December 26, 2007

Where's the baby?

Somewhere in here there's a diaper that needs to be opened... The presents may be more fun to open than the diaper I'm guessing.

Muscle Man II

Well each time we move we seem to misplace something important. Last move it was 'Lue Lanky' (a cherished green blanket made by my deceased mother. Before Evan had his colors straight he named it blue blanky. And before he could pronounce his b's it was named lue lanky- got it?). We never could replace lue lank, but when muscle man (a smalled stuffed dog that had been through about 6 years of adventures with Nathan) went missing I thought maybe he could be replaced this Christmas. After a lot of time on the internet and placing a 'want it now' add on ebay, some British woman heard my plea and sold me a new Russ floppy dog who's first name was apparently Milo. Here we see Nathan opening nesting boxes to get to his new friend. We were teary eyed at his reaction. It was priceless!

Merry Christmas

December 20, 2007

Oh the Stress of Christmas

Well My husband lovingly said to me this morning that 'Christmas is about having happy kids, not a clean house.' This could be due to the fact that after cleaning furiously all day (not regular cleaning, but we-are-having-guests-soon cleaning) I got a bit testy when he and Big Boy walked in the door and they BOTH plopped their belongings on the floor for some super maid who lives here to take care of at her convenience. So I swooped down on my broomstick (I was in witch mode), picked up their things, and placed them in their hands while they were in the middle of something very important like reading comics, or was it a crossword puzzle? Now part of me feels guilt over this action, I mean yes, they were enjoying some good father-son time, and that is important. However, I think I have the right to feel bugged when people keep thwarting my housekeeping efforts. I constantly am quoting a line from Pee Wee Herman's Big Adventure "I feel like I am unraveling a giant sweater that someone keeps on knitting, and knitting, AND KNITTING!"

December 13, 2007

Family Photo

We had some nice family photos done this year for both a Christmas card and for ourselves. I really enjoyed the session where I got to pick them out. This is a trusted photographer I have used before. However when I picked up the final product I was horrified with the puffiness under my eyes. I asked if I had been touched up and she said no, that she had done the artistry herself and no touch ups were done to my face. It must have been the lighting. I paid her and took my large 16 by 20 home with me. I kept looking at it, and at myself in the rear view mirror. It's pretty sad when the rear view mirror is more flattering than a high priced photo. So I called her on it and emailed her with my complaint. Troy even noticed something looked weird with my eyes without any prompting from me. Luckily she has admitted her mistake and is redoing the print. Now I beg of you, dear readers, to look at the results and tell me what your opinion is. Maybe I am just bias because I know what I look like. But I think the natural contours of one's lower eyelid should be present. Let me know your thoughts. There is also a family shot with the untouched faces look. Think I should remove the hair from my face?

The First Letter-(for the blog only)

This just in- December 2007

Well it’s that time of year again to write and tell you what the Taggs have been doing. The new goal for this year’s letter being ‘if it’s more than one page- it’s too much information.’ So, the answer to what we’ve been doing this year is, ‘quite a lot!’ For instance, since you last heard from us, we gave birth to the latest Tagg- Eliza Bryn Tagg was born on New Years Eve 2006. I say ‘we’ because as Troy so lovingly put it, I pitched and he caught. We were so proud of Eliza’s thrifty decision to earn a 2006 tax break for her parents by being born before the end of the year. Eliza has been a huge blessing in our lives and we are so glad to have her here.

Chronologically speaking of our life over the past year, the next big thing for us was to go on vacation for spring break-to Tokyo, Japan. (Doesn’t everyone go there?) We had the best time! We went to Mt Fuji and Tokyo Disney. We were amazed at the cultural differences between the Koreans and the Japanese. Who’d a thought? Even riding the subway there was a totally different experience.

