Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Life Lately

Well, Eric's aunt and cousin arrive this week, so I figured I'd better get the last of the Cebu pictures posted before it's time to move onto new content.

I already mentioned that we had a late flight on the day we left, so after checking out of our room at 11 am, we had the afternoon to hang out at the resort. It was the only cloudy day that we had, and I was grateful since I didn't want to have to deal with swimming and locker room showers like everyone else. I spent my day walking around taking pictures, trying to get Reece to nap, and trying to make some progress on my book. While the trip had been amazing, it was time to go home.

Life here at home has been a little hectic these days. Spring has sprung here in Seoul (though you're going to have to check out my Instagram in the sidebar for evidence!), and the warmer weather has finally arrived. We have highs in the low 80s this week, and it feels so good after a long winter (albeit a mild one!). The kids and I actually got too hot when on a walk this weekend and ended up cutting it short, so we could go home and get some water. Now, if only our apartment would warm up a bit!

We are all getting very excited to move apartments in about six weeks. I like to work ahead, you know, but Eric made me promise I wouldn't start packing until May. Just a few more days! Packing is going to be a little interesting, as it always seems to be lately. After school gets out, we're flying down to Jeju Island for a few days before we move. Then, we fly back to the States just three days after we move. It's going to be a little hectic, to say the least!

Our new apartment is in a different neighborhood, which I'm a little apprehensive about. Our neighborhood has some pretty great perks--tons of restaurant options, within walking distance of Namsan Park and church, and of course, some of our favorite people. But, our new neighborhood is within walking distance of the Han River, has a few great restaurants, some more of our favorite people, and easy bus access to Itaewon and the school. I'm sure it will even out in the end.

We're excited to be moving into a much bigger apartment, too. Our current place has four very small bedrooms and two bathrooms. Our new one will have only three bedrooms, though, so Cade and Kennedy will get bunk beds and share a room. It should be interesting! We're also really excited about the fact that it has a nice playground and we have a good view of it from our apartment, so we'll be able to send the kids down by themselves.

Aside from that, things have been business as usual around here. I finally got to go on a field trip with Kennedy today. She and her friend Ella thought that Reece was much more interesting than the museum that we were visiting. Cade seems to go on a field trip about once a week (though it's probably more like once a month), so I'm skipping the one tomorrow and planning to go on the one in a couple of weeks.

Both kids are continuing to do well in school, and I love that they are still avid readers. Cade insists that he doesn't like to read during the day, but it's only because he doesn't want to stop running or playing baseball or soccer. Kennedy often has a fiction chapter book in her hands these days, and she's even figured out how to balance it, so that she can read and feed Reece at the same time. Cade is really into any type of nonfiction books--lately he's been reading about knights, bugs, and anything science-related.

We're still waiting for Reece to figure out this whole sleep-through-the-night thing. In the meantime, I'm exhausted and struggling to keep up with everything. I had a meeting yesterday with the new administration at school to discuss the possibility of my returning to work next year. There were several interesting opportunities, so now we're trying to decide what's best and how feasible childcare will be.

And there you have it. A little update on our lives lately. That isn't totally and completely revolved around Reece!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Snorkel Trip

Somebody remind me that this child will--eventually--sleep through the night. I've already been through this twice before, and I'm already starting to lose sight of that. Reece has been sleeping through the night about once a week lately. He's had a cough that seems to wake him up, and he has now officially reached the age where he can lay in his crib and talk for an or hour in the middle of the night. Aye. The only problem with that is that if he starts crying, I have no problem going into his room swaddling him again and giving him the pacifier. If he's just talking, though, I feel like I should just let him go back to sleep on his own. Which means he talks and I lay in bed listening. From 1:00 am to 3:00 am. Fun times.

While we may not have been able to do all of the awesome things we would have liked to in Cebu with a 4-month-old in tow (no motorcycles, no jeepneys, not even a long walk into "town"), we did manage to do some fun stuff. Eric and I each took the big kids kayaking and fish feeding. We also rented a jet ski, and of course, lots of swimming. I think the highlight of our trip was our "island hopping" and snorkel trip.

Somehow I neglected to take a picture of our banca boat, so I borrowed that picture from here, but this is basically what ours looked like (minus all of the advertising...ours was owned and run by locals, though the resort set it up for us and sent their staff to help). Probably the most adventurous part of the day was getting on and off the boat at the resort. There was wind that day, and they basically just put a long plank from the front of the boat onto the rocky jetty that was at the resort. As the boat moved in the waves, of course the plank moved, as well. It was a little tricky trying to cross it with Reece in my arms or in the carrier.

