Thursday, June 27, 2013

Clarissa is reading!

I know this makes post #2 for the day, but I just wanted to share this.

Clarissa has been interested in learning to read for a few months so I decided to follow her lead and help her learn. We used the BOB book set. I'm going to sound like a commercial, but that's what we used to teach the boys to read too and they're awesome. They used them so much they wore them out and I had to go buy a new set for Clarissa. Totally worth the money. It's a whole set of books with easy to sound out words. The books in the set get progressively harder (and by harder, they're still easy to sound out words, but the sentences are longer and there are a few longer words) so you can start small and move up.

I taught Clarissa how to sound words out and we practiced with the first few books. Now she's reading the harder books in the series and doing awesome! Usually about once a day she brings me a book or two and we read them. Ten or fifteen minutes a day has done wonders for her over the past month. She has picked it up really fast! She's really excited that she can read and we'll slowly start working on harder books as she decides she's ready.

I took a video tonight of her reading. She did great!

Summer update

Whew, things are busy around here! We got back from our awesome vacation in McCall, celebrated our anniversary last week and this week Clarissa has been taking a little dance class. There is the cutest teenage girl down the street who I just love, and she's been taking dance classes for years. Their house has an awesome little dance studio room in the basement so in the summer she teaches dance to all the little neighbor girls. Clarissa has loved going to dance class all week and today they had a little recital, which was adorable. This class was just a one week "camp", but she's going to start teaching a regular class once a week during the school year and I think I'm going to sign Clarissa up for it. It's right down the street and it's super cheap as far as dance classes go and Clarissa loves it. It's perfect for her age and if she likes it I might sign her up for dance classes as a dance studio when she's a little older. She likes that sort of thing.

Here are some pictures I took of her the other day after class:

Now we're getting ready to leave town again for our trip to my hometown. We have a million things planned while we're there. We're going to go to Yellowstone Park for a couple of days, I have my class reunion, we're celebrating the 4th of July there, we're having a family party...the week is pretty packed. I'm looking forward to it, I think it's going to be really fun. 

This afternoon I went back to the periodontist to have my last checkup related to my gum surgery. He said everything looks great, so now I can call my regular dentist and schedule the crowns that caused this whole mess in the first place. I'm waiting to do it until all our family trips are done but I'm anxious to get it over with. This thing has been going on for months.

So things are going good here, we're just super busy with summer stuff. I will leave you with a few photos I took of the kids in McCall! 

Friday, June 21, 2013


Today I celebrate sixteen amazing years of marriage to my best friend. A few months ago I came across this cartoon and it made me smile because it's pretty much the story of how Shawn and I fell in love. I could tell you the whole long story, but here it is in a nutshell. :)

So to Shawn, my husband and my best friend, happy anniversary. Thank you for making me laugh, for putting up with my neuroses, for always saving me the last cookie, and for fixing my balloon. Here's to many many more happy years side by side. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I fail at vacationing

We are seriously having the most fun vacation ever. The kids keep saying this is one of their favorite vacations, and I have to agree. We're having an awesome time.

However, I am hysterically failing. Yesterday we rode our bikes and took a hike and spent the day in the forest and I came home covered in mosquito bites and extremely sore. I have a weird allergy to mosquito bites I think, because when I get them (and I get them often because mosquitos love me) they turn into huge hives. Not just the little red itchy welts, but great big hives that sometimes have a bullseye ring around them. They itch like crazy.

So this morning I woke up with sore muscles and covered in big itchy hives. I'm loving the vacation though, so I dealt with it and we began today's adventure. One thing we did today was take a boat ride on the lake. I made sure that all the kids were carefully covered in sunscreen but stupidly didn't put any on myself. My arms are now beet red and really hurt!!

So this evening I am laying here covered in itchy welts, some of which I can't scratch because they hurt my sunburn, and my muscles are so sore it hurts to walk. I officially fail at vacationing, lol.

