Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Local Adventures August 23, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 11:40 am

After wandering all over the PNW, we stuck close to home this week. Note: we didn’t stay home, we stayed close to home. Big difference. Even though we were still out and about, it was nice to have small adventures that didn’t take hours of travel or full days away from home. The week was quieter than expected and that was a welcome change after so much go-go-go.

We started another round of swimming lessons on Monday. This time at 7:40pm. The lights come on at the pool while we’re there. It’s been a cool and cloudy week, so late night lessons have been a bit on the chilly side. Thankfully the pool is heated and our little guys are happy to jump on in. Graham is working on his floats, kicks, and pencil point. Owen is working on mastering a couple different strokes, treading water in the deep end, and kneel diving.

One of our outings this week was a nature walk with friends. My boys love to go fishing at Carlisle Lake in Onalaska, but since I’m not a fisherwoman, I’ve never tagged along. The lake has a nice gravel path all around it – perfect for a short hike. My boys and a friend ran out their energy and I took a slower approach so I could chat with my mom friends. We paused in the middle of the walk to pick blackberries. I love exploring new places, especially on a cool PNW day.

On Saturday, we had a friend’s birthday party out in the the east part of our county. Since Jeremy’s summer scavenger hunt had locations to check-in at out that direction, we took advantage of being at the party to accomplish some missions. We visited Riffe Lake and Mayfield Lake. We stopped at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants and took take-out to the local state park.

Our big adventure of the week turned out to be less big than we expected. On Monday, our local health department tried to shut down the fair which was set to open on Tuesday. While the fair didn’t get cancelled, masks and social distancing were suggested. I’m not keen on going to events that the health department tries to close, but Jeremy and I talked it out. We felt we could be wise and safe while still taking part in this community event. We went on Sunday which was half-priced admissions. Since we only stayed a couple hours, the lower admission price was worth waiting for. We did two rides, looked at a few animals, completed some missions for the scavenger hunt, ate a treat and called it good. The boys enjoyed the highlights of the fair without it a big, long outing.

Now we’re starting our final week of swim lessons. Jeremy has some time off this week, so we’re feeling the stay-cation vibes. We are enjoying some down time around the house and we might just have one more adventure awaiting us before we hunker down to start school. One final week of summer left! It’s crazy how those months flew by. I’ll be honest though – the siren song of autumn has started to call to me. I’ve loved this summer and I’m sad to see it go. But… I’m also ready to find our new school routine, for the weather to change, and for pumpkin goodies to take over the grocery stores (and thus my house). I’m re-reading the Anne books by L.M. Montgomery at the moment and, like Anne, I’m excited for the bend in the road. A new direction awaits.

Chicken adoration! Buffy got to nibble on some leftover corn on the cob.
Back in the swing of swim lessons!
A little summer science
Blackberry picking at the end of our driveway was “berry” profitable!
A lakeside Chinese dinner
Completing scavenger hunt missions
Sunday afternoon at the fair
Graham’s first time on the Wacky Worm was a blast!
 

August Adventures Abound August 15, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 5:49 pm

July was a month full of adventures and it turns out that August is doing a pretty good job of keeping up. The August adventures have been plentiful as we pack as much as we can into the last few weeks of summer. When I think of all we’ve accomplished and all that we still have planned, I’m amazed at what we’ve been able to do this summer. Our weekly explorations give us something new to look forward to and we’ve discovered some awesome new locations in the beautiful PNW.

So many big moments happened this week and they all fell back to back. Thursday was the “big” day at swimming lesson. The last class of the two week session is always a fun day for the students. The kids are allowed to swim for fun and jump off the diving board – even Graham’s beginner class. Graham informed us his plan was not to jump off of the diving board, but when the moment came he diverted from the plan. He donned his life jacket and took the plunge. By the look on his face, I don’t think he loved the experience. I’m so proud of him for being brave. I didn’t expect him to jump. Owen surprised us by jumping off the diving board with no life jacket. It turns out that Owen has officially learned to swim over the last two weeks. The kid is a fish and will swim laps just for fun these days. The big moment of the night came at the very end when they handed out the report cards. Both boys were thrilled to find out that they passed their levels! They were so excited about swimming lessons that they asked to do another two week session. I don’t love having a daily commitment, but it’s hard not to capitalize on their momentum. We opted for another evening session that will allow us to have playdates and daytime adventures. Swimming lessons won’t interfere with any plans we have for the end of summer.

