Saturday, January 28, 2012

Are You Daring and Brave?

Today I took Hunter on some errands on the main army base here. I took the route through Itaewon, the tourist-y shopping area between here and there, and being a Saturday it was slow going.  There is a McDonalds at nearly the end of it, so I asked Hunter if he was daring and brave.  He laughed and said he was, so I instructed him to hop out, cross the street, and take 1,000 won (equivalent of a US Dollar, though the exchange rate is about 10% in our favor) to McDonalds and buy two cones, then find me outside.  He did it!  I had to drive a bit and do a u-turn to come back and find him.  Drive thrus are a rarity here, and I have been craving some soft serve ice cream.  I love the price, which is about 45 cents per cone.  Good job Hunter!

In other Hunter news, I've decided that he has ADHD.  He isn't one of those kids you see bouncing off the walls at school, but he has every one of these characteristics at least mildly.  ADHD would explain a lot.  I had him read through the info, and he agreed that perhaps he does have it.  I'm not sure that it is worth getting a medical diagnosis at this point.  I looked around online and found a product that I've ordered from, to see if it will help him.  I really don't like pharmaceuticals and all their ill effects, so will try this route for now.  Of course adequate sleep and good nutrition are the starting points.

As soon as she could roll over, she declared that she must sleep on her tummy.  Yes, she's asleep here.
Little Cambria has been more fussy and clingy of late.  She has no interest in being held by strangers, either, all of a sudden.  She's been screaming her head off when she wants Dean or me to hold her.  She is really insulted if we walk by without picking her up.  She knows all about the boys, and doesn't much care for them to hold her if she's cranky at all.  It is flattering to be the object of her desire, but I can't hold her every second.  Her sleep pattern has been changing a bit and maybe that's part of the problem.  I'm getting awfully weary of her wanting to nurse several times in the night, and have started giving her more food or a bottle of formula before bed.  Formula sure costs a lot!  My word! Now I know why I really nurse my babies, besides all the other reasons!  She is still an angel and we're getting her all figured out. We've also been putting her to bed in Tristan's room, and she only wakes once in the night to feed, so maybe she smells me when she's in our room, ha ha.

Bath buddies

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finders Keepers

I lost my wallet  AGAIN, on New Year's Eve.  Dean and I and Cambria were out on a date and rode the bus to get to a particular all-you-can-eat beef and leaf (lettuce and beef and pork with a few sides).  We found it, but when we were ready to leave I realized my wallet wasn't in my purse.  Ugh.  I either left it on the bus or it fell out of my purse, or maybe I set it down when I was taking my boots off before we entered the restaurant (a must at the sit-on-the-floor places).  I was wearing Baby in carrier, so it's easy to lose track of it while I'm tending to her...  We actually found the same bus we had ridden, but it was not there.  We went to three police stations nearby and filed a report.  We went through all the rig a ma role of canceling all the cards and checks in it, then had to wait until a business day after the holiday to get my ID and ration cards replaced so I could get HOME and on base without having to go to the guard shacks and give my SSN and finger print, AND so that I could go inside the commissary and PX (can't even enter the stores without the ID and ration cards).  Dean's office got a call from the US Embassy on Friday saying that someone had turned the wallet in there, so a counselor in our branch presidency (at church) who works there was able to bring it home.  Yay!  I could say that of course the cash was taken, but I won't.  It didn't have to be stolenI'm extremely grateful that someone turned it in, but that doesn't cancel the stealing out.  It is just as much stealing as pick pocketing or burglary or shoplifting - in case anyone doesn't know that.  I don't know how much cash was in it, but definitely both won and dollars.  Everything else was intact, so I was able to attend the temple today with my temple recommend (yay!)  A lovely lady in the ward with grown children offered to watch kids so that interested people could go.  What a gift of service!  The session was totally full, too, and extra chairs had to be brought in.

