Thursday, March 31, 2011

Steve updated his blog

Steve updated his blog again (finally!)...Check it out for his picture a day pictures from the last few weeks.

And you might just want to keep checking back on him because I may have heard a rumor from him that he might have a fun little giveaway coming up in the next weeks.....

Stay Tuned.

singing with mama, wrestling with daddy

Caleb seriously loves music.  And we love how much he enjoys it.  Almost every time he hears music, he starts clapping and/or "oooo oooo oooo-ing" along.  If music isn't on, he will often go to the CD player and point at it and start clapping and saying "p-p-p" (which is how he says please right now). 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gettin' into shape

Steve is probably in the best shape of his post-college career right now.  He's dropped several belt holes on his belt since arriving in Korea, his pants are loose on him and it's mostly all due to the fact that he literally walks (almost) everywhere he goes, including back and forth to church several times a day, six days a week.

He also likes to try to do things "just to see if he can."  Like carrying large pieces of living room furniture home that he finds on the street or trying to do chin-ups with a 25 pound baby strapped to his back.

That's my hubby.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


So I owe and apology (kind of) in that I feel like I've neglected the blog for a while.

It's been a busy week!  Here is our week in review:

We had a women's recipe exchange with the women's ministry at church.  The Korean ladies taught us how to make bulgolgi (a common Korean meat dish that most westerners really enjoy) and we taught the Korean ladies how to make potato sausage soup (because, really, what exactly IS an "American" dish?).  It was a fun time and I hope to post the recipe and video sometime in the near future.

We had two new "house blessings" that we went to.  In Korea, when someone moves to a new home it is common to have all the pastors and friends over to bless the new home.  They do a little prayer/worship time and the pastor prays a blessing over the new home and family.  We had two families move this week and have house blessings and there are a few more coming up soon.  They also have an insane amount of FOOD at these blessings. I mean more food than I've seen in one place in a long time and more food than any of us can consume (and trust me, we ate more than enough to stuff ourselves).

The typical meal at these blessings is probably one of my new favorite foods.  I'm not sure what it is called but it is similar to a burrito (kind of).  You take a very thing, sticky (transparent) piece of rice paper (that resembles a tortilla in shape and size and function but isn't as heavy as a tortilla) and fill it with all sorts of veggies (red, green, yellow, orange bell peppers, lettuce, sesame leaves, cilantro, mushrooms, sprouts, cucumbers, avacodo, etc) as well as strips of egg or chicken, hot sauce and wrap it up.  It is INCREDIBLE. So good. 

We got our ergo carrier and have been getting used to it and enjoying it and out walking a lot.

We've been exploring the open market more now that it is so nice out....even got adventurous and tried some seaweed (which is everywhere here and a great source of iron).  It is an aquired taste that I haven't aquired yet but would like to...It's also very long and slimey!

We have had several occasions to have people over to our home for meals and treats and that's been fun.  We also started hosting our "small" group from church (which isn't really a small group, 12 adults, 3 kids, with 4 kids on the way!) each week on Tuesdays and that's been a lot of fun for us.  We enjoy our home being used and cooking for groups of people.  But what we don't enjoy is doing the dishes (especially with no dishwasher to help!) but my sweet hubs has been doing piles of dishes all week after said functions, without complaint.  He also bought me a rice cooker and a blender!!!!! I'm so thrilled.  We left both our rice cooker and our nice blender back in the states and I'VE MISSED THEM SOOOOO MUCH....So I've been really enjoying these thoughtful gifts these past two weeks and they make cooking a lot easier too.

Caleb and I went on a little adventure with some other mom friends (Renee and Corrie) and their kiddos (Victoria, Elisha and Sadie) to a cute little free play area.  Caleb loved the "video game" car rides.

Caleb visibly grew taller this week and out of several of his outfits and in to several other outfits.  This means he can now reach things he once couldn't and that's kept us hopping!

Caleb seems to add to his vocabulary and understanding more each day...It's so fun to see the new things he picks up and watch him imitate us more and more.  He is so much fun!

