Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Sailing Through September September 24, 2022

Filed under: Women in Ministry,Family Time,Travels,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 3:46 pm

We are swiftly sailing through September. The month has disappeared in what feels like a blink. I’m not used to the pace we’ve been keeping. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that the last week of September is upon us. The good news is October is my favorite month and it’s full of fun. While I’m baffled that September is almost over, I’m very happy to welcome October soon! Autumn adventures are the best and now I can fully revel in all that is fall!

My last post found us in the thick of hunting season for Jeremy (and the boys) and a conference for me. Prepping for a conference with Jeremy out in the woods wasn’t always ideal. Thankfully, Jeremy had the boys with him a few times so I could practice for my workshop without kid chaos in the background. The boys love tagging along during hunting season. While I had girl time during the conference, they had boy time in the woods. Win-win.

The day after the conference, Jeremy and I dropped the boys off with Nana & Papa so we could attend a staff retreat with the church team. The turnaround of conference prep, attending the conference, packing for a trip (for the kids and myself), and curating school (so Nana could substitute teach) meant I came into the retreat worn out. Fortunately, there was plenty of time for this introvert to recharge in the schedule. It was a good mix of conversation and connection while still finding time to be quiet with a book and journal. My highlights were our conversations about the Enneagram (which I adore), our rides on the golf carts to and from meals, and taking morning walks with the sun shining on the Columbia River.

We got home on Wednesday and I had Thursday set aside as a recovery day. We still did school, but the rest of the day was very chill. Jeremy took the boys out for the final evening hunt of elk season. I was able to recharge enough on Thursday so we could adventure out on Friday. We met some friends at the Ape Caves yesterday for some spelunking. We hiked our way through the more challenging cave and did another hike at Lava Canyon. I didn’t feel it yesterday, but I can tell today I climbed over boulders yesterday. It was a very fun outing and I got a chuckle that on a beautifully sunny day, we went underground for our recreation.

September sure has kept us busy. It’s been good, but I’m tired! I’ve been able to rest more today. A quiet home day is doing wonders for my soul. It’s the small things like working through the laundry, making mac & cheese, and sitting down with a book that fills me up. God has been so good to sustain me through this non-stop month. I’m certainly ready for things to slow down a bit!

Hunting buddies! I love the memories they are making out in the woods.
Sunset golf cart ride to dinner!
Not a bad view for my morning walk!
Afternoon free time means introvert recharge time. Nothing like reading a book surrounded by pillows on a comfy bed.
Ready to explore the Ape Caves
Going down…
Exploring inside the cave
Caves might not ever be my happy place, but they are cool!
Hiking aboveground is more my style!
Not a bad view of Mt. St. Helens
 

The Many Adventures of September September 11, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:09 pm

I always think September is going to be a month of getting back into routine after the hubbub of summer… But in reality, September isn’t that month. Each week is different and it makes finding our normal tricky. I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized that our first normal week in September is the last one! It’s always like this though… the things that make September zany are annual events. I should see this coming, but alas, I’m surprised every year! So October… November… those are my fall into routine months! The bonus of being in our third of homeschooling is that we fell back into our school routine fairly easily. Muscle memory kicked in and we’ve picked up where we left off. It’s taken way less energy to get back into the swing of school than in years past. I am grateful for that. And as much as I wish September would be more chill, I am thankful for the many adventures of September!

Let’s recap our excitement for the last week. Over Labor Day weekend the boys had a sleepover with their cousins. They’ve been asking for this sleepover since May and we finally made it happen. Jeremy and I got a hotel room nearby. It was Graham’s first sleepover (other than with grandparents) and we wanted to be close by in case he needed us (which he didn’t). Jeremy and I were able to enjoy dinner and breakfast without the kids. It was a win-win for the kids and the parents.

We kicked off our homeschool co-op with rocket launches this week. Jeremy helped facilitate the launching and families came with their rockets ready to fly. This was the third year we’ve used our silver rocket and it’s now basically held together by packing tape. It’s lived a long life and seen many a launch. The kids always love this activity and it was a fun way to kick off our co-op year.

