Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday Stroll

We had another lazy (and rainy) Saturday around here. We spent the majority of the day relaxing at home, simply enjoying the fact that we didn't have any sports commitments (or any commitments at all!). Then, after the kids' naps, we took a short bus ride to a museum that Eric and the kids had discovered several weeks ago while I was at soccer. The museum itself isn't too terribly exciting because most of the information is in Korean or Chinese with a few stories here and there told in English, but we did enjoy a nice walk in the fall trees around the museum and Namsan Library. I love all the fall colors! Don't miss the one at the bottom...a rare picture of all four of us!
waiting for the bus in front of Namsan Park

a statue of the man that the museum is in honor of

puddle stomping outside the museum

yet another view of Seoul Tower...I'm sorry I'm a little addicted

it almost looks like it could be the States...

...until you see another Korean in bronze

this was the first time I'd used the self-timer on my camera...I propped it on a rock, set the timer, and somehow we all managed to look at the camera when it went off!

Another Day of Firsts

I know we've been here over 3 months, and yet, today was yet another day of firsts...

For the first time, today we baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies...the kids were so excited! (And yes, that is all there is to the measuring softened butter now that we've bought sticks from Costco, no hours of stirring with a spoon now that we have a hand even worked with the transformer. It was a huge, simple success!)
somebody had to clean the beaters!
For the first time, today we had our groceries was so nice since I'd purchased a few heavy items and didn't want to have to lug them up the hill (you get free delivery if you spend more than 30,000 Won and normally I don't)!
he did need help figuring out which buttons to press, but he's got it down now!
For the first time, today Eric did a load of laundry...he must have been highly motivated for some particular clothing to finally do some laundry on his own!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Harvest Party

Halloween is not a holiday celebrated here in Korea (except at Everland apparently...kind of weird that it had pumpkins everywhere at the beginning of September, but they have been no where to be seen outside of Everland). It is not a holiday recognized at our Christian school, either. So, our kids celebrated by going to the Harvest Party at the international play group.
a very "international" group
They "dressed up" (my brother put it in quotes) in what we could find around the house...which means we had to use the few extraneous things we'd thrown into the suitcases last summer. There is not exactly a Value Village on every corner here (though there is a thrift store on base--it's only open on days that I work, and of course I don't have base privileges anyway)!
They start by reading some books and singing some songs...

Cade is carrying his big pumpkin!

Then they have snack time, followed by pretending to be animals.

Kennedy hopping like a bunny!

Cade is intrigued but hasn't decided if he wants to join in yet.

he decided to join in when they started acting like tigers

but he really got excited about being an alligator...

Gretchen, one of the YISS Moms, does a great job...the kids love it!

Cade makes a good elephant!

Monday, October 24, 2011

NOT me!

Welcome to my first NOT me of the blogs I've been checking out lately is MckMama. She takes great pictures, has funny stories about raising and homeschooling her kids, has an AMAZING story about her miracle baby, Stellan, and hosts "NOT me Monday." Check her out if you're interested.

First of all, I would NOT be writing this post as a way to put off putting up the bulletin boards outside the Teacher's Lounge at school because my feet hurt too much to stand on a chair in the hall in front of everyone.
I did NOT rip a hole in one of the 3 pairs of brand new black tights I brought with me for this year while putting them on this morning (and I did NOT only bring 3 pairs of black tights to last me a year...ugh). I did NOT have a fit when I discovered said hole. I did NOT wear the tights to school this morning thinking maybe I could get away with it. And I did NOT notice the glances I got from the other women on the bus who saw the hole in my tights. I also did NOT change my tights in my office (no, I really did NOT do this!). 
And, speaking of feet, I would NOT be wearing boots that are two different sizes, resulting in those sore feet. Because I did NOT buy my boots at Value Village last spring without trying on both boots. I did NOT put those boots into my suitcase and then travel across the world with them having NOT checked to see that both boots are the same size. That's right, NOT me! And I most certainly did NOT use a marker to color the white string black where the boot that is too small stretched and ripped a bit right on the top.
You can NOT tell, right?
What did you NOT do today?

