Monday, June 16, 2014

Lindy's Visit

So, this year we had this genius idea to stick around Korea a bit longer after school got out. We knew there would be things to do to prepare for my transition into stay-at-home mom next year, and we knew that we didn't want to do the rush that we did last year--leaving for the airport just moments after we were allowed to leave the country. But, the past 10 days have drug on and on. Sure, I did have a lot to do, and no, I wasn't getting anything accomplished quickly, but 10 days was too long. Even if I have read an entire book (that in no way related to school) for the first time in a year. 

Oh well. We've now experimented with leaving about four days after we got out of school (felt too late at the time), leaving on the last day of school (felt way too rushed), and leaving 10 days after school got out (felt like about a month!). Who knows what we'll do next year?

We are staying an extra 10 days later in the summer, since I don't have to go back to school in the fall. It has always been important to me to back in time to recoup from jet lag and spend some time working to prepare for the year before we're actually required to be back. Eric isn't as concerned about it, and since we still arrive about 10 days before the kids start school, we should be able to adjust by the time we need to.

To say we're excited is a bit of an understatement. Even today, the last day before we leave, has taken for-e-ver! We ended up eating dinner at 5:00 and then watching a movie before bed just because the afternoon went on and on. We're packed with suitcases loaded in the car and can't wait until 11:00 tomorrow morning to finally get the dreaded travel underway!

Eric's mom came to visit us at the beginning of May. The timing worked out well for her to visit Evan and our new nephew (who we finally get to meet in a week!) in Hawaii and then spend a few days with us before heading back to Seattle. We had a holiday weekend with Thursday off, then worked Friday, but had Monday off, as well. Cade had both Friday and Tuesday off from school, too, so we really needed the help!

On her first day, we had a mini swim lesson for Cade. One of the swim teachers at our school offered a class for pre-swimmers to introduce them to some of the concepts in preparation for swim lessons, and Cade needed it! He loves the bath, but isn't a huge fan of the pool. He's perfectly content to sit on the edge and watch the others play, so we wanted to take advantage of this for him. Kennedy got to show her grandma that she can now swim the entire length of the pool--pretty impressive!

After his swim lesson, we had our staff picnic at school. We had BBQ from the base, followed by the annual softball game. The weather was perfect for it, though I wasn't feeling great.

The next day Eric, Kennedy, and I had to go to school, but Cade's school was closed, so Lindy and Cade walked to school and had lunch with Eric in the afternoon.

There were a couple of tourist-y things that we had in mind to do, but it was a holiday weekend in Korea. A big one, obviously, with all of the days off we had. So, we knew that no matter what we did or when, it was going to busy!

Nonetheless, we decided to head out of town on Saturday to visit the Garden of Morning Calm again. Remember our last trip there? The one that we took in December, but I didn't post about until after this trip in May? Whoops!

Lindy had been to Korea twice before, but it was during our spring break both times--not a particularly nice time to visit. It's still chilly and brown at the end of March. Since she was coming so much later in the year this time, we really wanted to show her how nice Korea can be! So, we headed out of town to see the flowers.

It was strange seeing what the garden looked like in the daylight without all of the lights; I think most people would do it the other way around, but we tend to do things backwards. And I'll admit that I am tempted to see it in every season, though I don't think it will happen.

The first time we drove there it took us about two hours because we had the wrong address. This time it took us about eight hours because of the traffic! It was stop and go from about the time we left our house until we reached the garden. Insanity! We passed the time by listening to old Raffi songs from YouTube.

We had packed some sandwiches and snacks in case we couldn't find anything the kids wanted to eat when we arrived, but we made it through those and were still starving by the time we reached the garden. So, we stopped at the first stand we saw and picked up french fry-covered hot dogs on a stick (picture a corn dog, but replace the corn breading with french fries).

The garden was beautiful, and I think we all decided it was worth it (it had to be at that point, though!). Thankfully, our drive home only took about an hour.

Monday was Children's Day, and it's one of those days when any place remotely child-friendly is packed, so Eric and the kids took Lindy on an adventure to find a Japanese prison while I stayed home and worked. He didn't take any pictures, but it sounded as if it was an interesting trip.

Tuesday, Eric and I were back to work, but Cade had the day off again, and we let Kennedy stay home, too. They got to spend some quality time with grandma before she left that afternoon.

I worked hard to get to these before we leave tomorrow. I think you're caught up on the picture-worthy events of our spring, especially since I don't find as many events picture-worthy at this point. When I get around to it, I'll be able to focus just on pictures from this summer. June and July will be pretty quiet as we spend time with our family in Washington, but after this spring, that shouldn't be too out-of-the-ordinary!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Halfway There!

This little jellybean is already halfway! There's a part of me that thinks, "I'm only 5 months?" and then the other part responds back with "You only have 5 months left!"

Strangely, I think we're more prepared for this baby than we were with Kennedy by this time. Having just moved into the house and knowing that I still had plenty of time to collect what I needed, I didn't feel too rushed. I wouldn't say that I've felt rushed this time, either, but with so many people with babies leaving this year, it made it easy to collect much of what we needed earlier.

