Sunday, February 28, 2010

99 things I ought to have done...

I got this off of Facebook, but I'm really bored tonight so I decided to do it here. This is a list going around of 99 things that you ought to do in your life. The ones in bold are the ones I've done. Let's see how many I've accomplished!

1. Started your own blog-hmmm...let's see, if you're reading this I think I can check that one off!

2. Slept under the stars-When I was growing up we used to sleep in the backyard all the
time in the summer. Sleeping in the backyard is one of my favorite childhood memories.

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower-I've seen a few, but the most memorable is when I was in high school and I drove out to the middle of nowhere with a friend of mine, we laid on the hood of his car and watched the sky while we discussed life and religion. It was a really great night.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity-Give till it hurts!

7. Been to Disneyland or Disneyworld-I've been to both. I went to Disneyland a few times with my family when I was young and we took the boys to Disneyworld three years ago. Good times.

8. Climbed a mountain-
I climbed a couple of mountains during my teenage years. I love the outdoors, but mountain climbing isn't really my thing.

9. Held a praying mantis-I actually really like bugs! I've held plenty of praying mantis' in my life. I took some really great macro shots of one a few years ago that I'm especially proud of.

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a thunder and lightning storm-More than I can count. I LOVE thunder storms!!

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch-Photography!

15. Adopted a child-Ummm...I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but this one time, we went to Korea...:)

16. Had food poisoning-Let's not talk about it.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty-technically I haven't gone all the way to the top because the top was closed day I was there. I'm marking it off anyway because I WOULD have gone to the top if they would have let me! I had to settle for going halfway up. Still pretty cool.

18. Grown your own vegetables-I have to thank my mother for being such a great example when it comes to gardening. I'll never have the talent for it that she does, but I can grow a mean carrot when I want to. :)

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight-Isn't that pretty much a requirement for being a kid?

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill-Sometimes you just have to take a mental health day...

24. Built a snow fort-I grew up in Idaho and when I was young would get snowdrifts in our backyard that were several feet tall. I've made some awesome snow forts in my time.

25. Held a lamb-I love animals. I hold them every chance I get.

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse-In elemetary school. Super cool!

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset-The last sunset I watched was over the ocean on the coast of Korea.

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language-I'm going to cheat and say Korean because I did TRY to teach myself! :) I also taught myself quite a bit of sign language in high school.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied-I'm easily satisfied. :)

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing-Once in high school.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt-I grew up two hours away from Yellowstone Park. I've seen Old Faithful erupt a million times. I never get tired of it!

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight-we spent our honeymoon on the Oregon Coast. Good times. :)

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain-Ah, young love...:)

53. Played in the mud-I was a serious tomboy when I was a kid. I grew up playing in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater-There is still a working drive-in theater in my hometown. One of the few left in the country.

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business-Wendy White Photography. Perhaps I ought to attempt to sell something this year...

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching-In Oregon when I was a teenager. I've never been more seasick in my entire life.

63. Got flowers for no reason-I love my thoughtful husband!

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma-Once, just after we got married. My veins didn't cooperate and I almost passed out. I'm too chicken to do it again.

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check-eh, we were all 18 and stupid once, right?

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy-I still have my Cabbage Patch kid. I got her for Christmas when I was 10 and someday I'll give her to Clarissa.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial-on my birthday in 1995

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt-a failed attempt at sewing. I don't have the patience.

73. Stood in Times Square-I was a nanny in New Jersey when I was 19. I lived about 20 miles out of NYC and I used to take the bus into the city on the weekends. The bus station is in Times Square so Times Square was the starting point of many of my adventures that year...

74. Toured the Everglades-The year I was a nanny I went to Florida with the family I nannied for. On my day off I took an Everglades tour and it was one of those most memorable days of my life. I would love to do that again.

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone-the little toe on my left foot. Twice.

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle-My dad had a motorcycle briefly when I was a kid. I think I only went on it once. I'm terrified of motorcycles.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person-Shawn and I took a trip to the Grand Canyon many years ago. It's a special memory we share and it makes me smile just thinking about it. It's a long, incredibly funny story. :)

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper-There was a big picture in the paper of me smelling candles at a home and garden show several years ago. I think I still have that picture around here somewhere...

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

86. Visited the White House-again, on my birthday in 1995. That was the year I was a nanny and I took myself on a birthday trip to Washington DC for my 20th birthday. I took the bus from New Jersey to DC by myself and spent the weekend in a really yucky hotel because it's all I could afford. I have a lot of great stories from that little adventure.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating-my family used to go fishing when I was little. I know how to catch and gut a fish but you couldn't pay me to do that now. Blech.

