Friday, December 21, 2018

End of the year review

I realize that my blog has mostly been abandoned, but I’m back with a yearly update. I have been meaning to check in for months, but life is busy and I just haven’t done it.

This was a super crazy year, and I’ll be honest, I’m not going to be all that sad to see it go. We started it it with a kitchen remodel, and while our kitchen looks great, it was stressful and our house was torn up for quite some time. It was crappy timing, but we had a water leak in our kitchen that ruined the flooring, so it was sort of a forced kitchen remodel. But I’m happy with the results, so I’m glad we did it.

The first part of the year was crammed with senior stuff for Josh. We did college applications, I helped him do a ton of stuff for scholarship applications, he was the senior class president, so he was in charge of all the senior activities, he had prom on his 18th birthday, where he was crowed prom king, so that was a cool night. Then he graduated twice. Thanks to dual enrollment, he earned his college associate degree from Idaho State University and actually graduated with a college degree a few weeks before he graduated from high school. So we got to see him graduate from ISU and then a few weeks later we got to see him graduate from high school. I could not possibly be more proud of that kid.

After graduation Shawn, Josh and Matthew took a cross country trip for two weeks. Josh won a national leadership award and there was a ceremony in New Orleans, so they went there for a few days, and then immediately after that they went to Washington DC for a week, because Josh and Matthew won the state National History Day competition and got to compete in the national competition in DC. They didn’t win nationals, but they had an awesome time. Then they took a bus from there to New York City and spend a few days being tourists. They got to meet my amazing friend and college mentor, who lives in NYC, which was really fun.

Then after a whirlwind summmer getting Josh ready for college, we moved him to Utah in August. I could say a whole lot of things about how hard it is to send your first child off to college. Ugh. I didn’t think I was going to survive it. You raise a kid for 18 years, and your life basically revolves around them and then suddenly they’re just...gone. Off on their own, living their own life in a whole different state. Josh and I have always been really close, so we talk a lot, but it was really hard to go several months without seeing him in person. But he’s doing absolutely amazing at college. He got great scholarships, he got into the honors college, he got a job he loves at the art museum on campus and he has made lots of friends and had lots of amazing adventures. Because he already has his associate degree, he’s basically a junior in college. So he’s already taking upper level majors courses, and he’s doing great. He’s majoring in statistics, with the goal of becoming an actuary. He’s finishing out this school year and then he’ll actually be taking a break for two years to do missionary work for our church. He will probably leave this summer. We won’t find out where he’s going or when until February. Anyway, he’s happy, thriving and doing awesome. Letting him go was hard, but seeing him thrive on his own as an adult has been so amazing. We successfully raised a kid to adulthood. Go us.

In Matthew news, he’s now a sophomore in high school, and he had a bit of an adjustment after Josh left. The two of them have always been best friends, and they were inseperable last year when they were both in high school together. So he really had to make an adjustment after Josh left, and figure out who he is without Josh. He’s doing really well though, loving school, and he has a super cute girlfriend who seems to make him pretty happy. He’s still playing the piano, and his skill still blows me away. He can listen to pretty much any song and play it by ear after a few minutes. I don’t know how he does it, but I love it.

In Clarissa news, she’s now nine and in 4th grade and is doing awesome. She’s very shy, and that’s something we’ve been working on, but she’s creative, and funny and such a great kid. She loves adventures. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing, if it’s new and different, she’s all over it. She’s so excited for Christmas. We put a little Christmas tree in her bedroom and she had a great time decorating it. She loves crafts and art supplies, that’s pretty much all she wants for Christmas this year. We still keep in touch with her birth family and they send her a box of gifts for holidays. They’re wonderful people, I’m so happy to have connected with them. Her birth aunt speaks really good English, so we email back and forth, and I send photos and updates. It’s really an ideal situation, and I’m grateful for it. Everything in Clarissa’s world is going really well. She’s just the best kid ever, and so easy to raise. We sure love her.