On Friday, our family took off early to head to North Cascades National Park. It was on our summer bucket list to visit all of Washington’s national parks. Jeremy and I have been to the east side of NCNP, but the boys hadn’t been to the park. We love the NP junior ranger program and this park gave the boys another chance to earn junior ranger badges. The bummer about our trip was that smoke moved into the PNW the day of our adventure. The views were hazy, the air quality was unhealthy, and it was hot. I would love to return when I can see the towering mountains clearly. Ross Lake and Diablo Lake were beautiful even through the haze. We took the Ladder Creek Falls Trail and found some natural AC blowing off the creek. We also discovered a Seattle City Lights steam train at Newhalem (which our train lovers climbed all over). Our time in NCNP was brief due to the weather conditions, but still worthwhile and we would definitely go back. The day ended for us in Burlington where we got a hotel room. NCNP is bit far away for a day trip and we didn’t want to make it a super long and late drive home. The kids swam in the hotel pool for an hour and we saw many families come and go. Our little fish just kept swimming. The hotel pool might have the highlight for the kids.

Because we were staying so far north, we decided to have another big adventure on Saturday before heading home. We took the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We love exploring new places. Owen is actively keeping track of how many Washington State counties he has visited and he can now add San Juan County to the list. We didn’t see any orcas on our ferry rides which was my not-so-secret hope for this adventure. We did see a harbor seal and Jeremy saw a porpoise. The ferry ride itself was the highlight and the novelty of the day. Our time in Friday Harbor was a bit of a misadventure. We didn’t do much research before going so we wondered aimlessly around town. Around 11:00am we put our name in at a restaurant that looked popular and then Jeremy went online to research. It looked like a super promising lunch spot (like featured on Food Network good). After an hour of waiting outside for a table, we took our name off the list. We only had a few hours on the island and we didn’t want to spend them waiting to eat. This led us to the market across the street for apples and goldfish crackers. The lunch of champions! We wondered through gift shops, played at a small park, grabbed goodies at a bakery, and spent plenty of time by the water. Our ferry back to the mainland was over an hour late, so we might have had time to eat at the popular lunch spot. Oh well. Despite the hiccups, it was still a fun day.

We made it to church this morning a little tired and smidge cranky. Owen and I were leaning towards staying home, but Graham really wanted to go. He knew there would be foam gliders in the activity bags are hand out during service. He also knew that Pastor Josh was going to do the classic Diet Coke and Mentos experiment. Jeremy also hides a gnome each week that you get points for finding in the Summer Family Scavenger Hunt. It turns out that gnome is keeping our summer attendance in check. Last week I almost didn’t go because of the weather, this week because of exhaustion… and yet the gnome must be found and documented so off we went. I’m thankful for a quiet afternoon to rest today. We did a Walmart pick-up order and I’m working through mounds of laundry, but still it’s been a chill day. We have more fun in store for the coming week – starting with another round of swimming lessons tomorrow! Like I said, we gotta pack in all the summer fun we can into the next few weeks. You never know where we’ll end up next!

Root beer floats were a mission for the scavenger hunt
Slip and slide time also because of the scavenger hunt
Late night swim!
(after swimming lessons – these kids love to swim)
So excited they passed their levels at swimming lesson!
North Cascades Exploration Day
Junior Rangers
It was so hard to document the turquoise water through the smoke
Ladder Creek Falls
What are the odds of finding a train in a national park?
Hotel pool time – I feel like just keep swimming is their motto this summer!
A ferry fun day!
Owen the map reader
Graham the cinnamon roll eater
Ferry ride home!
 