The trip itself was pretty great, though. It was an expensive little excursion, but Eric thought it would be worth it, and I think he was right. It also didn't take us long to discover why it was a little pricey. It turned out that the entire boat was just for us, even though there was probably room for about 20 more. The resort was only about 70% full the week we were there, so maybe that's why we didn't have to share with anyone. The resort sent a lifeguard with us who swam with the kids and knew all of the good spots for snorkeling. He also carried backpacks and took pictures for us, so there is actual photographic evidence that I was present on this trip. He and Cade hit it off and had a great time together.

They also sent along one of the staff from the kids' center at the resort to help take care of the baby. Personally, I'd thought the trip was going to be a bit much. I was picturing a boat that looked a little more like the shrimp boats in Thailand that had no shade. I figured we'd also be "taking turns" snorkeling and holding Reece...in other words, Eric would have fun and I would spend most of my time holding a hot, sweaty baby who didn't want to be stuck on a boat anymore. But, let me tell you, Crimson Resort knew how to make this momma's life a little easier!

Chalet, the woman that they sent along with us, was so helpful! Other than the ride out to the first spot that we snorkeled in, she held Reece for nearly the entire trip. Cade didn't want to get in the water at the first spot we went to, so she fed Reece and colored with Cade while Eric and Kennedy and I snorkeled. This spot had a ton of amazing fish and I think I would have been content to stay there all day, but the coral was dead, so we took off to head to another spot.

At our second stop, which was just off Nalusuan Island, pictured above, we managed to get Cade to get in the water with us. Even after three quarters of swim lessons, he's still not too keen on deep water. He likes to be able to touch the bottom, so he enjoyed 2 of the 3 pools at the resort, which made life much easier for us. Nonetheless, we managed to get him into the water. He had a float to hang onto, and our lifeguard, Ronald, stayed with him the whole time. As hard as we tried, we couldn't get him to put his face in the water, so that he could actually see the fish, but we were just glad to get him in the water. 

Kennedy really did an amazing job; we were so impressed. Of course, we wore life jackets, so that our main concern was not staying afloat, but she had no fear of going off on her own and would then come and report back on the fish that she'd seen. She's gotten to be a pretty good swimmer in the last almost 3 years of swim lessons, and she's pretty confident in the water now.

After snorkeling, we ate the picnic lunch that was included in the trip, complete with a bottle of wine. It was a little awkward because it felt like the staff was stuck watching and waiting for us to finish eating, but it was good, and I was relieved that we hadn't had to worry about food. We'd brought along extra water and some snacks, but pretty much everything we needed was included.

After lunch, we went to check out Nalusuan Island, which the kids really enjoyed. By putting together several maps, I think we were swimming in the Cebu Strait, but whatever it was was warm and beautiful! These last 2 pictures were taken with Eric's new sport camera, but he would like you to know that he considers these "amazing professional pictures of Cebu." Especially with that water droplet on the lens.

We all made it back in one piece, ready for showers to get the salt water off and a long nap! Eric and I were the only ones that got sunburned, and I think we will be getting rash guards for the two of us before we head to any more tropical locations. While it is now consistently in the upper 60s to low 70s here, I still think that a day or two at the beach sound pretty nice right now. One of the best parts was being able to breathe clean air for a week; I'm so sick of the haze here in Seoul!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Break in Cebu

I think it's safe to say that 2015 will be remembered as the year that I took thousands of pictures that I never did anything with. I took hundreds of pictures at Christmas. Our first Christmas with Reece and our first Christmas in the States in three years, yet I've barely looked through the photos. I really want to get them edited and posted, out of the depths of the Lightroom catalog, but they just keep getting pushed to the back burner.

I've actually been taking advantage of the free Lightroom Mobile trial and gotten many of the Cebu pictures edited, but then it takes time to do the writing and the exporting that makes a blog post. I've also taken hundreds of pictures of the kids and the flowers that are starting to bloom, but those may never get published either. We have Eric's aunt and cousin coming to visit in a couple of weeks and then it.is.May. The craziest month of the year...or maybe a close second to June...followed by July...and then August. At any rate, it's about to get real around here. Real busy. So, yeah, I've taken pictures and that's about as far as I've gotten!

On top of the regular stuff, our computer is functioning at far below the standard level these days. Eric is in denial, especially since he rarely has to use it for anything, but it makes accomplishing the simplest tasks take far longer than necessary. Remember the days of dial up internet? That's how I feel with this thing. Push the power button. Make lunch while it turns on. Open Lightroom. Start a load of laundry while it loads. Oh, the joys. At least I have a computer, I guess.

