Thursday, January 31, 2008

My hidden talent

I have a hidden motto is, "there is always room for one more dish!" Does anyone else do this? These pictures are examples from two days this week. I mean, this is truly an art people! You need to strategicly place the tall plates and the cutting board on the edge so they can support the larger pots/pans leaning against them on the top of the pile. My talent is also well applied to dishwashers (did I mention that we are WITHOUT a dishwasher while in Korea? hoo). My husband does not share this passion. He would much rather get out a towel and shorten the stack than try to find that perfect balance. Are you a stacker?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Puppy Love

No, we didn't add a puppy to our family, but I am in LOVE with this one (in a love to come and visit you, but glad to give you back after my puppy fix kinda way)! I found him in one of the blanket stores (they have VERY soft blankets here which are one of my favorite Korean commodities...second only to my "designer" purses), and I go back to visit whenever possible.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday finest

New stuff on my sidebar!

Hey everyone! Let me introduce you to my new addiction....shelfari! My friend, Angela, noticed the list of books and my ratings for them that I recently added to my sidebar (don't look is gone). She invited me to join shelfari, and it is a great way to keep track of what I have read, am reading, and would like to read. I am not so good at thinking of titles and authors, so this is perfect for me. Several of my real life friends and my blogging friends have been talking or posting about goals for reading this year. Join me!

If you click on the "shelfari" logo at the top of my bookshelf, you can see all the books I have added to my bookshelf, my ratings (1-5 stars), my favorites (designated by a heart), and my reviews (if I have written one for that particular book). If you click on a book, it will direct you to another page with more reviews and info about the book and a link to buy it from Ama.zon. The site is VERY user friendly. If you join, please let me know. It will be fun to see what you are reading and what your favorite books are. You don't need to have a blog to do this, but if you do blog, the site makes it very easy to add it to your blog.

I have only started to add books and write reviews, so my site will probably have some tweaking over the next week or two. Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I needed a new post idea...

...and as I was looking through some of the pictures on my computer, I realized that my blogging public is only aware of family events from recent months. So, today, I thought I would give you a little summer in January. Enjoy Adeline in all her stylish bea.chwear. You will not be seeing any of the rest of this family in our bea.chwear finary any time long does it take for this baby weight to disappear?

Can I tell you how excited I was the first time I put her in this suit (thanks Brooke)!?! CUTE is this girl?!?! Hope your day is full of warmth and sunshine (or snow is fun too).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Playing with Daddy

She takes position...

...the stare down...


There are oh so many games to play with daddy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Christmas photo...

Okay, so I know this is REALLY late in the game, but I started thinking recently that I never posted our Christmas picture from this year. Those of you who I know through the bloggy world and friends in Korea are not on our snail mail Christmas card list. I was really happy with the photo, so I thought I should actually post it. Better late than never!

...and here is a bonus picture of Adeline just because she is so darn cute!

Happiness is...

I am following my friend, Sarah's, lead today...

Happiness is (a list from today's activities)....

...Adeline's face in the morning when I hear her talking, open her door, and she first sees my face.
...a hot shower with good water pressure
...dressing my baby girl in a cute outfit
...getting out the door on time
...Sta.rbuck's chai latte
...going to the flower market with a friend to help her celebrate her 30th birthday!
...Adeline having no break downs during above excursion
...getting a card from my aunt in the mail
...yummy left overs cream
...Adeline's laughter
...spending a few hours of quality time with Patrick before he had to go to work tonight
...Adeline crawling na.ked from her room to the bathroom squealing with anticipation for her bath.
...reading bedtime stories to Adeline
...having a quiet evening to myself after 7 pm (Adeline's bedtime) with the house reasonably clean and the dishes done

...Praise is good.....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Plans for Valentine's Weekend

This post is for all my friends living in Korea (notice I did not say Korean friends because most of you are not, in fact, Korean). My extroverted, Type A self is planning a group date for the Saturday after Valentine's Day (that would be Feb 16). Since there is a contingent of you that are now reading my blog, I thought this might be a good way to get the word out. The idea for this started when we were unable to get tickets to see Nanta for our anniversary.

