Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

James 4:13-15 March 12, 2019

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 12:19 pm

13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15 NLT

Okay, I’ve never made plans that involved going out of town for a year, but I make plans all the time. I could be a professional plan maker. I fill in the days, weeks, months and years like a champ. Give me a blank calendar and I’ll change that in a few texts. However, true to Mom Life, plans often don’t pan out. You can never predict when things are going to go down hill and this was one of those weeks.

As I was teaching my Wednesday night class, I noticed my throat hurt. No big deal. Push through it. It’s all good. But on Thursday, I had to admit that I was sick. And I had a book party that night. I needed to access brain cells that I hadn’t used in months. I needed to be on my game. On top of being under the weather, my computer decided to freak out fifteen minutes before my party. I had ten minutes of sheer panic before I was able to reclaim things five minutes before the party started. I felt behind from the beginning. Lucky for me, my hostess was on top of it. She commented on everything and kept the party active. Despite the rocky night for me, the party was a success. This party was in my top three for sales. That made it was worth it, for sure!

I’ve been processing my thoughts about book parties now that I’ve had a small break from them. I don’t mind doing them occasionally.  Especially if it’s just once a month. This way parties don’t overlap and I can focus on one party at a time. The downside of book partying is that it tethers me to my phone. I have to keep up with comments and posts meaning I have to be online more than I would like. While I don’t like being attached to my phone, I do enjoy getting a paycheck. It was good to have this experience after taking a break. I don’t plan to seek out parties, but if someone asks me, I would be more than willing to do one.

I was completely spent after my book party on Thursday night. I was sick. I was tired. The party was hopping so my brain was mush. And then at 11:00pm, Graham threw up. And Owen woke up at the same time, with a fever… Friday was spent with kids throwing up and cleaning up puke and washing nasty laundry and movies playing as the boys slept on and off all day. The weekend morphed into fevers and lethargic kids who just laid around like bumps on a log. This is where “you make a plan, but it might not pan out” verse I shared at the beginning of the post comes in. We had a packed weekend planned. On Friday, I was supposed to drive up north to have lunch with a friend. I was supposed to come home in time to take the boys for a sleepover at Nana & Papa’s house. Jeremy and I were supposed to spend Friday night and Saturday at a marriage conference. None of that happened. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the boys had been sleeping at night, but the fevers have made them restless and sleep has evaded them. Our nights have become like keeping up with two newborns on alternating schedules. One sure fire way to make daylight savings irrelevant is to not sleep the three nights prior to it. At that point, time looses all meaning.

Yesterday, we called the nurse at our doctor’s office. We wanted to know if we should bring them in. After talking with her, we determined this sounds like a virus and it could take seven days to run it’s course. Today the boys woke up with no fevers. The boys even sat up to watch part of a movie. We’ll take baby steps back to health and celebrate the small victories.

Sometimes the show must go on despite illness. For me that meant MOPS & MOMSnext still had to happen last night, no matter what was going on at my house. It was Spa Night and a huge success. We had a Mary Kay consultant do Satin Hands (a two step process to treat your hands and make them soft). We offered a station for moms to paint their nails. This is a special treat they don’t often get to do uninterrupted. We made DIY car fresheners with essential oils and leather. And my favorite part was the s’mores station that very much fit with our Find Your Fire theme. I found these cute little indoor s’mores kits that use Sterno cans for the heat. I had fears of ladies burning marshmallows, setting off the smoke alarms and having the fire department come. Thankfully, that was not the case and the whole thing ran smoothly.  I had a bunch of moms tell me both before and after the meeting how much they needed a spa night. It was perfectly timed – thank you, Jesus – for a day when so many ladies needed a little extra TLC and relaxation. Definitely God’s timing there!

The final part of this update is after purchasing five vanities and returning four of them, we finally completed our half bath project! We switched to looking at smaller vanities that were a slightly higher quality then we’d been looking at. The vanity we picked isn’t a perfect color match to our other cabinets, but it’s close. We like the counter-top color and it’s a better product, so it shouldn’t chip as easily as the other ones we’d been getting. The door knobs that came with the vanity were not our style, but we had two knobs left over that Jeremy had saved from our cabinets, so now the knobs match perfectly with the house. This vanity project has been a dream of ours for a year. I am so blessed by a husband who powered through frustrating circumstances and was able to conquer the vanity project. I love it and every time I use that bathroom, it makes my heart happy!

