Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

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.

 

Week Four at Home: The Easter Edition April 12, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 6:37 pm

Hello! I hope you’ve had a lovely Easter! Our weekend plans were very different from the usual hustle on Easter weekend. While I missed gathering with our church family in person, I enjoyed the change of pace to our Easter celebration. We kept up with our church through online gatherings. We participated in a Seder meal experience. We watched Good Friday gatherings together and Easter weekend gatherings. I love seeing our staff get creative during this time.

Along with our church commitments, we did all the fun Easter traditions we could at home. We dyed eggs. We bought white eggs for the first time in months since our chickens are such excellent layers. They produce more eggs than we can eat, but we wanted to do an experiment coloring both white and brown eggs. We did multiple egg hunts around our house. This morning, we did Resurrection Eggs with our boys which share the Easter message through an egg hunt. The boys got Easter baskets and happily played with their new toys and munched on candy. We made flower deliveries to the grandparents and called GG on the phone to wish her a happy Easter. Our family enjoyed a yummy special meal together to complete the holiday. Because it’s such a lovely day here in the PNW, we spent a good amount of time outside just enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.

The whole weekend was special and really did feel like a holiday even though we were at home. My boys have such joy and enthusiasm for celebrating and their joy is contagious! I might be aware of what is missing from our usual Easter weekend, but the boys don’t have a feeling of loss at all. They are happy and blessed – just living in the moment. I am thankful for the way they lead me and show me the right attitude to have during this unique season.

Switching gears… We’ve now completed four weeks at home. I’ve seriously contemplated when I’ll stop counting the weeks. Before it was the countdown back to school opening, but now? What is the end game? I’m not sure. We’ll see when the mental shift happens. I’m still waiting.

April was a busy month for our calendar. Our church hosts many large gatherings for Easter. We had an annual conference with our church network. I had multiple showers – one baby, one bridal – to host/attend. We had a graduation ceremony to attend. The boys were supposed to have Spring Break. It seems like almost every day I think “I would have been doing *insert activity here* today.” While I don’t mind the freedom from the busy calendar, it’s a strange feeling to think of all that would have been and all that didn’t happen.

Tomorrow, we will pick up another homework packet from Owen’s school. We are starting our fifth week of homeschooling. The packet we receive tomorrow will introduce new concepts that Owen would have learned at school this spring. Up to this point, I’ve been trying to decrease brain drain, but I haven’t been teaching Owen anything he didn’t know already. This packet will be a step in the right direction. We will also receive a weekly assignment from his teacher as a way to stay connected to her.

As for Graham’s education, I’m starting to hone in his educational needs more. This last month, I’ve kept Graham busy with school-like work so I could help Owen. I ordered a preschool workbook that will give me more direction. My hope is to move into a teaching mode with Graham and less keeping him occupied/distracted. I will admit that I feel the tension of teaching two kids at different learning levels. I remind myself that I am not alone in this endeavor. I’m working on it. That’s the best I can do and that’s okay.

It seems like each week brings something new to process. It’s almost impossible to plan beyond May 4th. I’m trying to take things day by day, week by week – sometimes minute by minute or hour by hour. There is so much to be thankful for. Our family had a lovely week celebrating Easter together. In light of all that is going in the world, I am ever more thankful for the hope I have in Jesus. I am thankful that I had extra time with my family during Holy Week. We are making the most of the moments, making memories, and rising to the occasion. While this strange season has its difficulties, I’m choosing to find beauty and joy in these circumstances.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13

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Playing his violin for Palm Sunday worship!

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The boys and I helped Jeremy film his sections for the Seder meal. I’m sure my boys will remember making videos as a family as a part of this time at home.

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Meanwhile… baking might be my coping mechanism.

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Seder dinner with our church family… and Zerg & Alien.

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First s’more of the season! So good!

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Coloring eggs!

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Fresh flowers for Easter and the colored eggs. So pretty!

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Before the egg hunt

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During the egg hunt

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After the egg hunt

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Virtual egg hunt at our church

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Easter basket time!

