Thursday, June 28, 2012

God Bless America

Kyler graduated from Kindergarten in a nice little ceremony in his classroom, and got to bring home a lot of his classwork that his teacher put together in a nice bundle.  More pictures to come of that.
It's nice to be home!  We've been here in Gig Harbor, WA for a week now.  I haven't needed any naps today, so maybe I'm getting over the jet lag.  The kids have been great with the move and the time difference and everything.  Kara, a friend who moved here recently from Korea, met us at the airport and hauled me and the kids to her place in Lacy, WA while Dean, Bro and Patti, and Josh (Dean's business partner) ran around getting our van which was waiting for us, and loading up the luggage - 24 checked items, and a number of carry ons.  We maxed out on that, trying to bring as many necessities as we could such as towels, sheets, a few kitchen things, etc.We are most grateful for Bro and Patti coming all the way from Portland to help us out, then treating us to dinner. 
Our luggage train at the Seoul airport.
We were fortunately able to get into a rental house that same evening.  It has been pretty empty with no furnishings, and we felt awfully pathetic with our air mattress that would deflate by the middle of the night.  I finally bought a tall one at TARGET - woohoo for shopping besides the PX!  But we had to borrow a pump (air compressor, actually) from a neighbor to blow it up.

Cambria did great on the flight - with ears full of fluid.  Tristan was a handful, but luckily for me Dean took charge of him.
The neighborhood is great so far, in a culdesac with plenty of friends for the kids to play with.  Kyler has been in hog heaven playing with them much of the day.  The back yard is most welcome, and has blackberry vines (a thorny weed here, but they're blooming and will bear fruit later in the summer), lots of grass (that we'll have to mow), and plenty of trees.  I've planted some herbs in a window planter, and some good sized tomato and pepper plants.  I may try some cucumbers and squash from seed.  Hunter was anxious to start composting again, so we've been doing that.
Where's Kyler?  Look closely.  Now we needn't worry about the hand-wringing tattlers in Hannam Village who can't stand the thought of a boy climbing anything.
I happened upon a Goodwill that was having half off all the toys.  Cambria loves walking with this.
We went to the library last night and got Hunter set up with books to read.  I've been shopping a lot, trying to stock the pantry and get rugs and things.  I took the kids yard sale-ing on Saturday.  It rained much of the morning, but that didn't stop the buyers or the sellers, including us.  It is sticker shock to not shop at the commissary for groceries, except for some things like milk and eggs, which are half as much stateside here. We are still eligible until Aug 5, as Dean's terminal leave runs out then.  We have gone to the base, but it is kinda far from here.  The pint of coconut oil I've been buying at the commissary for $6 is $11-15 at Albertsons and such places, and the Jimmy Dean sausage I buy for $2.49 is $6 at Albertsons.  Yeesh!  I didn't buy those at Albertsons, just things that are on sale.  I can't bring myself to pay over a dollar a pound for plain rice there, nor three dollars a pound for dry beans, so I'm having trouble thinking of things to cook while I am still learning my way around here to go to other stores.  I bought a new GPS today, so that should help.  There are tall trees everywhere, so it's hard to make out directions and find my way around.  The weather is cool - enough so that I have been turning the heat on in the morning, and am cold at night - finally had to swipe one of the kids' blankets (they didn't need it).   

The boys have played "pine cone war" and "big stick" so far in the back yard.  Knowing that they wouldn't listen to me about the likely issues with those games, I let experience teach them that it's not much fun to get nailed in the face with pine cones, nor to be whacked with a big stick.
And, here's the house.  We don't care for the steep incline of the driveway, or having to climb stairs to get inside, nor to get to the garage from inside, but otherwise it is a good fit for now until we can build or buy.  The schools are supposed to be excellent right here; their elementary school is in the same block as the clinic - which is where I've been doing our laundry (after hours) since our facilities are still in storage in North Carolina (you can always count on anything to do with the government taking a ridiculous amount of time). There is a church building a mile from us, but we are in the boundaries for one more like 15 miles away.  Church was nice on Sunday; Tristan had no problem going to the nursery.  One family is just three houses down from us.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Organize the Chaos

I'm like a headless chicken, running about in a frenzy accomplishing nothing.  So a little update is warranted, even though there are novels worth to blog about.

First and foremost, the deal is sealed and done!  Dean and his business partner are the harried new owners of Purdy Veterinary Hospital.  We are still here in limbo for ten more days in the beautiful Republic of Korea, while the partner is manning the clinic on his own and consulting for hours a day with Dean via phone and internet.  Once we get there, Dean will take over for a while so that the partner can attend his brother's wedding and then get himself moved up there from New Mexico.  We will (hopefully) take a road trip through California and on to New Mexico, visit the family there, and then Dean will head right back to work, while I hope to stay a bit longer with the kiddos visiting with the grandparents and cousins.

This is still surreal to me.  I pushed Dean to join the army four years ago because he's always wanted to serve our great country, the army would pay off his student loans and would MOVE us, since we hadn't managed to settle down ourselves.  It has worked out beautifully.  They will be moving us to our last area.  I believe it is meant to be, and all roads have led to this.  Indeed we are blessed, in so many ways.

 In other news, this little angel keeps us on our toes!  She has scaled the stairs to the top more than once, though fortunately not every day.  She makes her rounds daily, trying to eat out of the trash can, pulling all the shoes off the shelf, finding all the batteries Tristan flings around, sucking on computer cords and camera cards (rendering them useless), etc.  I can hardly believe that I was due to have her one year ago.  She held on a few more days, though.  Such a delight, she is.  I love having a baby around. 
 Monday morning Kyler began to feel crummy.  His neck was painful in the evening, and with some other symptoms Dean feared he may have had meningitis and rushed him to the ER.  Fortunately it wasn't that, but Dr. Mom (yours truly) figured out the next day that it must be hand, foot and mouth disease, as Cambria began to have it as well.  Their symptoms were different, but both were confirmed non-invasively at the hospital.  Kyler stayed home the rest of the week, even though he felt fine by Wednesday.

In other Kyler news - I think the pictures may be lost (that camera card sucking is no good), but Kyler tested for his Dragon Belt (black belt) at the Kukkiwon International Taekwondo Headquarters here in Seoul.  He passed, and is certified.  It was quite a production.
Trist-man has been spared the hand foot and mouth thus far, and resists bedtime and naps as much as possible, but sometimes they get the better of him.  He was in this position for a good hour before relocating to the bottom stair - and yes that is a potty seat. 
  I procrastinate everything, including things I enjoy, such as sewing.  I've been slowly learning about quilting, and took part in helping to make a quilt of valor.  These are my first real quilt blocks, and my sole contribution to the quilt of valor.  I learned a tip that could save me much frustration in the future: you know how when starting to stitch with a machine, and the thread and fabric get pulled down into the feed dogs and you have to take it all apart and use the seam ripper, and then get so frustrated and lose interest in sewing... well, the tip is to hold on to the thread from the bobbin and the spool of thread.  Hold it from behind as you start to stitch, and that wretched scenario won't happen.  It worked almost every time as I made these six blocks.  There may yet be hope for me.

Stay tuned for much more