Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Manners Make a Difference

Asher, Sam and I were walking home from the gym today and we saw three airmen sweeping the sidewalk.  Sam asked me "Mom what are they doing?" he knew that they were sweeping, but he didn't understand WHY they were sweeping the sidewalk.  I explained to him that these airmen were working to make our base clean and they were getting all the dust and dirt off the sidewalk.  When we got close enough to them I said "Thank you for helping to make out base nice." We then continued on and I had a nice chat with Sam about appreciating the things others do for us.  Good lesson time.

Later that day my husband got home.  He asked about my day and I told him that I was tired because I biked 11.62 miles at the guy.  DH replied that "You must have been everywhere today because a bunch of guys I work with saw you."  Then he told me that his office group had guys out sweeping today.  "you know what honey, Airman _______ said that today majorly sucked, he came in red faced and upset about having to sweep then he said 'that the only good part was when you stopped and thanked him for cleaning up.'"

I didn't know the airman I talked to worked with DH, I don't know all the guys, but they all know me.  I was just trying to teach Sam to be thankful and express gratitude for all the services performed for us.  The curtsey we extend to others makes a bigger difference than we realize.  I am thankful for the opportunity to make someones day better.  I'm grateful the Lord put that opportunity in my life today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Little Lovin' Goes a Long Way

Yesterday we had a family evening.  We went to the market to try and find some lettuce starter plants for our garden.  No luck, but my DH was a darling and took us out to dinner.  It's not as good as Panera, but Heavenly Bread Co. is the closest I'll get for the next three years.  But they have soup bread bowls and great smoothies.  Sam said "this is the best pizza ever"  I'm not sure of how sound that judgement is, but the pizza the boys had was pretty tasty.

Potato soup bowl. hmmm delicious.

This store makes me feel like I gained 5 lbs just by smelling.  But I think we'll go again in the future.  The cakes were gorgeous and the specialty breads looked great.  Also making this bakery a top ten for me is...the nail parlor upstairs. How perfect is that, get your nails done and then have a great lunch.

Well DH was in a giving mood and he let me get a skirt, it only cost 3,000 Won so not buying the skirt seemed more like a crime.  I mean it cost about $2.75, can you beat that price?  I don't think so.

way cute
I'm still looking for a shirt to go with the skirt, but I am sure I'll be able to find something.  DH also let me get a pair of shoes!  I am pretty sure I gave away my last pair of white shoes before all of out household goods were packed up, and I needed some white shoes so....here they are Darling right?  I love them, also these shoes are incredibly comfortable.

Now this outing wasn't just about me and some new clothes and dinner. The boys got off brand legos from a Korean variety store.  1,000 Won for each little set.  Those of you who have bought legos know what a good deal this was.  The variety store was crazy, they had everything from children's books, to toys, to office supplies, to high grade recorders, art supplies, and wrapping paper.  It was like finding unexpected treasures down every row.  

We had a great time as a family, I am truly thankful to be living with my DH again.  I love how he makes sure to make time for us.  He is excellent at finding moments.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Sanity

So one of the most important lessons I've learned because of motherhood is, to take care of myself.  I have not been very good at it.  However when I made this move to Korea I decided that there were a few things that needed to change in my life and my family's lives.

First I need to be a better house keeper.  Keeping the house clean is my job.  DH goes to work everyday for 12+ hours I need to treat my house like a job.  So I've made a house cleaning schedule, Thursday is sheet day, Friday is bathrooms, everyday is 1-2 loads of laundry, and I make sure that my kitchen is clean before I go to bed.  I take one day per week, per child to help them get their room clean.  We make beds everyday.  Generally my house is cleaner more often than it's dirty.

Second, I needed to get my kids out of the house more often.  I'll stay cooped up in the house if I don't make plans for us.  So we get out of the house everyday. Monday is playgroup, Tuesday is tumbling, Wednesday is an off day, Thursday is library day, Friday is mommy and me art class.  The older 2 boys also do Taekwando Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  The boys like getting out of the house and getting out has helped me meet people and make new friends.

