Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

A Chapter Ends June 16, 2021

This week a chapter of my life came to a close. I’ve been keeping this to myself since the news wasn’t known in my community until this week. Our MOPS & MOMSnext group has decided to pause for the time being. There are a few factors that went into this decision, but the main factor was childcare being complicated in these COVID days. Our facility has a learning center in the building and with new cleaning protocols, our group start time would be too late to serve young families well. Not to mention, rebuilding a childcare team is a challenge. Some are willing to volunteer again, but MOPS & MOMSnext takes a large volunteer team and some aren’t ready to dive back in yet. COVID and kid germs are still a concern and I totally understand.

When I was asked to coordinator our MOPS & MOMSnext group, we were a daytime group of mostly stay-at-home moms. The learning center opened right as I started coordinating. I got to be a part of the pioneering process as we moved from a daytime group to an evening group. Meeting in the evening allowed working moms to join us and we saw a rise in attendance. When the pandemic shut down in-person gatherings, I got to be a part of another pioneering process. This time it was moving from in-person to online. This year of MOPS & MOMSnext online has had it’s ups and downs. We’ve definitely made the most of the online platform. We had wonderful guest speakers. We still managed to do group crafts and have a spa night and a game night. We got creative and made it work! However, we also saw a decline in attendance as the year went on. We heard often how complicated it is for moms to meet online especially without childcare. I am blessed to have my husband watch our kids while I’m online. I was able to be fully present for the meetings, but I know my mom friends felt the frustration of managing both their homes and the meetings at the same time.

I knew that my term as coordinator would last through my youngest’s preschool years. Once Graham graduated preschool, I knew my time was up. I’ve known this end date was coming from the very beginning of saying yes to leading. I just didn’t predict a pandemic. I will admit that I’m disappointed that I’m not handing a the group over to a new leader. I always thought I would hand over the leadership of the group and still be involved – either as a team member or a group member. I am wrestling with my emotions because this ending looks different than I had expected. I believe in the heart and purpose of MOPS & MOMSnext. I will miss the community it created in my life. I joined MOPS when I was pregnant with my oldest son. I have never known motherhood without it. Despite my disappointment, I am optimistic that the group can relaunch in the future when factors have changed. I believe this pause could be a catalyst for change and bring a new vision for the group. God does great things in and through what we see as disappointments. I believe there is a greater good still possible that I can’t clearly see at this moment.

I almost didn’t share this news here. I thought maybe I would silently let my MOPS & MOMSnext updates fade away. But I’m learning that it’s okay to acknowledge disappointments. I try to keep my posts optimistic while being realistic as well. MOPS & MOMSnext has held a huge place in my heart and has been a vital part of my calendar and community. I’m proud of what this group has accomplished over the years. We’ve been through so many transitions. Adapting isn’t always easy, but we’ve been able to bless moms in our community through creativity and flexibility. It’s been an honor to serve on a team with amazing women. It’s been an honor to encourage the moms in our community. These last eight years have been a meaningful chapter of my life. I’m giving myself space to feel my feelings and celebrate all that has been accomplished. It’s been good. God has been good to us.

MOPS & MOMSnext was a huge ministry opportunity for me. I grew so much through leading this group. One of the hardest parts of letting go is I’m not sure what’s next. God is stirring my heart. He is about to do a new thing. I’m not sure what it is yet, but my eyes are open and my heart is ready. A new chapter always begins as another chapter comes to a end.

A Walk Down Memory Lane:

My 2nd year of MOPS and my 1st year as table leader
Speaking at MOPS for one of our Christmas parties
MOPS outings every month were a highlight for my boys! So many trips to the pumpkin patch, fire station, trampoline park, zoo, and many more fun activities.
Last meeting as a daytime group! This was right before I started coordinating.
Loved seeing tables filled with mamas being encouraged
Silly “MOPS” moments
Wrapping up my first year coordinating
Steering Team Christmas Party
Planning the year and bonding as a steering team at our summer retreats was always a memorable time
Good times around the table with Mom’s Night Out
That one Memorial day BBQ when we had over 80 people over to our house!
Last year’s “socially distanced” online group picture
Our final meeting on Monday. Group pictures are still kind of weird, so I took a quick selfie before the meeting started to document the moment. We had our only in-person meeting this year on the playground at church. We chatted while kids played and we offered individually wrapped snacks. Such a different way to wrap things up.
 

The Home Stretch April 25, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!
 

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!
 

35 January 16, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reflecting on 2020 January 1, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pumpkin Day October 21, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 11:00 am

Pumpkins have to be my favorite thing about fall. They are my favorite way to decorate, my favorite flavor, and my favorite scent. I look forward to the pumpkin patch every year. In fact, most years you will find our family at the pumpkin patch multiple times in October. We go with friends, family, school, MOPS & MOMSnext… if there is a pumpkin patch outing, we’re there.

