9.02.2014

So much random smushed into one post

  • Not even 8am and both children have been in multiple timeouts. There is also a 100% chance of rain for the rest of the day. This doesn't bode well for that bottle of wine sitting on my counter.
  • In case you are wondering about our apartment inspection, let me calm your fears- our building is still standing and everything is fine. Apparently there was some sort of issue with a warranty inspection that the complex had a few years back, blah blah blah. So we had to go and point out each individual problem with the house while a man who spoke no English took pictures of the deficiencies. A woman who spoke English accompanied him. Every time the man bent down to take a picture, Sam and Molly would squat down with him, and thoroughly inspect the damaged area to see if they could provide further insight. I showed them some areas that had been damaged when we moved in (in case it somehow helped their case? We all know I don't know what I'm doing here) and when I would point out a crack in the flooring, Sam would bend over and chime in with, "Oh yeah. Four's boken. I boke da four." Woman: "Oh! Ahahaha! You boke dis four? How you do that?" Sam: "I jus did it. I boke it." Me: (all the nervous laughing you can imagine) "Sam! Quit being so silly! You didn't break the floor! It has been like that since we moved in! I swear it's been like that since we moved in. We did not break it. Promise." (daggers shoot from my eyes towards Sam)
  • The kids started back at preschool yesterday. No one wanted to go at first, but once they walked in the door, they dropped their backpacks, took off their shoes, and ran to play. What bliss! Then Steve and I went to a coffee shop for breakfast, browsed the PX in peace (no cats to herd!), and then had beef and leaf for lunch. This is the life.
  • Just wrote out a very long, ranty bullet point about how much I hate patrolling the playground and how the complete lack of parental involvement is driving me to drink. I decided to delete it because it was very ugly and whiny. But in summary: Just because your kids are older doesn't mean that you don't need to monitor them.
  • And on a related note, I am already sad about leaving Korea. We've got under a year left and it makes me teary just thinking about it. I see the asshole Americans at our apartment complex and I am sickened at the thought of being surrounded by nothing but that again. I want to stay in this kid-friendly, safe, polite, smiley society. Granted, every country has its downfalls, but I see so many more in America than I do here. I never imagined I would love this place as much as I do, but I find myself wanting to freeze time here. I love our little town, our favorite kids cafe and the owners who know my kids by name, the endless pedestrian options, the beautiful nature that surrounds us, how close we are to the big and bustling city of Seoul, the sweet old ajummas at our beef and leaf, the myriad of playgrounds, the pure love of children, this list could go on forever. Steve doesn't share my "freeze time" sentiments because the Army is tres stupido here (where is it not?!), but I have a feeling I am going to be SO VERY DEPRESSED when it comes time to move. (Prepare yourself for many a sad blog post- coming Summer 2015.)
  • Lest you think all of my English-speaking neighbors are the pits, I do have a few friends in our apartment complex. We succeeded in convincing one of the gals that she needs an inflatable bounce house in her living room so that our children don't murder our sanity come winter. AND SHE ACTUALLY BOUGHT ONE. I'm paying my admission in fresh bread.
  • Related to the above bullet, my confidence in the kitchen has grown by approximately 8,000% this past month since I have successfully made pizza dough AND sandwich bread from scratch! I am naturally scared of yeasty products, so this is A Very Big Deal for me. And after tasting the finished products, Steve has declared that he "can't go back", so I ordered a bread box off of Amazon and committed to an entire JAR of yeast instead of the tiny packets. Oh there's no turning back now!
  • The highs for next week are in the 70s. YOU GUYS. My bread-making skillz could not have come at a worse time. I refuse to online shop for jeans, so I MUST fit into the ones I have here. That, or leggings. (Let's be real, it's probably going to be mostly leggings. Because homemade bread.) 
  • After much internal debate (Casey and Kelly, you know the struggle was real), I caved and got the Fitbit. Let me tell you, that little bracelet is motivating. Does anyone else have one? Let's link up so you can taunt me to get up and move during naptime.
  • We spent this past Saturday at our favorite friend's house.
  • We had big plans to go to the zoo, but poor Luke got called into work at the last minute. So after he got back, we picked up some lunch and hit up a semi-shaded park.
  • During what should have been naptime, the kids watched a movie and played while Steve slept on the floor, I drank beer, and watched Aggie skillfully decorate her house. We had dinner (and wine!), sang happy birthday to Luke, watched the kids blow out his candles, and then bathed everyone. We drove home and chucked the kids straight into bed. Such a fun day.
  • Molly's most recent timeout turned into a nap. It's only 830am. Apparently 530 is too early to wake up for the day. Ummm..... TOLD YA SO.
  • Was alerted to this field of flowers exactly one week before Steve goes to the field for a month. Since I cannot bring any clients out here for pictures, I drug my poor offspring out and made them stand awkwardly while I snapped photos and Koreans stood behind me and stared at our ginger sideshow.










