Saturday, May 30, 2015

Michael & Nancy's Visit

Eric keeps informing me of how many days it's been since my last post. Apparently, I need to make it a bit more of a priority in his eyes. This has been one of those weeks when I turn on the computer every day (because I don't want to have to wait for it in case I end up having time), but I don't sit down in front of it until all of the kids are in bed, and then we usually watch an episode of Parenthood rather than work on our computers. When your computer is the TV, it's much harder to multi-task.

I suppose when you consider the fact that this is only the second post since Reece's 6 month post and it's now time for his 7 month post, it's clear I'm not doing a very good job at keeping up with everything here. But, our house is somewhat clean, I'm still continuing to sort and pack, and dinner is on the table every night, so we'll consider that a success at this point!

This week we had play/mom dates for Reece and me, Kennedy's spring concert, and Cade's end of the year party. High school graduation was yesterday; it was my first time watching one of my classes graduate, and I really enjoyed it! The principal is really hoping that the connections and memories that graduation evoked will convince me to take the freshman English leave replacement for next year, but I'm not sure that it worked.

This is the last week of school, and Eric and the kids are so excited! I can completely understand their excitement, especially when my Instagram photos from last year show up on my Timehop. All the grading. All the time. Yuck. But, this year, I'm not quite as excited for the end of school. Yes, I'm excited for Jeju, and I'm excited for our move, and I'm excited to go back to the States for the summer, but the last day of school just doesn't hold the same excitement. For the first time, I'm experiencing the apprehension of having all three kids home all summer! I'm excited for the summer; I'm just missing the excitement about the last day of school, I guess.

It will be a fun week, though. I have two baby showers for friends and Kennedy's end of the year party. Cade only has three days of school, but he gets to go to Everland with Eric and the middle school on Thursday, the day of Kindergarten graduation. Kennedy's last day is a half day on Friday, and my former students are trying to convince me to come to school to sign yearbooks that day...we'll see about that!

We've been busy since Michael and Nancy were here at the beginning of May when it was a comfortable 70-ish degrees! It was nice to be able to comfortably enjoy all of our outings with guests. These days it's mid to upper 80s every day, and so it's hard to keep those jeans and sweatshirts in the drawers for our trip to WA in a few weeks.

On their first day, we had the staff "picnic" at school, which is only a picnic because we eat outside. This year it was catered by On the Border, one of our favorite (and of the few) Mexican restaurants in the area. After the picnic, we made the obligatory trip up to Seoul Tower (via bus) and after ice cream and an awkward diaper change, we walked back down through Namsan Park and back home. We will miss being so close to Namsan when we move neighborhoods! We were still so full from lunch that we decided to introduce them to the cheap Korean pizza from Pizza School for dinner. We have cut Pizza School out of our diets this year for the most part, so the kids were excited!

On Saturday, we walked to the Korean War Memorial where we take everyone who comes to visit, I think. Our kids really enjoy it, and it's pretty close, so it's an easy walk. We've probably been there a dozen times by now, but we always manage to see something we've never seen and learn something new. After the museum, we took the kids to the park across the street because they've literally been asking to go there for years, and we've never taken them.

No trip to the playground is complete without a cup of iced coffee in hand, though, so we stopped at the Dutch Coffee truck outside the museum before heading across the street. Dutch coffee is brewed in such a way that it cuts down on the acidity of the coffee and also reduces the caffeine content, so it was perfect on that warm afternoon! After walking back, we had Korean BBQ at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, which everyone enjoyed. We haven't had Korean BBQ since Reece was born because it's a little tricky with him in the stroller or on my chest, but it all worked out perfectly that evening. With the doors to the restaurant open, there was room for the stroller and he was perfectly content to watch all of the people walking by!

On Sunday, we went to church and it was the first Sunday of the month, so we passed out food to the homeless at Seoul Station afterward. We decided to introduce them to the Korean food court experience at Seoul Station...complete with the joys of "table hovering" because if you want to be able to sit down at some point, then you have to stand next to a table and wait for the people to finish eating, so you can snatch it the moment they make a move. We had dongkatsu and dolsot bibimbap, amidst the dinging of bells signaling orders up. And, of course, no outing is complete without some sort of awkward diaper change these days. So I was covered in pee as we headed home again.

