Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

One More Week of School! And Quarantine Reflections… June 7, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 4:57 pm

Just one week left in our homeschooling adventure! We will have accomplished a grand total of 13 weeks of home education by this Thursday. You can tell that summer is right around the corner. Our schooling times are the basics now – math, reading, and writing. Owen still has a weekly assignment from his teacher. My supplements of crafts and board games have become optional. We have been doing quite a few science experiments throughout the week, so that counts as extra credit, right?

We had a milestone at our house this week – we had kid-led sorting/purging take place. I’m a tidier and I am constantly evaluating what needs to stay or go in our house. I was talking with my MOPS & MOMSnext group this spring about keeping clutter down and they asked me how I do this with the kids. I shared that most of the time I de-clutter when the kids are not aware and they very rarely notice the items I get rid of. I did acknowledge though that my kids are getting older and that soon I would need to include them in this process. The reason for this is two-fold – 1) I need to honor their belongings and 2) they need to learn how to sort/purge their own items. I’m a big advocate of leading by example. My kids have watched me sort and giveaway items their whole lives. This week, they decided to go through their bins and take down the clutter. I was proud of them as they recycled papers and tossed happy meal toys that were no longer played with. A few nicer items were added to our donation stockpile. It was a highlight of the week for me! 

Now that we have moved out of the quarantine season, I’m reflecting on the things that I’ve learned through this whole experience. One of the biggest wins for me is I broke the social media addiction in my life. I am now averaging around an hour of screen time on my phone a day and that is because I limit my use of Instagram and Facebook. Now my phone sits on the counter or my nightstand, but I don’t feel the need to check it every few minutes. This discipline has been life-giving through my time at home and I hope I can continue to keep my phone usage down in the future.

I’ve also been reflecting on the pace of life. I’ve valued the slower pace of quarantine and I want to take that pace with me as I move forward. I used to pack the summer weeks with all kinds of plans because I thought my kids needed to be busy. I’ve since learned that my kids do well for long periods of time at home. It turns out we are a family of four introverts. While we enjoy people, we don’t need to go out and do something everyday to be fulfilled. Right now in Phase 2, we can see one household outside of our own a week. This pace sounds about right to me. We can add seeing people in person, but one outing/play date/dinner a week is just enough. As I made a play date for later in the month with a friend, she remarked that her family tires out easily after play dates. We have some muscles to rebuild in the socializing department. Building muscle takes time and I am ready to slowly build our schedule back up. I am hesitant though to go back to the way things were before.

The last things that I’ve learned to value during quarantine is my health. I also give credit to my fitbit for this realization. Since the first week of quarantine, I’ve been exercising daily and making sure to get my 10,000 steps a day. Before quarantine, I didn’t have “time” to prioritize daily exercise, now I make it a daily goal to have my fitbit register that I have exercised. For me, my exercise of choice is walking. Moving my body is important not only for physical health, but also mental health.

Overall, quarantine has given me time and space to evaluate healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle. I’m determined to take the lessons I have learned over the last few months and to live differently here from here on out. The nice thing is that they say it takes 21 days to build a habit. I’ve had almost three months to build new habits. This gives me confidence that these changes might just stick.

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The boys requested that I take a picture of our newest backyard buddy. I find him much cuter than the birds that Jeremy draws to the house.

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First time making mini pies!

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So cute! And yummy!

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Still hoping a summer vacation might happen!

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Celebrating National Doughnut Day

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Baking soda and vinegar never gets old! Yay for science!

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Owen claimed this island in the creek near our house. He has a flag to make it official. Welcome to Owen Island.

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Exploring the beaver dam is always a fun outing.

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Papa & Nana came over for pizza on Friday night! We showed them all the changes around the house from our quarantine projects. The boys got to show them the beaver dam for the first time!

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Everything is sooooo green!

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Owen helped Jeremy with the video announcements this week! Moments like this make my heart happy!

 

 

A New Season May 31, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 1:05 pm

We are at the start of a new season. Slowly our area is opening again after the coronoavirus shutdown and slowed down our country for months. Change is happening all around us as the next season unfolds for our family and our community.

