Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy new year!

It's only 11pm here, so we still have another hour to go before the New year, but I thought I'd try to get a quick blog post in. 

We had a wonderful Christmas but a not so wonderful week afterwards. Christmas afternoon Shawn started feeling sick and by the next day he had the full blown flu. And one by one we all joined him. Ugh. Shawn, Josh and I got it the worst. Fever, chills, cough, the whole thing. Matthew and Clarissa fortunately didn't get it quite as bad. 

So we have pretty much spend the last week sleeping, laying on the couch and passing around medicine. It has been pretty miserable. Everyone seems to finally be getting over it, but it's been hanging on to me the longest. It's been a week and I still don't feel great. Better than I did, but not great. 

So we did nothing to celebrate the new year tonight. Matthew and Clarissa stayed up late and played Wii and Josh went to a church dance but wasn't feeling great and decided to come home early. It's been kind of a bummer of a Christmas break around here! I look forward to this week all year and it ended up being kind of a bust. Oh well. It will come around next year. 

Maybe it was kind of symbolic of the way my whole year has gone. I've had to adjust my expectations and learn to go with the flow about a lot of things this year. It was a year of change and a year of adjustment for all of us. I've had better years, but then again, I've had worse. 

But for better or worse, time marches forward and all we can do is keep moving. 2015 will be the year I turn 40. I can't say I'm excited about that, but I'm trying to find the brightside! There is one...right? :) I'll let you know in April. 

So goodbye, 2014 and welcome, 2015. I'm excited to see what the new year brings.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

It's the yearly Christmas Eve photo! We had to move the tree to a different spot this year because the piano we bought this year is occupying it's old space. The kids are so big now they practically cover up the tree!  I love looking at the collage to see how much they've grown!

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers! :)



Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's almost Christmas!!

I have kind of abandoned my blog lately. It seems like lately either nothing exciting is going on so I have nothing to blog about or we're super crazy busy and I don't have the time to blog. 

This pat week it has been the latter. I wish everyone wouldn't plan their parties and school programs and everything else for the week before Christmas, because it makes it almost impossible to get to everything. But we tried, and it made for w very busy week. 

Yesterday was super busy but we got to do something SO fun!! We went to The Nutcracker! Every year I want to go and we never manage to fit it in, but finally this was our year. It was part of my Christmas present from Shawn. We went and took the boys. I wasn't sure if Clarissa would sit through it and tickets were too expensive to find out that she didn't enjoy it, so we decided to send her to a friends house to play instead, but I will definitely take her in the future! 

It was put on by the Idaho Ballet and the Boise Phillharmonic and it was absolutely amazing! The boys had never been to a ballet before and I wasn't sure how much they would enjoy it, but they actually really did. It's great for a first ballet because the story line is really easy to follow and it's really fun and energetic. The dancing was amazing, the music was perfect and I loved every second of it. Best Christmas present ever. I hope we can go back next year! 

But now the week of parties and programs and events is over and we're ready to settle down and get ready for Christmas. We're heading into the two weeks a year that I wait all year for. Shawn always saves some vacation time so that he can take time off at Christmas and this year he has 12 days off. I absolutely love Christmas, but what I love most is the week between Christmas and New Years when we spend the whole week at home, playing games, watching movies and just spending some quality time together as a family. I look forward to it all year long. This has been a crazy busy year full of change and new experiences and a fair amount of chaos and I'm really looking forward to ending it on a very low key note at home with my family. I can't wait!

So life is busy around here, but it's good. Matthew is still wowing us with his piano, Josh is insanely busy with school and Clarissa is loving Kindergarten and is still joined at the hip with her best friend. Yesterday they were playing together and they announced that they were identical twins. Korean Clarissa and her blonde haired, blue eyed friend. :) I love them! 

If I don't manage to get another blog post in before Christmas, I will definitely be back with the Christmas Eve pajama photo. That thing is the bane of my children's existence and my yearly happy moment, lol. I love them for tolerating my funny traditions. Shawn keeps teasing me that I'm going to make the kids come home every Christmas Eve when they're adults so I can take their pajama picture.  I told him it was no joke, because that's totally happening, lol. Ok, so maybe it won't, but in the meantime I'm pulling that camera out every year until there is no one left to photograph! Check back Christmas Eve for this years photo! :) 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Moon

Matthew was practicing the piano today and it sounded good so I took another video! This is the song he's working on for choir. He's going to be accompanying the 6th grade choir for this song at their performance in February.

He still has some work to do on it, but he has a couple of months before they perform, so he's got time to perfect it. But I think it sounds pretty good so far, I love hearing him play the piano!

The song is called The Moon by Andy Beck.

It's actually a really pretty song when it's sung. I just found this random video of it in YouTube if you want to hear it. This isn't his choir, just a random video I found. They did a great job with it!

So that's the song that is playing in our house (and in my head) these days! He's going to keep working on it and I will definitely try to make a video of it when they perform it in February!

Monday, December 1, 2014


I made it through November! Yay! :)

Now the fun begins, because I love December. I love all the Christmas stuff and I especially love that I have almost two weeks of uninterrupted family time to look forward to at the end of the month. Shawn always saves some vacation time for Christmas and he takes off the week between Christmas and New Years (and sometimes a little more) and we pretty much lock ourselves in the house for a week or more of family time.

I literally wait all year for that week. It's my favorite time of the year. I love Christmas, but it's the family games marathons and movie nights and silliness that follow it that I love the most. I think we have something like 12 days this year. When New Years falls in the middle of the week he usually takes a few days of next years vacation time to stay home the rest of that week, so he doesn't go back to work until the kids go back to school. I'm super excited about it! Out Christmas staycation is my favorite thing every year. So I have that to look forward to and that makes me happy!

Today we sent all the kids back to school. Clarissa has been home for the past month because she goes to a year round school and November is her track break, and the boys had all last week off for Thanksgiving break, so we've had a full house lately. It took me a bit to get back on schedule this morning. After having Clarissa home for a month I've forgotten how to do the bus schedule and I had to think a minute to remember what she needed to take with her today. We have to reorient ourselves to a schedule again! But we got everyone off to school, Shawn went to work and for the first time in a month, my house is quiet again.

My project lately has been working on planning a summer vacation for next year. It's starting to occur to me that we don't really have all that many summers left with Josh at home! After he graduates from high school in three and a half years, he will most likely be off to do missionary work for our church for two years, possibly in another country. So we really only have three, maybe four summers left with him before he's going to be gone for a while and that is starting to panic me a bit! And the older and busier he gets the less time he has in the summer to hang out with us. This summer he's planning on taking two online summer school classes to further accelerate his schooling, he'll be taking drivers training (yikes!!) and he'll be going to a church camp. There is pretty much one week this summer that he isn't busy or we aren't busy with something else, so I'm doing everything I can to make a big vacation happen that week.

We're thinking of renting a beach house on the Oregon coast for a week. We haven't been to the Oregon coast in years, and it really is one of our favorite places. So I've been researching beach house rentals all up and down the coast for the past week. I know it's early, but places start to fill up after the first of the year and I don't want to miss out on a good one. I have a bunch saved that look great and now I need to go through them and decide which one will work best. I love the Oregon coast because it's a vacation that can be as busy or relaxed as you want it to be. There are fun things to do there, but there is also a lot of quiet, open, beautiful space to relax. I generally like to vacation in the middle of nowhere vs. a really busy, crowded place, and the Oregon coast has lots of quiet, wide open spaces. So I'm looking forward to this trip. It will be in mid July, so it's still really far off, but it will give me something to plan and look forward to for a while!

And in the meantime I also have Christmas to plan! I'm not putting a basement TV room together this year (thank goodness!) so I actually have to plan a normal Christmas. I've already gotten most of my shopping done, thanks to Amazon. This week we're going to get the tree up and get into Christmas mode. December is such a fun month and I'm looking forward to all the excitement ahead!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I'm still alive!