BUT, having said that, I'm having an awesome time! This morning we got up and I told Shawn that since it was Fathers Day we were going to do all the things he loves. We started out going out to breakfast and the McCall pancake house. Shawn LOVES breakfast. It's like his favorite thing ever. So we had gigantic pancakes and lots of bacon and pretty much stuffed ourselves in honor of Fathers Day.:)

Then we got reservations for a boat cruise on the lake. The lake here is gorgeous. It is seriously just breathtaking to see. We had so much fun on the boat, which circled the lake for 90 minutes. We had a good time picking out which of the many beautiful lake houses we're going to buy when we win the lottery, lol. It was really fun and totally worth the sunburned arms!

Then we decided to check out an ice cream place that someone had told us about. It was super good ice cream but they give you a ridiculous amount of it. Shawn ordered a hot fudge sundae and it was hysterically large. Our whole family could have eaten it with leftovers. It was kind of awesome and he sadly was unable to finish the whole thing, no matter how much we egged him on, lol.

Then we came back to the condo to take a rest and he chose a movie that we all had a fun time watching. He is now at the condo pool with the kids for a little bit and then we're going to get dinner.

Tomorrow I think we're going to hang out at the lake for awhile and play in the water and then sadly it will be time to head home in the afternoon. I really wish we could stay longer because we are having so much fun! I honestly had no idea this trip was going to be so great. We're planning to come back next year and possibly stay longer if we can.

I took lots of pictures today but I'll wait to share them until we get home. It's easier to do from my laptop.

So there's our vacation update for the day! I'm itchy and sore and sunburned and having the time of my life! :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Best day ever

This is turning out to be the greatest little getaway ever! We've been to this town before, it's a little resort town about two hours from our house and we've driven through it a few times over the years. It's a popular place for skiing in the winter and there is a really pretty lake for summer fun.

Other people seem to love it here but the few times we had been here in the past, we didn't really see what the big draw was. We just didn't really get it. But we wanted to go somewhere different for our vacation this year, so we decided to stay here and give it another try.

It turns out that we had never really scratched the surface of what there is to do here when we had been here before! The condo we're staying at is on the edge of a gorgeous state park that we had never been to before. It's a little forest on a lake. It's seriously stunningly beautiful.

This morning we packed a picnic and packed up the bikes and spent the day exploring. We had a picnic by the lake, we drove up to the top of the mountain where there is an amazing view of the lake, we took a little break and played a game of Sorry in the park visitor center, we took an awesome bike ride that we all voted as our favorite activity of the day, and then we took a hike through the forest. Had we planned better we would not have done the hike last. By the time we started everyone was tired from the bike ride and the rest of the activities of the day. It was an absolutely beautiful hike, we saw deer and the scenery was awesome. We were just a little tired. I think we were all super happy to see the end of the trail!

Then we came home and everyone crashed. I sat on the couch for half an hour and then tried to stand back up and realized exactly how old and out of shape I am, lol. I'm pretty much down for the count tonight!

Shawn went and picked up dinner and then then we watched National Treasure, which was fun.

Shawn and I are both exhausted but the kids were still ready for more adventure so Shawn just left with them to go swimming at the pool in the condo complex. That should wear them out and hopefully they'll come home and go straight to bed!

Tomorrow we're looking forward to more adventures. We're going to do some more swimming and I think we're going to take a boat cruise on the lake. This whole trip has been so much fun! I wish we could stay longer. I can't believe that we've lived this close to this town all these years and we never realized how fun this place is. This condo is so perfect and the town is so fun that I have a feeling that we'll be repeating this trip again next year. It's nice because we're not that far from home but it feels like we've gone somewhere totally different.

Here are a few photos I took today. They're just cellphone photos, so they're not great. I took photos with my big camera too but I don't have my laptop with me so I can't share those until I get home.