Today was Jeremy’s first Sunday back at church in over two months. This week our governor made it possible for churches to gather indoors with small numbers and social distancing guidelines. The announcement was made on Wednesday and the church staff jumped into action so that Sunday morning could happen. Since the number of people in the building is limited, the boys and I stayed home to continue watching church online. The transition back to church will be one of patience for our family. Jeremy, obviously, will be there because it’s his job as a pastor. The boys and I will wait for larger gatherings sizes. It felt strange to send Jeremy off on his own this morning. While we were home together, we enjoyed having a sit down breakfast on Sunday mornings. As a pastor’s wife, I got the special treat of sitting through a Sunday morning message with my husband. I wholeheartedly believe that the church is meant to gather together in person, but I’ve also enjoyed Sunday mornings at home together as a family. It will be an adjustment as we move forward.

In month of June more change is coming. The MOPS & MOMSnext year is wrapping up for me. The school year is wrapping up for the boys. We are moving towards summer mode – whatever that looks like. Summer is still a bit of a mystery. One of the lesson I’ve learned during the stay-home season is to take things one day at a time. The big picture can be unclear and that is okay. What am I doing today? What needs to be done? What should be celebrated? Each day holds so much potential. I don’t need to know all the answers and see the whole picture, I can trust that today is enough. June will definitely bring changes to the new normal we’ve established.

At the end of Christmas break this winter, I got teary-eyed. It had been such a fun time. I enjoyed the break and part of me wished I could freeze time. In a lot of ways I have that same feeling now. It’s been a good “break”. It started off weird, but eventually our family found our groove. While things are changing slowly, it does feel like a break is coming to an end. Our stay-home mandate might be gone, but we are also heading into the summer months. Maybe I should look at it as a shift from one break to another – from quarantine spring to summer break.

I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to have lots of feelings – both positive and negative – about change. It’s okay to be excited and unsure at the same time. There is still tension to be lived in. I realize that I prefer to operate in an all-or-nothing kind of a way. I either want to stay home 100% or be back to normal 100%. There is going to be an window of time where we live in-between those two extremes. We are not mandated to be home, but we are not back to business as usual. I’m reminded that grace for myself and grace for others is so crucial. The tension is yet another opportunity to give grace and show love.

I can see the new season on the horizon. Parts of it have arrived and are becoming clear. Many elements of the new season are yet to be discovered. I went to into quarantine thinking of it as an adventure. This mindset is helpful in tackling something new, especially when I feel unsure.  There is another new adventure unfolding – the start of re-opening, the start of summer, the farewell to quarantine. I want to meet this new season with a hopeful heart. If I keep my eyes on Jesus and follow his lead, I can go into the great unknown, ready for the next adventure.

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Another science experiment! 

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It was too chilly to swim in the pool, but not too chilly for a float! I got into the pool the day after this picture was taken and it was too cold for me! I did one lap around the pool on the turtle float and then I was out! Brrr….

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I’m much more of a dessert-eater than a swimmer! It’s fun watching my family enjoy the pool. I’m hopeful that I will get some pool time this summer once the water warms up more!

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Owen selected the next round of fresh flowers. I originally planned on keeping flowers on the counter during quarantine, but now I might be addicted. I love having flowers in my kitchen. It brings me so much joy! 

 

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The boys are super into astronomy and geography right now. My mom found these felt maps at Target and the boys were so excited! 

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The front walkway is looking good! Jeremy just added special sand to fill in the cracks between the stones.

 

What I’m Reading & What I’m Loving – May 2020 May 27, 2020

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,What I'm Loving — Amy Scott @ 8:30 am

What I’m Reading

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  • The Glenbrooke Series by Robin Jones Gunn* – It was very RJG month for me. The Glenbrooke Series takes place in a fictitious, small town in Oregon. The characters are endearing and after many years of reading these books, each page is like visiting an old friend.
  • Love Finds You in Sunset Beach, HI, Cottage By the Sea & Canary Island Song by Robin Jones Gunn* – I fell in Love with RJG has a young teen through her Christy Miller books. Many of her other works cross paths with characters from this original Christy series. These books are all a part of a connected web of stories.
  • Becoming Known by Robin Jones Gunn – (Not pictured because I forgot to grab it for the photo – oops) This was a new release and the first new book that I had read in a while. A new story was a breath of fresh air! Again, this story is connected to Christy, but she isn’t the main character. The Heaven Makers series is one that I will eagerly await each new release as it follows the lives of five women making space for friendship and authenticity in their lives.
  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins – It’s no secret that I am Hunger Games fan. I’ve been waiting for this new release on pins and needles. The book takes place around the 10th Annual Hunger Games. It offers a new perspective on the post-war Capitol and what went into forming President Snow. Very intriguing, well-written, and kept me on the edge of my seat to the end.
  • Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire by Jen Hatmaker – This book was authentic; full of wisdom and insight. I am drawn to Jen’s love of Jesus and people. She is cares about her audience and wants to bring them into the fullest life possible. This book was heavier than her others with slightly less humor than I was expecting. But it was real and honest and that is powerful.
  • Kilmeny of the Orchid and Pat of Silver Bush* – (Not pictured because they are on my Kindle app) Yet again, L.M. Montgomery whisks me off to Prince Edward Island and I am in my happy place. Comfort reading at its finest!

