Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Local Adventures August 23, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August Adventures Abound August 15, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wet & Wild August 8, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let The Good Times Roll July 27, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
 

Camping & Celebrating! July 5, 2021

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood,Travels — Amy Scott @ 8:58 pm

It’s been a fun start to the month of July. We took off on July 1st for a few days of camping at Mt. Rainier National Park. The whole Scott clan was able to stay on the mountain together and make some sweet summer memories. We had three campsites side-by-side so the cousins could run amok between them all. There was a giant boulder in the back of one of the campsites that acted as a climbing wall and slide. The kids named it Scott Rock. It was nice to catch up around the campfire, play games, explore the mountain, and enjoy the camp food. Our kids didn’t want to come home. It was the best combination of family time and adventure!

Since the 4th of July landed on a Sunday this year, Jeremy worked the morning and afternoon at a community event that our church was asked to be a part of. The boys and I were wiped out from camping so we stayed home to rest (and conquer the mountains of camping laundry). I enjoyed the low-key vibes after the full days out camping. Jeremy came home from work and collected the boys to pick out fireworks. We also decided on Chinese take-out for dinner. It wasn’t a traditional choice, but it sounded good and fit the low-key mood. The boys swam in our pool after dinner and then we stayed up late to put on a small fireworks display. The boys loved the fireworks and seemed to enjoy the day even though it wasn’t our flashiest celebration. Small celebrations can be just right sometimes.

Today we celebrated for two reasons. Backstory – our betta fish, Benny, passed away last weekend. He wasn’t quite himself for those final days. Because his passing was expected, the kids took the news well. We’ve had close calls with Benny in the past that had left Owen in tears. I was nervous how he would handle the death. He understood and stayed dry-eyed despite the disappointment. We didn’t want to get a new fish before camping, so today was the day to find our new betta. After a quick visit a local pet store we came home with Finn. Owen is happy to have a new fish and the tank is no longer empty. It felt so strange to have it unoccupied for a week. Finn’s arrival was definitely reason to celebrate.

The second reason (and really the main reason) we celebrated today is because it’s my dad’s birthday. He made ribs and brought his whole birthday meal over to our house so we could sit on the back deck and enjoy the meal outside. It was a perfect mid-70’s day and it was delightful to eat outdoors. We enjoyed chatting around the table and had cheesecake with berries for dessert. We love celebrating with family! It felt like the perfect ending to a family-filled, celebration-filled few days!

July has set the standard high for fun! We’ve certainly started the month off with a bang!

Cool story: we love to wave at our garbage/recycling guys every week. This week the recycle guy hopped out and placed these squishy garbage truck toys on top of our can. It was such a surprise and made the boys’ day!
Snow hiking around Paradise, Mt. Rainier
It looked like a winter wonderland in the snow fog.
The cousin crew with Nana & Papa. This was right before we did a mini piñata with them. Jeremy saw one at Target and thought it would be fun to take camping.
Glow sticks have become a camping tradition.
Owen joined the ranks of fire pokers on this trip. He loved to watch his stick catch on fire and then start to smoke as it went out.
Scott Rock!
The whole clan! We spent plenty of time down by the Nisqually River.
Jeremy admiring a snow cave across the river.
The mountain finally came out for us on the last day!
Sparklers!
Owen documented our firework display on his tablet. Graham really enjoyed the fireworks this year and wasn’t freaked out by the noise like in years past.
Meet Finn
Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
 

Spring Break Birthday Vacation March 28, 2021

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Parenthood,Simply Me,Travels — Amy Scott @ 6:21 pm

We got away for a few days to celebrate Jeremy’s 40th birthday. Since we’re not taking a full week off for Spring Break, we decided this mini-vacation would act as our Spring Break. Celebrating Jeremy’s birthday throughout the trip also made it extra special. Last year, Jeremy’s birthday was the first day of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order in Washington State. We celebrated with just our little family of four. I remember being so glad that was his 39th birthday and not his 40th. Turning 40 is meant to be extra special. While we didn’t opt for a big party this year, I am thankful that we were able to eat out, travel, and celebrate with our family this year.

