Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

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!
 

A White Christmas December 28, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 6:00 pm

The week has been full of Christmas celebrations and snow! I put all those cookie cutters I mentioned last week to good use and made sugar and gingerbread cookies. It was fun to decorate them all with different frosting colors, icing tips, and sprinkles! I loved the variety!

On Christmas Eve, the boys opened their presents from Jeremy and I. They both dove into their new books and we played their new board games as a family. It makes my heart happy to see gifts being appreciated. We attended a candlelight Christmas Eve gathering at church. Even though Jeremy is on sabbatical this month, we went to support Nana and Aunt Patty in the bell choir which performed before and during the gathering. Christmas Eve also featured a matinee of The Polar Express and breakfast burritos for dinner (a holiday classic, right?).

Christmas morning came early for us… and not because of kids eager to open presents. It started to snow overnight and this led to a power outage at 2:40am. Since we sleep with fans for white noise, we all wake up when the power goes out. The house becomes too quiet and suddenly we can hear all the house noises. Who knew that silence could be so loud? We struggled to sleep and got up at 7:00am to a very dark and chilly house. The boys opened their stockings from Santa by flashlight. Jeremy got the generator running so he could make coffee and we could use the microwave for cinnamon rolls. The power turned on about 8:40am which gave us enough time to take hot showers before heading out for the day. Our drive down the hill was a bit snowy, but once we hit the main roads, it was fine. We spent Christmas day at my grandma’s house with family. We left a bit earlier than we originally planned, but we wanted to make it home in the daylight before ice and snow made the drive a challenge.

On Sunday, we celebrated Christmas with the Scott family. The drive to Nana & Papa’s house was slow thanks to more snow and ice overnight. We had breakfast together before diving into a very LEGO Christmas (for the kids). Nana is super talented and made pajamas for the whole family. We took a special family picture in our new comfy clothes. We played some games, nibbled on leftovers, and tried to find a place to sled. It was very picturesque to have a White Christmas celebration with family. If only the snow didn’t make traveling so tricky. We stayed for an early dinner and said farewell before dark for better travel conditions.

Our plans for shopping after Christmas have been postponed. It’s our tradition to head down to Portland after Christmas to spend our Christmas cash. With the roads being compact snow and ice and the freeway being tricky in parts, we’ve decided that shopping isn’t a necessity. We can wait for better conditions. After a couple of days traveling in snowy weather, it’s been nice to enjoy a few snow days at home. The boys have happily built their new LEGO sets and played with them for hours. Between the snow and LEGOs, we’ve been well entertained.

I didn’t really believe we were going to have a white Christmas, but it did indeed happen. It was pretty and magical, but also a bit of a hassle. It certainly made for a memory! Especially the Christmas day power outage! We actually lost power again for an hour and half yesterday morning as well. Now I’m praying throughout the day – partially thanking the Lord for heat and asking that the power please stay on! We have plans for the rest of the 2021. We’ll see if the snow continues to change them or if we’ll end the year with bit more activity!

Christmas cookie fun!
Opening presents on Christmas Eve morning
Playing games
Candlelight Christmas Eve Gathering
Opening stockings by flashlight
A chilly and dark Christmas morning!
Thankful the power came on before we left for GG’s house!
Christmas at GG’s house
Christmas with the Scotts
Modeling our Nana jamas
Snow Day!
Making memories
Jeremy’s snowman
 

Welcome Winter December 21, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 6:24 pm

It’s officially winter! Now the weather actually matches the season. It’s been so cold and it looks like it’s about to get colder in the PNW. Everyone in western Washington is holding their breath, wondering if we’ll have a White Christmas. My weather-obsessed hubby is actively following the forecast and sharing all kinds of updates with me. I’m of the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it mentality. The idea of a White Christmas sounds cozy and picturesque, but honestly, it will mess with my plans, so the snowflakes can hold out a bit. I’ll welcome them around the 28th (as if the weather would take my plans into consideration – ha).

