Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Another Week, Another Birthday! October 24, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 12:32 pm

We celebrated Graham’s 6th birthday on Tuesday this last week. Graham opted for a birthday adventure at Top Golf in Hillsboro, OR. Owen celebrated his birthday at Top Golf last October and Jeremy did the same in March. Graham felt it was his time to celebrate at there as well Jeremy was able to take the day off and we had a grand family day. Having our usual family day on Tuesday messed up my internal calendar, but Graham’s birthday was worth it! After a morning of golf, we enjoyed lunch at Red Robin and an afternoon for shopping. Both boys requested money has their main gift wish this year. As they grow, their interests and hobbies have grown in price as well. Most of their hopped for birthday gifts involved saving and planning this year. We love spending a day in the Portland area. The variety of shops and restaurants is always appreciated. The boys had a jolly time as they strategically shopped for the items they had been saving for. We wrapped up the outing with a stop at Cinnabon to get Graham a birthday cinnamon roll.

Graham is one cool kid! He is sweet, thoughtful, and silly. He loves to help me in the kitchen – especially if I’m baking or making macaroni and cheese. He is often singing to himself or making sound effects while he happily plays. Graham’s current loves are trains, books, and Hot Wheels. Graham hasn’t mastered reading yet, but we read together a lot now that he has started kindergarten. As a bookworm, I am happy to share my excitement for reading with Graham. I also love sharing my love of baking with him too. He is such a fun buddy! He loves keeping up with Owen and checking on the chickens. He has started calling me “Mom” more often than “Mama” and it makes me a bit sad that some of his little boy ways are changing. He still loves to snuggle with me, though. He recently told me that he will snuggle with me until he is 68. I’ll take it! Everyday is an adventure with Graham. It’s been a joy to watch him grow into the kid he is today and we are excited for all that God has in store for him.

This week has been filled with a lot of playtime. All the new and exciting toys from our shopping adventure on Tuesday have been spread out all over the house. The weather has been wet, so I used our new-to-us treadmill in the garage for the first time. I love walking outside, but when that isn’t possible, I’ve been doing laps around my living room (I know, it sounds silly, but it’s worked for me). I wasn’t sure I would like walking in the garage, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. I put on worship music and find that my time on the treadmill helps me to connect with God, pray, and process life. My kids do come to “check” on me and have dance parties if the music is peppy. I don’t mind the distraction though. I want to model healthy habits for them whether it’s exercise or time with Jesus.

Since we had our usual Friday family adventure on Tuesday, our Friday was free to help Jeremy with some work projects. Jeremy had ordered a huge Candyland archway as a decoration for Fall Fest next weekend. The arch was a multiple person job when it came to assembly. The boys pretended to be spies as Jeremy and I worked on putting the arch together. It was very satisfying to see the finished product! On Saturday, Jeremy was at a community event most of the day providing a kid zone. I had an online conference in the morning. I enjoyed the conference and caught most of the content despite kid interruptions. It was a ministry leadership conference and while many of my ministry opportunities are on hold at the moment, it was good to invest in my leadership skills and be inspired and encouraged for the future.

It’s hard to believe that we are at the end of October! We are just one week away from our big fall ministry event. Fall Fest is outdoors this year so I’m praying hard for a dry day! The activities will be covered by canopies, so we’ll roll with whatever the weather sends our way. The boys are excited to be ninjas this Halloween. I think I’m going to wear some Minnie Mouse ears that I used for the boys’ birthday party. Jeremy plans on dressing up like the King Candy from Candyland (soooo…. that should be interesting). October has been a month of full of favorite traditions and birthday celebrations. Hopefully this last week will continue to the theme of fall fun and celebration!

Top Golf Adventures
Top Golf Adventures
Top Golf Adventures
Top Golf Adventures
Top Golf Adventures
Red Robin! Yumm!
This kid loves cinnamon! Good to the last bite!
Happy Birthday, Graham!
Owen has been saving for his own model train. This set was a dream come true!
Welcome to our home gym. Graham always takes a 5 minute turn on the treadmill after I’m finished.
Such sweet decorations for Fall Fest!
The completed Candyland arch – or stargate (if you know, you know)!

 

October Outings October 18, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:08 pm

After a long weekend of birthday celebrations, it was hard to get back into school mode last week. We were all in a haze from the big weekend and recovering from all the fun we had. School is going well, but we definitely moved at a slower pace. I have to remind myself that it’s okay if school takes a while. Especially, since some of Owen’s work is time-consuming at the moment (example: three-digit math – I know it’s important to know how to do it, but seriously, a calculator would speed things up). School isn’t something to race through. Going slow pays off when practicing new concepts. It’s good for me (and the kiddos) to take a deep breath, slow down, and have small breaks. The pace this year is different with two elementary school kids and I’m still adjusting to school taking a bit longer than last year.