Birthday Week

my little CadeMan...just up from his nap
I feel like I should update you on the status of my disenchanting birthday. To start, we actually had cake and celebrated my birthday with our newbie group on Wednesday night before my actual birthday, so that was my first celebration. I already told you how my real birthday went, so we won't cover that again. 
Charissa stealing our kids
Our Friday went really well (mostly because I did not have unrealistic expectations!), and then on Friday evening we had Fun Fest at school. Each classroom (or homeroom in the middle school) set up a booth with games and activities for the kids. Then you bought tickets and paid a ticket for each game. The kids loved hanging out with their little friends, their big friends (our students), and their adult friends (the single girls had much more fun playing the games with our kids than playing them on their own!). They set up food booths, too. So Eric and the kids got to have grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, and I got to have Indian food. At the end of the evening, one of the high school girls took the kids to get s'mores and hot chocolate, so Cade was literally running from one end of the soccer field to the other burning off all of the sugar! Then the kids got to pick out books (in English!) at the school book fair. They had a great evening!
the kids fishing at Fun Fest
Saturday, Eric had cross country, so by the time we were ready to leave after the kids' naps to go out and find my birthday gift, the kids' moods were not up for an adventure. Eric decided just to take them on a walk while I cooked dinner. The upside was they managed to find a hand mixer for me not too far from our house (and he was able to talk the guy down since it had been on the shelf since 1985). The downside is, it is an American mixer with an American plug. But I'm sure that even with the transformer, it will have more power than my hand with a spoon, though!
Esther, Miranda, and Charissa...yes, Miranda always looks like that! :)
On Sunday evening, while Eric and Cade went to the basketball birthday party for one of our neighbors, I decided to take Kennedy out on the trip to Myeongdong that I had been attempting to make for the past couple of days. I was finally able to find my own birthday present, and she enjoyed walking through the streets of crazy town looking at all of the people and things for sale. We had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (not exactly the same as the States, but pretty good nonetheless), dessert at Paris Baguette, and a successful bus ride to and from Myeongdong. It was a great ending to what I turned into my "birthday week"!

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Birthday

I really don't want to write this post because I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, but I figure that I should be honest about my first "I don't like Korea" day. I try to really focus on why I'm having a bad day when I have one in order to determine whether or not the cause is something that is Korea-specific or whether it could happen in the States, too. Most of the time, the cause is not Korea-specific. When I was reading in preparation for our move, I often read found ideas about the fact that regardless of what country you live in, you are still going to be you. You are not suddenly going to have more patience or understanding just because you move to a new place. While I had no doubt that it would be true, I can verify that it is certainly the case. I am me just in a different environment, so the stressors that I had in the States have not disappeared. Therefore, most of my bad days are not related to the country I live in.
So, while I say that my birthday was one of my first true "I don't like Korea" days, it was not entirely Korea's fault. My biggest problem was that I tried to take on too much. My second biggest problem was that I thought that my young children would understand it was my birthday and not expect me to wait on them hand and foot. That was simply absurd--I'm not sure where that idea came from!
We did enjoy our new train experience--KoRail on the last leg of our trip is above ground.
Early in the week, a co-worker had told me where I could find a hand mixer. Now that I have my handy Seoul travel app, I feel like I can find anything, so I decided that would be our trip for my birthday. It was our first trip on the subway with two transfers. That part wasn't actually too difficult. We're finally starting to get it. The hard part came when we arrived at the station. My friend had told me the mixers were at Lotte Mart at Yongsan Station. Now, if you've never lived in a big city, you would assume that the store was near the station, not actually at the station. Apparently, I've already been living in a big city long enough to think that when you say "at" Yongsan Station, that's actually where it is. You may have guessed by now that Lotte Mart was not "at" Yongsan Station. As a matter of fact E-Mart and iPark Mall are at Yongsan Station. And they are EXACTLY the same as the E-Mart and iPark that we can take a 15 minute bus ride to. I think that may have been the most frustrating part! Lotte Mart is only a short bus ride away from Yongsan Station (according to my phone), but needless to say, we had done enough traveling to get as far as we were. So, the kids and I wandered around iPark for a little while and checked the E-Mart just to make sure that my friend hadn't mis-spoken. They did not have any hand mixers. So, we got a package of diapers and had some lunch at KFC (KFC Korea is NOT KFC America. This is really a post in and of itself, so suffice it to say that Cade was the only one who ate lunch.) I got Starbucks, and we headed down to the train station. 
Things had started downhill at lunch when Kennedy wouldn't eat anything, and they continued downhill as it was now nap time and we were still four train rides, a bus ride, and a ten minute walk from home. We were ALL ready for a nap by the time we got home!
That evening Eric did his best to make up for my tough day by going to down and getting dinner from a restaurant we hadn't tried yet after the kids went to bed. He even remembered to get me flowers from the place that I'd been pointing out to him since we got here.
Hopefully it's evident that most of the time I don't think this way, but sometimes I think it's good to vent all of the true frustrations of living in a new country...if I'd had a car, it may not have taken us nearly an hour to get to Yongsan Station...if I knew where I was and where I was going, I would have found Lotte Mart...if I was in the US chicken nuggets at KFC wouldn't be so spicy that Kennedy wouldn't eat them. But if I was in the US, I wouldn't be where God wants me, so I still wouldn't be happy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's new with you?

