Monday, April 15, 2019

Mission accomplished

I graduated with my bachelors degree in marriage and family studies on Friday and I was recently accepted into grad school for marriage and family counseling. It’s been a long road and I still have more to go, but I’m really really proud of what I have accomplished. My dreams are all coming true! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Croatia bound

A big piece of family news! Josh has chosen to spend the next two years doing missionary work for our church. In our church you don’t get to choose where you do missionary service, the church makes the assignment, and it could be almost anywhere in the world!

He submitted his paperwork three weeks ago and we have been on pins and needles waiting for him to be assigned. Yesterday the letter finally came and we got the big news!

He has been assigned to serve in the Adriatic North mission, which covers Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia! He has been assigned to learn to speak Croatian, which means that he will likely spend most or all of his time in Croatia. He leaves June 19th and will spend several weeks at a missionary training center doing a lot of language and missionary training and then he will head to Croatia probably in August.

Missionaries spend two years away from their families, focused on the work, so while we will receive weekly letters and occasional phone calls, he won’t be home until probably June 2021. We are going to miss him, but he is so excited about this that it’s almost hard to be sad about it. He is absolutely thrilled that he gets to go to Croatia. We have spent the past few weeks trying to guess where he would go, and no one ever even came close to Croatia, but as soon as he got his assignment it’s like it made perfect sense somehow. He really wanted to go somewhere foreign where he could learn a cool language. He certainly got his wish, lol! Missionaries generally come back fluent in the language they learn after the two years is over, so it will be so fun for him to speak Croatian! He’s so excited, every time I talk to him I can tell that he’s just ready to go. As much as I’ll miss him, this is a great thing for him. He has been looking forward this for a long time.

So he’ll be home from college in early May and then we will have about six weeks with him before he heads out for two years. It’s a bittersweet time for me. It’s hard to watch your kids grow up and move on, but I couldn’t be more proud or excited for everything he’s accomplishing and the choices he’s making in life. So right now I’m just focusing on being excited for him and trying not to think too much about sending my kid halfway around the world for two years!

So there’s our news! Oh, also, yesterday in the middle of the mission excitement, I got the email from the grad school I applied to about my in person interview. Eek! The interview process is intense, it will last four hours, and has several different assessments and interview portions. But it’s officially happening, because I got it scheduled! It happens mid-March.

Lots of big things coming up for us! I’m nervous and excited and happy and sad and basically sort of a hot mess right now, but I’m hanging in there. Life keeps moving forward!

(Oh also, Clarissa just turned ten a few weeks ago. TEN!!! Remember when I was making long posts about how the adoption wait was never going to be over? That was a decade ago. Crazy! She’s doing amazing, by the way! I’ll come back at some point and make another family update, but things are going great!)

Friday, December 21, 2018

End of the year review

I realize that my blog has mostly been abandoned, but I’m back with a yearly update. I have been meaning to check in for months, but life is busy and I just haven’t done it.

This was a super crazy year, and I’ll be honest, I’m not going to be all that sad to see it go. We started it it with a kitchen remodel, and while our kitchen looks great, it was stressful and our house was torn up for quite some time. It was crappy timing, but we had a water leak in our kitchen that ruined the flooring, so it was sort of a forced kitchen remodel. But I’m happy with the results, so I’m glad we did it.

The first part of the year was crammed with senior stuff for Josh. We did college applications, I helped him do a ton of stuff for scholarship applications, he was the senior class president, so he was in charge of all the senior activities, he had prom on his 18th birthday, where he was crowed prom king, so that was a cool night. Then he graduated twice. Thanks to dual enrollment, he earned his college associate degree from Idaho State University and actually graduated with a college degree a few weeks before he graduated from high school. So we got to see him graduate from ISU and then a few weeks later we got to see him graduate from high school. I could not possibly be more proud of that kid.

After graduation Shawn, Josh and Matthew took a cross country trip for two weeks. Josh won a national leadership award and there was a ceremony in New Orleans, so they went there for a few days, and then immediately after that they went to Washington DC for a week, because Josh and Matthew won the state National History Day competition and got to compete in the national competition in DC. They didn’t win nationals, but they had an awesome time. Then they took a bus from there to New York City and spend a few days being tourists. They got to meet my amazing friend and college mentor, who lives in NYC, which was really fun.

