Sunday, December 30, 2012

Conversations with Asha

Asha: Are you going to tell them I'm your son?

Me: You're not my son.

Asha: (Looks at me very confused.)

Me:  You're not my son, you're my... (Pausing for her to fill in with....)

Asha:  Honey?

Me:  (Smiling)  Well, yes, but...  (Let's try this another way.) Boys are sons and girls are...

Asha: Honeys!  (What?  No!)

Ethan:  Sisters!!

Me:  No, she's your sister but she's my...  (Looking at Asha and pausing for her to say...)

Asha:  Brother.

Me:  (Staring at her blankly for a moment... )

Asha: Husband?

Me: uh... (Really?)

Asha: Honey!

(It is now that I realize just  how much I call her that.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Family Pictures Christmas Eve 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Things I can't remember

My friends might expect the top of my list to be getting groceries, but that isn't something I forget, it's just something that I don't get around to, which is a different problem altogether.
The top of my list does involve the grocery store though.

Top Ten Things I can't remember:

1. Most of the things my husband asked me to get at the grocery store.
  • So sad, and so very true.  This would not be a problem if I could remember to write them down.

2. To write things down.
  • If I don't write things down, I forget to do them.  Which is a catch-22 since I also forget to write them down.

3. Where I put my keys.
  • This would be a bigger problem if I wrote things down and then got around to going to do them.

4. To charge my cell phone.
  • My phone is always almost out of battery when I go out.  But since I can't find my keys and didn't write anything down, I don't need to go anywhere anyway.

5. My phone number.
  • I doesn't really matter that my phone is always almost out of battery, because I can't remember my phone number so no one can call me anyway.

6. To move the clothes to the dryer.
  • This is only a problem when I write stuff down and find my keys therefore having somewhere to wear the clothes.
7. How old I am.
  • The older I get, the less of a problem this is.
8. My youngest child's birthdate.
  • The older he gets, the less of a problem this is because he can remind me.
9. To take the trash to the curb.
  • I can never remember that it is trash day until I hear the garbage truck driving away.  I should set an alarm for it on my phone.  When it gets done charging, of course.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ethan’s name

Reposted blog entry from July 31, 2008

With my husband being gone the for most of this entire pregnancy, we didn't have much time to talk over baby names. Not that it would have mattered, Daniel didn't get his name until after he was born either. Both times we have known the gender since week 16. But even though Ethan was not named until several hours after he was born, his name was not pulled from a hat. He was named on purpose.

Ethan Raj means "Strong King". But the purpose of his name is because of who he is named after. We knew all along that our baby's middle name would be 'Raj' after his father. In the end we also thought it would be fitting that his first name would be Ethan.

You see, in the old testament, Ethan was a Levite assigned to be one of David's music leaders. He is the author of Psalm 89 which declares, "I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations." So we thought it was appropriate that the son of a worship leader would be named after a worship leader in the Bible.

(On a side note, when telling of how wise Solomon was, it is said that "He was wiser than any other man, including Ethan" -that means Ethan was well known for being wise too.)

Click on the image below to see the announcement for Ethan Raj.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Conversations with Ethan

Mom, can you buy me this?

When can you buy it for me?
    ~I'm not buying it for you.

No, when can you buy it for me?
    ~I am not ever buying it for you.

Can you buy it for me the other day?

Then when can you?
    ~No, not ever, no.  Which part are you not getting?

Friday, November 9, 2012

What is it?

There are questions and appointments.  There is waiting.  There are phone calls and paperwork.  There are referrals, and more appointments.  And more waiting.  There are symptoms or causes that may or may not be one or the other.  There are nurses, and doctors, and specialists.  Then there is waiting.  There are timelines and deadlines and stress. And lots of waiting. And lots of time to wonder, is it this?  If so then what?  What if it isn't?  What next?  There really is no point in those questions until we know, but until we know, all we have is questions.  The biggest question is when.  It's not waiting that I struggle with.  It's the not knowing.  And especially the not knowing when.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I should have known better

Reposted blog entry from Jun 7, 2008

I'm a white girl. A very white girl. (except when I stand in the sun for 10 minutes, then I'm red) I know this and yet still...!

Ok, let me back up. My husband's Weapons School graduation is on Saturday. Its a very fancy, formal affair and everyone will be dressed to the hilt (not a "slightly dressier than Sunday" occasion). So I had to find a formal gown that would fit over my baby belly and make a cute bump rather than a whale bump. As difficult as it was, I did manage to find the perfect dress (well, it will be perfect after quite expensive alterations to accommodate said belly). Its very sleek -almost slimming- and though not strapless, it is fairly backless.