The following summer found us moving back to the United States after 2 years in Seoul, Korea. It was bitter sweet, but maybe a bit more on the sweet side as we can now understand people, drive anywhere we want with ease, plus there’s that bonus of not smelling raw sewage when walking down the street. There are times in Iowa when one can smell cow manure being plowed into the farmland. It fondly reminds us of our Asian stay. We (and by that I mean especially I) feel much skinnier when not compared to our stick-like Korean friends. It’s a good thing. We will certainly miss the hard-working friendly people of Seoul. It was a great experience to have lived there. We especially miss the friends we made there. We are now in Iowa City, Iowa and really loving it! Troy is doing a one-year fellowship in neuroopthamology at the University of Iowa. We’ll keep you posted as to where the army chooses to send us next.

As you can see from our picture, our kids have continued to grow. We find that feeding them and then waiting for a while will do that. They are great kids with all the normal things to please and annoy. We are so grateful to be their parents. We hope all is well with you this Season. If there is one thing we are truly blessed in, it has been the wonderful people we have met in the process of living life. Thank you for your friendship and love.

Love the Tagg Family: Troy, Kelly, Nathan, Evan, Drew, Audrey, & Eliza!

December 03, 2007

Baby Girl's first Christmas

Well we got our Christmas tree up and spent the better part of Saturday decorating the house. It's a lot of work for mom! Eliza had some fun with our beads. I decided this year to leave them off the tree- they are a little too plastic and too much of a hassle to untangle, so I let her have her fun. We are wondering how to keep her away from the tree and ornaments- let alone the presents this year. She is so close to walking now and has taken her first few steps. Adorable!

December 02, 2007

A Nice Day in Nauvoo

We recently took the kids on an overnight stay in Nauvoo. The youth in our church were doing baptisms in the Nauvoo Temple. T and I were able to attend as well. Since we stayed overnight it was nice and relaxing not to have to get up early and drive the 90 minute drive to be there by 8:00am.

Here are some photos of our day there.

November 28, 2007

Nothing to Say

Hey- me again. My day is busy and I am avoiding housework by blogging. I spent the entire morning at the doctor's office with Little Boy. He's had this appointment for months (man is it busy at this hospital!). However they are starting to recognize me in pediatrics now when I come in, what with the 5 kids and all. I was just there yesterday to have them take a look at Baby Girl's ears. She has been acting so fussy and has had a runny nose and cough for about 4 weeks now, poor baby. I had 2 different employees ask me if I wasn't just here yesterday. Nice to be noticed I guess. There is this man who's name will be unmentioned who I have known for 10 years now and I still can't get him to say hello to me at church. Don't really know why I care, but it's like an itch that I gotta scratch to get him to bother with a simple good morning. Sound's like I'm a stalker or something eh? I'm just bugged by unfriendly types. Maybe it's my need for attention or something. So we get out of our respective cars on Sunday morning and he proceeds to the building not looking in our direction and before I could stop myself I shout out "well-good morning!" I succeeded in scaring a hello out of him, but alas he ignored once again (after I clearly said hello to him first) in the hallway. What is it with this guy? Oh well, maybe I will just let it go.

On to other things. We had a most lovely Thanksgiving with all the trimmings (T even made wassel). We had a friend of T's from the hospital and a good pal of mine from my childhood who lives about 4 hours away. She brought her 2 kids up and they had fun hanging out with my boys. She is pretty newly divorced and going through rough times, and it felt good to listen and help her out. She is an awesome person! She is now a therapist and it was fun to see her work her magic on my headstrong 4 year old diva. We now have Big Girl sleeping in her own bed instead of insisting on sleeping in Little Boy's room every night. We started letting her do that when Baby Girl was going through a period of bad sleeping at night. Anyways it's gotten to be quite a power struggle to get her back where she needs to be. DR also talked me through some issues I have been having with my own family members. (okay it's Dad in case anyone reads this and thinks it might be you). I think I just may work up my courage and tell him my true feelings. Thanks for the therapy DR!