For those who know nothing about Nanta, it has been described to me as being similar to a Stomp performance only using kitchen utensils instead of trash cans. There is a loose storyline that is nonverbal, thus no problem with the language barrier. It is supposed to have some humor and minimal audience participation (which makes it perfect for a group). For more information, you can click here. Okay, so here is the plan...

1. We leave on the 12:20 bus from Osan (because it is much more fun to travel with the group for our group with the bus lane, we will get there much faster on a Saturday).

2. We arrive at Yongsan at 1:30 and shop at Chosun until it closes at 3 (It's my trip, so of course there is shopping involved. But really, when you are at Yongsan sans kids on a Saturday, shouldn't there always be at least some effort to go to Chosun?).

3. We take the subway to see the 4:00 Nanta show (50,000 Won per ticket).

4. Dinner at Sables restaurant in Dragon Hill Lodge.

5. We take the 8:00 bus back to Osan.

I have reserved 14 spots for the show. I will purchase the bus tickets and make dinner reservations ahead of time as well. It is still early, so if there is a big interest in this trip, I will try to get more tickets. But for now, it is first-come-first-serve. If you are interested, just call, email, or comment on this post (make sure I have either your phone # or email address). I can't wait!

Monday, January 14, 2008

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

This post is the preamble to the pictures and stories of events from our trip to China. Overall, we had a nice vacation and I am proud that we took the proverbial bull by the horns and took full advantage of this opportunity. However, this will not make our top 10 list for favorite vacations. When I was 14 (and too cool to be seen with my parents and pretty much a brat for a large portion of the day), we took a family vacation to Disney world that reminded me of this trip. It was a whirlwind tour. We woke up every day with a full schedule of activities planned and crashed every night. Our tour guide met us at the airport, and we hit the ground running with a full day of sightseeing, shopping, and a show. We knew we were pushing Adeline's limits by the time we put her in bed that night.

China is dirty. You can almost feel the pollution in the air and on your skin after you have been outside for a while. After being in Pakistan, I was really hoping to never encounter a squatty potty glad I brought the hand sanitiser. Those who know me, know I abhor smoking. It makes my eyes itch, I hate the smell, and I hate the way it lingers on my clothes and in my hair. No one was happier than me when laws started changing in many cities/counties in the US to outlaw smoking in public places. Well, the "smoking can kill you" ads must not have made it to China because people everywhere were smoking. There was not a non-smoking section in any of the restaurants, and people were even smoking in the airport!

The combination of the above things and the fact that Patrick (who NEVER gets sick) has been battling, and losing the battle with, a horrible cough for several weeks, resulted in us all having pretty bad colds by the second day. This made sleeping in the same room a disaster. Patrick would cough and wake up Adeline, who would then cry, and I would lament the fact that I had to get out of my warm bed to comfort her and wish they could both just be quiet so we could all get some much needed rest. I have to interject a very funny story about our hotel...when we opened the door to our room, we found two single beds separated by a table (all secured to the wall). We called the front desk, and they told us they would fix it the next night. We didn't put up much of a fight considering we were all tired and we really needed to get Adeline to sleep. They never mentioned it again, and we just let it slide since we were all sick by the second day. Considering she was sick and completely out of her normal routine, Adeline did great. She was a real trooper.

Our vacation package included airfare, hotel, all our meals, a tour guide, a driver, admission to the historic sites and tickets for an acrobatic show and an opera. The itinerary also included shopping. Of course, they take you to select factories with outrageous prices. We later learned the tour guide is required to take you to these places, keep you there for a predetermined period of time, and gets paid commission if you buy something. My favorite example is from the jade factory. It was an interesting tour, learning about the art of carving jade, how you can tell quality jade from imitation, etc. At the end of the tour, they had me try on bracelets. They found "the perfect one" for me. It was just a plain ring of jade, about a half inch thick. I was SURE we had done the conversion wrong when figuring out the price. It was $10,000!!! They acted surprised when I didn't want to buy it. The story was the same, just change the merchandise at the pearl factory, silk factory, cloisonne factory, and tea house.