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On Thursday before the illness hit, Owen had a snow day. The boys had such a fun day together that I was shocked when they got sick because they showed no signs during the day. 

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Our new vanity! So thankful!!!

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Sleepy, sick boys

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Despite sickness, Graham had a few perky moments.

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My next read! 

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He said he wanted pancakes so I made them look like Mickey in hopes that he would eat more. He took two bites, but the smile was worth it. 

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The s’mores station at MOPS & MOMSnext!

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Yummy goodness! 

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Nail painting station! Love seeing moms connecting and investing in themselves! 

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Proof that the boys are moving in the right directions! They are sitting up and smiling. 

 

Bargains, Mishaps & Screen Time: A Diverse Update March 6, 2019

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 2:40 pm

Let’s start with what makes me happiest – my new bookshelves. I don’t know how long I’ll be riding the new bookshelf high, but for now it’s one of the things that is bringing me joy daily. My hopes of shopping on Friday were rewarded. Between Hobby Lobby & Michaels, I was able to get 4 picture frames, 3 decorative signs, a fake plant and two photo boxes. The bonus was all the items were 40% off, 50% off or on clearance. I got all my new decorative items for under $54. I was very impressed with those bargain finds. And now my bookshelves look complete. No more empty space! I love it. Every time I walk by my books, I smile.

I was able to run all my errands on Friday, so Saturday was a full day at home. Week one of March has had a successful day at home! Woo hoo! Tomorrow is supposed to my home day for week two. A friend had to reschedule with me so we are hanging out at my house tomorrow. I’m also hosting a book party tomorrow night (more on that in my next post). The level of put-togetherness I need to host company and work might cancel out the benefits of staying home all day. We will have to see how this experiment goes.

While we are talking about home, Jeremy and I dove into another home improvement project this week, but were met with much mishap. Ever since we realized that the pedestal sink in our half bath isn’t big enough to hold a soap dispenser, we’ve talked about putting in a vanity instead for counter space and storage. We found a vanity we really liked online and purchased it in store on Monday. After ripping out the pedestal sink, we realized that the vanity was damaged. Lesson learned – check new vanity before ripping out pedestal sink. Oops. We have now purchased three vanities – all having to be returned because of damage. We are still formulating where we plan to go from here. Despite the rough look, the pedestal sink has been reinstalled until the mythical perfect vanity is found.

On to the big screen time update. We are a family that allows screen time. We keep it under 2 hours daily. We use kid-friendly apps to make sure the content is appropriate. And then the news blew up about YouTube kids… While one of the new stories turned out to be a hoax (I learned after research), it has become apparent that people are trying to send harmful messages to kids and YouTube Kids isn’t doing a sufficient job in my opinion to make sure their content is safe.  This led to us deleting the YouTube Kids app off of my phone and tablet. We still have the YouTube app on our TV in the living room where it can be used with parental supervision – my kids love watching videos of trains too much to cut all YouTube. The boys got Amazon Fire tablets for Christmas with the FreeTime Unlimited subscription. Web videos are available through that program and I learned after doing research that Amazon and an outside organization called Common Sense Media previews all web content before it is available to kids. This makes me feel safer about the videos they are viewing. While we always had good intentions with screen time, we have really locked down the “rules” now. Time limits have been set, screens are only allowed in the living room and within ear shot of a parent. The boys have responded well to the increased security. We took time to explain to them the reasons why. They know to not watch anything that is mean, scary or makes them uncomfortable.  I can already see how this is a positive change, for Graham especially. He is playing more games instead of watching videos. He isn’t watching as many videos of kids playing with toys – these kinds of videos make him want us to buy him the same toys as the kids he is watching. Videos like that feed consumerism and discontentment. Overall we feel like we’ve landed in a good place. I’m glad we were able to have the conversations now and set healthy boundaries at a young age. Media will be a factor in our boys’ lives as they grow up into adulthood. My hope is that we can give them a firm foundation to use technology for good and that they would know how to have healthy safe guards in place to protect their hearts and minds.