Bikes have played a big part in our week. Graham mastered riding without training wheels! We also upgraded the kids to bigger bikes since they have outgrown theirs. The new bikes are actually birthday presents for our October birthday boys. We gave them their present late last year (Disneyland in November), so why not give them their present a month early this year? The main reason we opted for early gifting is we’re taking a trip this fall and we wanted the kids to be comfortable on their bigger bikes before we travel. They are definitely ready to hit the trails!

The final highlight of our week was a field trip to the Tillamook Creamery and a stop by Hug Point (beach). We love to have family adventures on Fridays! Our fall field trips are some of my favorites. We can enjoy the last bit of summer and the good weather that seems to stay through October. Winter field trips are limited to inside, so it’s nice to get outside while we can. We watched them package three different types of cheese at the creamery. It’s always exciting to see what is being processed. On Friday, it was Monterey jack, sharp cheddar, and pepper jack. We went through the sample line (possibly twice) and had ice cream for lunch. Our time at Hug Point was spent cooling off in the ocean and exploring the rocks and caves. We even found a small waterfall! It was an excellent field trip!

Wow! We packed a lot into one week! More adventures still to come!

Riding off into the sunset without training wheels!
Hot Tub Club – We let the kids swim at our hotel before the sleepover.
Kicking off co-op with rockets!
Tillamook Creamery
Ice cream for lunch!
Ice cream for lunch!
Hug Point
Hug Point
Birthday bikers!
 

The Not-So-Staycation August 27, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:11 pm

Jeremy took this last week off from work and we had a family staycation. Instead of chilling at home, we were out and about a good part of our staycation. With June’s weather being so wet and July being quieter than expected, we’ve crammed all of our summer into August. Specifically, the last two weeks of August. While we’ve been home in time for evening swim lessons, we’ve been out exploring during the day. Sort of burning the candle at both ends. We unintentionally decided to end summer by going BIG with our activities. Here’s a look that what we’ve been up to:

  • Hiking at Mt. Rainier National Park – Jeremy has declared Mt. Rainier a summer tradition. Now that our boys are older, the tradition includes what feels like scaling the mountain (at least to my incline-adverse legs). This year, we went hiking on the Sunrise side of the mountain. We took the trail from Sunrise up past Frozen Lake and halfway to the Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout. Our goal was to find mountain goats and we ended up spotting dozens (one very close). We also got a close-up look at a fox who had just eaten a ground squirrel and was settling in for a nap. Chipmunks, squirrels, and a lone marmot round out our animal sightings. On our way home, we stopped at the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center. We took the mile long nature trail past the hot springs. It was interesting to find hot springs on the mountain. Spoiler alert, they were pretty small (so don’t think Yellowstone).
  • The Oregon Coast – It’s not summer without a trip to the beach! COVID cancelled our original beach trip in July, so we were so ready for a day at the ocean! We started the day off at Pig’N’Pancake in Astoria for breakfast. Then it was off to Cannon Beach to play near Haystack Rock. Lunch was at Mo’s and we made a stop at the candy store and the bakery before leaving town. For our afternoon activities, we did a quick visit to Fort Clatsop and Fort Stevens. The kids picked up Junior Ranger booklets that we hope to work on this weekend and redeem for badges. Dinner was Fultano’s Pizza in Clatskanie. We like to eat and play at the beach in equal parts!
  • Tolmie State Park – One of my goals this summer was to hike some local trails. Tolmie State Park was on this list. Located on the Puget Sound, we arrived at low tide and were able to explore the wet sand and puddles. We spotted plenty of little crabs which delighted Owen. Graham would have happily hiked there longer, but this was a shorter outing for us. It was nice to mix in a smaller outing among the bigger ones. It was fun to explore a new place and the kids have already requested we visit again – maybe at high tide next time.
  • The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – Our library gave the kids free tickets to the zoo as a part of the summer reading program. The zoo was on our summer bucket list and the free tickets were a nice bonus. The weather was perfect for the zoo – overcast and cool. We saw almost all the animals and enjoyed the lunchtime animal show. To make this outing even sweeter, we met up with my forever friend, Maggie, and her kids. Graham’s favorite animals were the red wolves and Owen liked the sea otters. I loved seeing the penguins and Jeremy kept trying to get the lemurs to “talk” (which was quite loud and aggressive sounding).
  • Owen Beach – After the zoo, we went over to Owen Beach in Point Defiance Park. Our Owen obviously loves the name of this beach and he claims it as his own. This rocky beach on the Puget Sound is perfect for throwing stones or balancing on driftwood. There are plenty of boats to watch and a new “natural” play space that was recently added while the park was closed for updates.
  • Millersylvania State Park On our way home from Tacoma, we stopped at Millersylvania State Park for a quick hike and swim. We’ve been keeping swim clothes and towels in the van “just in case” and this seemed like the perfect time to make it happen. This state park was also on the summer bucket list, so we were able to check off one more activity.