Third, do a better job of taking care of myself.  These guys can make my life crazy and turn it upside down in less than five minutes.  So taking care of mommy is important if I don't want to freak out on my children.  I had to make a plan, planning by the way saves my life, I decided to start working out 5 days a week.  I know this sounds like work, but I get to listen to music (thanks Santa for my iPod) shape my body, release loads of endorphins, and mostly ignore my children for one hour.  I have more energy.  I like the way I look.  I have tried working out at home, but it doesn't work because the boys crawl all over me and I start thinking about the housework that needs to be done.  I also don't want to get a babysitter for two hours everyday, it gets kind of pricey.  So my solution, thanks to the Air Force, is to take my boys and myself dow to the PAC, or Parent and Child gym.  My boys get to play, and I get to sweat.  It is also a great place to meet other moms.  I have gone Monday through Friday for the past five weeks and while I've had one breakdown, it's only been one.  Which is pretty good considering the high energy kids I have.  Also the day I had my crying fit was the day I didn't make it to the gym until the evening.  Coincidence? I think not.

The other thing that I have done for myself since moving out here is taking time to be by myself.  By having a girls night or just leaving DH with the kids for a few hours.  Reconnecting with me, the woman that I am beside a mother and wife, has helped ground me.

Lastly, and most importantly in my quest to ground and center myself I have been making time for the Lord in my day.  I read my scriptures daily, I pray, I think of Him often and ask for His help in my daily life.  I feel the difference when I take the time for my own testimony.  When I ask for and allow the Lord to guide my life things work better, I stay calmer.

I wanted to share this with you because there have been some posts where I feel like I'm drowning, but I want you to know that most of the time I am safely in my little boat with a life jacket on.  When life gets overwhelming to good things tend to fade away and I wanted to share part of the good stuff.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


So this has been building since last week.  My DH had his heavy work week and his days off weren't really days off.  So it has felt like I never see him and I'm always alone with the children.  I know that previous sentence is false.  I see him a whole lot more living in the same country and all.  However, church on Sunday was hard, all three boys by myself.  Asher wouldn't stop crawling under and over and around the chairs, Sam kept whining loudly about being starving (he'd eaten a good breakfast and only had to wait until after the Sacrament was served for snacks) Benjamin colored a picture on the floor while trying to walk up the wall.  Benjamin started crying, loudly when I had the audacity to tell him he had to sit up because walking up the wall isn't appropriate behavior.  By the time we got home I was frazzled and I still had the rest of the day alone with those boys.

My DH got home we fed the children and put them to bed.  Then we started watching a movie, a little alone time, a little honey snuggle time.  The DH got up because he heard a noise.  The noise was Asher, leaving our bathroom, after he had painted his toes and fingers.  Literally he painted his toes and fingers, some of the nail polish made it where it should go, on the nails.  The Didgerydoo Your Nails OPI bright Barbie pink nail polish was all over the floor, on the counters, my door, my sheets, Asher's sheets, Asher's clothes, his chin, elbow, feet top and bottom, and hands.  I had to use a whole bottle of nail polish remover to clean up the mess.  I needed more remover, but the BX is currently sold out until June.
He got the polish on the jammies too.
painted toes...

This is what an entire bottle of nail polish looks like.

little nail polish finger prints
yep, little feet prints.

some how he got the polish on his chin and neck too
Monday was supposed to start DH's light work week, but our van arrived YAY! and he was gone all day taking care of van things.  That day I felt a flip switch and I felt like a much crankier version of me had taken over my body.  I told DH this, but he didn't seem very concerned.

On Tuesday he was gone all day taking care of van things.  Asher threw up all over my friend's van.  He also threw major temper tantrums.  The trip to DongDeMoon market was not successful.  I was overwhelmed by the vastness of it and dealing with a sick baby alone. As soon as we got there all the other ladies split in different directions.  The market is really cool, but the trip didn't help with my need to recharge the old batteries.  When I got home from Seoul I got Benjamin from school.  While I was talking to him about his day I heard some banging.  I sounded like plastic on the ground so I wasn't worried.  WRONG!  It was plastic on the toilet seat lid and the plastic was a brand new bottle of shampoo, opened, turned upside-down.  Asher made a spectacular mess in the bathroom I had just cleaned earlier.  Why did I have to clean the bathroom earlier?? Well Asher had crawled out of the bath tub and peed all over the floor, and his shoes.  So he made another mess in the bathroom.

After that fiasco I tried to get him to nap, it'd been a long day he was really cranky.  He wouldn't give it up.  So Benjamin played with him, and Asher cried over every little thing.  Benjamin was being good, sharing, playing softly, but Asher was over tired.  I finally got him to sleep and enjoyed some quiet time. When he woke up he woke up screaming and proceeded to scream for the next hour and a half.  He screamed until DH got home.  DH didn't get home until 7:30.  When DH walked in the door Asher stopped screaming, smiled and acted like he hadn't been screaming for the last 1.5 hours.