I've clearly been a blog slacker lately. I was debating doing NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) again this year and writing every day for 30 days but decided not to. November is a crappy month for me to write every day. I think I'm going to do it but pick a different month.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I kind of hate November. The sun goes away, which starts my winter blah's and Thanksgiving is coming up, which makes me all mopey. Once again I would love to just skip Thanksgiving completely. It's just going to be us at home and my kids don't really like turkey all that much, so it's kind of a non-holiday around here. In my mind, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a big holiday with lots of extended family and cousins running around and everyone sitting down together to a big meal. We don't really have that and it makes me a bit mopey and homesick for a family that doesn't currently exsist in the way that I remember it. it will just be us at home that day and as much as I keep telling myself to just make out own traditions and do it our own way, I struggle with it.

This year I decided to ask the kids what meal they do get the most excited about and the family consensus seems to be Korean bulgogi, so I think we're having a Korean feast for Thanksgiving. We'll eat Korean food and have a Wii tournament. Maybe that will be the new White family Thanksgiving tradition. And maybe I will love it.

Other than my yearly Thanksgiving angst, things are going well around here. Clarissa is on track break so I've enjoyed having her home all month. Then we had a big snow storm, which is rare for Boise, and they closed school for a day, so the boys got an unexpected three day weekend, which they were really excited about! The snow is finally starting to melt, but it was a mess here for several days. I grew up in an area that gets a lot of snow, so I used to be a really good snow driver, but Boise gets so little snow that I'm out of practice, so driving in the snow for a few days was a little scary. They don't plow the roads here very quickly, or at all in some places, so it gets a little tricky to get around in the snow. But we all survived and in the past couple of days it has started to warm back up and things are melting off. Even when we do get snow here it doesn't usually last very long.

One fun thing that has happened recently was that last night Matthew has his first piano recital! The teacher he had over the summer isn't around anymore so we had to find him someone new. I found a lady who lives pretty close to us who is an amazing piano teacher. He's only had two lessons with her, but she's really great and I feel confident that this is who he needs to teach him. He is chomping at the bit to learn and she's really experienced and has been great with him.

When he went for his first lesson a couple of weeks ago she informed him that they were just about to have their winter recital. He didn't have anything prepared and she said that he didn't have to participate since he was just starting, but he really wanted to perform so he decided to do a piece he had worked on with his previous teacher.

So last night he got all dressed up and we took him over to the recital. She rents out a room at a music store for recitals and it's a really nice place. They get to perform on an extremely expensive, fancy grand piano, which is really fun. And they have a camera aimed at the keys that is displayed on a TV screen behind them so you can watch them play, which is pretty cool.

It was really neat to see all of her students perform at different levels. She has around 30 students at all different levels. It was really cute to see little kids getting up there to perform their first piece and it was fun to see really experienced students blow our socks off with some pretty amazing skills. It was a great night, we really enjoyed it.

Matthew was pretty nervous but when it was over he said he wished that they did a recital every month! I think he liked being up there performing.

I took video of his performance!

I also took a photo of him when it was over. He looks so grown up!


Oh, and here's something fun that I don't know if I mentioned! (Maybe I already mentioned this. If I did I'm sorry for repeating myself!) He is in choir at the middle school and they're working on a really pretty song for an upcoming choir performance. Matthew really loves the song so he came home one day and started playing it by ear. I thought it sounded great so I got him the sheet music so he could really learn it. He mentioned to his teacher that he was learning it and his choir teacher told him that if he can master it by the time they do their performance, he can accompany the choir for that song!

He's literally had three months of piano lessons and he's going to accompany a choir. I'm ridiculously proud of him! He's still working on the song but I'm confident that he'll have it down in time. It's not for a couple of months.

And speaking of Matthew, I have something fun coming up on my blog. He had to write a personal narrative for an assignment in his gifted program and he chose to write about the day we came home from Korea with Clarissa. I read his rough draft and absolutely loved it, so when he finishes it I'm going to let him be a guest poster on my blog and share the story.

And then Josh heard that Matthew was going to be a guest poster and he asked if he could write something on my blog too, so coming soon I'm going to have a post from both of them. I kind of love that idea. This blog is kind of a family journal, so it will be fun to hear from the kids. So look for that coming up in the next couple of weeks.

So that's pretty much it for today. I'm going to be late for church if I don't put the computer down and go get dressed, so look for guest posters coming soon! :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014


To make up for my lack of blog posts lately, here are some pictures from today.

Today is Clarissa's foster mothers birthday. I have made sure to keep in touch with her over the years. She really struggled after Clarissa left them and it means a lot to her to get photos and updates. She doesn't speak English, so I mostly just send her photos so she can see Clarissa as she grows.

Today for her birthday I decided to write her a little note in Korean and have Clarissa hold it up in a photo. Which is somewhat tricky, since I don't speak Korean, but I do know how to Google Korean words, so we did our best. :)

The phrase Happy Birthday is actually kind of long writen out because you have to add an extra word on the end to make it formal when speaking to someone older than you, and I knew that Clarissa would never be able to make all those Korean characters. So I just had her write the word birthday. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what it says, lol. I showed her how to write the characters and she copied them and did a good job! Then she drew some pictures to decorate it.

Then I decided to go for it and I wrote out the whole phrase. It's hard when you're not used to writing in Korean! I always have a fear when I do things like this that I'm going to make the wrong character or something and change it to a whole different word. Like I think I'm saying happy birthday but it really says stinky socks or something, lol. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Clarissa calls her foster mother "Hanguk Omma", which translates basically to "Korea Mom". When she was living with her foster parents, her foster mother taught her to say Omma, which is mom, and that's what she called her foster mother. But when we went to Korea get her, everyone kept calling me Omma, since I was her new mom, and I could tell that it kind of hurt her foster mothers feelings a bit. So in the very limited Korean I know, I pointed to her and said "Hanguk Omma!" and her face lit up. She liked that and we've called her that ever since. A kid can't have too many moms in their lives.

Anyway, I tell you this story to tell you that I'm pretty sure what I wrote across the bottom says "Happy Birthday Hanguk Omma". If it doesn't, I'm sure she'll at least appreciate the attempt. :)

Also, this evening we carved pumpkins. Much fun was had by all.

Come back tomorrow for Halloween photos! Josh is having a party here tomorrow night. A house full of teenagers. Scary! :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pumpkins and headaches

I've been meaning to make a blog post for weeks now. In fact, I have sat down and started blog posts several times and then I get interrupted or realize I'm rambling aimlessly and abandon it.

But here I am, making a blog post, and I'm determined to see this one through.

We've been extremely busy lately, but not doing anything terribly exciting. The kids have been really busy with school lately.

Now that Josh is in high school I I feel like I'm seeing less of him and when he is home he's completely swamped with studying and homework. He knew that this excellerated high school program was going to be intense but I think it has still surprised him how much work it actually is. Gone are the days of easy A's. He's working his behind off to maintain good grades now. Hes doing great and he's up to the challenge, but it's definitely a challenge. And in between all the school stuff, he's on the academic decathalon team, he's taking a hand to hand combat class once a week after school, going to the gym in the mornings at 5:30, working on his Eagle Scout requirements and participating in his church youth group. Oh, and dog sitting for the neighbors while they're off on their travels. I don't know how he does it all, but he has kept up with it and it doing well. He's also planning a Halloween party at our house for halloween night. He can handle all the academics but I don't want him to spend so much time working that he forgets to have a fun teenage social life, so I decided to have a party. He's inviting friends over for pizza and a scary movie on Halloween. He's really excited about that.

In Matthew news, he has joined the chess team at the middle school. He had never really played chess before but he played it at school one day and loved it so much that he decided to join the chess team. He had his first tournament last weekend and had a really great time. We're also getting ready to start him with a new piano teacher since his last piano teacher just left to do missionary work in Peru. So he's had a break from piano for a few weeks while we sorted that out, but he's excited to get back to that. He has adjusted really well to middle school and seems to be doing well and enjoying it.

He's currently reading the Hunger Games series and the rule in our house is that you can't watch movies based on books until you read the book, so as he has finished each book we have had a movie night to watch the movie. He's now on the third book and is anxious to finish it so he can see this one in the theater with us next month.