    8.20.2014

    Quitting, my extensive medical training, Korean massage, and my genius solution to show my kids I have follow-through

    • Yikes, it's been a minute since I've written anything here! If you are my mother, or like-minded, you might have noticed that I haven't done a 365 photo post in about 3ish weeks. That is half due to my laptop crashing and taking everything with it, and half due to me just being lazy and not breaking my camera out every single day. It kinda started to feel like a looming chore that I only remembered at the end of the day when there was (obvs) no natural light. So maybe that will reconvene at a later date. Maybe not. Life is too short and I've decided to stop caring about silly things like self-imposed challenges/deadlines.
    We'll start off with the one real-camera pic I've taken of my family recently. I call it "Don't leave us, Daddy. She's only had one cup of coffee."
    • Speaking of life being too short, I am now trained to PROLONG your life in case of an emergency such as choking, cardiac arrest, cardiac arrest due to choking, making a sling out of triangle-shaped bandages, and very loosely wrapping a flesh wound until you can get your injured self to someone who knows what they're actually doing. If your local Red Cross offers a "blended learning" course in first aid/CPR/AED, I highly suggest you take it! The bulk of the class is done online and is very thorough. Then you spend two hours hammering out the physical details and working on bringing your dummy back to life. Spoiler alert: your dummy will never show signs of life because he has no arms and has been severed from the waist down due to some seriously horrific accident and you will leave defeated. But it's not a total loss because they give you your certification card and some flash cards in case you forget how to do everything you just learned. Although I feel more confident now in my life-saving abilities, I did spend most of the class praying that I never have to deal with one of these situations.
    • After returning home from my class, I took the kids out to our apartment's playground area and it was swarming with kids. I turned to talk to a friend and then I heard a scream. Sam was sitting on the ground surrounded by some big kids and an old Korean man that was rhythmically humming over him. (?) Apparently this hoodlum RAN OVER my Sam with her BIG BIKE with METAL BARS coming out of her BIG TIRES. (Seriously, why are people buying their kids these awful bikes?) His leg looked horrible and the little girl (little as in age, not in size) wouldn't ever directly answer my questions because I think she was scared I was gonna go batshit crazy on her. But, we are fairly certain that said hoodlum wasn't paying any attention (safe to say that Sam wasn't either, or was still in his "the world revolves around me" bubble), Sam ran in front of her, and then her front metal bar took him out, then her back tire ran over him. I thought his kneecap had shattered (was envisioning dealing with "doctors" here and uncorking a wine bottle in my head), but after I promised him a show if he let me put ice on him, he calmed down and then.... STARTED WALKING ON IT. (facepalm) Later, I asked him how his leg was feeling and he put on his pitiful face and started limping on THE OPPOSITE LEG and well, let's just say that I'm still drinking wine, but for slightly different reasons. So while his leg looks nasty, he's feeling fine- jumping off of couches, beds, chairs, tables, running, running, running, and even kicking his sister. I'd say the rest, ice, and elevation (THANKS RED CROSS CLASS) really contributed to his quick recovery. Was hoping to wait a few years or never to test out my newly learned skills, but now I really feel like that $50 was well spent.