This topic fits well with the latest book I’ve been reading called A Practical Guide to Culture. It came highly recommended from a friend/mentor and it was on sale for $0.79 on Kindle. I downloaded right away. Later our lead pastor recommended that Jeremy & I read it and attend a group discussion on it. I finished it yesterday and it hits so many important topics for parents to be aware of and shares how to have intentional conversations with kids. It was like a Biblical college course on culture. There was a lot to unpack throughout the book. It is a great resource to encourage parents to be proactive and also a helpful reference for when situations come up that might catch you off guard. Kids are exposed to all kind of things way sooner than we experienced as parents. We might not be ready to have tough conversations, but we need to be aware that they are going to happen. If we’re not willing to have these conversations with our kids, they will go to someone else for the answers. This is a resource I will return to many times over the next few years.

Okay, way to end with the heavy topics, huh? The pictures below might help to lighten the mood. I look forward to next week’s update. Who knows, maybe we’ll actually have a vanity we like and isn’t damaged installed in our half bath? Or not! Life can be a great mystery! I’ll just look at my bookshelves and soak up the happy vibes if things get too intense around here.

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Graham discovered the fake fruit aisle at Michaels

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Color coding my Food Network Magazine collection

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Top: Before my shopping day, Bottom: After with my bargain finds! 

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Decorations for bookshelf #1

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Decorations for bookshelf #2

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The Complete Before and After

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The boys even got something out of the Hobby Lobby outing

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Graham had some great time this week tracing his numbers and working on scissor skills. I’m thankful for times like this when my schedule allows me to sit down with him and get hands on with his preschool skills. 

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I showed Graham our wedding photo album after he stared long and hard at a wedding picture we have up in our house. 
He asked if I was a princess and I explained that I was the bride and Daddy was the groom and this was the day we got married. 

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On to my next read!

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Making train tracks out of cardboard

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Train bridge

Note: My kiddos got new pajamas a week or so ago. Now if we are home, they are in the their pajamas. That is why they are in their pajamas in almost every picture. And they are washed daily… and put back on promptly. This is my life.

 

Bookshelves & Fire Trucks February 27, 2019

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 2:36 pm

There are so many exciting updates and photos to share with you today. The biggest for me is that I have two new bookshelves in my bedroom! Jeremy put them together last week and I am in love with them. I was able to take back some of the books that I had been storing in Jeremy’s office. I now have room to grow my library again. That feels good! Also in an attempt to decorate, I’m planning on going shopping for new picture frames and some decorative items to dress up the bookshelves a bit. My current picture frames are all black and they blend with the shelves. I’ll be looking for some frames in gray, white and wood to make the pictures stand out. I’m also determined to find some kind of fake plant to add green to our room (I don’t do real plants, I keep tiny humans alive, that is it). I’ll be hitting Hobby Lobby with a mission this Friday. I am excited for the challenge. After reading The Cozy Minimalist, I’ve been trying to add style to our house in practical ways. I added a new blanket to our couch in the living room. It’s a small item, but it brings more of my favorite blue color to room and makes the space feel cozy with another dimension of texture. I claim no brilliance in home decor, but I am having a lot of fun attempting to style my house in a way that feels homey and simple.

We are currently winding down the busy end of February. My March is filling in, but I’m already being intentional with setting days in advance that will be home days once a week. Saturday is our home day this week. Jeremy and I keep talking about it in sacred and protective tones. We will be home this Saturday or else. The following week, I have Thursday protected on my calendar. While I do have a book party (more on that later) scheduled for that evening, I don’t plan on leaving my house that day. If I’m not intentional with claiming these “home days” then they won’t happen. I am very determined to have one day a week that I am home for each week in March. Wish me luck with this endeavor. And yes, I am book partying… I had a past hostess ask if she could have a party and since I haven’t made a big deal on my VIP group about not doing parties, I figured why not. If I book some parties out of this party, I’ll do them too. I’ve had a few return customers order from my website, so right now I’m feeling very good about my scaled back book business. It’s very manageable and still allowing me to do something I enjoy.

