Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

It's not Thanksgiving yet but I have a feeling that I won't have time to post tomorrow so I wanted to get a Thanksgiving post in now. I have a lot to be thankful for this year and it's something I've been thinking a lot about today.

In light of recent events, I'm especially grateful for my grandparents and the wonderful examples they've been to me in my life. I have so many happy memories of spending time with them when I was growing up and those memories are especially precious to me now.

I'm grateful for good friends. We just got back from a little pre-Thanksgiving party with the two families that we're so close to. I really do feel like those people are family. We won't be with our extended family for Thanksgiving and I'm sad about that, but tonight for a little while I got to feel like I was spending the holiday with family. I'm so grateful for those two women and the bond that we have. They might not be blood relatives but to me they're my sisters.

I'm thankful for my husband. I'm not always the easiest person to live with and he has an endless supply of patience. No matter what happens in life I have my best friend by my side and that's a wonderful bessing.

I'm thankful for my kids. I have the three most amazing children on the planet. I love to watch them learn and grow and I'm proud to be their mom.

I'm thankful for my religion and the peace it brings to my life. I would be a much different person without religion in my life.

I'm thankful for a million other blessings in my life. Life is not always perfect, but I have what I need and people around me I love and I'm grateful for all of it.

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sad day

My grandpa passed away this morning. We knew it was coming, but it still hit me pretty hard. My grandparents are pretty much my favorite people in the world. My grandpa was funny and kind and he adored my grandma.

My favorite thing about my grandpa was that he would make friends everywhere he went. We used to go camping with them occasionally when I was a kid and he would walk around to each campsite and make friends with anyone he could find. He was gentle and loving and everything you could want in a grandpa.

My heart hurts for my grandma. She's a strong woman but I know she's going to miss him a lot. My grandparents were just two peas in a pod. You never saw one without the other. Together they raised seven children, had over 40 grandchildren served two missions for our church and spent their retirement years serving others and being the glue that keeps our big family together.

I love my grandpa and I'm going to miss him a lot. But I know that he has more important work to do in the next life and I'm grateful for peace that knowledge brings. I'm also grateful that I got to see him a few months ago and hug him one last time.

I don't know what the funeral plans are yet but we may be leaving town in a few days. The weather in my hometown is really awful right now, so a lot of our travel plans will depend on that.

For now I'm going to go give my kids some extra love and be extra grateful for my family. Hug the people you love extra tight and tell them how much you love them. Life goes by too fast.

Friday, November 19, 2010


This week has gone by ridiculously slowly for some reason. I'm really happy that it's finally Friday! Life is pretty boring around here right now. The kids are still on track break, so I'm mostly just trying to keep them entertained. I'm really looking forward to next week because Shawn only has to work for two days and then he's off for the rest of the week for Thanksgiving. It's always more fun around here when he's home! We'll hopefully be doing some fun family activities together next week.

Tomorrow afternoon Shawn and I are going to see Harry Potter, which I'm super excited about! We've seen every Harry Potter in the theater on opening weekend and I've been worried that we were going to have to miss this one because we still don't really leave Clarissa much, but my good friend offered to swap babysitting so that we could go. Clarissa loves to play at her house and my friend is amazing with her so I feel comfortable leaving her for a few hours. This will actually be the first movie that we've seen in the theater since Clarissa came home last year, and it will actually be our first time leaving her for longer than an hour. Shawn and I haven't been out on a real date in over a year. It's definitely time.

The other thing we've been working on this week is getting all the paperwork together to apply for Clarissa's certificate of citizenship. When Clarissa was legally adopted by us she automatically became an American citizen but we still have to file this big annoying packet of paperwork with USCIS to have her status officially changed. It's not something that necessarily needed to be done right away and it's expensive and complicated so we've really been dragging our feet about it.

We'd still be dragging our feet about it except that we got a notice letting us know that the cost to file the paperwork is going up almost $200 next week. That was enough to kick us into gear, so this week we've been getting all that information together. We had to fill out pages of information and submit copies of documents such as her green card, Korean birth certificate, decree of adoption, etc. and then we had to march on down to the Department of Homeland Security for the third time since we started the adoption process and turn it in and pay them a ridiculous amount of money. It was kind of a hassle and I'm really glad that we've offically made our last trip to the DOHS. Every time we go there it costs us hundreds of dollars. I really don't understand why it costs so much to file government paperwork.