The boys wrapped up this epic week with a sleepover in Owen’s room last night! We tried to squeeze every last bit of summery goodness out of this month. We’ve planned an intentionally quieter (quiet-ish?) weekend so we can be ready for school to start on Monday. It’s crazy to believe that we are in the final weekend of summer. It’s going to be a bit of a shock next week. Our schedule feels like it’s taking a complete 180 degree turn. I’m not sure I’m ready for it… but here we go. From one adventure to the next.

Mt. Rainier National Park
Mt. Rainier National Park
Visiting the mountain goats at Mt. Rainier
Cannon Beach, OR
Cannon Beach, OR
Stepping back in time with Lewis & Clark at Fort Clatsop
Watching the waves on the jetty at Fort Stevens
Tolmie State Park
Tolmie State Park
Tolmie State Park
That’s a wrap on swim lesson! We saw so much improvement in the 4 weeks we spent at the pool. Both boys passed a level this summer and we are so proud of their hard work.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
The Zoo Crew
Owen Beach
Owen Beach
Owen Beach
Millersylvania State Park
Millersylvania State Park
End of summer sleepover!
 

Reunited At Last! August 19, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 12:35 pm

Our family is reunited after Jeremy was away for a full week at kid’s camp. Owen joined Jeremy at camp for the latter half of the week. This was our longest stint with Jeremy away from home and Owen’s first time at overnight camp. It was a different week, but we made it through. Graham missed his brother a lot. It was strange to parent only one child for a few days. Jeremy co-directed seven days of camp like a champ. Owen had a blast at camp and can’t wait to go back!

Jeremy took a couple days off this week to make up for missing his normal days off at camp. I love doing outings during the work week because places tend to be quieter. We visited the McLane Creek Nature Trail on Monday. This nature trail had all my favorite things – it was a shaded walk through the forest, there were lots of boardwalks and bridges, and no incline. Hiking heaven for me! The boys really enjoyed the trail and they are excited to go back again. We also stopped by Lattin’s Cider Mill and Farm to see their animals and snag some treats from their bakery.

Tuesday, we took a drive up to Mt. St. Helens to visit the Johnston Ridge Observatory. The observatory recently reopened after being close for some time and it had been a while since we’ve visited Mt. St. Helens. The power of the eruption always amazes me and I’m awestruck at restoration of the landscape. We had a picnic lunch at Coldwater Lake and we let the boys dipped their toes in the lake.

It was fun to check a few outings off our summer bucket list. Jeremy has some time off next week and our staycation will hopefully include more local adventures before we buckle down and start school. We opted for another around of swim lessons so our evenings at spent at the pool. We got a few end of summer play dates in this week as well. We’re making our last days of summer count!

Graham and I survived the absence of Jeremy and Owen by eating a lot of carbs!
A sleepover and movie night in Mom’s room to end camp week.
Unloading off the bus! Happy to be reunited!
A tired camper with his welcome home cake!
Exploring McLane Creek Nature Trail
So glad to have Jeremy home! Life is better by his side!
We enjoyed our visit in the Capitol Forest!
Mt. St. Helens
Taking in the view!
Enjoying Coldwater Lake
 

Summer Camp August 11, 2022

Summer camp has been a part of our family life since I married Jeremy. He is a part of the directors’ team for our Assemblies of God network. He makes kids camp happen for hundreds of kids every summer. Before having kids, I tagged along and went to camp with Jeremy. Now I stay home and keep the kids alive while he is away. After a two year break (thanks COVID), summer is camp is back! Not only that, Owen is now old enough to be a camper! WHAT?!?! How did this happen? I’m also super nostalgic because camp this year is at the same campground I went to as a kid. I love that Owen is making childhood memories in a place that I also have childhood memories!