88. had chickenpox-the first day of summer vacation when I was 12. Not the way I planned to spend the my summer!!

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury-I was actually the foreman of a jury when I was two months pregnant with Josh. I had morning sickness the entire time but I got out of a job I hated for three days, so I had a good time! :)

91. Met someone famous-I've met a couple of moderately famous people over the years. I shook Cory Feldmans hand when I was about 13. I thought that was pretty much the coolest thing ever at the time. :)

92. Joined a book club-I used to host a book club. I love them!

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby-I've given birth twice. Not that much fun, but totally worth the pain!

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake-I swam in the Great Salt Lake as a kid. It's salty. :)

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone-does it count if I never turn it on? I hate cellphones.

99. Been stung by a bee-a few times actually. Bees like me for some reason. (Or they HATE me, which is why they sting me...)

OK, according to my count I've done 51 of the 99 things. A little over half, not bad! :)

Tae Kwon Do

Yesterday Josh and Matthew had their first trial taekwondo class! I think I mentioned before that I met the owner at the Korean market a month or so ago and we signed up for a two week trial to see if they like it.

It's a new studio run by a husband and wife from Korea, who I get the feeling haven't been in the country a super long time. The wife mentioned that she's still working on her English, although I thought it was really good! She's SO nice and everytime I have seen her or talked to her she makes a fuss over Clarissa. She's really sweet.

The place is really nice, I was impressed by it. I loved being there because there is so much Korea there! :) There's a big Korean flag on the wall and some Korean masks and other decor on the walls as well. The kids got their uniforms on and the teacher wrote their names on them in Korean, which the kids thought was really cool!

I was really impressed with the class. The instructor is a really nice guy and I could tell that he knew what he was doing. He was good with the kids, but also very stern, which I think is appropriate for what he's teaching. Plus I liked his heavy Korean accent. :)

I don't have a lot of experience with martial arts, but I liked what I saw there. I think it's something that would be really beneficial for my kids. They talked about focus and concentration and respect and I can see that there is the potential to learn a lot of things besides the obvious self defense training. Plus part of the training involves learning some Korean phrases, which obviously I'm excited about! The more Korean culture I can expose my kids to, the better.

The kids really had a good time. We still have a few more trial classes, but I'm pretty sure we're going to sign them up. It's time consuming, three nights a week, but I think it would be good for the boys. They're really looking forward to going back.

Here are a few photos I took of them. They look so grown up in their uniforms!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm back!

My poor abandonded needed some attention today. :)

So I think we've finally managed to beat the sickness that has been hanging around this month! YAY! Clarissa was super sick for a while (and I later realized that she got two molars the week she was sick!) and then I've been feeling crappy for the past couple of weeks. I got a cold, it went away a bit and then it came back 10x's worse.

I'm sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I've been stuck in the house most of this month and it's starting to make me a little crazy. Last night we went to the mall for a bit and it felt SO good to actually get out of the house and do something! So now that I feel like I've rejoined the world I decided that I'd better sit down and update my blog.

So in Clarissa news, I've decided that she's growing up too darn fast! They just don't stay babies very long, do they? (Especially when you miss the first 8 months!) She's actually starting to take a few steps! Over the past few weeks we've seen her attempt to walk several times but she'll only do it if there's no pressure. I've seen her do it when she thought I wasn't looking, but as soon as I hold out my arms and try to get her to walk to me she sits down and refuses to move. We made the mistake of getting the video camera out one night and trying to capture it on film. Princess Clarissa wanted no part of it. :) So I'm not bugging her about it anymore, I figure that she'll do it when she's ready. (And when no one is looking.)

She's also starting to imitate us like crazy and we're constantly trying to come up with new tricks to teach her. She's hillarious. Shawn taught her a cute trick a couple of weeks ago. If he says "Who's pretty?!" Clarissa will raise her hand and say "MEEE!!" SO cute. She also learned the joy of throwing things on the floor and saying "uh oh!" so that someone will pick the item back up and hand it to her and she can throw it again. That game is WAY more fun for her than it is for the person who has to pick things up off the floor 40 times. :) It's OK, we all pretty much live to make her laugh these days. That kid is just pure joy in our house, I don't know what we ever did without her!

In Matthew news, he finally lost his first two teeth! Both of my boys got their teeth really late when they were babies and they both lost their first teeth really late. Matthew is six and a half and we started to think he was never going to lose a tooth! But finally a couple of weeks ago he announced that one of his bottom teeth was loose and a few days later he had it out. The first tooth is always so exciting! Less than a week later he announced that the one next to it was ready to come out and he now has a super cute gap toothed smile. :) The tooth fairy is going to go broke if that kid doesn't stop losing teeth!