That night Asher had a bloody nose, poor guy, he managed to get blood on me, the carpet and my favorite pillow.  Another mess to clean and I wasn't really feeling it, I'd been up at 4:15 the previous day cleaning and running.  I'd gotten the house really clean before I went up to Seoul.  And by Tuesday night it looked like I hadn't done a thing.  So Wednesday midmorning I buckled down and got to work cleaning the messes I had been avoiding, the bathroom and the bloody mess.  Oxyclean works wonders and I got the stain out of the carpet.  I also washed my clothes, pillow and Asher's clothes in Oxyclean.  During this time Asher got into our games and dumped out the Scrabble and Kerplonk games.  I was actually glad for this mess because it just required picking things up, not scrubbing or soaking or any kind of stain removal.

When I went to switch to laundry over my washing machine looked like a chicken war zone.  I just shut the lid and walked away.  I went to my computer and played games avoiding the new mess.  I had done a blog post so I bummed around checking out my page views and stats.  I looked at my feeder sources and saw a web page I hadn't seen before, so I clicked on the link to see who was referring my blog.  Poor choice on my part.  There are some things that you just cannot un-see.  So I tried to find where they were referring my page along and couldn't so I got out of there.  I wanted to call DH, but children making a mess, a feather pillow being eaten in the washing machine, and stumbling upon porn, while stressful and taxing do not an emergency make.  His job is such that I really shouldn't call him unless the house is burning down or we're going to the ER.

The Lord must have heard my desperation because my husband called me.  I started to cry, just a little bit.  DH gave me some encouraging words and told me to just get the bathroom and washing machine taken care of.  So I mustered my reserves and got to work.  I tried to de-feather the clothes in the house but that would have made a big mess.  So I went to our porch and started shaking.  DH got home and I was still out on our porch shaking the feather infested clothes, and he says "Honey do you think that's the best way to take care of this?" I threw the clothing down and told him "FINE YOU DO IT!!" and stormed off to my room and threw myself down on our bed.  DH came in and told me that I was throwing a fit and I couldn't do that.  He tried to hug me and I tried to start a fight with him.  Then with insight husband's sometimes have he stopped looked at me and asked "What is really going on with you?"

Then I started crying in earnest.  Everything I do gets undone so quickly.  I feel like, what's the point??  I  feel worthless doing this job.  The boys just make messes, I have to yell all the time.  I don't like myself when I yell.  I don't like not getting things done, but I feel like I'm drowning.   DH just held me and I cried and cried.  I don't know how other moms hold it together because when I think I'm doing well, keeping up with the house, reading my scriptures, taking time for myself, and enjoying the kids it all seems to come crashing down.  That pillow was my favorite pillow, I've had it since I was 14 and seeing it destroyed tipped me over.   It may be stupid to have a break down over your pillow disintegrating in the wash, but with everything else that's happened I just couldn't handle one more thing.  

DH said a prayer with me and asked for the Lord to help us as parents and me as a wife and mother to realize how important my work really is.  He told me this morning before he left for work that "what you do is important to our family, remember that today"  He's a gem.

So thanks for reading, my life is actually really good, now that I'm a few days removed from it all.  My husband is the very best fit for me.  Asher is a darling, little terror.  Sam is my little helper and snuggler.  Benjamin brings peace.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Korean Cooking Class

So this post is over a week old.  I'm trying to stay on top of my Blog, but somedays it's hard.  Last Tuesday I went to Korean cooking class.  Our teacher Jiyhun Songsimnim (Jiyhun is her name Songsimnim is Korean for teacher) told us about her mom, she died about a year ago and taught her the recipe for Spicey Cabbage.  Her mother never measured anything so, Jiyhun didn't either.  I cook like that so watching her pour in ingredients I translated for the other ladies, "she just pouring in 3/4 C of red peppers, that was about 2 TB of salt" etc.  I learned that the difference between spicy cabbage and kimchi is fermenting time.  Spicy cabbage is soaked in a salty solution for 2-5 hours and then prepared, kimchi is fermented for a month or longer.  We also made Bulgogi, which is Korean BBQ.  If you ever come to Korea and aren't sure about the food Bulgogi is going to be your safest bet.  We also made a soup, called janchi gooksoo, which translates into something like party of noodles.  It's a popular wedding dish, the noodles were served with broth and then it was topped with shredded carrots, zucchini, bean sprouts, egg, seaweed, and slivers of meat.  It's popular at weddings because you can top it with whatever you want.