We wrapped up school on Thursday and took off for an adventure! My forever friend, Maggie, asked me if I would be interested in meeting her and her kiddos for play dates in Tacoma semi-regularly. Maggie and I are good about getting together in-person, but we always do it kid-free. Our kids hadn’t been together in the last five years. My kids know who Maggie is because I talk to her and get together with her regularly . Equally, her kids know who I am, but we’ve never all spent time together. I love the idea of my kids having memories with Maggie’s kids. Our first adventure took us to the Tacoma Nature Center. The rain held off long enough for us to explore the trails around Snake Lake and play at their discovery pond play area. The nature center has a small indoor display of a few turtles and a frog which the kids also enjoyed. It was so fun to have an autumn outing with this family. I am looking forward to more adventures in the future.

Friday was pumpkin patch day! Now that we don’t have field trips to the pumpkin patch planned for us, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which patch to visit. We have plenty of nice ones locally as well some larger, fancier ones out of the area, but still close enough to travel to if we wanted. We decided on a local patch in Centralia this year. The boys had a blast picking our their big pumpkins and taking pictures with the wooden displays throughout the field. We ran some errands afterwards and picked up doughnuts for a treat and pizza for dinner. It was a very good day!

Saturday we celebrated Papa’s birthday with a family dinner. We reminded the boys to wish Papa a happy birthday right away, but Graham went off script and greeted Papa with countdown to his own birthday instead. (Graham is a walking countdown right now, tomorrow is the big day for him). The kids got cousin play time which is their version of heaven. For the second Saturday night in a row they got to run around after dark with flashlights. Nana made a tasty meal of meatloaf and offered three kinds of pie for dessert. The adults played games inside while the kids ran amok outside. It was a wonderful evening to celebrate with Papa!

Yesterday was pumpkin carving day! The boys used their new Halloween pajamas as inspiration for their pumpkins this year. I don’t usually get Halloween apparel since we don’t do spooky, but these jammies are just happy little jack-o’-lanterns. I couldn’t resist. Pumpkins have a special place in my heart. Jeremy kindly carved the faces the boys selected. I scooped out two of the three pumpkins we carved. I don’t mind the squishy, smelly insides of a pumpkin, but it makes Jeremy gag. I always feel sorry for him on carving day. We ran out of time so Jeremy’s pumpkin is still a blank slate waiting for his inspiration. Jeremy always carves the best pumpkins whereas mine always look quite similar each year. This year I went for a round nose and a toothless smile. Mixing it up just a bit, but I am in no way a pumpkin artist.

Graham’s birthday is tomorrow! We are looking forward to a family day together to celebrate. I’ll share all about it in my next post. As for the rest of October, I still have plenty of seasonal baking that I’m daydreaming about. Jeremy has two major work events coming up. I have an online conference this coming weekend. We have some plans with friends to look forward to. October is always a full month leading up to Fall Fest on the 31st. The kids already have their costumes purchased and ready to go. Lots of October outings and adventures are still in store!

I couldn’t resist these pajamas! Too cute!
Visiting the Tacoma Nature Center
Checking out the turtles
Exploring the trails
Playing at the nature-inspired playground
Just two moms trying to catch up while keeping tabs on their kids!
Out to find the perfect pumpkins!
Say “Pumpkin Patch!”
Ready to go!
Happy Birthday Papa!
Carving time!
The boys and their pumpkins
Pumpkin pajama inspiration
My happy little pumpkin
 

Three Days of Birthday Celebrations! October 11, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 2:40 pm

October is always a month full of birthday celebrations. I absolutely love it! Birthdays are a big deal to me. I want to make them as special as possible. Homeschooling has some big perks when it comes to birthdays. Instead of sending a treat to school with the birthday kid and seeing them at the end of the day, we can change our homeschool routine and have a family adventure. Homeschooling allows you to include life experiences as a part of your curriculum – so birthday adventures count as field trips. It’s a win-win!

Our birthday celebrations kicked off on Thursday when we had dinner with my family. The boys picked their favorite meal of Papa Murphy’s pizza. Owen picked brownies for dessert and Graham picked cinnamon rolls. Jeremy and I talked the boys into a Mickey Mouse themed birthday this year. Six and eight might be a bit old for Mickey, but 1) they still watch Mickey Mouse and 2) we used the theme to announce our trip to Disneyland next month. Since my parents are joining us on our Disney adventure, we thought this family dinner would be a perfect time to share our big news. Jeremy programed Alexa to tell the boys that we are going to Disneyland. The kids sat silent after Alexa told them they were going to fly on an airplane to meet Mickey Mouse. They weren’t sure what to make of it. After reassurance that this was in fact true and a few YouTube videos to show just how awesome Disneyland is, we had some very excited kids (and adults, too)!

