Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Moon

Matthew was practicing the piano today and it sounded good so I took another video! This is the song he's working on for choir. He's going to be accompanying the 6th grade choir for this song at their performance in February.

He still has some work to do on it, but he has a couple of months before they perform, so he's got time to perfect it. But I think it sounds pretty good so far, I love hearing him play the piano!

The song is called The Moon by Andy Beck.





It's actually a really pretty song when it's sung. I just found this random video of it in YouTube if you want to hear it. This isn't his choir, just a random video I found. They did a great job with it!



So that's the song that is playing in our house (and in my head) these days! He's going to keep working on it and I will definitely try to make a video of it when they perform it in February!

Monday, December 1, 2014

December

I made it through November! Yay! :)

Now the fun begins, because I love December. I love all the Christmas stuff and I especially love that I have almost two weeks of uninterrupted family time to look forward to at the end of the month. Shawn always saves some vacation time for Christmas and he takes off the week between Christmas and New Years (and sometimes a little more) and we pretty much lock ourselves in the house for a week or more of family time.

I literally wait all year for that week. It's my favorite time of the year. I love Christmas, but it's the family games marathons and movie nights and silliness that follow it that I love the most. I think we have something like 12 days this year. When New Years falls in the middle of the week he usually takes a few days of next years vacation time to stay home the rest of that week, so he doesn't go back to work until the kids go back to school. I'm super excited about it! Out Christmas staycation is my favorite thing every year. So I have that to look forward to and that makes me happy!

Today we sent all the kids back to school. Clarissa has been home for the past month because she goes to a year round school and November is her track break, and the boys had all last week off for Thanksgiving break, so we've had a full house lately. It took me a bit to get back on schedule this morning. After having Clarissa home for a month I've forgotten how to do the bus schedule and I had to think a minute to remember what she needed to take with her today. We have to reorient ourselves to a schedule again! But we got everyone off to school, Shawn went to work and for the first time in a month, my house is quiet again.

My project lately has been working on planning a summer vacation for next year. It's starting to occur to me that we don't really have all that many summers left with Josh at home! After he graduates from high school in three and a half years, he will most likely be off to do missionary work for our church for two years, possibly in another country. So we really only have three, maybe four summers left with him before he's going to be gone for a while and that is starting to panic me a bit! And the older and busier he gets the less time he has in the summer to hang out with us. This summer he's planning on taking two online summer school classes to further accelerate his schooling, he'll be taking drivers training (yikes!!) and he'll be going to a church camp. There is pretty much one week this summer that he isn't busy or we aren't busy with something else, so I'm doing everything I can to make a big vacation happen that week.

We're thinking of renting a beach house on the Oregon coast for a week. We haven't been to the Oregon coast in years, and it really is one of our favorite places. So I've been researching beach house rentals all up and down the coast for the past week. I know it's early, but places start to fill up after the first of the year and I don't want to miss out on a good one. I have a bunch saved that look great and now I need to go through them and decide which one will work best. I love the Oregon coast because it's a vacation that can be as busy or relaxed as you want it to be. There are fun things to do there, but there is also a lot of quiet, open, beautiful space to relax. I generally like to vacation in the middle of nowhere vs. a really busy, crowded place, and the Oregon coast has lots of quiet, wide open spaces. So I'm looking forward to this trip. It will be in mid July, so it's still really far off, but it will give me something to plan and look forward to for a while!

And in the meantime I also have Christmas to plan! I'm not putting a basement TV room together this year (thank goodness!) so I actually have to plan a normal Christmas. I've already gotten most of my shopping done, thanks to Amazon. This week we're going to get the tree up and get into Christmas mode. December is such a fun month and I'm looking forward to all the excitement ahead!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I'm still alive!

I've clearly been a blog slacker lately. I was debating doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) again this year and writing every day for 30 days but decided not to. November is a crappy month for me to write every day. I think I'm going to do it but pick a different month.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I kind of hate November. The sun goes away, which starts my winter blah's and Thanksgiving is coming up, which makes me all mopey. Once again I would love to just skip Thanksgiving completely. It's just going to be us at home and my kids don't really like turkey all that much, so it's kind of a non-holiday around here. In my mind, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a big holiday with lots of extended family and cousins running around and everyone sitting down together to a big meal. We don't really have that and it makes me a bit mopey and homesick for a family that doesn't currently exsist in the way that I remember it. it will just be us at home that day and as much as I keep telling myself to just make out own traditions and do it our own way, I struggle with it.