We've actually had a lot of fun with our little family book club this year. We've been reading books and seeing their movies all year long. Shawn and the boys did Enders Game, Josh and I did The Book Thief and Divergent, Matthew is doing the Hunger Games (well, I'm doing it with him but I've already read them), I did The Fault In Our Stars, and then we all read and saw The Giver last month and this month we all read The Maze Runner and saw that movie a few days ago. It's been a really fun way to bond with the boys. We're currently on the hunt for our next book.

In Clarissa news, she's doing great! I actually feel really bad that I didn't make a blog post last week, because the 15th was the five year anniversary of bringing her home from Korea! It's been FIVE years since we made that journey to Korea, can you believe it?! Time has flown by so fast. I didn't make a blog post about it because I've been sick, which I'll get to in a minute, but it was definitely on my mind last week. Clarissa is doing amazing and she's growing and learning and is so much fun. She's liking Kindergarten, but according to her teacher she's really shy. We're working on that. It's funny to me because she'll talk your ear off at home. She's full of energy! But at school I guess she has been much more quiet. She seems happy there, just a little reluctant to speak up. We're working on it! But she's doing great academically, she's reading, she loves the little homework assignments she gets to do once a week and generally seems to enjoy it there. She's also still joined at the hip with her friend Sophia, which I have enjoyed. They're adorable.

So back to me being sick...I've been sick. :( Clarissa had a little cold a week and a half ago and I think I got it from her, but it's been really weird. It was more of a chest thing than a head cold, but in the last several days I've had some sort of crazy sinus headache. At least I think that's what it is. Either that or a migraine that won't go away. It's the kind of headache that gets worse when you bend over or move your head, so that to me is a sinus headache, but it's been really severe. I'm fine when I'm laying down, I just can't get up or my head pounds. Saturday we had promised the kids that we would take them to Maze Runner and Shawn's work had a party at a really fun corn maze/pumpkin patch place that we really didn't want to miss, so I medicated myself enough to get through that and we had a great time, but yesterday it was so severe that I couldn't get out of bed at all. Last night I stood up and it was pretty much the most severe headache I have ever had. It was awful.

I feel like it's a sinus thing that is going to pass so I'm dragging my feet about going to to doctor, but if it's not feeling better soon I'm going to have to drag myself over there. It's slightly better today. I hope the worst of it is over.

So that's the update on us. While I was at the pumpkin patch on Saturday I made the kids pose for pictures, which they hate, but they were good sports. I actually took a whole bunch of fun pictures there, but haven't felt well enough to go through all of them yet. But here are their fall portraits. I love those sweet faces. They grow up too fast!




And also, just for fun, here are my halloween themed nails! I haven't posted a nail update in a while! :)


Friday, September 26, 2014


So this was the week that everything broke. Our washer broke, the van got a leak that ended up being a broken water pump and our hot water heater died.  Bad things come in threes, right? That means we're good for a while? Because seriously, it was ridiculous.

So we got a new washer (actually a friend of mine just happened to be getting rid of a really nice washer right when ours broke, so that was awesome) the car spent two days in the shop, and this afternoon the plumber was here installing a new water heater. We're all fixed now. I'm hoping to keep it that way.

Tonight the boys are at a scout campout. I try to be a good sport about scout campouts. They're good for the boys and they have fun. But honestly, I spend my night worrying if they're warm enough and if they ate enough for dinner and if they brushed their teeth and if they remembered to wear socks to bed so their feet don't freeze and if the other boys are being nice to them. My night feels weird when they aren't here to say goodnight to. It's kind of hard for me to let me kids loose in the world, so I force myself to do it because it's necessary, but I'm always a little antsy until they come home. I'm sure they're fine and I feel better that Josh is there for Matthew because he's much more experienced at these campouts. I'm sure they're having a great time. I'll just feel better when I see their faces tomorrow.

So speaking of Matthew, here's my mom brag for the day. That kid is doing AMAZING at the piano. Like, seriously knocking my socks off. He's been playing a new song for the past week and I've heard it a million times now but hadn't actually watched him play it. Today I was in the living room while he was playing so I stopped to watch and holy cow, that kid has amazing fingers! He's only been taking lessons for barely four months. He should still be doing one handed Row, Row, Row Your Boat songs. It should still be kind of painful to listen to, lol. But his teacher has to keep skipping through books because everything he gives Matthew is too easy. He just GETS the piano. He has taken to is so naturally that it's really been amazing to watch. He plays before school, after school and every chance he gets. I absolutely love listening to it.

So I took a quick video today because what he was playing was pretty awesome. Watch his fingers go! I'm really proud of him!

Friday, September 19, 2014


It was a fun day of friends for all the kids. Clarissa's best friend came home from school with her today and spent the afternoon at our house. They are SO ridiculously cute together. Listening to their conversations cracks me up. They're just so sweet and they play so well together. Those two are practically joined at the hip.

I sent them outside to play for a while and after a bit they called to me to come see what they made. Thy had done a huge chalk mural on the steps. The colors were actually really pretty, it looked cool, but they were completely covered in chalk. They came in the house and there was literally a chalk cloud swirling around them, lol. So I had to take them out back and hose them down a bit and I had them change clothes so they could come back in the house without covering my whole house in chalk. It was pretty funny, they had an awesome time. 

Here is a picture of them with their chalk creation. I just love them! 

Then the boys came home from school and decided to celebrate pirate day at Krispy Kreme. It's national talk like a pirate day, and anyone who goes into Krispy Kreme dressed like a pirate gets a free box of donuts. Free donuts kind of blew my kids minds, so they went to work putting together pirate costumes. They called a friend to come with them and that friend called a friend and the group kept getting bigger. Josh has a new girl who is his friend but isn't his girlfriend, and he texted her to see if she wanted to come and she met them there with her two brothers. So it ended up being this big fun group going in to Krispy Kreme to get their free donuts. So fun! 

Here's their group:

Once they got in there they saw even more people they know, so it really ended up being a fun afternoon for them. Josh ate so many donuts I can't believe he's not puking! Oh, the joys of being a teenager and being able to eat whatever you want. :) 

So it was a fun friend filled day for my kids. Seeing them enjoying time with their friends makes me happy! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

High school

So last night was back to school night at the high school. It was an opportunity for the parents to go to each of their kids classrooms and meet their teachers and hear a little bit about what they'll be doing this year. I've done elementary school and middle school back to school nights a million times now and I know everything there is to know about those schools, but I'm was kind of excited to go to the high school BTS night for the first time and see what's happening over there.

It's an interesting experience because they give you your child's schedule and you pretty much follow it through their school day, tying to find their classes before the bell rings. I was totally late getting there because traffic was bad (Josh told me I should have gotten detention for my tardy, lol) so I missed the opening welcome thing from the principal and then Josh has a religious class off campus first period, so I ended up rushing to get there and then sitting for a bit since there was was no meet the teacher thing for his first class.

But then things got moving and I made it to his second period class. It's a super cool art class and I really liked his teacher. He reminded me a bit of the hippy counselor on Freaks and Geeks. You know that guy? He sings to the class and gets really excited about their creative flow, lol. He was cool, I could totally take an art class from that guy.

The thing that I picked up on from all his teachers last night was how excited they are to be teaching there. It's a really unique college prep high school full of overachievers who have chosen to be there and it's just such an amazing environment. The kids are all excited to learn, which makes the teachers excited to teach, which makes the learning environment so much more enjoyable. I've met some teachers in my day who just look totally beaten down by the public school system. They come out of  college so excited to teach and change the world and after years of discipline problems and kids who don't want to learn, they burn out. These teachers all seemed so excited and enthusiastic.

I went to his english class and seriously, sitting in that room made me want to go back to college SO bad. I always loved english when I was in school and his english teacher is really dynamic and interesting. The classes last night were just ten minutes long but that guy totally had my attention. They're doing To Kill a Mockingbird this year, which I'm really excited about. They'll be doing Hemingway and Shakespeare and I had this moment where I was all "Yay, we're doing Hemingway?!" And then I was all "oh, right, I don't go to this school." lol I'm totally going to read along with Josh. I'm excited to read To Kill A Mockingbird with him and discuss it.