Wet & Wild August 8, 2021

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:26 pm

August is off to a wet and wild start! The boys are halfway through swimming lessons and they are going swimmingly! Owen has taken to swimming lessons like a fish to water. He is in his element when he is in the pool. Graham’s week started off a bit rocky, but now that he knows what to expect, he is doing great. We were in the hot tub last night and Graham wanted to show me how he blows bubbles and what his pencil point hands look like. Both sets of grandparents came by to watch swimming lesson this last week. The boys loved showing off their skills and for Graham, I think the cheering section was a big confidence booster. We can’t wait for another week!

Swimming lesson definitely count as the wet part of this post, but we’ve also had some wet weather move into the PNW. As a true Washingtonian, I’m all for cool, cloudy days. I even love some drizzle (when I don’t have to be out in it). Our weekly adventure found us at the Oregon Zoo this Friday – in the drizzle! Of all the days to go to the zoo… Actually, it worked out in our favor. The zoo wasn’t too crowded and all the animals were out. While we did get a little wet, we weren’t soaked and we dried out quickly. We hadn’t been to the Oregon Zoo in over a year and they’ve completed some major construction since the last time we visited. It was a blast revisiting one of favorite places. We had a wet and wild time!

Back in October, you might remember that our children’s ministry at church hosted a Fall Family Scavenger Hunt. Our family participated and had so much fun earning points for completing challenges. Jeremy is hosting another scavenger hunt this month and we are in it to win it. Well, not really… But we’re having a good time. Some of the challenges we’ve enjoyed so far are making Jello Jigglers, making chocolate chip cookies, making popsicles (we apparently like food challenges), and having a water fight with squirt guns and water balloons. Grandpa and Grandma might have been outside walking when the water balloons were filled and they may have been ambushed by two wet and wild boys. Such good summer memories!

I’m enjoying a rare evening home alone as I type this. My guys are out scouting and checking trail cameras. I’m between books at the moment so I took this evening to watch Finding You which is a movie based the book There You’ll Find Me (see my July reads post). I don’t usually let myself eat popcorn for dinner while watching a chick flick. This was a special treat! I also love comparing books to movies. I laughed that even when I have a movie night it’s still related to books. The bookworm in me is strong! With that being said, it’s time to find a new book and snuggle in for the last bit of my quiet time.

Taking a deep breath
My phone is super old so the zoom quality isn’t so great. That doesn’t stop me from documenting!
Homemade popsicles for the scavenger hunt
Another scavenger hunt challenge
Wet and wild at the Oregon Zoo
We saw so many animals up close!
These boys had a blast with the water balloon challenge
The bonus of a rainy summer day!
Dahlias from Jeremy’s garden
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
 

Let The Good Times Roll July 27, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:10 pm

We’ve been having so much summer fun! We’ve opted for day adventures this summer instead of a longer vacation. It’s always fun to have a “big” trip to look forward to, but honestly, these day trips have been just as fun. Each week we have a new destination to get excited about. Here are the highlights!

Last week, we went for a river float. Jeremy has been on working our church’s riverfront property and he wanted to show it to the boys. The kiddos loved checking out the river and Owen brought his goggles so he could see minnows. We had a park play date with friends we haven’t seen in a few years. I was nervous that it would be awkward, but our new rec park is so much fun that the kids just dove into the play date and had a great time. The boys went out scouting with Jeremy one night in preparation for hunting season in September. I was informed that they saw elk and a bear. I don’t love that they saw a bear, but I guess that is the price I paid for a quiet evening at home alone.

Our weekend was full of action! On Friday, we took off to do some shopping south of Portland, Oregon. Our kids are growing like crazy. New clothes have moved from a fall priority to a summer one. Our shopping was quick and successful and then we finally achieved our original Father’s Day plans for Jeremy. We went mini-golfing! Jeremy has been interested in Crumbl Cookies so we also made a special stop to try something new. Very yummy!