So why did it not occur to me that sitting in the sun in a square neckline for 45 minutes the day after I bought this backless dress might not be a good idea? I don't know, but the bright red square that extends a third of the way down my back might as well be a huge sign that reads "moron".

Weapons School Graduation
8 months pregnant with Ethan

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Embarrassing moment #3612

Reposted blog entry from Feb 8, 2010

When I see tourists taking pictures of each other, I like to offer to take a picture for them so they can both get in the shot. I've never had anyone turn me down and so far this has been a positive experience. Today, however, it was not.

We were visiting the Dole Pineapple Plantation with my sister-in-law and an older Japanese couple was taking turns posing in front of the pineapple plants. I offered to get a shot of the two of them and they were very pleased. The wife handed over the camera and went to stand by her husband. The problem was she hadn't taken the strap off of her hand. So when she moved toward her husband the camera pulled out of my hand, fell off hers, and smashed to the ground. I quickly picked it up and put the battery pack back in. While closing the battery compartment, I see the big chunk missing out of the battery flap. Oh, no... I handed it over feeling horrible. The sweet couple turn the camera on, hand it back to me and pose again. Nothin' doin'. I can't read it cause its in Japanese, but the picture says it all. The camera will not work because it thinks the battery compartment is still open. I tried to fidget with it to get it to recognize that it was in fact closed, but it wouldn't. They tried turning it off and on and handing it back to me, but no such luck. The camera just kept swearing at me in Japanese. At least that is what it looked like to me. I feel even worse than horrible now.

I had to leave with them staring blankly at the camera screen and all I can think to myself is that I just ruined someone's Hawaiian vacation. I was just trying to be nice but from now on I'll pretend to look right through the tourist like everyone else. Maybe even learn a few Japanese swear words to use while pointing at the camera if anyone does ever dare to ask.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Embarrassing moment #4032, 4033, 4034, 4035...

We're late. It's not that it's so unusual for us to be late, it's just that today it was important to be on time. I signed up to chaperone a field trip to the pumpkin patch for my daughter's first grade class today and the teacher made a point of reminding everyone to please be on time.

Today is also the day my fourth grader has a big project due and he has not quite completed it. He probably would have had enough time to finish it this morning if he hadn't spent a half hour standing at the bathroom counter reading a book when he was supposed to be taking a bath, but that's a story for another time.

We pull up to the school at 5 after. Okay, we're late, but not too late. I know they haven't left without us because I see the empty bus pulling up behind us. Good. I have time while they load. I send the two little ones ahead to their classes, but the oldest is having a meltdown because of the unfinished project and I have to talk to his teacher real quick to see what we can work out.

Crisis contained; now back out to get on the bus. I round the corner to the exit just as I hear the bus engine start. No! I dash out of the building. Not quick enough though, because the bus is already in motion. I know they have to slow down to make the turn out of the drive so I sprint after the bus waving my hands like crazy woman hoping the driver might see me in the rear view mirror, or someone else on the bus will see me and let the driver know.

No one on the bus sees me and the bus turns out of the drive. One last attempt though, because I'm close, so close. "Hey!! Hey!!!" I'm yelling now while running and waving. As if that weren't embarrassing enough, this would be a good point to mention that I am also dodging the various other cars that are coming and going from the school. I'm pretty sure a few of them had to tap their brake so as not to hit me. So while the bus and its occupants are oblivious to the scene I am creating, I do have the full attention of everyone else in the drive/parking lot.

Which is when it happened. It happened in hyper-speed and slow-motion at the same time. In my frantic state of yelling, waving and running, I remembered too late that there is a small white rope that runs between the cones I have just passed through. What I mean is that, as the rope hit my thighs and the first cone tumbled to the ground, my brain starts saying, "Wait, what? Ooohhh..." Unfortunately my body is still in motion and so is the rope that is now tangled around my waist and legs. The rest of the cones are now in motion too, but the cars... well, the cars are not. They have come to a complete stop all around me, just watching me while I flail around trying desperately not to fall on my face.

And there went the bus.

I wish this was the end of my story.

But insult must be added to injury.

I manage to free myself and turn to start picking up the cones when an SUV inches towards me and rolls down the window.  "They're going to get gas," the driver says calmly, but I think she looked a little nervous. I notice she has two other mothers in the car with her. "Are you headed to the pumpkin patch, too?" I hope out loud. "You want a ride to the gas station?" she offers. "Oh, please!" I practically beg, but I walk around to the rear passenger side with my head held high pretending that I am not completely mortified at the spectacle I have just made of myself.