*Books that I’ve read before but not in the last year so they qualify for my book list. (I’m up to 65 total, so I might actually achieve that goal of reading 100 books in 2020.)

What I’m loving 

New books! – While I deeply enjoy reading my home library, it’s been such fun to have three new books from some of my favorite authors. I eagerly awaited each ones arrival in the mail. Each was a treasured gift!

New Movies! – Jeremy was a good sport this month and rented I Still Believe and Emma. to watch with me. Those were two movies that I was curious about but wouldn’t have gone to the theater to see. I enjoyed being able to watch them in my home sooner than I had expected. We also rented Little Women, but I believe that was in April. My internal calendar is a bit blurry. Seriously, though, my hubby is the best at watching things that interest me, but probably aren’t his first choice. (Jeremy’s top entertainment picks would be Star Wars or Marvel movies.)

 

When I was thinking about the things that I loved most in May, I realized that I didn’t have a lot of new things to share with you. May was a month filled with lots of reading, baking, and time spent with family. While it wasn’t flashy, it was definitely a good month. Through deliveries, drive-by hellos, and technology, I seen the faces and heard the voices of so many people I dearly love. I am thankful that even in a time of distance, I have still felt connected to community. Toward the end of the month, I’ve been thankful that some “normal” things have returned as options. Jeremy and his family went golfing and Jeremy took the boys fishing! It’s funny because I have the option of going “out” now,  but most of my favorite things are here at home. I will happily continue to lay low with my books, baked goods, and the occasional movie. As an introverted, homebody I might be truly living my best life right now!

 

 

Week Ten at Home: The Last One? May 23, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 3:53 pm

Could this be the last official Week at Home post? Just yesterday, our county was approved to move to Phase 2 of reopening. I had to do a little research on what that means. We can now gather with 5 or fewer people from outside of our household per week, more stores should be opening for in-store shopping, restaurants can reopen at 50% capacity.  I feel a bit conflicted. There is this part of me that is celebrating and part of me that is still unsure. I probably won’t rush out to stores and restaurants, but I am happy to have the option of a play date or dinner with another family.

While it’s not quite as imperative that we all hunker down at home, I’m realizing that my life won’t change too much with this phase change. We will still be homeschooling. Jeremy will probably still remain our designated shopper, but we can relax a bit on the kids going into stores. With so many community events canceled, we still have plenty of time at home moving forward. VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) will be at home this summer. Swimming lessons will take in the backyard pool. We had every weekend of summer planned before the world shutdown. Now we are hopeful to regain some of our plans, but we are also aware that it won’t be the same summer we had originally envisioned.

So what did week ten at home look like? If there was a theme to the week it would be Zoom.  On Sunday, we had our first virtual group with our church. We had 3 other families join us to catch up and say hello. On Monday, Jeremy and I watched a Zoom call on what reopening children’s ministries might look like in the future. On Tuesday, I had a Zoom call about MOPS with my co-coordinator. It was really good to talk things out with her and work through so many of the thoughts that were bouncing around in my head! On Wednesday, I had a Zoom call with a friend just to check in and catch up. On Friday, I had a Zoom call with the Network of Women Ministers. We’ll have another Zoom call on Sunday to hang out with more church families. Zoom, zoom, zoom. While I don’t love Zoom calls, I am thankful for the connection they bring. I love sitting in my pajamas with only my shoulders up being presentable. I love that there is no travel time involved. Hosting a call means that I don’t need to clean the house or provide food.  Thanks to technology like Zoom, Marco Polo, Facebook and Instagram I have felt very connected to my community during this season of separation.

I realize that moving into the next phase doesn’t change a whole lot for me. I am thankful that my hubby got to go golfing with his brothers and dad today. I am thankful that Owen got to tag along with Jeremy to Home Depot this morning. I am thankful for the quiet day I had at home yesterday while the boys had a play date with Nana and Jeremy and Papa worked outside on a project. This Memorial Day weekend looks different than what I had planned three months ago, but I am thankful for time to read, tidy, bake, catch up on the DVR, and rent a movie. Life at home has been good!

