Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Garden of Morning Calm and other adventures

I've got Senioritis. It's official. And we still have three more weeks of school. So much to do before the year ends! In order to finish grading everything on time, I have to grade 7 articles per day, in addition to some of the regular grading--quizzes and such that inevitably come along. My goal was to get a few extra done on Saturday, so that I could relax a bit on Mother's Day, but it didn't happen. At least I met my quota. I'm keeping up.

Here it is May, and I'm finally posting the last day of my brother's trip. That either means that we had a great time and everything was picture worthy, or it means that I've been a really slow (bad) blogger. I think it's a combination of both.

And I announced that I'm pregnant, but I haven't given an update on that at all. I do plan to do that, too! Obviously, the first trimester was a tough one--the biggest reason why things were so quiet here, but thankfully it's over and the second trimester is living up to its reputation.

On the last day that we had off before Travis left, we decided to pack in a lot--probably too much--live and learn, right?

We started with a trip to iPark Mall. I was determined to finally pick up the tripod that I had been shopping for the past year. My brother is much too supportive of these things! Eric was not thrilled with the purchase and even less thrilled that I didn't buy the cheapest one available. He's still figuring out how much it has cost me per picture that I take using it.

After we picked out the tripod, we headed for some lunch. After some debate, we agreed on a Japanese restaurant. The kids had pork cutlet while the adults had stir fries and sushi. Sushi here always looks a bit different. For one reason or another, Koreans tend to serve it with a mayonnaise sauce on top. Yuck. Nonetheless, it works for me, and it's better than kimbap!

After lunch, we headed outside to the ice skating rink. Cade had been a bit bothered that he didn't get to go skating with us when we took Kennedy, so we had to take him. It was good for Kennedy to get some more practice again so soon, and Cade stuck it out for as long as he could, but I wouldn't say he loved it.

He had more success outside the rink...until he got a bloody nose, of course. Then it was time for us all to be done! Eric opted out of skating, so he took the pictures instead.

We still had big plans for afternoon and evening!

Last fall, our friends went to the Garden of Morning Calm and had great things to say about it. I'm not sure how, but I discovered that in the winter, the Garden is covered in lights and is quite the attraction after dark. So, we hopped in the car and headed out of town.

I think the drive is supposed to take about an hour--maybe an hour and a half. But, of course, we got lost. And ended up in the middle of nowhere on snowy roads. At one point, we finally stopped and Eric discovered that I hadn't used the correct address for our destination. I'd gotten the address from the tourism website, rather than the website for the Garden itself. Before long, we were on the right track again.

We finally made it--well after dark, which isn't exactly what I had planned, since it was the night before we went back to school. And we'd made it, but somehow we'd lost hats and gloves in the process and it was frigid, so the first stop was the gift shop.

Trav picked up hats, gloves, and hand warmers while Eric got tickets and we were off into the winter wonderland. It was a bit overwhelming at first, and being a novice with the tripod, I didn't have a lot of confidence pulling it out and getting in everyone's way like the hundreds of Koreans around me, but I did it, and was even somewhat successful.

We really didn't spend too much time traipsing around the gardens, considering how long the drive was, but it was worth it (to me), anyway. Before long, we felt that we'd seen all of the lights and it was time to hit the road. We had to get up early the next day. So, we headed back to the car, hoping to find some dinner as we drove back to the highway.

As it turned out, most of the restaurants were already closed by that time on a wintery Sunday evening. We ended up stopping at the first 7-11 we found on the road, hoping that they might have something real to eat and praying that if we fed the kids early in the ride, they would fall asleep before too long on the road. Neither plan worked out perfectly. We ended up getting something into our stomachs--Pringles, popcorn and Ritz crackers, as I recall--and the kids eventually fell asleep, but not quite the ending I had hoped for!

We actually took Lindy here last week, so eventually I'll get around to posting some pictures of what it looks like during the daylight hours in the spring, but it was another adventure, I can promise you!

Happy Mother's Day! I hope that you all have a wonderful day with your families! We had a nice, relaxing day, and I felt very loved and appreciated by my family today. Now, I'm ready for bed!

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