Earlier in the week, we had dinner with my parents to celebrate Jeremy. It was fun to put up the birthday banner and use the coordinating plates and napkins. I believe in throwing birthday parties for adults just the same as for kids – with coordinated paper tableware and décor. Jeremy requested an apple pie as his birthday dessert. I was happy to have a chance to bake something for him since we would traveling on his actual birthday.

For the official birthday, we celebrated at Top Golf in the morning. All of my guys adore Top Golf. We played their new Angry Birds game and I enjoyed it. You don’t have to get the ball into any holes. You just shoot in the general direction of the field which works well for me. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at The Cheesecake Factory after golfing. We did some shopping and then let the boys play at a local park. Jeremy decided that he wanted dessert before dinner so we got Salt & Straw ice cream after the park. Jeremy and I joked that our plans for this trip mostly revolved around where we planned to eat. We filled in the other activities around our eating destinations. We checked in our hotel and ran to pick up a new board game to end the evening. We introduced the boys to Mouse Trap and it was a huge hit! We also got a late dinner at Chick-fil-a because we super full from the ice cream.

The next day we took off for the beach. We stopped at Camp 18 for breakfast. Graham enjoyed a cinnamon roll the size of his head (possibly bigger). Jeremy and I did help him some, but for a tiny kid, Graham did some serious work on that cinnamon roll. We walked on Cannon Beach that morning. According to my phone, it was only 39 degrees outside – overcast, windy, cold. The temperature did not stop the kids from getting soaked in the ocean. I didn’t see that coming! I thought for sure we would just “walk” the beach, but apparently the beach is meant for water play. We got cleaned up and did a little shopping in Seaside before heading to Fort Stevens. I love visiting the forts in this area. I have childhood memories of running all around them. It’s cool to explore the abandoned concrete structures. They are super fun for making echoes. We spent some time at the jetty watching the waves before checking into our hotel in Astoria. We stayed right on the Columbia River where you could see the big ships anchored off shore. When you opened the door to our balcony, you could hear a chorus of sea lions barking on the docks below. Dinner at Mo’s was super tasty and a must every time we head to the coast.

Our final day started with breakfast at Pig’N’Pancake – another Oregon Coast family favorite. We crossed the big bridge in Astoria and spent the morning at Cape Disappointment and Fort Columbia. As the morning wrapped up, we made our way back toward home. We planned a small park gathering with Jeremy’s family in Kalama. This riverfront park features trains beside it, covered shelters with picnic tables, and a nice playground. We brought our new bat and ball out and Jeremy’s brothers brought some frisbees. The weather was beautiful and it was nice to enjoy some outdoor time with family. We haven’t gathered in months, so it felt extra special. The cousins ran amok and had a blast which always makes my heart so happy. We took off for the final stretch to home completely spent of all our energy, but super happy.

Today has been a catch up on mounds of laundry kind of day. It was good to get away for a few days, but it’s equally nice to come home. I actually enjoy unpacking and getting all our items back into their places. We are now in prep mode for Easter. Jeremy has a big Easter event next Saturday. I’ve started filling Easter eggs for our family egg hunt. The Easter basket items are tucked away for safe-keeping. Easter window clings and an egg coloring kit have been purchased. Now to buy white eggs because we learned last year that the brown eggs from our chickens don’t color as well. It’s the one time of year we have to buy eggs. I love picking Easter shirts for the boys and taking pictures with their bunny ears. Even though this Easter won’t be completely back to normal this year, I am still looking forward to celebrating it. Easter is always worth celebrating. No matter how big or small the celebration, Easter is always a BIG deal. More than ever, I am thankful for a Redeemer as I look around this broken world. I am thankful that not only am I redeemed, but this planet and this mess will be redeemed someday, too. Definitely something to celebrate!

Spa Day was a big hit this last week for my MOPS & MOMSnext group!
Birthday Apple Pie!
Level 40 Complete!
The special birthday activity!
Ice cream before dinner? Yes! Especially on your birthday!
Graham’s dream come true! A huge cinnamon roll for breakfast!
Apparently it’s never too cold to play in the ocean.
Watching the waves – a favorite pastime of the Scott men.
Different Day. More wave watching.
I’m watching the wave watchers
Exploring Fort Columbia for the first time!
Wide open spaces and cousins at play! The perfect way to end a great trip.
 