We were in summer camp prep mode this weekend. We went shopping down in Portland, OR to pick up more shorts and t-shirts for Jeremy. His camp commitment is a full seven days, so he needed to stock up on essentials. We stopped by Crumbl Cookie and visited a spray park. Jeremy left on Sunday to direct the first week of camp (Sun-Wed) and the boys and I held down the fort at home. Then Owen took off with our church for the second week of camp (Wed-Sat). Being home with two kids is one thing, but being home with one kid is completely different. Graham misses his brother a lot, but we’re making it. Graham wrapped up swimming lessons today and we got McDonald’s as a special treat. Graham is doing all the menu planning this week. He loves deciding what our next meal will be. No surprise, last night was mac and cheese. Tonight is biscuits. Tomorrow, we plan to get pizza. We are living our best carb lives here.

This whole week has felt a bit strange. We, obviously, miss Jeremy a ton while he is away at camp! Now that I have two elementary-aged kids, being on my own with them is less intense than the baby/toddler/preschool years. The dynamic of having one kid being gone is new and certainly an adjustment. Keeping Graham distracted is actually a good distraction for me. I miss Owen, but I’m not too worried about him now that he is actually away. I was more anxious leading up to his departure. Jeremy has kept me updated, so I at least know Owen is eating and having a good time.

We have two more days until we’re all back together again! Almost to the finish line of this long week. I’m hoping the rest of summer camp goes well for Jeremy and Owen… and that Graham+Mom camp continues to go well, too!

Spray park in Wilsonville, OR
Crumbl two weekends in a row! I’m living the dream!
New flashlights from Grandpa & Grandma.
I went a little OCD and labeled everything in Owen’s suitcase. Everything is ziplocked to keep things clean, dry, and easy to find. And yes, that’s a lot of crackers, but he is so picky. I wanted something I knew he would eat at camp.
Ready to go! Once he puts shoes on….
Cousins ready for camp!
We wrapped up our summer school books this week! Now we have two weeks off before starting school at the end of August. I planned our first quarter yesterday afternoon. Feels good to have it all written down in the official planner!
My lunch date
Graham+Mom Camp
 

Making Summer Memories August 3, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 1:59 pm

My dreams are coming true! It finally feels like summer – both in the weather and our activities! While shopping, I’ve seen fall and even Christmas items out, but I’m not ready for that! It feels like our summer has just begun. Usually, I’m all about fall, but our June and July were too quiet. We’re ready to embrace all the summer vibes while we still can. We are starting school at the end of August, so we really have less than a month left of summer. I’m hoping we can make the most of the time we still have!

This last week was a bit of a rollercoaster. We had our minivan in the shop for thankfully a quick and cheap fix. We had our floors partially torn up to try to “fix” them again. We have a certain spot that continually breaks and has everyone puzzled. We’ll see how long this fix lasts. I had a homeschool co-op planning meeting. I will be teaching a one week class on cookie decorating and then teaming up with a friend to teach eight weeks of drama to our younger class. Teaching drama will certainly be an adventure since I’ve haven’t been on stage since high school… But the class is made up of 5-9 year-olds… I think we’ve got this! If not, it will be dramatic in more than one way!

The boys have enjoyed pool parties with friends and family. Jeremy took them to the local area spray parks on one of our hottest days. (We just came off seven days in a row above 90 degrees – very rare in our corner of the PNW.) Jeremy and the boys went on a scouting adventure on Monday in preparation for hunting season. Jeremy let them tagalong last night to National Night Out hosted by our local police department. Our church provided inflatables and the whole event was full of freebies and fun for families. The boys had a blast! They also started swim lessons this week, because it’s just not summer without swim lessons!

