Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Whites

I'm excited to share the annual Christmas Eve photo!

And here is the collage of Christamases Past:

Merry Christmas!


I'm not supposed to open these until tomorrow!

It's almost Christmas!!

I admit it, I love Christmas to a ridiculous degree. I love it like a five year old loves it. Christmas was a huge event in my house growing up and it was the source of many of my fondest childhood memories. Going to bed on Christmas Eve with our new pajamas that were a Christmas Eve tradition, waking up at the crack of dawn with butterflies in my stomach and then crawling into bed with my brother and sister while we watched the clock and waited for it to be the magical hour that our parents said we could wake them up to open presents, running out to see what Santa brought and then spending Christmas day playing games and eating way too much candy...I loved every second of it.

I'm all grown up now but I still feel like a kid every year at Christmas. I still go to bed with new pajamas on Christmas Eve. I make sure that everyone in the family has new pajamas for Christmas each year. My husband is always amused that I still wake up super early on Christmas morning and watch the clock with butterflies in my stomach, waiting for it to be the magical hour that I can wake my kids up and tell them to go downstairs and open presents. :) I still eat way too much candy and spend the day playing games and enjoying family time. Holiday traditions are really important to me. Every Christmas is exactly the same here and we all really look forward to it.

So here it is, 8am on the day before Christmas and the butterflies in my stomach have already started! The day before Christmas always seems like the longest day of the year. We have some fun things planned today that should take up some time. We're actually watching season 15 of Amazing Race as a family (we missed that season when it aired) and we have three episodes to finish up today. We have a game tournament planned for this afternoon and whoever wins gets to wear the Santa hat tomorrow morning and pass out the presents from under the tree. Tonight we will open our new pajamas, get hot chocolate and blankets and drive around and look at Christmas lights, which is Shawn's favorite tradition. Then we'll come home, have the annual photo shoot of the kids in front of the Christmas tree and then we'll sprinkle reindeer food in the front yard and put the Santa Key out so that Santa can get into our house (he doesn't go down the chimney because we have a gas fireplace with a glass front! :)). Then I'll tuck all the kids into bed, wait for them to fall asleep and Santa can finally do his job! If Christmas is my favorite day of the year, Christmas eve might just be my second favorite.

Shawn always takes several days off at Christmas so that we can spread our family fun out over several days. He took off yesterday and he doesn't have to go back until Tuesday. Yesterday we had a lot of fun watching Amazing Race and doing some other fun family things. Then last night we got on Skype and had a webcam visit with Clarissa's foster parents and my friend Jinha, which was really nice. It's nice to be able to show Clarissa to her foster parents. I send them pictures regularly, but they hadn't seen her live in a while, so that was really fun. There is a language barrier so all we can really do is say hi and wave, but we both manage to get our point across. They sang Clarissa her favorite Korean childrens song and we showed them how she can dance and do taekwondo kicks and it was a good time. They're really special to us, I'm glad that we've been able to maintain that relationship. They cry everytime they see Clarissa. I know how much it means to them to be able watch her grow and I'm glad that we've been able to do that for them.

Well, it looks like I killed about 20 minutes writing a blog post, so that means that we're 20 minutes closer to Christmas! I think now I'll go downstairs, make breakfast and get the party started. We have games to play, Amazing Race to finish and Christmas treats to eat. It should be a fun day!:)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Letter to me

I'm trying to grab a few minutes of peace and quiet while the kids are playing happily and I was sitting here listening to Pandora and "Letter To Me" by Brad Paisley came on. I like that song, it always makes me think and when I think I blog, so here I am. :)

So the song is about how he wishes he could write a letter to his teenage self and give him some advice now that he's grown up. Don't you wish you could do that? I would love to go back and have a talk with my teenage self, as a newlywed, a first time mom, during the adoption process, etc.

I would have a lot to tell my teenage self. Listen to your parents because they aren't as dumb as you think they are. Cherish the friendships you have and don't take them from granted. Take fewer fluff classes in high school and take AP English and a foreign language instead. "Forever" means approximately a year and a half to a teenage boy. Time heals a broken heart. Don't wish that high school would hurry up and be over, instead take the time to enjoy the last few years of true freedom you'll have for a while. Spend time with your dad while you still can.