Maybe it's because my birthday is this week. Or maybe it's because so many women asked me this morning, "What's new with you?". Regardless of the reason, this time I decided to sit down and reveal what is going on with me.
I may have mentioned that two of the teachers in the middle school are pregnant. One of them is actually my job share partner. She didn't know when she decided to take the job, of course, but she was really quiet about it this summer at the beginning of school, and I kind of felt like I was the last to know (I wasn't, but it felt like it). More importantly, though, the 7th grade writing teacher is also pregnant and due in February. Their maternity leaves overlap quite a bit (and it's only 6 weeks long), but I am now officially working full time from about the middle of February to the middle of April. I'm excited because it will get me back into the classroom and give me an idea of what full time will feel like around here, but I'm also a little anxious about it. That's a lot of time our kids will spend with their nanny. 
Our headmaster asked me last week in the hallway what my plans are for next year. Basically, he wanted to know whether or not I want to work full time. And, while it will be easier with Kennedy in school next year, I don't know if I want to do that Cade yet. He told me to think about it, and I am.
In addition, this was the first week of my Immersion Indonesia Monday meetings. I signed up to go on the middle school mission trip to Indonesia during Spring Break this year. I'm really excited about it. It's kind of a beginner trip...helping the kids see what a mission trip is and what their part is. It means giving up my whole Spring Break (which I'm sure I will need since I'll be working full time during that period), it's not cheap, and it means giving up my Monday afternoons for the next 6 months for meetings, but I think it's going to be great! I'm excited to get to know the kids in a different way and to see them grow spiritually. 
Right now I am working on my Christian Philosophy of Education in order to be certified by the Association of Christian Schools International. It means reading 6 books (3 of which are essentially textbooks), and writing a paper, but my goal is to have it done by the time I have to start working full time, so that I don't have it hanging over my head.
Lastly, I am working on applying to grad school so that I can get my master's degree online while we're here. Many of you know that YISS is willing to help us pay for a big chunk of our degrees, so we feel like it's an opportunity we have to take advantage of. Since school started, I have been trying to narrow my choices for what I want to do, and this week I was finally able to get answers from OSPI about what schools and programs will work for us while overseas. It has been a headache, but I feel like I'm finally making progress!
I know it doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it's keeping me busy! So, what's new with you?!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lazy Saturday

This past Saturday was our first Saturday together as a family with no big plans in a long time. Soccer is officially done for me (there is still an All-Star game, and while I volunteered to go, there is no real need for me to be there). This Saturday was Eric's first cross country meet, but since he's still getting over the pneumonia, he decided it would be best if he skipped out on it. I couldn't help but agree.
the tower
I still had big plans for the day--there is just so much to do and see here that I feel like we can't waste a Saturday--but things started off slowly. By the time we were finally ready to leave the house, the clouds had started to roll in. It was lunch time and Cade needed a nap, having skipped his the day before, so we decided to push our outing to the late afternoon. By the time Cade was asleep, the thunder and lightning had begun and the rain was coming down in torrents. We decided it was all for the best that my original plans hadn't worked out, and we sat down, cuddled up, and watched the storm. A great, lazy Saturday here in Seoul.

the jungle

Sunday, October 16, 2011

NICS Fall Gathering

Friday was our first official professional development day. We all know what a joy those can be, but this one was different than any we had ever experienced. 
First of all, it was combined with our NICS Fall Gathering which means that the two other NICS schools here in Korea came to our campus to give us an opportunity to get to know each other and network. We had a huge home-cooked breakfast that I had been helping to prepare the last couple of weeks in the middle school cooking class (days when I don't have someone to cover for, I can go help in any class, and this is one of my favorites!). The food was great, but I'll admit, there wasn't too much mingling with staff from other schools from what I could see.
This event includes families, so they provided childcare for the kids all day which is unique. We started the day off with prayer and worship and reports on the different schools. Then the non-working moms got to take off and go have coffee while the rest of us sat through meetings. The school brought in a speaker to talk to us about aligning standards, curriculum, and assessment. And, honestly, that was pretty similar to the PD you'd get in the States. We took the kids out to lunch with us with a big group to one of our new favorite restaurants, Petra Palace, which has Turkish food. Then headed back for another hour of work before ending the day early. They arranged for an earlier than normal release because they organized different outings and games afterward. We'd planned on going to Insa-dong, but Eric was too tired by the end of the afternoon. All in all, it was a good non-student day.

