Wednesday, December 05, 2012

A Mom Souvenir

At Lego Land I got the greatest souvenir!  I have not seen these before because if I had, I would have definitely bought them along time ago:

Handimals!!!  These are the kids' hand prints made into a clever piece of art.  The choices were endless - super heroes, Lego ninjas, Star Wars, Angry Birds, pretty much any living creature you could think of!!  You could do one big print with the whole family or individual prints.  I decided to get each of the kids individually and let them choose what they wanted their hand print to be.  Rowan even got to pick he light saber color as well as a green planet.

I know I probably could make these myself at home.  As I said the options are endless, but when you are on a minvacation, you don't want to task yourself for stuff at home, especially when you have all those Christmas decorations waiting to be unleashed from their boxes!!  So, in my mind, these are pretty much the greatest souvenir a mom could want.

Monday, November 26, 2012


OK, it is now past Thanksgiving and I have to laugh at what Adam and I are both truly thankful for this year.....

Now, don't get me wrong, we are extremely thankful for this great life we live, the beautiful homes we've lived in, the places we've seen, the wonderful friends we've met, our supportive families; the list could go on and on.  However as we wondered through Lego Land this past weekend here's what it seems we are most thankful for: no longer having a baby or toddler.

As we walked up to Lego Land the first thing Adam said was how glad he was that we didn't have a stroller this time.  Boy, was he right.  No stroller to strap an R in and keep them there as long as possible b/c when  they get out, they don't want to get back in.

No figuring out who is going to stay with a short R (and keep them busy) while the other rides a ride with the other Rs.

No diapers.  Need I say more?

No diaper bags with extra clothes, wipes, butt paste, diapers, food, toys, binks, wallets, etc.  Just a purse or small backpack for this fam.

No dragging a pack n play into a hotel.  No sleepless nights trying to get a baby to sleep in a new place.

No entertaining babies in car seats on a long drive.  Bag of snacks, drinks, dvds and the kids self packed backpacks of books and toys and we are golden.

No throwing fits while waiting in line.  We were waiting for a Duplo train ride and this little boy in front of us was screaming.  He was done.  Then he was so close, he could see the train being loaded with passengers and then it left.  Without him. Holy meltdown.

No baby food or thinking about what food you can buy that a baby can eat. No trying to feed said baby in a lap, stroller, or dirty restaurant high chair.  No having to feed baby and yourself!!

Oh!  Russell is old enough to save tables/benches (and keep a sibling or two with him!!!  Bonus!!) while we go get food.

No having to keep your eye on a walking toddler every second - our kids don't wander away because that piece of fluff on the other side of the walkway is irresistible.   They keep up, point out stuff without having to walk to it.

Self sufficiency!!  At the breakfast buffet at our hotel, for the most part, the kids don't need a lot of help.  Russ taught an adult how to use the Belgian waffle maker.  Awesome (sing song voice).

And I think that is what it boils down to.  The kids are pretty self sufficient these days and it is GREAT!  Yes, Adam and I do occasionally miss those times with our babies, but we can remember the really fun and sweet times, laugh now about the times that sucked and enjoy the phase we are in now.

And as a side note... still love me some baby time with other friends' babes, but I am happy to get my fix and  give them back!!!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Where IS that Damned Tooth Fairy

Talk about slackers.  The tooth fairy is really flaky at our house these days.  She forgets just about every time.  In fact, she banks on the fact that the Russ or Rach will also forget so she can get a reprieve.  She will sneak into the house while the kids are at school and then I will ask them about the tooth fairy after they get home.  It is very sad.  Hopefully it is just Korea, otherwise Rowan is destined for a life of disappointment from the tooth fairy...

You Know?

