

Sheltering in the greenhouse during a shower
My weekend baking project!
Painting rocks in children’s church to remember to trust God.
Sunday afternoon reading. Three readers stuffed on a loveseat. Love when the kids seek out these quiet moments with me.
Nothing quite like jumping on the trampoline on a sunny day!
First time reading Harry Potter. I realize I’m a little bit late to the game. I finally decided to see what all the hype is about.
Spring vibes on the back deck!
 

Farewell February, Hello March! March 1, 2022

I logically know that February is a short month, but it always surprises me when it’s over. Now that it’s officially March, I finally took down the construction paper hearts I had on the walls around our house. I’m still using our snowflake dishes since we did have (a trace) snow on the ground less than a week ago. All things winter are making way for all things spring. February was such a fun month. It’s hard to see it go, but I have high hopes for March!

We wrapped up February with some exciting activities. On Friday, I hosted a book club at my house. This was the first “group” I’ve hosted in almost two years. I was nervous, but this was a good group to dust off my hospitality skills with. My friend led the book club, so all I had to do was open my home and participate. I love the set-up of this book club! I mentioned it in my last post, but I’ll share it again. Instead of everyone reading the same book, each lady comes with a book to talk about. It could be any book – something she read long ago, recently read, is currently reading, or hopes to read in the future. This structure means anyone can participate without feeling guilty about not finishing the book or not liking it. I shared my two top picks for February and enjoyed hearing about what everyone else was reading. (See my February book post here)

As an avid reader and blogger, it’s no surprise words are how I relate to the world. My husband got me hooked on playing Wordle this month. I was resistant at first because it’s trendy. After a few times of “helping” Jeremy with his words, I had to play for myself. I will admit that I’ve had to look up the meaning of a few words while playing this game (tacit? swill?). Now I find Wordle words throughout my books and each time I come across one, I chuckle. Anyone else jump on the Wordle bandwagon? It’s addicting! I’m thankful there is only one word a day or I might have a problem!

Speaking of games, my forever friend, Maggie, and her family come over for a game day on Saturday. Maggie’s family is very into games and they brought an assortment to share with us. Jeremy loves games and is very good at catching on to new games. We played a few shorter games before settling into playing Wingspan. Maggie and I were a team for the first game and then Maggie acted as my consultant for the second game. I now feel somewhat confident I could play on my own next time! We don’t often have marathon game days, so it was fun to do something out of the ordinary. Especially since it was super rainy on Saturday, a day spent playing inside was just right!

Now that it’s March, my kids are counting down to St. Patrick’s Day. They decorated their windows with gel clings today from Grandma and they are actively planning their leprechaun traps. I often hear about what they will wish for if/when they catch a leprechaun. March is a big month for Jeremy has he prepares for the Easter season. It’s also Jeremy’s birthday month. We’ll make sure he celebrates well! I’ll try to forget that Daylight Savings begins in March and just focus on the fact that spring is coming soon! I’m sure no matter how the month unfolds, it will be an adventure!

Learning about igneous rock using chocolate – melted chocolate like lava hardens and creates a solid. Science is sweet!
Jeremy took the boys bowling on Friday night while I hosted the book club. I love the updates he sent me! Bowling with Owen is a lot like bowling with Tigger. The kid has bounce!
Graham was all about the fun and the food!
Making fish puppets in science!
Decorating for St. Patrick’s Day while wearing Christmas pajamas…
Always hopeful that this is the year he’ll catch a leprechaun!
 

Good Times & Games February 23, 2022

I want to take a moment to say thank to those of you who read this blog and journey alongside my family. These posts feel like writing letters to a friend and it has been so meaningful for me to have this space to share. Especially over the last few years as the world turned upside down and our daily life got smaller, these blogs are proof (mostly to myself) that we are holding on, making it day by day, finding joy despite the trials of a pandemic. As we move toward spring, the world is shifting again. With pandemic restrictions changing in our area, I’m intrigued to see how the future unfolds. While my mind is often pondering what’s next, I am praying that I can stay grounded in the present and enjoy the time that I currently have – right here, right now.

This last week was full of good times and games! We hosted both a play date and a family dinner at our house. Both families we invited over had all boys and our house was filled with wild things running about. There was much laughter and shenanigans. The boys were thrilled to have their friends over and it made my heart happy to see all the smiles. For me personally, it was also nice to catch up with the parents and have adult conversation, even if it was hard to hear at times or was interrupted. Friend time for my kiddos also means friend time for myself. Yay!