Well I guess that's all I have to say for having nothing much to say... Gotta go do laundry and dishes now- dangit!

November 12, 2007

That's What I'm Talkin' About

Okay, so I have been meaning to post this for some time. However 2 things were blocking me. I didn't want people feeling jealous (esp my friends still stuck in Korea), and I couldn't get a good picture. Too lazy to go outside and take one myself, and not technical enough to access the picture sent to me before we decided to take the house. Troy helped me with the technical part this morning. He is so smart. He got home safe and sound at 11:11 on my November 11th birthday last night-pretty awesome. Okay so it was really 11:10, but 11:11 sounds better.

Anyways, back to the house photo- it is so nice to have this home and especially the back yard. After 2 years with no back yard this is feeling pretty good indeed!

Happy Birthday

Well today is the day of my birth. I am 39! I can hardly believe this and think I will refuse to turn 40. For some reason the years just prior to a new decade of years are hardest on me. I recall turning 29 in Iowa (just ten years ago it seems), and feeling my youth slip away as I plucked my first gray hair that I had noticed ironically as I was picking at a pimple. I have been lucky I guess. Not much gray hair. Still pretty healthy (except that darn foot). Happy to be alive I guess.

The day has been okay. It would have been better if my husband were home. He was away at a conference and is on his way home right now. Unfortunately he missed a connecting flight and had to drive in a rental car for the last leg of the trip or he would be here already. The good thing is that he has the day off tomorrow to spend with me. The other good thing is that I was well taken care of by my friends here in Iowa today without him. 3 cards, cupcakes, cookies and 3 phone calls from family members. All in all not a bad way to turn 39. Yahoo for the thirties! I'm gonna miss you baby.

November 09, 2007

Foot Frustration

Well I finally had an appointment today to take care of a lingering foot-pain problem I have been having for far too long. Don't bother to ask why I kept putting it off or I will just defer to the usual excuse of the 5 kids, etc etc... So I went in hoping to have a new set of orthotic supports made (I lost one of mine in Korea somehow). Turns out the doctor feels that I don't really have plantar facitis. He felt my symptoms were more like arthritis and took and X-ray to confirm. The treatment is supportive shoes and Tylenol. He relayed it to me like this. It's not that your getting old, it's just like anything as it ages you have to take better care of it. Like an old car needs more oil changes. Somehow I wasn't too consoled at that analogy. Then when I asked if I should be getting a mamogram at my age he said no- I'm too young still. Ah yes! Some threat of youth I can still hold on to. I was relaying this story to a friend of mine that I walk with and she asked "don't you have a birthday coming up this Sunday?" She had to remember...

November 05, 2007

The After-Math

Halloween is so great. The sugar, the excitement. The scares. I have some pretty sad memories of my dentist father taking our candy for a nickel a piece. We'd have enough cash to buy paper dolls at Sprouse Ritz the next day- what a thrill!

My kids get to eat their candy and share a lot of it with me, to make up for my missed childhood Halloween festivities. I mean how many times did I have to be that red haired genie? Plastic face, sheer tie-in-the-back outfit... you get the picture.


Baby Girl isn't so sure about a holiday that makes her wear a hat and green make-up. It was pretty darn hard to get a picture with this hat on, but it made me laugh so much to see her in a hat 3 times the size of her head.


We all had a wonderful time this Halloween. New this year was Big Boy scaring kids on the porch dressed as a semi scary scarecrow. Hope we can do it for years to come!

November 03, 2007

I am a cucumber

This is classic Big Boy. I'm sure he'll make us take it down the moment he realizes it's here. In case you can't hear properly, at the end he says "please don't take me to the pickle farm" Seems logical for a cucumber to want to stay a cucumber I guess...