During the Fall of 2011, we took a tour to Seoraksan that was organized by the travel office on base.  We loaded up on buses and set off to find the beautiful fall foliage!  It was forecasted to be a ‘peak color’ weekend and, yes, Koreans forecast fall foliage as well as cherry blossoms.  We had a great trip.  What I really want to share with you is our adorable tour guide, Mr. Pak.
Mr. Pak worked for the USAF for 30 years, retired and now works part time being a tour guide for the travel office on base.  I found him to have a very endearing way of speaking and what I hope to share are some quotes, not exact, but close enough… you know?
“Please, remember my face.  There are so many of you and only one of me, it is hard for me to remember each of you.  You know?  And I know that we Korean people, well, we all look same, you know?  So, I will wear this hat, so you can know me.”  He said to us on the bus before started a hike.  And then he puts on the cheapest hat – a polyester  blue ball cap that has Osan ITT printed on it.  He smiles.
“Uuuuh, hello.  We have two buses on tour.  We are in first bus.  We stay in Seorak Tourist Hotel and other bus stay in other hotel.  Our hotel is older, but it is in park, you know?  Other bus stay at hotel not in park, but maybe a bit newer.  We are closer to park and I think is better, you know?”
“Korea is covered by mountains ____%.  We have a lot of mountains.  And so Koreans, they like to hike.  They like to hike b/c there are so many mountains, you know?  And Seorksan important mountain.”  What he failed to mention is that Koreans are serious about their hiking.  Adam and I called them Ninja Hikers because they have ALL the gear.  Hiking poles, boots, sleek hiking clothes, backpacks, hats and face masks.
“OK.  Now we go to Sokcho.  Great Buddhist temple there.  I am not Buddhist, you know?  I am a Christian.  But, this temple have great meaning.  It burn down twice.  And they rebuild this last time and cost 15 million dollars.  And that’s a lot of money. Uuuh, I think that Buddhists have a lot of money to rebuild great temple 2 times, you know?”
“Well, we visited Seorksan.  It is great national park with history, you know?  And you, we, we visit the park together and make the memories and the history together, you know?  I think that’s good, you know?”  Yes, actually I do : )

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The 12 Steps

Okay, this is a little spoof on the 12 steps, applied to purse shopping because I have attained quite an impressive purse collection while in Korea....  Let me say that I mean no disrespect to AA.  I have friends in AA and have the utmost respect for their courage and the challenge they face every day.

My friend, Mary Dene, had one time suggested on Facebook that I needed a 12 step program for my purse addiction. Here it is:

1.  I am powerless to buying knock off purses.
2.  I need a greater power to to restore my will power, probably my husband.
3.  I must turn over my spending to Adam for his control.
4.  Making an inventory... I don't have a Gucci or Fendi purse in my collection.
5.  I have purchased A LOT of purses.
6.  I have plenty of purses and do not need to buy any more.
7.  Adam can cut me off from my purse money.
8.  I have 'harmed' friends by taking them and influencing them to buy purses.
9.  Sorry friends for encouraging you to buy purses.  If you feel the need to unload them, I will carry the burden of taking your purses.
10. Hmmm continue to inventory... I still don't have a Gucci or Fendi.  Or a good yellow purse.
11. My new mantra: Do not buy purses, do not buy purses.  You do not need to buy purses.
12. Carry my message to others:  Sorry ladies, I can no longer take you to Miss Kim to get special Aimee price!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Seoul-O Shopper