I take a deep breath and open the door to find the only remaining seat is occupied by the base of a baby carrier. I unlatch the lap belt and yank, nearly falling backwards because, as it turns out, the base is also secured by tethers at the very bottom.  The two passengers stifle a giggle but I can see the driver looking anxiously toward the bus disappearing down the road.  There is also a line of cars building up behind us. Cars that have witnessed my shame and know full well that they are waiting on me.  I fumble with the straps a little before I realize it's just not going to happen, so I give up, climb in, and sit awkwardly on top of the base.

Silently I pray that they won't.  But they do.  They offer me comfort. "Don't feel bad," they say, "Jane here, is always chasing after buses."  "Not quite like that," Jane corrects quickly, "but I've had to drive behind a bus or two."  I force a gracious smile and think to myself, What I wouldn't give to undo it all, and just drive behind the bus.

Can you see the rope?
Car Seat Base

Embarrassing Moments #3462, #3520, 3521, & 3522:

Reposted blog entry from Dec 11, 2009

Embarrassing moment #3462:

I took the kids bowling. Wish I had my camera. Daniel's pretty good. Got a few spares and even a strike without any helps. Asha used the tripod ramp and thought she needed a running start to push the ball. She was so excited she kept forgetting to watch her pins fall down. Ethan was all about the balls. "Ba. Ba!" Kept picking them up and chasing them all around the floor. He was just tall enough to push the ball down the tripod ramp and managed to get a spare. I wish I had my camera. It was so cute!! Then he decided to run down the lane after the ball. I caught him just in time, then...whoa!!!! Down I goooo.... Not just on my tush -All the way flat. Knocked Ethan on his head and one of the gutters down too. Every other player staring at me...On second thought, I'm kinda glad there were no cameras around.

Another reposted blog entry from Dec 24, 2009

Embarrassing moment #3520, 3521, & 3522:

So its Christmas Eve and we finally made it out of the house to get a Christmas tree. Got a crazy cheap deal on it. Go figure!

We got it in the cart and began making our way to the car from the Navy Exchange. I've got Ethan in the umbrella stroller and he's kinda grumpy from a cold so I'm giggling him back and forth to try and keep him happy when...CRASH~ I tip him over onto his head! ACK!

Okay, that could have been enough embarrassment but as I snatch him up in lighting speed and give him the once over for blood, I hear insanely loud laughter from a few yards away. I don't mean a snicker, or even a hearty chuckle. I mean a full blown, make everyone who wasn't already looking turn around to gawk at me, belly laugh. Yes, Sir. I do already know that I am a moron. Was the public ridicule really necessary?

Now all I really want to do is teleport back to the car, but alas, I do not yet possess this technology. So I walk as fast as I can, which means stepping off the curb and not walking around to the ramp. I did manage to get the stroller down without incident, but don't forget we've got the tree in the cart. When the first set of wheels hit the did the tree. Up out of the cart and into the middle of the road. The very same road that I wished would open up and swallow me whole.

I guess by this time the man felt bad for us though, because he restrained himself to something akin to a giggle on his way past us. Gotta love helpful people. Especially the ones who help rub salt into your wounds.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happiness is having a friend...

...who drives miles and hours with five young kids in the car to come visit you.
...who doesn't mind that you didn't fix your hair or put on make up.
...who goes to the grocery store with you because you seem incapable of going on your own.
...whose children you actually like.
...whose children get along with yours.
...who thinks you are a good mother because you let your kids get dirty.
...who will let hers get dirty right along with yours.
...with whom conversation comes easy.
...who stays up till all hours of the night talking with you about anything, everything, and nothing.
...who knows your imperfections and still likes you.
...whom you like and respect as a person and a mother.

Happiness is having a friend like Liz.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This time it went too far

Reposted blog entry from April 6, 2008

I don’t plan to go grocery shopping only once a month. I just tend to wait until my fridge looks like Mother Hubbard’s before I break down and perform the dreaded task.

This morning my fridge held 2 eggs, a bag of shredded mozzarella, a head of cabbage and various condiments. Even though I had no bread or milk, I wasn’t worried. We still had some canned soup, dried pasta, frozen veggies and a bag of chicken breasts in the freezer. (I’m sure there’s got to be something you can make out of sugar, flour and salt too, right?)