I’m coming off an organization high. I realized this afternoon that I’ve purchased 21 new cookie cutters this month. I might have a problem. My cookie cutter drawer needed an overhaul to make room. I parted with a few to make everything fit… but I will admit those were duplicates…. which begs the question – how many gingerbread people, snowflake, tree, or star cookie cutters does one person need? My current answer is many… but I’m working on it. Along the lines of organization, we picked up more storage cubes for the boys’ closet. Jeremy assembled them this morning and I’ve been reworking the closets this afternoon. It’s the time of year to consolidate and/or purge. I often try to make space for new toys before the holidays. When it comes to potential clutter, I like to be proactive. I’m a firm believer in every item having a home and now the kids closest can accommodate more stuff. I love getting rid of things and making space in my house, but I also very much understand stuff management. Good storage lets you keep the stuff you love in a useful and practical way.

So, what have we been up to? This last week has been a fun one. We’ve had a cookie decorating playdate with friends. We visited my Grandma and drove through a large light display near her house. We finished up school. We are now officially on Christmas break! We went out to breakfast to celebrate on Friday. Saturday was spent shopping for upcoming family gatherings and picking up the aforementioned storage cubes (thank you, Ikea). Sunday, we had our first Christmas gathering with my immediate family. The boys’ Christmas dreams came true when they opened their LEGO Mario and Luigi sets. We enjoyed a pizza lunch before opening presents and bundlets from Nothing Bundt Cakes afterwards. Yesterday, we went up to Snowflake Lane in Bellevue. We met up with friends and the kids adored the parade and “snow” (aka bubbles). It was a chilly, but festive outing. So many good Christmas memories being made!

Now we’re counting down to more Christmas celebrations this weekend. We still have a few Christmas experiences to check off the holiday to-do list. We hope to look at Christmas lights in the area, watch White Christmas, and make Christmas cookies. Then it will be 3 days of Christmas celebrations ending with a shopping day in Portland (as long as the potential snow doesn’t change any plans). We are very excited for this next week! It’s going to be a good one (even if the snowflakes decide to make things interesting)! Maybe we will have a White Christmas after all?

Piping bags filled with colorful frosting gives me a warm fuzzy feeling!
Cookie decorating with friends
I was okay with these snowflakes last week. They were fun to wake up to, but didn’t cancel any plans!
Visiting GG
A yummy confetti bundtlet from Nothing Bundt Cakes. My favorite flavor would be their lemon, but their seasonal peppermint chocolate chip was also good!
The boys enjoyed a very LEGO themed Christmas gathering. LEGOs always keep them busy with building and play! Now I have to be careful to not vacuum them…
Loving the Christmas vibes of these flowers!
Dinner at P.F. Chang’s before Snowflake Lane
Waiting for the parade to start with friends!
Waving at Santa!
The parent crew
They might be bubbles, but they sure do make the moment magical!
Making as many Christmas memories as possible!
December’s cookie cutter haul brought to you by Target!
 

Small Moments Make The Holidays Special December 12, 2021

We’ve slowed the pace down this week. We’ve found a good routine with Jeremy being home on sabbatical. While the boys and I do school, Jeremy does a project around the house. Our garage, well house, files, and master closet are very well organized now. Our afternoons and evenings have been filled with books, music, movies, free play, and hot tub time.

On Wednesday, we drove through a light display in a local park. On Thursday, Jeremy took turns shopping with the boys so they could shop for each other. We also had family over for Chinese take-out. Yum! Our only plans for Friday were to make rice crispy treats and watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. Not a bad to-do list!

We got our Christmas cards into the mail this week and the boys’ letters to Santa. The big item on their wish list is LEGO Super Mario sets. I daily do my best to patiently listen to all the joy these sets will bring to their lives.

My childhood Christmas soundtrack was Amy Grant albums. It dawned on me that my children will have “Holiday Favorites” on Amazon Music as their childhood Christmas soundtrack. We are either listening to Christmas music or singing it to yourselves all day long.

We’ve been taking walks to the mailbox to look for packages. It’s been chilly so our walks are quick and motivated. We’ve seen snowflakes multiple times this week. Today we had a light slush stay around for part of the morning.

Friends are coming over tomorrow for a Christmas cookie decorating playdate. I happily baked an assortment of butter cookies, gingerbread, and snickerdoodles this morning. I have cider ready to share with my mom friend while our kids make a mess with frosting and sprinkles. Owen has requested that I let them pipe the icing. We’ll let the icing and creativity flow!