Yellowstone Road Trip August 23, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 10:58 am

Back in December, we made plans with my family to go on a road trip to Yellowstone this summer. We had some concern that the pandemic would cancel our plans. This was actually the 4th trip that my family has planned to Yellowstone – the first three were canceled, so it seemed possible that this 4th attempt would also be foiled. Thankfully, we were able to make it and what a trip it was!

Our mornings were early, our days were long, but each day was worth the effort! The boys love nature and trails, so add geothermal sites and it was the perfect park of the kiddos to explore. I loved walking the geyser basins in the cool of the morning with the steam pouring out of the springs and geysers. The sight of steam billowing over the landscape was awe-inspiring and never got old! We also really enjoyed visiting Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. God’s creation is beautiful and powerful! We spotted animals like elk and bison throughout the park. We never saw a bear, but multiple times we were very close and had just missed sightings moments before. Jeremy was praying we would see a bear. I was praying that we wouldn’t. I know the boys were bummed that we had no bear sightings, but I was thankful. Bears that aren’t in a zoo setting scare me. Even the bison and elk caused my adrenaline to rush. We were so close to these wild animals!

Yellowstone was the main event on this road trip, but we also saw a few other sights along the way. On our journey to Yellowstone, we stopped at Craters of the Moon National Park. We have visited lava fields and cinder cones in Bend, OR so we knew that this would be a fun stop for the family. We collected lava rocks, climbed a cinder cone, and admired the vast fields of cooled lava.

One of our days in Wyoming was spent driving through Grand Teton National Park. We drove one route through the park into Jackson, WY and then we drove back to our rental house through another park route. The views of the Tetons were stunning. The mountains views on this day of travel are some of my favorite from our whole trip. One of the mountains in the range is named Mt. Owen so that held special meaning to our Owen. We didn’t spend too much time in Jackson, WY. The city was neat, but busy. On our way home, we stopped by Jenny Lake (where we were 100 yards away from a grizzly bear that Wildlife Management was tracking) and Colter Bay.

Our last special stop on the way home was a visit to the Lewis & Clark Caverns. The tour was brief. Due to COVID-19, the tours are limited to one room in the cavern. We were shown the Paradise Room which is impressive. The only downside was we could see the pathways that lead deeper into the caves and we weren’t able to explore them. I guess that gives our family motivation to visit again in the future.

Signs of a pandemic were seen throughout our travels. Masks were worn indoors – regardless of what state we were in. Outdoors we wore masks when distancing wasn’t possible. Mornings were the calmest in the parks, so we were able to roam without too many people nearby. As more people entered the park midday, the more often we had to wear masks. On the cold chilly mornings, wearing a mask actually helped keep our faces warm. When the day heated up, I will say that wearing a mask became less ideal, but we did it. Hand sanitizer was found throughout the parks. We also had stock piles of sanitizer in our vehicles. Overall between masks, sanitizer, and being able to do laundry at our rental house, I felt like we were safe and cautious while traveling.

With all that has been canceled due to COVID-19, I am thankful that this long awaited family trip was able to happen as planned. We caravaned with my parents to and from the park and we met my sister and brother-in-law there. We haven’t had an all-family vacation since Graham arrived in the family. It was fun to show the boys a Vitzthum-style vacation. My dad always packs way too much food. Snacks abounded and dinner was always tasty with many options for everyone! The house we stayed at was the perfect set-up. My sister and her hubby had the upstairs with their own bedroom, bathroom, and loft for their little dog to hang out in during the day. My parents had the master on the main level. Our family had two downstairs bedrooms and a bathroom. The boys had bunk beds to sleep on which are a special treat!

Okay, I could ramble on about the great memories we made and the fun times we had! There is just so much to share after an adventure to Yellowstone. It was a beautiful trip. From geysers to thermal springs to mountains to lakes to rivers and waterfalls – there is something awe-inspiring around every corner! I’m so glad we got to explore this lovely part of God’s creation. God’s artistry through nature never ceases to astound me!

Here is an itinerary of our daily explorations and photos from our adventures:

Day 1: Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Mud Volcano, Hayden Valley, Upper & Lower Yellowstone Falls. Day 2: Lower & Midway Geyser Basins, Artist Paint Pots, Norris Geyser Basin, Mammoth Hot Springs, Roosevelt Arch. Day 3: Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, WY, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay. Day 4: Biscuit Basin, Castle Geyser, West Thumb Geyser Basin, hike to Brink of the Lower Falls.