But after I went to the bathroom this morning and discovered a little too late that we were COMPLETELY out of toilet paper, I realized this had gone too far. Some things just won’t wait until you feel like dragging the kids to the store.

I know there are support groups for shop-a-holics, but is there any help for me?

"Where’s the Beef?"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I chose the house we are renting in Alabama mostly based on the fact that there is a creek that runs across the back of the property.  And as I had hoped, the kids were in love with it from the day we moved in.


Weekend before last, the kids and I went down there again.  I had brought a bucket and trowel in hopes of bring back a few ferns for planting, but when we got to the creek, we quickly discovered an abundance of tadpoles, frogs, and little fish that needed catching and subsequent transportation to their new home on our deck.  Of course the kids were more than happy to provide them safe passage with my bucket.

(Don't tell anyone, but I think I may have had more fun that the kids. :))

Way too cool!

Reposted blog entry from Apr 7, 2008

Since my husband has been gone [to USAF Weapons School], I take random videos of parts of the kids lives so that he can still feel a part of what’s going on here. I took a video last month of Daniel reading his bedtime story and posted it on YouTube so my husband could share in this precious time.

Yesterday, I got an email from a friend of the author. The author saw the video and was touched and wanted to get into contact with us. Here is a copy of the email. I believe the friend who sent me this email is the Mary Bloom that the author wrote about in another one of her books. Way too cool!

Date: Mon Apr 7 07:28:32 2008
From: Mary Bloom
To: Wendy
Subject: Copy of Aliki’s Email

Hi Wendy,

This is the note she sent to me originally to me, my response and then her response.

Please send her a note when you have time,

Mary Bloom

From: aliki brandenberg
Date: April 6, 2008 3:40:02 PM EDT
To: Mary Bloom
Subject: RE: What a way to start my day today!

Hi Mary,

Tim found it., I loved it. I loved that patient mother, doing all the right things. I loved that little boy fidgiting, trying so hard, and the questions he asked. I loved when he said "what’s aware"? his mother let him read the answer. I loved looking into their very private reading time together, behind my back. I loved that it wasn’t an ad for the book, that it was about READING TOGETHER. I have to get me a video name (and new address?) I wish I could write to them. xo

Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2008 21:06:22 -0400
From: littlebrowndog
Subject: Re: What a way to start my day today!
To: alikibrandenberg

How did you find it. It’s amazing to see since it shows you first hand how important your work is.

Mary Bloom


On Apr 5, 2008, at 1:22 PM, aliki brandenberg wrote:

What a way to start my day today!

From: Ham4ut
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 23:01:34 -0400
Click on this link for a surprise!

Monday, September 3, 2012


The other day I joked that when I call myself a crunchy mom, it has less to do with watching what we eat and more to do with watching where we walk.  Seriously, my kids can take the house from tidy to trashed in 60. Our floor is not to be walked in the dark (sometimes not even in the light).  Little toys will either meet their doom, or possibly cause you to meet yours.

My mother has often told me of when my brothers and sister were younger and how no matter how much she cleaned, she could not keep her house tidy. The house could get and stay perfectly neat until the kids got home from school. Then a sweater was thrown over the back of the couch. Shoes were kicked off in the middle of the floor. School books and papers were tossed on the counter. Crumbs were scattered around the table and chairs left out from an after-school snack.

Expressing her frustration to God while she sat with her Bible during prayer one day, she turned to Proverbs 14:4, which says, Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. (KJV)  Or as applied to her situation, If you didn't have children, the house would stay clean: but the life and love children bring is worth not having a clean house. She was quite comforted by that thought.

I am not so enlightened.  When I read that verse, I think to myself, Exactly!  Like bulls in a china shop.  They are animals and the house is only clean when they are not in it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My weird son

Reposted blog entry from May 16, 2007

This is my first attempt at blogging so I'll try a little story about my three y/o son.

We're sitting at the table eating when he lets out a HUGE belch.  I was waiting for an "Excuse me" as he is normally very polite.  Instead he loudly yells, "I'm okay!"

I guess he must have thought it was "iffy" there for a minute.


Another entry from Feb 28, 2008

I was singing along to one of Daniel's songs when he tells me to stop singing.
"But I like to sing," I say.
"Why?" he asks.
"Because that's the way God made me," I reply.
"I like to sing too," he says.
"Then why did you want me to stop singing?" I ask.
To which he replies, "Because that's the way God made me!"


Another entry from Apr 22, 2008

Where is your father?