This year I decided to ask the kids what meal they do get the most excited about and the family consensus seems to be Korean bulgogi, so I think we're having a Korean feast for Thanksgiving. We'll eat Korean food and have a Wii tournament. Maybe that will be the new White family Thanksgiving tradition. And maybe I will love it.

Other than my yearly Thanksgiving angst, things are going well around here. Clarissa is on track break so I've enjoyed having her home all month. Then we had a big snow storm, which is rare for Boise, and they closed school for a day, so the boys got an unexpected three day weekend, which they were really excited about! The snow is finally starting to melt, but it was a mess here for several days. I grew up in an area that gets a lot of snow, so I used to be a really good snow driver, but Boise gets so little snow that I'm out of practice, so driving in the snow for a few days was a little scary. They don't plow the roads here very quickly, or at all in some places, so it gets a little tricky to get around in the snow. But we all survived and in the past couple of days it has started to warm back up and things are melting off. Even when we do get snow here it doesn't usually last very long.

One fun thing that has happened recently was that last night Matthew has his first piano recital! The teacher he had over the summer isn't around anymore so we had to find him someone new. I found a lady who lives pretty close to us who is an amazing piano teacher. He's only had two lessons with her, but she's really great and I feel confident that this is who he needs to teach him. He is chomping at the bit to learn and she's really experienced and has been great with him.

When he went for his first lesson a couple of weeks ago she informed him that they were just about to have their winter recital. He didn't have anything prepared and she said that he didn't have to participate since he was just starting, but he really wanted to perform so he decided to do a piece he had worked on with his previous teacher.

So last night he got all dressed up and we took him over to the recital. She rents out a room at a music store for recitals and it's a really nice place. They get to perform on an extremely expensive, fancy grand piano, which is really fun. And they have a camera aimed at the keys that is displayed on a TV screen behind them so you can watch them play, which is pretty cool.

It was really neat to see all of her students perform at different levels. She has around 30 students at all different levels. It was really cute to see little kids getting up there to perform their first piece and it was fun to see really experienced students blow our socks off with some pretty amazing skills. It was a great night, we really enjoyed it.

Matthew was pretty nervous but when it was over he said he wished that they did a recital every month! I think he liked being up there performing.

I took video of his performance!





I also took a photo of him when it was over. He looks so grown up!

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Oh, and here's something fun that I don't know if I mentioned! (Maybe I already mentioned this. If I did I'm sorry for repeating myself!) He is in choir at the middle school and they're working on a really pretty song for an upcoming choir performance. Matthew really loves the song so he came home one day and started playing it by ear. I thought it sounded great so I got him the sheet music so he could really learn it. He mentioned to his teacher that he was learning it and his choir teacher told him that if he can master it by the time they do their performance, he can accompany the choir for that song!

He's literally had three months of piano lessons and he's going to accompany a choir. I'm ridiculously proud of him! He's still working on the song but I'm confident that he'll have it down in time. It's not for a couple of months.

And speaking of Matthew, I have something fun coming up on my blog. He had to write a personal narrative for an assignment in his gifted program and he chose to write about the day we came home from Korea with Clarissa. I read his rough draft and absolutely loved it, so when he finishes it I'm going to let him be a guest poster on my blog and share the story.

And then Josh heard that Matthew was going to be a guest poster and he asked if he could write something on my blog too, so coming soon I'm going to have a post from both of them. I kind of love that idea. This blog is kind of a family journal, so it will be fun to hear from the kids. So look for that coming up in the next couple of weeks.

So that's pretty much it for today. I'm going to be late for church if I don't put the computer down and go get dressed, so look for guest posters coming soon! :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pictures!

To make up for my lack of blog posts lately, here are some pictures from today.

Today is Clarissa's foster mothers birthday. I have made sure to keep in touch with her over the years. She really struggled after Clarissa left them and it means a lot to her to get photos and updates. She doesn't speak English, so I mostly just send her photos so she can see Clarissa as she grows.