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Thanks to watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Owen was very curious about coconuts.

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Hacking a coconut to pieces counts as homeschool science, right? 

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Owen buried a treasure in the backyard and Jeremy helped him mark the spot. Once Graham saw this, he did the same. I’m living with pirates!

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Pulled the boys out of bed so they could enjoy the sunset!

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Prepping for a Zoom call! I saw this view quite a bit this week.

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Since Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of summer, I figured cookies with way too much frosting would be a great way to celebrate!

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Graham approves!

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We have loved this science activity book!

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Nothing like ice, salt, and food coloring for a good time! 

 

Week Nine at Home: A Thought-Full Week May 16, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 10:57 am

After the busyness of last week, I was ready to settle down into a quiet week. While my calendar wasn’t full, the week didn’t turn into the quiet week that I expected. This was due to my own pondering. I hit some triggers this week that sent me into planning, researching, and mulling mode. The amount of thoughts that bounced around in my brain made the week anything but quiet.

As the leader of a local MOPS & MOMSnext group, I feel a weight of responsibility that I have never felt before. As a group, how do we keep connection strong during a time of distance? How do we keep the natural rhythms of our group as much as possible? How do we wrap up the end of the year well? How do we build momentum for next year when we aren’t even sure what meeting in the fall looks like right now?  I’ve been thinking these thoughts from time to time, but now that there is less than a month left on the MOPS calendar these thoughts all seemed more urgent. My personality type likes to tackle a to-do list. I plot a course and get it done. This is a season where I can’t easily predict the future and my mind has a hard time letting go. I’ve continue to mull over details that I know are unsolveable at this time. As a leader, I don’t want to let my team down and I certainly don’t want to let our community of moms down. I have plans to talk with my co-coordinator next week so I can share the mental load with someone. I need to draw others into the conversation as we face circumstances we never planned for.

Another area of major thought-full-ness for me this week was the pros and cons of homeschooling this fall. We’ve found a good groove for school. I’m loving the pace and the schedule that comes with school at home. I’m loving not having to dash out the door for anything. There is no rush in our lives! The schedule mixed with the positives of homeschooling had me weighing our options seriously. After making a mental list and going back and forth, I sat down to talk with Jeremy about where I finally landed. This whole time Jeremy has been leaning toward public school and I was the one who was unsure. As of now, our plan is to still go with public school in the fall. We want our family to a light in our community. We believe that public school is a place to grow our faith muscles and be the light of Jesus to those around us. I’m sure volunteering will look different next year, but I want to be in the school offering support and hope to the staff and students. This was very important to me and something I was sad let go of when school closed. Now this decision isn’t a final one. We still don’t know what public school looks like in the fall. Our final decision will be influenced what what our district decides to do in September.

With plans to phase back into normal life being discussed, I’m taking this time to think about what life looks like going forward. There are still many unknowns that make planning a challenge. I’m not in a rush to go back to life as it was. I’ve found a sweet spot at home. I’m definitely processing what I am valuing in this current season and how can I take those values with me into the future.  Now enough on all my pondering and wondering. Here are few highlights from the week!

The first highlight of the week was Owen lost his first tooth! It’s been wiggly for weeks and with Jeremy’s help it finally popped out. Now he has another wiggly tooth in the same area. Looks like we are in a new season!

My highlight for the week was assembling thank you gifts for the MOPS & MOMSnext Steering Team. Since we can’t celebrate the end of the year together in person I created a party-in-a-bag for them. It took me over 5 hours, but I was able to deliver the gifts to each team member. I didn’t get to see all the ladies, but I saw most of them for a few short minutes. Seeing their faces made my heart happy. I also really enjoyed the quiet time in the van to listen to worship music and be with Jesus. After all the noise in my head this last week, I finally felt peace in my spirit. Also, I was glad to see that I still remember how to drive. It had been almost two months since I was last behind the wheel. Turns out it’s like riding bike – it all came back to me!

I never know what the vibe of each week will be. Life certainly hasn’t been boring in my little corner of the world. I’ll keep working on taking things one day at time and trusting God with all the unknowns.

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Owen’s 1st Lost Tooth!

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Mini-bottle of sparkling cider + rainbow chip mug cake + pinata ornament + party hat + noisemaker = party in a bag!

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We had a popsicle themed week!

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Homemade juice pops!

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Pom Pom Popsicle

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Pom Pom Popsicle

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Using the sliding door as a white board

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These are the moments I end up filming when my husband is on video announcements.  Bath tub full of bubbles, industrial bubble maker on, and the Rubber Ducky song playing in the background.