The end of February has looked like lot of social engagements. I’ve had friends over to the house for coffee/play dates. We’ve had dinners with family and friends. It’s been a big week for MOPS & MOMSnext with a steering team hang out on Friday night, an outing to the fire station on Saturday morning and a regular meeting with a special marriage panel on Monday evening (special shout out to my parents for being a part of that panel). While I can get peopled out and tired from constant social interaction, I am so blessed by the people that I have in my life. Each day I have been able to sit down and enjoy some of the most wonderful people on the planet. Even as introvert, I understand the importance of community and I am beyond thankful for  awesome people I get to be surrounded by.

The fire station outing was one of the highlights of the last week, for sure. The boys made cards to say thank you to our local firefighters and then we made brownies together to bless them as well. Our MOPS & MOMSnext group was encouraged to come with a thank you card or goodie, so the fire station has quite a few treat options and cards to enjoy. It felt right to be thankful not only for their service everyday, but for also taking the time to open up their building and show us around. Owen’s favorite part was the medic unit and Graham said he wished we could stay at the station forever.

This month has been unique with all it’s snow and slow/fast pace. In fact, I still have snow in my backyard that hasn’t melted. Most of this morning was spent with snowflakes falling outside my window. It’s been a chilly, snowy month. March holds the promise of spring. It also holds daylight savings, but I’m trying to block that out. Anyone else get super messed up by the time changes? My body hates them. But I know longer days are coming and then hopefully warmer days as well. I have high hopes for March as I continue to keep the goals set in January alive and well. So far my “not going into Walmart” goal remains my crowning achievement of 2019!

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Using my old bookshelf for tablet time before it was gifted to some friends.

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Flowers from Jeremy as an apology for losing his Valentine’s Day card for me. I didn’t need an apology, but flowers are always appreciated! 

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The new bookshelves –  I’ll post another picture after my hopefully profitable trip to Hobby Lobby! 

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Eating his snack in a Target box! 

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Working on cards for the firefighters to say thank you! 

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Picture time with Firefighter Kyle

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MOPS & MOMSnext outing to the Fire Station

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Getting to operate the jaws of life

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Playing with their favorite toys at GG’S house. 

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Family Bunco Night! Jeremy and Owen ended up winning! 

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It would have been easier to leave them at home, but these boys begged to come to MOPS & MOMSnext with me on Monday night. They love their friends, teachers and the chance to be my special helpers before & after the meetings. 

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Reading Barbara Brown Taylor for the first time. I’m really enjoying memoirs these days, so Leaving Church was very interesting to hear about her journey in and out of professional ministry.  Learning to Walk in the Dark was my favorite of the two. Her insight into how darkness serves a purpose was powerful. Reminds me of the Starry Eyed theme from MOPS a few years ago and that there is good in both the light and dark parts of life. 

 

Slow & Go February 19, 2019

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 2:15 pm

At the beginning of January, I was thinking about words that I wanted to be true of this year and two came to mind. They were simplicity and focus. These are my ideals, my goals, what I’m striving for. While I want these words to be true more than anything, I feel like “slow and go” or “go and slow and back again” better define my start to 2019. I went from racing in January to make up for “lost time” to slowing down due to sickness and snow in February. Now to make up for the time that was slowed down, I find the calendar speeding up again. Why does this cycle happen? Go fast, wear down, go slow, and feel like you need to compensate for going slow by picking up speed. I don’t enjoy it. I’m definitely keeping track of the time. Finding a balance is a work in progress. Here is my evaluation of the 2019 goals and ambitions thus far.