So Clarissa has been home over a year and we really still aren't done with the paperwork. Now that her COC has been filed we still have to get her a social security number and a passport and then once we get her COC in the mail we have to send a copy of it to the adoption agency so that we can get back a finalization deposit we paid them. THEN we will officially be done with adoption paperwork. I swear I think I've filled out more paperwork in the past two years than most people do in their entire lives. TOTALLY worth it, but still a pain.

In other Clarissa news, she's talking up a storm. We can't always understand her, but she sure likes to tell us long stories in toddler talk! She sits on my lap and with a very serious expression on her face she goes on and on about something that appears to be very important. I don't know what it is, but I really enjoy having conversations with her. :) She is loving having the boys home. Josh and Matthew are such fantastic brothers. They're so cute with her and I really enjoy watching them interact with her.

Life is pretty good these days. I feel like my blog is boring because there's not anything especially exciting happening around here, but after the last few crazy years getting through this adoption process no excitement is a good thing!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rainy Sunday

I'm sitting here listening to pouring rain outside my window and I'm loving it! We don't get a lot of rain here and even when it does rain it's usually fairly light, so I love it when we get really heavy rainstorms. It's been a nice quiet afternoon here. I just curled up with Clarissa and we read a bunch of books, which she loves! It's so cute to watch her jump off my lap and go find more books and then come back and snuggle with me for more stories. It totally made up for the fact that she was a total bear in church today! :)

The boys just started their track break from school so they'll be home for the entrire month of November. Life is more hectic with all three kids home all day but I'm actually looking forward to it. I like having the boys around during the day. I'm starting to get the holiday bug and looking forward to maybe doing a few holiday related projects. I've gotten past my annual holiday pity party and now I'm actually looking forward to staying home for Thanksgiving this year. The boys are getting old enough now that our own family traditions are really fun and I'm looking forward to spending some fun family time together. Shawn will be taking some time off at Thanksgiving so we'll have several days to just relax and have fun.

I really can't believe that it's already time to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas! I've got to get myself in gear and start doing some Christmas shopping. I used to be really on the ball with Christmas shopping. I used to shop all year and hide things away and I would have easily have been finished with my Christmas shopping by now, but these days I'm not as on the ball as I once was. Having a toddler in the house again has shifted my priorities a bit! With the boys home to help entertain her this month I'm hoping to get moving on some of those things. Thank goodness for internet shopping!

So there's the update on our family. We're having an awesome rainstorm, the kids are home, fun holidays are up ahead and life is good. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We made a difference to this one

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a little girl picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the little girl, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The girl replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

The man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the little girl bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, she said…

”I made a difference for that one.”

I ran across that story the other day and it really touched me. November is National Adoption Month, and I've been thinking a lot about our adoption journey today. The picture on the left is a photo I took of Clarissa shortly before we left Korea. This picture brings tears to my eyes every time I look at it. I remember her waking up next to us so confused and scared that morning and how serious that little face was as I took her picture. I can see the fear and confusion so clearly in this photo and it breaks my heart. I have to admit that I had a moment that morning where I asked myself if we were doing the right thing. So many emotions went through my head as we prepared to take that scared little girl from the only life she had known. Watching her grieve was the hardest thing I've ever done. Clarissa wasn't the only one scared that morning.

A year later I can confidently tell you that we absolutely did the right thing. Today I was snuggling with a confident, loving, giggly toddler and kissing her sweet face and I thought back to that morning that we left Korea. I am so grateful that God allowed us to be her parents. It's still amazing to me that we went halfway around the world and came home with this precious little person who fits into our family like she's always been here. Adoption has been a huge blessing in our lives.

It's been over three years since the idea of adoption first popped into my head one morning. When I first started researching it it seemed impossible. So much money, so much seemed so complicated. But one step at a time we climbed that mountain and I'll be forever grateful that we did.

There are so many children out there who need loving homes and I wish that I could bring them all to my house and give them kisses and a warm bed. I can't save all the starfish in the ocean, but I'm really grateful that we were able to make a difference for one of them.

So in honor of National adoption month I just want to say what an amazing blessing adoption has been in our lives If you've ever considered adoption or want more info, here are a few links to get you started: (our wonderful agency)