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Resurrection Eggs

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Happy Easter from the Scotts!

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Best Buds!

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Anyone else notice that Graham has become the master of the closed mouth smile?

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Making Easter special with yummy food! We’ll be eating leftovers for days!

 

Week Three At Home: Feeling Like Groundhog’s Day… April 4, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 9:00 am

We’ve now accomplished three weeks at home with another month still ahead. The days are starting to feel a bit like Groundhog’s Day. Once the morning routine of getting ready, tidying bedrooms, and eating breakfast is finished, we jump into school. Then it’s time to do a chore, eat lunch, and head into quiet time. After we’ve rested, it’s free time, dinner time, and family time. Repeat. Friday and Saturdays are school-free. Sunday mornings are spent in the living room watching church online. Repeat the week. 

I’ve found myself interested more than ever in social media. What is everyone up to these days? I’m curious because I miss people and because I’m looking for inspiration for new things I can try at home. I lack new content to share on my social media pages right now. I can only post so many pictures of school being done at the table, the boys playing games, and outside time. With so much sameness in each day, I’m not feeling too original. I realize that this is not a big deal. So what if we’re doing the same things on repeat? They are good things. We are trying our best to make healthy choices and enjoy our time as a family. This new routine might not be flashy or glamorous, but it is good. It’s working. We’re doing the best we can and that’s all that matters.

Despite my curiosity with social media, I have found a growing tension. I’ve noticed a theme where a topic is presented in two extremes. Here are some examples. People are sharing about homeschooling and there are counter-posts about not schooling at home during this period of time. People are sharing the ways they are working out and staying healthy during this time and there are posts asking people to stop sharing their workout videos. Yesterday I saw a post about choosing joy and then another post about stopping the spread of false joy. It seems like there are mixed messages.

Here is my take on the tension – let’s offer love and grace right now. People are posting about what they value, what they are passionate about, what is helping them get through this season, and how they are feeling. We are all making different choices based on what we can handle and what is best for our ourselves and our families. Hearts are tender – at least I know mine is. I want love and grace to be what I share with others, even if they are making different choices than me. If the tension becomes too great, I will scale back my exposure or step away from social media. This would be my suggestion to anyone who is frustrated, overwhelmed, or annoyed with the content that is coming up in their social media feeds. I quickly learned that I could only access news updates once or twice a day. I can only absorb so much. Now I feel like the same might true of social media. 

My hope and prayer right now is that we will find ways to stand on common ground. While we might be separated by distance, may our hearts not become distant. This is such a unique time to sift through all the noise in our lives. We decide which voices we will let be the loudest. I am praying for health – both physical and mental. I am praying for strength and endurance has we continue this marathon. I am praying for joy – in the small, ordinary moments. It will be so interesting to see what the takeaways will be on the other side of this crisis. I remain hopeful for the future – even if the foreseeable future looks a lot like Groundhog’s Day.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

My Groundhog’s Day Photo Reel:

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You will notice that we are living in the same few sets of pajamas these days. They are washed daily and put right back on.

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Owen has started naming craters on the moon. So far he has named the pickle crater and the cotton ball crater.

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Working on an April Showers activity with washable markers and water droppers.

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The water droppers were so much fun that I gave them two cups and let them squirt water from one cup to the other. They loved it!

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Making a private phone call in the minivan since my usual spot phone call spot was occupied!

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What my mornings look like – school supplies laid out on the counter so I’m ready for each activity.

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Chicken adoration time!

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Graham was brave and petted Perch!

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Owen’s solar system set up!

 

Like A Spring Day April 1, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 7:03 pm
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One of the many moments of hail this week.

Our spring days this week have been quite the roller-coaster. One minute it’s beautifully sunny with blue sky then the clouds turn dark and it’s pouring rain and hailing. This pattern repeats itself throughout the day. Sunny and cheerful to dark and gloomy and back again. I feel my own emotions reflected in the ever-changing weather. At moments, I am sunny and positive. It’s like a breath of fresh air. I can do this. At other moments, I am stormy and gray. My emotions are dark. The blue skies are hidden from view. I can rotate through these very different outlooks in a matter of minutes. 