Tickets to the gun show

Well, Little Boy is ever our determined boy! He actually has the advantage of having been picked on by his two older brothers enough that he is highly motivated to achieve everything they have and more. He wants to be stronger than his brothers and has been asking for some weights of his own so that he could work on this. When T was a the local sporting goods store buying some bike equipment the other day, Little Boy convinced his Dad to buy him some weights of his very own. Now this is what we see outside our bedroom door at night. This has actually rubbed off on Big Girl who came up to me the other day asking me if I had my tickets yet, and when I said to what she replied "tickets to the gun show baby!" and then pushed up her bicep and kissed it! Wonder where she gets that?!?

Feild trip of dreams

Okay when your are in Iowa you need to work in that movie title whenever possible. It was a rather nice field trip if I do say so myself. Very Iowa-esque. You go to a local farm, get a hay ride, see some farm animals, go through a hay maze, drink cocoa, and walk through a spook alley full of plastic scary stuff. Oh then there was the knee deep kernels of corn you could wade through in the shed. It was so fun I had to take the family back for some pumpkins later that evening. They had fun playing with a new litter of kittens that were roaming around. Iowa is so awesome!

October 12, 2007

Hawaii Recap

Did I mention that on our way home from Korea that we did a 5 day layover in Hawaii? I am bad about posting things in order, but it was a trip worth reporting for sure. We stayed at a lovely Hilton hotel, went to a luau, played on the beach, ate lots of pineapple and took in the Polynesian Culture Center with our friends the Ks. They happen to be locals and came over from the big island to see us. It was fun to hang out with them. I was amazed at AK, who as always is bursting with energy and makes everything funner. She was not slowed down by the fact that she was 6+ months pregnant. I decided it's easier being pregnant when you are not 38 watching her as she caught kids repeatedly as they jumped off the hotel beds into her belly. That is not something I did while pregnant with Baby Girl.

Also on an unrelated subject Middle Boy had his 11th birthday. He was one happy kid! In fact I think that the wait for his birthday about killed the poor kid because he went from being quite disagreeable before to being an angel on the day of his birthday. He got almost all the requests on his birthday wish list. With the exception of a BB gun. Mom's not ready to say yes to that one yet. Probably never- I hate weapons!

Anyways- I sure am grateful to have Middle Booy as my son. He is always so good at helping me when I need him. He is thoughtful and funny, and reserved for a boy his age. He loves animals and is a good friend to his brothers. He loves a job and his happiest when working on something. He would rather be outdoors than in, and loves sports of all kinds. Middle Boy has made some good friends in our neighborhood. He is a great kid, and I love him a lot. Oh- he's also one of the best looking kids you'll run across in a day. Unless you see my other 4 that is :)

September 22, 2007

Baby firsts

Well, here's another entry finally. A lot has been going on. Soccer has started for N. E has taken up the clarinet and we are still in search of a violin and piano teacher for N and D. I am hoping to simplify as much as possible and either find a college student in town with a car who can come to our home and teach, or to take the kids to a local music store for lessons all at once with 3 different instruments. Wonder how lucky I will get there. A has started preschool and seems to like it for the most part. She gets so bored at home with me sometimes, so it's a welcome break 2 days a week (for both of us). She complained for the first time about going the other morning, but went when I told her she had to. I always hate it when they figure out it's not an option and they must go to school. It's a long battle for the rest of their childhood after that day.