Because it's a college prep school and their junior and senior years are essentially college classes, they cram all four years of high school into the first two years. So I discovered last night that his history class this year is actually sophomore and junior history crammed into one year during their freshman year. They still learn all the same things but because they're all honors kids, they can get through it a lot faster. So if he quit this school after the end of this year and went back to regular high school (which he's not going to do) he would actually already have his sophomore and junior history requirements met. It's a really intense pace, but he likes things like that.

So getting to go to all of his classes was really cool and made me really excited for what he'll be doing this year. I adore that school and I feel so lucky that it's an option for him. It's kind of a big deal for me that he's there because I finally feel like we have him where he needs to be.

I know it's just a big old mom brag, and I don't mean it to be, but Josh is a kid who taught himself to read at three, was writing poetry at five, wrote a 22 page autobiography at six and has basically been chomping at the bit to learn since he could speak. You would think that would make for a very easy kid to raise, but actually not. I have really struggled a lot over the years about what to do with him. We took him to a psychologist when he was six to have him tested because I needed to know what we were dealing with to decide what to do about schooling and he tested at a sixth grade level in reading and writing in Kindergarten. I remember his Kindergarten teacher apologizing to me that she really didn't feel like she was teaching him anything. If she ever had to leave the room for something she would hand a book to Josh and have him read to the class while she was gone, lol.

This has been a bit of a struggle throughout his schooling. School has always been really easy for him. In middle school he would get his work done so fast that he would always ask his teachers if he could go to the library where he's been working on writing a novel and he would work on his video projects. In math his teacher would have him tutoring the ESL kids because she couldn't keep him busy. He's the kind of kid who will make sure that he's busy no matter what, but school has always been a bit frustrating for him, and that has been hard to watch because I have questioned myself for years over whether there was something more I should had done. It has been a tricky situation.

So now here he is at this school that goes at a crazy fast pace and they pile on hours of homework a night and there are almost no electives and he is THRILLED! And I am thrilled because finally I'm not worried about him anymore. I finally know that this is where he needs to be. It's kind of a weird moment as a mom that I'm hugely relieved that school is hard for my kid, lol.  He comes home happy and excited and he is challenged and it's going to be hard for him and he WANTS it to be hard, and I want it to be hard. I want it to kick his behind, because school should challenge you, especially a kid like him who has been desperately seeking a challenge. His days of easy A's are over, and I'm excited to see him working hard for his grades. This is going to be a very different experience for him. He's a little fish in a big pond now and that's actually a good thing. He will be challenged to keep up and he needs that. If all goes well he will graduate high school with his college associates degree, and that will be a major accomplishment. I'm excited for what lies ahead for him.

In his spare time he has signed up for the academic decathlon team at the school (which they call Acadeca), which is like quiz bowl. They're given a topic for the year, this year it's renewable energy or something like that, and then each member of the team takes a specific area of study and researches the crap out of it. Then they go against other schools and there is a regional and state tournament and then a national tournament. There aren't many freshman on the team, so this is kind of a learning year for him, but I'm excited to see what he does with that in the coming years. Doing research in your spare time and going up against other smart kids to see who is smarter is what qualifies as sport at that school, lol. Also, like half the school is on the debate team, which makes me laugh. Josh isn't doing debate, but I guess the group is huge. That's what these kids do for fun. And I love that.

So I know that was a lot of blah blah blah mom brag, and I know that it's not interesting to anyone but me, but I like to write these kinds of things down for my kids. I want to look back and remember these days and the big moments and exciting achievements in my kids lives, and I want them to read it some day and know how exited I am for them and how proud I am of them. The best part of being a mom is watching your kids grow and succeed and watching them spread their wings and fly.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy birthday Shawn!!

Today is Shawn's birthday. And in typical White family fashion, we're basically on day four of the celebration, lol. This past weekend we had a Shawn weekend and he picked all the activities for the weekend. There was a Dr. Who Marathon, a large breakfast, a Wii tournament....we had all sorts of fun.

Then today on his actual birthday we decided to go to a movie. We have started a fun tradition with the boys that whenever a movie comes out that is based on a book, we all read the book and then go see the movie. Our latest book was The Giver. Josh had to read it for school last year and really enjoyed it and the rest of us read it this past week. Actually, I read it this afternoon. I've been so busy that I haven't had a lot of reading time, so this afternoon I crammed the whole thing in in one sitting. It's not a long book, thank goodness!

We all really enjoyed the book and were excited to see the movie. When we got to the theater we were the only people there. It's super fun to watch a movie in an empty theater. It felt like we got our own private screening. We had a great time and really enjoyed the movie. It was different from the book, but different in a good way. I liked it. The next book on our book/movie list is Maze Runner. I'm excited to read and see that one!

Then we came home for cake and ice cream. German chocolate, Shawn's favorite. The birthday extravaganza isn't over yet. Friday night the two of us are going out to his favorite restaurant for dinner. Birthday celebrations go on for days in this house, lol.

So hopefully it has been a fun birthday week for Shawn. I love him and I hope he knows how much we appreciate him. He has been working so much this past month that he really needed to take a break and do something fun.

Happy birthday Shawn! :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Today is the first day that I feel like we're finally getting the hang of the new schedules and routine around here. With everyone at new schools, it has been tricky getting used to what time everyone is coming and going. There are new school start times, different bus stops, everything is very different than it was last school year. This past week has been tricky trying to keep track of it and make sure everyone gets where they need to go. Yesterday Mathew's piano teacher called and wanted to change his piano lesson time and he asked me what time Matthew gets home from school. I was like a deer in the headlights with the very simple question, lol. I had no idea, I couldn't remember. There is just too much new information in my head right now and I'm having trouble keeping it all straight.

When I have stress in my life, it tends to manifest itself in really bizarre dreams. Last night I had a dream that we had to take Clarissa back to Korea. Like she had been on loan all this time but Korea needed her back now. We went to drop her off and suddenly I realized that we had to give her back for good and I was panicking and begging them to let us keep her. I pulled out my cellphone and frantically tried to show them photos of how happy she is in our family to try to convince them to let us keep her. It was awful. They did decide to let us keep her, and then we ended up on some crazy tour of Korea that made no sense.

Then I had a dream that I woke up and realized that during the night I had sent some racy text messages to an old boyfriend, like sleep walking only sleep texting, I guess, and I was completely horrified when I realized what I had done.

I seriously woke up this morning and it took me a moment to orient myself and realize that I did NOT send racy text messages to anyone and that Clarissa wasn't going back to Korea. Whew. It was a weird night.

But this morning I got everyone off to school and I feel like I have a better handle on my day. We're getting used to the routine and every day is a little less hectic than the last. But now that summer is over and everyone is back to school I feel like I have a million projects that I was putting off until summer was over. I came back in the house after getting Clarissa on the bus this morning and I just had this moment of "oh crap, where do I start?". All summer I've kind of been putting projects on the back burner and telling myself that I would deal with it when the kids went back to school. Well, guess what, the time is here, and now I've left myself a mess of things to do. It's possible that I shouldn't have put it all off. Why do I do that to myself?

So I have a million things to keep myself busy for a while. Life keeps plowing forward, I guess. It has been a very interesting experience watching life change around me over the past several months. All three kids left their old schools, my mom moved to Malaysia, Shawn's pharmacy moved and all three kids started a new chapter of their schooling. And through it all, I remained the same. Nothing changed for me. I felt like the eye of the hurricane, with everything swirling around me. I mean, in a way, I guess everything changed for me. I had to adapt to everyone else's changes, and that affected me.  But everyone else is in new places, learning new things, adapting to new surroundings, and I'm And maybe I'm a bit envious of everyone's change. As much as I say I hate change, I wouldn't mind an occasional change of scenery. I try to shake things up in my life occasionally, but in the end, it's still just me, doing my same thing.