Today for her birthday I decided to write her a little note in Korean and have Clarissa hold it up in a photo. Which is somewhat tricky, since I don't speak Korean, but I do know how to Google Korean words, so we did our best. :)

The phrase Happy Birthday is actually kind of long writen out because you have to add an extra word on the end to make it formal when speaking to someone older than you, and I knew that Clarissa would never be able to make all those Korean characters. So I just had her write the word birthday. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what it says, lol. I showed her how to write the characters and she copied them and did a good job! Then she drew some pictures to decorate it.

Then I decided to go for it and I wrote out the whole phrase. It's hard when you're not used to writing in Korean! I always have a fear when I do things like this that I'm going to make the wrong character or something and change it to a whole different word. Like I think I'm saying happy birthday but it really says stinky socks or something, lol. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Clarissa calls her foster mother "Hanguk Omma", which translates basically to "Korea Mom". When she was living with her foster parents, her foster mother taught her to say Omma, which is mom, and that's what she called her foster mother. But when we went to Korea get her, everyone kept calling me Omma, since I was her new mom, and I could tell that it kind of hurt her foster mothers feelings a bit. So in the very limited Korean I know, I pointed to her and said "Hanguk Omma!" and her face lit up. She liked that and we've called her that ever since. A kid can't have too many moms in their lives.

Anyway, I tell you this story to tell you that I'm pretty sure what I wrote across the bottom says "Happy Birthday Hanguk Omma". If it doesn't, I'm sure she'll at least appreciate the attempt. :)




Also, this evening we carved pumpkins. Much fun was had by all.








Come back tomorrow for Halloween photos! Josh is having a party here tomorrow night. A house full of teenagers. Scary! :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkins and headaches

I've been meaning to make a blog post for weeks now. In fact, I have sat down and started blog posts several times and then I get interrupted or realize I'm rambling aimlessly and abandon it.

But here I am, making a blog post, and I'm determined to see this one through.

We've been extremely busy lately, but not doing anything terribly exciting. The kids have been really busy with school lately.

Now that Josh is in high school I I feel like I'm seeing less of him and when he is home he's completely swamped with studying and homework. He knew that this excellerated high school program was going to be intense but I think it has still surprised him how much work it actually is. Gone are the days of easy A's. He's working his behind off to maintain good grades now. Hes doing great and he's up to the challenge, but it's definitely a challenge. And in between all the school stuff, he's on the academic decathalon team, he's taking a hand to hand combat class once a week after school, going to the gym in the mornings at 5:30, working on his Eagle Scout requirements and participating in his church youth group. Oh, and dog sitting for the neighbors while they're off on their travels. I don't know how he does it all, but he has kept up with it and it doing well. He's also planning a Halloween party at our house for halloween night. He can handle all the academics but I don't want him to spend so much time working that he forgets to have a fun teenage social life, so I decided to have a party. He's inviting friends over for pizza and a scary movie on Halloween. He's really excited about that.

In Matthew news, he has joined the chess team at the middle school. He had never really played chess before but he played it at school one day and loved it so much that he decided to join the chess team. He had his first tournament last weekend and had a really great time. We're also getting ready to start him with a new piano teacher since his last piano teacher just left to do missionary work in Peru. So he's had a break from piano for a few weeks while we sorted that out, but he's excited to get back to that. He has adjusted really well to middle school and seems to be doing well and enjoying it.

He's currently reading the Hunger Games series and the rule in our house is that you can't watch movies based on books until you read the book, so as he has finished each book we have had a movie night to watch the movie. He's now on the third book and is anxious to finish it so he can see this one in the theater with us next month.

We've actually had a lot of fun with our little family book club this year. We've been reading books and seeing their movies all year long. Shawn and the boys did Enders Game, Josh and I did The Book Thief and Divergent, Matthew is doing the Hunger Games (well, I'm doing it with him but I've already read them), I did The Fault In Our Stars, and then we all read and saw The Giver last month and this month we all read The Maze Runner and saw that movie a few days ago. It's been a really fun way to bond with the boys. We're currently on the hunt for our next book.