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The next installment of fresh flowers! I’m loving this new tradition. Flowers on the counter bring me so much joy!

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Jeremy’s latest project! It’s not completed, but I had to share his hard work! I’m amazed at all he is doing around our house! Also, notice the grass is coming in where he took out part of the flower bed!

 

Week Eight at Home: The Busiest One Yet! May 10, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 6:26 pm

It’s crazy to say, but this last week was a busy week! I haven’t had one of those in a long time! While it wasn’t pre-pandemic busy, it was busy enough. It made me appreciate the quieter moments. I am truly thankful the change of pace this season at home has brought. I’m reminded that as we phase back into “normal” life, I might not want to be as busy as before. I’ve found peace and contentment in this new pace. With that being said, here are highlights from our busy week.

Monday was a MOPS day for me. My monthly steering team meeting happened through Facebook posts to discuss the end of the year and we also met via Zoom in the evening. Half of the team wanted to meet through Facebook and the other half wanted Zoom so I opted to do both. I learned the hard way that this makes the day feel like I did double the meetings. It was good to connect with my team, but it took more energy that I had anticipated.

Tuesday was a meal/gift delivery to friends who are home from the hospital with their twin baby boys. The family was on the front deck when I dropped off the food at their door and I waved at them from a distance. It was so hard not to snuggle a tiny baby (or in this case – two)!

Wednesday was a full day! I had an appointment in Olympia so the whole family joined to make it an outing. The boys sat with Jeremy in the van during my appointment and then I sat with the boys while Jeremy ran into a few stores. Our big treat was getting Chipotle for lunch and eating it in the van. We got home in time for me to have a coffee date with a friend via Zoom. This was my first time using Zoom for a coffee date and it was delightful! After the coffee date, our family jumped into the van to do a birthday drive-by celebration for one of the girls in my Wednesday night class. It made my heart so happy to celebrate this lovely young lady and to see her family for a few brief minutes.

Thursday was the National Day of Prayer. Jeremy watched a local prayer gathering at home before heading into work. I got to have a phone date with a friend during nap time. Later that evening, I joined Jeremy on the couch to watch what our fellowship called a Sacred Assembly. It was a day to remember we are all in this together and the power of prayer. It was also the kick-off to our weekend. Since the boys had another great week of school, they got to have a sleepover again. This time Graham got to host the shindig in his bedroom.

Friday and Saturday had less of an agenda for me – mostly housework and books on my to-do list. Jeremy is always conquering a project and the big project for the weekend was setting up a swimming pool that was gifted to us. Owen learned a lesson in patience (aka a watched pool never fills). Jeremy learned a lesson in chemicals and well water. Unfortunately, the iron in water our reacted with the pool chemicals. Jeremy spent most of the weekend filtering out the rust color to return the water to a more appealing color.  One highlight of Saturday was getting to attend the wedding of the worship pastor at our church via Zoom. I was supposed to help coordinate her big church wedding this weekend, but obviously plans changed. It was great to still be a part of her special day even if it was through a screen.

And that leads us to today! Mother’s Day! It’s been a day filled with special moments! Church online in the morning, picnic lunch in the yard with my parents, gift delivery to Jeremy’s mom, two birthday (at a distance) hellos and then take-out for dinner. I’m a pretty easy girl to please. My family showered me with my favorite foods (chocolate cake and macaroni & cheese), books and flowers! I’m so thankful for my family. I’m honored to be the mama of my two wild boys. They keep me on my toes and make life an adventure.

And now we head into week nine at home. I expect it to be a slower one than last week. I’m very much okay with that. It took a few weeks (okay, months), but I’m feeling pretty settled in this new quarantine life. Oh, and Benny the Betta is still alive. Life is good!

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Adding a little flare to Cinco de Mayo. Always looking for something to celebrate!

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My first time out in the real world on Wednesday. I can’t say I love this look.

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Hanging in the van!

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Hello Chipotle! I’ve missed you!

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Coffee Date!

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Science activities!

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Owen wanted to read Graham a book he made before bed. So sweet!

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Sleepover in Graham’s room!

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When I tell them to look at each other and laugh! Haha! This sums up their relationship fairly well. Mostly happy and loud!

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Wished a couple of special family members happy  birthday from a distance!

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The progression of the pool water! So glad it’s clear again!

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We are ready for the summer pool parties!

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This cake with lunch and mac & cheese for dinner! Perfect food day! Also, loved the flowers, cards, and books I received as gifts!