As I newlywed I would tell myself to realize what a sweet time of life that was. Stop wishing for a big house and be glad that your little apartment only takes you a half hour to clean. Don't wish those poor college student days away, you'll miss them someday. Enjoy sleeping in on Saturday mornings. Those days will end soon. Take it easy on the student loans, it takes forever to pay them back.

As a first time mom I would tell myself to relax and stop worrying so much. Buy a better camera and take more pictures. Don't worry if the house is a mess, just snuggle that sweet baby. The sleepless nights won't last forever, you WILL sleep again.

During the adoption process I would tell myself to be patient, the wait will totally be worth it. Stop obsessing that something is going to wrong, it all turns out fine. Don't give up on learning Korean so quickly. You'll wish you knew more Korean when you get to Korea. Take more video in Korea. Sleep while you can, you won't be doing much of that for a while.

So it makes me wonder what my future self would tell my 35 year old self. What am I doing now that my future self would warn me about or tell me to change? I'd probably tell myself to blog more! Enjoy your kids while you can, they grow up too fast. Slow down and enjoy the moments instead of trying to constantly get to the next thing. For petes sake, eat more vegetables. :) (I've been telling myself that one for years.)

It puts things into perspective. We sometimes get so busy with life that we forget to slow down and have fun. I sometimes get so caught up in worrying about the future that I forget to enjoy the present.

So my goal is to enjoy the present. Last night Mattthew invited us in to the living room to hear a song that he made up and at first I was a little hesitant because I was in the middle of something. But I went to hear his song and it turned into Clarissa singing a song and then Josh singing a song and then the whole family singing songs until we laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. That was a sweet memory that I don't want to forget. I'm glad I took the time in my day to stop to sing a song with my kids. I hope I can live my life in such a way that my future self doesn't wish she could go back and point out a hundred things I should have done differently.

And that's what I would say if I could write a letter to me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm still alive!

I feel like such a slacker when it comes to this blog lately. I keep meaning to come update it but when I sit down to make a post I realize that I don't really have a lot to say except the same stuff I say every time. Life is good, the kids are busy with school, taekwondo and scouts and Clarissa is as cute and sweet as ever! That about sums it up!

Really, life has been pretty routine lately. I don't have a lot of exciting stories to share. I actually kind of feel like I've been in a bit of a rut lately. I've been feeling kind of antsy, like I need to shake things up around here or I need an adventure of some sort but we're so busy with regular life that I don't have time for adventures. These days I chase a very active toddler around all day and then collapse into bed at night.

The past couple of weeks I've been busy trying to get ready for Christmas. Thank goodness for online shopping or I'd never get it all done! is my best friend in December. I hear that Santa might be bringing Clarissa a big play kitchen and I'm dying for her to see it. A friend of ours has one and she always runs straight for it when we go over there so I think she's going to love it. Rumor has it that he's bringing the boys some fun things too, but big kids who can read my blog are just going to have to wait until Christmas to find out what they are! :)

This weekend my mom and stepdad are coming to visit, which will be fun. The kids are excited to spend some time with their grandparents. Hopefully we can find some fun activities to do with them while they're here. I need to spend some time tomorrow getting the house all Christmasy for their arrival.

Matthew is being tested for the gifted program at school over the next couple of days and I'm anxious to hear the results. We had a great meeting with his teacher and the principal the other day. I'm really proud of my boys. They love school.

Clarissa is starting to talk more and more. A couple of days ago I got my first spontanious "I love you", which seriously melted my heart. I was laying down with her trying to get her to take a nap and right before she fell asleep she looked at me and said it. She's repeated it when we've said it before, but she's never said it on her own. I love that kid. She completely wears me out most days but I absolutely adore her and every cute word that comes out of her mouth.

I've said it a million times, but life is good here. Insanely busy, but good. I'm hoping to take some Christmasy pictures this weekend. If it works I will be back to share them. Stay tuned!