My special adventure this week was a getaway with my forever friend, Maggie. I drove up to her neck of the woods north of Seattle. We got a hotel room (with fantastic AC and comfy beds). On Friday evening, we had dinner at Claim Jumper and dessert at Crumbl Cookie. Saturday morning, we drove out to Lake Stevens so we could visit Jenny Cookies Bake Shop. I spent way too much on cookies (and a t-shirt), but it was such a fun and tasty treat! Maggie and I went to Panda Express for lunch and then walked laps around the air-conditioned mall. There is nothing quite like time with a forever friend enjoying good food, long walks, and chatting non-stop!

August is here and we have filled it to the brim with good things. We are making all the summer memories we can! Because we are trying to pack so much into August, our routine is a bit off, which means I’m a bit off. I figure it’s for a worthy cause. There is so much summer fun still to have before we buckle down with school books!

Highlights from family pictures in July
Highlights from family pictures in July
Highlights from family pictures in July
This was the last picture we took and it was worth the wait. I love the sweet relationship my boys have with their GG!
Spray park adventures with Dad
Cookie adventures with Maggie
Cookie adventures with Maggie
Taste testing Jenny Cookies – yum!
Ready for swim lessons!
Having the best time ever at National Night Out!
 

Camping, COVID, and Canceled Celebrations July 7, 2022

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 10:52 am

Last Thursday, we took off for camping with Jeremy’s family at Schafer State Park. Camping is always an adventure. I’m amazed at how much we pack to have as many comforts of home as possible. I’m not a tent camper at heart (I dream of owning a trailer), but I know my family enjoys it. I tagalong and do my best. The bathrooms at this campground were nice and cleaned often, so that made a world of difference. The boys loved fishing on the Satsop River and Graham was my hiking buddy. It felt so good to finally hit some trails this summer. I was able to read a book and chat with family. It was a great trip until Owen started to feel sick on Friday afternoon. When it became apparent we had a sick kiddo, we packed up camp in a hurry. Poor Owen had a flu bug that lasted through Sunday which happened to overlap with our next family drama.

It took over two years, but COVID finally came to visit our family. Jeremy tested positive on Saturday and went into isolation since the boys and I tested negative. I moved into our playroom on an air mattress and held down the fort while Jeremy recovered. This meant we had to cancel our plans to celebrate the 4th of July at the beach with friends. We also had to cancel hosting a birthday dinner for my father on the 5th. Living through a pandemic has a taught our family flexibility with canceled plans. We are stay-at-home professionals. We were disappointed to cancel such fun plans, but we also knew we could handle the unexpected time at home.

My parents were sweet and bought fireworks for us. We had planned to watch the fireworks on the beach, so we didn’t have any at home. The boys loved the small display and seemed to enjoy the holiday even though it wasn’t the big celebration we had originally envisioned. Tuesday was my dad’s birthday. Owen requested we make a cake and enjoy it in his honor. My parents also delivered pizza. It was like we had a birthday dinner celebration – just in separate houses.

Yesterday morning, I also tested positive for COVID. Even though Jeremy isolated right away after testing positive, I had been in very close contact with him during his contagious period before showing symptoms. I’m not thrilled about starting the isolation timer over again, but it has worked out for the best. I felt crummy yesterday, but Jeremy was starting to feel better. He was able to assist the kids (while trying to maintain a distance). The boys are still negative, so we’ll see if they can get away from this virus or if our family will draw this out.

Thankfully, I woke up today feeling much better. I don’t want to jinx anything, but I feel almost 100%. My plan is to rest today because I don’t want to go backwards. This summer certainly hasn’t turned out the way we expected. We had trips, activities, and outings that I thought we would happily checking off our summer bucket list. Jeremy has some time off in August, so we have hope for summer adventures still to come. September and October are fairly nice in the PNW. The summer bucket list might have to transition to a fall bucket list. We can do our best to make plans, but life happens! We take the disappointments in stride and look ahead with hope.

Our home away from home
Owen the Fisherman
Graham the Adventurer
Family fishing
Photo op with my contagious hubby! Ha!
Happy 4th of July
Missing Jeremy
My quiet time entertainment on the 4th of July. Nothing quite like hanging out on an air mattress in the playroom.
Parachute men are a 4th of July favorite!
Pizza and cake in honor of Grandpa’s birthday
 

A Very Bookish Birthday January 18, 2022

Friday was my 36th birthday! I love birthdays! I adore a day where I get to set the plan and pick all the places to eat. Mostly birthdays are about food for me, but this year, I had another theme – books! I’m definitely heading into 2022 and 36 with books on the brain. My birthday plans this year revolved around visiting bookstores in Portland, OR as well as stopping at a few other favorites like Target and Costco. I love a trip to the big city!