In my news, it has been an exhausting year. I’m finishing up my bachelors degree, I only have two classes left and I graduate in April!! It has been a long road, but I’m almost there! I’m also working two full days a week at the high schools, so trying to juggle school and work has been a challenge. I saved all the hardest classes to the end, so this year I’ve taken some really challenging classes, in the middle of trying to work, remodeling our kitchen, doing all the college planning and senior stuff with Josh, dealing with the emotions of sending him off to college, juggling the activities of the other two kids, and dealing with some minor health issues that aren’t life or death but certainly haven’t made things any easier. Basically I’m exhausted 24/7 and not sure how I’m continuing to function, but I just keep pushing forward, because what else can you do? Oh, and in the middle of all of this, I just started my grad school applications. So over the next couple of months I’ll be completing the application process, doing my live interviews and hopefully getting the admissions letter I’m hoping for. If all goes well I graduate with my bachelors degree in April and start grad school in September. Grad school is three more years. I’m tired, you guys. but I’m going to make it, because I’ve come this far and I know that this is what I really want. Bring it on, whatever it takes, I’m doing it.

In Shawn news, he is managing the pharmacy, and it keeps him extremely busy, and extremely stressed. He’s a busy guy. He loves his job, but it’s all consuming sometimes. With him so busy at work and me so busy with school and my job, we’re generally running around like chickens with our heads cut off, but somehow we’re managing to keep it together. Like I said, it’s been a stressful year. Everything is good, just really really reeeeeeeally busy. That’s life though, I guess.

But this week I took my finals, so my semester is done, and today I had my last day of work for the rest of the year (long Christmas vacations are the perk of working at a high school), so now I’m getting ready to settle in for a few weeks of family and holidays and some much needed relaxation. After a tough year, we’ve all earned it.

So there’s my update, in case anyone is still around and wonders whatever happened to me. Life is good, we’re happy, and things are never dull around here. I will probably continue to check in here from time to time. I miss blogging, but these days it’s easier to make a quick post on instagram or Facebook rather than write out long posts. It’s just all I have time for.

Anyway, happy holidays from our family, thanks for checking in!

Monday, April 30, 2018


I’m terrible about updating, so instead I’m sharing a recent photo of Clarissa. I love this beautiful girl!


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Long time no blog

My poor abandoned blog. Life has gotten away from me in the past year and blogging just hasn’t been a priority. I miss it. I loved having this outlet to write down my thoughts and I love all the people who followed along with me.

So for those of you who still check in, here’s an update.

I’m now a senior in college! A few years ago the idea of going back to college seemed terrifying and impossible. And I’ll be honest, some days it still feels terrifying and impossible, lol. But I’m rocking it! I took 41 credits last year, and I have gotten an A in every single class I’ve taken since I went back to college. I’ve never been a straight student in my entire life. If I had realized how good it feels, maybe I would have tried a little harder in high school, lol. I’m working my behind off, and it’s hard and it’s stressful, and there are so many days that I want to quit, but I’ve also never been more proud of myself in my whole life. I’m doing the thing I always dreamed of doing.

I’ve been taking a heavy full time class load for the past year and a half or so, but now that I’m doing to my last few classes, I’m slowing it down this year. I’ve hit the really heavy senior level classes and they are kicking my behind. And I’m also working and juggling three kids with very busy schedules, so I decided it was best to take these last classes a little slower. So I’m only taking two classes right now, but they’re both hugely time consuming and stressful. I’m taking a psychology research methods class and we’re actually working on writing a research proposal all semester. It’s fun and hard and stressful and interesting and complicated all at the same time. I had to write a huge section of it yesterday and last night as I was reviewing it,  I had a moment of “I WROTE that?!”. I’m doing things I never thought I could do. Two years ago even reading a research proposal would felt over my head. Now I’m writing one.

So I’m going to drag my last classes out over the rest of this year, and then I’m planning to start grad school next fall. I can’t believe I’m even talking about grad school. I’m nervous and excited!!

I’m also still working a few hours a day at two different high schools and I love my job!! I love working with teenagers. This job has taught me that I think I’d really like to focus on tenagers when I start looking for a therapist job after I graduate. I don’t know exactly what direction my future career will take yet, but this job is helping me to see where my skills are, and I’m grateful for that.