With one more week left of school, the kids are in countdown mode (I might be too). Countdown to Christmas break, countdown to family gatherings, countdowns to outings. I’ve enjoyed the slower pace of this last week before it picks up again. It’s been a chance to be present in all the small moments that make this season so special.

Every year I wonder if they’ll be able to keep a secret from each other!
My kitchen helpers!
The Muppet Christmas Carol is a family tradition! The boys’ current favorite Christmas movie is The Grinch (we’ve watched it twice and the original cartoon to compare). For a long time it as The Polar Express (on repeat all holiday season).
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
Let It Snow!
The wonder of snowflakes!
Our Christmas card this year fits the theme of a Disney Christmas!
Cookies ready for decorating and nibbling!
 

The Start of Sabbatical December 7, 2021

As of this last Friday, Jeremy is officially on sabbatical for a month. Our family is thrilled to have extra time together during this festive month. We certainly started this sabbatical off with a bang. On Friday, the boys decorated a gingerbread house while I made gingerbread cookies to take to a moms’ only Christmas party. The kids had a blast with all the sugar. Owen licked the frosting more than he decorated with it. The moms’ only Christmas party included a book gift exchange which is my love language. Being a wild, crazy, kid-free mom, I got home after 11pm (which is unheard of for me these days).

On Saturday, Jeremy’s parents invited the boys over to spend the day with them. Nana and Papa were watching some of the cousins and it was very thoughtful of them to include our boys. The boys love time with cousins family time and it gave Jeremy and I chance to Christmas shop without them in tow. I feel very good about where our Christmas shopping is at now. We started late this year, but it didn’t take us long to get it done…. well… almost done. We have two more gifts to purchase, but in the grand scheme of shopping, that’s not too bad. I had a delightful time selecting wrapping paper to match each family – Disney characters for our boys, LEGO for the cousins, Santa dogs for my family. Jeremy and I savored a yummy lunch out and reveled in the quiet conversations we were able to have while driving.

Sunday started with Christmas lesson and craft that Jeremy brought home from church. We did cocoa bombs (which were a gift from a friend) and then did our advent candles. We did advent in the morning because we planned to be out late that evening. We took off after lunch for Jenny’s Cookie Bake Shop in Lynnwood. I’ve been following Jenny for a year now and I’ve been decorating cookies from her Cookie Class book. It was a dream come true to pick up a treat from Jenny’s and see her bake shop in-person. After cookie munching, we went over to visit my forever friend, Maggie. We had dinner with her family before bundling up to do the Wild Lanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. The wild lanterns were so neat!!! Way cooler than the usual Zoolights experience that I’ve come to expect at most zoos. It special visit my friend in her neck of the woods. We are very rarely ever north of Seattle. It was an awesome adventure wandering the zoo with our families.

We were able to keep our school routine yesterday even with Daddy home as a distraction. Jeremy started a burn pile in the yard and it motivated Owen to get school done quickly. We are two days into school with Daddy home, but I think the flow will be Jeremy works on a project while we do school. He is currently reorganizing our garage was I type this. I wonder what project will be next. Yesterday, I had coffee with a friend in the afternoon and then were able to get our boys their first dose of the COVID vaccine. It was a bit complicated getting them an appointment in our area, so I was grateful for the last-minute appointment we snagged. The boys and I hope to return to in-person church attendance in January and this vaccine is a step toward that goal. We celebrated with pizza, cookies, and ice cream!

After a super big weekend filled with holiday fun, our week is looking fairly quiet. We have a few outings we are hopeful to make happen while on sabbatical. Some are weather dependent so we are waiting and watching the forecast. Being on sabbatical means we have flexibility to wait for good weather days. I love getting out and about, seeing people I love, and doing something new. I equally love being snuggled in at home! It’s been a great kick-off to Jeremy’s sabbatical. I’m looking forward to all that still lies ahead!

The Start of Advent
Cocoa Buddies
Starting December off right with a trip to Christa and her train neighborhood.
The Gingerbread House
The Gingerbread Cookies
Christmas shopping date!
Advent with cocoa
A dream come true for this cookie lover!
Enjoying Jenny’s Cookies
A game with friends before Wild Lanterns
Wild Lanterns
Wild Lanterns
Wild Lanterns
Wild Lanterns
So glad our families were able to do this fun outing together!
 

