Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

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!
 

The Start of Sabbatical December 7, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Magic of Disney November 21, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kicking Off November! November 7, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 1:14 pm

What a start to November! I didn’t plan for the week to be as full as it turned out to be. Lots of good things, but a bit too much after a big event the weekend before. We had no plans yesterday and our family just hung out around the house and rested. It was such a necessary day. Okay, let’s jump into the highs and lows of this last week!

Monday was a Halloween hangover day. I didn’t expect Fall Fest prep to take as much out of me as it did. The kids had decent attitudes, but I was too ambitious in our plans for the day. The craft I planned for school said age 4+ on the box, but honestly it was age 40+. I helped the kids assemble their foam tree houses and they were appreciative when I got them to the decoration stage. Ever have a child’s craft almost break you? Only me? After quiet time, we went down to the church to help Jeremy tidy up from Fall Fest. The lollipop game still had balloons attached to it and Jeremy offered the boys a chance to pop them with darts. The perks of being pastor’s kids. Thankfully, we picked up take-out from our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. I was ready to be chill.

Tuesday had it’s ups and downs. Jeremy took the day off. He worked on a new space for Owen’s model train. As he was preparing a piece of plywood, he dropped the board on his foot. For the next 48 hours, he monitored it to make sure it wasn’t broken. I say he, not we, because injuries like that make me queasy! I almost canceled my afternoon plans so Jeremy could go to urgent care, but Jeremy promised me he was fine. Limping, but fine. I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon. The people at the dentist office are lovely, but no matter how kind they are, I dread going to the dentist. My reward after the dentist was meeting up with my forever friend, Christa, for coffee (actually, neither of us had coffee, so we met up for hot beverages). Time with this sweet friend is always a treasure! And a whole afternoon of being kid-free was amazing! I love my kiddos, but homeschool life has made me appreciate my kid-free time on a deeper level.

Our next big adventure was Thursday. My forever friend, Maggie, and I had plans to take our kids mini-golfing. It also turned out to be Red Cup Day and bonus – there was a Starbucks right across the street from the mini-golf course! I’m sure Maggie and I will meet up at Tower Lanes Entertainment Center again. What’s not to love about indoor mini-golf, bowling, and an arcade? We only did mini-golf on Thursday, but we’ll have plenty to entertain us for future outings. Maggie and I love red cups from Starbucks. We love to celebrate this special day, but very rarely do we get to celebrate it together. My kids were equally as excited for Red Cup Day as I was. It felt like I was doing something right in my parenting! We also picked up Christmas jammies on Thursday and started listening to Christmas music in the van. We haven’t started decorating for Christmas yet, but we are easing our way into the holiday season and I’m all for it!

We wrapped up our week with a homeschool field trip to a local creation museum. The museum curator gave a presentation on how Mt. St. Helens can support the young earth theory. I don’t get too hung up on how old the earth is, but the information was interesting. The presentation included some unique photos of the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980. Owen followed the presentation well and even answered some questions. Graham… well.. he wanted to get a drink… go to the bathroom… look around the museum… leave to go get lunch. It wasn’t his cup of tea, but it was nice to see friends and do an outing together.

Today is daylight savings. I don’t appreciate the adjustment of our natural schedules, but today it worked out in my favor. Both kids slept longer than I expected which meant I had an “extra” hour in bed this morning. I know that feeling won’t last and we’ll adjust, but I’m rolling with it for now. It will be nice to not wake up in the dark, but I will now ask if it’s bedtime at 5:00pm for the next few months. The older I get, the more I think I’m solar powered.

I hope your November is off to a great start! I highly recommend treating yourself to a Red Cup or new pajamas, listening to Christmas music, getting an extra hour of sleep, and having a restful day. I know my plans for the rest of the day include starting a new book and watching a Hallmark movie. Time to snuggle up with a cozy blanket and watch the rain fall outside my window.

“Helping” pop the balloons after Fall Fest
The box lied. I’m fairly confident no 4 year old could build this craft. Super cute, but a lot of work!
The new train layout in the playroom. Now to build the scenery.
Time with a treasured friend!
The mini-golfers!
Celebrating Red Cup Day with Maggie May!
The kids table!
Sharing the joy of red cups with the next generation!
Christmas jammies!
Learning about Mt. St. Helens
The first addition to the train layout. Jeremy and Owen sure know how to make a mountain!
 

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