Then after a whirlwind summmer getting Josh ready for college, we moved him to Utah in August. I could say a whole lot of things about how hard it is to send your first child off to college. Ugh. I didn’t think I was going to survive it. You raise a kid for 18 years, and your life basically revolves around them and then suddenly they’re just...gone. Off on their own, living their own life in a whole different state. Josh and I have always been really close, so we talk a lot, but it was really hard to go several months without seeing him in person. But he’s doing absolutely amazing at college. He got great scholarships, he got into the honors college, he got a job he loves at the art museum on campus and he has made lots of friends and had lots of amazing adventures. Because he already has his associate degree, he’s basically a junior in college. So he’s already taking upper level majors courses, and he’s doing great. He’s majoring in statistics, with the goal of becoming an actuary. He’s finishing out this school year and then he’ll actually be taking a break for two years to do missionary work for our church. He will probably leave this summer. We won’t find out where he’s going or when until February. Anyway, he’s happy, thriving and doing awesome. Letting him go was hard, but seeing him thrive on his own as an adult has been so amazing. We successfully raised a kid to adulthood. Go us.

In Matthew news, he’s now a sophomore in high school, and he had a bit of an adjustment after Josh left. The two of them have always been best friends, and they were inseperable last year when they were both in high school together. So he really had to make an adjustment after Josh left, and figure out who he is without Josh. He’s doing really well though, loving school, and he has a super cute girlfriend who seems to make him pretty happy. He’s still playing the piano, and his skill still blows me away. He can listen to pretty much any song and play it by ear after a few minutes. I don’t know how he does it, but I love it.

In Clarissa news, she’s now nine and in 4th grade and is doing awesome. She’s very shy, and that’s something we’ve been working on, but she’s creative, and funny and such a great kid. She loves adventures. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, if it’s new and different, she’s all over it. She’s so excited for Christmas. We put a little Christmas tree in her bedroom and she had a great time decorating it. She loves crafts and art supplies, that’s pretty much all she wants for Christmas this year. We still keep in touch with her birth family and they send her a box of gifts for holidays. They’re wonderful people, I’m so happy to have connected with them. Her birth aunt speaks really good English, so we email back and forth, and I send photos and updates. It’s really an ideal situation, and I’m grateful for it. Everything in Clarissa’s world is going really well. She’s just the best kid ever, and so easy to raise. We sure love her.

In my news, it has been an exhausting year. I’m finishing up my bachelors degree, I only have two classes left and I graduate in April!! It has been a long road, but I’m almost there! I’m also working two full days a week at the high schools, so trying to juggle school and work has been a challenge. I saved all the hardest classes to the end, so this year I’ve taken some really challenging classes, in the middle of trying to work, remodeling our kitchen, doing all the college planning and senior stuff with Josh, dealing with the emotions of sending him off to college, juggling the activities of the other two kids, and dealing with some minor health issues that aren’t life or death but certainly haven’t made things any easier. Basically I’m exhausted 24/7 and not sure how I’m continuing to function, but I just keep pushing forward, because what else can you do? Oh, and in the middle of all of this, I just started my grad school applications. So over the next couple of months I’ll be completing the application process, doing my live interviews and hopefully getting the admissions letter I’m hoping for. If all goes well I graduate with my bachelors degree in April and start grad school in September. Grad school is three more years. I’m tired, you guys. but I’m going to make it, because I’ve come this far and I know that this is what I really want. Bring it on, whatever it takes, I’m doing it.

In Shawn news, he is managing the pharmacy, and it keeps him extremely busy, and extremely stressed. He’s a busy guy. He loves his job, but it’s all consuming sometimes. With him so busy at work and me so busy with school and my job, we’re generally running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but somehow we’re managing to keep it together. Like I said, it’s been a stressful year. Everything is good, just really really reeeeeeeally busy. That’s life though, I guess.

But this week I took my finals, so my semester is done, and today I had my last day of work for the rest of the year (long Christmas vacations are the perk of working at a high school), so now I’m getting ready to settle in for a few weeks of family and holidays and some much needed relaxation. After a tough year, we’ve all earned it.

So there’s my update, in case anyone is still around and wonders whatever happened to me. Life is good, we’re happy, and things are never dull around here. I will probably continue to check in here from time to time. I miss blogging, but these days it’s easier to make a quick post on instagram or Facebook rather than write out long posts. It’s just all I have time for.

Anyway, happy holidays from our family, thanks for checking in!

Monday, April 30, 2018


I’m terrible about updating, so instead I’m sharing a recent photo of Clarissa. I love this beautiful girl!


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Long time no blog

My poor abandoned blog. Life has gotten away from me in the past year and blogging just hasn’t been a priority. I miss it. I loved having this outlet to write down my thoughts and I love all the people who followed along with me.

So for those of you who still check in, here’s an update.