Friday, October 14, 2011

From the Blogger

As you may have noticed if you've been reading this blog since the beginning, I really enjoy this outlet as a way to think through the new things that are in our lives. Of course, my main goal when I began was to find a way to communicate everything that was/is going on with our friends and family. Then I discovered how therapeutic it is to be able to write out my thoughts and feelings! And now I am truly addicted.
I don't know how many people read it on a regular basis, I don't have many official "followers", nor do I get many comments, but I continue to write for me. I don't really have time to track the stats, but in the last week I have had readers from the following countries: United States, South Korea, Malaysia, Argentina, Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Ukraine and the Philippines. That is crazy! Most of the time, the google search key words that lead to the blog are some combination of the words "Stanwood" and "Seoul". But today when I checked, one of the searches was for "how to get to kims club seoul". That reader probably won't be back because she didn't find what she was looking for, but I thought it was entertaining!
Hopefully you've noticed that one thing I'm working on is adding more pictures to the blog and improving the ones that are there. We bought a new camera right before we left, and I am slowly learning how to use it. I have spent a lot of time looking for information on the web about how to improve my photography skills, how to use Photoshop and Lightroom, and how to use my camera. In the process, I have discovered an entire world of blogging, photographing, cooking, and homeschooling moms around the world that I have a lot in common with. It is really very interesting. At this point, I don't have links to many of their blogs, but don't be surprised when they show up! I really don't have a lot of time to read them, but when I'm stressed with the kids, it's nice to be able to sit down and read that someone else is too!
I will mention that the only problem with the blog is that it is a one-way street. The only way I know whether or not anyone is looking at it is by tracking the stats or through the periodic emails we get from family. So, please, leave a comment or send an email so that we know you're still out there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things are Looking Up!

Just to give you an update after our rough week last week...Eric went to the doctor yesterday where they did his second x-ray. The doctor confirmed the pneumonia, but said things still looked strange in there (his chest), so she scheduled a CT scan for this morning. She only gave him two pills to treat the pneumonia so that he would have to come back! When he asked why he needed a CT scan, she said that she worried he may have TB! Oh brother! He told them he'd been vaccinated for TB. They asked when he was last checked. He told them, "in July when I got here!" They said they just wanted to check to make sure. Needless to say, he does not have TB. He does have a pretty severe case of pneumonia. There's a large pocket on his left lung and a small one on his right lung. He gets to go back again in a week to check his status. He's not too pleased about it. Anyway, his cough is improving slightly. He still can't breathe deeply and gets winded when he walks a lot, but we are sleeping slightly more. 
The kids' colds haven't gotten too bad. They still have stuffy noses, but not awful. Honestly, it's just really nice to have Cade at an age where he doesn't scream and run the other direction when I want to wipe his nose. He finally understands the benefit of blowing his nose!
In addition, yesterday we had a meeting with our HR director, and while the situation with our nanny is not the best it could possibly be, I think it's livable. Sorry I can't publicly post the details of the situation, but just know it added a lot of stress to an already stressful week.
Last night, one of the couples that lives in our apartment complex took us out to dinner at a really nice Italian restaurant. They had their teenage daughters watch the kids and make them dinner, too! They knew we'd been stressed and it was great to have a night to relax and talk with adults...on a Monday, no less! So, I'm happy to report that things are looking up!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Learning to Cook (Everything) from Scratch