Ways your son tells you Dad's been gone too long:

1.  (Hold up a pair a thong underwear he got out of the hamper) "Mom, what is this?"  Uh, Mommy's underwear.  "But they're too small!"  Uh, you are correct.

2.  Ask, "Mom, when is my chest going to look like yours?"  Uh, never.  I hope...  (Hold up his shirt and show me his nipples)  "But I have these too."

3. (Hold up a panty liner) "Mom, if you don't pee in your underwear, what are these for?"

5. (Hold up a bra) "Mom, why do you wear these?"

4. Ask, "Mom, is there a penis inside you that helps the baby come out?"   No, honey, that's just how the baby got there (don't worry, I didn't really say that...)

5. (call from the bathtub) "Mommy, my penis is surprised!  Its looking at the ceiling."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Will you come visit me in jail?

Reposted blog entry from January 5, 2008

Will you come visit me in jail?
Because I'm about to break into the house next door and I don't care if I get arrested for it.

Yesterday, the weather matched my mood. It was raining outside and a little on the inside too when my husband pulled out of the driveway never to return. Okay, I know six months is not really never, but it might as well be. Even with two very loud and active children, the house feels so empty without him. I'm not usually this emotional and I blame it on the pregnancy hormones (I never thought I'd be one to get knocked up and then left). While the kids were in ignorant bliss, I self medicated with chocolate (which I don't even like) and endless internet searches. So when the power went out twice, while the rain poured down, and the kids were in bed (at 6) I had nothing better to do than head to bed myself. The one upside is that it would be a nice long night with no alarm going off in the wee hours of the morning to jar me out of sleep......until.....

The stupid, stupid, stupid low-battery alarm on the smoke detector in the house next door! The house is empty and the BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! is bouncing off every hardwood floor and bare wall to keep me up all night long! When the rest of the world is quiet and sleeping, the sound is deafening and all consuming. I'm about to freak out now and break in there to rip it off the ceiling and stomp its little self to bits. Or it occurs to me to just set the thing on fire. So when I'm sitting in jail tomorrow, I hope you'll come visit me.


Saturday, August 25, 2012


Kidipedia   noun   kid·i·pe·dia
: a reference listing alphabetically the words and phrases of one language (the one my children speak) and showing their meanings or translations in another language (English).

becomes   conjunction   be·comes
: for the reason that    [I took my shoes off becomes my feet were hot.]

canick   noun   can·ick
: one who repairs cars

hanitizer   noun   han·i·tiz·er
: liquid formulation designed to kill bacteria quickly on the skin of the hands.

hoars   noun   hoars
: one of the 24 divisions of a day : 60 minutes

kweese   verb   kweese
: to arrange or form in a queue   [Can I kweese this game before I turn the PS3 off?]

lieberry   noun   lie·berry
: a place in which books are kept for use but not for sale

load-down   noun   load·down
: to copy or transfer (data or a program) into the memory of one's own computer from another computer   [Daddy, can you load-down this game to my iPod?]

scratchy   adjective   scratch·y
: an uneasy irritating feeling in the skin    [The bug bite made my leg get scratchy.]

sucuse   verb   su·cuse
: to make apology for    [Oops, I burped. Sucuse me!]

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Modest Upbringing

I tend to dress modestly.  Even my swimsuit covers more than some people's everyday clothing.  Same with exercise outfits (the few that I own).  Not too short, not too tight, and always covering my stomach.

Yesterday when I was working in the back yard, the Alabama heat really got to me so I changed into a sports bra to help beat the heat.  This took my family so by surprise, that this is the reaction that I received...

Asha says, "Eww, Mom!  Can you put a shirt on?  That's gross."  (After staring at me for another minute she added...)  "I don't like to see people's belly buttons." Ethan yelled (just because he yells everything), "Dad!  Mom's not wearing a shirt!"  Daniel looked at my husband with a helpless face, "Dad, can you tell Mom to put a shirt on?"

Point taken.  Children just have a way of stating things to make you fully appreciate humility don't they?

Then this morning on the way to school we passed a man mowing his lawn shirtless.

Asha: That man is almost naked!
Daniel: It's okay for boys to have their shirt off.
Asha: Why can't girls have their shirts off?
Daniel: Because of their chest.
Asha: But I don't have a chest yet.
Daniel: Yes, you do!
Asha:  Nuh-uh!  It's not fat like Mom's!

Like I said, Fully Appreciate Humility.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fess up Friday: Air-head

There may be a limit to how air-headed I can be; I just haven't found it yet.

There was one time I pulled up to our house to see that I had left my purse sitting in the middle of the driveway.