On Saturday a "photographer" here was doing  portraits, and we haven't had a family one since we've been here.  I paid our $15 and got a contender for Awkward Family Photos.  Dean always says "You get what you pay for", and sure enough we did. 
What's wrong with this picture?
All the boys acted like they were on a scavenger hunt the whole time we were there for our "session", so I finally had enough and gave Hunter Pants a little pinch.  You'd have thought I took a chunk - my boys are all drama queens.  The "photographer" didn't give him even a moment to compose himself.  I wonder if she'll use this in her portfolio.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I Have a Dream

Dean has never thought much of new year resolutions.  He feels that goals can be set at any time.  I do like the idea of starting anew, and always seem to have the same "goals".  We had a family council to discuss family goals, namely to get to church on time.  Dean can get himself and all the kids to church when I'm not around.  Hmmm.  

Couples often wear matching clothing in Korea.  Now they can match everything!

Our big accomplishments for 2011 were to: finally decide on Dean's career path, pay off the student loans, and have a baby girl!

Man muffin anyone?
It has been a huge struggle for years to determine what Dean should "do with his life".  It is funny how when we have so many options, it can actually be harder than having no options.  I often ponder some of our trials in life, and contrast them with the trials of merely trying to survive that so many people in the world have.   I marvel at the humility of the little elderly people here in Seoul who scratch out a living by pushing big carts loaded with cardboard on busy streets - with no sidewalks.  Or the security guards who work here on the base for (rumor has it) about $700 a month.  I don't know how they can begin to support their families on that in such an expensive city.  Or the folks who sit, squat or stand outside all day long in this bitter cold trying to sell fruit or socks...  I really can't imagine that being my life, and I feel so blessed.

The symbol is actually a Buddhist good luck symbol, and is different from a Swastika, for your information.
The Army was the right move for us when Dean joined, for a number of reasons.  One of which is that his student loans were paid off.  There was still a big chunk of interest left for us ($22,000), but being here in Korea allowed us to save up and pay it all off last year.  We are totally debt free.  Of course, we have no house... but until we do, it feels really good to have no payments of any kind.

From a modeling shoot.  Her fourth is next week.
And then there is my Lady Cambria.  I absolutely love having babies.  Pregnancy is hard.  Labor is atrocious.  But then the reward is a sweet little angel who I get to take care of.  I've adored all my babies.  The Korean birth rate is about 1.1, meaning their population will be shrinking if they don't step it up.  They often marvel at all the kids we have, and tell us how blessed we are, or how they admire me for it.  They LOVE seeing (grabbing, taking) babies, and are instantly attracted to ours.

Sexual harassment is alive and well in Korea, apparently.
It melts my heart every time I watch Cambria sleeping, or when she lights up, smiles, and jumps up and down when she sees me, and when I feed, hold, and love on her.  I love all the baby stages, and am sad as they pass through them, but then it is so fun to see them hone new skills and enjoy life.  I've been blessed with good-natured babies, though Kryler didn't pick up his nickname for nothing.  My babies have been an absolute joy, and I certainly want more.  I ran across this essay, which spoke my heart.  I can't count how many times "old ladies" have stopped me in public to admonish me to enjoy my little ones (generally the toddlers who are trying to single-handedly knock down the store and all its contents), because they grow up so fast.  Apparently they didn't take the time to enjoy their own, so they feel the need to harass me? 

It changes on a weekly basis what we may do when we leave here, literally.  Truly there are so many options and opportunities.  Things could get exciting!   On a different note, did you know that veterinarians are up there in suicide rates with dentists?  Tragic.  This offers some explanation.

Monday, January 9, 2012

No Treats for you!