Here are the things we are rocking right now:

  • Chores – the boys have kept up on their chore chart. They are helping out like everyone in the family. No payment given. They seem to be okay with just the appreciation they receive. This addition to our household routine has been a win!
  • Reading – This category is on the chore chart to make sure it happens every day. Our nighttime routine had morphed and books had fallen by the wayside. Now they are a priority again. Also, I’ve been reading more lately and exploring new authors. Reading books makes me happy and I can feel the benefit of prioritizing reading in our house.
  • Not going into Walmart – I can’t tell you the last time I went into Walmart. I’ve been using their grocery pick-up option and it’s been life changing. My frustration level rises when I’m in the store with my kids, so this saves time and sanity. This is one category that would for sure count as a win in simplicity and focus. By ordering online, I don’t get distracted by items I don’t need in the stores. I also save time by adding these pick-ups to outings I’m already making. Right now the only stores that offer grocery pick-up are 30-40 minutes away. This means that I’m super strategic about when I schedule my pick-ups so they fit with out of town outings. I’m told that our local Walmart is adding grocery pick up soon. That day can’t come soon enough!

Here are the things that need improving:

  • Focused learning time with Graham – with preschool right around the corner, I want to set Graham up for success. I would love to focus more on working on his letters, numbers and tracing. Owen got this kind of attention from me and I want to make sure that Graham gets it too.
  • Having one day at home a week – I do best when I have one day at home where I don’t go anywhere. This can still be a productive day at home, but I need to have one day a week where I don’t have to be presentable and out of the house interacting with people. My introverted self craves this one day.

Life is an ebb and flow. I get that. I don’t love the full speed ahead and then peter out cycle. I’ll keep striving for that simplicity that allows rest and keeps the schedule from being overly complicated. And I’ll try to stay focused on the top priorities and things that matter most. I can’t do it all, so how do I want to spend these days? What things are a must? What things can be scheduled further out in the month so I can spread out the commitments? These are important questions and I’ll keep working on them.

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My parents needed to transport something to my sister and it would only fit in our van. So the boys rode with the grandparents while Jeremy and I got an hour alone in the van. It was practically a date!

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Book of Choice: Alfie & Bet’s ABC

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Book of Choice: Cinderella

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Graham is a silly snuggler

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Filling Easter eggs with candy for Easter Eggravaganza with our growth group.

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A fun way for the whole family to participate with this community event.

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Squinty IKEA picture! Jeremy and I got a date day to go shopping in Portland! Thank you, Nana & Papa!

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New bookcases! I’ll show you the finished product once my home library has been relocated to these shelves!

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Loving our new Nibbles calendar! We talk about the date, the days of the week, the weather and our emotions using it! Such a great resource and very fun!

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We love Nibbles the Book Monster!

 

Valentine’s Day & The KonMari Method February 15, 2019

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 5:39 pm

I don’t know how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Some people make a big deal of it. Some people think it’s a Hallmark holiday made up to get Americans to spend more money. I fall in the middle. I’m not against the holiday, but it’s not a super huge deal. Most years Jeremy and I just exchange cards and small gifts – like this year Jeremy got me a Kit Kat bar. It was a small gesture that was greatly appreciated… especially since he lost the card that was supposed to accompany it. I, on the other hand, got him a card from me and helped the boys get him a card, but we didn’t get him a gift. It all balances out.

During our great snow storm, I turned to Valentine’s Day as a distraction to break up the time at home. We worked on Valentines to give to Owen’s preschool friends and Graham worked on Valentines to give to family members since he isn’t in school yet. Then we moved on to Valentine inspired crafts and then we gave the boys their Valentine’s Day presents early.  It seemed like the break in the weather was going to be perfect for getting Owen back to school in time for Valentine’s Day and his class party. However, going back to school/church on Wednesday meant that Owen picked up a tummy bug. No one but Graham slept Wednesday night. We woke exhausted on Thursday and then the puking started. Instead of sending Owen to school to party, he stayed home on the couch surrounded by towels with a clear path to the bathroom.  I felt a bit blue that my plans for the day had changed and that Owen wasn’t able to experience the fun of Valentine’s Day at school. Instead of resting during nap time, I decided to make my favorite butter cookie recipe. What is the point of owning a heart shaped cookie cutter if you don’t use it for Valentine’s Day? My social media feeds had been filled with cookies made by friends this week, so I felt inspired to make pretty cookies too. I needed to add something pretty and special to counterbalance the sick day vibes.  Our dinner out plans changed to dinner in, but it’s all good. Owen perked up by the end of the evening so overall; it wasn’t too shabby of a Valentine’s Day.