Our trip to Cebu for spring break was really amazing, though! I guess I'm willing to trade a crappy computer for experiences like that. We stayed at the Crimson Mactan Resort on Cebu, and it was pretty amazing. The service was really above and beyond and every single person that we had any interaction with was nice. Our kids were still a little on the celebrity side, as the resort was not full of Caucasians. In fact, it was full of Koreans. That's what happens when it's only a four hour direct flight from Seoul.

The kids were in heaven in the pools and absolutely could not understand why they could not spend the entire day, every day in the pool. Honestly, I can understand. If it weren't for that whole sun on the Equator thing, I would have loved for them to spend every minute in the pool! On our first full day, the kids got pretty bad sunburns under their eyes after repeatedly wiping the water out of the eyes and therefore the sunscreen off of their cheeks. After that, it became clear that we were going to have to find alternative entertainment in the blistering afternoons.

So, we spent our mornings and evenings in the pool, and the afternoons were spent either exploring in Cebu City, napping in the hotel room, or playing in the kids' "Crimzone." Reece prevented us from being too adventurous, but we resigned ourselves to the fact that this was a vacation for relaxation and tried not to put much pressure on ourselves to do some of the things that we normally would have liked to do. No motorcycles on this trip!

My big adventure this week was checking out one of the school vans and taking a couple of friends and their babies to find the new Ikea that recently opened just outside of Seoul. It took us more than 2 hours to make what was supposed to be a 45 minute drive because we got lost so many times, but we eventually found it, made it through the whole store with 3 babies, ate lunch, and arrived at school just moments before the kickoff of the soccer game that my friend was coaching. See? We don't even have to leave the country to have adventures! #momlife

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reece at 5 Months

I won't even pretend we're on top of things around here. Life's just been a little crazy, and somehow these days seem to get away from me. I'm not really sure how that happens! I was supposed to have all kinds of free time once I stopped pumping, but I still seem to struggle to get just the daily tasks done...laundry, dinner, and a little cleaning. Maybe it's just this season...or maybe it's just life.

Reece's fifth month was full of ups and downs. Reece did really well on the flight to Cebu, and he managed to be pretty go-with-the-flow while we were there, too. Most of his naps were in the stroller and way shorter than either of us would have liked. Nonetheless, he managed to be in a good mood most of the time.

Shortly after I hit publish on Reece's 4 month update, he started struggling in the sleep department. I kept hearing about the "4 month sleep regression" (I don't remember this with the first two kids), but I thought for sure we'd skip it because we were doing everything "right." He always falls asleep by himself in his crib. He's swaddled to prevent any startling (it's actually a double swaddle and it still works great!). I switched him to a 4 hour schedule at 4 months. But, he appeared to just be uncomfortable in his own skin. One night, I had Eric move out to the couch so that I could bring Reece into bed with me and he just moved all.night.long. Restless and miserable. Poor guy. Thankfully, it only lasted about a week, and it turned out that much of what I'd read was true. He started sleeping better after the regression was over.

At the beginning of the month, he slept through the time when he was normally eating a couple of times, so we were able to drop the middle of the night feeding. The week before we left for Cebu, he finally starting sleeping through the night, 12-13 hours, and I was so nervous to take him on vacation! He actually slept really well while we were there (for the most part), but he's been struggling since we got back. Last week, he was waking up about 10 times a night, and this week he's not napping well, but at least he's sleeping at night! I'm hoping this phase is over sooner rather than later. It's only about 10 weeks until we get on another plane! I don't really think these things are related to our trip, but I know that jet lag won't be doing us any favors on our next trip!

Reece weighed in at 6.3 kg and 65 cm at the beginning of March when he went to the doctor for immunizations. The doctor seemed very pleased with his growth this time, as he's now almost up to the 10th percentile and officially on the chart! It's incredible to me that this little chowhound can still be so tiny because he's now drinking four 7 oz bottles four times a day, plus about 4 oz for the dream feed. Most of the other babies his age that we know are still only eating 4 or 5 oz bottles. He was spitting up quite a bit when we made the switch to eating more less often, but thankfully, that slowed while we were in Cebu. I was worried that I was going to be doing a lot of laundry in the bathtub while on vacation. Most of his warm weather clothes are size 6 months, so he started wearing them while we were gone, and though he can't wear those clothes here, where it's still in the 50s most days, he's still wearing 6 month clothes pretty consistently.