Because of COVID-19, we only visited one pumpkin patch this year. In a way, this created some pressure. Which pumpkin patch? We usually go to a variety of pumpkin patches and usually the location is determined by who we are going with. This time it was completely up to us. We finally settled on a pumpkin patch right down the road from us. We pass it every year and the boys always ask about it, but it’s never on the list of scheduled patches to visit. It was important to Jeremy and I to support a local pumpkin patch, so the one closest to our house seemed like a great choice.

In his need for independence, Owen grabbed the wagon and pulled it for almost the entirety of our visit. Graham (true to his nature) took the longest to select his pumpkin. I picked a pumpkin and Jeremy carved it. We did a “Team Parent” pumpkin this year. There were three challenges involving pumpkins for the Fall Family Scavenger Hunt, so we were able to accomplish those during our pumpkin day. Graham scrubbed the pumpkins clean when we got home and helped set them in the sun to dry.

Graham wanted a jack-o-lantern with a big nose this year. Jeremy made a traditional jack-o-lantern for our pumpkin. Owen wanted a spooky pumpkin. He decided to make his pumpkin look like it was saying “Boo!” I’m thankful that is his idea of spooky at this point. Owen did all the cutting of his pumpkin with supervision and guidance this year.

Every year, I am thankful for pumpkins! They make me happy. They bring joy to my world. Little things can make a big difference. For me that means pumpkins! Pumpkin day was a good day. Pumpkin season is a good season.

Commander of the Wagon
Taking his time to find the perfect pumpkin
Fall Family Scavenger Hunt: Visit a pumpkin patch
Fall Family Scavenger Hunt: Carve pumpkins
Fall Family Scavenger Hunt: Take a picture of the inside of a pumpkin
The end results! Our 2020 pumpkins!
 

Autumn at It’s Best October 15, 2020

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 3:04 pm

October is autumn at it’s best (in my humble opinion). In October, the chill is a novelty and I bundle up in layers and with blankets. In October, the rainy days are a welcome excuse to snuggle in and be cozy at home. October leaves are brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red. While leaves are actively falling, the trees aren’t bare yet. October sunshine is my favorite of all. It washes the world in warm light, but doesn’t carry the heat of summer. October activities are some of my favorite traditions. October foods are some of my favorite flavors. October is simply the best. In the words of Anne of Green Gables – “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” Overquoted, yes. True, also yes.

We had a minor wind event this weekend. We lost power briefly on Sunday night. This happened about 15 minutes after we put the boys to bed, so of course, the power outage completely derailed the boys’ ability to fall asleep. Graham was scared, despite having a lantern light up his bedroom. We moved him into Owen’s room for the buddy system approach, but that also led to extra excitement. The power outage became a grand adventure at that point. The power returned around 10:15pm. The kiddos were still awake at that point. Needless to say, no one fell asleep early on Sunday night.

Monday morning was a tired one. We did a pajama day for school (which is becoming a tradition on nights when we go to bed late the day before). Instead of going to forest school on Monday, both kids took long afternoon naps. My biggest hardship with forest school is Monday is marathon day. Between school in the morning, forest school in the afternoon, and MOPS & MOMSnext in the evening, it’s a big day. I’m finding that I would prefer Mondays to a mellow transition back into our weekday routine, instead of a marathon. When the kids asked for rest on Monday, I listened and we made it a mellow Monday. To make up for missing forest school, we took a family walk on the property behind our house (we have permission to explore this land). We followed our favorite trail to the local beaver dam and explored animal dens looking for signs of activity. We talked about the sights, sounds, and smells as we wondered in the woods. It was a lovely day for exploration as the cool, crisp sunshine filtered through the half-bare trees.

Our family is keeping busy with the Fall Family Scavenger Hunt with our church. One of the challenges we completed this week was to visit a local state park – Rainbow Falls. The boys had never been there, so it was fun to let them run and explore a new place. Our family has a thing for waterfalls which made this outing even better. The drive out to the falls was beautiful. Blue sky, sunshine, fall color all around. The boys loved seeing a new waterfall and throwing rocks into the river. We rounded out the outing by following a trail by the river for a short walk.

I know at some point the weather will turn and we’ll feel “stuck” inside. I know at some point all the leaves will fall and the trees will be bare. I know at some point pumpkin season will be over. But we aren’t there yet. I intend to revel in every blue sky, every crisp walk, every seasonal treat. My joy for this season is amplified as I share my favorite things with my family and see them enjoy them too. This is autumn at it’s best!

Another weekend, another birthday celebration. The boys got to have dinner with my side of the family.
Uncle Andrew came through for us when we needed a real sword for a scavenger hunt challenge. Auntie April also let us photograph her VCR and record player!
Supporting the Seahawks (for a challenge)
Puddle jumping (another challenge)
Checking out one of the many beaver dams
Woodland Wandering
Exploring Rainbow Falls State Park
Rainbow Falls
Always ready to follow a new trail. Also, this picture is blurry because it was an “action” shot.