I had a very eye opening conversation recently with a new friend about going back to college. Going back to college sounds absolutely terrifying to me. But also, incredibly exciting. I have a million reasons why going back to school is a really dumb idea. It's really expensive and I don't know if I could afford it, I'm worried about whether I'd be able to keep up, I feel too old, I'm not even sure I would want to give up being a stay at home mom even if I had career potential, and just the logistics of juggling school and kids feels impossible to me. But also...sometimes I imagine myself back in school, doing the things I wished I had done two decades ago, using my brain, having stimulating discussions about things I love, and that sounds amazing. Like, really, really amazing.

So I've been having a mental debate with myself lately. I have no idea which side is going to win. Change is terrifying for me. Sometimes it seems a lot easier to stick with what I know and just keep plugging along doing the things I've always done. My life is stable, I like being home for my kids, and there is no need for me to shake any of that up. But there is that little part of me...

So that's what's on my mind lately. So much change and inner turmoil. This year has just been full of change, and for someone who is always in my head the way I am, it has been a lot to process. This has officially been the year of change, and I guess my role in it all has just been to try to keep up. And I'm just doing the best to manage the hurricane that is swirling around me.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First day of school!

Today was the first day of school for Josh and Matthew. Big changes this year with Matthew moving up to middle school and Josh moving up to high school. I think I was more nervous than they were this morning! I watched the clock all day waiting for them to come home and tell me how it went.

And fortunately, it went great for both of them! They found their classes, found some friends and there were no major problems. Whew.

Here are their annual first day of school photos!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Still sick :(

This is the worst time for me to be sick, but it doesn't seem to be letting up. I have pretty much had no voice for three days. I sound terrible. It feels like I'm swallowing glass every time I swallow. I was up all night because swallowing kept waking me up. Then when I did sleep I kept having the most bizarre dreams. I had a dream that we went on vacation and Josh got lost and ended up staying in another hotel but when we went to get him he wasn't there and no one knew where he had gone. I hate dreams like that. I woke up in a panic about Josh being gone and had to calm myself back down. And my cat was super excited that someone was awake in the middle of the night, so he decided it was a good time for us to bond, and as much as I love the cats, I don't really want to play with them so much at three in the morning. It was a long night.

So I'm on day three of rearranging my plans so I can sit here and be sick. I think my kids are enjoying the fact that mom can't talk so much, lol.

Thankfully after working for the past three Saturdays in a row, Shawn is off this Saturday so he can help me finish up the rest of the back to school stuff. I still need to go shoe shopping with Matthew.

One fun thing I have failed to mention is that we have a puppy in our lives now. Well sort of, lol. Our next door neighbors are a retired couple who travel a lot and Josh has been their cat sitter for a few years when they go on vacation. He has gotten to know them really well and he does a great job pet sitting for them. Well, a few weeks ago they came home from one of their trips with a new puppy! I think he's half black lab and half boarder collie. I think. Something like that. He pretty much looks like a fluffy black lab. He's super cute! And now Josh has been spending the past couple of weeks being trained in puppy care so he can take care of him while they're out of town. He's been going over there every day so he can get used to the puppy and get used to how to care for him while they're away.

They're getting ready to leave, so while they're gone Josh is on puppy duty, but he starts school next week, so I'll be helping out too. I love dogs but Shawn has always been adamantly against getting one, so I've been joking that now we can dog share with the neighbors, and because they're gone so much, they're kind of good with that actually. They've encouraged us to let him play in our yard, take him on walks, etc. It's kind of all the fun parts of having a dog, but he lives next door and we can take him home when we need a puppy break!

So once I'm feeling better I'm excited to have some puppy time. Clarissa's afternoon bus stop is in a different place than her morning stop and requires a short walk though the neighborhood behind us. So I think I might start taking the dog with me on my walk to pick her up. I've actually always wanted a dog to walk. I'm kind of excited to have a dog in our life, even if it really belongs to the neighbors. :)

So that's what I'm looking forward to when I'm feeling better. But for now I am going to take some Tylenol, lay here and attempt to swallow without wanting to cry. Ugh. :(

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The good and the bad

First of all, I owe Josh an apology. While I was having my back to school rant yesterday I forgot to mention that we actually did have fun at the mall buying pants yesterday! We bought pants and then went to Orange Julius and The pretzel place. That was actually super fun. I love hanging out with my boys. Thank you Josh, for reminding me to focus on the positive. :)  I took this picture yesterday. I love my kids!!

Second, Shawn took the boys to get their hair cut this afternoon and they stopped by the middle school so Matthew could practice opening his locker again and put his school supplies in it so he doesn't have to bring them all the first day. Shawn just texted me this picture and it made me cry!

I'm super emotional about all these changes! Josh has spent the past three years at that middle school and now he's back there helping Matthew as he starts his middle school journey. He helped him figure out how to use his lock and set up his locker shelf and showed him around and gave him advice. Matthew is lucky to have a great big brother to show him the ropes. I was so nervous when Josh started middle school because we had no idea what to expect. With Josh to guide Matthew it's much less nerve wracking. 

So those are the good things that are happening. Unfortunately, in the midst of all of this, I managed to get sick. :( I had a sore throat yesterday but ignored it. Today my voice is almost completely gone, my body hurts and I feel terrible. Ugh. So I had to cancel my plans for today and rearrange some things so I could spend the day sitting here and feeling crappy. I really don't have time for this. Let's hope it passes quickly!

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm tired!

It it September yet, because seriously I've just about had more than I can take of crazy August. I dread August every year. This back to school stuff goes on for weeks. And that, along with Shawn's pharmacy moving least week has made our household a little crazy lately.

So first, Shawn's pharmacy. I mentioned before that they were moving it. The building they were in wasn't working for them anymore. The pharmacy used to have two parts, a retail pharmacy in the front and a long term care pharmacy in the back. A few years ago they closed the retail pharmacy and expanded the long term care pharmacy. The business is doing well, but the building didn't function as well anymore for what they needed it for. It's a great retail space, but it no longer works for what they use it for.

So they announced last year that they were looking for a new building that was bigger and could give them a better work flow. After a long search they found a nice location and have been remodeling it and getting it ready to move into. This past weekend was the big move. Shawn worked very long hours helping them move. They can't really close down the business to move, so they had to somehow keep working in the middle of moving. It was tricky and exhausting and we didn't see a whole lot of Shawn for a few days. This morning was their first day at the new building and the phones still weren't working right and they're still trying to get things set up and well, I saw a vein in Shawn's forehead that I don't see very often, lol. He has worked six days a week for the past three week, plus his volunteer church duties on his only free days, so he's exhausted. Shawn's a trooper and he almost never complains. But this is starting to wear him down. Hopefully it's all going to start settling back down for him soon.

In the midst of that, I'm in back to school hell. Having all three kids in different schools is going to be a bit of a challenge. Clarissa started last week and the boys start next week. That means that all the back to school stuff just gets dragged on forever. And since it's a new school for all three kids there are a ton of meetings and orientations and school tours and meet the teacher events, so I've been driving kids back and forth to their schools for those things. We found all of Josh's classes at the high school, helped Matthew figure out his locker at his school, got them both registered and tomorrow I have to take Matthew back to the school for 6th grade orientation.

That has been in the middle of figuring out Clarissa's bus schedule, she gets picked up in the morning and dropped off at midday in two different places, so I've been getting used to that schedule. Kindergarten is tricky because you barely have time to get anything started before you have to switch gears and go pick them up. I'm keeping my eye on the clock constantly because I'm afraid I'm going to lose track of time and forget to go get her. All three of my kids will come and go at vastly different times this year, so once the boys are in school I'm going to be spending a lot of time watching the clock and tying to figure out who is coming and going and at what time. I need one of those Mrs. Weasley clocks. Why isn't that a thing?

And then there's the school clothes and the school supplies, and everyone needs new shoes, and Josh wears a ridiculous size of jeans that almost don't exsist, so I've been trying to buy him pants for three weeks.

