Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts 2.21.13

What's going on in your world?  Here are some random thoughts and what's up with us lately:
  • Talton & I are super happy about a trip we're planning to Tokyo Disney in April!  Neither of us have ever been to Disney in the U.S., so it's kind of funny and really neat that our first experience with Disney will be in another country.  We are both like little kids we're so excited!
  • I'm so over the cold.  Don't get me wrong, it has been a nice change of pace to actually have a winter because we don't get that in Houston.  BUT (and it's a big but) I'm tired of being stuck inside most days of the week, because it's just too frickin cold to take these boys out.  Getting Parker to keep gloves on his hands for more than 3 minutes is like asking me to eat a bowl of ain't happening.  I can't wait to throw on my flip flops and take these boys outside more! 
  • Talton and I are loving watching some of our favorite American TV shows via iTunes.  Do any of you watch The Amazing Race?  We looooove much so (and this is where our competitive sides come out) that we choose a team to win the whole thing in the first 5 minutes of the first episode....and then get in each other's faces when our team does better than the other's.  We're also into Ax Men and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (okay, maybe T doesn't live for this show but he's a great hubby who indulges me :)  ).  Some of our other favorites that we've bought past seasons of on iTunes and we're anxiously waiting on them to come back on are Parenthood and Whale Wars.....oh, and Real Housewives of New Jersey.  :)
  • Apparently our 3 year old didn't get the memo on his third birthday that he's officially out of the "Terrible 2" stage.  Honestly, he is an amazing kid!  We love how independent, talkative, funny, energetic, loveable, and smart our 3 year old is, and most of the time I question what people mean when they say the "Thunderous 3's".  I don't know where he got the money, but somewhere recently he bought a "brave hat" and a "big attitude", because he thinks "No", "I don't have to", and screaming to get what he wants is gonna fly around here.  I hear this is completely normal behavior and I'm sure my parents are thinking "What goes around comes around".  I've also caught myself saying to him, "I know your hearing works.  I've had it checked"....yeah Mom, laugh it up....just remember what you felt like when you said that to me 30 years ago while you're giggling.  Anywho, we'll keep chugging along with that fun stuff (insert sarcasm here) until what I'm praying is the "Fantastic 4's" arrives....oh wait, then we'll be revisiting the 3's all over again with P.  What are the chances he'll learn from his big brother?????  A mommy and daddy can hope, can't they??
  • We officially have some of my favorite people coming to visit us this summer!!!  I'm beyond excited for my sister Kelsie, my brothers DJ and Ryan, and Ryan's girlfriend Kaylon to get here!  I catch myself thinking, "Oh, I want to take them here or there" all the time.  I'm especially over the moon for them to not only travel internationally for the first time but also for them to get this amazing life experience of seeing the world and how another culture lives.
  • I still have the decorations up from Parker's Toy Story birthday party a week ago.  I'm talking full on decorations hanging from the ceiling and everything.  The only thing missing is the cupcake with the candle.  I feel like the people who don't take their Christmas lights down until May.  Whatever, it makes him happy to see Slinky Dog hanging above his chair at the table.  I'll take it down soon enough.
  • I can't believe it's nearly March!  Crazy how time flies.
  • And with March this year comes Easter.  Is it just me or does it feel a little odd to have Easter in March?  I always equate March with Spring Break and April with Easter.  I've been shopping online for the boys' Easter basket goodies from the Easter Bunny.  Our Easter Bunny brings the boys bathing suits every year....funny, my Easter Bunny use to do the same thing!  What a small world! ;)  I have a feeling he's (wait a minute...Does the Easter Bunny have to be a "he"? Can it be a "she" instead?  Food for thought..) going to bring them some other fun goodies too.  The thing is, I have to ship it all to my mom and have her pack up boxes to send me.  Not cheap, but worth it.  :)  I figure that I'd rather pay for a couple boxes FULL of stuff for the same price I'd pay for a couple items to ship here alone.
  • I hear there's a massage place near my building that I'm considering trying.  As long as it's not as rough as my Thai massage was, I'll be good.  :)
  • For those of you that don't know, we don't ever watch TV here.  Most of the channels are in Korean, and the ones that are in English are reruns of old crime show sitcoms or an old movie every now and then.  Even the kids' shows are in Korean.  Of course they are, because we do live in Korea.  So we just don't watch TV.  (Funny thing...When we were in Houston for nearly 5 1/2 weeks a couple months ago, I completely forgot to ever turn the TV on to watch any show because I was so use to not watching television.)  We have TONS of kid movies that are usually background noise for whatever is going on around here, and Talton and I rent or buy shows and movies from iTunes.  My point is, I miss American TV.  What I'd do to watch daily episodes of Ellen.  I can't seem to figure out how to watch that show either on iTunes or on the internet, so if anyone knows, please fill a girl in.  Thanks. :)
  • I'm really loving that Connar is getting better about putting his underwear on the right way.  Although, I will miss seeing two legs in one hole or, better yet, the front in the back.  Ha!
  • I love shopping online.  It's so convenient, and I can be a tad indecisive sometimes (What can I say?  I'm a little bit of a perfectionist and want to get things right the first time.) which is why shopping online is so good for me.  I can put it in my cart, think about it for a while, compare it to other possibilities, and delete it later if I decide against it or find something I like better.
  • I hate plucking my eyebrows, and I've had to resort to that because the one place I've seen that waxes here is in the mall at The Brow Bar, and it costs like $30.   Um, no ma'am.  I can think of a lot of other things I'd rather spend my money on than getting that done once or twice a shopping online, of course!  :)
Okay, I think I'll wrap up these random thoughts for now.  I hope you all have a beautiful Thursday wherever you are.....Busan was gorgeous today!  xoxo