Deck the Halls! November 28, 2021

It’s that time of year again! Time to deck the halls! Our kids were ready to decorate for Christmas the day we got back from Disneyland. The Christmas magic they experienced at Disneyland definitely inspired them! Our family has no rules for when Christmas decorations are allowed to come out. It changes year to year based on our schedule. This year we needed to recover from Disneyland before diving into Christmas mode. We don’t mind waiting until after Thanksgiving (but we also don’t mind decorating before Thanksgiving either – no rules).

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a day full of family and yummy food. We were back to our pre-pandemic schedule of two family gatherings in one day. It’s was the first time that our family has joined my extended family for a gathering since Christmas 2019. It was good to be back to “normal” but I forgot how long it can make a day when you hop from gathering to gathering. Seeing family was worth the effort, though! It was a great day and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for!

Getting back to school to after Disneyland was a bit of a struggle. If it didn’t mean going to school until the end of June, I would have just declared us on holiday vacation until January. It was nice to come back to a short week and a holiday weekend. Just three more weeks of school until Christmas break! That seems like forever, but I know it will go by in a blink (at least, I hope so)! Jeremy was offered a sabbatical for the month of December. Our family is excited to have extra time together during this special time of year. We are looking forward to Christmas activities and outings as well as plenty of time around the house enjoying Christmas movies, books, and treats! It’s such a joyful season and we are ready for it! Bring on all things Christmas!

PS – You’ll notice that Disneyland has seeped into our Christmas celebration this year. We got matching Christmas Mickey pajamas for our trip. At Disneyland, we picked up a Mickey ornament for our tree. Once we got home, we picked more Mickey ornaments and a Disney advent book. Our Christmas cards will also feature Mickey this year. Our annual photo ornament has been ordered with pictures from our vacation. Disney is our theme this holiday season!

Cookies of the Month for November! Sweet as pie!
I made 59 cookies this last week (gotta love that odd total). I brought them to each family gathering and made some for a friend. This photo features 2/3 of them decorated for Thanksgiving day.
Graham is my official cookie taste tester!
Cousin time at Thanksgiving!
The Scott Family – Thanksgiving 2021
It’s going to be a very Disney Christmas this year!
Each year they get a new ornament to put on their mini trees in their bedrooms. Mickey Mouse was an obvious choice this year!
Placing the star on top of the tree is such a dramatic moment…
The tree is officially decorated!
They are a little amped up for Christmas!
Grandma got them this LEGO wreath at The LEGO Store in Downtown Disney. Such a fun project and super festive. It also can be made into an advent wreath with LEGO candles!
The nativity set and the Christmas train have met… I keep reminding the boys that Baby Jesus isn’t allowed on the tracks.
Beautiful sunrise this morning!
 

The Magic of Disney November 21, 2021

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

I’ve been dreaming of taking my family on a Disneyland vacation long before I was married and had kids. Disneyland is a classic family vacation filled with magic! My first Disneyland experience was in the 5th grade and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I’ve visited Disneyland multiple times, but nothing can quite compare to that magic of a child’s first visit. Now that I’m a parent, I’ve been slowly watching Graham (my youngest and shortest son) grow with Disneyland in the back of my mind. I’ve been waiting for that milestone moment where he would be tall enough to go on most of the rides. We reached that perfect height this summer and I promptly suggested we take a Disneyland vacation!

This trip came with other first time experiences for the boys such as their first flight and first time to Southern California. The whole airplane heard them loudly exclaim over palm trees as we got ready to land. The boys enjoyed their first flight and were excellent travelers. My parents joined us for the adventure so we took up an entire row on the airplane. Graham flew down with the grandparents and Owen sat with Jeremy and I. We switched kids for the flight home to mix it up. Once we got into LAX, we picked up our rental car and took off for our hotel, dinner at In-N-Out, and grocery shopping. We went to sleep in matching Mickey Christmas pajamas that I bought specifically for this trip and the holiday season.