Friday was Owen’s 8th birthday! Within the realm of reason, we allow the boys to pick their birthday adventures. Owen asked to visit the Space Needle. He also really wanted to see Sounder and Amtrak trains in Seattle. Jeremy and I haven’t been to the Space Needle since we were dating and it’s changed a lot since then! In the gift shop, the kids enjoyed the display of a giant Space Needle made from LEGOs, complete with figures looking out of the observation deck. The elevator ride was also a huge hit. The highlight of the outing was the lower deck which features a revolving glass floor. The kids thought it was so neat to look down below and watch the world slowly moving. Owen selected Chipotle for lunch and chocolate cake for dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. It was a very fun adventure! And yes, we did see the much anticipated Sounder and Amtrak trains as well. I know you were wondering!

Jeremy informed me that Owen is halfway to getting his driver’s license and I just can’t even process that! Owen is still obsessed with trains – a love that started young and has only deepened with time. His favorite subject in school is science with social studies coming in second. He feels a great sense of love and responsibility for his chickens, especially the three youngest (who he views as his babies). Owen is super creative and loves to build with LEGOS, Hot Wheels tracks, and train tracks of kind. He is usually up for any adventure, but is also content to be at home. As much I wish I could rush through bedtime, he is my kid who always asks to snuggle. It’s been such a joy to watch him grow into the cool kid he is today and I am excited to see where the future takes him!

Saturday was a birthday bash with Jeremy’s family. Our kids absolutely love cousin time so this celebration was a big deal to them. They were jazzed for playtime with their favorite people. The party was fairly standard – a piƱata, snacks, gifts, and dessert. I might be a baker but I know my capacity during a busy week. Instead of homemade goodies, I attempted to elevate Costco muffins into “Mickey Muffins.” The boys adore Costco muffins and the leftovers would act as breakfast for the following week. It was an unusual dessert choice, but it worked. (Remember, we had cinnamon rolls on Thursday night. We love breakfast food!) One of the highlights of Saturday’s celebration was the kids getting flashlights out after dark and running around the house to surprise and chase each other. It wasn’t quite an organized game of flashlight tag, but I’m sure it’s the beginning of games like that in our future. The boys had a blast!

We still have a few more birthdays to celebrate this month, but we’re only responsible for one more celebration. Graham’s 6th birthday is a week away! We are excited for another day to break away from routine and have a family adventure of Graham’s choosing. Until then you’ll find me recovering from all the fun and munching on muffins.

A cavity-free trip the dentist on Wednesday. Owen lost a tooth last Monday and has another wiggly one almost ready to go!
Getting ready to celebrate on Thursday night!
Mickey LEGO sets were a huge hit!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Space Needle Adventures!
Happy 8th Birthday, Owen!!!
Not the classiest birthday dessert, but I think these Mickey Muffins are still pretty cute!
6 & 8 are pretty great!!!
The countdown is on!
Wrapping up the weekend with a quick visit to a local train show! Owen is currently saving and planning for model trains.
 

Visiting a Wildlife Refuge September 27, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 6:30 pm

The highlight of our week was visiting the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (what a long title). We had Jeremy back after two weeks of hunting. It was a lovely day for a family outing. The autumn sunshine was beautiful. We visited the wildlife refuge last November. It was a cold and wet experience. We turned around without finishing because attitudes were failing… at least, Graham’s was. Owen was super disappointed we didn’t make it to the end so a future trip was promised. This Friday was that promised trip and we did make it to the end! The warmer weather certainly made a difference. Our boys loved walking out over the water of the Puget Sound and watching the tide go out. We saw many birds, wooly worms, and even harbor seals. I haven’t always appreciated outdoorsy activities, but I’m growing in my fondness for nature. I also have a thing for boardwalks. I think they are super neat. So a long walk on a boardwalk with my family in the autumn sunshine was awesome.

We’ve wrapped up our fourth week of school. Each week brings more confidence and we are finding our groove. The week was slightly off because we were still on the hunting schedule. Jeremy was out super late on Monday night and the boys just so happened to join him that evening. Thankfully, Papa brought them home, so bedtime wasn’t super late. Tuesday was a tired day though because I had waited up for Jeremy. I can’t tell you the last time I stayed up till midnight or later! I’m officially old. Our whole family slept in on Tuesday and the beginning of our day was an hour behind our usual schedule. A bonus of homeschooling is the flexibility. I’m a structured person, but it was totally fine to start school an hour later so we could have a slower start after a later night.