One thing keeping me busy lately has been helping Josh with college applications. He graduates in a couple of months. I think I’m still in denial. When I started this blog, he was eight! Now he’s getting ready to pack up and leave home soon. He’s doing amazing, it would take me all day to list all the awesome things he’s been doing. He’s the senior class president, president of the National History Day Club, he’s headed to state for Academic Decathalon in a few weeks, he’s in the National Honor Society, he was selected this year as a student ambassador for the National WWII museum...the list goes on. He has been giving community presentations on honoring or veterans, and was on a local news program a few weeks ago talking about the student Ambassador program he’s involved with. On Monday he’s going to be the guest speaker at the state Capitol and will be speaking in front of the governor. He also just found out that he won the Billy Michal leadership award from the National WWII museum, and they’re flying us to New Orleans in June for the awards ceremony. I’m so proud of that kid.

So he’s been applying to college, and it’s been a long process. He’s been accepted to every college he has applied to, but he’s likely going to go where the money is. Scholarships are coming in, and it looks like Utah State is probably going to be the winner. He’s already got scholarships from Utah State, but we’re waiting to hear on a great big one that will send him full ride for four years. You just can’t beat free college. If he gets it, and his chances are good, I think that will seal the deal for Utah State. I’m having a really hard time with this whole leaving home thing. I’m trying not to think about it too much.

In a few weeks we’re taking him on a graduation trip to New York City, which we’re really excited about. He has wanted to go for years and this will be a fun opportunity to spend a week with him, making some memories before he heads off to college. I’m also excited because I’m finally going to be meeeting my college mentor in person, which we have been trying to make happen for a while! That’s going to be a big deal for me, so I’m looking forward to that.

In Matthew news, he’s still playing the piano, and he’s amazing! I could listen to him play all day. He’s started high school this year at the same school Josh is at, so that’s been really fun for them. He’s the freshman class president this year and is getting ready to campaign for sophomore president in the spring. He’s also in Academic Decathalon, and he and Josh have been working in a National History Project documentary together. If it wins, they’ll be headed to Washington DC together this summer. Josh had made it to nationals the last two years in a row and he’s really hoping that they make it together this year.

In Clarissa news, can you believe she’s NINE?! Time has flown by way too quickly. She’s doing amazing. I still feel so lucky to be her mom. She’s sweet and creative and artistic and funny and awesome. She loves to create things. Anything artistic or creative is her happy place. She loves to draw, she likes to decorate things, she loves clothes. She tells me that she wants to be an artist or a baker or a clothing designer when she grows up. I love watching her talents develop. She’s such a sweet, loving, easy going kid. She’s a joy to raise. She’s a constant ray of sunshine in our house. Whenever any one is sad, she’s there with a hug. I love that kid so much. I love looking back on our adoption journey. It turned out better than I could have even imagined. I’m grateful for her every day.   Her big project right now is memorizing her times tables. She struggles a bit in math, so it’s our family project to help her pass off all her times tables at school. She’s on 7’s now, and when she passes off her 12’s we’e going to take her to get her ears pierced to celebrate. She REALLY wants her ears pierced, so that’s motivating her to keep working on it!

In the midst of all this craziness with school and my job and the kids, we’re also in the middle of a kitchen remodel. We had a water leak last year and insurance is replacing the floors. We thought we’d just put in new flooring and call it good, but we couldn’t find flooring that matched the cabinets, and we really don’t even like the cabinets, so we didn’t want to match flooring to cabinets we don’t like. So that led to painting the cabinets, which led to needing new appliances, which started a whole change reaction, and long story short, we’re remodeling the kitchen. So my house is currently torn up and it’s chaos around here right now, but I’m starting to see a light at the end of tunnel. We’re getting close to being done, and it’s looking amazing. I’ll try to remember to come back and post before and afters when we finish. There are a bunch of random photos I’d like to share to catch up my blog, so I’ll try to get back and do that.

So there’s our update! Life is insanely busy right now and school is kicking my behind, but I’m doing awesome, Shawn and the kids are great and life is good around here. I’ll try to come back with an update in photos soon!