Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bottoms up!

Clarissa has been doing this all day. She sticks her bottom in the air, looks at me through her legs and says "HI!". It would be cute anyway, but the bunny on her bottom is seriously cracking me up!

These pants are one of the gifts that we got from the birth mother the other day. They're soft and fuzzy and so cute. She had a cute shirt on that the birth mother sent too, but as you can see she's shirtless in the photo. That's because she recently figured out how to take her shirt off and has aparently decided to live a shirtless lifestyle, lol. I put her shirt on and she takes it right back off. By about noon I give up and just let her walk around shirtless for a while!

I normally don't post photos of her here here because the agency won't allow me to, but I figured this one would be OK. Her face is a bit blurry and she looks different upside down!
Oh, and that reminds me!! I talked to the lawyer today and all we have to do is go sign some papers next week and then she can schedule our court date! Hopefully in six weeks or so Clarissa is going to be officially ours!! I''m really looking forward to that day. No more adoption agency, no more social workers, no more paperwork, no more waiting...she'll be all ours!!

Once that happens I can FINALLY share photos of her here! YAY! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Gift

I received an unexpected box from UPS today. I wasn't expecting anything, but my birthday is coming up on Sunday so I thought maybe someone had mailed me a present.

Nope, it was from our adoption agency! Whenever we get anything in the mail from the agency I tear it open like it's Christmas morning, because whatever it is, it came from Korea and I know it's going to be really exciting.

I tore the package open and the first thing that I saw was writing on the top of it that said "from the birth mother". Oh. My. Gosh. I seriously didn't even get farther than that before I started crying. I have hoped and prayed that someday we'd receive something from the birth mother, but that's pretty rare, so I didn't think we actually would.

What we received is a pile of adorable clothes for Clarissa and a beautiful letter from the birth mother and the birth mothers sister. I'm still trying to comprehend it all (and I'm still trying to stop bawling about it!).

What an absolutely amazing gift from someone who has already given us the most amazing gift in the world. It really means so much to me.

She sent pajamas, several cute outfits, ponytail holders, a hat, socks and the cutest shiny pink sneakers you've ever seen! So cute!!

I won't share what was in the letters because they're something special just for Clarissa, but they are beautiful and priceless to us and they came from people who obviously love Clarissa very much. I think someday they're going to be really special for Clarissa and something that she'll treasure forever.

I read the letters over and over and unfolded and refolded the clothes a millon times and I cried for the mother who will never get to see her daughter wear them. From one mother to another my heart breaks for her. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to go shopping for the baby that she'll never get to hold and kiss and enjoy. Clarissa is an amazing, beautiful little girl and my heart hurts for the mother who will never get to know her and watch her grow up.

And I cried because I'm so grateful for the gift of that letter and for what it will mean to Clarissa later in her life. Clarissa is so blessed to have so many people in her life who love her and want the best for her. The decision to place her for adoption was done out of so much love and I'm grateful that Clarissa will have the letters to read when she's old enough to understand the circumstances of her adoption. It's fairly rare to hear from the Korean birth mothers, so what we received today was just such a treasure.

So tonight I'll hug Clarissa a little tighter and give her extra kisses from the mother who can't be with her to do it herself. And tonight I'll say an extra prayer of thanks for all the amazing gifts that we've received.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ducks, colds and yellow belts

Before I forget, I had a few people who asked, so here's the info for square foot gardening. I suggest buying the book this guy wrote (All New Square Foot Gardening). It's got everything you need to know!

I'll be sharing more info about our garden once we get it planted next month.

Also, I've had people asking me about the ducks and I keep hesistating answering because I keep hoping that if I wait long enough I'm going to have good news! Unfotunately I don't.

If you didn't follow my blog last year, the short version is that we have a mallard duck couple that visit our backyard every spring. The same two ducks have been visiting our backyard every spring for several years and two years ago they decided that our landscaping was a good place to start a family. We've had the best time the past two springs watching duck eggs hatch and enjoying the sweet fuzzy ducklings.

