Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011


Well, the third annual cabin trip adventure came to an end and we're back home now. The weekend went by SO fast! We had a lot of fun, I think everyone was sad to leave. Every time we get together the adults play Speed Scrabble and I seriously LOVE that game. Saturday night we were all super tired and hopped up on all the junk food we were consuming and the game got pretty silly. I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard. Good times. :)

The only problem with me going up to the mountains and getting some fresh mountain air is that I'm allergic to fresh mountain air. I've been sneezing for three days and my asthma is terrible. I thought it would get better when we came home but this morning I woke up and my eyes were swelling shut and I can't breathe. I don't know what it is that is bothering my allergies so much but I'm pretty miserable. I took some Benedryl earlier, which I try not to do unless I'm desperate because it makes me SUPER sleepy and spaced out, but I was pretty desperate. So now Josh is babysitting Clarissa downstairs while I rest for a little bit. I can breathe better now and my eyes aren't itchy and watery, but now my brain is only half functioning. I'm not really sure why I chose to blog in the middle of it. I wonder if this post will make any sense when the medine fog lifts.

The other thing I've been doing today that I shouldn't be doing in a medicine induced haze is trying to find some more information on our stupid tax return. We finally qualified for the adoption tax credit this year and of course this is the year the IRS has decided to be difficult about it. We filed our taxes in February and still haven't gotten our refund. The IRS has flagged all the adoption tax credits for review and they're making everyone submit a bunch of extra info and they're taking their own sweet time reviewing all of it. I called today to see if I could get a status update and they told me that nothing was new and to call back in August. I'm kind of cranky about it. I suppose it's a good thing that the government is making sure that no one is trying to scam them out of  fake adoption tax credits, but mine is legitimate, I swear! I'm hoping that they were just being conservative and we hear something before August.

Ok, so now I'm going to go lay down and try to get over this medicine haze. I feel kind of crappy. :( I look forward to reading this post when I'm lucid, lol.

Friday, June 24, 2011

At the cabin

I'm writing on my iPad from a cabin in the woods! We're up here for our third annual cabin weekend with friends. We come up here every June with the two families we're close friends with and we spend the weekend letting the kids run around, riding ATV's, having sling shot competitions, eating way too much junk food, playing lots of games and laughing til our stomachs hurt. I look forward this weekend all year.

I absolutely love these friends. They're like family to me. Our kids are all the same age, our husbands are friends and the women are like sisters to me. We celebrate holidays and special events together and support each other through whatever is going on in our lives. I feel really grateful for those friendships.

Ok, so I had to take a break from writing for a moment for some bat excitement! When we got here this evening there was some sort of animal poop on the floor that we thought was from a mouse. Then as we were getting kids to bed we started hearing squeaking noises in the ceiling where a pipe goes out from the fireplace. Suddenly on the outside of the house we see bats start flying out from a little hole in the roof. We went outside and saw at least 10 of them! A couple of them flew right over our heads! We all stood on the deck and watched them flying around as the sun set. It was kind of awesome. :)

Anyway, we've only been here for a few hours but we're having a really great time. It's good to get away from life for a bit and come up here and relax. Tomorrow the girls are taking a little shopping trip into town. And by town I mean the three little stores out here in the middle of nowhere.:) There is a great used bookstore here that I love. I like to collect books from my childhood. Not new reprints but actual old copies. The more used the better. Hopefully I'll find a few gems tomorrow!

For I'm going to try to get Clarissa to sleep, do a little more bat watching and then the adults are having a game tournament when the kids are asleep. Shawn and I have go defend our title as Speed Scrabble champions! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Growing up

Summer is in full swing at our house! It's been like Grand Central Station around here today! The boys friends have been coming over and there have been kids in and out of here all day.

Josh just turned 11 but some of his friends are 12. He has one friend who lives just a few streets over from us but they don't go to the same school and we were so busy during the school year that we didn't see him for a while. He used to be a really hyperactive little kid who kind of drove me nuts, lol. It's probably been at least six months or so since I've seen him. A few weeks ago he called to talk to Josh and his voice was so deep that I thought it was his dad on the phone. Then he stopped by today to see if Josh could come over and when I opened the door my jaw almost hit the floor, lol. That hyper active little kid has suddenly turned into a tall, calm, deep voiced teenager! I barely recognized him, he's like a completely different person! I talked to him for a minute about school and he just seems so grown up. I'm used to little kids coming over to play with my kids, not kids who are pratically as tall as me and sound like adults!