I’m now a senior in college! A few years ago the idea of going back to college seemed terrifying and impossible. And I’ll be honest, some days it still feels terrifying and impossible, lol. But I’m rocking it! I took 41 credits last year, and I have gotten an A in every single class I’ve taken since I went back to college. I’ve never been a straight student in my entire life. If I had realized how good it feels, maybe I would have tried a little harder in high school, lol. I’m working my behind off, and it’s hard and it’s stressful, and there are so many days that I want to quit, but I’ve also never been more proud of myself in my whole life. I’m doing the thing I always dreamed of doing.

I’ve been taking a heavy full time class load for the past year and a half or so, but now that I’m doing to my last few classes, I’m slowing it down this year. I’ve hit the really heavy senior level classes and they are kicking my behind. And I’m also working and juggling three kids with very busy schedules, so I decided it was best to take these last classes a little slower. So I’m only taking two classes right now, but they’re both hugely time consuming and stressful. I’m taking a psychology research methods class and we’re actually working on writing a research proposal all semester. It’s fun and hard and stressful and interesting and complicated all at the same time. I had to write a huge section of it yesterday and last night as I was reviewing it,  I had a moment of “I WROTE that?!”. I’m doing things I never thought I could do. Two years ago even reading a research proposal would felt over my head. Now I’m writing one.

So I’m going to drag my last classes out over the rest of this year, and then I’m planning to start grad school next fall. I can’t believe I’m even talking about grad school. I’m nervous and excited!!

I’m also still working a few hours a day at two different high schools and I love my job!! I love working with teenagers. This job has taught me that I think I’d really like to focus on tenagers when I start looking for a therapist job after I graduate. I don’t know exactly what direction my future career will take yet, but this job is helping me to see where my skills are, and I’m grateful for that.

One thing keeping me busy lately has been helping Josh with college applications. He graduates in a couple of months. I think I’m still in denial. When I started this blog, he was eight! Now he’s getting ready to pack up and leave home soon. He’s doing amazing, it would take me all day to list all the awesome things he’s been doing. He’s the senior class president, president of the National History Day Club, he’s headed to state for Academic Decathalon in a few weeks, he’s in the National Honor Society, he was selected this year as a student ambassador for the National WWII museum...the list goes on. He has been giving community presentations on honoring or veterans, and was on a local news program a few weeks ago talking about the student Ambassador program he’s involved with. On Monday he’s going to be the guest speaker at the state Capitol and will be speaking in front of the governor. He also just found out that he won the Billy Michal leadership award from the National WWII museum, and they’re flying us to New Orleans in June for the awards ceremony. I’m so proud of that kid.

So he’s been applying to college, and it’s been a long process. He’s been accepted to every college he has applied to, but he’s likely going to go where the money is. Scholarships are coming in, and it looks like Utah State is probably going to be the winner. He’s already got scholarships from Utah State, but we’re waiting to hear on a great big one that will send him full ride for four years. You just can’t beat free college. If he gets it, and his chances are good, I think that will seal the deal for Utah State. I’m having a really hard time with this whole leaving home thing. I’m trying not to think about it too much.

In a few weeks we’re taking him on a graduation trip to New York City, which we’re really excited about. He has wanted to go for years and this will be a fun opportunity to spend a week with him, making some memories before he heads off to college. I’m also excited because I’m finally going to be meeeting my college mentor in person, which we have been trying to make happen for a while! That’s going to be a big deal for me, so I’m looking forward to that.

In Matthew news, he’s still playing the piano, and he’s amazing! I could listen to him play all day. He’s started high school this year at the same school Josh is at, so that’s been really fun for them. He’s the freshman class president this year and is getting ready to campaign for sophomore president in the spring. He’s also in Academic Decathalon, and he and Josh have been working in a National History Project documentary together. If it wins, they’ll be headed to Washington DC together this summer. Josh had made it to nationals the last two years in a row and he’s really hoping that they make it together this year.

In Clarissa news, can you believe she’s NINE?! Time has flown by way too quickly. She’s doing amazing. I still feel so lucky to be her mom. She’s sweet and creative and artistic and funny and awesome. She loves to create things. Anything artistic or creative is her happy place. She loves to draw, she likes to decorate things, she loves clothes. She tells me that she wants to be an artist or a baker or a clothing designer when she grows up. I love watching her talents develop. She’s such a sweet, loving, easy going kid. She’s a joy to raise. She’s a constant ray of sunshine in our house. Whenever any one is sad, she’s there with a hug. I love that kid so much. I love looking back on our adoption journey. It turned out better than I could have even imagined. I’m grateful for her every day.   Her big project right now is memorizing her times tables. She struggles a bit in math, so it’s our family project to help her pass off all her times tables at school. She’s on 7’s now, and when she passes off her 12’s we’e going to take her to get her ears pierced to celebrate. She REALLY wants her ears pierced, so that’s motivating her to keep working on it!