After a busy couple of days, we decided to hang out and play Legos in the afternoon. Eric and I had our second date since Reece's birth when we went out for coffee for an hour before going to pick up Indian food for dinner. After not eating out most of the school year, I was excited to eat at some of our favorite restaurants again!

Monday was a bit cooler and Eric's last day off, so he decided to take them hiking on Mt. Bukhansan. Reece and I were not up for the hour-long subway rides and long walks, so we decided to stay home. I think the kid was ready for a more relaxed day and a chance to nap in his crib again! I made chili and cornbread for dinner that night and everyone slept well after the long day!

Tuesday was their last full day in Seoul, but it was also Children's Day, which means that anywhere that one might consider bringing a child is packed So, we struggled with coming up with a reasonable plan that wouldn't involve massive crowds. We decided to stay home and play games and Legos for the majority of the day, and then head to the nearest (least child-friendly park we know) when Eric returned home from school. We figured out our game plan for reaching the destination (which involved some shuttling and such) and headed out.

We were still almost a mile from the park entrance when the traffic began, so we had to change our plans a bit--the major difference being that we decided to just pick up chicken for dinner at the park, rather than from our favorite fried chicken place. That turned out to be a major disappointment. By the time I arrived at our little picnic spot after dropping everyone off and getting a parking spot, I was there just long enough to take one look at the chicken and decide it wasn't worth eating, then take a few pictures, and help pack up, so we could get the kids home and ready for school the next day...probably no more than 30 minutes! Oh, city life.

Everyone was back to school the next day, and Michael and Nancy were headed home. Reece and I were back to our normal routine. I have actually been trying to take a lot more pictures lately, but there's no evidence of that in this post. I took a few iPhone photos and a couple of shots on the last night, but the rest of these pictures were taken by Nancy. With Reece on my front and a diaper bag on my back, the dslr doesn't make the cut on most outings these days, unless it's a stroller-friendly trip. Pictures in the house? That I can do.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spring in Seoul

Blogging is not too high on the list of priorities these days, I have to admit. Once Eric's aunt and cousin left, it was time to start packing (I'm really glad that Eric wouldn't let me start before they got here, because the piles of boxes everywhere are so irritating!). There's so much going on these days that I'm always feeling like I have just enough time to get started and never enough time to finish anything.

This week was Cade's last Kindergarten field trip. (How did that happen so fast??) The 8th Grade Gala and Junior/Senior Banquet are tonight. Concerts and parties next week, followed by the last day of school and Kindergarten graduation the next week. We seem to have big (or small) events nearly every day for these last few weeks, and of course, lots of double-bookings to keep us on our toes!

This week begins the extended farewells with a ladies' brunch on Saturday and the school farewell picnic on Sunday (the new admin are making big changes to our usual traditions!). This is, of course, the time of year that expats hate the most. Time to say goodbye again. Poor Kennedy has spent much of the week in tears over friends that are leaving, and it's just so hard for us to know what to do for her, having never experienced loss the way she does every single year.

So, we just keep going to the events. We help them make the memories, try to document them when we can, and know that a year from now, it will be someone else causing the tears. Quite possibly someone we haven't even met yet.

Aside from the tearful goodbyes this time of year, we do enjoy the weather. It's been in the 70s-80s for the past few weeks, and when we've had the free time, we've gotten out to enjoy it!

The weekend before Michael and Nancy arrived, we took the kids on an impromptu trip to the park on a Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, everyone else had decided to do the same thing, and by the time we'd parked (I waited in line for nearly an hour and after driving to a second park!), and the kids had played for 20 minutes, it was time to head home and figure out dinner. We do our best, though.

The first set of pictures here is from about a month ago when the cherry blossoms were in bloom, and then the second set is from 2 weeks ago when the azaleas were in bloom. Now, we have roses.