I have a super cute Josh story! He came home from school a few days ago and told us that he was assigned to write an essay on an American Hero and he chose to write about Shawn because Shawn is his hero. I don't think you've ever seen a prouder dad in your life. :) Josh brought the essay home yesterday and it's seriously the sweetest thing I've ever read. Shawn was really touched by it. Josh is such a sweet kid. He has such a loving spirit and I love that about him.

This Saturday we've signed the boys up for an introductory taekwando class and they're really excited about it! I met a woman at the Korean market a month or so ago who is from Seoul and she and her husband are opening up a new taekwondo studio right around the corner from us and they're offering a free class to try it out. I'm excited for the kids to give it a try and if they like it we're going to sign them up for classes. I have a feeling that it's going to be an especially big hit with Matthew. He loves that sort of thing.

So there's the update from our house. Clarissa is growing up, Matthew is losing teeth, Shawn is Josh's hero and I'm finally over my cold. That pretty much covers it! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sick :(

I've been MIA for the past week! It's been a really stressful week around here and we're gearing up for round 2.

Last Sunday Clarissa woke up with a bad cold and she was really sick all week. She was super cranky and she couldn't sleep well because she was so congested, so I spent the week trying to keep her happy and help her feel better while chasing her around with Kleenex all day. That kid does NOT like having her nose wiped, lol. My week pretty much consisted of the two of us in our jammies laying on the couch. This is the first time since she's been home that she's been sick and I felt so bad for her. She was pretty miserable.

I thought the sickness was never going to end, but finally by Saturday her nose wasn't running so much and the cough sounded better and I was relieved that the worst was over....and then Sunday morning I woke up sick!! *sigh*

So now I feel like crap and I really just want to crawl into bed and sleep, but when you're the mom you don't have that option. Plus there's no school for the boys today, so it's a full house around here. I'm kind of stressed out and cranky and I'm afraid I'm looking at another week of laying on the couch in my pajamas. So far February just hasn't been my month.

So there's my update. Hopefully the next time I update it will be to say that we're all done being sick. I hope so!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Goodbye Melissa

It's been a really busy few days around our house! Saturday night was Clarissa's Dol party. The kids got dressed in their hanboks, we had some friends over and we had a fun time! I can't remember how much I already explained about Dol parties, so I apologize if I'm repeating myself.

A long time ago in Korea when there was a lot of poverty and famine, babies often didn't live to their first birthday. So when a baby did reach that milestone they had a big party (called a Dol) for them. It's become an important tradition in Korean culture, every baby gets a Dol party, and we didn't want Clarissa to miss out on hers!

One thing that you do for a Dol party is decorate a table with certain items. They stack fruit and other food on the table to signify prosperity they also put five special items on the table that signify possibilities for the childs future. On our table we put pretty common Dol items that Melissa helped us pick out. We put string, which signifies health and a long life, a stethoscope, which signifies a future in medicine, a microphone, which signifies musical talent, a pencil, which signifies intelligence, and money, which signifies wealth.

Then for the Dol ceremony you take the baby around the table and show them all the items and let them choose one. The item that they pick is supposed to be an indication of their future. It's a cute little tradition! We took Clarissa around the table and she chose the string! So according to the tradition Clarissa will be healthy and have a long life. :)

We did a fun little game before we did the ceremony. We had everyone at the party guess which item Clarissa would pick and the winner got a prize. One of our friends won and got some chocolate and a Korean keychain. Fun!

After that we mingled for a bit and ate bulgogi and rice for dinner and then we ate cake. I had a friend of Shawn's make the cake for us and it turned out SO cute! She also did a little round cake for Clarissa to eat and I was all excited to watch her dig into it, but she totally wasn't in to it! Our boys both devoured their first birthday cakes, but Clarissa wasn't real thrilled about the mess, lol. Once she got too much frosting on her hands she decided she was done! I got some cute pictures of the party, but I haven't had a chance to go through them yet. I'll post them in a little bit.

After choosing string at her Dol party, ironically Clarissa woke up the next morning with a terrible cold!! According to Clarissa's foster mother and the medical reports we have from her time in Korea, she never got sick one single time in the entire first year of her life. She's been pretty miserable the past few days though. She's had a fever, her nose is runny, she's coughing a bit and she's been pretty cranky. Poor kid. We've been doing a lot of cuddling.

This morning we took Melissa to the airport and said our goodbyes. (I thought all along that she was leaving on Sunday, but I found out Friday that they were actually leaving Monday morning.) I have to admit, it was REALLY hard to say goodbye. Melissa has been like a member of the family here for the past six weeks and we're going to miss her. I felt silly this morning-there were three other exchange students that came at the same time as Melissa so all those kids and their host families were at the airport seeing them off. Everyone else seemed fine to see the kids go, they waved and said goodbye, but I of course was the one nerd crying about it, lol. I cried all the way home from the airport! I don't do well with goodbyes.

