Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

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
 

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!