Friday, June 14, 2013


The White's are living in up in the mountains! :) This afternoon we packed up the car and made the two hour drive to a fun little resort town. We've rented a condo on the edge of a state park for a couple of days. There is a stunningly beautiful lake here and it's a quaint little town with fun shops and lots of outdoor activities.

We brought the bikes with us so we can take a bike ride in the forest tomorrow. We bought a bike rack that goes on the back of our van and we were so nervous using it for the first time today! I was just sure the bikes were going to fall off and cause a 10 car pileup, but they didn't and we all survived. We spent forever making sure they were safe and secure, but I worried anyway, because that's what I do.

The condo we're staying at is perfect. We've rented cabins and condos and vacation homes many times over the years and it's always kind of hit and miss. Some are great and some aren't so great. This one fits our needs perfectly. There are swimming pools in the complex, which will be fun, and we have a cute back porch with a grill and a picnic table. We're only here for a few days and I wish we could stay longer because I think we could keep busy for quite some time!

Tonight we ate pizza and had a movie night. Tomorrow we're going to pack a picnic and take a bike ride and then come back here and do some swimming in the afternoon. I love being on vacation. I really needed to get out of town for a few days. I love being in the mountains, I love the trees and the water and the wildlife and the fresh air. I love watching my kids have fun, I love exploring new places, I love waking up in the morning knowing the day is going to be full of new adventures.

But now it's late and I'm going to bed because it was a super busy day and I'm exhausted. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's adventures! :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I feel faaaaaaaat.

So I went shopping for summer clothes today. We're getting ready to go on vacation and I have nothing summery to wear. And you know why? Because I feel fat. Remember all that weight I lost when I was super awesome? Well, then winter came and I lost my motivation and I hurt my foot and couldn't run for a few months and sadly some of that weight I loss found its way back.

And I'm super, super, suuuuuper cranky about it. It's totally my own fault, I realize that. I was making progress and feeling better than I had felt in years and then somehow I just...quit. I didn't mean to, I had good intentions, I just gave up. In my defense, I really did hurt my foot. I did something to my Achilles tendon and it hurt to walk for like 3 months. It took me most of the winter for my foot to stop hurting. Of course, I could have done another type of exercise and stuck with the diet, but I didn't. I intended to start back up in the spring and then I had all the tooth issues and 100 more excuses and I didn't do it.

So now here we are, it's summer again and I have a closet full of clothes that either don't fit or I feel super frumpy in. When you're not the weight you want to be, shopping for clothes really kind of sucks. I went to Kohls today and wandered around aimlessly grabbing anything in the size I wish I wasn't and tried a ton of things on. All I gained from that experience was the realization that there are far too many mirrors in dressing rooms. I bought three things and I only marginally like them, but it was either that or go on vacation in my pajamas, which, if you want the truth, I think I would prefer, lol.

Also, my class reunion is in a few weeks. *sigh*

So today I'm feeling a little down and a lot disappointed with myself. I realize that the solution is to stop wallowing and just get on the treadmill and fix the problem. Starting is always the hardest part, isn't it? Tomorrow is a new day and maybe it's time to give it another attempt. I'll try.

Monday, June 10, 2013


In honor of our class reunion, a bunch of us changed our Facebook profiles to our senior picture. Here is mine: 

I look so young! Over the years you never really see yourself change that much. In my mind I think I still look pretty much the same as I always have. Then I take a good look at old photos like this one and realize that I've changed a lot more than I think I have! 

I remember the day that photo was taken. I remember it like it just happened yesterday. Back then there was one fancy photographer in town and that's where practically everyone went to get their senior pictures taken. As a result we all had the same backgrounds and poses. I was going through some of my friends senior pictures the other day and was laughing that everyone was standing under the same arch with their arms folded or in front of the same fake brick wall. I bet it's nothing like that now. There are tons of choices when it comes to senior photos.