Jiyhun wouldn't let us cook, but she talked to us the whole time about what she was doing.  She also talked about some Korea eating traditions, such as when someone comes to visit you should always offer food, and we shouldn't refuse an older Korean woman who tries to feed us.  It was a fun class

I was wrong, Jihyun let these 2 stir.

This is me pretending to cook

It tasted pretty good but not THAT good.
The next day on Wednesday I went to a Survival Korean course.  My brain still hurts from that class.  But I did learn how the Korean alphabet works, and some good phrases, like 'where's the bathroom' 'how much is it' 'will you lower the price'  It was a good class and the Korean language doesn't seem so scary anymore.  By no means am I anywhere close to speaking Korean, but I'm not as scared of it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Because mommy is soooooo pretty!

Um, I'm not sure why you're upset, but I'm smiling, shouldn't you??

Life's been busy around here, so busy I haven't taken the time to update like I should.  So here's what's been happening for me.  I have re-learned the lesson, if-they-are-quiet-it-isn't-good.  As shown by the pictures Asher wants to be pretty like mommy.  Yes those are pictures from 2 different days and yes he did ruin 2 tubes of mascara in less than a week.
CHEESE! I'm so pretty!

And the legs need to be pretty as well.

So, if he's quiet I had better make sure that my makeup is put away very high and maybe in a locked box, because this kid is climbing now.

The reason Asher is delighting in my makeup is because I'm using my make up.  For the past two weeks and starting on my third week I have worked out Monday through Friday, come home, showered, shaved (those of you who know me know that shaving is a big deal!) styled my hair, applied makeup and dressed in something other than jeans and a t-shirt.  I'm making positive changes in my life.  I've also been keeping (mostly) up on the laundry and kitchen.  I've heard that if you do something and keep it up for three weeks it becomes a habit.  So here's to the new habits almost formed YAY!

Our household goods have not arrived so I've had to get creative with my cooking.  My friend Leanna came over to help me make cookies.


We didn't have measuring spoons, but I did have a medicine dropper, so after looking up the exchange between tablespoons and mL we were able to measure out the milk.  And forks make the best pastry blenders in a pinch.  The cookies turned out pretty good.  But I am very excited to get my household goods, at least my kitchen things.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Putting My Kitchen to Bed

Yesterday was a pretty big day.  I got the kids out of the house.  We went to the Library, I think I just saved my husband hundreds of dollars by finding and using the base library.

Then to the BX to get Easter presents, I got Legos for Benjamin, Star Wars coloring book for Sam, Tonka Cars for Asher and...shhh it's a secret...an iPod Nano for DH.  He never reads my blog, unless I read it to him, so I think my secret is safe for the next two days.  He already has an iPod touch but he cannot run with it so he's been asking for one and I've been telling him "NO!" but, hehe, he'll be pretty surprised when he finds his Easter basket.

After the BX we came home and I read one of my books from the library.  I finished around 5 feeling very guilty because there was tons of housework that needed to be done.  I marshaled the troops and we got to work, my goal, have the house clean before DH got home from work at 6:30.  We got to work and the boys helped pick up toys and I managed to, mop the floor, clean the living room, clean the kitchen, rotate laundry, and have dinner ready all by the time DH got home.  We had a good dinner as a family, sitting around the table, then after dinner I got up and took care of the dinner mess.  I had the boys help clear off the table and DH bring me the left overs so I could put them away.  The kitchen is so much easier to clean right away rather than waiting for the next morning.  Waking up to a clean kitchen felt so good.  Like I had a jump start of housekeeping for today.

After dinner we had FHE.  Late I know, but with DH's schedule we have to be flexible.  Our lesson was on our relationship to Heavenly Father.  Benjamin and Sam both knew that Heavenly Father is the father of our Spirits.  We also talked about talents and how we can use them to help others.  For our game we sock wrestled, DH has an unfair advantage because he's got really long legs and arms.

Yesterday was a pretty good day, I got things done, read a book, had quality time with my family and went to bed early.  I feel like I'm finding my stride here in Korea.