At the beginning of the month, Reece was just starting to be successful getting his toys in his mouth, but now that's a regular occurrence. Most of the time, we still hand him toys, but he's starting to grab things around him, too. Thankfully, he still hasn't started rolling, so we don't have to be too careful about what's on the ground yet.

He has also started watching everything that we put in our mouths with great interest. It didn't seem that he would be content to wait until 6 months to start solid foods, so we tried rice cereal last week. We had started giving him carrot sticks at meals when we were in the Philippines because he was not real thrilled that the rest of us were eating while he had to just sit there and watch. I don't think he noticed a difference between the carrot and any toy that we handed him, but Kennedy and Cade thought it was very exciting! The rice cereal hasn't really been doing it for him, though. I think he's fairly certain that he's missing out on the good stuff...either that or we're a bunch of liars who only pretend to enjoy food!

We're still blessed to have a fairly happy, content baby. He's started to get a little tired of the "all I can do is lay here" thing, I think. In spite of the fact that he arches his back after laying on the floor for awhile, he still doesn't try very hard to roll. He doesn't mind being on his stomach for awhile now, though. He also goes to sleep happy and wakes up happy most of the time, and the giggles are coming much easier these days. All in all, I think we're pretty lucky. And look at those faces...he keeps us guessing!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

To Cebu and Back

Things are busy around here right now, but here's a few pictures from our trip to Cebu and proof that we survived.

As always, the flight there was great. Four hours. Direct from Seoul to Cebu. Sure, we had to get up at 4 am to leave for the airport, but it was okay; we were going on vacation! They bumped us up to business class (not too impressive on Philippine Air). We had lots of leg room and we were in the curtained off area up front (that always reminds me of the movie Jerry McGuire when the closing of the curtain is such a significant event for her watching from coach).

Then, they informed me that I had to move across the aisle and trade places with Eric because we had 2 infants in our row and there weren't enough masks. Eesh. The kids didn't nap, so I didn't either, but it was uneventful. Reece tried his best to sleep with all of the crying babies around us, and he remained in a good mood.

The flight back was a different story, though. Our flight left Cebu at 11 pm, so both boys were asleep within minutes of leaving the resort for the airport. Thankfully, I had Reece in the Ergo, so Cade was able to utilize the stroller for our wait at the airport. (That stroller is ridiculously big, heavy, and inconvenient, but it sure was nice that it supported the weight and size of a 6 year old!)

Kennedy also fell asleep during our uncomfortable wait in the airport, so that by the time we were ready to board, Eric had to carry Cade while I carried Reece and pulled the suitcase and Kennedy. Good times.

Our flight was only an hour because we had a layover in Manila. As it turns out, the Manila airport is large, not well-signed, and really makes no sense at all (especially in the middle of the night). We had already been warned that a one hour layover in the Manila airport was going to be challenge. We had to wake up the big kids, so they could walk/run themselves, and then we had to book it from the moment the plane touched down.

It turned out that we really couldn't move at any normal speed because we couldn't figure anything out on our own. We had to ask directions around every corner. We kept going in and out of buildings. One person would send us to an elevator, only to discover that the elevator was shut down. We couldn't find the entrance to the building. Then we got in and paid our immigration fee (?), and then had to run to the other side of the building to actually go through immigration.

The icing on the cake was when we finally arrive at our last security checkpoint (we'd probably been through about 6 already by then!), and Eric dashes through with his backpack still on while the rest of us manage to wake up the security agents who decide they need to inspect Kennedy's backpack. What a pain! All the while, we've been hearing the calls for our flight as it is boarding, and I had read the time incorrectly and thought we were missing the flight entirely. In the end, we made it onto the flight.

Reece promptly woke up, so I fed him. He then peed all over me. I had Eric get out a change of clothes for Reece and me and we head back to the bathroom. Reece then proceeds to throw up everything that he'd just eaten as the plane hits turbulence moments after I laid him down. Once we were finally cleaned up, Eric, in his half-asleep state, couldn't figure out how to put on the baby carrier.

So, I ended up wearing Reece in the carrier that causes my shoulders and back great pain, right in between the two big kids who were sleep on either side of me and kept falling over onto my arms, which were holding up Reece's head. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much that night...and then had to drive home from the airport. The things we do for our family, a vacation, and a little warm weather! Realistically, though, this flight was much better than our last, and this was the hardest part of the whole week, so I can't complain too much. Hopefully, I'll be back soon with real pictures from our trip!
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