Another time my husband asked me to leave the security latch unlocked on the front door so he could get in when he returned from a trip in the middle of the night, which I did.  But I also accidentally left my keys in the lock on the outside.

Quite frequently I will have the phone up to my ear wondering why it is taking so long to ring only to remember that I have hit send on a text -not dialed a phone number.

I got into the bath at the hotel last night, and after shampooing my hair, I reached up to where I knew the soap was. With my eyes still closed, I lathered my hands with the soap and proceeded to wash my face. The soap didn't feel like it was doing a very good job. After lathering my hands once more on the bar, I tried again. My face still didn't feel like it was getting much cleaner and the soap didn't seem to lather very well either. In frustration, I finally just rubbed the bar of soap directly on my face. The texture felt odd. What is wrong with this soap? I opened my eyes, looked down, and the realization that I should probably not be in charge of myself, let alone my children, hits me. The shiny, smooth wrapper of the hotel soap...was still on.

Like I said, I don't know if there is a limit to how air-headed I can be, but I do seem to be in search of it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Home

Today I am thankful.

I am thankful that a place that I didn't want to go,
     turned out to be one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I am thankful for all the amazing memories my family made there.

I am thankful for all of the truly wonderful friends I made there too.

I am thankful that when I left Korea, Korea left me a better person.

But even still, I am thankful to be back home.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Korea

We have been stationed at Osan Air Base in the Republic of Korea for a year now.  In two nights time we will fly back to the states and make our way to our new station in Alabama.  I did not want to be sent here, but it has been such a great experience living here.

The top 10 things I have enjoyed while living at Osan Air Base in Korea:

1. The view from our 10th floor apt.  In the early morning hours, the kids and I loved to snuggle out on the patio wrapped in blankets, drinking hot coco and coffee and watch the sun rise.  At night, the lights of two different cities that twinkled in our view was stunning.  Though I often tried, I could never get pictures that adequately captured how beautiful those two times of day were.

 2. Being within walking distance to everything on base.  The chapel? 5 min.  The school?  The grocery store?  The indoor pool?  8 min!  The gym was 15 min. but the walk added to our exercise!  Don't feel like walking?  Call the base taxi.  $2.30 will get you almost anywhere you need to go on base.

3. Taking groceries from the car to the kitchen in shopping carts.  So convenient!  The carts are also convenient for anything else you need to take up or down.  And for playing in too...

4. Having a trash chute.  Its not that I mind taking the trash out to a trash bin, its that I can never remember to take the bin to the curb on trash day until I hear the garbage truck pulling away!  Not looking forward to that again.

5. The restaurants.  The main strip full of stores and restaurants right outside the main gate has just about any cuisine you could ask for, and we enjoyed them all.  Ok, the Mexican wasn't that great because they never had limes, but the Italian was fantastic.  The Meat restaurant was a family favorite for Korean food because they cooked it right on your table.  The Indian/Pakistani restaurant that opened not too long ago was really goo, and the Turkish one was our favorite of all.  Yum!  There was also Brazilian dining, Japanese sushi, Thai, Chinese...and those are just the restaurants off base.   On base there was Chili's, Oriental House, Flying M Steak House (where kids eat free on Tuesdays!), Checkertails, Popeye's, Pizza Hut ,and various other fast foods, and almost all of them delivered.  What will we eat now?

6. Speaking of good food, we loved to hop in the car and head to E-mart or Home Plus.  Kind of like a cross between a Super Walmart and a department store.  We would always stop at the food court first and decide what to order from the display.  Most of the time, we didn't really know what we were ordering, we just hoped that it was something that we would enjoy.  They had the coolest stuff too.  And the best produce!

7. The mountains.  Most of our favorite memories here involve mountains.  They are beautiful and we have enjoyed seeing them and hiking them throughout the various seasons.

8. The rest stops.  The rest stops here are fantastic!  They are master-planned with restrooms, food court and convenient store.  There is usually a playground for the kids too.

9. Safety.  The kids got a lot of attention from locals here.  Everyone wants to give them candy or take a picture with them.  The youngest has started to say 'Cheese!' anytime anyone even looks at him.  It's very safe to allow that here but they are in for a big surprise when we get back to the states.

10. Experiencing Korean culture.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little gifts from God

Reposted blog entry from October 5, 2007

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On Friday I was telling a friend that the one thing I had wanted to do here in California that we hadn't done was go to the San Diego Zoo.

My husband was scheduled to work overnight shifts this past weekend but at the last minute was given the weekend off. So we hopped in the car and took off for San Diego.