The Baby has had many firsts of her own in the past few months as well. I should be better about recording right when they happen, but hey- I have 5 children! Not to mention that I still don't feel quite settled in our new place yet. Organizing things just the way I want takes me a while, and if it's not something that effects every day living- I procrastinate. But I digress-- E has 2 lower teeth now (those popped up around 6 months of age). She bites on occasion and I howl and scare her to death. We are learning to deal. I sometimes call her barracuda baby. Then at 7 months she began to crawl and our lives have taken a whole new turn as she gets into about everything she shouldn't and has recently even put her finger in a fan. It was nice of her to wait until things were mostly unpacked first though. Then around the same time (7mo), she gave her first wave to a friend of mine leaving the house. It was so unexpected for me! I checked in with a pediatrician who told me that they don't usually do that until 9-10 months, so I am fairly certain that she is a communications genius! This has sparked my interest in teaching her baby signs. A has already shown great interest in signing (making up her own hand signals for various things), so she has been a good tutor for me. She gets out the small book I bought and does the signs for this or that to me. Whoever put that book together was thinking because even a preschooler can know what the signs are for since there are pictures of say a cat on the cat signing page, etc. A knows a lot of signs now! Anyways I am rather impatient and thought that possibly I would give up too soon without seeing fast results with the Baby, but after only a month of signing to her she has now picked up 2 signs. I thought my eyes were deceiving me at first but she has done it too many times now this week for me to argue with her. She does the sign for milk and a funny version of cracker that reminds me of a rapper. I guess it's just as I suspected-genius...

September 08, 2007

Long lost blog

I know it has been a long time since I blogged. I have had many things get in the way I guess. I promised myself I would get back into it though, so here I am. T has pooped out for the night and the house is quiet at 10:31pm, so I should be able to crank something out without interruption.

Big Girl has started University Pre-school, and seems to be enjoying it a lot. Every night she asks if the next day is a school day or not. We were very lucky to get her in since there was a long waiting list that we would not have made it through had we not been 'legacy' (meaning I have had children attend there before). Teacher Jan came up to me on Thursday and said that she had a story to share. Apparently during dress up time there was a girl with slow speech who was chattering away incomprehensibly. Big Girl got a strange look on her face and asked the teacher if that blond girl was a Korean.

It's funny to notice things I never would before about Asian people I see here in Iowa. There are a fair number of Koreans attending U of I, or here for other reasons as well. This week when a skinny Asian woman walked right out in front of my car without looking, N and I both noticed that she must be from Korea (or somewhere close). I was also in the car when I noticed someone walking on the sidewalk from a distance, and I sensed in the way they were doing whirlybird motions with their arms while walking that this must also be someone of Korean decent. Sure enough when I got close enough- she looked the part. One of the benefits of living in another culture is that I can smile when I see familiar things I guess.

Another funny Big Girl story and then I will turn in. I have been called as the primary chorister and this month we learned the song "Listen Listen" only we learned to sign the song. So Big Girl has taken it upon herself to make up some signs to use when she wants me to know something. She likes to tell me with her made up signs when she has to use the bathroom. Something I am usually telling her that I don't need for her to tell me when we are at home- she can just go on her own. Perhaps this is why she feels a sign is neccessary instead of 'telling' she can show me with her signs. So for pee she shows me a sign that seems pretty appropriate. She puts her hand down between her legs and points her index finder to the ground, symbolizing a stream of urine I assume. For number 2 she curls the same finger toward her bottom, I guess pointing to the origin of said waste product. So the other day she came to me with a new sign she had ingeniously come up with to represent when she has to do both. One hand forms a circle (poop) and the other makes a straight finger over the circle (peep). She is such a funny gal! We have told her that public use of these signs isn't neccessary.

August 31, 2007

Fall down-go boom

N recently broke his left radius (distal). In a running falling incident involving the dog. "Naturally the dog was faster than I am," N could be heard saying several times to various health care providers during our diagnosing appointment. No one would want to get the false impression that N was a slow poke. He was very proud of his broken arm. We'll see how much he likes it in 4 weeks!