Games! So many games this week! On Thursday, Jeremy surprised us by coming home from work with a Nintendo Switch. It was an anonymous and extremely generous gift to our family. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Words cannot even express the excitement our kids felt when Jeremy revealed the box. Friday morning we went on a mission to buy a game and another set of controllers. Over the long weekend, Jeremy and the boys worked on passing levels and battling bosses in hopes of saving Princess Peach. The Super Mario obsession in our house as definitely increased.

On Saturday, Nana and Papa invited us to join them for glow-in-the-dark golf with some of the cousins. We love cousin time! And surprisingly, for glow golf being a local activity, we had never been before. It was a win-win – time with family and a fun outing! I’m not a great golfer (mini golf or otherwise), but this glow golf course was right up my alley. I completed a majority of the holes in three strokes instead of my usual six or more. It was very good for my confidence! After we wrapped up golf, Nana and Papa treated the kids to a few arcade games in the lobby. They loved every moment of the outing.

Saturday night after bedtime, Graham came out of his room saying he wanted to talk. It turns out that he was very sad that the Olympics were ending. We enjoyed watching the Olympics in the evenings as a family. We cheered for Team USA. We marveled at the skill of the athletes. When explaining that the Winter Olympics happen every four years, the kids got wide-eyed. Four years feels like a lifetime right now. Telling them that the Summer Olympics would happen in just two years didn’t help ease the disappointment much. We made sure to watch the closing ceremonies as a family on Sunday. Part of me is slightly glad the games are over – only for the fact that the boys were starting to do more stunts off the furniture in the living room. Watching all the airborne athletes was inspiring them a little too much! Now we’re back to baking shows. The current family show is season two of Zumbo’s Just Desserts.

In closing, I will mention that after almost two years of watching church online, the boys and I returned to church in-person on Sunday. With case numbers going down and our family being fully vaccinated/boosted, it seemed like it was a good time to re-engage with this community. The boys and I enjoyed being a part of children’s church with “Pastor Jeremy” (aka Daddy/Hubby). We are excited to be at church as a family again.

Okay, that concludes all the major and minor life updates for the time being!

Learning to play Super Mario Bros
Good times golfing!
Wrapping up glow golf!
Arcade time
Back at children’s church! The boys did a great job participating and they were thrilled to come home with special treats.
Sunday mac & cheese tradition is still going strong!
When Amazon sends a box that is big enough to fit two kids!

 

February Fun! February 16, 2022

This last week was full of fun! I love holidays and any reason to celebrate. Valentine’s Day definitely was celebrated over the course of the week as well as on Monday. Jeremy surprised me with a 4-pack of pizzas from Lou Malnati’s in Chicago as a Valentine’s gift. Such a special and thoughtful treat! The pizzas arrived last Wednesday and I made one that evening. I couldn’t wait until Valentine’s day! The package came with dry ice to keep the pizzas frozen, which meant our evening was spent playing with dry ice. The kids had a blast! It was just as exciting as the pizzas in the package.

On Thursday, I promised to take the kids to the park after school. I thought it would be cloudy, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be foggy/misty. The park was damp but mostly empty as a result. The kids got super wet despite the towel I brought along to dry things off. My mom joined us for this outing and after the park we took off for the library. Mom treated us to a fast food lunch on our way home. It was a fun morning out and about – even if it was chilly and damp. Those of us in the PNW don’t let a little wet and chill keep us inside (okay, some time it does, but not all the time).

After a wet morning on Thursday, the skies cleared. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were beautiful. False spring as it is known around here. I enjoyed walking outside each day to get my steps in and my daily dose of vitamin D. Jeremy spent his days doing yard projects and the boys happily worked alongside him. When they weren’t tagging along with projects, they were in the drainage ditch near our house building dams. I’m so thankful the sun came out and we all got to appreciate the great outdoors!

Super Bowl Sunday was a highlight of the weekend. I’m not super into football, but the food is usually what gets my attention. My parents picked up a family meal from Olive Garden so our Super Bowl food consisted of lasagna, salad, and breadsticks. There were chips to munch on and Costco bakery items for dessert. I made some Valentine themed sugar cookies and contributed them to the game day goodies. Jeremy and my dad watched the game in one room while the boys played video games in the other room. After halftime, I excused myself to head home for some quiet time. The sunset on my walk home was lovely and really the best part of the evening (or maybe it was a tie with the breadsticks).