My first bookstore of choice was Powell’s City of Books on Burnside. The flagship store of the Powell’s empire is funky and fun. Jeremy helped the boys each pick a new book (their children’s department might be my favorite part of the store) as I wondered quietly through rows of books. If visiting one Powell’s wasn’t enough, I also visited their Cedar Hills location and the Amazon Bookstore. It was a really good day! To be cozy while reading, I updated my sweatshirt wardrobe and came away with a super cute reusable cup from Starbucks. It was a victorious and very Amy shopping day! So many favorite things!

To make our outing a bigger adventure, we opted to spend the night in the city. Our boys are always up for a hotel experience especially if there is a pool! We planned to take off the next morning for Camp 18 in Elsie for breakfast and a day at the beach. However, our beach plans changed due to a tsunami advisory. We still made it to breakfast at Camp 18, because we have priorities, and food is high on the list! Instead of heading to the beach, we ran some errands and took off for home earlier than expected. January has been wild! The first weekend had compact snow and ice still on the ground. The second weekend had flooding and now the third weekend had a tsunami advisory. Kind of makes me wonder what might happen next…

Our trip was sandwiched between family dinners with my parents and Jeremy’s parents. I feel very loved and celebrated! Like I said, food is a big deal for me when it comes to my birthday. I am always grateful when I don’t have to make dinner! The birthday menu (spread out over the weekend – it feels important to say that) included my favorite foods like pizza, orange chicken, mac and cheese, French toast and waffles. Chocolate, lemon, and red velvet cake were also consumed! Plus, a free birthday drink from Starbucks is always a treat!

I’ve also been book shopping online. I pre-ordered a new release from one of my favorite authors, Roseanna M. White. I also placed a Thrift Books order. I will admit that I’ve never been a fan of “used” items, but I’ve recently found a fondness for used books. First, they are cheaper. Books have gotten expensive and buying used gives me more bang for my buck. Also, I now like the look of an aged and well-worn book. Gives me cozy vibes! Thrift Books has quickly become a favorite for me. Not only do I get a great price on used books, but they have a reward system that allows me to earn free books. I’m all about free books!

Okay, indulge me one more bookish moment, I also reorganized my bookshelves yesterday. My system was loosely based on genre and it wasn’t working for me anymore. I decided to arrange alphabetically author. This was fairly simple with fiction because I have so many series’ in my collection. Non-fiction took a bit more work, but I like the finished project. I have room to grow my home library and a logical place for my future purchases. Also, I got rid of quite a bit of dust that was hiding behind all my books, so it was a fresh start in more than one way!

Now that all the big birthday celebrating is behind me, we are looking at a business-as-usual/have-to-be-a-grown-up type week. A three day school week means the workload is heavier and we have to focus more. I have my COVID booster coming up on Thursday. Nothing like heading into the weekend with the potential of feeling crummy. I’m optimistic the good book vibes and leftover birthday cake will carry me through!

My mom is so sweet! She orders me this chocolate cake from Safeway each year and it’s become a birthday tradition. A yummy tradition!
Watching for the streetcar in downtown Portland
Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s Books at Cider Hills Crossing
Thankful for this man! He made my birthday/bookstore dreams come true!
My book haul from Powell’s
Pool time! I’m not a water bug, but after my time in the hot tub, I love watching these guys play!
Enjoying a birthday bundlet!
We love family adventures!
Camp 18 is always an experience!
These are a few of my favorite things! Books from Powell’s, journals and two sweatshirts from Costco, cup and two sweatshirts from Target!
Reading his new Magic Tree house book from Powell’s
Graham was very excited to take his new Christmas game over to Nana & Papa’s. He aske me to take this picture.
Celebrating at Nana & Papa’s House
Graham thought I was making an obstacle course for him with books!
 

Happy New Year! January 4, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome Winter December 21, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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