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Craters of the Moon National Park

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Elk sighting

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Old Faithful

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Bison sighting

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Lower Yellowstone Falls

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Grand Prismatic Spring at the Midway Geyser Basin

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Norris Geyser Basin

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Norris Geyser Basin

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Officially Junior Park Rangers!

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The classic vacation picture!

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Grand Teton National Park

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Such a beautiful drive through the Tetons!

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Visiting Jackson, WY

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Dipping their toes in Jenny Lake

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My hubby walking through the Biscuit Basin on a smokey and steamy morning.

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We were all alone for this walk, but face masks helped keep us warm! 

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Watching Castle Geyser erupt

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Lewis & Clark Caverns 

 

 

A Garage Sale, A Getaway, and Fall Preparations August 9, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Travels — Amy Scott @ 5:45 pm

Life at home on the hill has been quiet. Our days have been spent enjoying the down time that a slow summer affords. We did a have a bit of excitement over the weekend in the way of a garage sale and a getaway trip.

Before COVID-19 was ever on our radar, my friend, Maggie, and I had set a weekend aside for a summer getaway. We did this last year and loved it so much that we are trying to make it an annual tradition. Maggie owns a vintage trailer at the coast and we settled in for two nights away. We ate all our meals at the trailer, we took walks, watched movies, read books, picked blackberries, and talked (a whole lot). We are used to seeing each other every other month for lunch dates, but we haven’t been able to get together since January. This time in person felt long overdue. A weekend away to rest and relax with my forever friend was just what I needed. We were walking back from the beach at twilight and we could see families insides houses enjoying their evenings. The smell of barbecue was on the air and I couldn’t help but smile because it felt like a “normal” summer evening. Sometimes between my isolation at home and what I hear on the news, I think the world is ending and everything is falling apart. Walking home from the beach after sunset, seeing families gathered, being in the company of a good friend – these things were so restorative to my soul.

While I was away at the beach, my boys decided to join a family garage sale. Jeremy and I have never participated in a garage sale before, so this was an entirely new experience for our family. I was able to help my family prepare for the garage sale before I left. Jeremy kept me up to date on the sale happenings. The garage sale did much better than I expected! The boys even walked away with some new math flashcards and a set of kids golf clubs. It was a very positive first garage sale experience!

These quiet days have been good for fall preparation (yay online shopping). We’ve kept tabs on the big school situation and we are fairly confident our boys will be home this school year. We haven’t made any official decisions yet. We are waiting for more details before we make the final call. I do know that more time at home is in our future. Back to school shopping this year looks like new sweatpants, socks, and underwear (not our most glamorous year to prep for, but necessary). With school at home being the our next great adventure, I’ve purchased a daily planner to keep us on track. We have curriculum ready in case we decide to do our own form of school and take a year out of the district. It’s been exciting to dream about what homeschooling will offer our family. Thanks to the garage sale and the fall prep, I’ve been sorting through clothes and getting us ready to be slightly more put together at home this fall. I am not ashamed that we spent our spring/summer mostly in pajamas. Now I have hopes of another comfy season at home, but just not spent in sleepwear. Time to raise our standards a little!

Every time I look at the calendar, I’m blown away that even the quiet days seem to disappear quickly. Summer never lasts forever. This fall will certainly bring change and new adventures. We are doing our best to prepare for them, but at the same time, we are savoring the fact that is still summer. There is still plenty of summer fun to be had!

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Prepping for the garage sale! The boys loved putting the little price stickers on all our items!

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First time making monkey bread! I was super nervous, but it turned out so good and yummy!

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We had to postpone a play date with a friend because they had the sniffles. Owen was able to video chat with them instead.

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We’ve never played with Facebook Messenger for video calling. The boys had so much fun with all the filters! Owen is the pizza face on the left!

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This trailer was the perfect spot for a getaway weekend!

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Vacay vibes! I brought cinnamon rolls to share and Maggie brought these awesome s’mores cookies!

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Beach Buddies 

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Such a happy place to be!

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Thankful for our years of friendship and that we were able to make this weekend happen – thanks to the help of our husbands. 

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Documented proof that my kiddos wore something other than play clothes or pajamas this summer!