August 21, 2007

Back to school blues

Well today was the official start of school and we seem to have gone back without doing too bad. The kids were anxious. I was ready! We all awoke early and by now (almost 6:00 pm) I am tired! N was easy to wake up, something I know will not last as he loves to sleep in these days, a sure sign that he is becoming a teen. We made him a nice hot breakfast of his favorite (scrambled eggs), and he was off to the bus by 7:30. He kept suggesting that we give him a ride on the first day, but since I had 2 other kids to get off to school that wouldn't really work. His Dad goes into work too early for that as well. He also objected to bringing his violin on the first day of school insisting that he wouldn't need it and didn't want to give the kids the impression that he was nerdy on the first day on the bus. Poor N couldn't get a break. He had to take his nerdy instrument. Anyone with any true character would respect that black eyesore as a sign of stick-to-itiveness on behalf of the owner or at least his mother who will never never let him quit. I was pleased to see as I sat on my front step that he was walking home from the bus-stop with another nerdy Asian looking friend with a violin in his hand as well. When I asked him who his friend was he couldn't really say. They were silent walkers apparently. N informed me almost immediately that he didn't really need his violin that day- they didn't play their instruments but did talk about a trip to Chicago to see a real orchestra play and there was talk of a nice restaurant as well. I want to go! Seeing as Chicago is a 5 hour drive I wonder if this is an overnight adventure. I know it will cost 80.00.

Anyways the younger kids seemed in good spirits when coming home from school. E who had made mention repeatedly that 'now was when the boredom begins' on our walk to school came out saying he made 3 new friends and played football at recess with a large group of boys. He also told me that they get a break for 15 minutes on top of recess after lunch. A marked improvement over his last school's outdoor time. He also has a locker-way cool! The most bizarre thing that E had to report is that a kid from his class came up to him asking if he had lived here before and if he remembered a boy named Ted. I was just trying a few weeks earlier to recall a boy he had as a friend when we were here before. Try as I might even when we got out the pre-school class photo we could not recall his name. Well this same boy is in his class and his name is Ted. His mother was a lovely person who I will look forward to getting acquainted with again.

D also came out saying positive things but the main complaint being that there were too many kids on the playground and he couldn't get to the top of the 'space net.' The day for me was most interesting indeed. I had a very happy walk home with my two girls in tow. But once we were home it wasn't long before I realized that even one cranky baby can ruin your day. Especially when you need to get through on the phone to an insurance company that keeps putting you on hold, and A is being demanding (not unusual), and the VCR won't work to distract her with a movie. I recall thinking several times that if I just had more helpers around to take the baby or put on the movie while I am on the phone that would sure be nice.

Well it's now getting to be that crazy time of day when people are hungry and punchy and of coarse T is nowhere in sight to help out while I rustle up some dinner. Sigh! Maybe tomorrow will be better. That's what I told N when he came home too...

PS I also notice that I eat way too many oreos when the kids are gone. When they are here I don't get them out for fear there will be an eating frenzy. Gotta watch that I guess.

August 05, 2007

Asian Baby

Here we see the baby in her silk Chinese PJs, basically not suited for sleeping in or anything else for that matter since washing them would be difficult (silk). The neck was so tight when I buttoned it that they are actually choking her a bit. You'd never know what with that cute smile though. These outfits weren't really made for chubby American babies. She sure looks cute in them though. When we first moved to Korea I bought some of these silk duds for the boys, and they instantly thought they were the best outfits for Karate kicking. The seams quickly ripped out, not to be repaired easily due to fraying. Yeah pretty much the only thing these outfits are good for are for taking cute pictures. (as seen here).

Out with the old in with the new

Well, I have to say that the only thing that feels better than getting new stuff is getting rid of the old stuff that is building up. Opening box after box of things that have been in storage for 2 years has been both a trip down memory lane and an experience in 'why do we have so much stuff!'

July 23, 2007

Boxed in

We got tired of unpacking and had some fun putting the baby in a box. We called Big Girl downstairs and asked her if she could find the baby. What a jack in the box surprise she had when she discovered Little Girl inside the box. Big Girl just had to try it. Sometimes the best toy you unpack is the box it came from... sigh.

July 15, 2007

Three boys, three bikes!