Unfortnately we haven't seen the ducks this year. :( I literally jump out of bed every morning and go straight to the window to see if they're back, but so far we haven't seen them. It's actually weird, there are usually several little duck couples waddling around the neighborhood in the spring and I haven't seen any this year! Where have all the ducks gone??

I'm hoping that they're still enjoying their winter vacation and just haven't come back yet, but the closer we get to April the more I'm starting to think that they're not coming back this year. I'll really miss them if they don't visit us this year. I'll keep you posted if I see them!

In other news, our family has been passing a cold around for the past two weeks and we're all sick of being sick!! Josh got and ear infection, Clarissa and Matthew had fevers and runny noses and Shawn and I have been coughing like crazy for a week. The other night I woke up at 3am coughing so hard that I pulled a muscle in my stomach. Ouch. For the past two days it has felt like someone punched me in the stomach.

We're starting to get better now though and I'm going to Lysol every inch of this house!

In taekwondo news, I am SO proud of my boys for how hard they're working and how much they're learning!! In order to test for their yellow belt there are some steps they have have to pass. They get a green stripe on their belt when they're ready to break the board, which they got a few weeks ago, then they get a red stripe when they've successfully broken the board, which they also did. Then they have to learn a complicated series of moves in order to get a yellow stripe and they have to memorize a bunch of Korean words and phrases to get their black stripe. Once they do all of those things they can test for their yellow belt.

When we first signed the boys up for taekwondo I knew right away that Matthew was going to love it, because he's a physial kid who loves things like that, but I was a little iffy about Josh. He doesn't really love sports and he struggles with coordination. Josh is amazingly smart and talented in so many ways, but unfortunately he inherited his mothers lack of coordination, lol. But it turns out that taekwando was exactly what Josh needed! I've watched him make amazing progress over the past month or so. Yesterday at the end of class he told the teacher that he was ready to test for his yellow stripe, which is the series of moves they had to memorize (called form). He went out on the mat by himself and demonstrated it for the teacher and earned his yellow stripe and I don't think I've ever been prouder of him. Knowing how much he has strugged in the past with sports and physical things I just wanted to cry with happiness watching him do such an amazing job!

The taekwondo school they go to is only a few months old and the instructor told him that he's only the third person out of 70 students to earn his yellow stripe! Josh came home just beaming. He was SO proud of himself. Taekwondo has been such a confidence boost for Josh and I'm really really happy to watch his progression.

Matthew is also doing really great! He's almost got the form down and I think he's going to test for his yellow stripe very soon. He's one of the younger kids in the class and I'm really proud of how well he's keeping up with the big kids. Taekwondo has really been wonderful for both boys.

So today we're working on the Korean terms they have to learn. A few of them are easy and things we already knew, like how to say "thank you", but there are a few phrases that are a little trickier. Josh is actually going to webcam with Jin-Ha tonight and she's going to help him with his pronunciation. Once again, what would we do without Jin-Ha? I love my Korean sister. :)

So things are going pretty well around here right now. We're looking forward to going out of town next weekend to my moms house for Easter (which is on my birthday this year!). There's lots of fun stuff coming up!

In Clarissa news, she's as cute and wonderful and ever! :) She's starting to talk more and I cherish every single word. I love that kid SO MUCH!! I put a few new pictures of her up on the dropshots site. ( Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The sun has been shining here today and there are flowers blooming in my yard. You have no idea how happy that makes me!! I'm not a winter person. It's long, it's dark and by the end of it I have serious cabin fever. So for the past several weeks I've just been craving green grass and sunshine. I want to go to the park and sit in the grass. I want to lay in my hammock and read a book. I want to pull weeds and plant flowers and feel the sunshine. I need spring!!

Today it finally feels like we might get spring after all and I'm giddy about it! I've been pressing my nose up against the window like a puppy waiting for his people to come home!

Shawn and I have been discussing our big gardening plans this evening and I'm super excited about it! We have a big garden area in our backyard and it's pretty much the bane of my exsistance every summer. There is a house behind us that has been vacant for at least two years (does anyone want to buy that house and be my neighbor PLEASE?!) and that backyard, which boarders our backyard, is just a big mess of weeds all summer. I HATE IT!! As a result our garden area is just a nightmare to keep weed free in the summer. It's practically a full time job to weed that garden and as a result I've given up planting anything there. It just frustrates me.

