Thursday, April 20, 2017

I'm back!

I feel so bad that my blog has been neglected. Over the past several years this blog has been a lifeline to me. I needed a place to write things down, sort out my thoughts and record our family's moments, and I have loved it. I still love it, I just never seem to have the time to sit down and write anything anymore that isn't being turned in for a grade. So my blog sits abandoned and it makes me sad.

So I'm here today to update. I have tried to update a few times over the past couple of months, but I have so many things to discuss that I never have time to finish a post. So I will try again. Here is an update on my life.

Winter semester ended two weeks ago. The fact that I pretty much didn't make a single blog post the entire semester should tell you how things went, lol. I was SO busy! I took 14 credits, which was the most I've ever attempted at once. I know that's not a crazy high amount for a college student, but it was a lot for me. I am proud to say that I ended the semester with straight A's, but not without a lot of work and a few breakdowns along the way!

The biggest news from last semester was my stats class. I have feared stats pretty much since I started college at 18. All I've ever heard about it is that it's hard. And everyone was right, it is! I went into that classs just hoping not to fail. Then they put us in manditory study groups and I grumbled about that because online meetings are such a pain. We had to meet twice a week in Google Hangouts for at least an hour to do some assignments as a group. At the beginning of the semester the idea of two long online meetings a week was pretty much my worst nightmare. Then I met my study group. It was three other women who are moms with kids at home like me, all marriage and family study majors, all scared of stats and hoping not to fail. I scored the BEST online study group I could ever have hoped for. Over the semester we spent a ton of time together in online meetings and group texts. We started out learning stats together because we had to, and by the end of the semester we were group texting just to check in with each other and discussing life and family. I love those women. I thank my lucky stars that I was forced to study with them. So we kicked butt together in that class. We spent a ton of time in our meetings learning together, supporting each other, teaching each other, and getting through all the hard parts as a team. I could never have passed that class without them. We celebrated our successes together, cheered each other on when it got hard and in the end, all four of us got A's in the class. I love those women. Because we're all in the same major, we got together and discussed what else we can take together, so this semester I'm in a class with one of them, I'm doing a short summer class in August with another one, and in the fall all four of us will be back together for another really hard class that we're all dreading and determined to get through together. Those women are such a blessing to me. I have no idea how I would have survived stats without them, and I'm so grateful that I still have them with me going forward.

So in related news, near the end of the semester we got some info from the school about the  internship for our degree. Originally, everyone was expected to do an internship as part of the marriage and family degree. You basically needed to find a job in marriage or family related field for a semester. I've been dreading this. It's a big time commitment for not many credits, so you basically have to take it by itself, which adds a semester to your schooling, and without a degree there's not a whole lot I'd be qualified to do, so I was just planning to see if I could volunteer to do paperwork in a counseling office or something.

But a month or so ago they announced an alternative to internships. You can still do an internship if you want, or you also have the option of taking a certification course from one of a few different options they provided, and that would take the place of the internship. One of the options was to take a seminar from the Gottman Institute on the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage work, and get certified to teach workshops on the book. I just spent last semester studying that book in depth for my marriage class and I'm a huge fan of it. John Gottman wrote the book, and he started the Gottman Institute, which is basically a marriage research and education institute. I've been really interested in eventually training at the Gottman Institute anyway, a lot of therapists doing marriage counseling training there, so when I got the opportunity to skip my internship and take a seminar on my favorite relationship self help book instead, it was a no-brainer. I was on it.

We got the information at the end of March. There was a seminar taking place in Seattle on April 1st. It took me about five seconds to decide that I was packing up and going to Seattle for that seminar! The good news was that one of my awesome stats buddies lives in Seattle and she was totally on board, so we decided to meet up and do it together.

So at the very last minute, right before finals week by the way, we decided to make a family spring break trip out of it, and we jumped in the car and road tripped to Seattle. It was right before finals, so I was swamped with school, I actually got a bad cold in the middle of it that got really bad in the middle of the trip, and we got stuck in a horrible storm going over a mountain pass on the way into Seattle and thought we might die, but we had the best time! We went to the top of the space needle, we watched them throw fish at Pike Market, we went to the pop culture museum, we took a boat ride, and then Shawn entertained the kids for a day while I met up with my stats friend and took a very long all day seminar and got certified to teach classes on the Seven Principles book. I can run workshops on that book now. I don't really have any plans to do that at the moment, but I could if I wanted. But because I did it, I got my internship waived and shaved a whole semester off my bachelors degree. Totally worth it. The seminar was great, I am likely going to be doing more Gottman training in the future. Plus I got to meet my awesome stats friend in person, and she's even more awesome in person!