Yellow dust season has started in Korea.  This is really gross, people!  In the spring in Korea for a period of time it is "yellow dust season" meaning it is the highest pollution time and you can visibly see (and experience) the pollution coming from China.  At times (I'm told) it gets so bad there is a visible dust that settles on things and the air is thick with it.  It hasn't been quite that bad yet and I'm really hoping it doesn't get to that point!  But they do monitor and track it and have various advisories based on how bad the pollution is each day (for example, some days they advise you not to go outside or open windows and it can get so bad they cancel school!).  Above is a picture of the sun and the haze that comes from the dust.  Puts a whole new spin on using/buying things made in China, huh?  Like I said, it hasn't been that bad yet but I'm told we are only in the beginning of it right now.  Please pray for our safety in this! It really bothers me.  This and then I am also told in the summer time they spray for mosquitoes by basically spraying all the cities/towns....including the people.  Yuck.

We continue to work on discipline, on being consistent, and on not whining (that's a big one these days!).  No one warns you how utterly exhausting disciplining and teaching kids can be! Or how hard it is to be consistent. It's hard work!

One of the couples from our small group had their baby (Emma Grace).  We were able to travel to Seoul with the Chapmans (pictured above holding Emma Grace) to visit the Zangers in the hospital.

Not pictured but a significant part of our week nonetheless, we have just felt overwhelmingly loved and blessed by several people this week (you know who you are, Thank You!).  It is so cool to see how God uses people to provide and to uplift and to care in both tangible and intangible ways.  We have felt so blessed and cared for this week.

Welcome to the world, Emma Grace!

Our friends Eric and Laurie Zanger

had their baby last Thursday!

Emma Grace is an absolutely beautiful baby girl

Isn't she so precious?

Caleb had a horrible case of jealous around her and he did not like his parents (especially his mama) holding her but we sure enjoyed meeting this precious new baby girl.  We are so excited for the Zangers and look forward to watching baby Emma grow!

The other couple (pictured above with the Zangers on "Twin Day" at the local Christian School where they teach) are Jason and Gail Lantz (some other new friends of ours who are also expecting their first baby)....They are up next, "due" in April!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Plugged in

The other day Caleb found Steve's phone charger and we found him plugging it in...apparently he has seen us do it enough times.  It is scary all the things he picks up these days....he sure watches closely!

And today, clear as can be we were eating lunch and he pointed at the bread and said "bread."  He did it twice but now hasn't done it again.  And after nap when I told him to lay down so we could change his diaper he said "diaper" (again really fairly clearly) but when I got excited and asked him to say it again, he just laughed and ran away.  He isn't much of a "performer" and he suddenly has this shy streak where he gets all shy and hides his face if people give him too much attention. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Daddy's Boy!

Steve at 18 months and Caleb at 12 months

Thanks, Kaitlyn for posting them side by side!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Caleb Clips

If you really love Caleb, you might enjoy these random clips from today....I think I was a little camera happy today but we needed something to do and Caleb is just so darn cute.  So, here's for all the grandparents, greats, aunties, uncles, cousins and close friends.  Hope they bring a smile to your face, as they do ours!

And this last one is in honor of Pastor Nelson:

Snack time!

On the eating solid foods front, Caleb seems to be catching on (finally!).

His favorite things right now are plain yogurt, apples, bananas and crackers.  He also loves soups and chicken and his favorite spices seem to be curry and cumin. 

For a long time he would not have anything to do with bananas but the other day at dinner he pointed to them on the counter and said "nana, mama, nana!" so I gave him one and he ate the whole thing and then asked for "mo nana" and ate a second one.  Ever since he eats 2 "nanas" a day and loves'd think I was giving him candy the way he reacts and gets excited about them. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

finding joy

I've been missing home more than I have in a long time this past week or two.  Although I have been feeling more settled recently (as I posted not too long ago), this past week has felt discouraging and long and I've been lonesome for so many of our dear friends, small group, and family.  I MISS YOU!!!  We have almost been here 4 months and that sounds much shorter than it has felt....I feel like surely we've been here close to 8 or 9 months by now!  Even though things are starting to feel more familiar and our "new normal" is starting to emerge, I still feel the strangeness of not being fully connected here, not having the depth of friendships or the closeness of family and (almost) grieving the things we are "missing" back home.  Not so much the physical/tangible things (although don't get me wrong I miss real butter, cheese, whole wheat flour, frozen peas, being able to read ingredient lists on what I'm eating, being able to get myself around, reading street signs etc) but the events (my niece Audrey's 5th birthday party, my niece Natalie's baby dedication, going "up north" to Cambridge for the weekend, seeing Byzz drive, visiting Abby at Bethel, going up to Duluth to see Micah, watching Charlie and Emery and Ryan David and Ruby Mae growing up, feeling baby Jude's kicks in his mama's belly, being able to be at Meggy's birth, having coffee with Katie, weekly Bible study with Shelly, going to Angela's wedding, playing bocce with the Schmidts/both sets of them, walking dates with Krystal etc etc etc, I could go on and on) and the passage of time, missing these moments of friendship and family, growing and changing.  And so you read my thoughts from this past week.