In the midst of all this craziness with school and my job and the kids, we’re also in the middle of a kitchen remodel. We had a water leak last year and insurance is replacing the floors. We thought we’d just put in new flooring and call it good, but we couldn’t find flooring that matched the cabinets, and we really don’t even like the cabinets, so we didn’t want to match flooring to cabinets we don’t like. So that led to painting the cabinets, which led to needing new appliances, which started a whole change reaction, and long story short, we’re remodeling the kitchen. So my house is currently torn up and it’s chaos around here right now, but I’m starting to see a light at the end of tunnel. We’re getting close to being done, and it’s looking amazing. I’ll try to remember to come back and post before and afters when we finish. There are a bunch of random photos I’d like to share to catch up my blog, so I’ll try to get back and do that.

So there’s our update! Life is insanely busy right now and school is kicking my behind, but I’m doing awesome, Shawn and the kids are great and life is good around here. I’ll try to come back with an update in photos soon!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mi Vida Loca

You guys. I’m tired.

First of all, the job is going great. Having to go to work everyday is a gigantic life change, and trying to juggle it with school is making my life extremely complicated, but the job is awesome!

I work at two different schools with three different teachers in four different classes, and the program is new to the district, so right now it’s a LOT of chaos while everyone figures out how this program is supposed to work. Each teacher does it slightly differently and each class has a slightly different dynamic, so I’ve had to adjust to a lot of things all at once. It’s still kind of stressful for everyone while we figure all of this out. But overall, the job is awesome! I get to sit in a classroom with teenagers and brainstorm their problems. That’s kind of the thing I’m the very best at. Unlike a lot of people, I actually love teenagers. I like their sassiness, I like their energy, I even like it when they sit there and roll their eyes at me, because that means I get to work on getting through to them, and I like that!

My job consists of working in small groups of kids and they take turns presenting a problem that they have come across in another class, it could be a math problem they got wrong on a test, a science concept they’re stuck on, it doesn’t matter, they bring a problem and then we work as a group to help them work through it. Not by showing them how to get the answer, but by asking them a series of questions to help them figure it out themselves. Things like “what do you already know about the problem.” “What resources do you have with you that might help you solve the problem?” (ie, did you bring your math book or your science notes?) or “based on what you already know, what do you think your next step is?”. We basically help them brainstorm problem solving techniques until they can find a way to solve their own problem. This program is designed to target the kids who give up easily. Kids who don’t have a lot of resources and might drop out without intervention. This program gives them the skills and confidence to keep going when they want to give up. The goal is to get them to learn to problem solve on their own, to get in the habit of seeking out resources when they have a problem instead of giving up and to learn critical thinking skills that will get them through high school and hopefully on to college.

So it’s really fun because the problems are constantly changing. We walk someone through working out a math problem and then we might immediately switch to helping someone figure out a method for memorizing Spanish verb conjugation. You never know what’s coming next! It’s fun in that way. The kids are always hesitant at first, but then they get really into it. Watching someone who is convinced that they don’t know the answer have a lightbulb moment and realize that they actually CAN figure it out is the best thing.

The other day I had a kid who just wasn’t able to figure out a problem, but he kept referencing what his teacher had said about it. So I said “ok, so explain it to me exactly the way the teacher explained it to you.” And 30 seconds into his explaination the lightbulb went on and it just clicked. He realized knew the answer, he just needed to talk it all out. I love it.

So the job is great and it’s the perfect job for me right now. However, trying to fit it into my already crazy life has been hard. It’s taking away a lot of my study time, so I end up putting a lot of stuff off and then cramming it all in when I have time, and that’s really hard. My Saturdays are now packed  with homework.

The great thing about working for the school though is that if the kids aren’t there, I don’t have to be there. So any teacher work days, snow days, holidays, etc, I get the day off. There tends to be several of those throughout the year, so that will help. I get thanksgiving week off, a long Christmas vacation, etc. School jobs are awesome in that way. So I look forward to those days. I will get some breaks to help lighten the load a bit. I know that tons of people work and go to school and raise kids. It’s just new for me. I’ll adjust.

And to add more craziness to my life, I recently signed up to foster kittens for a local cat shelter. I currently have three of the cutest four week old kittens living in my basement. It’s kind of like having a house full of toddlers, and I really don’t know why I’m taking it on in the middle of everything else, but kittens are cute and I couldn’t say no. It’s extra work, but I get to cuddle with kittens, and that’s kind of my happy place.