I really should head off to do some packing, and I still have baking to do for brunch tomorrow, but the baby just woke up, and he's going to be hungry, so those things will have to wait!

And for those people WHO are more concerned about my grammar and word choice than my blog content, just know that I haven't had time to proofread a blog post before posting it in about 2 years, and I doubt that's going to change any time soon. So, you can either embarrass yourself by publicly complaining about my grammar, or you can find something else to entertain yourself. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Reece at 6 Months is busy and it's only the second week of May! I had fully intended to get these pictures taken the day before Eric's aunt and cousin arrived, since they arrived on his first half birthday, but it rained and the light was terrible...and I'm picky about that stuff now. So, the pictures had to wait until after they left (because it involves rearranging all of the furniture and I make a big mess, not to mention the fact that I don't really like an audience!). And then, of course, I had to edit. And then, finally get around to writing, too. I don't seem to have a lot of time for this stuff lately.

Anyway, Reece is 6 months old already! I seriously can't believe that he's halfway to his first birthday. He's growing so much faster than Kennedy and Cade did. Or, at least that's my perspective now that I'm old. [insert wink-y emoticon] He is so much fun now that it's hard to believe that he will be even more fun in a few months. He laughs so easily that it's easy to forget what a challenge it used to be to make him laugh!

He's still not really on board with solid foods. He has tried avocado, sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, banana, refried beans, and green beans--in that order. The only thing he has really liked is banana, but the poor kid gets constipated, so they're on the "no" list. If I give him any, it's followed closely by a whole lot of refried beans to keep things moving. I finally got prunes this week to help him out, (I'm sure he'll really appreciate that I brought this up when he's reading these much later in life. Sorry, Reece!) It's crazy how much has changed in the world of feeding babies since Cade was this age. They no longer recommend that you wait a week between introducing new foods, so he's been able to try many more new foods than Kennedy or Cade did by this age.

He's up to 16.5 pounds and 69 cm, so the doctor is very happy with his weight gain. He's just over the 25th percentile for weight and in the 75th percentile for height...long and lean, just like his siblings! He's still wearing 6 month clothes, and we're excited to finally have warm enough weather to wear all of the cute rompers he has. It's so nice to not have to put on a coat and hat every time we leave the house these days. Some days, he doesn't even have to wear socks!

We entered the world of cloth diapering this month, which has been interesting. Reece hasn't seemed to notice the difference, though I'm sure he is happier that I'm changing his diaper a little more often. A friend of mine loaned me 5 of hers to try out because she hasn't been very happy with them herself. I can't really decide how I feel about them. They certainly are a whole lot cuter than disposable diapers, but it takes me about 3 hours to wash them, and then it takes them at least 24 hours to dry. And, after only a month, they're starting to smell, which is frustrating. I'm still not sold on the whole thing. Let me know if you've got advice!

Sleep is still hit or miss with this kid. The other night, I slept a total of three hours and they were all in one hour increments. And, we'd brought him into our bed. Sheesh. It was rough. Last night, he woke up a couple of times before we'd gone to bed, but then he slept the rest of the night. Hallelujah. Usually he's up once. Maybe twice. But still not sleeping 7 to 7, as I'd like. Naps are going well, though. If he doesn't take two 90 minute naps, then he takes a short one and a longer one. I can live with that!

His new favorite toy this month is his feet and toes. Any time he doesn't have socks on, he's checking them out. This has to be one of my favorite stages; I just love it when babies play with their feet! Since he likes to put everything in his mouth, it's nice that he can hold onto things so much better now. He also is loving the Jumperoo that we got out this month. He can stay happy in that thing for a very long time. I still try to give him plenty of floor time, too, because he's still not rolling over much. He does it about once a week, but honestly, it's such a relief not having to worry about him moving!

This kid is just so stinkin' cute. I took about 200 pictures of him last week, and I had the.hardest.time narrowing it down to just these few. We're all pretty enthralled by him, but he thinks Cade and Kennedy are just about the best entertainment he's ever seen. We love this guy to pieces!
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