But in all of this I am fighting for joy.  I read this in Crazy Love last week and have been thinking of it often as my thoughts twist:

"It is the same way with joy in our lives.  We tend to think of joy as something that ebbs and flows depending on life's circumstances.  But we don't just lose joy, as though one day we have it and the next it's gone, oh darn.  Joy is something that we have to choose and then work for.  Like the ability to run for an hour, it doesn't come automatically.  It needs cultivation."

So I am working to find joy in the midst of missing home, on cultivating it in my life regardless of circumstance or situation or global positioning.

One thing that brought me joy this week was enjoying a lazy, sunny afternoon on our porch with two of my favorite guys in this world...we laid in the sunshine, giggling and being goofy...I wish I could have captured the moment and bottled it up to save it forever...but instead we took some pictures.  Steve offered to print them and put them in bottles if I really wanted....oh the literal, problem-solving thoughts of a man!

it all started because I tried to take a nap out on the sunny porch and lil Sonny C found me...It's not pictured, but I'm sure you can just imagine his huge grin of glee-ful excitement at "finding mama" and tickling my sleeping feet.
 then daddy came to see what was going on....

And decided he needed to add to the fun...

which he always does, quite well.

And Caleb went back to tickling feet...

There's that grin I was talking about....could I ask for a sweeter little boy?


more than food

One day (soon) I will bring you with me to the market and post some video footage.

There is a lot more than just food to be found, and many food items you may not have considered before (chicken feet, anyone?).

And the contents of the market are always changing, season by season, week by week so you never know exactly what you might discover on any particular day (or what you won't find....makes writing a grocery list a little difficult...I find most days I don't write grocery lists any more. I just go, I buy what I find, and I figure out what I can make out of the ingredients we have).

Some of my favorite finds recently at the market have been the plants and flowers that are popping up at every other stand.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Because Caleb loves to entertain


Sorry in advance for this second clip, mama doesn't video tape very well...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Hike

Today was beautiful so after Caleb's nap we decided to go try to find the "mountain" about a quarter mile from our apartment.  To me it is more of a large hill but people call it the mountain (there really are real mountains in Korea, just not in Songtan).  As I've mentioned before, hiking is really big here which is exciting to me.  We had a fun time and were pretty winded by the time we made it to the "top" but it was worth the climb.  We forgot our camera at home but I did have Steve's phone camera and I took some pictures along to way to share with you. 

Caleb was excited, pointing ahead!

We walked through some "farm" areas before getting to the "mountain" path...It seems here in Korea they use whatever little free spaces they can to farm, since there really isn't a lot of room on this peninsula.

Pictured above are Kimchi pots....It is what traditionally they leave the kimchi in to ferment.

There is a lot of random art in Korea...It's pretty cool. 

I thought of you, Gene VanAlstine when I saw these =)

Stopping to take a break

I was too busy huffing and puffing to take many pictures on our way UP the "mountain" (it got my heart beating and made me break a sweat that's for sure, no wonder Asians are tiny!) but I took some pics once we made it to the top and on the way back down.

I love this picture...same exact expression!

GREEN!!! Some buds starting to pop out.

This deserves a post all in itself so I will probably do  more on this later but around Korea you will find random workout equipment (as pictured above and below).  And you will find Koreans "working out" on them at various intervals...So above is a type of eliptical, there are ab machines, pull up bars, stretching bars, lat pull downs, free weights and a number of machines we have no idea what they are.  It's awesome and totally random....maybe that's their secret to low cost healthcare?

And then on our way home we saw this car and I thought the random English was funny so I made Steve take a picture.

It's the "don't be angry, be happy" car!

Korea is all about being "happy."  All the advertising centers on "make your nose happy" "make your smile happy"  "make your life happy"  "make your feet happy" (these are all sayings we've seen, there are more, I could keep going but you get the idea).