Monday, August 27, 2012

Our latest...typhoons in SK

Update: As of 7:00pm this evening, we have spent our day inside watching the wind and some rain. Thankfully, it has been pretty uneventful. Anti-climactic really. The wind is still blowing, but I believe Bolaven has passed and the weather should be calmer when we get up in the morning. Timben (the other, much smaller typhoon) is expected to pass by on Thursday, but it does appear that we should make it through the week unscathed!

Update: As of 11:00am, we have witnessed some wind and some light rain. Nothing too exciting yet. Bolaven passed by Jeju Island this morning and 50,000 are without power now. It is supposed to pass by Seoul this afternoon before it makes landfall in the southwest corner of North Korea. We wait!

Monday, August 27th:
In an effort to keep our family informed, I feel I should mention that Typhoon Bolaven is on its way to the coast of Korea. As of right now, the weather is still pretty calm. A balmy (and humid) 90 degrees F at nearly 7:00 in the evening. I can see a few rustling branches, but nothing that indicates a storm on the way. I went out to take a few pictures of this flower outside our building this evening (same spot, different light). The calm before the storm.

For those of you that don't know, a typhoon is the same as a hurricane. The only difference is the location of the storm--hurricanes exist east of the international dateline and typhoons exist west of the dateline.

A large typhoon has not hit Seoul in two years--last year when we arrived, crews were just finishing repairs to one of the fences at school that had been damaged by a typhoon. Tomorrow, we will experience our first "typhoon day"--no school for us--or any of the other schools around.
But we're all set. We have more than enough food and water. We've got candles and a flashlight. We live on the first floor, so we're not too worried about our windows. We've got our day off tomorrow, so now we're just praying that the damage is minimal and that everyone stays safe. If internet and power stay intact, I'll post an update tomorrow. We appreciate your prayers!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Week 34: Heat

Well, I, uh...kind of didn't get around to actually taking a picture with of the prompt this week. It was a busy spite of the fact that I only had to work two days. I'm not sure how that happens every week. Anyway. Here is week 34 of 52.

Day 228: Eric reading the kids a book after school on Friday afternoon.

Day 229:  On Saturday, we went to pick up a few things for the house at the local used furniture store. They had a piano that Eric thought was a great deal, so he jumped on it!

Day 230: Eric and I have been watching 24. We don't have a tv, so we watch on the laptop in bed.

Day 231: Forgot to take a picture again. Here's the water bottle I've been carrying with me to keep cool!

Day 232: Continuing my iced coffee ice cubes prevent it from getting watered down.

Day 233: Lots of rain today. It cooled off enough that I could wear jeans for the first time since we got back and my rain boots.

Day 234: Nothing goes to waste here. Sticks are used to lead the drain water into watering cans for the gardens around our apartment complex.

I feel like I had a lame week of photos. I really need to start picking up a real camera a little more often! I do really like the picture of Eric's hand over Kennedy's for her first piano lesson, though.

To see others' photo projects, check out the links:
P52 with Kent Weakley

Monday, August 20, 2012

Spring at Namsan Park

I still have stories to tell from our trip to the States this summer, but at this point, I have so many pictures to edit that I'm kind of at a stand still. I've got work to do for school, work to do at home, a book to read for book club, and so photo editing has taken a back seat.

Plus, I still have pictures and posts from last school year that are just sitting here. Waiting for me to publish them. It was so pretty here last spring that I can't just ignore them all year!

So one afternoon last spring, Eric and I got out of school a little early because we'd had professional development. We took the kids up to the park when we got home from school.

There was so much green!!

It was warm, but not as warm as it is now. We stopped for water and the kids found these hula hoops.

One thing I am not missing right now is the haze that was here for much of the spring. Yuck.

Our neighbors had told us to go to this little cafe that's up in the park because they have this beautiful grass that the kids can run around in.

Wouldn't you just know it? They had recently re-seeded or something and weren't allowing people to walk on the grass.

The drinks were still good, but they were pretty expensive for also having to try to keep Cade of the very tempting grass!

I was excited to find some tulips, though--a little piece of home!

The light and the flowers were beautiful! Right now it's 85 degrees and pouring down rain. I'm looking forward to cooler weather and beautiful leaves this fall!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Iced Coffee & Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Alright. It's hot here. And I have been guilty of reverting back to my convenient instant coffee packets. Because they're easy to turn into iced coffee. But, I've been embarrassed about it too many times lately. People at school keep asking me how I make it. And I tell them the truth, but I hate to do it. So, it was time for a change. To be fair, I'd been planning to do this for a while now, I just haven't had the time!

So, the other day, Cade and I walked into town. We got my coffee beans ground at Starbucks, I got the french press back out. And I got to work on my homemade iced coffee. I brewed it double strength with hot water, so that I could add cold water to it to cool it off. Then I filled my cup with ice cubes and added the...errr...lukewarm coffee.

Then came the fun part...I made my own vanilla coffee creamer! I got the recipe from Pinterest, of course, but you can find it right here. It's basically equal parts milk and sweetened condensed milk and then vanilla extract or vanilla syrup to taste. I mixed mine in a leftover pasta sauce jar, and I didn't make her full recipe because I'm not home to make my coffee every day, and I didn't want it to go bad (it's only good as long as your milk is good).

With the remaining coffee, I filled my ice cube trays, so that tomorrow I will coffee cubes. That should prevent it from getting too watered down as it warms up. I also decided to make another pot of coffee to keep cold in the refrigerator just to have on hand. I am SO excited about this! The best part is that I can keep my jar of creamer in the 'fridge at school and no one will ever touch it. Who wants alfredo sauce in their coffee?!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Week 33: Ice

I've kept you up to date this week, so there isn't much to say at this point. School started. Kennedy had her first day of school ever. We are all adjusting slowly, but it was a good week!