We took our three roosters to a local auction late Friday afternoon. The whole process was a bit dramatic, but the real drama happened when we got home. Jeremy and Owen went to console our hens who had been freaked out by the process of catching the roosters. When they arrived at the pen, they discovered that four of our five full-grown hens were missing. Our three little hens were secure in their pen still. Owen adores his chickens. I thought for sure he would breakdown over this situation. He was concerned, but joined the search party without tears. We searched our property for 40 minutes! I walked through the woods, up and down our driveway, through my parent’s property next door. I prayed the whole time. I was the one to finally discover our the hens in the bushes near our house. They had wondered back home! Praise Jesus! I literally had tears in my eyes as I called the family over from their searching. Who knew that chickens could be such an emotional investment?!

Saturday, we had the whole cousin crew over a pool and pizza party. The boys love anytime they get to spend with their cousins. Add pool time and pizza and you have an ideal summer day. Childhood at it’s best! Sunday, we had a dedication ceremony for our new church property. It has river access and we were able to baptize 31 people in the river that afternoon. It was a big celebration! Our Sunday evening wrapped up in Tacoma where I met my forever friend, Maggie, for dinner. Jeremy and the boys tagged along. They got a special dinner of their own and did some window-shopping.

You’d think that was it, but wait there’s more!!! The summer fun just keeps on coming. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Mayfield Lake with the church staff. Our lead pastor took families out on his boat for tubing. Graham gave it a go for a the first time. I was so proud of him. I love boat rides and was happy to document all the tubing action.

Today we went to a local park to watch for trains – railfanning! My boys are super into trains again. Owen took a break and got into space for awhile, but trains have resurfaced as his true love yet again. We saw an Amtrak Cascades passenger train and a BNSF freight train. This outing was definitely a win!

Tomorrow I plan to go nowhere! I absolutely need a home day to recover from all this goodness! I love that we are making summer memories left and right, but wow, it’s tiring business! Life can feel like a balancing act sometimes. We’ve had a lot of go-go-go and now we need some slow-slow-slow. Summer is a good time for both of those vibes!

River float!
The last of our homeschool books have arrived! Our homeschool shelf is restocked and ready to roll!
Jeremy and the boys brought me flowers last week! So sweet of them!
Crumbl Cookies! 3 out of 4 Scotts approve! Owen was not into it.
Graham and I are cookie buddies!
Belated Father’s Day Mini-Golf!
Pool Party!
Pool Party!
Excited to have Grandpa & Grandma sit with us at church!
Baptisms in the river
Almost 20 year of taking pictures with Maggie!
Maggie & I’s first picture together! 10th Grade Biology – this picture was dated 6.12.02!
Lake Day! Out on the boat!
Literally jumping for joy at the sight of a train!
 

The Month of Adventure! July 12, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:13 pm

July has turned out to be a month full of adventure! We are 12 days into the month and today is the first full day at home for the boys and I with no plans, no company, no errands. Insert a sigh of relief here. We’ve been having a lot of fun, but I’m glad for the break. I’m not used to this pace. (I apologize if I say that all summer). In my last post, I shared about our camping trip, our 4th of July celebration, and my Dad’s birthday dinner. Let’s pick up where I left off.

On Tuesday I had lunch with a friend. This was my first time going to lunch with a friend in a long time. The time with my friend was sweet, but I had one embarrassing moment. I dripped ketchup down the front of my shirt and didn’t notice it right away. I had some serious concerns about my ability to socialize after so much time at home but I didn’t realize I should be equally concerned about my eating skills. My friend laughed it off, but I was practically scandalized. I’m just not the type of person who gets food on her shirt. It was mortifying. I guess my eating-out skills were rusty.

Wednesday we had friends over for some pool and hot tub time. Wednesday morning was actually kind of drippy with a light rain. The pool was reading 74 degrees and it was only 60 degrees when the kids got in. Luckily, we have the hot tub as well, so the big kids had fun hopping between the pool and the hot tub, while the younger kids opted to stay in the hot tub the entire time. I love hanging on our back deck with friends. We’ve only a had few swimming playdates so far this summer, but they are always a hit. I’m looking forward to more!