But anyway, this is my senior photo and I found it amusing to look at. That was the brief period in my life when I wore contacts instead of glasses. I have terrible eyesight and I've had glasses since the fourth grade. I only switched to contacts for a fairly brief period in my late teens. I have a lot of allergies and my eyes just don't really like contacts. A few times in my life I've tried to switch to contacts again and always switch back to glasses. They're easier. One of these days I'm going to get brave and get eye surgery but we all know what a baby I am about doctors, so it probably won't happen anytime soon. 

This photo was also taken shortly after I straightened my hair and left my big hair days mostly behind forever. I have extremely thick and unruly hair. When I was a kid I had the worst hair ever and my mother was constantly trying to figure out what to do with it. We tried fighting the unruly waves and decided that maybe perms were the answer (tip of the day, perms are never the answer) and then I ended up looking like a poodle for quite some time. I had a lot of bad hairstyles over the years. My hair was a constant source of frustration and self esteem issues in my teens.

Then when I was a senior my mom came up with the brilliant idea to straighten my hair. It was basically a perm but with no curlers. It relaxed all the crazy waves I had been fighting for years and my hair was finally somewhat manageable. I have mostly worn it straight ever since, although it's still naturally wavy in all the wrong places and it takes a lot of work to keep it straight. The invention of the flat iron has made my life much easier. 

Also, I was skinny back then. I didn't think I was and I was self conscious of my body like every teenage girl, but I'd kill to have that skinny body back. There wasn't an ounce of fat on my body back in those days. I never had weight issues until I was pregnant the first time. I gained 40 pounds when I was pregnant with Josh and, well, he only weighed 6lbs 9oz, lol. I've been fighting the rest of that weight ever since. That 18 year old Wendy should have appreciated her body more than she did.

But what I think of most when I look at that photo is how happy and naive I was back then. The photo actually makes me a little sad to look at because I know what was going on in my life at the time and I was completely oblivious to how much my life was about to change. I was having the time of my life back then. When this photo was taken I was in love for the first time, I was making big plans for my future and I thought I knew exactly what was ahead of me in life. I didn't know then that the next few years were going to be full of a lot of hard times. I got my heart broken, my dad died, the college experience that I had looked so forward to ended up being a disaster and I abruptly dropped out to move across the country to try to figure out my life and then came home and got my heart re-broken and struggled to find my path for a while. 

I struggled after high school. I left high school with big plans and a solid view of my future and every one of those plans changed practically overnight and it took me a long time to come up with a new plan and to be OK with life turning out differently than I thought it would. I can't help but think of that when I look at my senior photo. I want to go back in time and find that 18 year old Wendy and warn her of a few things, but of course that impossible and I feel bad that the girl in that picture had no idea what was ahead of her in the next few years. 

But of course, life did turn out fine in the end. I struggled, I spent a few years figuring out who I was and where I was going and then miraculously Shawn showed up and made me smile again. That girl in the photo didn't know of the struggles that were ahead of her but she didn't know the amazing things that were in her future either. She didn't know that she would marry her best friend and have three awesome kids. She had no idea that someday she'd travel halfway around the world and come home with a precious daughter. She had no idea that she would have two amazing boys who would be so smart and funny and amazing. 

So maybe life didn't turn out exactly the way the girl in that photo thought it was going to back then but it turned out awesome in the end anyway. I might not fit into the jeans in that photo anymore, and I might have had some bumps along the way, but 20 years later I'm still pushing through, content with where life is taking me and looking forward to new adventures in the years to come. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Middle schoolers have invaded our house! :) We just had so much fun helping out with Josh's i48 team!

I case you missed my last post, i48 is a 48 hour film festival they do here. It's for teens and adults and they get together in teams and are given a theme and each team has 48 hours to write, film, edit and submit a movie, which will be shown at a film festival next weekend. Josh's filmmaking teacher put a team together and we volunteered to help out.

Last night at 6pm the team was given the packet with their theme and information and they met over here to start writing a script. It was nine kids and Josh's filmmaking teacher in our dining room. We supplied enough snacks and drinks to keep them happy for hours while they worked.