So it has suddenly occured to me that Josh is on the verge of that same transformation and it's freaking me out a bit! He starts middle school in the fall. In my mind he's still the same kid I sent off to Kindergarten (which seems like it was last week) but I think today I had a moment of shock when I realized that he's not really a little boy anymore. I don't think I like that! If anyone has figured out how to keep their kids sweet and little forever, let me know. :)

And with that I will leave you with a picture of someone else who is growing up way too fast. Clarissa is obsessed with changing her clothes. She takes her clothes off and puts them back on all day long. She's amazingly good at dressing herself for her age. She can even get strappy sandals on by herself. That's handy sometimes but when she constantly wants to take her clothes off and put something else one it drives me a little crazy. Anyway, here's what she managed to dress herself in today. I think she has a very high society, Paris Hilton look on her face. It makes me laugh. I love that kid!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day!

Today is significant for two reasons. First it's Fathers Day and second, it's the two year anniversary of Clarissa's referral! Can you believe it's been two years?! Two years ago right this minute I was in the car on the way to Portland staring at the picture of a beautiful baby girl on my Blackberry and reading everyone's comments on my big announcement blog post.

I remember being SO excited that day but also scared out of my mind! Suddenly the baby we had talked about for so long was actually real and it freaked me out a little, lol! I didn't know then what the future would hold but now that sweet Clarissa is part of our family I laugh that I ever worried. She's more wonderful than we could possibly have hoped for. She makes me smile every day and she pretty much has us all wrapped around her little finger. :)

We've had a good Father's Day so far. Hopefully Shawn is having a good day! For gifts I bought him a nice case for his iPod and the kids and I made him a Star Wars candy pack that I found on a really creative blog.
Shawn's favorite summertime activity is taking drives up in the mountains so this afternoon we jumped in the car and took a drive. We love being up in the mountains. I'm kicking myself that I forgot to take my camera because we saw a huge owl in a tree on the way back and he was in the perfect spot for picture taking. I always see the best wildlife when I don't have my camera!

Tonight we're getting Michael packed up and early tomorrow morning we're driving him to the airport to see him off to Korea. I think he's had a good time here, but honestly, it's kind of been a long month. We had a bit of a different experience this time than we did with Melissa. We've kept him busy with fun activities and it's been fine, but we've struggled a bit with him at times. I think everyone is ready for this adventure to come to an end. He's a sweet kid and I wish him well. We're on to new adventures.

Tomorrow is the first official day of summer vacation for my kids. I hope I can find some fun activities to keep them busy this summer. They have lots of friends in the neighborhood to play with so I think we're mostly going to stick close to home this summer. I wish we were planning a big exciting summer vacation but for various reasons I don't think it's in the cards this summer.

For now I'm off to make another sweep of the house and gather up Michael's things and get him packed up. I think it's anxious to get home. I hope he has lots of fun stories to tell when he gets there!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The apron

I got a package in the mail today from my mom. I opened it and it's a super cute apron made from red, white and blue 4th of July fabric. It was just an apron but it felt like a little piece of home as soon as I saw it and I can't stop looking at it and smiling.

I always get really homesick around the 4th of July every year. I LOVED July fourth growing up. It was one of my very favorite days of the year. We did the same thing every single year. My dad would get up at the crack of dawn and drive downtown to save us the same spot along the parade route. I loved the 4th of July parade in our town. I grew up in a fairly small town and we had a typical small town fouth of July parade. High School marching bands, floats from local churches and businesses, ect. We always sat in the same spot and watched the same parade every fourth of July that I can remember. I loved it.

In the afternoon we would go on a picnic or do some fun family activity and then in the evening there would be an awesome fireworks display over the river and then we would come home and do more fireworks in our backyard where my sister and I would huddle on the back porch and worry that my dad was going to start the yard on fire, lol. It was literally the exact same thing every single year. There was something comforting about the fact that life never changed much when I was growing up. I loved it.

Then I grew up, my dad passed away, my mom got remarried, I moved away from my hometown and everything is different now. I guess when I was growing up I thought that somehow things were going to stay the same forever. I couldn't imagine that there would be a day when I wouldn't be sitting on that curb watching the fourth of July parade with my dad. Obviously that is silly and unrealistic but it still threw me for a loop the first year that the fourth of July changed and I wasn't in my hometown, sitting on that curb with my dad watching the parade and looking forward to the fireworks.  To this day I still ache for home every fourth of July. I get incredibly homesick on the fourth of July. We do our own fun family activities on the fourth, and I love spending that time with my husband and kids, but every year I have that same twinge of sadness when I think of how much I miss my dad and my hometown and my family the way it used to be before everything changed. My family has become much more complicated in recent years. Even when we get together, which isn't often, nothing is the same anymore and it's something I really struggle with.