I have to admit. I am quite proud of myself! I have been looking up how to make all kinds of things from scratch because I can't find them here. For instance, did you know that vanilla extract is really easy to make at home? Google it. You will find that pure vanilla extract can be made with unflavored vodka and a vanilla bean. Awesome! and cheap! Plus, you'll never run out again! Every time the bottle gets low, you just refill the vodka and let it sit. Now I just have to find vanilla beans, but I've heard it can be done, even here in Seoul...
The Italian Dish
One of the other moms here says that she makes homemade ricotta cheese all the time. I haven't gotten brave enough to do that (though I probably will when I get desperate), but I did make refried black beans from scratch last week. I got brave one day and purchased my dried black beans from the back of a truck down the street from us. Then I soaked them over night, and mashed them (with a fork!) in some oil and sauteed garlic and onion. They definitely did not look like the kind of refried beans you get from a can--and therefore my children did not eat their burritos--but the flavor was really good and I enjoyed them. Unfortunately, this was also the night that Eric came home so sick (wish I'd known...I definitely would have saved it for a different night!), so I was the only one who ate my dinner. But, I still have two bags of soaked beans in the freezer ready to be re-fried. Also, I was able to make two or three more burritos with the beans I did cook and put them in the freezer for a night we needed a quick dinner, so Eric was able to enjoy them another night even though his appetite isn't up to par yet. For the recipe, go to Great Refried Beans
Simply Recipes
The other food I'm really excited about is popcorn! Honestly, I wasn't sure I would be eating any popcorn here in Korea. For those of you that really know me, you know that is a huge problem! But, on that first Costco trip, I did see the big box of microwave popcorn. So, I knew that when I was desperate, I'd be able to get my fix. Thankfully, though, I didn't buy it. I saw popcorn kernels in the international section of one of the local grocery stores, so instead, I googled stovetop popcorn and found a great recipe.  Now, I am enjoying delicious popcorn, and if Eric is really lucky, I may even get rid of the hot air popper when we get back to the States!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Looking at the Bright Side

In an effort to look at the bright side of things, I thought I would write about the one positive aspect of Eric being sick. Last month when I was sick and spent one whole day in bed, Eric finally decided that he would loosen the purse strings and buy the pad for the mattress that we'd been needing. (The mattresses here are really hard. If I had all the money in the world, I would ship our bed from the States to Korea. It would take up our entire bedroom, though!) Now that he is sick, he decided that it was time for us to get a quilt for our bed. It was just in time, too. I had spent a couple of nights sleeping in sweats and a sweatshirt with just our sheet, but it is really starting to cool off at night now! So, here are a few pictures of the kids with our new quilts.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rough Week

We have been having a tough week! Eric came home sick last Friday with a fever over 100 F. He took some ibuprofen, went to bed, and woke up feeling fine (he said). Sunday morning he got up and got dressed for church and then decided to stay home. Here it is Thursday night: Eric is still coughing up a lung and Cade now has a cold and has had loads of snot dripping out of his nose all day. I think that Kennedy is the only one who has managed to sleep all night for the past week. Cade has gotten into a bad habit of waking up in the middle of the night and coming into our room, so that combined with Eric's coughing and snoring, have resulted in sleepless nights for us. We've been in bed by 8:00 every night, but I've been lucky to get 6 hours of sleep, and I know Eric has gotten much less. Eric finally went to the doctor yesterday where she told him that he had the flu but there's a chance he might have pneumonia. She prescribed Tamiflu and scheduled an appointment for Monday to take another x-ray of his lungs to find out if there's really a spot there. Either way, the meds he started this afternoon (he was finally willing to take half a day off), haven't started to make too much of a difference and it's going to be another long night!
To top it all off, we're having an issue with school and our nanny. Suffice it to say, we can use your prayers this week!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kim's Club