So last fall we heard about square food gardening and we're all over it! If you've never heard of square foot gardening, it's way cool. Instead of planting veggies in the ground you plant them in big wooden boxes that are divided into square foot sections. The idea is that you can get a lot more veggies in each square foot than you can get in a traditional garden and it's way easier to manage and to weed.

So what we're going to do is fill our whole garden area with weed cloth and pea gravel, which will take care of the big weed problem back there, and then put the boxes on top. The square foot gardens that I've seen are awesome and they seem much more enjoyable to maintain. We're going to make it a fun family project and give the kids their own sections where they can plant whatever they want and then we'll let them take care of it all summer and enjoy the harvest when it's all grown.

I'm super excited about it!! I'm excited for our garden spot to look nice this year instead of being a big mess of weeds and dirt. We'll plant strawberries and peas and beans and corn and pumpkins and all sorts of other fun things. I'll take photos of it to share on my blog as we go along.

So that's project #1. Project #2, which I can't believe I've forgotten to mention is that we finally have a lawyer and we're in the process of finalizing the adoption!! There were a few hoops we had to jump through before we could start the legal process and that part is done now, so we had a meeting with our lawyer last week and she's working on the paperwork so that we can get a court date!! I'm so excited to be able to say that the whole adoption process is finally coming to an end. I want that piece of paper in my hand that says that Clarissa is ours forever. We've waited a long time for that! I'll update when we have more information. I'm shooting for going to court around the middle of May. We're getting closer!!

In other Clarissa news, that kid is walking all over the place now!! She's still a little unsteady but she's doing awesome and she's so proud of herself. She's a determined kid. Now that she can get around more easily she wants to inspect every inch of this house. We have a rather large house and babyproofing has been tricky. I'm always trying to stay one step ahead of her, but she's catching up with me!

So that's what's going on around here today. We have sunshine, garden plans, a lawyer working on paperwork and Clarissa is taking off. Spring has come and things are blooming quite nicely around here!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Moms and Mud

I have two stories today! One is fun, and one...will only be funny when it hurts less. :)

First of all, my mom came to visit! YAY! My mom is a really busy person and she and my stepdad travel a lot, plus she lives four hours away, so I don't get to spend a lot of one on one time with her. But she called me last week and said that my stepdad had to go out of town for something and she had nothing going on for a few days so she was coming to visit!

She came Thursday and left Saturday. I like spending time with my mom and I was happy that she got to spend some time with Clarissa since they haven't had a chance to get to know each other very well yet. We had a really good time! Clarissa wasn't too sure about her at first (she's shy around people she doesn't know) but they were buddies by the time my mom left.

My mom also got to go to Taekwondo with the boys and they were really excited about that. It's always fun when grandma comes to visit!

We did a little shopping, discussed a quilt she's helping me make and we had a good time.

Ok, so on to the story that was a little more painful, lol.

Saturday before my mom left we took her out to do some fun things with the kids. We went to the candy store that we love and then we went to the science center. Saturday morning it snowed here and then the sun came out so it was kind of slushy outside. We were leaving the science center and we had parked kind of far away because the regular parking lot was full so we had to walk over a wooden bridge to get to our car. It's a tall bridge that connects the science center to a really great park behind it and you have to walk up some steep wooden stairs, cross the bridge and then walk down another set of steep wooden stairs.

We walked carefully up the stairs, over the bridge and we started down the stairs on the other side, trying to be really careful because the stairs were steep and slippery. I was holding Clarissa and I was trying to be careful but about five steps from the bottom I stepped into a slushy spot and my feet went right out from under me. There is nothing worse than falling when you're holding a baby! The whole thing happened really quickly, but I pretty much fell down five stairs and landed at the bottom in a mud puddle. It actually probably would have been kind of funny if I hadn't been holding Clarissa.