So it is catch up time...  and I might as well start with a gratuitous shot of our little angel.  This is a couple of months old.  I'm not sure if the dress fits any more.
We did have a nice Halloween, which started with the wonderful Degn Family hosting a party before trick-or-treating.  Dean was Captain Love once again!  Such a versatile shirt this has been, and a versatile "Sweet Pea" costume, used by both Tristan and Cambria. 
I got Kyler the coolest chicken costume ever!  He wore it to school for costume day, but then he thought it would be cooler to go trick or treating as Spiderman and I couldn't talk him out of it.  I saw all kinds of Spidermen, but not a single chicken!
Sadly, Hunter had much classwork to make up (from all that reading in class instead of doing his assignments).  He chose to not make it up, and therefore didn't get to trick or treat.
It took Tristan a while to warm up to the idea of wearing a costume, but he finally relented.  He'd been potty training for some time, and we had even been taking him out of the house in big-boy underwear for some time with nary an accident, but alas, at a post trick or treat party at the Lieutenant Colonel's house, he dropped a mother load right on their floor.  The Lt. Col's wife nearly threw up, as she is pregnant.  We cleaned it up thoroughly then promptly left.  Those are the memories our lives are made of...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Stub the Toe then Throw the Sock

When Kyler styles hair
Poor little Tristan had a rough Friday morning.  He had been whining since Thursday, then suddenly whined louder and longer as he puttered around in the kitchen with me.  He somehow simultaneously stubbed his toe and raised a knot on his shin.  He actually let me put a bag of frozen vegies on it while he convalesced on the sofa, then fell asleep before 10am, for about an hour.  Noteworthy.  So once he awoke and still wouldn't walk on it, I took him to the ER, where they did a number of x-rays, but saw no breaks, which is great!  Have I mentioned that we still haven't ever had any broken bones?  I'm knocking on wood right now.  And we have only had stitches twice - remarkable!! considering all the nonsense around here.  After the ER we were off to the hemophilia clinic for a dose of factor.  They even remember Cambria's name there.  I can't remember most Korean names.  They also don't have any commentary about how unusual it is.  An African American soldier at Dean's work has said more than once "I thought only black people gave their kids weird names!"

We sure miss our home teaching group.  All the originals are gone, sniff.
Hunter has been begging for glasses for some time, and squints at things far away, like the clock.  We have gotten a notice or two from the school nurse as well, that his vision appears to be 20/60  (my dad's was more like 20/600, so I am not all that concerned).  The problem is that if we get glasses for the boy, he will lose them before we arrive home with said glasses.  He lost his new backpack before school started, and his new lunch bag soon after it started.  Someone stole his backpack at the school on the meet-your-teacher day, actually (he set it down on the playground).  I saw it listed for sale later on the flea market page here, and even sent a message to the seller, but got nothing.  It was full of his new school supplies as well.

She is up to 8 teeth now, at 6 months.
Being the benevolent dictator that I am, however, I told him the other day that as soon as he can take care of his socks and shoes for 30 consecutive days, I will be happy to get him glasses, because then I'll know that he is responsible enough for them.  There.  Easy.  That puts the monkey on his back.  So far he has put his shoes on the shoe shelf next to the door once, and I still find his dirty socks strewn and stuffed all over the house.  It will likely be years before he gets glasses.  I suspect his vision has deteriorated from all the reading he does.  He's nearly through the entire Harry Potter series, which he started a month or so ago.  I know, I know.  Everyone tells me how wonderful it is that he reads so much.  So much so that he didn't get his classwork done much last quarter, and got straight Cs and Ds, as well as kicked out of the gifted program at school.  Yeah, that's what reading so much does for him.  Anyway, we've been watching the H.P. movies as a family, and are up to about number 6 now.  The movies would be easier to follow if we had read the books; Hunter knows exactly what is going on.  But I just can't bring myself to read them, much like the Twilight series.    

When the subject is this sweet, I can't resist!
I am eons behind in blogging, but alas seem to have less time and energy by the day.  We spoke in church last week and I said to the whole congregation that one of my resolutions for the new year would be to go to bed earlier so I can get up and face the day earlier.  It has yet to happen this week.  Off I go... more to come!