So things are good. Crazy, busy, insane and I think I might drown, but you’s fine, lol. It’s good stuff, just a lot of it. I’ll survive. :)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

I got a job!

On another edition of “can my life get any crazier?” I now have a job!

So part of my college experience has been putting together a LinkedIn profile and starting to gather stuff for grad school applications. And what I have discovered during this process is that I have NOTHING. I haven’t worked in 17 years. I have no experience, no professional contacts, pretty much  nothing.

So I’ve been going to my mentor in a panic and he reassured me that it’s fine but has encouraged me to find something to put on a resume. I’ve been thinking about doing volunteer work or something, but I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had time to even look.

Then a few weeks ago I stumbled across a listing for a job with the school district. I wasn’t really looking for a job, but this one caught my eye because it sounds exactly like something I would love to do. They’re starting a program in our district for high schoolers who would be a good fit for college in theory, but aren’t currently doing well in school for one reason or another. They identify those kids and offer them an elective to help them get on track for college. The class has a teacher, but they were looking for someone to be kind of a mentor for the program. To work with the kids, encourage them, help them in the classroom and facilitate group activities. The job listing said it was part time, two days a week, which would work perfect with my schooling.

This is right up my alley and exactly the kind of thing I’m good at. I love working with teenagers, and there’s no one who understands struggling to get on track for college better than me! Being the mother of teenagers, a college student myself, and working towards a counseling degree, this job was perfect for me. So on a whim, I applied. I haven’t applied for a job in 20 years, and to be honest I didn’t think I was going to get it. Every stay at home mom in the city wants a part time job with the school district. I assumed they’d probably get a hundred appplications, mine would get lost in the shuffle and I’d never hear anything about it. My application was almost embarrassing, because there was no job history on it or anything. I didn’t even submit a resume with it, because my resume is basically blank at this point. But I did really play up my schooling, because what I’ve been learning in school right is right on point with this job. I’m a great candidate in that way.

A week went by and I didn’t hear anything, so I kind of forgot about it, and then I got a really bad cold and was miserably sick in bed for a few days. Then, in the midst of my cold medicine induced haze, I got the call that they wanted me to come in for an interview, and to submit a resume. I was really sick, but not going to pass that up, so I agreed. I spend a frantic day putting together a resume. I shoehorned any possible relevant information on it and emailed it off.

The next day I drug myself out of bed, got dressed up and headed off for the interview. I was still getting over a cold, and I had that cold medciney head in the clouds feeling, but I was so determined to pull it together. I walked in there and it was a panel of three people. Two vice principles and the coordinator of the program. I haven’t had a job interview in so long, and I’m so not good at this. It was scary!

But they started firing questions at me, and it was actually really funny, because it turns out that school has totally prepared me for this. I answer essay questions for school all day long. I have answered a billion questions about child development, socialization in schools, community intervention and every other related topic over the past year. They started asking me questions about motivating teenagers and college related stuff, and my school training just took over. I knew stuff I didn’t even remember I knew, lol. Thank you college! I felt like it went really well.

And apparently so did they because they called me the next day and offered me the job! But here’s the problem. It’s not two days a week like the job listing said. It’s every day for a few hours in the afternoon. That’s tricky for me because of school. I do homework all day while my kids are in school. That’s precious study time for me. And now I’m going to lose a good portion of that time every day. I’ll be honest, I’m still not totally sure how I’m going to pull it off, but I’m going to make it work. Plenty of people work and go to school. It’s just new for me. This job is perfect for me, it will help so much with grad school applications, and the little bit of extra money will really be nice. I’m just going to do it and make it work somehow. Life is about to get a little crazy. I have a job! I start in a week. I haven’t had to go to a job everyday for almost two decades, so this feels really weird. I need to go shopping for work clothes, because I live in yoga pants and I have no idea how to dress professionally for a job. But I’m really excited about this! This is probably the first job in my entire life that I’ve ever actually wanted and had specific skills for. I’ve had plenty of jobs in my life pre-kids, but they were all just random entry level jobs I took because I needed money. This is the first time I feel like I’m actually going to do something that I’m good at, trained for and genuinely enthusiastic about. That feels really good. I genuinely want to help motivate kids and help them get on track for college. If there is anyone who understands the significance of a college education, it’s me. And while this job isn’t counseling, it’s somewhere in the realm. It’s the opportunity to help people, and that’s what my goal has been all along.

So that’s what’s new with me! Life is about to change in a big way, and I’m nervous and excited! I’ll let you know how it goes!