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

kindness is a universal language

So the boys and I have been some crazy baking fools this week....and it's only Tuesday!

Sunday, we baked brownies together.  Yum!  Thank you, Dad, for sending me two boxes of brownie mix.  I don't even remember the last time I had a brownie; at least a year...way before we moved to Korea.  It was just as good as I remember--the batter AND the cooked brownie.  :)  We kept some for ourselves, sent some to our friends, and I sent the rest to work with Talton with instructions to tell his Korean coworkers "this is what America tastes like".  He said they loved it!  I often send goodies to work with him, because I think it's fun for them to taste our favorite American treats.

Then, on Monday we baked sugar cookies and rimmed them with colored sprinkles.  They were delicious too!  Today the boys and I were heading to the market, and I decided that this was as good a time as any to teacher Connar how to give without receiving.  We bagged up some sugar cookies to surprise some of our favorite Korean market vendors.

Our first stop was the man we buy oranges from.  He thought Connar was trying to give his own cookies away, and he kept smiling at Connar and pushing them back.  He absolutely refused to take them from Connar, because he just didn't want to take a little boy's cookies.  So sweet of him, but it was definitely a moment I wish I knew how to speak Korean, because all of my hand gestures and English just weren't getting our "act of kindness" message across.  He didn't understand that we brought them especially for him, as a gift.  So we left him....with cookies in hand.  :)

Our next stop was the lady we buy tomatoes from.  Even though her English is limited to "bye bye", she totally understood that we wanted to give the bag of cookies to her and that they were a gift just for her.  She smiled so big, and then said "kamsahamnida" (thank you).  It was amazing!  She promptly opened the bag of cookies and split the two cookies between her and the other two ladies sitting nearby.  She then held it up toward me and smiled again before taking another nibble.  (She is the one on the left in the picture below.)  I just adore her.  Really, I do.  Not only does she give the boys a free orange each every time she sees them, but she also pulls their blankets up to their chins, tugs their coat hoods down over their foreheads, and says something in Korean that I imagine is, "It's cold, little one!  Cover up!" when it's chilly outside.  She's a doll.