    • Speaking of getting beat up, I got another Korean massage. (I KNOW.) But this time I just opted for a FOOT massage. I thought, surely, this will be better. But surely, it was not. It was like he unleashed all of his anger on my lower half instead of my entire body. Because of course the foot massage went all the way up to my pelvis. At one point, he was actually punching me in the thighs and then slapped my ass before assaulting me from the other side. My (pregnant) friend that was with me got a much gentler massage (so, #protip: puff out your gut, rub your belly, and tell your Korean masseuse that you're prego and maybe then they'll go easy on you). I was laughing so hard that I was crying all of my makeup off. And not because it was funny, but I think that is just my body's natural reaction to pain that just can't possibly be happening again. After karate-chopping my back, I was allowed to leave. That will be my last massage. Amen.
    • Steve found his wedding band last night during bathtime whilst digging through an old basket of bath toys behind the toilet. I was convinced that a child had thrown it in the trash when he wasn't looking (because he takes his ring off to bathe the kids.... I haven't heard a convincing argument yet as to why). Anyways, this ring had been missing for weeks. At the time, he had also misplaced his $ungla$$e$ ($$$$) and his dog tags. He knew that once he found those items, the ring would be found also. Welp, nope. That didn't happen. But the ring was finally found and we don't have to resort to Steve's helpful solution which was to get matching ring tattoos on our fingers. And yes, that was his actual suggestion.
    He opted for a very "Captain Planet" pose
    • We have been having some significant issues with behavior after turning off the tv, as of late. Mostly, everyone screams and whines and acts like the spawn of Satan because how dare we only let them watch one show a day. We are horrible parents. And they don't hesitate to share those feelings with us. (Ahh is open communication with our children always going to feel this rewarding? God, I hope so.) It had gotten to the point where Steve told me we were going to box it up one night (after an epic show of defiance from the younger set of humans). I was on board, but then we had wine after the kids finally went to bed and as you can imagine, the tv plan never happened. So a few nights later, it was rainy and we still had about two hours before bedtime. We decided to let them watch a show. Kinda like a tv-send-off. I told them both before we turned it on, "When this show is over, we are turning the tv off and going to bed. If I hear one single whine from either one of you, Daddy and I will put this tv in a box and send it to a family that doesn't have whiny children. Do you understand me?" Lots of yes ma'ams and total agreement. Steve and I looked at each other smugly, knowing what would happen as soon as the show ended. Well. You know what happens when we think we have this parenting thing down pat. The movie ended, Sam hopped up from the couch, ran over to the tv, and before the first line of credits started rolling said, "Ok Myer! Movie's over! Time for bed! Let's go!" They both got up and ran to their room and went to bed. Wtf.
    • Sam, loudly, in church the other day: "I CAN SEE HIS NEPPLES IN HIS SHIRT!" "OH, WE DON'T TALK BOUT NEPPLES." "OR BEWBS." (Me: dying a slow death of mortification in the back pew)
    • Someone is coming to inspect my apartment today. According to the horribly translated announcements in our complex, there is some sort of lawsuit against the complex and they are inspecting every single apartment. No one (who speaks English) knows what's going on and one of my neighbors said they were only looking at load-bearing walls, and all of this makes me a hand-wringing sort of nervous. "Children, don't go too close to the windows. You know, in case hunks of our apartment start to crackle off and fall 13 stories to the ground. Not sure if this place is structurally sound." Even though it's probably NOTHING, I still have people coming to my house (including the owner of our apt, who last saw this place completely decimated by kids toys and food crumbs sprinkled throughout), and so as not to appear to be a typical American slob, I set out to give this place a good cleaning. And it is SO CLEAN. (But omg before that it was SO EMBARRASSINGLY DIRTY.) We are going to have to leave until the inspection so that no one puts a fingerprint on anything. A neighbor has graciously offered to let us come tear up her house in the meantime. Whew.

    8.10.2014

    5

    I was going to hammer out an anniversary post, but I never quite had the time to get my thoughts written down and hook up the external hard drive to search for wedding photos etc etc. But basically, I know this man is my one true love because he sat in our airless hallway and cleaned out our maggot-filled trashcan. He did it happily and didn't expect a pat on the back when it was over and he just knows that a maggot-less trashcan will make me over-the-moon happy so he does it for that reason. That, and he probably wants a maggot-less trashcan too. But mostly I think he did it for me. Just like when he came home for lunch today and I was already at my wits' end with these children and he told me that there's nothing wrong with a little day-drinkin'. Hot ham I love that man. Easy on the eyes too.

    Anyways, I know you're all dying to know what romantic things we did to celebrate our fifth year of marriage. Let me fill you in.
    • We went to Steve's battalion ball on the night of our anniversary (Friday). I could think of at least five other less-than-fun things I'd rather do besides that (1. donate blood 2. donate blood plasma 3. watch Madagascar 3 for the 500th time 4. Eat a hot pepper 5. Get a Brazilian wax), but this was one of those required sort of events, so we went. A friend here did my hair and makeup for me and now I'm not sure why I did my own hair and makeup for my wedding. I know not what I'm doing. And I wore the maternity gown that I brought over here with us (just in case) because the $10 Ebay dress I purchased from China a week prior to the ball did not fit. Turns out that their sizes are different! And Chinese people are as skinny as Korean people. Who is surprised? ($10 dress + Ebay + China + one week before the ball = this won't end well) Anyways, the maternity dress option was ok. Like a maxi dress so at least I was comfortable whilst listening to the commanders tell everyone to "shut the fck up and sit the hell down." Being that there were only a dozen or so spouses at this ball, it was run a bit differently than most balls I've been to. Never fear, I had a massive mug full of really bad Korean draft beer (think Natty Light) and a Jack and Coke, which was actually Jack and Pepsi, but whatever. This is Korea. I'm just happy to be in a semi-air-conditioned room with no children and a man who was willing to fetch me some booze.