On the way there I was telling my husband about another friend's story. She wanted something that was out of her price range but was there at just the right time when it was clearance and then 50% off. She said she felt like it was a little gift from God.

When we got to the zoo on Monday, we were surprised at the amount of people that were there. Turns out, it happened to be Founder's Day and admission for the zoo was free for the day! We saw the pandas and had a lot of fun. When we were done we took a break at the hotel and then headed over to Sea World. It was the season that they honor those serving in the military making our admission free! We got there just in time for a pet show (trained animals doing tricks) that the kids loved and then got to see the last Shamu show of the day. My husband won a giant dragon at the ring toss too.

It was such a wonderful trip. I told my husband that I felt blessed by it. Like we too had gotten little gifts from God.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Father's Day Post

When I met my husband in college, he was already teaching music in a little private school.  He continued to teach in various public and private schools until he joined the Air Force 7 years later.  He taught different grades at the different schools, and all grades at some of the schools.  He was good at working with kids of all ages and the kids loved him.  He was nominated for Who's Who Among American Teachers by a few different students during those years, and 11 years later many students still track him down to tell him how much they learned from him and how much he impacted their lives.

Obviously he was experienced working with kids.  He was not, however, experienced working with babies.  In the hospital after our first child was born, he was quite nervous about how to handle the seemingly fragile little bundle.  After I finished feeding the baby for the first time, I sat him up on my lap, put my hand firmly under his chin and leaned him forward to pat his back for a burp.  If you've had any experience with new babies, you know that their muscle tone is not well developed yet and his cheeks sagged over my hands.  If you haven't had any experience with babies, you might think what my husband gushed, "Oh my goodness!!  What are you doing??  You're choking him!!"  I laughed.  I did have experience with babies and tried to assure him that this was just one of many ways to burp a baby.  He was not buying it.  He only knew of one way, and if there were more ways, certainly they didn't involve my hand around the baby's neck.  A nurse came in to check our vitals.  My husband quickly pointed out to her what I was doing, sure that she would rush over and show me the proper way.  He was quite surprised when she assured him that it was a perfectly fine way to do the job.

I smile when I think about those first few days.  His protective nature as a father was evident right from the very start.  On the way home from the hospital, he kept making me check 'just to make sure' that the baby was breathing because he wasn't crying.  (He was sleeping!)  It was just a glimpse of what a great father he would be.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blueberry picking

Reposted blog entry from August 20, 2007

We went blueberry picking on Friday. It was sooo much fun! They gave us little buckets for the berries and straw hats for our heads.
Asha loved getting to pick berries and put them in a bucket. Of course she also loved putting handfuls of dirt and twigs in the bucket too. Daniel picked about one berry from each bush while going from row to row calling us Farmer Mommy and Farmer Daddy. My husband enjoyed sampling all the different flavors -some tart, some sweet- and I loved the hunt for the biggest and bluest.  It was a very memorable family day and we got some nice photos to remember it by. I can't wait to go again!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Motion (Part 2)

In 4 weeks we are set to fly out of Osan Air Base, South Korea on a military flight (The Patriot Express) which will stop in Okinawa before arriving in Seattle.  From Seattle we were supposed to take a commercial flight through St. Louis and then Atlanta before arriving at our final destination in Montgomery, Alabama.  The 5 leg trip with 30 or so hours in flight + 3 high-energy, jet-lagged kids makes me stressed just thinking about it!  Since we were last stationed in Hawaii and only one vehicle is authorized here at Osan, our second car is still on Oahu.  The plan was to have it shipped to Alabama in time to be waiting for us when we got there; we would keep using our van here and ship it just before flying back.

About 3 weeks ago, I had what will probably turn out to be the worst idea I have ever had.  Why not have the van shipped to Seattle and drive from there to Alabama?  This is why not.  But I'm a glutton for punishment so we scrambled around frantically trying to get our van shipped ASAP.  We had to get a move on because it can take up to 55 days to go from Seoul, Korea to Seattle, WA and we were only 50 days out.  My poor husband.  For a man who always has a back up plan for his back up plan, trying to change plans that he had already made months ago for our flight and make new plans for driving and then back up plans for in case the van was delayed... If ever there was proof he loved me, this concession is it. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Conversations with Daniel

Reposted blog entry from November 26, 2007

We pulled up to a stop sign and a woman with headphones jogged through the intersection. The following conversation went like this...