So after all that craziness, I took my finals, got straight A's, took a glorious week off, and now I'm back at it. The new semester started this week. I'm only taking four classes this semester instead of five, because this semester goes into the summer and it's going to be harder for me to get everything done when my kids are bome and we have summer activities. And frankly, I needed a break. School is good, but it's exhausting. Plus I'm a junior now and I'm getting into the harder classes, and some of the stuff I have coming up is going to be really time consuming and stressful. I'm tying to balance out getting this done as fast as I can with still managing not to burn out and fall apart. It's tricky.

One class I'm taking this semester is more for personal enrichment than academics. I need to take five credits of any elective at some point, so this semester I'm taking a two credit heath and fitness classs. We're basically getting graded on diet and exercise for the next 14 weeks. After sitting in my house doing homework for the past two years, I need this class. I need the motivation to get off my behind and get active again. So I'll be getting my bike out and hopefully doing some fun stuff this semester. I'm looking forward to that.

So things are good with me. I'm busy, occasionally, burned out and exhausted, but I'm hanging in there. Last week my mentor emailed me a copy of the email I sent to him two years ago when I first told him that I had decided to go back to school. He thought I might want to be reminded of how far I've come. The email I sent to him when I started this kept talking about how scared I was of failing and how I wasn't sure if I could do it. I remember being terrrifed of taking the first step and giving this a try. I thought I was going to crash and burn. You guys, I got an A in stats this semester. In fact, I've gotten an A in every single class I have taken since I went back to school. I'm not failing, I'm doing awesome. You have no idea how good that feels!! I remind myself of that every time I want to quit. Which I won't lie, is sometimes a lot, lol.

In family news, Josh went to prom recently. Another milestone in his life, and another moment for me to contimplate how fast this whole parenting thing is flying by. He'll be a senior in the fall. I can't even think about it. In other exciting Josh news, last weekend he won first place in the documentary category at the state National History Day competition for the second year in a row!! He's off to Nationals in Washington DC again in June! Last year Shawn and I had the best time in DC with him, but I think just Shawn is going to go with him this year. I'll be in the middle of the semsester and I just can't get away. But his documentary is awesome and we're excited to see how it does at Nationals!

In Matthew news, he joined the middle school tennis team! We are not exactly a sporty family, so this is kind of our first experience with a kid participating in a sport that isn't academic! He loves it, it's been really fun for him. I'm proud of him for getting out there and giving it a try! We also got him registered for high school recently. He'll be attending the same high school that Josh goes to, which I'm really excited about! We've been really happy with that school and I'm excited to have the boys together at school! They haven't gone to the same school since elementary school, and this will be the last time we ever have two kids at the same school, unless they decide to go to college together or

In Clarissa news, I actually have some big news that should probably be it's own post, and I apologize for burying it at the bottom of this long post, because it's kind of a big deal. We got a call from the adoption agency last week. Her birth mother is asking for contact with us. This almost never ever happens with Korean adoptions. Korean adoptions are closed. We don't even know her birth mothers name. We don't know what this is going to mean yet. Honestly, I haven't even told Clarissa yet, so maybe it's premature to announce it here. What I know now is that last week I wrote a letter to her birth mother, as requested, and I included recent photos of Clarissa. The agency will be send it to Korea, it will be translated for the birth mother and she will have the opportunity to write back, which will be translated to English and sent to us. After that, I don't know. The agency said that it's rare that this happens, so for now it will all go though the agency, but that if things go well, they may connect us directly and back out of it. This is all kind of a tricky, sensitive topic for everyone involved and I don't really have any information yet, so I've kept it kind of quiet until we know more. I decided not to mention it to Clarissa until we receive a letter and I have a better understanding of what the situation is. I'll hopefully hear something in the coming weeks, and I may share the basic story on my blog, because this blog was originally made to tell Clarissa's adoption story, and I'm hoping this is a great postscript to the journey, but given the sensitive nature of it and depending on how Clarissa feels about it, I may not share the details. I'm still waiting to hear. To be honest, it's a lot to process emotionally. I'm happy about it, but it's tricky, and I still don't know where it's going to lead. We'll see. Clarissa is doing great and growing up so fast! She's amazing, I love that kid.

So that's us. We're happy and healthy and busy. I almost hate to blog anymore, because I feel like all I do is come here to announce that we're busy, but...we're busy, lol. Just living life and surviving school and watching the kids grow up far too quickly. Life is good. I'll be back with more hopefully soon.