And then, in the midst of it all, Saturday night I was finally relaxing, eating cinnamon bears, which are my favorite, and suddenly I thought, "uh, why is there a rock in my cinnamon bear?". It wasn't a rock, it was a crown. You know my long saga with the stupid crowns on my teeth? One fell off. Of course it did. On a weekend, because everything happens when you can't call the doctor. So I had no tooth all weekend until I could call them this morning. And when I called them this morning she reminded me that the boys had appointments this week so she moved them up and we all had to go to the dentist today.

So this morning I took Clarissa to the bus stop, got myself ready, got the boys in the car and we headed over to the mall to make another attempt to buy Josh some jeans that fit. We were finally successful and I spent way too much money on jeans. I've gone past the point of being thrifty about it. They fit? They cost five million dollars? Awesome, we'll take them, hold on a moment while I sell a kidney. I can not spend one more day looking for jeans.

Then we went school supply shopping and bought notebooks and binders and pens and pencils all that fun stuff for the boys. I also needed to buy Matthew some shoes, but by that time we had to go get Clarissa, so we abandoned those plans and picked up Clarissa.

I got her home, got some home business taken care of and it was time to load everyone in the car for a trip to the dentist. We all know how I feel about the dentist. Uuugh. I was considering just living with the missing tooth forever. Fortunately I still had the crown and it was in one pice and they were able to get it back on without having to make a new one. But it was a tooth that is way in the back of my mouth and getting it re-cemented back in wasn't the most fun I ever had. But it's done, I survived, the kids survived their appointments and now I'm home and tired and waiting for Shawn to show up, and I know he's going to be even more exhausted than I am. We're so ordering pizza tonight.

Tomorrow Shawn will go back into work and attempt to navigate his new workplace and I will get Clarissa off to school, take Matthew to 6th grade orientation and cross my fingers that I make it back in time to go pick Clarissa up and then drag everyone to the shoe store in an attempt to buy Matthew some new shoes and hope I get home before everyone has hair cuts in the afternoon.

School really needs to just hurry up and start for the boys so all of this running around and preparing for it can finally end. I need everyone to go to school so I can sit in a quiet house for five seconds and breathe.

Of course, knowing me I will hustle them all out the door so I can have some much needed alone time and five minutes later I will miss them so much that I'll be watching the clock and waiting for them to come back. Being a mom is emotionally confusing, lol.

So now I'm off to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I'm going to sit here and stare at the ceiling for 15 minutes until Shawn comes home. And I'm going to love every single minute of it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Busy day!!

Today has been a super busy day full of ups and downs and excitement and sadness and it's only 2:30 in the afternoon. Whew!

This morning I got Clarissa off to school and then took the boys to the orthodontist. Josh got his braces tightened and today was the big day for Matthew, he got braces on his front teeth!

Oh, before I tell this story I need to back up and tell another story before I forget. I was going to post about this yesterday and forgot. Tomorrow is Matthew's 11th birthday! But since he was getting braces on today and his teeth will be sore tomorrow and Shawn has to work late tomorrow because tomorrow is the day they're moving his pharmacy, we celebrated his birthday yesterday. We did presents, ate cake and ice cream, Shawn took him and Josh to a movie and we had a family Wii tournament last night, which is Matthew's favorite thing. We totally did the whole birthday thing, just two days early. It was super fun and he was excited that we got to do it early.

 So now back to today's story, Matthew got braces today. He has a whole complicated tooth situation that they're trying to fix that will take years, but today was the beginning of phase one. He got braces on his four top and bottom front teeth. They're hoping to start moving his overbite back so they can start working on his jaw issues.

So it's only a few braces in the front, but he was super nervous about it. Josh just went through the whole braces thing a few months ago, so Josh assured him that it was no big deal. Matthew is usually my calm, cool and collected kid. Nothing phases him. I figured he'd get through it just fine. They got the braces on, he came out, they said it went great, we made appointments for next time, got out to the car and Matthew lost it a little bit. I felt so bad for him. I think it was all just really overwhelming for him. They went over all the ways he has to care for his braces, how to brush them, how to floss them, all the things he can't eat, etc, and I think all of the information and all of the change just shut him down for a minute. It always breaks my heart when he's sad because it just so rarely happens. He's so easy going that it almost surprises me when he gets upset. I always just expect him to take things in stride because he usually does. But like I told him today, sometimes it's OK to take a break from keeping it all together.

He had a rough moment, we hugged it out, Josh assured him that it gets better and by the time we got home he was doing better. He's going to be fine, after a week or so the braces will feel normal and they won't bother him so much, but today it was a lot to get used to.

So we recovered from that trauma and then Josh and I went over to the high school to get him registered and tour the school. So, I case I haven't already mentioned it a million times (I know, I have) Josh got in to a really amazing college prep school this year. I am so excited about this school I can hardly stand it. He's so lucky to get to go there. I wish I was going there, I love that place! He really wanted to go and we were so excited when he got in. It's going to be an incredible experience for him. If all goes well he will hopefully graduated from high school with his college associates degree. He already has a career in mind, he really wants to be an actuary, which requires a bachelors degree and a bunch of licensing exams. So when he graduates he'll only have two years of college left, which he's really going to be happy about.

The actual school building is really cool and not a typical high school at all. It used to be a manufacturing plant, and it's got a bit of an industrial vibe. It's kind of cool. The school is actually also attached to an Idaho State University satellite campus, so it also has kind of a college campus feel. The school is run a bit more like a college than a high school. Because it's a school full of academic, college focused kids, they can do some things there that they can't do in typical high schools.

It's also a smaller student body and it's all kind of the same sort of kids, more of the studious academic types, so it's a very supportive atmosphere, which I like. There are no sports teams, so there aren't really jocks and cheerleaders and a lot of the cliques that exist in regular high schools. The vibe I get is that everyone is in it together and there is a lot of support for each other. Because the academic program is so rigorous, they all kind of work together and support each other through it.

When we were there today we stopped by a table where freshmen could sign up to have an upperclassman buddy. Josh signed up and his buddy will text him and e-mail him and see if he needs help or show him around on the first day or even tutor him if he needs help with something. I love that. What a cool atmosphere to be in. The whole time we were there today I just couldn't get over what a cool place it is. I wish every high school could run this way.

I'm nervous about how tough the program is, because it's basically honors and AP everything, with almost no electives, but Josh feels prepared for it and it's something he really wants to do. I'm proud of him for all the great choices he's making and I'm so excited to see what the future holds for him. He's so incredibly focused and goal oriented. He's got a handle on life that I wish I had at his age. Or frankly, my current age, lol.

So here is a photo rundown of my day.

While Matthew was getting his braces on, Josh and I were discussing how he's going to have to eat soft foods for a few days and that made us crave pasta, so since we had an hour to kill while Matthew was getting braces, we went to Noodles and ate spaghetti and meatballs at 10:30 in the morning.(Matthew hates pasta, so we didn't feel bad about going without him.) That sounds super ridiculous,
and it really was. But sometimes it's way fun to do something ridiculous with your kids.

Then we came home and consoled Matthew. This isn't a great picture. I'm going to do better pictures for his birthday tomorrow. But I think he looks super awesome with his new braces!

The it was off to high school. The fact that I have a child in high school really freaks me out. I'm not sure how time flew by so quickly, but if he has to go to high school, at least he gets to go to a cool one!

Tune in tomorrow when I have another freak out after I register Matthew for middle school. All this change is exhausting!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Well, it's official. The first day of Kindergarten is here and I sent my baby off to school. She was nervous and excited and I think she'll do fine. It won't stop be from worrying about her all morning, but I think she's going to do just fine.

Here she is on her first day!



Monday, August 11, 2014

I won the bus stop war!!

Remember the other day when I said I was having my yearly battle with the bus depot? Every year I tell them that we have the most unreasonable bus stop in the history of bus stops and every year they tell me too bad.

This year was no different. I called them and this time I got a really nice lady who also has kids and and sympathized with my plight but still told me they couldn't do anything about it. I grumbled about it for a few days and let it go.