Then I got home and I've been fine all day, but the kids just got home from school and they came home really somber and sad. It was weird for her not to walk in the door with them. Matthew especially seems to really be missing her. They came home and found a few things around the house that she left, like a few pictures she had drawn and a card that she wrote for us, and that made us all sad again. We're all pretty mopey around here tonight. We had a lot of fun with Melissa, I'm glad that we did it.

I think it's going to be nice to get back into our normal routine and have an uneventful February though. We've been so incredibly busy lately and I am kind of looking forward to nothing big going on for a while.

For now I'm going to go snuggle with Clarissa some more. Sounds good to me! :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Clarissa!!! :)

The big day has arrived, sweet Clarissa is one! I'm sure she has no idea that today is anything special, but we've been telling her Happy Birthday all day! We're actually not doing a whole lot of celebrating today since her party is on Saturday. I spent a good part of the day getting ready for it though! We're going to have a fun time. I took Clarissa to the Zurchers party store today and we bought some streamers and other things for the party.

We're combining a traditional Korean first birthday party with a traditional American first birthday party. That means we're having Bulgogi and doing the Dol ceremony and then we're eating birthday cake and playing games. I think it will be fun! We're not inviting very many people, I wanted to keep it pretty small, but I think we're going to have a good time.

Today I also went over to Dirks studio and picked up the disk of photos that he took last Saturday. It was SO difficult to get Clarissa to sit still for the photos, but he managed to capture some cute ones anyway. She just isn't looking at the camera or smiling in most of them! I was happy that we got a hanbok portrait and we FINALLY got a family portrait! It's been driving me crazy that she's been home for this long and we didn't have a decent photo of our whole family yet. We have to have one to turn in with our second post placement home study report next week, so we got one just in time! Some of the photos can be seen on my dropshots site!(

Right now I'm just waiting for Shawn to get home and then we're going to go out and do something fun for Clarissa's birthday. I don't know what that's going to be yet, but I'm sure we'll come up with something! :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One year ago

Exactly one year ago right now I was next door at a baby shower for a good friend of mine. I was watching her open gifts with a smile on my face but an ache in my heart. We had been waiting for our adoption referral for so long and that night I was especially having a hard time.

Exactly one year ago right now Clarissa's birth mother was in labor, getting ready to go through probably one of the most difficult days of her life. While I was at the baby shower feeling a little sad, I had no idea that there was another woman on the other side of the world getting ready to say hello and goodbye to her beautiful little girl.

Clarissa's birthday isn't technically until tomorrow. Her birth certificate list her birthday as February 4th and that's the day we'll celebrate it, but because of the time difference she was actually born around 11pm on February 3rd US time.

I've been to the room she was born in. I've walked down the hall on the maternity floor her birth mother probably paced up and down. I've seen the bassinet that Clarissa was placed in after her birth and the nursery she stayed in for the next three days. I can imagine what probably went on there the day she was born but I can't even begin to imagine the pain her birth mother must have been in. Saying goodbye to the child you carried inside of you for nine months must be one of the hardest things a person can go through.

Tomorrow will be filled with happiness and excitement for Clarissa's first birthday and I'm looking forward to kissing her sweet little one year old face in the morning. But tonight I just can't stop thinking about her birth mother and what's she's probably going through right now. I know that Clarissa must be on her mind. I know she's probably wondering where her daughter is and who is taking care of her. She probably wonders what she looks like and if she's happy and being loved. I can't imagine not knowing.

Tonight I'm feeling especially grateful for the sacrifice that she made. In our adoption paperwork it says that she placed Clarissa for adoption because she wanted a better life for her than she was able to provide. I know that it was a decision made out of love and I'll make sure that Clarissa knows that too.

I wish that I could be there with the birth mother today. I wish that I could give her a hug and let her know that her daughter is beautiful and happy and loved. As happy as I am to be celebrating Clarissa's birthday, my heart hurts for the birth mother and for what she's missing.

The beautiful baby she said goodbye to a year ago is now almost walking, she loves music, she loves cats, she loves her daddy and she hates mashed potatoes! She has 8 teeth, she giggles if you tickle her neck and she squeals with happiness when her brothers walk in the door from school. She's extremely curious and a little mischievous at times. She's smart and funny and loving and she's such a blessing in our lives.

So tonight I'll say an extra prayer for her birth mother. I hope that she has found peace in her life and I hope that someday I'll be able to thank her in person for the beautiful gift she has given us.