Despite all of this, we had a lot of great experiences, most of which I will expound on in the next post with pictures. However, I can't close this segment without telling you about the amazing shopping on the last day...of course they save it for the end. We went to Lido Market which is the center of bargaining, knock-offs, and great deals. It is a two-story building with tiny stalls everywhere with cashmere, brand name coats and backpacks, shoes, purses, clothes, sunglasses, watches, and kids clothes. I never owned a cashmere sweater before, and now I own several. Are they real? I don't know...but who cares when they are super soft and dirt cheap!?! I also bought the classic $20 North face coat that around here is a sign that you have probably been to China. Again, probably not real, but it seems like great quality, and is extremely comfortable. Patrick was amazed by my ability to bargain. He always thought we would pay twice as much as I did, and I was never turned down for a price. You just have to shoot SUPER low. For example, I would say "$8", and they would throw a fit and say, "you must be joking, this is great quality. It is worth at least $90, but I will let you have it for $65." I would say, "okay, I'll give you $10." They say, "no really, what is your best price?" I say $10 and walk away. They yell, "$20.... (keep walking) $15...$12...$11....Okay, Okay! Madam, $10." Too fun!

China Adventure

This is Adeline with the paparazzi after we got off the plane in China. I later learned that Chinese people don't take their children out until they are around 2 (huh?!?!), so Adeline was even more of a celebrity than in Korea (if that is possible). In hindsight, we really didn't see many babies there, and everywhere we went, people kept insisting that she was cold. It didn't matter how many layers I had on her, we still got the look of, "poor baby, her parents are too young and stupid to know you aren't supposed to take your baby outside in the cold."

This is our tour guide, Susan, and our driver (very nice and a very good driver, but unfortunately a smoker).

Adeline slept as we walked through Tienanmen Square, and from there, we entered the Forbidden City.

This is some of the architecture inside the Forbidden City. The figures on the corner of the roof are different animals that each have a meaning. The number of animals also depicts the importance of the building (see I was listening to at least some of the tour).

The Great Wall

This was an amazing experience. We were all geared up to take Adeline with us in a backpack carrier, but our tour guide offered to stay with her in the van while we hiked. The wall is as long as New York to LA!

We had some great food. It turns out that authentic Chinese food tastes a lot like good Chinese food in the US.

This was one of the stops that was clearly planned for tourists, with merchandise that was grossly overpriced, but I really enjoyed it. We learned about different types of tea, what makes them special, how they taste, etc. For any of you who know me, and my love for anything tea related, this was one of the highlights for me.

We saw two shows (we turned down the opera on the third night because we were exhausted). The first was a Chinese acrobatic show. Amazing! They were able to get into positions and balance in ways that I never thought possible.

The second show (no pictures allowed) was a martial arts show at the suggestion/insistence of our tour guide. The tickets amazingly became half price on the second day when we didn't sound interested on the first day. We really did enjoy the show, and it made us feel a little better about not earning much commission for our tour guide at the Chinese tourist traps.

After so much excitement, Adeline and I had it! Goodnight everyone...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Leaving the country

By the way, we are leaving in the morning for an impromptu (as in booked last week) trip to China.  It is a four day package where you get the flight, hotel, meals, and tours for one price.  The itinerary includes trips to see the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, a Chinese opera, an acrobatics show, the Forbidden City, lots of shopping, and a dinner including Beijing duck.  So, I will be absent from the blogging world for a few days, but Lord willing, I will have some great posts with some great adventures to report when we return.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Adeline redecorates

This is what happens when you leave a bowl too close to the edge of the table, then leave the room, and there is a 10 month old in a highchair. She redecorated herself (gotta love the globs in her hair) and my kitchen.

She already looked like this when I found her, so I just laughed and let her play in it for a while.

At least she solved the question about whether or not this was going to be bath night....

Sunday finest

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

Our friends, Emil and Kristin (and their boys, n and e) had us over to celebrate the New Year.  Notice I did not say, "to bring in the New Year," because in the grown-up days of working (Patrick needed to get up at 4:30 to get ready for work) and dealing with baby sleep schedules (although Adeline did sleep in a pack-and-play while we were there), partying until midnight is not prudent.  We put the kids down soon after we got there, and then enjoyed a nice adult dinner and adult conversation.  We played the game my parents got us for Christmas (Qwirkle), and then Emil taught us a card game (Sheepshead).  Patrick and I love trump games with strategy, so this was right up our alley.  We had a great time.  Happy New Year everyone!  I would love to hear what you did.....

Sunday finest