On to today’s adventure… I opened up the next size up box of clothes for Graham. It was time to take stock of what survived from Owen and what gaps needed to be filled in. After sorting through the box of clothes and washing them, I decided I would use the KonMari method to fold them and put them away. I’ve been watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix this last month.  I am a tidier by nature. I found it interesting to see how she does things. I love using drawer organizers like she does. I have the strong desire now to get pretty baskets to store all my bedding sets in my linen closet. She’s inspiring and adorable. I wondered as I watched the show if her method of folding clothes was really helpful. I set out to discover that today. Here are some of my findings – the KonMari method of folding saves space. I was able to empty an entire drawer in my dresser by using it. My dresser is completely KonMari at the moment. I’m not sure I like the socks and underwear set-up, but I’ll give it a shot. I do like that this method saves space and allows you to see all that you have in a single glance. The boys’ dressers got a KonMari makeover as well, but theirs is more of hybrid. Since their drawers would have been too empty by completely going KonMari, I used the folding style for their pajamas, but laid the pajamas out in sets instead of a row. Also, I struggled with their pants folding properly, so I left them folded as I would have normally. We’ll see if this style of folding the clothes sticks, but I was intrigued and thought why not give it a try.  Have you tried something new just to see if it’s better? We usually think we’re right or we’re too stuck/lazy in our ways, but I really enjoyed learning a new method for folding my clothes and I see great value in the whole KonMari method.  Marie Kondo talks about sparking joy through the process of tidying and I agree. Tidying does spark joy, but this isn’t new for me. This is a truth that natural “tidiers” just know. It why we do what we do it. It feels good to see a tidy space. It sparks joy! I’ll keep you posted if my newly organized dressers continue to spark joy or if they revert. Time will tell.

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Ta Da! Graham helped me put sprinkles on cupcakes for my Wednesday night class. 

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My Valentine’s Day view… Graham needed a couch bed made for him just like Owen. 

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Our backyard this morning. Apparently it takes a while to make 11 inches of snow disappear. 

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The pile of clothes that inspired me to try to the KonMari method. 

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All of Graham’s size 4/4T options all sorted and waiting for him.

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My shirt drawer

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Here is where I made extra space. I combined my pants/leggings/pajamas into one drawer! 

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My hybrid KonMari in Graham’s pajama drawer. The footie pajamas are lined up in the official KonMari method. The pajama sets are laid out in shirt/pant pairs. True to the KonMari method, you can see all your options in one glance. 

 

Slowing Down Part 2 February 13, 2019

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 9:05 am

My last post was about how I had over scheduled my life. I was feeling the effects of that decision. I was tired. I was weary. I was grateful to be home in my pajamas as I typed that post. I was ready for a day of relaxation. Then that afternoon I came down with a cold. It’s not surprising since my boys had been battling colds all week. Getting whatever the kids have is just a part of mom life.

I kept my plans with my sister the next day. I wasn’t feeling too bad… but by the time I got home from my short morning outing, I was spent. Graham was still battling snot, so I stayed home from church with the boys on Sunday. Monday, I went to my MOPS & MOMSnext steering team meeting. There was some drama with the weather and half the team was sick making them unable to attend and the meeting was almost cancelled about 5 times throughout the day, but in the end, we met. With a smaller group and a light agenda, we got to talk about the bigger picture stuff which was fantastic, but all that talking left me with no voice. Until Wednesday… Again, Graham had too much snot, so I stayed home from church. Jeremy took Thursday off as a comp day for working at the Home & Garden Show the previous weekend. We didn’t send Owen to school and we ran some errands. While I enjoyed being out of the house, I was again spent by the time morning was over.  And that was our sick week.