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Life with these boys is a wild adventure! So glad I’m their mama!

 

Week Seven at Home: Change and Rewards May 2, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 3:36 pm

When school closed in March, I created a schedule for our weekdays to accommodate school at home. I, personally, thrive with a schedule. I knew that my boys were used to following a classroom schedule at school. I agree with the opinion that structure brings freedom. Our days might be predictable, but the flow we’ve created is important. The boys know what to expect and what it is next. The schedule is a guideline. It’s not household law, not written in stone. It is flexible and adaptable. I’m certainly learning as I go!

A month into our time at home, I decided to give Graham more structure to his schoolwork. Up until that point, I’d been printing busy work to keep Graham occupied while I focused on Owen’s kindergarten work. I ordered Graham a preschool workbook and was surprised to see him dive into it with enthusiasm. He has impressed me with his attitude and aptitude. Graham’s workbook is bright, colorful and easy because it’s for a preschooler. However, it turns out it’s also extremely distracting to a kindergartner who is working on black and white worksheets. For two weeks, I struggled with Owen being distracted by Graham’s work. I would stop to explain something to Graham and Owen would just freeze. He’d quit doing his work and just start watching Graham. It was perplexing to me that Owen went from being able to do his own work in a classroom of twenty-one students to needing me to watch him write every letter or number. The second I stopped watching him, he stopped working. Why?  I have no clue. I’ll be honest, my frustration level rose. I wasn’t doing well teaching two learning levels at the same time.

This led me to make a change. I rearranged our homeschool schedule to allow for one-on-one time at the table to do age specific work with each boy. Our day starts together on the rug in the living room – we talk about the date, the weather, say the pledge of allegiance, we pray together, and we sing and dance to worship songs on YouTube.  Then we divide up to do table work. One child gets alone time to play while the other gets one-on-one time to do schoolwork. There is value in giving individual attention to each boy. There is also value in giving space so they can have time alone. In a season where we are together a lot, this new structure adds two elements that have been missing. After we’ve worked at the table, we come back together on the couch to read books and do 10 minutes of educational apps (IXL or ABCmouse). We close our school time with a craft or science activity and play a board game. All of this happens in less than two hours a morning.

This was our first week with the new flow and it worked well. I told the boys if we had four good days of school in a row then they could have a special sleepover in Owen’s room on Thursday night. They did a great job rising to the occasion. The reward at the end of the week helped them to embrace the change with positive attitudes. Throughout this process of schooling at home, I’ve made changes along the way. I often wonder about what my boys will remember from this time. I’m doing my best to make sure it’s as positive as possible. The sleepover reward at the end of the week was a major success and they are already hopeful that they can earn another sleepover next week.

We are also celebrating another reward becoming a reality in our household. Owen has been saving money since the beginning of the year. At the beginning of April, he latched on to the idea of buying a fish. He worked hard to do extra chores around the house and prove he is responsible. We told Owen that he wouldn’t be able to go into a pet store until May and that he would need to work hard and be patient. With the announcement that the stay home order is extended through May 31st in Washington State, we knew our six year old would have a hard time waiting until June to go to the pet store.

I started to explore a way to get Owen his desired fish by sending Jeremy into a pet store and then video chatting with Owen so he could select his fish. After calling multiple pet stores, I soon realized that most aren’t carrying live fish at this time. It was a shocking discovery. Owen was concerned, but I’ve been impressed with his readiness to accept current conditions. He knows that things are different right now. After talking with three pet stores, I finally found one locally that had betta fish in stock. So to stimulate the local economy and for the mental health of our six year old, we went fish shopping. Jeremy video chatted with Owen so that Owen could have the joy of selecting the exact fish he wanted. We got a new tank, some fish food and took off for home with Benny the Betta in tow. I’ll keep you posted on the new adventures of Benny (may he live long and prosper).

It seems like each week brings change to process. The world is different these days and we are adapting. While I’m usually not a fan of change, I am thankful for how rewarding these changes can be. We are working hard, doing the best we can, and celebrating the wins as they come!

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Love looking out the window at my boys playing together. They aren’t perfect, but I’m so glad they have each other!

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Super into geography right now thanks to their favorite YouTube channel. 

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First MOPS & MOMSnext Zoom Meeting! It was so great to see all these lovely faces!

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Owen’s class assignment for the week was to make a terrarium! We call this Bunnies in a Cactus Garden.

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Using my knees as a head rest!

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Special sleepover as a reward for a good week of school.

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While the Governor talks, I bake. 