Clarissa starts school tomorrow so today we went over to the school to meet her teacher and drop off her supplies. They had bus lists posted on the wall and I checked it, expecting to see the same thing I was already told.....and they changed the bus stop!!!!

I went to the office and made them double check because I thought that surely it was a mistake. Nope!! The bus stop is now at the end of my street. HAPPY DAY!!!

I came home and looked it up online to see what the deal was, because I've been told they couldn't stop here because we're in a walk zone for another school, and it appears that they have shifted the walk zone back. My street is no longer a walk zone!!

I'm mind boggled by this sudden turn of events, lol. Did some kind soul at the bus depot finally take up my cause and get the problem fixed? If so I feel like I need to find that person and send them a muffin basket or something, lol. They just saved me from another year of having to drive across the very busy street by my house to take my kids to the dumbest bus stop on the planet and then driving back across the street again every afternoon to pick them up.

That's all it took to get this thing fixed, just moving the walk zone back a street. I have begged and pleaded for YEARS. And maybe it wasn't even me who got it fixed. Maybe it was a completely unrelated event that caused them to fix it. I don't care, all I know is that when I'm happily skipping myself four houses down the street with Clarissa to the totally reasonable bus stop this year, I will be silently thanking whoever it was at the bus depot that finally got this thing fixed!!!

(PS, I'm sending my baby to Kindergarten tomorrow. I can't decide if I want to do a dance or sob uncontrollably. Check back tomorrow and I'll let you know which one I chose. If you're placing a bet, put your money on the sobbing.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

True stories of a teenager

I swear this story is true. You're not going to believe that it's possible, but it happened, lol. :)

We're all super crazy busy this week. Shawn left early this morning for his first fill in shift in another town, so he's going to be gone most of the next four days, I spent the morning making a ridiculous amount of popcorn and boxing it into 30 boxes for a church youth activity tonight, I watching a friends daughter tomorrow and then both the boys have doctors appointments in the afternoon and I'm taking everyone school shopping. We just have a really full plate right now. Everyone is busy and juggling several things.

After spending the morning making 30 boxes of popcorn (I did it on the stove in the whirlypop and I had to make a ton of batches and it was hot and sweaty and took way longer than I thought it was going to), I went up to take a shower and while I was in the bathroom I heard Josh's friend from across the street call to see if Josh could come over. They spend most days together so I assumed he would go.

But he told the kid he couldn't hang out today and, true story, decided to spend the day cleaning the house so that Shawn and I would have one less thing to do during our busy week. He did the dishes, mopped the floors, cleaned up Clarissa's toys, vacuumed, was pretty much the greatest moment in teenage history.

I LOVE that kid. I don't know where he came from, but I love him, lol. And this moment needed to be documented because I want him to publicly know how much I appreciate him. He rocks.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

More piano

I know, it's mom brag central, but I can't help myself. :)

Matthew is a little over two months into piano lessons and I'm so amazed at how quickly he has picked it up and so happy to see how much he enjoys it. I can't help but share his latest song. I'm really proud of him!

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's August!

Well, the lazy days of July have come to a close and it's time to get back to work. The past few weeks have been delightfully low key and the next few weeks are just going to be pure insanity.

This week Shawn will be filling in at a pharmacy in a small town about an hour away from here for a few days. He knows the guy who owns that pharmacy and every now and then they need a fill in when someone goes on vacation. The pay is really good and it's an easy gig, so he's actually taking a couple of vacation days from his regular job to fill it at another job. He gets paid for his vacation from his regular job, makes good money for a few days of fill in work at the other job and now I don't feel like I have to take out a second mortgage to put braces on my children's teeth, lol. I love it when life works out.

So financially it makes sense, but it means that Shawn will pretty much be gone all week. It's a long shift and a long commute, so he'll leave early and come home late for most of the week. Then next week his pharmacy is finally moving to their new building, so he's going to be swamped for a while helping with the move and getting the new location up and running. It will be a little change for us having him working at a different location. I think the commute time is going to be about the same as far as we can tell, it's just in a different direction. It's a better location for the pharmacy, in a bigger building that will suit their needs better.

So I don't plan on seeing much of Shawn for the next couple of weeks. He'll be working six days a week for the next three weeks. We're lucky that he has a job with good hours and a short commute, so he's usually home a lot, so it throws me off a bit when he's gone. I like having him around!

And it kind of comes at a crappy time, because our schedule is totally packed for the next couple of weeks. Clarissa starts kindergarten next week, everyone has school registrations, orientations and teacher meetings, Matthew's birthday is next week and he's also getting his braces on, and I have to go school supply shopping for everyone.

Getting everyone organized to go back to school is a big job. I just spent the morning on the phone with the school bus department trying to figure out Kindergarten bussing. I have a huge frustration with the bussing situation every year, and I thought this year was going to be better because the district has hired a private bus company to handle it, but it's still frustrating.

My kids bus stop is in a ridiculous location. I've put up with it because my boys were older and could handle it, but I think it's completely unreasonable for Kindergartener. The problem is that I don't send our kids to the regular neighborhood elementary school, they go to a magnet school that is farther away. The magnet school offers bussing, but because we fall on the edge of the walk zone for the neighborhood school we don't attend, the bus won't stop at our street (even though they drive PAST it) because we're in the walk zone. The walk zone for a school they don't attend!! They're not in the walk zone for the school they DO attend, and their bus has to drive right past our street either way, it just won't stop here because it's a walk zone for a different school. So our bus stop is farther away, outside the walk zone, across a large, busy road with no crosswalks that is unreasonable to expect a five year old to safely cross, so I have to drive her to the bus stop and drive to pick her up, because I won't let her cross the street. Which sort of defeats the purpose of bussing. And every year I throw a fit about it for about a week and then I suck it up and deal with it. This just happens to be that week, lol. It's not that big of a deal, it's just ridiculous and SO easily fixed, but they won't fix it, and it's like beating my head against the wall every year when I have to discuss it.

So between Shawn being super busy for the next few weeks and all the places I have to be and things I have to organize, our lazy summer is officially over. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to be at the orthodontist with Matthew and high school registration with Josh at the same time next week. Now that I've had my yearly bus stop meltdown, solving that dilemma is next on my list.

So life is busy for a few weeks. August is always a crazy month. And this year, with Shawn moving the pharmacy and all three kids starting new schools, there is going to be a lot of change and adjustment. And knowing that I tend to fail at change and adjustment, I'm preparing for battle, lol. I vow to plow through all of this and not fall apart about it (well, mostly) and in September when it's all behind me I will throw myself a little party for getting through it. That's my plan, wish me luck. :)

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Someone shared this video on Facebook today and I know I'm over emotional sometimes, but it totally made me cry!! Sometimes something like this comes along and it makes you realize just how much we take for granted in life. I don't think we spend enough time thinking about where our everyday items come from and being grateful for the people who work so hard for so little money to provide it for us. I was grateful today for this little reminder.

 Just watch.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Clarissa's Story

Clarissa wrote a story this morning and was very excited to show it to me. It made me laugh so hard that I had to make sure it was properly documented! So I photographed it and wrote it down exactly as she told it to me. She cracks me up. :)

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Friday, July 25, 2014


I was looking at this picture I took of Clarissa last month on our vacation and it reminded me of a similar picture I took of her in Korea, so I put them together for comparison. This makes me smile because she did NOT like Shawn at first. The fact that she even let him hold her in that photo was kind of a miracle.

And now? One hundred percent daddy's girl. :)

Happy :)

I know my happy project is over, but I had to share one more. :) This morning Clarissa drew this and hung it on the wall in my bedroom next to my side of the bed. I love that kid. Her artwork is all over the house and I love it! It definitely makes me happy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


After 100 days of blogging, I suddenly don't have a whole lot to say! I am loving this summer because it's probably the most low key summer we've ever had. Usually we're busy with trips and camps and the kids activities, but this summer I purposely didn't really plan much for us. That means that we have had lots of lazy summer days this month, which have kind of been nice. The boys have been camping out occasionally, going to dollar movies during the day, hanging out with friends and just having fun. It's the way I remember summer when I was a kid. Walking to the park to get a snow cone, hanging out with friends, riding my bike, etc. I'm happy that this summer they're experiencing that. It feels nice not to be busy and over scheduled sometimes.