The following day ushered in Snowmageddon. The snow started on Friday and didn’t turn to rain until Monday. The snow was even back for a good portion of Tuesday morning. We ended up with 11 inches of snow grand total. Jeremy borrowed my parent’s all-wheel drive vehicle to get to work on Sunday and Tuesday. School was canceled on Monday and Tuesday was a two hour delay, so Owen hadn’t been to school in a week at that point. Maybe I would have sent him to school on Thursday if I would have known how much family time was really in store for us. Thankfully, he is back to school today! We are all ready to be back to routine and structure.

The combination of sickness and snow means that I’ve spent 10 of the last 13 days at home. Considering how packed January was, February seems to be the opposite extreme.  Our family loves the snow and we greatly enjoyed our daily adventures outside. Owen especially is like a dog who would roll in the snow if given the chance. He would often just face plant into it. The first day it snowed, it was too powdery to make a snowman, so Owen made a host of snow angels. Graham doesn’t like being cold. His tolerance for snow is short in comparison. I’m okay with that. I like one good snow walk a day and then I mostly just enjoy watching it from my window while I’m inside – warm and dry.

Going forward, I am ready to get back to structure. No more endless days of play at home. The family time was great, but cabin fever did occur. I like a good mix of out & about and chill & relax. Both are good. Both are important. I wonder if I’ll be able to achieve this balance in 2019. We’ll see how the rest of the month goes. And if I can’t seem to get this balanced routine thing down in the next couple of weeks, there is always the hope of March. Maybe I’ll get it right then.  It’s yet to be seen but each day is a new opportunity and a new adventure. I wonder what tomorrow will hold.

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A Saturday lunch with Auntie while Daddy worked the Home & Garden Show. 

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A Saturday lunch with Auntie while Daddy worked the Home & Garden Show. 

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Monday morning puzzles and books – then the power went out and Graham and I walked over to Grandma’ house. 

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First snow day! 

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Snow Angel 

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Snow cutie! 

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Jeremy made a snow bear. 

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Owen made a snowman and we named him Snowen. 

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Frozen movie night 

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Doing “Andy Church” with Grandpa & Grandma. 

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Walking the trails behind our house. 

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Loving snow days with Jeremy home! 

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Making Lego Town to keep the days fun and active. 

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Our last snow walk on Monday morning. 

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Working on Valentine’s for school. 

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Working on Valentine’s for family. 

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Pinterest craft to fill the long days. This would have been better if I had un-sharpened pencils… no one was injured in making this craft! 

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The dried hearts! 

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We gave the boys their Valentine gifts early to make the snow days more interesting. Meet Chef Graham. 

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New Hot Wheel track pieces. 

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Between the sick and the snow, I’ve been able to slow down and read a bit. 

 

Slowing Down February 1, 2019

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 11:30 am

As 2019 started, I felt a call to simplicity and focus. This season of my life is slowly changing and I want to move forward with focus, direction and purpose. Simplicity comes from my desire to not over complicate things, over do it, push beyond what is necessary. Keep it simple. Stay focused. What does that look like for me? Honestly, it means more quiet mornings at home with my three year old where we practice the ABCs, sing “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” and read books. It means helping my kids stay focused with their new chores and learning responsibility. It should mean less going here and there and everywhere. And this month, I did not succeed at this goal.

I did the math yesterday. In January, I had 22 days in a row of always having to be somewhere for something. That means showering, being presentable, putting on my game face, on the go. As an introvert this kind of a pace drains me. I realized this week that I was deeply exhausted. The kind of a exhausted that comes from a three year who couldn’t sleep through the night, but also a deep soul tired that ached behind my eyes. I felt like I could cry at a moments notice for no reason. I kept kicking myself for all the things I said and did wrong. And then I realized that I was spent. I wasn’t giving the best of myself anymore.