In Clarissa news, she's doing great! I actually feel really bad that I didn't make a blog post last week, because the 15th was the five year anniversary of bringing her home from Korea! It's been FIVE years since we made that journey to Korea, can you believe it?! Time has flown by so fast. I didn't make a blog post about it because I've been sick, which I'll get to in a minute, but it was definitely on my mind last week. Clarissa is doing amazing and she's growing and learning and is so much fun. She's liking Kindergarten, but according to her teacher she's really shy. We're working on that. It's funny to me because she'll talk your ear off at home. She's full of energy! But at school I guess she has been much more quiet. She seems happy there, just a little reluctant to speak up. We're working on it! But she's doing great academically, she's reading, she loves the little homework assignments she gets to do once a week and generally seems to enjoy it there. She's also still joined at the hip with her friend Sophia, which I have enjoyed. They're adorable.

So back to me being sick...I've been sick. :( Clarissa had a little cold a week and a half ago and I think I got it from her, but it's been really weird. It was more of a chest thing than a head cold, but in the last several days I've had some sort of crazy sinus headache. At least I think that's what it is. Either that or a migraine that won't go away. It's the kind of headache that gets worse when you bend over or move your head, so that to me is a sinus headache, but it's been really severe. I'm fine when I'm laying down, I just can't get up or my head pounds. Saturday we had promised the kids that we would take them to Maze Runner and Shawn's work had a party at a really fun corn maze/pumpkin patch place that we really didn't want to miss, so I medicated myself enough to get through that and we had a great time, but yesterday it was so severe that I couldn't get out of bed at all. Last night I stood up and it was pretty much the most severe headache I have ever had. It was awful.

I feel like it's a sinus thing that is going to pass so I'm dragging my feet about going to to doctor, but if it's not feeling better soon I'm going to have to drag myself over there. It's slightly better today. I hope the worst of it is over.

So that's the update on us. While I was at the pumpkin patch on Saturday I made the kids pose for pictures, which they hate, but they were good sports. I actually took a whole bunch of fun pictures there, but haven't felt well enough to go through all of them yet. But here are their fall portraits. I love those sweet faces. They grow up too fast!

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And also, just for fun, here are my halloween themed nails! I haven't posted a nail update in a while! :)


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Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday

So this was the week that everything broke. Our washer broke, the van got a leak that ended up being a broken water pump and our hot water heater died.  Bad things come in threes, right? That means we're good for a while? Because seriously, it was ridiculous.

So we got a new washer (actually a friend of mine just happened to be getting rid of a really nice washer right when ours broke, so that was awesome) the car spent two days in the shop, and this afternoon the plumber was here installing a new water heater. We're all fixed now. I'm hoping to keep it that way.

Tonight the boys are at a scout campout. I try to be a good sport about scout campouts. They're good for the boys and they have fun. But honestly, I spend my night worrying if they're warm enough and if they ate enough for dinner and if they brushed their teeth and if they remembered to wear socks to bed so their feet don't freeze and if the other boys are being nice to them. My night feels weird when they aren't here to say goodnight to. It's kind of hard for me to let me kids loose in the world, so I force myself to do it because it's necessary, but I'm always a little antsy until they come home. I'm sure they're fine and I feel better that Josh is there for Matthew because he's much more experienced at these campouts. I'm sure they're having a great time. I'll just feel better when I see their faces tomorrow.

So speaking of Matthew, here's my mom brag for the day. That kid is doing AMAZING at the piano. Like, seriously knocking my socks off. He's been playing a new song for the past week and I've heard it a million times now but hadn't actually watched him play it. Today I was in the living room while he was playing so I stopped to watch and holy cow, that kid has amazing fingers! He's only been taking lessons for barely four months. He should still be doing one handed Row, Row, Row Your Boat songs. It should still be kind of painful to listen to, lol. But his teacher has to keep skipping through books because everything he gives Matthew is too easy. He just GETS the piano. He has taken to is so naturally that it's really been amazing to watch. He plays before school, after school and every chance he gets. I absolutely love listening to it.

So I took a quick video today because what he was playing was pretty awesome. Watch his fingers go! I'm really proud of him!

http://youtu.be/BHvWkjt4RnM