As I wrestle with all these thoughts and emotions, I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone. Everyone I’ve talk with about this analogy has been able to relate. While I am isolated in my home, I am not isolated in my feelings. Many others understand right where I am at and that helps me make peace with the whirlwind inside me.

Monday was a hard day for me. It was the day I noticed my heart reflecting the weather. I sat down to journal my thoughts because I figured it would be healthy to write down some of the emotions I was carrying. As I was writing, I could feel panic rising within me. Normally writing helps me process, but this wasn’t working as planned. I was being stirred up instead of calmed down. I needed a new plan.

As my husband’s work day wrapped up, I shared with him that I needed to get out of the house. He agreed and before long we had our family loaded up and heading to McDonald’s (don’t judge). My family ordered meals, I ordered a chocolate milkshake and ate Owen’s chicken nuggets. As the boys happily munch and played with new toys, Jeremy drove us around back roads. It wasn’t a long outing, but it was a game changer. It was the reset I needed.

I don’t mind time at home. My home is my happy place, but this is the first time that I have ever spent this much time at home. I’m realizing that while I’m good with spending long periods of time at home, I do need small windows were I get out. I used to schedule one day a week were I intentionally stayed home. Now I’ll need to have one a day week where I intentionally get out of the house. What a flip! For the first week home, the boys and I stopped by the office to say hi to Jeremy (this was before the stay home order in our state). For the second week at home, we drove to pick up a homework packet from Owen’s school. This week it was the drive to McDonald’s and taking the long way home.

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Sometimes mental health looks like a milkshake and taking the long way home!

I’m learning about myself through these new circumstances. It is a journey of self-discovery going through these new waters. I’ve found myself slow to jump into big projects or to schedule video meetings. I needed time to absorb the changes to my world and figure out my new priorities. At first, I went into family protection mode – how can I make this okay for my boys? How do I make our home the haven it needs to be for our family? I truly feel that my biggest responsibility is now within the walls of my house. The responsibilities of school, faith, family and friendship all happen here now. I want to make the most of this unique opportunity.

It seems like the world has slowed down and sped up at the same time. I’ve been bombarded with nonstop online content at my disposable. Suddenly every ministry and organization has videos to watch and articles to read. Calendars are being filled with phone calls and video conferences. These are all good things, but I’ve hit a sensory overload of screen time and information absorption. I can only handle so much. I don’t want to waste the gift of this season. There is always something I could be doing – a new project to start, another person to connect with. But I also know that I am a finite being. I am processing a major shift in my world. It’s okay to scale back. I want to keep the main thing the main thing. And right now that is my family.

I want to make meals and eat around the table. I want to do chores as a family. I want to read books, do art projects, and help my boys do school from our dining room table. I want to help my husband with his creative ideas. I want to support him as he learns his new schedule as well. I want to watch to TV and just generally enjoy being together for this season. Home takes top priority. And so does mental health. I will do my best to be happy at home while occasionally driving to get milkshakes.

In the stormy moments, when it feels like life is a down pour and the hail is hammering the ground, I will remind myself that the sun is just behind those clouds. If I give it a minute, the storm will clear and the light will shine again. I will find a break in the rain, a breath of fresh air, and hopefully a second-wind to keep going.

Here are the a few Bible verses I’ve been keeping close on hand these days:

Psalm 33:4 ~ For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.

