Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sun Lakes and Skamania

I've got to admit, it's hard to be motivated to update here when there really is nothing to update. We celebrated Eric's birthday with some really good Southern BBQ right here in Seoul, though it required a really long walk and darting through the rain with a stroller and one umbrella shared between the five of us. His friends at school took him out to lunch, and I think everyone he knows baked him something, so I was off the hook, thank goodness. Aside from that, we're just here, living life. I'm thankful for some hum-drum in our lives.

Reece has been napping well and sleeping fairly well at night, considering he's got a tooth poking through on top. He finally starting signing "more" right after I published the post about how he refused to sign. (He'll probably stop sleeping well as soon as I publish this one!) He also likes to show us when he's angry or frustrated by balling up his little fists and shaking them. Such personality that kid has!

I've decided to do Awana with the kids this year. It's nuts, I know. So far, I've been to one informational meeting (which provided very little needed information), spent several days doing insane paperwork to gain base access, spent a week trying to get fingerprints done unsuccessfully, and spent an evening registering kids without every actually registering anyone. It has been kind of a disastrous start. Things can only improve from here. I think.

We've been spending a lot of time riding bikes along the Han now that we finally have all of the needed equipment. Kennedy and Cade had to trade bikes because Cade wasn't able to start and stop by himself on his "new" bike. It took some convincing, but we're grateful they were willing to work with us, as now Cade has to ride a pink bike and Kennedy is riding a green one that's covered in skulls. Don't tell them I told you. Cade has been eating as much as he possibly can in hopes that he'll soon be tall enough to ride his own bike! He probably just needs about an inch.

After waiting around for Reece to nap on Sunday (oh, did I say he was napping well? well, not always...), we decided that he would fall asleep faster in the bike trailer than he was in his crib. It had been over an hour of waiting, so we headed out instead, which gave us the freedom to ride as long and far as we wanted without worrying about when his next nap would be or getting home to make dinner. I prepped everything for dinner beforehand, and we were off. We rode nearly to Yeoido Island, almost five miles, before turning around. I was impressed with how well the kids did. Even when Cade crashed and burned because a guy walking wouldn't get out of his way, he still got back on and finished the ride.

I do feel a little guilty that Reece shouldn't technically be in a bike trailer until he's a year old, but I'm comforted by the fact that the bike trails here are in much better shape than the sidewalks. I know that if we haven't yet damaged his neck in a stroller on the sidewalk, then the chances of neck damage in a bike trailer on the path aren't too high. And I'm definitely sticking to the paved trails with it; it's enough of a challenge without crazy sidewalks and pedestrians!

It's a little frustrating knowing that we've put over $300 into this little hobby here in Seoul in the past month, and we're really going to want to continue it during the summer. Which means, we're going to have to invest just as much or more in all of this gear in the States, too. I guess that's just life for us.

The one thing that we did buy in the States last summer for our future in bike riding was a bike rack for the "rig," so the kids were able to bring their bikes to Sun Lakes, among other places. That one picture at the top? That's the one picture that I took while we were at Sun Lakes. Pretty impressive, huh? Of course, I brought the camera all the way over there. I unpacked and put it in a little drawer in the dresser in our room. And that's where it stayed for three days until I packed it back into the car.

We had a great time in Sun Lakes, but with the heat and always hauling around baby stuff and beach stuff and too much stuff in general, the camera was left behind every time. Eric and the kids played miniature golf. Eric and the kids played at the pool. Eric and the kids rented a pedal boat. Eric and the kids played at the beach. Reece napped. I read.

That's not entirely true. Reece got to swim in the pool a little bit (it was freezing cold!), and he floated in the lake, too. The boy really does enjoy the water, but he prefers that it always be at a comfortable temperature--a little more Philippines, a little less Washington. I also rented a paddle board for an hour, and aside from thinking that I was hearing my kids yelling for me, was generally able to relax for awhile.

And since Lindy had joined us on this trip, our child to adult ratio was even, and she definitely took her (un)fair share or hanging back so that Reece could nap. We stayed in one of the new duplexes at the resort, which was big, beautiful, and cool, so Reece took some really good naps while we were there! The big kids got a chance to learn some social lessons, as they played with the neighbor kids on the front lawn. They're used to automatically being included because they're the only white kids around, so having to ask was a little out of their comfort zone, but they did a good job.

After Sun Lakes, we headed down to Lindy's house and settled in there. We were only there for about three days before we took a short trip down to Skamania to visit our friends from Seoul. It was the first time that we had seen friends from Seoul while we were in the States, and it was a little surreal. We've had some people talk about or try to make plans to see us during the summer in Washington, but most of those haven't been people that we usually spend much time with when we're in Seoul, so it didn't make much sense to us that we would spend time with them while in Seattle.

This family is new to Seoul, but both the kids and the adults hit it off right away, and since they live in this amazing place just a couple of hours from where we were staying, it was hard to say no when they suggested we come visit. They actually have a home of their own for the summer, so it's easy for them to have everyone come and visit them. It sounds like their guest rooms are booked pretty much every night of the summer, though! They had friends that had just left before we arrived and family that was coming just after we left. Busy people!

We drove down on Monday morning--not leaving as early as we'd hoped, as always--and arrived about lunch time. After a quick lunch, we headed down to the park in their neighborhood which is sandwiched between a lake and the Columbia River. After an hour or so tubing behind the jet ski on the river, we headed over to the park and watched the kids swim while the adults sat in the shade chatting. A couple of our other friends from Seoul, whose parents live in Portland, joined us for dinner.

In the morning, after a big breakfast, we headed out to hike Beacon Rock. After our hike, we drove out past the Bonneville Dam and then to lunch on the Oregon side of the river. After a late lunch, we headed back to Lindy's through Oregon, stopping at Multnomah Falls on the way. And even though it put us on the road much later than we'd hoped and messed up Reece's nap much more than I would've liked, it was totally worth it. It was beautiful, in spite of the fact that we didn't have time for even the short hike. I think we could visit them every summer for the next years, and still not see all of the beauty there is in that area!

And now, Reece is awake, he's going to be hungry, and I still haven't done many chores, so I'd better get back to the hum-drum!

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