Since the first man didn't want to take our bag of cookies due to our message getting lost in translation, I thought all the way on our walk back home who else we could deliver that bag of cookies to.  As we pulled up to our building, I saw that the man who always helps me in Quiznos was working (I frequently go in there just for a drink....nothing compares to a fountain drink!).  I asked Connar if he wanted to give the man some cookies.  He thought about it, remembered how I said we have more cookies at home that he could have when we got there and it would be a nice/kind thing to give these cookies to someone else, and then he said, "Yes."  Woo hoo!  I was elated that he had been listening to me about giving the cookies away even though he wanted them for himself.  When we got to the door, he wouldn't budge.  He wanted me to go in with him.  I did, and then he wanted me to hold him while we handed off the cookies.  That was fine.  He can be shy, and the fact that he even went that close was a success in my eyes.  That young man was so surprised and excited to receive our cookies.  He went over and showed his coworker immediately with a big old grin on his face.  Priceless!

I'll continue to do little acts of kindness here and there while we live in Korea, because I want Connar (and Parker when he's old enough) to learn how to give without receiving and what a great feeling you get by making someone else happy for no reason.  I don't know when the next time will be, but I do know this.  Kindness is a universal language.  And that's a lesson I want my boys to take away from our time here when it's all said and done.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tot School is now in session!

Since moving to Korea, Talton's coworkers often ask if C & P are in kindergarten yet.  By "kindergarten" they mean "school", and by "school" they mean "daycare".  They are literally in awe that a mom would want to stay home with her kids all day when there is an option to send them to kindergarten for most, if not all, of the day.  It's just how they do it around here.


(1) They do stay home with me on a daily basis, which means they don't get learning activities and experiences from any other sources ,
(2) Connar has been showing interest in letters and numbers recently, and
(3) Connar is now 3 and it's time for him to get into some sort of structured learning ...
... I decided to start our version of Tot School this week. 

I've been racking my brain with how I wanted to tackle the alphabet and numbers with him for months now, but I just couldn't decide on any one way.  So in true teacher fashion, I jumped right in and have been flying by the seat of my pants every day, which in the end has actually turned out better than any "plan" I was working on.

Have you ever seen this poster (I found this one on Pinterest)?

It is so right on with how I'm rolling with our Tot School activities!

We're getting into a rhythm and a bit of a routine with certain things we've been revisiting and practicing each day, and I find myself thinking of new activities as we're knee deep in another.  I love it!

I also love how much C is enjoying this.  It's music to his ears to hear me say, "Let's do some school stuff!"  He gets so excited and runs to the table, anxiously waiting for me to pull something out.

I bought a set of alphabet posters on a great website called (because a smart and efficient teacher knows there's no reason to reinvent the wheel for no good reason, right?!) and hung them at Connar's eye level in our front hall.  A-Z snakes from one side of the hall to the other.  I did that on purpose so he could touch each letter with a pointer (or in our case, a spatula!) as he sings the alphabet song.

I'll update more on our first letter of Tot School, "A", once we finish with it, but I absolutely had to share this video of Connar singing the alphabet song while tapping the letters with the spatula.  He does such a great job!  My favorite part has to be "L-M-N-O-P" which in his language is "L-M-Memo_P".  Awesome!  :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

PARKER is 2!

Dear Parker,
You're 2 years old now!  I can hardly believe it.  It seems like just yesterday that I had you all to myself when you were snug in your first home, under my heart.  I watched the video of you being born today, and I cried like a baby as the moment got closer and closer.  I waited to hear your first cry and blocked everyone else out until I heard you.  You can see my lips silently mouthing, "Please cry.. Please cry.. Please cry.." over and over again.  Then, you let out a big cry and I knew everything was perfect because you had made your grand entrance into not only the world but our family.

Speaking of family, just like that, our family of three became a family of four.  Your brother was only 15 months old at the time, so he had no idea how amazing this gift of a brother would truly end up being.  Now, two years later, you're 2 and Connar's 3, and y'all are the best of play like it and fight like it.

You're our Bug/Buggy, one of the loves of your daddy and my lives, and you ooze with love.  I love how you grab my head and press your face against mine or when you turn my head because you insist on kissing me square on the cheek.  And the way you say, "Mom-Me!" just melts my heart!  Watching you learn a new word or skill every day is thrilling, and I'm so blessed that I'm able to stay home with you and see it all firsthand.  Your daddy and I thank God for trusting us to raise you in our family.