The theme they were given was Sci-Fi and they were also given a few other rules to make things fun. Things like they were assigned a specific name for a character, they had to use a certain phrase somewhere in the movie and they were given a prop that had to be featured somewhere.

So at six o'clock last night they got to work writing a script. They were supposed to be here until 10 but it went on until 11. It was fun to watch the process and by the end they were hyped up on sugar and caffeine and the excitement of the process and it was really fun.

They needed some house scenes for the script so this morning they came back over at 8:30 and started filming in our house. It was kind of a madhouse in here with people all over the place and digging around the house for props and coming up with different ideas. It was really fun and I enjoyed being able to help them a bit.

By 11:30 they had gotten all the house scenes and the rest of it was filmed at the school, so we packed everyone up and drove them over to the school. It's now almost 5:30 and Josh just called and said that they're done filming. One of the other kids is editing it tonight and it will be turned in tomorrow. It was a whirlwind of a weekend but so much fun! The kids really seemed to be having a great time and I think it was a fun learning experience for them.

Unfortunately the films will be shown next weekend and we aren't going to be here because we're taking our Fathers Day trip to the mountains. I didn't realized that the festival was next weekend when I made our plans. Kind of a bummer, but Josh had fun making the movie anyway. I have a feeling that it's pretty tough competition, so winning might be a long shot, but it would be fun to go see all the movies.

So that's what we did this weekend. It was actually really fun. We're all about film festivals this year! :)

Friday, June 7, 2013


Well, in about and hour Matthew will be home from his last day of school and it will officially be summer vacation at our house. This school year went by extremely fast!

Next school year is a "last" for everyone. It is Clarissa's last year of preschool, Matthew's last year of elementary school and Josh's last year of middle school. Which means that the next year will be a huge changes as every shifts up to a new milestone. Crazy.

I'm looking forward to summer this year. We have a lot of fun things planned to keep us busy. Tonight we're actually hosting a group of middle school film making students at our house for a fun 48 hour film competition. It's called i48, and it sounds like a lot of fun! Aspiring film makers in the area (kids and adults) get together in teams and then at 6pm tonight they are given a film topic. Last year I think it was horror movies. I have no idea what it will be this year. Anyway, once they get the topic each team has 48 hours to write the script, film the movie, edit it and get it turned in. They will then be judged and shown at a film festival in a few weeks.

Josh's filmmaking teacher put a team together and they are all meeting here tonight from 6-10 to write the script and tomorrow they'll be filming it somewhere. Maybe here, if the script requires a house. Honestly, I don't think there are many kid teams and they're up against adults, so they kind of have an uphill battle to win anything, but I think it will be a fun experience for them anyway.  It will be fun to see what they come up with.

Then next weekend I'm super excited because we're leaving town for a little trip. It's Fathers Day and I had an idea of a gift that I wanted to get Shawn but when it came down to it he said that more than a  gift he really wants to go on a little family weekend getaway. I'm always happy to plan those, so I got to work and made a plan. I rented a condo in a little resort town about two hours from here. It looks like a fun place with swimming pools and other fun things to do. It's also right next to a lake and a state park, so we can play on the little sandy beach area, go hiking in the woods, and if we can figured out a way to get them up there, we're going to take our bikes because there are bike trails through the state park. It won't be a super long trip, but long enough to relax and spend some time together as a family. I'm really looking forward to it!

And while we're on the subject, does anyone know the best way to pack five bikes in a minivan? We might be able to lay part of the backseat down and cram them in, but I'm a little doubtful that they'll fit with all of us in the car. I've seen those bike racks that attach to a hitch but our van has no hitch. I need to do some more research.

This month Matthew also has soccer camp and I signed Clarissa up for a little dance class that one of the teenage neighbor girls is doing. We have the sweetest teenage girl at the end of the street who has been taking dance classes for years and is on dance teams and she puts together a little dance day camp in the summer for little girls. It's just for a few days and then they have a recital at the end. Clarissa will think that is the funnest thing ever. I need to get her in real dance classes. She loves things like that.