Thursday was Jeremy and I’s 15th wedding anniversary! Woo hoo! Jeremy took the day off and we had a quiet morning/afternoon around the house before dropping the boys off at a sleepover with Nana & Papa. Jeremy and I took off for Portland to have dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and to do a little shopping. Jeremy was sweet and picked up another bookcase for our bedroom. I’m running out of room on our other two bookcases. We picked up some media baskets at Target so I can store our series DVDs out of sight. Storage/organization is my love language! I’m trying to talk Jeremy into getting premier access to Black Widow because I’m pretty sure Marvel movies are his love language. We enjoyed our kid-free evening immensely! Thank you to Nana and Papa for making that happen.

Jeremy picked up the boys early on Friday morning and we packed up for a family beach adventure. My sweet forever friend has a trailer near Long Beach and she offered to let us use it. It’s glamping at it’s finest! We got to the beach around lunchtime and spent a windy afternoon playing in the sand. We took off for Cape Disappointment where we visited the North Head Lighthouse and Waikiki Beach. We had dinner at the trailer before heading out on the Discovery Trail for a bike ride. Once we got back to the trailer, the boys settled into their sofa bed to watch Frozen 2. Thank you, Maggie, for sharing your home away from home with us.

We left the trailer early Saturday morning to have a day at the Oregon Coast. Our first stop was Pig’N’Pancake in Astoria (an OR coast must, in my opinion). Then we took off for the Tillamook Creamery. We were there in February 2020 before everything shut down and we hadn’t been back since. The Tillamook Creamery is a family favorite and we were delighted to watch medium cheddar cheese being packaged. We also did a little shopping at their store before getting ice cream. On our way back up the coast, we hit Arcadia beach for one more sandy, wet experience. Then we hit our favorite Costco in Warrenton and finished the trip with an early dinner at Mo’s in Astoria. The big highlight of Mo’s is they now have saltine crackers back in baskets on the table after a long absence. Our kids ate a whole basket themeselves!

Now we arrive at Sunday – our official return to in-person church. Our church is doing outdoor gatherings this summer due to construction inside. Jeremy has a swing chair ride and inflatables for kids to enjoy for the hour before church. The boys were so excited that they got up early despite being tired from our trip. They helped Jeremy set-up and then got to be the first to enjoy the kids zone. I used the time they were gone in the morning to work on the mountains of beach laundry and get myself ready for church. I will admit that I tried to keep a low profile (introvert alert). While I’m ready to be back in-person, but I didn’t want to have the same “It’s been forever since I’ve seen you” conversation on repeat. I talked with a handful of people and I’m sure each week I will build up the muscles to engage in church socializing. I enjoyed worshiping with my family. Worship is the one thing that doesn’t always translate well with online church. I’ve been singing alone at home for over a year now so it was nice to sing with the congregation again. Having church outside was a first for me, but I enjoyed the vibe and I’m looking forward to next week.

And that, my friends, is an update full of adventures! We loved having some extra time with Jeremy this last week thanks to the holiday and vacation. It was great to rejoin him at church as well. Family is important and I love the memories we are making together. I created a summer bucket list on our white board last week and we are working our way through a list of exciting adventures. I can’t wait to share what we’re up to next!

After 15 years of marriage, we’re still shopping at Ikea!
Glamping!
Sand art by Jeremy
North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment
Getting wet at Waikiki Beach
Bike ride on the Discovery Trail
All cozy watching Frozen 2
First ones in the Cheese Bus at the Tillamook Creamery
Getting sandy at Arcadia Beach
This swing chair ride will ensure that my kids are at church early all summer long.
 

