Friday, February 25, 2011

If it Looks Like a Fish

 We recently attended the 1st birthday party for our branch president's son, and it was in full Korean style.  Apparently back in the day there often wasn't a second birthday, so they made a point of going all out for the first, which is actually at 100 days (9 months gestation plus 100 days is a year, in Korean age).  So we were told to not just eat until we were full, but until we were "tired"; the tradition continues of going all out.  This guy was actually 12 months old.
 Hunter was sent a "flat Stanley" from a friend in the states, with which he was to take a picture of something Korean, so we all went on a walk the other day to see what we could see.
 A Korean college student in Itaewon (touristy shopping district within walking distance of us) came to my aid when my fingers were all sticky with the filling from some hoddeok.  He pulled out some kleenex then wanted to practice his English on us.  He took this picture of us, with my camera.  At one point during our excursion Kyler thought it would be a grand idea to run into the street as a motorcycle came racing by.  I don't know how he wasn't hit.  The driver freaked out and stopped to see if he was OK.  Hunter ran out in front of a car at night a while back, and Tristan did in the parking garage at church not too long ago, giving our branch president's wife a fright.  They must all have a mission in life, as they've survived thus far!  
 On the way home we got some cheap pizza, and tried out these fish-looking treats.  They are filled with a sweet red bean paste, and are tasty, and were only 1000 won for four of them (about a dollar).  Hunter was just sure there was fish in them, and thought the reddish filling was fish guts... 
 Next I decided to stop by the Paris Baguette Cafe (there's one on nearly every corner here) to get some of these cream horns or whatever they are called.  They are filled with cream and are to die for. 
 We recently checked out a new park, which had the biggest bench we've ever seen.  Soon after, Tristan decided to tumble into a frozen pond.  I couldn't get to him quickly enough, so he was soaked in the ice water from the waist down.  My friend and I stripped him and put him in a dry coat.  He didn't like that, but was fine otherwise.  I then had to get Kyler to preschool, then rush home to get Tristan a change of clothes, then rush back to the base to my OB appointment...  Tristan was asleep by then, and I hadn't yet dressed him, so I pushed him fast asleep in the stroller through the hospital with just a diaper and over-sized coat on.  He slept through the appointment...  When Kyler was about his age he went with us to visit the Oregon coast, and did the same thing on the beach, only a small wave went over all of him, so he was soaked from head to toe, in street clothes.

Dean's instructor gave him 36/36 on his paper that he turned in recently, and told the class how great it was and that she was going to submit it to be a finalist for the best paper overall.  There are something like 140 people in the course total, broken into smaller classes.  He was embarrassed by all the attention, but he really did work hard on it.  We're down to three weeks until he is home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Countdown

We're down to a month before Darling Husband returns.  He turned in a 10 page battle analysis this week as part of his coursework.  We worked on proof reading it together via skype.  He chose the ancient battle of Cannae between the Romans and the Carthiginian General Hannibal.  Interesting stuff, and apparently the military still applies principles learned from it today.  Hannibal was the victor with his barbarian army.  He has had to sit through a lot of boring days this week listening to people yak for hours at a time.  He says he'd go insane without his iphone to play games on.  He actually got a bit of a reprimand the other day from one of the instructors, another captain, who asked if his games were more important than what the retired general who was then speaking had to say.  Dean said "yes".  Oh, my.  I asked how he ever got through college.  Apparently it was by sitting in the back and listening to Rush Limbaugh on his headphones.  He graduated with honors in biochemistry (I couldn't have begun to do that), so I guess he managed just fine. 
I bought this little coat for $2 when Hunter was little, and now all three have used it.  I asked Kyler to take the ice scraper out to the van, and this is what he wore to do it.
Kyler has sure been flourishing in preschool, and now Taekwondo.  Every day he asks if he's going to school, then is excited if he is because he has Taekwondo right afterward, and loves it.  The other day I was late dropping him off for preschool and his teacher said his little table mates were waiting for him before they would begin their "work".  He has a gift for standing out and making friends where ever he goes.  He puts his Taekwondo uniform away every day in the same place, and doesn't have to be told to put it on or reminded of anything, then runs out the door to go to his class (very close to us in our housing village). 
That is such a stark contrast with Hunter, who is incapable, apparently, of putting anything away, or keeping track of anything, such as his cubscout uniform.  They are supposed to wear the uniform every week to scouts, which is right after school one day.  It boggles my mind how out-of-it he is.  It would most likely be a chore for me to have him in Taekwondo or anything else, because I would have to remind him, and help him find his uniform, and go through the colossal struggle of getting him out the door every time (which was the case when I did have him in a dance class at Camp Lejeune).  Once a day for school that whole ordeal is enough for me.  We've been telling him for years that if he would stop one bad habit (namely eating snot all day) we would LOVE to put him in whatever he wanted.  It hasn't worked at all.  Now I know for a fact that it has caught up with him, finally, at school.  I went to his class Valentine party the other day and some of the girls clearly shunned him and acted like he had given them the plague when he delivered his valentines to them.  I sure felt sorry for him, but it's up to him to stop his bad habit.  If anyone has a cure, PLEASE let me know. 

The boys love to sleep together.  Can you find all three in the toddler bed? Hunter (who can never find his pjs) is wearing Kyler's top and his skivvies.
 Dean really wants me to get Hunter into something extracurricular, and the Taekwondo is so convenient (at least for Kyler) that I want to, so I've finally said that if he could get his act together for one week, I'd put him in it.  It's been a month since Kyler started.  I hoped that would be a motivator for Hunter, but not so much.  He'd only have to get his homework done and signed off daily (a class requirement, which he rarely does), and keep up with his chores, and put his shoes on the shelf next to the front door - for a week.  That's all I ask, but there's no sign yet of any of it happening any time soon.  His teacher at school has said he has the classic absent-minded professor syndrome.  Her own son was apparently the same way, and was actually tested for special ed at school.  Then they figured out that he was gifted, and completely absent minded - just like Hunter.  Hunter is finally in the gifted program, so goes most of the day, one day per week.  He really enjoys it so far.