I'm already much more in the what else do we need and less in the there's so much we need state of mind. Knowing that we just have to turn in a requisition for a crib and it will be here in a day or two is pretty nice, I'll admit. But I'm so overwhelmed by all of the other huge stuff we have around for this kid already, that we probably won't get that for quite some time.

We finally upgraded our couch and chair last month, which means that we have a comfortable place to sit, but since we haven't shipped out the old furniture (the school will pick it up whenever we decide we're ready to let it go), there was no longer a place for me to take my weekly picture with the real camera in the living room. I'll admit that the phone does make it much easier to write on the photos!

The whole family went to the doctor today for the big ultrasound. Kennedy had been waiting for this opportunity, and I guilt-tripped Eric into going to one of Jellybean's doctor appointments, especially since we already had to take Cade for his immunizations. Everything is good with this busy little baby boy. I can't believe how active he is already!

I've started gaining weight now that I've stopped throwing up--a real thrill, but a necessity, I suppose. Kennedy says that she can't see a difference in my belly looking at the pictures week to week, but looking at that 20 week picture, I would say that it's fairly obvious that I'm with bump, not just plump!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kennedy's Last Day of First Grade

It's strange how this already feels like it was long ago. Certainly not less than a week ago!

The last day of school is always really crazy. Especially considering that I hadn't had a schedule or obligations with students in 4 school days due to finals, I was feeling a little harried on the last day. Such is life.

After the awards assembly and hours of yearbook signing (I don't know if I'll ever get over the fact that students here genuinely want their teachers to sign their yearbooks. They stand in line waiting. It's crazy!), I went to pick up Kennedy. She's in the blue house at school, and her house won the competitions for the year, so she had gotten to "blue house" dress up days, and we were running low on blue clothes, but she represented!

I took the kids to watch the high school talent show--these kids actually volunteer to hang out after school on the last day of school and perform or just watch their classmates perform. More craziness! Then we snuck in a few pictures and a quick lunch that Eric picked up from Starbucks for us. Finally, I was checked out by my principal and the day was over.

Our last day of school was Wednesday, and I didn't get my laptop turned in until Friday morning, but it's all done now. Now, I'm working on figuring out what to do with all of this stuff I brought home from my classroom, and trying to find places for the stuff that someone thought we needed for this new family member coming to join us. How can such a little person need so much big stuff?!

I've got a week to try to get this house organized again, pack, and clean before we take off for the summer. In one moment I think that a week sounds like way too long, and then the next moment I wonder how I'll get it all done in time! One step at a time, I guess. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

It's June!

The goodbyes this time of year are always abundant and emotional. On Wednesday after school, I watched many tearful goodbyes of both parents and students in the lobby, but the last day of school for us is okay because we don't have to say the goodbyes for a couple more days. Today was that day for our staff.

Honestly, I don't have much left to say at this point, so I thought I would just share this video put together by and featuring many of our staff and students. It's just a glimpse into June for an expat, and I watched it with tears streaming down my face, but I am full of hormones these days!

TCKs in Transition from Ross Williamson on Vimeo.

If you are looking for resources on helping expats or TCKs with the many transitions that they go through (moving on, traveling, being left behind, or repatriating), The Culture Blend is a great resource!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Cade's Last Day of Preschool

Needless to say, it's been a busy, crazy week already, but it's all about to come to an end. Tomorrow is the last day of school (for students), and now that my room is nearly completely packed up, things are easing up a bit. Still have stuff to do, but it's not overwhelming anymore.

Cade's last day of school was on Friday, though. We were going to have to pay tuition for the entire month of June to send him this week, so we just opted out, and he's been coming to school with us instead. The collage above is him getting off the school bus on his first day of school and then his last day of school. That kid has grown in so many ways this year!

Looking back on those pictures makes me feel like I sent my baby to preschool last fall. Maybe it's the bright blond hair and the short haircut. Maybe it's the fact that those shorts were so long on him! He just looks like such a little boy.

He did so well in preschool this year. I really can't get over it. After those first couple of tough weeks, he settled right in and most days he was happy, if not excited, to go to school.

He learned to read better than I ever would have imagined this year, and he does it ALL THE TIME. He's moved on from the early reading books and is not afraid of a challenge--whether it be a chapter book or anything else he can get his hands on. Not everything comes out quite right, but I appreciate his willingness to try, and he never minds being corrected, either.

Last week, I got a call from his teacher. She was very worried about the fact that Cade was going to be leaving the school early (the Korean school year begins in February or March). She wasn't concerned about what he didn't know, though. I think she was really concerned about how much she'd miss out on his help. She made it clear that Cade is the most advanced in his class, that he has no problem comprehending new concepts, and that most of the time he helps the other kids when they are struggling with something new.

I'm pretty sure that Cade was excited about his last day of school. He was not particularly excited about having his pictures taken, though. And things got progressively worse as we went. The above picture is how it ended, but it didn't take him long to get over it.

I can't believe that a year from now we'll be going to this boy's Kindergarten graduation! Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to get pictures of the girl on her last day of school tomorrow!
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