So summer is shaping up to be busy around here! I'm excited for new adventures and some fun family activities!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

High school revisited

So my 20 year high school reunion is coming up in a month. There is a Facebook page set up for it where we have all been  meeting up to post photos and memories and I've been having the best time the past couple of days pulling out old photos and looking at what everyone else is posting.

So as a result I'm feeling super nostalgic today. I always get this way when I pull out my memory box and start going through old photos and the little things I kept from my teen years. Most people say they hated high school. I actually didn't hate it. Or maybe I hated it then but 20 years has given me a selective memory and I only remember the good parts. But I do have good memories of high school and I'm looking forward to meeting up with old friends next month. I was lucky enough to live in the same house all of my growing up years so I graduated from high school with the same kids I went to Kindergarten with. These are people I've known basically my whole life. So it will be fun to go back. I'm getting excited for it.

Although looking through the photos that everyone else has posted, it made me remember how few of my really close friends were actually in my grade. I had lots of casual friends in my grade, but most of my closest friends, the ones I went to dances and parties with, were older than me or went to different schools. I was going through my school dance photos and it occurred to me that while I went to lots of dances, I never once went with anyone from my grade.

I wish there was a reunion for all those old friends. I wish there was a reunion for old boyfriends, my computer geek friends that I met in local online chat groups, my friends who went to other schools, my coworkers at my after school job, etc. I hate losing touch with people and I love hearing from old friends. There are so many people from my teenage years who were important to me that I don't get to have a reunion with. I want to call all of those people up and throw a party. Wouldn't that be fun? Sadly everyone is scattered now and I don't even know where many of those people are anymore, but going through my memory box is making me miss all of them. I want to talk to every last one of them.

So I'm having a bout of nostalgia today. I'm laughing at old photos, remembering some funny moments, cringing at my huge hair and lack of fashion sense and missing some old friends who I'd really love to hear from. Time goes by way too quickly.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Welcome Penny!

The White's have adopted again! But this time we didn't get to go to Korea to do it. Darn. :)

This afternoon we adopted a three year old Siamese cat from an amazing local shelter. We already have an orange tabby cat named Max, who we adopted from the same shelter about five years ago, but we've been talking for a while about getting Max a friend. I'm such an animal lover that I'd have 10 cats and be the crazy cat lady if it was up to me. Shawn makes sure I don't go crazy, lol.

Today seemed like the right day to add to our family, so we went down to the shelter to look at cats. We didn't necessarily want a kitten. I adore kittens but they're so hyper and their little claws are like razors, lol. I didn't really want a kitten clawing up our new carpet and we thought Max would adapt to an older, calmer cat a little better. Plus, the adult cats have a much harder time getting adopted. Everyone wants a kitten.

We looked at several different cats. We wanted one that was really friendly, good with kids, fairly mellow and one with short hair. I love long haired cats, but I can't deal with the shedding.

After having a really fun time playing with lots of different cats we found Penny. She's a beautiful cat, you can't really see from the photo how pretty her coloring is. She's super mellow and SO lovey and sweet! She sat on our laps and purred like crazy the whole time we were at the shelter. Penny is also declawed, something I would never do to a cat, but it was done by her previous owner and it will save our new carpet. Bonus.

We brought her home and she immediately went and hid. She started out in our closet and is currently hiding under our bed. We got her out long enough to take a quick photo of her and she's super sweet and purred and snuggled for a minute and then she went right back under the bed.

So so far the new cat has been a bit anticlimatic. We were all "Yay! New cat!" and five minutes later she decided to permanently reside under the bed for the rest of time, lol.

She's just nervous. We'll get her out eventually. I can tell that she's going to be a sweet cat once she warms up. Max isn't sure he likes this new addition to the family yet, but he's pretty mellow, I think he'll survive.

So there's our big news! I'll try to take some more picture of her when she comes out of hiding! :)