For Valentine's Day I made pink pancakes for breakfast, following in my mom's footsteps of using beets for the color.  I could hardly tell a difference in taste, but Hunter threw his up.  So much for that.  For the first time I gave them presents for the occasion as well.  Kyler got a package of Spiderman socks and I gave Hunter a new wallet, since he's lost every wallet (money included) he's ever had.  We'll see how long this one lasts.  Their grandma sent them each $20 for the holiday as well, so he took his to school and bought several books at the book fair.  He loves books!  Kyler has been a spend thrift of late, and wants to buy everything in sight whenever we go to the store.  I've stopped allowing him to buy candy, since he's not consistent in brushing his teeth, but I do allow him to buy sugarless gum.  He also wanted to buy some new underwear the other day - I forget who was on it, but Hunter wasted no time in wearing them since, of course, he can't ever find his own. 

Tristan is as cute and adorable as ever.  He is learning to say a few words, and understands what we say pretty well.  His only fault is that he is stingy with his kisses.  If I ever ask for a kiss he'll shake his head and turn away.  Only a couple of times has he given me one.  He doesn't mind receiving kisses, though.  He spends the day racing around the house seeing how much he can pillage and pull out of the cupboards and dishwasher, etc...  Oh, the joy!  This would be about five pounds of buckwheat flour.

 I am growing by leaps and bounds, and have started having braxton hicks contractions.  I am often light headed because I can't seem to drink enough, which probably explains the contractions.  I haven't been able to help myself and have been buying little girlie clothes and things as I see them on sale (75% off at the PX) or that other people are selling.  Dean's only comment was "and so it begins..." 

I was released from the nursery a few weeks ago (yay!!!), only to be called to be the first counselor in the primary.  I am already the only counselor in the district (stake) primary.  Ugh.  But it's been fine so far, just takes some juggling, and I'm able to apply lessons learned between the two callings.  I made my first district primary visit to the Osan Branch last week.  That was nerve wracking - driving somewhere out of Seoul without Dean especially, and dragging the kids along, not to mention that I hardly feel qualified.  But it went remarkably well, which is encouraging.   

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ball o' Baby

We attended the Christmas Ball for the 65th Medical Brigade, which encompasses Dean's unit.  As I was gravid (preggers), I had loads of trouble finding something to wear, and forget about finding a modest maternity formal.  Most ladies were in real ball gowns, but alas the one I bought mail order, hoping it would fit, didn't at all.  Nor did the dress I ordered from Motherhood Maternity (way too big).  So I was left with this dress that I got on ebay for cheap.  I hemmed the long sleeves and the skirt, which was a few inches longer than this.  Now I'm wondering what to do with the dresses that are still new with tags - maybe try to sell them on ebay?  It's too late to return them.
 These are the other captains with Dean.  Most vets coming out of school these days are women.  In his graduating class of 135 at Colorado State, 99 were women.  So it's no wonder that there are so many women vets in the army as well.  Dean felt awfully sheepish because he didn't know to wear a bow tie (there were nearly 900 people at the ball, and Dean was the only one in this kind of tie).  We still feel like newbies, and this was our first formal even in the military.
 Rachel and Spence were in attendance as well.
I had my hair done for it, which was a first for me.  The Korean lady who did it must have used half a can of aqua net.  It was like a helmet, but it stayed in place!

Half-way House

Yeah, that's what it feels like around here much of the time; I live with devious miscreants who always seem to be conspiring against me, or against my sanity at least.  We are nearly to the half-way point of Dean's current absence, so 5+ weeks to go.  He is kept busy with assignments at CCC.  I'm trying to keep busy at home. 
I was looking through the most recent pictures uploaded to the computer from our cameras, Dean's camera being his iphone.  There were scores of fuzzy, crappy pictures, taken of a box, or part of someone's head, etc., or this of my sexy army man.  It was pretty much the only salvageable picture of all that the little people had taken, even though it is fuzzy.  I am guessing they got hold of his iphone and snapped away.  I love seeing him in this much of his uniform - only around the house of course.  I am guessing he is peeling fruit for his lunch there.  He towers over me in his boots when I am barefoot, which I usually am around the house.  Tristan pushes the little yellow chair to the kitchen all the time to help himself to all the excitement he can find on the counter tops or the stove. 
I'm way behind blogging signs and sightings in Korea.  I saw this car recently while driving on the freeway.  It took several shots to get a decent one - I was driving after all. 

This would be a small apartment building.  I'm not sure what was intended with the name of it.
I went visiting teaching recently, which was most worrisome as trying to find anything around here for the first time is an enormous challenge for me.  But, we had good directions from our visitee and made it on time.  The boys immediately hunted for her poor cat, who spent the entire time hiding.  They couldn't resist the loft, and ran up and down the stairs quite a bit. 
Tristan is getting better at eating with a utensil, but we have a long way to go.  He isn't screaming quite as much lately, which is a blessed relief.
Hunter went to a birthday party a while back and this was his piece of cake, that the DAD made, our branch president no less.  He had no instructions or anything, just went to town with what he had and made a most amazing cake with a waterfall! 
I'm not sure what happened to Santa here in Hannam Village during the holidays.  His head was back on by the next day, fortunately.