It is no surprise I have embraced shopping in Korea.  And yes, there are some jokes about my 12 step program to stop buying purses, however you don’t hear those jokes when I am taking people out and getting them a great price on a knock off bag ; )  That being said, there are bargains to be had and treasures to be discovered!
One weekend, my friend Cheryl and I had a full weekend of Seoul shopping planned.  It pretty much would have gone down in the history books as the shopping trip to end all shopping trips ; )  Unfortunately, germs claimed Cheryl and she (and her ‘smoker’s’ voice) had to stay home.  As bummed out as I was, I made the decision to go it alone.  Seoul-o, if you will!
I have to admit it was a little empowering to navigate Seoul on my own, make bargains without speaking Korean, discovering all kinds of fun stuff.  Of course, I had my map, so I can really go anywhere.  I learned quite a bit about a couple of market places that I wish I would have figured out a long time ago.
There are several markets/areas in Seoul to be explored:
Dondaemun – a mecca of shopping.  Besides department stores, there are all kinds of ‘alleys’ that all sell a certain product.  There is a toy alley that sells toys, stationery, art supplies, and other little gifty things.  Near toy alley is what I would call the aquarium alley which segues into more of a pet market with all kinds of little critters, supplies and cages.  There are markets/stalls that just sell shoes, or just clothing. 
One of the greatest places in Dondaemun that is so different from anything we are used to in the States is a 5 story building that is sewer’s dream – the fabric market. I don’t even sew and even I love it there!  And fabric doesn’t even cover it.  Besides fabric, notions, yarn, ribbons, and beads you can order it seems anything to be made.  Things for the home, clothing, accessories; the choices are pretty much endless.   To navigate the building is confusing.  Stalls are packed in and the narrow walkways are flooded with people and men making fabric deliveries.  One floor seems to be dedicated to where designers could come in and make orders?  I am not entirely sure on that, but I have seen Koreans walking with sketch books and swatches and talking to vendors.
Myeon-Dong – is like the hip place for shopping.  There is an H&M, a Forever 21, and hundreds of little boutiques and larger stores like Nike, The North Face, etc.  There are also lots of Korean boutiques and dept. stores.  And of course, there are street vendors selling scarves, bags, dog clothes, food; you name it!  Myeong Dong seems to have its own heartbeat.    A fun energy that just catches you.  Or maybe it was the music playing in the street?  I think perhaps both.
Namdaemun – the wholesale market that sells everything.  I have written about this market before.  My first girls’ weekend in Seoul (New Woman post) we ventured thru Namdaemun.  I have been several times now.  It is a curious maze of alleys and shops that sell everything.  Then there are multi story buildings and each floor has a ‘theme’.
Bangsan Market near Dondaemun – I call it baker’s alley, some call it the box market.  It is a little bit of both.  I call it baker’s alley b/c it is a couple of alleys full of shops selling all kinds of things for baking.  There is one shop that I like where I have purchased cake pans for less than $5 each.  And they are good heavy pans too!  When people call it the box market, it is still the same area, but really what they sell are food containers, more specifically for baked goods.  You can buy all types of boxes with Kor-English sayings on them, gift bags, disposable plastic cupcake carriers, anything a gifting baker could ask for : )
Itaewon – this is a bit more touristy and expensive than other places.  But I would call it artsy fartsy, but in a good way!  Lots of tea and coffee shops, lots of pottery shops, art galleries and typical Korean souvenir  type things.  I have been there twice and enjoyed it more the 2nd time.
Yangae Flower Market – from what I have heard and seen there are a few flower markets in Seoul.  The one I’ve frequented b/c it is easy to drive and park there is Yangae.  Flowers as far as the eye can see.  Dried flowers, fake flowers, fresh flowers; all wholesale prices!  Not just flowers, oh no… tissue paper, baskets, wrapping paper, ribbon, netting, decorative bins and other little treasures.  Outside the flower market building are several greenhouse buildings selling indoor and other potted plants.  And in another smaller building a few shops selling vases and pots.
Express Bus Terminal – is almost a little bit of each of the above markets, all rolled into one.  That can be both good and bad.  Good in that there is a lot there to be seen, bad in that a day there can cost a lot of $$$ and time ; )
If you were to ask me what  my favorite place to shop is???? I’d say ________________.  Yep, that is definitely my favorite!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dr. Tan, Torture Tester (Her Words, NOT mine)

Dr. Tan is my Endocrinologist.  She is at Samsung Hospital in Seoul.  It is a HUGE facility with an International Clinic and is apparently the best hospital in Korea and well-rated in the world.  (ooh la la, I know) I have only seen her twice, but both times she has expressed to me that tests that she runs are not pleasant and it isn't 'fun' to be an Endocrinologist when you have to tell people what kind of testing they have to do.  Case in point, I will be doing a water deprivation test next week.  It can last up to 3 days.  Yes, that is right, 3 days and no agua for Aim.  That being said, it doesn't have to last 3 days, (like that makes it any better : P), it all depends on what my body does.