Day 221: The kids listening to a story at Kennedy's Kindergarten orientation.

Day 222: We went to school on Saturday, too, because I had some furniture delivered to my room Friday night that I didn't have time to take care of. A week ago, they had just begun construction on the front of the building. They are moving quickly!

Day 223: Kennedy's Kindergarten photo shoot. Best laid plans. It ended up raining the whole time, so we had to be creative.

Day 224: Walking home from dinner on the first day of school. Spontaneous hand holding is my fave!

Day 225: A long day at school. I remembered to take a picture right before I got in bed--Kennedy's new school shoes.

Day 226: Liberation Day in Korea, so we got the day off from school. It rained ALL DAY LONG! The kids enjoyed watching it!

Day 227: I've been working on perfecting my homemade iced coffee. Yum!

My favorite picture of this week was the one of the kids during Kennedy's little shoot. It encapsulates their personalities so well!

To see others' photo projects, check out the links:
P52 with Kent Weakley

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Backyard Play

Believe it or not, we did have a few relaxing days in the States this past summer.

We spent one afternoon just catching up with family and playing some games in the backyard.

A little golf, a little baseball, a little croquet.

Considering how hot it has been since we arrived here in Seoul, it's hard for me to imagine being able to just relax outside in comfortable weather!

These are things that we miss when we're here in the city trying to golf in the living room of our apartment, or fighting the Korean kids for use of the dirt field in our complex.

Grass. We miss you so.

Family. We miss you too.

And then there was one...

Today is my first day home with just one. All day. My first thought this morning was that I can't believe how long it has been since Cade and I were hanging out, just the two of us, while Kennedy was in preschool. My second thought was Wow! this is going to be different!

First of all, when Kennedy was in preschool in the States, my schedule was...err...a little erratic, I guess. Some days I would drop him off at daycare at the same time I dropped her off and go to work. Some days we would drop her off and then do some shopping: Starbucks, Target, Costco. My favorite places to spend money! Some days, he and I would meet someone for breakfast before we picked her up. One of my favorite memories is one morning when we had an impromptu breakfast with my dad and my brother. None of those things are going to happen this year!

But, we're still having fun! This morning we laid in bed and read one book after another for nearly an hour before we got up to have breakfast. Nothing like a lazy morning!

 Then we made a race track out of masking tape on his bedroom floor.

I even took him out to lunch at his favorite restaurant as a special treat (Kennedy has gotten a lot of special treats this week!).

Then I pulled a little "suzy homemaker" that you'll hear about soon. And now, he's playing quietly in his room while I should be working. But I'm blogging. I've got lessons to plan and quizzes to write, so I'd better get back to work!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mariners Game & Gasworks Park

We stayed busy while we were housesitting. The day after Deception Pass, we went to a Mariners game and then to Gasworks Park in West Seattle. To be honest, there isn't much to say about this particular day. The weather was pretty nice. The Mariners lost. We tried to make the most of the day by going to the park as long as we were down in Seattle. We did kind of did a mini family photo shoot (of ourselves!). We were all tired by the end of the day!

Since I don't have much to say about this day in June, I'll tell you about our day yesterday here in Seoul. In August.

Today is Liberation Day in Korea--the day they celebrate their independence from Japan. So, we have the day off.

Remember our experience on Liberation Day last year? Well, we've been a little less adventurous this year. Today we're sitting at home, relaxing, and watching the rain POUR! It's the middle of the day, and it's dark right now!

Last night, however, Eric and I were determined to go out for our anniversary. We were all exhausted after the first full day of school, but we have the day off today, so we knew we could sleep in and have the day off to recover, if necessary!

Eric had already arranged to have a couple of the neighborhood teens come over and watch the kids. It was really sweet to see Kennedy and Cade watching the group traipsing across the parking lot to our apartment.

We had a 9th grade girl, an 8th grade girl, a 7th grade boy, and a 5th grade boy come over to hang out. They had plans to have a "Cars" themed evening, and they were all excited to get started!

Eric and I then took off and headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant. It is quite a trek to get there, so we've only been there twice before.

It takes almost an hour to get there via subway with two transfers, and it's a pretty busy area, so we try to avoid taking the kids. We thought it this would be a good opportunity to go.

We had a pretty easy trip there. It was a relatively cool evening (about 88F), and we had lots of opportunity to talk about the start of our school year.

We also had a nice dinner. By the time we were done, though, it was already past the time we had told the girls we would be back. Whoops!

So, we decided we would grab a taxi on the way home, since (in theory) it should be faster than the subway.

When we left the restaurant, we discovered that it was pouring down rain--gotta love monsoon season!

Now, you may not yet be aware, but the traffic in Seoul can become quite difficult. Especially when it's raining. And especially the night before a holiday. Thankfully, we had the combination.

It took us an hour to get from the restaurant to our door via taxi, as well. As you can imagine, it was not a cheap ride!!

We did have an interesting taxi driver, though. He knew enough English to be able to try to have a conversation with us, but we did not know enough Korean to understand much of what he was saying to us!

We made use of our translating apps to learn that he has a son and a daughter. We learned their ages and their professions, as well as where his brothers live in the States. He even shared their phone numbers with us!

He told Eric that he looked like a movie star, so I'm pretty sure they'll be best friends for life! It was the first time I've ever seen Eric tip a taxi driver--that guy sure had scored some points!

We finally made it home shortly after nine, and we were all exhausted!

Obviously, I didn't take any pictures of our adventures, but Eric was anxious to hear my version of the story. So, here's the story with a different set of pictures!

Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley
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