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More change! We changed the layout of our front flower beds.  We took out the corner bed and now have grass seed down. Jeremy joked that we’ll need before and after quarantine photos of our property! My hubby keeps tackling project after project! 

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Meet Benny the Betta!

 

What I’m Reading & What I’m Loving – April 2020 April 27, 2020

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,What I'm Loving — Amy Scott @ 8:00 am

What I’m Reading:

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Comfort Reading Month: all novels from my home library

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Sometimes you need to need to escape to Narnia. Now is one of those times.
  • Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, OR – Sundance, WY – Last Chance, CA by Miralee Ferrell – Simple, sweet love stories for the win.
  • A Tangled Web by L.M. Montgomery – Take me away to Prince Edward Island!
  • Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn – The next book in this series comes out tomorrow, so I wanted to refresh myself on the plot before diving into the next installment.

What I’m Loving:

Deliveries – We’ve made a few deliveries to friends and family this month. For Easter, we delivered flowers to the grandparents. April events, like a baby shower and a birthday party, were canceled so we made deliveries to friends to drop off gifts. It’s so strange to stand in my friends’ driveways wanting to chat, but also feeling like I need to leave as quickly as possible. Who knew the tension that social distancing would bring? Despite the weirdness, seeing the faces of my friends has been a positive spot in my month. We received a delivery from Owen’s teacher last week with all of his items from school. We used this time to make an exchange. We gave his teacher her end of the year/teacher appreciation gift. I’m grateful for the chance to honor her. Saying good-bye in person brought a sense of closure to the abrupt ending of school.

Flowers – I’ve had the dream/goal/hope of keeping flowers on my counter during these continual days at home. It’s worked out well that one set of flowers starts to fade right around the time that Jeremy ventures out to the store. He has been very kind in replacing the flowers for me while he is out shopping. Flowers make me happy and they bring cheerfulness to my day. Finding beauty in small ways goes a long way with my soul! I am thankful for a hubby who keeps making my dreams come true!

 

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Healthy Habits – I’ve been battling headaches throughout this quarantine period.  While there are probably many factors that play into these headaches, I’ve been working to maintain healthy habits so I can feel my best. Here are some of the habits I’m actively working on:

  • Going to bed early – These days have been surprisingly tiring for me. I’ve been trying to go to bed before 10:00pm most nights. I’ve been using my Fitbit to track my sleep scores and I can see a difference when I intentionally go to bed early.
  • Moving my body everyday – Again, thanks to my Fitbit, I’m tracking my steps and making sure I exercise. Most days I take a 20-30 minute walk. One of my MOPS friends has been sharing Zumba routines that I hope to try during nap time this week!
  • Spiritual & Mental Health – I’m reading my Bible daily and writing in my prayer journal often. I pause throughout the day to invite God into the moment with me, especially when I feel anxiety rising. I’m also practicing gratitude and thankfulness. When it comes to mental health, I enjoy reading or watching a show while the kids sleep. I also love video messaging with my close friends to fight feelings of isolation
  • Limiting Screen Time & Blue Light Reducing Glasses – I’m doing my best to keep my screen time on my phone under two hours a day. I find myself using my computer more so I don’t end up mindlessly scrolling on my phone. I’m more direct and on-task when I hop on to my computer. When I’m on my phone, computer, or watching TV before bed, I try to use these blue light reducing glasses to help eye strain which might lead to headaches. I got these glasses super cheap on Amazon and they are quite the fashion statement. I don’t love the nerdy look, but I’m willing to try something new if leads to better health.

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Curly Hair – You’ll notice in my photos over the last month, I’ve been wearing my hair naturally curly these days. Right when everything shut down, I decided to give my hair a break from heat styling. It took me a few weeks to adjust back to my natural curls, but I’m loving how quickly I can get ready in the mornings. I now let my hair air dry and then pin it away from my face. I’m enjoying the relaxed pace to my mornings these days. No early alarms, quick and easy morning routine, plenty of time at home to wear my comfy clothes. These are good days!

 

Week Six at Home: Celebrating the Earth April 25, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 1:20 pm

I’m looking for all the ways to celebrate these days – big and small. With this in mind, I decided to turn Earth Day into a week long celebration! Here some of the highlights from our sixth week at home:

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Jeremy completed his fence with an arbor the entrance!

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Earth Week Activity: Making planters out of milk jugs.

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Earth Week Activity: Watering the newly planted flowers.

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Earth Week Activity: Nature Scavenger Hunt

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The beginnings of a tree fort! Jeremy continually wins the coolest parent award!