Our Valentine’s day celebration on Monday was fairly simple. We got the boys special boxes with Hershey Kisses inside. We picked up Power-Up Packs for their LEGO Super Mario characters. The fire suit makes a little flower appear on Mario and Luigio. It was fun take on chocolates and flowers for our little Valentines. I made mini bundt cakes for dessert and Jeremy picked up a heartbreaker pizza from Papa Murphy’s. Cheese pizza from Papa Murphy’s is definitely our boys’ love language. We had a bottle of sparkling cider left over from the holidays and we enjoyed our meal by candlelight. Nothing too fancy, but lots of fun!

Between the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and a three-day weekend coming up, February is full of fun! After an unusually quiet month in January, February seems to be a step in the direction of good times and community. The pandemic has given me fresh insight into into how much fun the little celebrations can be. I don’t take the small things for granted quite as much. They bring so much joy to our daily life!

The very best kind of frozen pizza! And the fact that it’s heart shaped makes it even better!
Fun with dry ice and dish soap. When the bubbles popped it would release the steam from the dry ice. Super cool!
Park Time!
My little monkey
Valentine crafting
Valentine baking
Super Bowl Sunday Sunset
Flowers and chocolates for the boys!
All the Valentine vibes
Another day, another heart shaped pizza!
Dinner by candlelight! It wasn’t dark outside yet, but it was still fun.
 

Thoughts on Reading in 2022 January 11, 2022

Merry Bookmas! Such a happy sight!

The start of 2022 has mostly been spent at home. Last week was set at a slower pace so we could get back into the school routine. Our weekend plans were slightly altered by local flooding. My childhood home was flooded in 1996 and though I live on a hill now, flooding raises my anxiety level and stirs uncertainty. My appointment to get my COVID booster was rescheduled because the pharmacy was closed due to flooding nearby. Our boys were able to get their second vaccine dose over the weekend as the area reopened. We went into a very empty Safeway afterwards to find celebration donuts. Even though the shelves were almost bare, there were donuts in the case. Praise the Lord!

The major highlight of this last week for me was packages arriving filled with books and book-related things! I used Christmas cash to invest in a Kindle Paperwhite, an assortment of books, and two journals. One journal is a reading journal. I’ve kept lists of what I’ve read yearly, but I’ve never journaled about my reading. I am looking forward to using this journal as a companion to my reading year. It has space to document 100 books and I’ve decided 100 books will be my reading goal for 2022.

I’ve been thinking about my reading life – what it’s looked like and what I want it to look like. In 2020 and 2021, I read more books than I ever expected. To expand beyond my limited home library, I’ve taken to following the recommendations of others. This habit of asking around has led me to many books that I loved and some I didn’t. I wish that books came with ratings like movies. If a book has too much language, violence, darkness, or sex, it makes me uncomfortable. I had a light bulb moment as I was reading in my new book journal (My Reading Life: A Book Journal by Anne Bogel). Anne suggested that you search for content warnings online before starting a new book. I can’t believe this didn’t occur to me before! I hope to be a more informed reader in 2022. Not to focus on the negative, I read many great books I loved with no reservation. I also don’t share this as judgement of those who might hold different reading tastes than my own. I’ll still be asking for recommendations. I’ll just do more research in advance of placing a library hold.

I mentioned in my last post, I plan to change how I blog about reading. Instead of sharing a short paragraph about each book I read in a month, I’ll change to a list with a star-rating. I’ve started using my Goodreads account again and I plan to use their star-rating system. I have so. many. words. when it comes to books and my monthly posts have gotten too long. I’ll share about my favorite non-fiction and fiction books of the month with reasons why beyond the star-rating. There is a comment section on each post, so if you ever have a question about a book I list, please feel free to ask and we can dive into a deeper conversation on that title.

I am also excited to be a part of a new book club with a few friends (we technically haven’t met yet, but we’re working on it). One of my friends came up with the idea of meeting once a month to talk about books – any book. It could be one we’ve read recently or in the past or one we’re eyeing. It can be hard for moms to all read the same book at the same time and come ready for a discussion. This will take the pressure off of finding material we all like and completing it on a timeline. I love hearing about what others are reading and I can see my to-be-read list growing as a result. I also love talking about my current reads. I’m positive this will be a good outlet for me in more than one way!