I’ve been pondering lately about what it means to be slow to speak (this does tie in, I promise). The Bible says that a fool can be considered wise if he keeps his mouth shut. As someone who would like to be a wise soul someday, I’ve been thinking about what it means to keep quiet more and being slow to speak. It’s hard because I’ve conditioned through years of being a ministry leader to fill in the quiet, slow moments of conversation with more words. I am the one with the weight of keeping the conversation going on my shoulders. I have play dates, lunch dates, coffee dates, ministry opportunities and social gatherings and all I do is talk, talk, talk. While I do all of these things with people I care for, at the end of the day I am sick of my own voice and worried I put my foot in my mouth all the live long day. It doesn’t help that I am an Enneagram Type 1 who is constantly striving for perfection and then being berated by my inner critic for never measuring up.

My mistake in January was to overload my calendar. I was gone for a week on a trip and that displaced time I would have spent meeting with people, getting stuff done, etc. When I came home, I went about doing all the things I didn’t do when I was gone on top of the usual things I still needed to do that month. I left no margin and I can’t be my best self without down time.

Today, I am home in my pajamas, unshowered and I don’t plan on leaving my house. I don’t need every day to be like this, but I need days like this more than once a month. I need to be off the hook. My husband has a big work weekend a head and instead of being absent from the kids, he took them with him today to prep for the weekend. The boys will play alongside Jeremy while he was works. They will even be helpful off and on because Jeremy is so good about pulling them into the family mission. He will explain why he is serving our community. And in the process of giving our boys time with their dad on a busy weekend, he has given me a few hours of silence where all I hear is the dishwasher running. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!  

I realize that if I slow down and don’t over pack my schedule, I will use my words more wisely. I won’t be overly tired and talk to just fill the void. I will be purposeful. When I rest, I can give a better version of myself to those I care about. I have friends that I want to spend one on one time with, play dates for my kiddos where I am equally social with the mom who sits on the couch across from me, we have families we want to invite into our home and share meals with. All these things are good. So good. Deeply good. Community is a gift, a treasure. But I want to love my friends and family well then I need to take care of myself. It’s the oxygen mask on the airplane scenario.

I am looking at my February and wondering how I will make this month different. I have plans made and people I want to spend time with. Instead of feeling the rush to do things as soon as possible, I have plans scattered throughout the month. Unintentionally, this next coming week looks a little quieter, with one free day still open. As easy as it would be to slip a friend into that vacancy, I won’t. I’m putting it in print here. Hold me accountable. If someone wants to schedule something with me, they will have to be okay with me offering dates a few weeks out. And I will have to be okay with that too. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them. I want to spend time with all my people. But the quality of that time will compromised if I don’t slow down.  Let the mantra of stay focused and keep it simple ring in ears, my head and my heart. Slow down, stay focused, keep it simple.

I can’t do everything, but what I decide to do can be done with love, intention and given from the best of me. I just need to make space for that version of me to exist. I need margin. I need breathing room. And truthfully, I probably need a nap.  Amen.

I am curious what fills you up when you have moments of margin. Here are the things I find myself doing when I have quiet moments:

  • Reading (My Bible and recent reads: The Cozy Minimalist & The Ministry of Ordinary Places)
  • Praying
  • Journaling
  • Blogging
  • Cleaning (vacuuming is good for my soul)
  • Baking
  • Watching TV (my entertainment choices as of late are Hallmark Channel and Road to Avonlea – both are super homey, cheesy and don’t take a lot of thought to process)
  • Bubble Baths
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The Cozy Minimalist – Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of clutter, but I’m still looking for ways to make my house feel more homey. This was a very good read with step by step instructions for how to get more style with less stuff. 

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We added family pictures to the hallway!!! I’m excited to add a space for “school pictures” in the hallway as well this fall. 

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MOPS & MOMSnext outing to our favorite children’s museum. 

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We attended a kid friendly wedding on Saturday where the kids were given these masks, snacks and a coloring book with crayons. So thoughtful!!! 

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Helping me load up MOPS & MOMSnext stuff on Monday night. 

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Graham is dancing to Blippi songs in the background. Sometimes you don’t wait for a quiet moment to read a new book. 

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Owen paused while doing his chores on Wednesday night to tell me the clouds were pink. I am so glad he did. We all greatly enjoyed a few moments to watch the sky. 

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My sweet mama snuck into my house to deliver flowers. She also dropped off salsa, cheese and creamer, but those items seemed less photo worthy.