So today I opened the package and out fell that apron. Homemade aprons remind me of my mom and my grandma and they remind me of home. I think I'm just extra hormonal today but I just wanted to wrap myself up in that apron and be transported back to my childhood. I've been sitting here looking at it and folding and unfolding it since it came. It feels like home to me. I'm grateful that my mom thought to send it to me. My mom loves to sew and probably made several aprons to give to her kids. It wasn't a particularly significant gift but it today it feels significant to me. Today it was a cure for the homesickness that I know is coming up as we get closer to the fourth. When I feel a little sad on the fouth and think of home I'll put my apron on, fire up the grill in the backyard and feel grateful for the wonderful memories I have of my childhood and for the opportunities I have to make new memories with my kids.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I had a weird dream about the past last night that has been on my mind all day. I have really vivid dreams for some reason, and sometimes it's hard for me to shake them. I've kind of been in my head all day and I'm driving myself crazy so I thought I'd come blog and get my mind on a different track.

I don't really have anything specific to blog about. Things are pretty much the same around here. I'm doing great with water aerobics this week. I've managed to make it two days in a row, which is sometimes a feat. As of today I've officially been on Weight Watchers for a week. So far so good! The extra points I get for water aerobics help. I like Weight Watchers. As much as anyone can like dieting, I suppose.

Clarissa has been particularly cute and funny this week. Seriously, I've got to get that kid on video and post it because she is hysterically funny. I love two year olds because they always say the cutest things. She was coloring a picture of an octopus yesterday and trying SO hard to pronounce the word octopus. No matter how hard she tried it kept coming out "applesauce", lol. She colored an awesome picture of an applesauce. :)

She's also become obsessed with a certain pair of her pajamas (the plaid pajamas from our family Christmas picture, if you remember those). She begs to wear them all day long. I don't let her spend the day in her pajamas but it doesn't stop her from asking repeatedly. I get her dressed in the morning and we go to the gym and as soon as we get home she takes her shirt and pants off and asks for her pajamas. When I don't let her put them on she just decides to go without clothes and I can't get her back in her regular clothes. The last two days she has come up with a "brilliant" plan and she tells me that it's bedtime several times during the day. She knows she gets to put her pajamas on when she goes to bed so she'll randomly ask to go to bed at various points during the day. Nice try. :) Occasionally we do have a pajama day. It makes her happy! She'd pretty much live in them 24/7 if I let her.

The other day I ordered a Disney movie on my Amazon account for a friend and I left my Ipad sitting on the couch with the Amazon page still loaded. A while later I checked my e-mail and Clarissa had used the one click ordering button and had ordered Tangled and The Princess and the Frog on Blu-ray! Thank goodness I caught it quick enough to cancel it. You have to stay on your toes around her. :)

We're trying to work on potty training her but it's been slow going so far. She's not showing a lot of interest. Every now and then she'll ask to sit on the potty and I sit her on it and make a big fuss about what a big girl she is but then nothing happens and she eventually gets bored and wants off. I think once Michael goes home next week and things settle down a bit around here I'm going to start working harder at it. My boys were both nightmares to potty train and I'm hoping and praying that we have an easier time with Clarissa!

That's pretty much all that is going on here right now. The house is quiet and I'm going go to take advantage of the last quiet half hour of my day and get some stuff done before Clarissa wakes up and the boys come home. There's never a dull moment around here!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


I know I said I wasn't going to obsess over the scale but I just checked and I've lost 2.8 pounds since I started Weight Watchers on Tuesday! YAY! :) Between Weight Watchers and water aerobics I'm feeling really good and I'm excited about seeing some positive changes in my body. Pretty soon I might be able to get down the box of jeans in my closet that don't currently fit! When I can get myself into a pair of those I'm going to throw myself a little party. :)

We've been pretty busy here this week. I've been working on some projects for church, the kids have all sorts of fun end of the school year parties going on and we've been finding some fun things to entertain Michael. The kids are out of school for the year this Friday and then Michael goes home the following Monday. We've had a good time with Michael but I think I can see the kids starting to wear down. It's fun having a house guest for a while but I think it will be nice when things go back to normal around here. It's been a really chaotic month.

The weekend after Michael goes home we're headed up to a friends cabin for our yearly cabin trip, which I'm so excited about! This will be our third year doing it. It's us and two other families and we always have a really great time. I can hardly believe that it's already been a year since the last time we went! It's something we all really look forward to all year.

I'm looking forward to the kids being out of school and doing some fun summer activities. Usually our summers are packed with a million things but we really don't have a lot of big plans for this summer yet. The boys have cousins camp at my moms house for a few days and that's pretty much it. We keep talking about taking a vacation but for various reasons I'm not sure if that's going to happen this year. We'll probably do something to get away for a few days but I don't think we'll be doing anything too big. I'm looking forward to doing things close to home, like spending Saturdays at the lake and putting a pool up in the backyard.