    • After one loud drunk at our table asked why I was not "getting fcked up" (which, Mom, means "wasted/drunk" in stupid people speak, fyi), I laughed because toddlers, man. They don't care what your night consisted of. They are still going to wake up at the ass crack of dawn and start demanding things from you. So my bad beer was plenty, a'thankyouverymuch drunk man!
    • And sho' nuff, Sam let us sleep in until 6 and then we were up to pack and head down to Seoul. We were supposed to get down there in time to help Aggie and family move to a new apartment, but we got there too late to do anything helpful, so we just stole two of her kids and took everyone to a park. When anyone whined, about anything at all, we just gave them food. Worked like a charm. 

    • After our "frans" went home for lunch and naps, we went to the PX food court to eat, and Sam promptly bit into his own finger as if it was a chicken nugget.
     
    It looked worse on the side facing him, and when I said I'd put a bandaid on it for him, he cried and said, "No! No bandaid! Bandaids are for girls!"




    This helped make his finger feel better.
     
    • We met up later to have dinner at the hotel and OH MY WORD my children are officially thee worst at restaurants. I remember now why we eat at home or call a sitter. In the end, I gave Sam my phone and let Molly use a (very dull) bread knife as an eating utensil. (This was mostly because she had thrown every other eating utensil on the floor. While she was gargling rice for her main man's entertainment. Ahem.) In return, Aidan showed Molly how to eat steak like a real man and just shoved it all in his mouth at once. Sam (who was manning my phone) took this picture of Aidan (and sweet little well-behaved Levi) and I can't look at it without laughing. 



    • After dinner, we went to the Banpo Bridge to show the kids the fireworks and lights and water and hoped that running around until well past their usual bedtime would wear them out enough to pass out quickly in the hotel. That plan sorta kinda backfired because while we made it there in plenty of time, the bridge did not light up. Apparently it was too windy. I should have known this when I helped Sam pee in some bushes next to the river and I almost got sprayed, despite standing behind him. There were fireworks though, and we saw some dogs that Molly claimed to have ownership over. I had to carry Sam back to the car like a sack of potatoes and ignore all the stares because, why is your son screaming like you are ruining his life? Oh BECAUSE I AM. It is my ongoing life's work.
     

    • Finally get back to the hotel and begin the showering process. There are only two towels in our room so Steve runs down to get more and I just decide that since there is no tub, I'm going to shower with the kids to make this all go faster. Molly needed to hold the bar of soap otherwise she was just going to melt into a big puddle of whine, but then she also needed to wipe her eyes at the same time and *screams*. Enter Steve from Stage Left and I push Molly out of the shower for him to dry off and then there is a knock at the door (towel guy!) and shut the door so he doesn't see me naked! and everyone just needed to GO TO BED OMG. Everyone finally gets dried off and pajama'd and tucked in bed. But this was the first time that Molly had ever slept in a "real" bed. So she was not quite ready to just roll over and give up go to sleep. I let them watch Korean cartoons until they passed out, and after re-tucking Molly in a few dozen times, she finally fell asleep and stayed there.
     

    • And lo and behold, everyone actually STAYED asleep and slept through the night! I think Molly would have slept until 9 or 10 if we hadn't been in there with her, but sadly, we were. So 7:36 it was! We went to the same hotel restaurant for breakfast (we got seated in a corner- do you think they remembered us??) but the experience was MUCH better. Breakfast buffet is their jam, apparently. They are well-rested, starving, and love almost all breakfast foods. It was glorious. Plus they ate free, so can we just do that every weekend please?
    • After breakfast, we met up with Aggie and family at the playground, then ditched the kids with the dads and we ladies (minus Myer) skedaddled off to the massive commissary. We browsed and shopped and finally went back to retrieve our other halves. We went to Aggie's new house and everyone sustained some sort of injury before we left. Once irreversible meltdowns became imminent, we headed home. It rained the rest of the afternoon/evening, so we watched Madagascar 3 twice in a row and had pizza for dinner and then threatened everyone to go to sleep OR ELSE.
    • Overall, I'd say it was a good weekend. Definitely not a vacation, but definitely fun.