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Tree Fort!

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All celebrations deserve cake! I had fun creating this special treat for Earth Day. I even had enough batter to make the moon just for fun!

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Earth Week Activity: Earth Paintings

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Earth Week Activity: Earth Paintings

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Trying a new cookie recipe. We made these as a special gift for Owen’s teacher since sugar cookies are her favorite.

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Tin foil boats!

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Take-out makes us very happy!

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Owen’s teacher made a home delivery to drop off his items from school. It brought some closure to the school year to say good-bye in person. I am continually sad about how this school year ended even though we are making the most of the situation.

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Celebrating Aunt Beckie’s graduation from nursing school!

 

 

Week Five at Home: Embracing the New Normal April 18, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 6:17 pm

Well, here we are. Five weeks at home completed. After the excitement of Holy Week, we’ve fallen back into the calmness that is our day-to-day routine. Once the decision to close schools for the year was made, I could feel a release within me. I was disappointed to hear this news, but at the same time, it set me free from the last concern I had in my heart. Until the announcement was made, I had a source of anxiety – would they or wouldn’t they close schools? While wondering does me no good, I couldn’t help but do it. With the answer to that question, I was able to release that wonder from my mind and settle into the new normal that will now be the end of the school year for my boys.

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On Monday, we picked up Owen’s next school packet. I am thankful for a district that is providing screen-free learning. I am thankful for sitting down at the table with my kids and doing schoolwork with a pencil and paper – just like they would at school and just like I would prefer if I had chosen homeschooling. We use four different educational apps throughout the course of the week, but they are a small amount of our school time. Our school district also provided Owen with a bag of school supplies to accomplish his work at home. Graham started his new preschool workbook on Monday and he is doing well with it each morning (better than I expected). I’m glad I have these resources as I work in this new endeavor of school from home.

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Owen’s spring portrait from school

The last week has been fairly routine. School, chores, free time, rest, outside time, meals as a family, walks at the end of the day. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Jeremy got the boys up early on Thursday morning to see the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Owen was so excited that he barely slept a wink the night before. He was sitting up in bed when Jeremy came to get him up. Owen was ready to go! It was a special experience and a memory was certainly made. The boys were extra tired that day, but it was well worth it to have a space adventure.

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My special project for the week was making a teaching video for my MOPS & MOMSnext group. Last week we had a discussion question that asked the ladies what would they teach if they had the chance.  We had so many great responses that we challenged our ladies to make a video and share it with our group. I made a video about home tidying. It was a lot of fun to work on a project and share something that I enjoy. I had too much footage to post in one video, so I have requests for another episode. I might take that on this next week. Who knew I missed my calling as a reality TV home organizer? Haha!

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Filming in my studio (aka my bedroom)

Jeremy has been busy in project mode around the house. He has been clearing brush around our property and burning the debris. He also built a fence around his garden to keep out the deer. Owen was Jeremy’s prime fence helper. Graham was out in the yard most of the day either helping Jeremy with the fence or helping to move tree debris. Both boys worked so hard that we rewarded them with a meal from McDonald’s as our thank you to them. Owen also had a certain lawn ornament he wanted to purchase for the garden and Jeremy told him he would order it if Owen helped him build the fence. So now we are awaiting the arrival of a Whirligig Lovebird (google it). I love watching my boys out in the yard being so helpful and involved in projects with their dad. Jeremy does such a great job of letting our boys learn alongside him. I feel like the boys are learning their school skills from me right now and they are learning vocational skills from Jeremy. It’s a good combo!

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The start of the fence with the brush debris in the background. This is round two of debris clearing. Jeremy burned an equally massive pile before this one a week ago.

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The fence is almost complete. Jeremy plans on building an arbor over the entrance. Notice the brush in the background is gone!

That wraps up week five at home. I’m looking forward to making Earth Day a special focus of this coming week. With the boys being so into space and planets right now, we are very excited to celebrate our planet. I’m not usually too jazzed about Earth Day, but in this new season, I will look for as many ways to celebrate as possible! There is a blessing to life being small and slow. Instead of needing big, flashy things to get my attention, I can more clearly see and celebrate the smaller things. Every day is a new opportunity and I hope to make the most of each one I’m given!

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Graham found my box of birthday cards and sorted them for me. How helpful!

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We got a new book full of science activities! We’ve been having fun experimenting as a part of our school time.

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All four of us worked on this solar system puzzle! The boys love the fold-out book that came with it!

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Typing his manifesto. In his swimsuit.