Our first day was at Disneyland! The park was all decorated for Christmas which made the experience extra special. Our strategy was to start with the smaller rides in Fantasyland to get the boys warmed up. Things started well with our first ride on Alice in Wonderland. Then Jeremy diverted from the plan when he saw the Matterhorn Bobsleds had a 5 minute wait. We might have traumatized the kids with the yeti on that fast-paced, jerky ride. Oops! Owen loved Big Thunder Mountain, but that was too intense for Graham. At one point during the ride, Graham told us his heart was racing. Both boys loved Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters the most. Part of the fun of the first day was introducing Graham to Disney churros. I got a tasty Gingerbread cookie shaped like Mickey. We watched the Christmas Fantasy Parade. Our kids are now obsessed with the song that played a dozen times on repeat. We didn’t do the big rides or anything spooky. I thought I might miss them, but I didn’t. I had so much fun watching the boys enjoy themselves that I didn’t mind sacrificing some of my past must-do rides.

Our second day was at California Adventure. We did Radiator Spring Racers right when the park opened because the wait time for that ride is insane. The boys loved all the rides at Cars Land. Honorable mentions would also be Goofy’s Sky School, the Pixar Pal-A-Round, and Soarin’ Around the World. One of my highlights was the Boudin Sourdough Bakery at the Pacific Wharf. I enjoyed a sourdough bread bowl with mac & cheese for lunch. We also bought a pull-a-part loaf of bread in the shape of a Christmas tree. The loaf turned out to the huge! Oops! We were able to munch on it throughout the week and then we packed it home. After lunch, we went back to the hotel for a rest. Everyone napped so we would have enough spunk to make it through the evening. It’s magical to see the parks all lit up at night especially with the extra Christmas lights and decorations. After an evening of rides, we made our way to Salt & Straw in Downtown Disney for ice cream. We got back to the hotel in time to watch the firework show from the window at the end of the hallway.

We park hopped on our last day. We started the day in Disneyland. We did a few new rides and repeated some favorites. We secured a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance which was a bucket list ride for both Jeremy and my dad. Even though the boys have little Star Wars knowledge, they enjoyed it. In fact, all the Star Wars rides were a hit. Actually, almost all the rides were met with enthusiasm. Just not the Matterhorn. It became a running joke that we wanted to go back to the Matterhorn and the boys would groan. Our last day was also our shopping day. Both boys settled on bubble wands as their souvenirs. We napped in the afternoon and then started our evening at California Adventure. We revisited a few favorite rides before heading back to Disneyland for the firework show. We waited for the show while munching on snacks of churros, Dole whip, and popcorn. As we walked out the park that night, Owen got a bit teary. He didn’t want to leave and honestly, I didn’t either! Owen quickly cheered up as he got use his bubble wand for the walk back to the hotel. We filled the roads around Disney with bubbles! It was like taking a bit of the magic with us outside of the parks.

3 days in the parks. 30 miles of walking. 37 rides. A parade and a firework show. So many magical moments! We were tired and worn out, but happy in a way that only the happiest place on Earth can provide. I was definitely ready to rest, but now that I’ve had a day at home to recover, I’m ready to go back. Anytime. Tomorrow would be great. Okay, I don’t know when our next Disney adventure will happen, but I am so thankful for the experience that we just had. Disneyland did not disappoint. It was exactly the trip that I dreamt it would be. What a magical Disneyland adventure we had!

First time flying!
When in California, you must stop at In-N-Out
The night before Disneyland!
Spotting characters was so much fun! Due to COVID, you couldn’t hug them, but we still enjoyed snapping pictures from a distance.
Santa in the Christmas Fantasy Parade! I haven’t done a Disney parade in decades, but I know the boys appreciated it.
A magical day at the happiest place on Earth!
Radiator Springs racers made my hair stand on end!
Christmas in Cars Land
Graham enjoyed spotting the characters, but didn’t want to take pictures. Owen happily filled that role.
The Avengers Campus
Salt & Straw
Watching the fireworks from the hotel
Last Day! Also it happened to be Micky & Minnie’s birthday so we got free buttons.
Waiting to board Rise of the Resistance
Happy boys with bubble wands
The Pixar Pal-A-Round with Grandpa, Graham, and Grandma.
So magical at night!
Ending our time with a bang!