Proverbs 3:5 ~ Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Psalm 23:1-3 ~ The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

 

What I’m Reading & What I’m Loving – March 2020 March 30, 2020

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Simply Me,What I'm Loving — Amy Scott @ 3:19 pm

What I’m Reading

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  • It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst –  This was a good read; filled with lots of powerful reminders from my own seasons where I felt things were turning out all wrong.
  • Leveling the Praying Field by Donna Barrett – I had the chance to meet Donna in person. I’ve been inspired by her leadership in our fellowship (Assemblies of God). My husband was gifted a copy of her book at a prayer meeting. It was a good reminder that prayer is not an elite few, but for everyone.
  • Like Ice Cream by Keith Ferrin* –  This book is about sharing a love of God’s word with the next generation. It’s a quick read, but it’s packed full of information, resources, and inspiration.
  • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks* – I read this book in high school and it’s been a book find myself revisiting throughout the years. It’s a sweet love story.
  • Party Girl by Rachel Hollis – I’ve read two of Rachel Hollis’ books so I decided to give her fiction a try. This book was a based off her party planning experience in LA. It was entertaining and interesting.
  • Finding Alice by Melody Carlson* – This novel follows Alice has she develops schizophrenia. The book is from Alice’s perspective and gives a fascinating look at genetics, homelessness, and recovery.
  • Return to the Canadian West Series by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan This three book series is the inspiration for Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart. I’ve read a few of Janette Oke’s books series and I watch When Call the Heart, so I figured this would be a good pick.
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins* – Once the world started falling apart, I figured I could use a reminder that things could be worse.
  • Christy by Catherine Marshall (Not Pictured) – I read a digital copy of this book from the library.  It took me a while to get into it, but eventually I found a good flow and got intrigued to see how the story would end.

* Books that I have read before, just not in the last year.

Things I’m Loving

Flowers – I kept one flower from the wedding bouquet. The bouquet was all white so when this flower started to bloom pink, I had to give it a chance to blossom! I love keeping flowers in the kitchen as a small reminder of beauty throughout the day. More than ever, I need small visuals that bring joy.

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Church at Home –  I’ve been loving church at home. Jeremy is able to sit with us through the whole gathering. Owen sings along to the worship songs and it makes me almost cry. We get ready with enough time to eat a sit-down breakfast together. After years of getting the boys ready by myself, grabbing a quick bite, and rushing out the door, I am thankful for a change of pace and extra time as a family.

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Communion at home – apple grape juice and oyster crackers.

Marco Polo – I’m relatively new to the app. It works like a walkie-talkie with video messaging. I record a message to a friend and when they have time, they reply with their own video. In a season where I am not seeing friends face-to-face, I’m thankful for a chance to see my friends through a screen and keep up-to-date with their daily lives. Seeing a face right now feels like a deeper connection than just a text message.

UP Faith & Family Free Trial – I signed for the two week free trial of UP Faith & Family. I used to watch Bringing Up Bates on UP when I had satellite years ago. I decided to get the two week free trial to watch the most recent season of the Bates.

Reasons to Celebrate – March has been full of reasons to celebrate. They build excitement so that each day isn’t just like the last. We’ve been able to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the first day of spring, Jeremy’s birthday, and tomorrow will be the second anniversary of moving into our home.

Walking – My fitbit loves me! I’ve been walking everyday and getting my steps in. When possible, I walk our long driveway. When it’s rainy, I pretend I’m in a Jane Austen novel and take a turn about the room – aka I walk laps around my living room.

Baking – I’ve been keeping our family well supplied with baked goods during our time at home. Over the last two weeks, I’ve made cinnamon rolls, scones, brownies, a cherry dump cake and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. It’s a good thing I’m taking walks daily to counterbalance all the sugar!

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The Ups and Downs of Week Two at Home March 27, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 12:27 pm

Last week was truly a remarkable start to our time at home. I was in crisis management mode and threw myself 150% into making things as okay as possible. I’m not sure if the extra stress and energy I used caught up with me, but I woke up on Saturday with a migraine. I  randomly have one or two a year. The only solution is to sleep them off. Unfortunately, I spent the entire day in bed last Saturday. It was extremely disappointing and I felt like my body was really letting me down. I’m not going to pretend like everything is okay. Everyone knows that things are crazy right now. I can’t pretend to be unaffected.

I assumed that things would improve this week as I adjusted to our new normal, but that was a false assumption. I’m good at false assumptions these days. When the world started to change, I envisioned life getting smaller and slower, but still including people. I saw myself having a few play dates, maybe having family over for dinner, or hosting church for a small group in our house. I saw our family going on special outings to fill the time. None of these assumptions have panned out. There have been so many small disappointments to absorb. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t taking its toll. 