Because I was trying to protect Clarissa when I fell, I couldn't really catch myself because my hands were full. I hung on to her tight. My elbows took the brunt of the fall, they hit each stair pretty hard on each step as I fell. I got to the bottom and my family ran over to make sure we were OK. I didn't care about myself, I was worried that Clarissa was hurt. She was screaming at the top of her lungs but I couldn't tell if she was hurt or just scared. We looked her over but my mom and Shawn, who had both seen us fall, said that she was pretty much on top of me the whole time and didn't hit the stairs. She was fine.

I on the other hand, was soaking wet and muddy! I would have laughed except that I was still worried about Clarissa and my whole body (not to mention my pride!) hurt. We got in the car and hurried home. Clarissa cried in the car and I was completely freaked out that she was hurt. She wasn't, she was just scared. She calmed down after a bit and was perfectly fine after that. I got home, changed out of my muddy clothes and checked myself over and decided that I was OK. My elbows really hurt and my right arm was sore but nothing was broken or anything.

Then I woke up yesterday morning and the entire right side of my body felt like I had been beaten up! My elbows are both bruised and it feels like I pulled every muscle in my right arm, my shoulder and my back. I was holding Clarissa in my right arm and I really tightened it and tried to protect that side of my body when I fell. Clarissa weighs 25 pounds and gravity was trying to pull her in the opposite direction, which pulled my muscles. I could barely use my right arm yesterday. Ouch.

It feels a little better today and I'll be fine in couple of days. One of these days it will be an amusing story, right?! :)

So there's a recap of my weekend. I had a really great time with my mom and I had fight with some wooden stairs. There's always something crazy going on around here!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Past and Future

Last night I was reading my blog from the beginning. It was really fun to read through all the experiences we went through in the early days of the adoption process and all that was going on in our lives then.

But I have to admit that it depressed me a little bit to read it! When I first started this blog I had all sorts of fun stories about things we were doing and places we were going and I had photography to share. Over the past year it seems like my blog, and my life, have gotten a lot less fun. Not that I'm not happy with my life and what's going on in it now, but when I read my more recent posts they sound a lot less fun and carefree than they used to.

Last year was pretty much the year of the adoption. Starting in January we were on alert for the referral and the fact that it took a lot longer than we thought it was going to got kind of depressing. I was pretty mopey for the first half of last year. Then once we got the referral I was excited but super stressed and busy, trying to get paperwork done, trying to get the house ready and calling the appropriate government offices every day hoping to hear that our paperwork had been approved. Then the last part of the year we had Clarissa home, which of course we are THRILLED with, but then I was so busy and stressed getting us all adjusted and getting through the holidays that somewhere along the way I forgot to chill out and just enjoy it all like I used to.

I'm not unhappy, I've just realized that I've been focusing too much on the stress in my life and not taking the time to enjoy all the really great things in my life. I guess reading my blog last night was kind of a wake up call for me. All the stories about the birds in my tree, camping in the backyard, taking vacations in the basement and taking road trip adventures made me smile and brought back a lot of fantastic memories. We haven't done stuff like that in a while. I haven't filled the bird feeders in my tree for ages and I can't remember the last time I shot art or nature photos just for fun. Those were the things that I did to deal with stress and the things I did just for me because I enjoyed them. It's time to get back to that again. It's time to start writing fun blog posts about our latest adventures instead of making blog posts about how busy and stressed I am!

So that's my resolution. I'm going to find that person I used to be a couple of years ago and start bringing the fun back into my life. I'm going to fill my bird feeders and get my camera out just for fun. I'm going to seek out adventures and find more things to laugh about. Life is fun and I'm going to enjoy it!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The truth

Matthew: "Mom, I wish you were Selena Gomez."

Me: "Why?"

Matthew: "Because she's the best singer I've ever heard."

Me: "Aww...I'm not the best singer you ever heard?"

Matthew "No, you really don't sing that good."

You can always count on your kids to remind you that you're not as cool as you think you are. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Tonight at taekwondo Josh got to break a board! At the end of the last class they chose a few kids to stay after and learn to break a board and then today they got to do it in class in front of all the kids and parents. He was SO excited about it, it's all he could talk about today! He broke the board into three pieces! He got to bring it home and he wants to frame it. I think I'll put it in a shadow box and hang in on his wall.

Here are the pictures!

We're loving taekwondo!