Well, that's pretty much the update from our house. It's time for me to go get myself ready for church and eat my Weight Watchers friendly breakfast. I lost 2.8 pounds! Yay me! :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The scale

The quest for a better me continues. I decided that the comments from my previous post were right. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. I'm continuing on with my better me project, but I'm taking it slower for now so I don't overwhelm myself with making a million goals that I don't have the time to accomplish right now.

My latest quest is something I've been avoiding but decided it was time to do. I joined Weight Watchers. *Sigh* In my mind I'm still a super tall and super skinny 16 year old. Unfortunately the mirror and and the scale keep reminding me otherwise.

I'm an emotional eater. When I'm stressed out I eat. When I stepped on the scale this week I kind of wanted to cry. Usually when I want to cry I eat, but not this time! On my quest to be a better me I decided not to accept the number on the scale and I'm doing something about it. I don't have a ton of weight to lose but enough that I need to do something about it before it's even more out of control than it already is.

So that brings me to Weight Watchers. I did it years ago after Matthew was born to lose the baby weight and it worked really well for me. I don't mind counting the points and I do feel like it's a healthy and realistic way to lose weight. Weight Watchers has an iPad app and I'm pretty attached to my iPad so that makes it easier. Whatever it is, if it has an iPad app, I'm totally in, lol.

Going on a diet is like going back to the gym. The first few weeks are really hard and you have to sort of force yourself but then once it becomes a habit it's not so bad. I have to keep reminding myself of that. I just have to get past the first few weeks.

So that's where I'm at right now. I'm counting points and trying to ignore my scale for the time being. I decided not to make any weight loss goals or obsess over the number on the scale. It's all about becoming a better me for the long run. There's no deadline and no goal. The goal is to just move forward and do better than I was doing yesterday. If as a result I become healthier and happier and my pants fit better, then good for me. :) I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A better me?

Well, my "30 Days To a Better Me" project is over. Am I a better me? Hmm...sadly I'm not sure if I can say yes. It was honestly kind of a tough month for me. The first half went smoothly but the second half has been really chaotic and stressful and at the moment I'm not the calm and peaceful person I was hoping I would be!

I did learn a lot about myself this month though. One thing I learned is that you should never have a long term houseguest or take on another child in the middle of a destressing program, lol. Michael is having a good time here, but having a forth child in the house really isn't helping my stress levels. There is more laundry to do, more food to make, more messes to clean up and one more kid to entertain. That along with the fact that my kids have a million end of the school year projects and activities and parties going on means that life is just super chaotic at the moment. I feel like I'm kind of treading water at the moment and trying to not to drown.

One thing I learned about myself is that water aerobics does wonders for my stress levels, but so far this week I haven't managed to make it to class once. Monday I actually went and I was told that there was going to be a class even though it was a holiday but when I got over there I found out that they were wrong and there was no class. I did exercise in the water a bit by myself though, so maybe that sort of counts. Tuesday the kids missed the bus so I was too late to make it to class. Wednesday I missed it because Matthew had to make a rainforest diarama and it would have been crushed on the bus so I had to drive the kids to school. Today I was bound and determined to go and Shawn even got all the kids lunches made and got Clarissa ready this morning so I wouldn't be late, which was really sweet. I did actually manage to make it there but when I dropped Clarissa off at child care she had a complete meltdown and wouldn't go in. I tried everything to get her to stay but it was no use. We finally gave up and left.

Tomorrow Shawn has the day off so I'm going no matter what. He's actually planning to use a guest pass and come with me, which will be fun. Shawn is actually the best stress reliever of all. I'm always happier when he's around.

One thing I did rediscover this month was my love of photography, although I have put that back on hold a little since Michael has been here. I did really enjoy the photo challenge when I had time to do it. Once Michael goes home I'm going to get back into it again. Now that it's finally getting warm outside it's the perfect time for me to start taking more pictures. I do have plans for some photo projects this summer. Rediscovering photography was probably the best thing that came out of my 30 day project.

Even though the rest of the month didn't go like I planned, joining the gym and rediscovering photography are positive changes that will continue to benefit me. I may still be a little high strung and stressed out, but at least I'm moving towards making changes, and that's a good thing, right?!

Once the kids are out of school and Michael goes home, I think I'll revisit my 30 day project. I may break it down and set some 7 day goals and take it a week at a time for a bit.

For now I'm going to snuggle up with Shawn and see if we can catch up on Army Wives while the kids play. The perfect end to a busy day. :)