My latest adventure has been taking the trip to Kim's Club via bus. Last Thursday I had fully intended to do this. I knew I needed to pick up some things for Kennedy's party, and I thought that would be the best place to get everything in one stop. 
Several weeks ago, one of the "staff moms" (the term used for the stay-at-home moms whose husbands are employed at YISS) offered to take the kids and me to New Core Outlet where Kim's Club and Modern House are located. It was really nice because she has a car, so she was able to pick us up, show me the route, and then show us all around the shopping center. They have a play room in the complex (I never used these in the States--you know that little place at Fred Meyer where you can drop your kid while you shop?--but here, everyone uses them, and it's really nice for them to be able to play while I deal with the stress of over-crowded stores and getting run over by Koreans), so the kids played while we shopped. It was also awesome to have a car to bring all my loot home in (this was where I finally found baking sheets, cooling racks, and my strangely shaped cake pan)!
Anyway, on Thursday it was pouring down rain and I didn't have the motivation to walk the 1/2 mile to the bus stop, stand in the rain, and then carry our stuff home in the rain, so we wimped out and went on Friday. I was proud of myself because the trip involved getting on a bus we'd never gone on, with a specific destination in mind, hoping to actually accomplish something, with two kids in tow! That's a big goal for one day! 
We managed to get on the bus without any trouble and got off the bus one stop too early because I knew where I was (and I'm very afraid to ride too far and have to walk back--don't know why). We made it to Starbucks and then began our shopping. We managed to find nearly everything we needed (and would still be able to carry home), and so I rewarded the kids by taking them to McDonalds--this shopping center has everything--it's so nice! It was strange going into a McDonalds where the employees don't speak any English! (The employees at the one in Itaewon speak English pretty well.) While the kids were eating, I thought I would look at my receipt because I was really surprised that I had spent 300,000 Won (about $300). I had picked up a lot of little things, so I thought it was possible, but unlikely. I still can only read about 1/2 of the Korean alphabet, and once I've read the letters, I still have to try to decipher the meaning, but this time I was lucky. It turned out that one item had rung up for 198,000 W. I knew that I either bought something that I didn't want if it was that much or there had been a mistake. So, I got to go to the information counter at Kim's Club and try to explain to the Korean saleswoman that I didn't want this $200 item. Fun time! After about 20 minutes, I got my refund and it turned out that she had charged me that much for a package of about 10 party napkins. Ugh!
I felt like the trip had been a success, though. A new bus. A new experience. We even managed to get home in time for Cade's nap, so that I could spend the afternoon and evening preparing food for Kennedy's party. Another day down for the Carlsons. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kennedy turns 5!

Kennedy & Jade watching soccer
Kennedy turned 5 this weekend, and while there were many, many things different about her birthday this year, I think she still was able to have a great time! Eric and I really struggled coming up with something that we could that would be fun for her and feel like "home", but that wasn't too stressful for us. It was tough, I'll admit. 
Last weekend, he spent Saturday scoping out a place he'd heard would be great for Kennedy's party (you already know about my reluctance to host people at our humble abode). He found it, chatted with them about prices and options, and booked a reservation for her birthday at 1:00. Feeling very proud of himself, he told me all about it when I got home from soccer that evening. I told him that sounded great, but since the party was at 1:00, I would be at soccer again, and so he would be in charge of the whole thing. I had never seen the place (and it sounded really expensive to me), so I figured he would okay taking charge. Not so. He quickly reminded me that birthday parties are my thing, and that he would play no part in the hosting. He'd taken responsibility for the legwork.
the girls singing Happy Birthday
Needless to say, I wasn't feeling like this was going to work out. I can't plan something that I know nothing about and that I won't be present for, and since he was not willing to be responsible for it either, we had to change plans (quickly at this point!). He was more than willing to relinquish the whole thing, and so we ended up with the traditional party at home.
He had planned to take just our kids to the play place for her birthday during the day while I was at soccer, but he came home with a really high fever Friday afternoon from school. So, instead I thought I would lighten his load on Saturday and take Kennedy with me to my soccer jamboree. One of her good friends was planning to come because her older sister is on my team, so there was another set of parents to help me keep an eye on her, thankfully. Thirty middle school girls and a five year old is a lot of kids to be responsible for! Kennedy had a great time playing with Jade and hanging out with me and the girls. She even got to Skype with Eric's mom and brother from the field.
the cake was delicious!
her new baby carrier
We made it home by 4:00, so we had about an hour to shower and get ready for her guests. We had a small group over since we have a small apartment (and very few plates and glasses!). We ended up with a total of six kids and six adults which was perfect for our place. Eric made a little iPhone scavenger hunt around our apartment complex to get the kids outside for a bit (he took pictures with the phones of things to find, then we had to take pictures of the kids with each item that we had to find). Then we fed the kids pizza and the adults made sushi for dinner. (I know you're shocked. We never do sushi!) It felt like a true Butler party because I even made Top Ramen Salad. Kennedy got some great gifts (nearly all accessories for "Baby Jane"), and she really enjoyed the chocolate cake we got at Paris Baguette that she has had her eye on since our arrival here in Seoul!
Scavenger hunt
I know that she missed her family and friends back home. And I felt really bad when Eric felt he needed to prepare her for the fact that no one would be spending the night, but she just said, "Of course not, Dad. We don't have a futon downstairs for anyone to sleep on." Sometimes she's just so matter of fact. I do love that little girl!

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