Other than the hunting schedule, the week was fairly quiet. Lots of reading for me and playing for the boys. It’s been a good book month. I’m excited to share the books I read this month in my next post. The boys are super creative these days with building train tracks, Hot Wheels tracks, and making LEGO creations from their imaginations. Their creations keep them busy and entertained.

It’s crazy to believe that we are in the last week of September. Now that the end of the month is near, I am feeling much more settled. I also love that we are moving toward October – my favorite month of the year! October is filled with beautiful colors, yummy flavors, birthday celebrations, and fun traditions! There is so much to look forward to right around the bend!

Country boys in camo out hunting with Jeremy
I embraced the late start on Tuesday by making pancakes. I don’t usually make a hot breakfast on weekdays. Our schedule was already off so why not?
I had to document my last walk of summer on Tuesday evening! Rain welcomed in autumn with us the next day.
I got my haircut this week and decided it might be time to update my profile pictures since it had been a few years. Books as my backdrop seemed fitting.
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
 

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!
 

Olympic National Park Exploration July 17, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 11:15 am

Our family adventure this week was exploring part of Olympic National Park. The park is so big that couldn’t do it all in a day trip and that’s okay. We have a reason to go back and explore another day! Last summer we purchased an annual national park pass as a part of our trip to Yellowstone. We’ve used the pass to get into Craters of the Moon, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Mt. Rainier (multiple times), and now Olympic National Park. Our hope is to make it to North Cascades before our pass expires at the end of the summer. I’m the first to admit that I’ve never been a nature person, but I’ve grown in my outdoor appreciation (thanks in part to my enthusiastic husband and boys). I now think that national parks are pretty neat. I look forward to exploring more in the future!

Our day at Olympic National Park started at Kalaloch Beach. We stopped by the ranger station there so the kids could turn in their Ocean Steward booklets and get their badges. We also picked up the Junior Ranger booklets for ONP so we could turn them in at the next ranger station. We had no clue what to expect at Kalaloch and we were so surprised by the cool rocks and tide pools. Being freshly appointed Ocean Stewards, our kids took looking around the tide pools very seriously. We discovered sea stars, anemones, mussels, acorn barnacles, and seals off shore.

After our time at the beach, we took off towards the Hoh Rainforest. This is where our plans slightly went off course. We didn’t expect the wait to enter the park. The parking lot was full, so the rangers were only letting a vehicle into the park once a vehicle left. Once we made it in, our first stop was the visitor center to get the boys their ONP Junior Ranger Badges. I love the National Parks Junior Ranger program. Our kids have so much fun with it (me too)! We did a hike through the Hall of Mosses. Visiting at another time of year might have been better. I appreciated the dry day in the rainforest, but our recent heat wave made the moss crispy. It wasn’t as lush as I remembered (from my middle school field trip two decades ago). The Hall of Mosses is a kid-friendly hike. My favorite kind of hiking includes limited/no incline and mostly just walking through shaded forest. The Hall of Mosses was right up my ally. Due to attitudes and the late time, we didn’t do the second hike. Again, it’s always good to have a reason to come back.

Our final stop on the way home was Ruby Beach. This beach had interesting rock features in and by the water. It was beautiful! It was a rocky beach with flat stones perfect for skipping. There was a little pond (or creek, I’m not sure) near the beach and our boys (including Jeremy) had fun skipping and throwing rocks. Because we had no beach expectations, the beaches were a highlight of the trip. They were so unique. We love exploring and discovering new places.

The end of our trip was a bit eventful. We had packed lunches, but didn’t have a plan for dinner. Our eating schedule was off. The long, winding drive back home was more than our tummies could handle. I got a touch of carsickness, but both of our boys threw up. After camping laundry at the beginning of the month and beach laundry last weekend, I thought for sure this day trip would mean less laundry upon arrival home. Nope. I was wrong. I got to spend the next day washing clothes, blankets, towels, and car seat covers. Oh well! It was a fun adventure even if it ended dramatically.

We keep checking activities off our summer bucket list. We’ll see where our next adventure takes us!

Officially Ocean Stewards
Kalaloch Beach 4
Kalaloch Beach 4
Kalaloch Beach 4
Officially ONP Junior Rangers
Hall of Mosses
Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach

A few pictures not related to our ONP exploration:

Raspberry Crumble Bars with berries from Jeremy’s garden!
We visited our sweet GG this week! It’s always a treat to spend time with her!
When we visit GG, the boys play with the same toys I did as a kid. It always does something to my heart! Such good memories!
 

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.