Despite the disappointments, I am incredibly grateful for how week two at home has gone. The boys continue to do well with our new schedule. We’ve found a good flow. They are excited for school each day. Since we are doing school only a few hours a day, it’s very manageable (and fun). The boys have had plenty of time to play inside and outside. Even with the rainy weather, we’ve all been outside everyday. You can’t keep us indoors! I’m enjoying the fresh air and exercise daily. My fitbit is very happy with me!

Wednesday was Jeremy’s 39th birthday. I’m so glad it wasn’t the big 4-0 because I hope to make that birthday a big deal. 39 can be quiet, but 40 needs to be extra special! Jeremy was working from home that day. He worked on a film project with a special friend, Wilson (think Castaway). He included the whole family in his creative project. We hope that his video will be included in our church’s video announcements this Sunday. It was fun to have a family project to work on and the boys love Wilson. To celebrate Jeremy, we gave him birthday cards from each of us. For our school craft, we baked treats and read a book about making a birthday cake. My parents dropped off pizza for us at the door. We sent home pieces of dessert with them. I was bummed that the birthday celebration had to be small, but Jeremy had a great attitude. I’m thankful that we got extra time with him on his special day.

My mental countdown is to April 27th when hopefully my boys will be back at school. Right now in Washington State, we are under a “Stay home, Stay Healthy” order that lasts for two weeks. The order to stay home didn’t really change all that much for the boys and me. We’ve been home and we will continue to be home. We are 1/3 of the way through our school break. After this next week, we’ll be half way done! There are so many things to be thankful for right now. I’m thankful that our family took a drive to pick up a kindergarten homework packet on Tuesday. I got to see the outside world and have a quick conversation with non-relatives. I’m thankful for the fun mail the boys got from Nana & Papa yesterday with projects and a game to keep them busy. I’m thankful for pizza leftovers. I’m thankful for Jeremy’s birthday and reasons to celebrate.

I’m learning as a go. I’m hoping I can work through the stress in a healthy way. I’m allowing myself to rest more. I’m spending time in my Bible and praying. I’m memorizing Scripture. I savor the few quiet moments as I find them. I couldn’t sustain 150% effort for six weeks. I’m learning how to stay engaged without overdoing it. This isn’t a short sprint, this is a marathon. I want to finish well at the end of this extreme season.

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Apparently collecting tadpoles is an annual experiment for our family. This is our third year! 

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Church from home with the family. It was a special treat to sit with Jeremy through an entire gathering. Owen sang at the top of his lungs during worship. I almost couldn’t sing because I was fighting back tears. 

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Jeremy was able to get so much yard work done during the nice weather. The house looks great. Here are the boys enjoying some outside time and checking on the tadpoles.

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Owen is Jeremy’s shadow. Owen is always close beside Jeremy when he is home.

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The rain can’t keep us inside!

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Rainy days call for blanket forts!

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Working from home is easy, right?

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Family dinner with Wilson

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Happy birthday, Jeremy!

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ABC Activities

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Helping Jeremy make video announcements

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A new shark game from Nana & Papa!

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Nana & Papa got Owen a space science kit. He is in heaven!!! 

 

Week One at Home! March 20, 2020

Filed under: Coronavirus Chronicles — Amy Scott @ 9:20 am

On Thursday, March 12th, I had a friend over in the morning with her son. My friend and I talked on the couch while her son played happily in the playroom. It was nice to catch up and enjoy community together. We talked briefly about the coronavirus, but it wasn’t our main topic of discussion. It’s crazy the difference a day makes. I had no clue on the March 12th all that would unfold on the March 13th. I heard people making jokes about Friday the 13th, but I put no stock in such superstitions. And then it seemed that everything changed on that Friday the 13th.

We’ve had one week of our new routine and so far, so good! The weather has been sunny and that is a huge part of this week’s success. The boys have had plenty of outside time to play. We’ve found a good flow with doing schoolwork in the mornings, resting in the afternoons, and playing in the evenings. The days have been different, but different isn’t bad. This change has been good.