    8.05.2014

    The True Friend Test and lots of high-quality (sarcasm) photos

    • Yesterday someone woke me up entirely too early with a peppy, "Ma, can you wipe my bottom? I pewped." Naturally my knee-jerk reaction was to tell the poopy child that there is no time like the present to learn how to wipe your own crack, and then texted Aggie about how my kids are trying to kill me by way of waking up too early. Except her kids woke up throughout the night so we commiserated about our children's overall lack of sleep love and then I talked her into letting us kidnap them from Seoul for the day.
    • Luckily, she agreed. We skedaddled on down to Seoul and then proceeded to sweat our mother-lovin' guts out while rearranging carseats in the airless parking garage. Because we are nothing if not safety-conscious. And packed like sardines.

    • After a car picnic where Aggie somehow maneuvered over three rows of seats to dish out jelly sandwiches and veggie sticks while I was slinging her through traffic, we arrived at our favorite kids cafe in town. Trampolines, juice, sand box, toys- these kids were in HEAVEN.
    They also never stopped moving.


    • We headed back to our house with the bribe promise of watching a movie (which we secretly hoped would turn into a big group nap, but I'm sure you can guess that that didn't come to fruition). Aggie went to put Cece down for a nap and I swept up the ungodly amount of Cheerios that had accumulated on my floor. I threw the swept-up Cheerios in the trash and that's when I saw it. On the inside of my trash can lid were hundreds of maggots. MAGGOTS YOU GUYS. Aggie came out at this moment and I showed her. This is The True Friend Test- 
      • Show your friend your maggot-infested trash can.
      • Watch her reaction.
      • Tell her that you are not a filthy person and that these were not there when you left your (overly warm and humid) house that morning.
      • Let her tell you about that one time she had maggots in her trashcan. (She may or may not be making this entire story up to make you feel better. The validity of the story is not important, it's the thought that counts on this one.)
      • See if she helps you drag your trashcan outside and leave it in the hallway for your husband to deal with later.
      • Watch to see if her face turns into a horrified expression once you show her that OMG there is an entire colony behind the trashcan as well, I SWEAR TO YOU WE ARE NOT DIRTY PEOPLE AND WET FOOD DOESN'T EVEN GO IN THIS TRASHCAN WHAT IN THE FRICKETY FRICK?!
      • Listen as she tells you that she enjoys the bleach smell that is now filling the kitchen since we decided that was the best way to kill anything and everything back there. 
    Post-bleach splattering and some trash that never made it in the can.
    • If your friend is in fact, still your friend after this experience, this person has passed The True Friend Test. Congratulations, these people are hard to find and you'll want to hold onto them for life.
    • (The maggot situation has been rectified with a lot of disinfectant and lysol wipes, for those of you who are curious. Amen.)
    • After the kids lost interest in the movie, we headed out to the playground where other people mostly pushed my kids on the swings and I held a sleeping baby Cece and someone actually asked if she was mine, so watch out Aggie, I might just keep her if she can get used to formula and living with a pack of wild (mostly) gingers.
    • After my hair officially blew out into an afro thanks to the humidity, we packed up the clown car and headed back down to Seoul. Four out of the five kids konked out at one time or another for a nice 5pm nap. 

    Can you guess who was the 1/5 that didn't nap?
    • Some, ok kidding, ALL of them woke up angry. The eldest were occupied with ipads and the back-backseat babies were temporarily soothed with iphones. Cece was eventually soothed by riding like the locals. She just wants to assimilate, for cryin' out loud!
    • After making it through some ridiculous rush hour traffic (the best laid plans....), we dropped our BFFs off at their house. We headed onto post to let Sam "water some flowers" (pee on a bush outside Burger King) and get dinner. The promise of a cookie kept the troops in line until I was close enough to our house to make believable threats. After the quickest bath in the history of ever, the kids went to bed and so did I. Steve came home around 10 and we talked in bed until we both crashed from exhaustion.
    We kept their carseats too.
    • Everyone woke up today wondering when we were leaving to go pick up our "frans" again. Oy. Why isn't Seoul closer?