Father’s Day, VBA, & a Heat Wave June 27, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Simply Me,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 2:09 pm

June has been an unpredictable month. While it’s been busy, we’ve also had some unexpected down time. I will always cheer for a day at home, but this month, I would have preferred the reason we stayed home not to be because of colds. It’s been an over a year since our family has shared the sniffles with each other and last weekend was our time to go down with a bug. Right before Father’s Day weekend, Graham came down with the sniffles so we canceled our Father’s Day Friday plans with Jeremy in order to rest. Then Owen got the bug so we canceled our Saturday plans with Jeremy’s family. Then Jeremy and I caught it and we canceled our Sunday plans with my family. It was a bummer way to celebrate Father’s Day weekend, for sure. Jeremy deserved more of a celebration than he got and we missed spending time with our families. Jeremy is the best dad ever. Hopefully, we can enjoy a make-up outing to compensate for the quiet holiday weekend.

When Jeremy realized that he was under the weather, he took off for the pharmacy to get an at-home COVID test. Jeremy and I are both fully vaccinated so we highly doubted this cold was anything to be concerned about. However, we had VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) right around the corner (like the next day). We wanted to make sure that if we were working with kids we were officially okay. The test was negative and Jeremy and I refamiliarized ourselves with the flavors of Dayquil to get through the big week ahead. I was concerned about the kids being healthy enough for VBA, but they pulled through just in time. While they were good to go by Monday, their stamina (mine included) wasn’t 100% yet. We had fun, power-packed mornings at VBA and then quiet, restful afternoons to make sure we had the energy to attend the next day. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, but I’m so glad that everything worked out. This was my first time leading kids in over a year. I was nervous, but it was like riding bike. Even with a cold, it all came back to me and I was ready to roll. So many of the kids in my crew I hadn’t seen in over a year. They had all grown so much. I think I had just as much fun as my kids as we reconnected with friends.

After VBA, we started to prep for our local heat wave. Washington state has mild summers, but our weather this weekend is much more like Arizona than the PNW. We’ve been spending plenty of time in our backyard pool and doing our best to keep our chickens in the shade. We don’t want any chickens to literally roast in the yard. I’ve visited Arizona in August, so I’ve experienced high temps before, but never anything like the forecast for today and tomorrow in Washington. We are forecasted to be 111 degrees tomorrow. I’m just praying our air-conditioner can keep up and keep us cool. Just like the unpredictable theme of this month, the heat has been shifting all our plans this weekend. I made it up to Puyallup to celebrate a baby shower and a birthday yesterday. It was a early and quick visit before the heat of the day. The boys stayed home to rest after the big week and to keep an eye on the chickens. The boys and I had plans to help Jeremy at our Downton church campus today, but those changed when I realized there would be no AC in the building. We even canceled our dinner plans with a family today because we didn’t think it would be safe to outside. While we have air-conditioning, we didn’t want to overtax our system. We’ve stocked up on microwaveable food and items for cold sandwiches so we don’t overheat the house with cooking.

Every week comes with it’s own surprises. So many ups and downs. While I’m not a fan of plans shifting, I am thankful for flexibility. We’ve been able to rest when we need to rest. We were able to show up for our church. And now we’re able to lay low and be chill as we ride out this heat wave. Crazy times in the PNW. Hopefully next time I touch base with you all, it be under much cooler circumstances. Wherever you are, stay cool and stay hydrated!

Helping Jeremy set up for VBA before the sniffles set in!
Loving our pool time! Well, Owen is. The look on Graham’s face would say otherside. Silly kid!
One of the few things we got to do to celebrate Jeremy – lunch at Chick-fil-a!
Strawberries from my mama! She is so sweet!
These strawberries were the highlight of Father’s Day weekend. It was a bummer to stay home, but the special treats helped!
So glad these guys were able to attend VBA! They had such a great time! It was fun to be back at an in-person church event.
Our VBA crew! I enjoyed being their leader for the week!
Love seeing all these hearts that represent kiddos who chose a relationship with Jesus
Pool party with some of the cousins before the heat wave picked up
The last time the hot tub will feel good for a while
 

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 d├ęcor. 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!