I'm enjoying it while it lasts because I know as soon as August hits we're going to be crazy busy again. Because all three kids are starting new schools this year, all three of them will have some sort of orientation type thing we'll need to go to, in addition to registration, so that will mean all sorts of trips to all three schools to deal with all of that.We'll also be running around doing back to school shopping, which is a time consuming process. I'm crossing my fingers that Josh has grown a bit this summer because the last time we bought pants for him he was in this weird size that doesn't really exist. Everything was too long, too short, to loose or too tight. He was at this weird stage where he was too big for the biggest kids size but too small for the smallest men's size. I'm hoping that he has had enough of a growth spurt this summer to kick him up to the next size and maybe we won't have to drive all over the planet searching for jeans that fit!

Clarissa starts school August 12th and the boys go back on August 25, so it will be a month of changes and adjustments. Also, in the middle of that we will celebrate Matthew's 11th birthday on August 15th and Shawn's pharmacy is moving to a new building sometime in August so I have the feeling that when that happens he's going to be super busy with work for a while while they set everything up at their new location and get up and running.

So for now I am content with lazy days. We're all hanging out doing nothing super important and I think we all need that right now. It's the calm before the storm. The past few months have been crazy busy and the next few months will probably be crazy busy again, but right now we're just chilling out and watching the clouds go by and taking a much needed breather. And that makes me happy! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


It feels so weird to be done with my 100 days of happy project! I considered keeping it going, but decided not to. It was somewhat of a challenge to make sure I blogged every single day for 100 days. I needed a break!

Today was a doctor day. This morning Matthew and I went to the orthodontist to talk about a treatment plan for his teeth. Basically Matthew's teeth are all sorts of messed up. Which we already knew, I suppose, but today we got to see x-rays and molds and photographs.

He has multiple problems happening. His lower jaw is too far back and his upper teeth are way too far forward. Since his lower teeth don't meet his upper teeth, his lower teeth have grown way too high trying to find his top teeth. He's too young for full braces because he still has baby teeth, but it's bad enough that it really needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. So next month he's getting braces on his four front top teeth and his four front bottom teeth. They'll work on moving his overbite back and his bottom teeth down. Then in six months or so they're going to put in a device called a herbst, which will force his lower jaw forward. That will stay in for a year or so. After all of that they'll take everything off and take a break for a year or so and then he's probably going to have to have a full mouth of braces again after that to fix the rest of his adult teeth that haven't come in yet. So basically he's looking at years and years of orthodontic work. Poor kid.

He's not super thrilled about it, but he is excited for the end result. The orthodontist showed us pictures of someone else who had very similar problems and the end result looked great. He's going to be glad he's getting it over with.

So we spent quite a while dealing with that this morning and then I hurried and dropped him off at home and I had a dentist appointment. I hate going to the dentist. We all know my feeling about doctors. I still need a crown done. I'm still dragging my feet about it. Bleh.

So that pretty much took up most of my day. But in the spirit of sharing happy things on my blog, I have a happy thing today! (It's a habit I don't know how to quit now, lol.)

My happy thing is that Matthew is doing great in piano lessons! He's only been taking lessons for a little over a month. His teacher basically skipped through the first book because he was picking it up so fast. He really loves practicing and I love hearing piano music in the house. It makes me happy every time he sits down to play.

I know this song is super simple, but for a month of piano lessons it's not so bad! He's been playing it all week and it's stuck in my head, so I filmed it this morning so I could share it with everyone else. Now it can get stuck in your head for a while. :) I'm proud of how well he's doing!

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Well here we are, 100 days later, and I have officially completed the 100 happy days challenge. Yay me!

So here is what I've learned about life over the past 100 days. One thing that I learned is that the things that make me truly happy aren't things. They're the people in my life and the experiences I have. Spending time with my kids, date nights with Shawn, girls nights with friends. It has been really fun today to review the last 100 days and remember the things that made me happy. 

To be honest, the past couple of months have had some turmoil and struggles. There has been a lot of change happening lately, which we all know I resist! Saying goodbye to my mom was hard, and watching my kids all finish a phase in their schooling was emotional. There were some days that I really had to think about what my happy thing for the day was going to be, because not every day of my life is super exciting and adventurous and full of obvious happy things.

But I think that's why this project was so good for me. It taught me to look for and appreciate the little things in life. Not every day of my life is a day at the beach. Sometimes it's just full of keeping a house together, juggling three kids and figuring out what's for dinner. But even on the mundane days, this project taught me to look for the happy moments, and without fail there were always happy moments to be found. 

But the biggest thing I learned as a result of this project, is that the biggest factor in my happiness is me. The trick to life is choosing to be happy, even if life isn't going exactly as planned. There were days that I had to create happy things. There were days when I had to dig deep to find the happy. When it really comes down to it, my happiness doesn't depend on what's going on around me, it comes from inside. Happiness is a choice. What I have come to realize is that choosing to be happy is probably one of the most important skills in life to master, and for me, being such an introverted overthinker, that isn't something that always comes easy for me. This project has helped me work on that skill, and for that I am grateful.

So for day 100 I decided that my happy thing was obvious. It's me. When it all comes down to it, I choose my happiness. My happiness comes from me. 

And that's what I learned in 100 days. 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Day 99

It's day 99!! One more day and I have actually completed a goal! :) Look at me, finishing what I start like a grown up. There might still be hope for me yet. :)

So my happy thing today doesn't really have a picture, so I'm sharing a related photo, even though I didn't take it and I think it was taken a few days ago.

My happy thing is that I got to FaceTime with my mom and stepdad in Malaysia! After spending a week in Utah, three days in Hong Kong and a day in Singapore, they have finally arrived in Kuala Lumpur, where they will be living for the next year and a half or so.

I have gotten a couple of short e-mails but haven't really gotten to hear much from them in the past week and I've been really anxious to hear that they had gotten settled. So when my iPad started ringing, letting me know my mom was trying to FaceTime me, I got super excited!! The connection wasn't great, so it was a bit choppy, but I was really happy to see their faces and know that they had arrived in Malaysia safely.

They are doing well, just getting settled in and trying to figure everything out. I think it's going to be quite a culture shock for them for a while!

We didn't get to talk too long because they were getting ready to start their day (it's Saturday morning there already) but at the end of the call my mom asked me to call my grandma and let her know that I had heard from them. They're still getting their phones figured out so they can't call her yet.

So after I talked to them I called my grandma. And here is something I realized today. It doesn't matter how old you get, or how old your kids get, you still worry about them every time they're out of your sight. My grandma is 91 and my mom is 67 and when I called my grandma to tell her that they had arrived and were doing well, I could hear the relief in her voice to know that they were safe. She had been worrying about them.

I know that feeling so well, it's a mom thing. We're hard wired to worry about our kids every time they go out into the world. I don't know why I thought maybe that goes away when you're elderly and your kids have long since grown up and left home, but I could tell from the relief I heard in my grandmas voice that it never goes away, even if you're 91 and your child is in their 60's.

I find that both comforting and terrifying at the same time, lol. I'm a nervous wreck every time I so much as have to send a kid to scout camp for the week. This continues forever? Crap. My plan to lock my kids in a box forever is starting to make more sense. (Don't worry, I'm not locking anyone in a box. I may, however, have to attend college with them and possibly move in with them when they get married. lol)

So that's my happy thing today. Mothers and daughters. I was happy to talk to my mother and know that she arrived safely and I was happy to be able to pass that news on to her mother, who has been waiting to hear that her daughter was safe.

I don't have a picture of the FaceTime session or the phone call, but I do have a photo of my mom and stepdad arriving in either Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. I'm not sure which. (The other guy in the photo is either their mission president or their Hong Kong trainer, I'm not sure.) they seem happy and I'm happy for them!