As you can see, I’ve thought quite a bit about reading in 2022. I want to be intentional with my reading and my time. I read for both pleasure and growth. I want to have a diverse reading life. Some of the most impacting books I’ve read have been by people very different from me. Seeing the world through their lens has been life-altering. I don’t want to shirk from books that make me uncomfortable. I just want it to be for the right reasons. All this talk about books has me excited to share my reading list with you at the end of the month. I’m certainly starting out 2022 with plenty to read. I’m in book heaven! Woo hoo!

It’s been a slow photo week. But in the theme of books, this is the new book we are using for art. The kids love Mo Willems and they are having fun drawing their favorite characters!
Jeremy made homemade soup and bread on Friday! Very impressive and tasty!
Wrapping up dose number two! So proud of these brave kiddos!
 

Happy New Year! January 4, 2022

We made it to 2022! This week is back to school for the boys and I and back to work for Jeremy. We loved our month of December with Jeremy on sabbatical. Our family had so much fun with all the Christmas activities and celebrations. Like most, we weren’t ready for the vacation vibes to end. We have an intentionally quiet week at home to help us ease back into routine.

We wrapped up 2021 with a shopping trip to Portland. Even though the roads around our house were snow/ice, the freeway was fine and the roads improved as we went south. The stores were hit hard by Christmas, low staff, and low stock. The snow certainly didn’t help. The boys each got LEGO sets and then we hopped online to shop for the items that were missing in the stores. Mostly, we just wanted a day to get out of the house after a few snow days. Our shopping tradition after Christmas isn’t about the items we purchase, it’s about spending the day as a family in the big city.

Our weekend was all about snow and family. We celebrated my sister’s birthday on New Year’s Eve. Jeremy attached the sled to our riding lawn mower and that became a big hit on Friday and Saturday. We had some of the cousins (and their parents) over on Saturday for games and snow fun. After we played at our house, we dropped the kiddos at Nana & Papa’s house and the parents went to see the newest Spider-Man movie. I haven’t been to the theaters since Frozen II in 2019! It was good to get back to the movies, but I honestly love streaming at home just as much (probably even more). It was a treat to go on a double date and have some kid-free time with other adults – this rarely happens in my world.

As I reflect on 2021, I am grateful. The beginning of the year started quietly with COVID restrictions and stay-at-home orders revived. We celebrated Jeremy turning 40 in the spring with a “spring break” trip to Oregon. We thrived in homeschooling and wrapped up preschool for Graham and 1st grade for Owen with a family celebration at the end of May. Our summer was full of local-ish adventures. We visited the WA/OR coast, Mt. Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We enjoyed swim lessons in the month of August. We started our second year of homeschooling in the fall. The boys turned 8 and 6 in October with family adventure days to the Space Needle and Top Golf. November was our magical trip to Disneyland. December wrapped up the year with Jeremy’s sabbatical filled with family time and Christmas adventures. Despite the hardships of living in a pandemic world, our family experienced so much goodness in 2021.

Thanks to the pandemic, my expectations for goal setting have gone way down. Last year, my goals were to beat my 2020 reading total and to decorate sugar cookies once a month. I succeeded in both those goals and had a blast investing in my hobbies. As I look to 2022, my current goals are to read the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books for the first time. They are on most recommended reading list that I encounter. I’m ready to find out why. I plan to change how I keep track of my reading and how I rate books. I will also tweak how I blog about my reading this year. My one serious goal for 2022 is to get back to church in-person. I have reservations about in-person church, but it’s important that our kids get back into a faith community. Because of homeschooling, it will be beneficial for them to be in a classroom environment with peers again.

That about does it! Wrapping up 2021, welcoming 2022. I don’t know what’s on the horizon for 2022. I am believing that the same goodness I found in 2020 and 2021 will be present in 2022. God’s faithfulness never falters. Life has taken unexpected turns with the pandemic, but I’ll just keep doing the best I can with what I’ve got. God can work with that. He makes up the difference. I can go into 2022 knowing that God goes with me – before me, beside me, behind me. I am not alone and I can do this with him.

Introduced the kids to World Market. The boys fell in love with this chair. Our big purchase from this store was coconut syrup from Hawaii.
Post shopping LEGO building
Checking on the chickens
Blue skies and tractor rides
Making memories with the cousins
Movie date!
My 2021 goal of decorating cookies!