Daniel: Mommy, what's she running from?
Me: She's exercising.
Daniel: Hee, hee, no! Maybe its a car.
Me: You know how Dad exercises at home when he runs on the treadmill? Well, some people run on the street to exercise.
Daniel: When I'm on the street and a car comes, I exercise too!

Another reposted entry from October 25, 2007

We went to the beach today. When it was time to go home, Daniel was speeding for the car. Asha on the other hand was in no hurry at all and lagging quite a bit behind. Daniel calls for me to hurry and here's the following conversation...

Daniel: C'mon, Mom!
Me: Honey, we have to wait for Asha.
Daniel: Why?
Me: Because we can't leave our sister at the beach.
Daniel: Why? Will someone else come and take her?
Me: Yes.
Daniel: And they'll be happy to have a new sister?
Me: Are you happy to have a sister?
Daniel: (silence)
Me: Daniel, are you happy to have a sister?
Daniel: (pause...and then an unconvincing) yes.

Anyone else feeling the love? hmm...

Another reposted entry from December 9, 2007

I hear Daniel and Asha fighting in the hall and then it sounds like someone is getting smacked. I'm pretty sure its Asha getting hit since I don't hear Daniel telling on her.
I call out to him, "Daniel, hitting is not an answer!"
He calls back, "Is it a question?"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Motion (Part 1)

Even though we have about 6 more weeks before we fly back to the United States from South Korea, we are already in motion.

The movement began with an assignment.  We were originally suppose to be here in Korea for two years, but after we had been here for just a few months, we found out that we would be moving to Alabama after only one year.  At that point, plans began to be made and life began to take on a temporary feel.  We had to get housing set up for the new assignment right away (you can read about that here).  Conversations started to include the statements '...before we leave...' and '...after we move...' While we waited for orders (official paperwork), our calendar started to fill up with dates for the process of moving, the first of which is getting our stuff from here to there.

Since it takes a few months for household goods to make the trip by boat, they needed to be sent ahead of us.  The moving company had an inspector come to evaluate our move.  This is the beginning of the part that makes me feel unsettled.  I don't like people looking in my closets and cupboards, and though it may not be true, I always feel like I'm being sized up.  Being in Korea didn't help this at all.  The inspector kept making comments about us having too much stuff and our TVs being too big, etc.  Since English was not his first language, and he kept smiling while saying it, I could never figure out whether he was insulting us or complementing us.  A week later the movers arrived at 8am and had us packed and loaded on the truck by 3:30pm of the same day.  Previous movers have always taken at least 2-3 days so I was up all that night wondering if they broke anything in their haste.  The guy in charge kept assuring me that Korean movers are the most careful ones.  I hope that proves to be true.

We were only in the hotel for a couple nights when loaner furniture was delivered to our empty apartment so that we could continue to live there until it is time for us to leave.  This part is nice.  Well, mostly nice.  The double mattress that the base loaned us is not really big enough for two people to sleep on so I have spent many nights on the loaner couch.  Its also smallish, but so am I, so it mostly works.  What really works though, is having less stuff.  I already miss things like our bed and my desk, and eventually I would miss the rest of it too.  But for a while, less stuff is nice.  Its less to take care of.  Less to be responsible for.  There are less dishes and laundry to do, though that also means they have to be done more often. *sigh*  I must say that I do like having less toys to convince the kids to put away.  I think I might even be hoping that the box marked 'toys' gets lost during the move.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Reposted blog entry from September 25, 2007

My husband keeps bugging me to get back into my exercise.
"I can't live without you so you have to exercise and stay healthy so that you can outlive me." he says.
I know that I have slacked off on my exercise "program", but I think what I do all day should count as exercise.

Do you think it should count as exercise when I scrub the kitchen floor on my hands and knees while a 2 y/o and 4 y/o climb on and off my back for added resistance? Are there bonus points for mopping again an hour later after the 2 y/o decides she can pour her own lemonade and gets more on the floor than in the cup - and the 4 y/o walks through it with dirty feet after playing outside with no shoes on?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWould you call it a sort of lunge when I dart back and forth across the lawn while bending over so as to get the sprinkler in just the right spot without getting wet?

I do lift 20lb and 40lb weights all day long when kissing boo-boos and wrestling the kids in and out of highchairs, car seats, bath tubs, etc...

And is it considered cardio when my heart rate shot up as I chased my stubborn toddler down the sidewalk praying that she didn't reach the intersection before I reached her?

I don't know if there is a way to quantify all the bending, lifting, twisting, -and groaning- that I do all day but I think I ought to get credit for it.