I have written in the past that I have been having some medical issues for about a year.  After seeing Dr. Tan the first time, I 'got' to fast and then drive to Seoul to give 40mL of blood.  When I went back for my results I learned my Vitamin D is low and that I may or may not have Diabetes Insipidus.

What is that anyways?  I think I'll call it DI from now on.....  DI is not a sugar kind of diabetes.  Oooooh, be prepared for TMI, if you don't want to know details skip ahead!!!  In a nutshell, my urine is too dilute and so we need to find out if I make an anti-diuretic hormone or if I make it and then my body doesn't use it. I don't think I'll get into the details of what is bad or any of that until we know for sure and I know for sure.

Monday, April 30th, I am scheduled to go to Samsung "Club Med" (my friend Amy calls the hospital this when she is in and I am going to steal it!!) in the afternoon and they'll running tests to see what is going on.  Adam will be on leave so he can stay home with the kids and everyone has been so kind, offering help. 

I will definitely post about the test on Facebook, maybe even blog about it.  However, I think I am going to get a little grumpy during the test.  I think I may try to catch up on some blog posts while in Club Med and get some reading done too.  Now if I could only get a pedi, a facial and some laser hair removal done while I am there...  I don't think Tricare would pay for that ; )

Poop Slide Cafe

 THIS is the poop slide cafe.  Actually it is called the Dalki Cafe.  Dalki means strawberry in Korean and apparently there is a character called Dalki and her friend likes poop and composting (I think).  What you are looking at is where the sled ends, in a pile of poop.  That is a fly on the left and the friend who likes poop on the right.  In the picture below, Russ is jumping on this big air trampoline thing. 
 What exactly is this place???  It is an indoor play place that serves food and BEER!!  It is located within the Olympic Park in Seoul.  Basically you pay to enter and you get to play for 2 hours.  When we went we also had lunch and our adult admissions were deducted from our lunch total (a total bonus, as lunch was a bit pricey).  Lunch was surprisingly good.  Sort of Korean, sort of Italian, but definitely one of the yummiest meals we have had in Korea.
 The kids had a blast and parents can sit and relax and watch youngsters on TV screens if you can not see them from your table.  Rowan had fun on this "zipline".  There were tons of things to do.  Even a reading nook with Korean books.
Here is Mr. Poop Lover again.  That is a roll of toilet paper he is holding and it is formed into a chair.  Why is his nose dripping???  Perhaps he needs some toilet paper to wipe his nose???

I believe we took the bus to Nambu terminal and rode the subway to Olympic Park.  We did the Poop Slide Cafe, walked around Olympic Park, and went to the museum at the park. A fun little day all in all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Should Really Catch Up on the Blog.

I think about it frequently and I should just sit down and do it. I am going to make a list of topics I have been considering. If you comment on topics that you want to hear about, maybe I'll get inspired to those first!!

R U Pinterested?

Elephant Poop Doesn't Stink

I'm a Little Daisy

Dr. Tan the Endocrinologist, aka Torture Tester

FFI, Federal Fart Investigator


Poop Slide Cafe

Where is the Damn Tooth Fairy?

The Seoul Zoo is NOT the Seoul Zoo

Seoul-O Shopper

Jeju is Definitely Not Like Hawaii

Beach Bums in Busan

Flower Market

Purse Shopping Addiction

Slip Sliding on the Slopes

I Should Really Learn to Sew

Brights OUT and Boyntons IN : (

That is enough for now.... I think I may actually get some (if not all) of these done when I am in the hospital for up to 3 days for a water deprivation test. I'll be all alone in a Korean Hospital not drinking water while Adam juggles work and the kids' schedules. I'll have nothing but time and noone to talk to!!! Actually, I think I might be too grumpy to talk, but that's another story, or post!

Life as a Rock Star??

I have been wondering if the kids will miss being 'popular' in Korea. It seems everywhere we go, they are being photographed or talked to just because they are American.

One of the 'worst' days was our hike on Sunrise peak on Jeju Island during Spring Break. I had to take a picture of all these students wanting a picture with our family. It was almost constant.

As we are getting ready to move to Tucson, I wonder if the kids will miss the attention or be thankful to blend in??