Just like I tell you every night...
I love you to infinity and beyond.
- Mommy


After the boys went to bed the night before Parker's birthday, I set up all the decorations and even put balloons around his door.  It's always fun to see their reaction when they wake up and see all this colorful, fun stuff for a party that was not there when they went to bed the night before.  :)

Parker sat at the table admiring the Toy Story decorations while he had his morning milk.  :)

They were dying for me to take the balloons off Parker's door!

The big brother took his little brother on a special birthday bike ride around the house!

It was finally time for Parker's Skype birthday party!  We set up the iPad so people in Houston could see him, and he went about unwrapping them all.  He had been eyeing those presents for hours!   I was so impressed by his attention span, because just two months ago, he wasn't the least bit interested in opening any Christmas gifts.

I love the birthday card my mom made for Parker!

They had a cookie cake on their end and...

... we had cupcakes on ours.  Yummy!

P's Uncle Ryan had the honors of blowing out the two candles on the cookie cake there.  :)

Parker was overwhelmed by all the people singing to him that he started crying and hid his face.  Cue the big brother!

It will be a sad, sad day when I take a picture of his hands and no longer see a dimple on each knuckle....

I took the boys outside to ride their bikes, and Parker couldn't wait to get off his bike and play in the dirt with the rocks and sticks.  He was totally in his element.  We even had to take a big rock inside with us, because he just couldn't part with it.  How could I not let him on his birthday?!

Mommy loves you, Parker Reid.  You are so very special to our family.

**Here's a FUN FACT about Parker!**
Most people have no idea why Talton and I call Parker "Bug" (seriously, maybe one or two people know).  Sure, it's a cute term of endearment, but it also has meaning for us.  While he's our second child, he's also our last child.  I wanted a nickname that reflected that, so I did some research when he was a newborn and learned that the last car on a train is referred to as a "buggy".  Ever since then, the name has stuck.  He's my "Bug", "Parker Bug", and sometimes even my "Buggy".  :)

dress up fun

Who needs girls to play dress up?!  Not in our house!

Connar stuck to his favorite costume while Parker took on many roles.  :)

He put his Woody hat on him gently and then...

... backed away really quickly to admire his work.  :)
 We were both thrilled that Parker kept the hat on his head for so long!  He even forgot about it while he was watching a movie, which meant that I had time to take some pictures.  :)

Spider Man helped himself to the container of strawberry muffins that were on the counter.  :)

I adore these littles of mine!

a box of love

My mom and stepdad sent the boys a box full of goodies and gifts for Valentine's Day and Parker's birthday.  Man, you should see these boys sprint to the door when they hear the delivery man ring our bell!  :)

GrammE mailed Connar his monkey that he left behind in Houston when we came back to Korea in January.  We didn't do it on purpose actually.  He dropped it on the driveway when we were packing into the car at 6 am, and we didn't realize it until we got home and I was looking for it.  It's a good thing he has two because the other held him over until GrammE mailed this one.  :)  That's the face of happiness right there!

Thank you for all the boys' goodies Mom and Joel!  xoxo

The Pho

I'm on a roll, people!  My friend and I went to dinner last night, and I tried Vietnamese food for the first time in my life.  I'm not sure where this brave streak has come from, but I'm loving the adventures it's taking me on and the memories it's allowing me to make.

The rice paper is on the left, above the bowl of hot water.  You dip it in the water, pull it out and lay it on your plate, and then you fill it up with whatever meat, vegetables, and/or sauce that suits your fancy.

I put pork, chicken, and red peppers in mine with a little sauce, rolled it up, and got to chewing.  The ingredients inside the roll were good.  It was the texture of the rice paper itself that I couldn't get past.  I ate the entire roll to give it a fair chance, but if it had been any bigger, that would not have been the case.  Once wet, the rice paper is wayyyyy too rubbery for me.  I'm gagging now just thinking about the texture.

I ate all the chicken hidden in this dish.  Yum!

This was beef Pho, and it was my favorite!  If I ever go back here, I'll be getting a bowl double the size of this and going to town.  :)
So in the past month I've tried samgyetang, dakgalbi, and Vietnamese.  I wonder where my courage will take me next!