Our two hour window for school includes reading, writing, math, crafts, music, games and exercise. We pause for snacks. I’ll stop to move the laundry along. It’s been a relaxed pace with no stress, rush, or deadlines. Our extra free time has been spent outside. Next week when the rain comes back, we’ll focus on building blanket forts, watching movies, baking together. Next week is also Jeremy’s birthday, so we can pour ourselves into birthday prep – making cards, making a special dessert, decorating the house to celebrate.

We’ve celebrated as much as possible this last week. St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring gave us plenty to get excited about! For St. Patrick’s Day, we watched a video about St. Patrick and why we celebrate him. We also watched a Riverdance video and a time-lapse video of dying the Chicago River green (that was the favorite). I’ve been playing instrumental music around the house, so on Tuesday we listened to Celtic/Irish music. We did some St. Patrick’s Day coloring sheets. I attempted to dye as many things possible green at dinner, but the boys weren’t a fan. Graham did eat the green pancakes, but passed on the green eggs. Our small gift to the boys for St. Patrick’s Day was a set of glow in the dark stars for their bedrooms. Since they glow green, Jeremy and I felt like the gift was on theme. The stars were a big hit and the boys enjoyed putting them up on their walls.

The first day of spring was a little less exciting than St. Patrick’s Day. Our craft for the day was supposed to be painting flowers, but the boys wanted to paint space images instead. I didn’t mind since they were being creative. We read a book about apples growing (starting at blossoms in spring) and played Hi-Ho Cherrio (math). We talked about the cycle of the seasons and how everything is waking up and coming alive again. Once it warmed up, we went outside to document signs of spring. We found flowers, seed pods and a few green leaves starting to form on trees.

When I look at the week we’ve had, I am hopeful for the remaining weeks ahead. We’ve had a great time at home. The boys are living an adventure everyday. I’m thankful for the friendship they share. I’m thankful for the exploration they’ve done in the sunshine. I’m thankful for the time they’ve had to play. The boys know that there is a virus going around that it makes certain people sick. They know that our risk level is low, but we are staying home to make sure other people don’t get sick. The boys aren’t showing signs of stress or fear (they don’t quite understand the magnitude of this crisis). Jeremy and I are careful about our own attitudes and what we are reflecting to the kids. We are trying to make life as normal and as fun as possible right now.

When I first thought about being home for six weeks with the kids, my first concern was their education. I’ve calmed down a bit from the initial concern I felt. I had a friend share that 2-3 hours a week of academic time wards off the brain drain that kids experience over a long break. I still plan on taking our spring break at the beginning of April. I’m not sure what we’re going to do with no play dates or outings, but we’ll take a true break from the new routine we’ve started. As much as I miss sending my boys to school, I love that I’m not making a lunch every morning or waking up kids to get ready. Owen has been staying up a little later than usual to use the telescope before bed. He has been sleeping in and resting during nap time. I know this is good for him. Graham loves having Owen home as his buddy. Even though they fight, I love watching their friendship. I’m glad they have each other during this time.

We are forging a new normal and it’s been good. I’m all for slowing down. I’m all for having fun. I’m all for making the most of teachable moments. When my boys reflect on this unexpected break, I’m hopeful they will remember it as a positive adventure. So far, so good. Possibly five weeks more to go!

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Our crazy St. Patrick’s Day outfits. We are living life in our pajamas these days. We do change into clean pajamas each morning.

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Day two of school around the table.

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A glow in the dark puzzle needed to be assembled in the pantry so we could see the end results.

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My attempt at pancake art to look like a clover, green eggs, and green pears.

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Stars on the wall and saying “space!”

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The boys have been hitting the trails in the evening, so I get a few quiet minutes alone. Time to journal and read my digital library book.

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Painting stars and black holes instead of flowers.

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Documenting signs of spring

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Pausing to smell the flowers

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Thankful that the “neighbors” let us draw with chalk on their driveway!