One thing we promised the kids back in Korea was new bikes when we got back to the States. Their bikes were either stolen or severely damaged from the pollution in Seoul. The kids kept wanting to replace their bikes from our cruddy little shop on post and we had them hold out for something better. I think you can tell from the look on their faces that it was worth the wait. Having new bikes has sure helped keep them happy during the wait time for the toys to arrive. Today T went on a long ride with the boys (after getting his bike repaired enough to ride- it took a beating out on our deck in Seoul). He was very impressed especially with Little Boy who was having difficulty the first week handling a bike this size. He can now keep up with the best of riders. That is one kid who does not give up easily! Way to go D!!!

Cute Sisters

Big Girl just can't be left out of a picture. Note the boxes stacked up in the background. I am swimming in paper and boxes and can't believe all the stuff that has filled up this large house. We thought we'd be swimming in this house but we are in sore need of a purging job instead.

Abby's Back!

We need to give a huge vote of thanks to my mother in law for taking care of our puggle (a pug/beagle mix) for 2 years while we were in Korea. It was a big sacrifice for her since Abby bossed their dog Shilo around the entire time. Grandpa was patient with Abby as well. It was a priceless gift to be able to get the same dog we left back again. I must say she is a much improved dog as well. She has grown out of her puppy tricks and is much more obedient. What a thrill it was for the kids to be recognized by her. She is adding much excitement and joy to our household. Here are some pictures of Baby Girl getting to know the dog she hadn't been alive to meet before we left for Korea.

July 14, 2007

You really ought to give Iowa a try...

Can I just say that I am so gosh darn grateful to be here in Iowa!! I literally smile from ear to ear when driving around here. It is so beautiful everywhere you look. All the green open space is such a refreshing sight for sore eyes. And there is plenty of space to be had. Something that I would not have appreciated half so much if I hadn't just lived in Seoul. This concept of appreciation coming after a trial is on my mind a lot lately. We are given hard things to deal with in life so that when we make it through them we have the wisdom on the other side to appreciate and love the good times all the more. It is even more evident of the growth I have been through as I compare this go around in Iowa to the time we lived here before for four years in medical school. I did not know how good I had it then. In fact I really recall how much I just wanted to go back to somewhere with better weather. Iowa did grow on me with time. But this time around it is an instant love affair with this wonderful place. People gave me looks of sympathy sometimes when I told them where our next stop was and I would just smile knowingly, and inform them that Iowa is a wonderful spot. I also love the familiarity that comes back when I see people I knew then and places we did this or that. It's a constant deja vu. We really grew here in Iowa. It's a great place to reap the harvest of growth. And that is just what we plan on doing during this wonderful year in corn country. If I can just get all the dang boxes opened!

July 02, 2007

Random talk

Hey there, I haven't blogged in a while since I have not been with the computer (T took it with him when he drove to Iowa while I stayed behind to attend my 20th high school reunion). And I must say that using my Mother in law's dial up computer sure is an experience in patience (or impatience) for me. But I feel the need to vent a bit tonight so I thought I would brave the hour glass that tells me to wait and wait and wait on her computer and crank out an entry.

So much to say, where to start. I have been missing my friends in Korea- shout out to K T and M B! I have had so much fun reconnecting with friends and family here in Utah. However the phyical effort it takes to drive all over and care for my kids in a vacation mode is really wearing on me and tonight was a bad night for me and the kids. Possibly the stress of getting ready to go tomorrow has added to this...

One thing that has been bothering me is that my Dad gave be a little lecture tonight on trying to get along better with my stepmom JA. This was our last conversation in the car while he was driving me to SLC to drop me off for the flight tomorrow and I just hated parting with him this way. I feel this lecture was pretty unfair since I have tried my darndest to ignore the rude things she says here and there to me and about my loved ones all week. It's strange how he doesn't seem to notice her mean streak. He's probably bugged that I chose not to stay over at his home when I could have last night. I chose to stay at my sister Shauna's instead since the kids and I were having such a good time there. I hope I didn't overstay my welcome with her and her roomate. I was so happy to have someone who paid attention to my kids the way a real caring relative should that I just couldn't bear going back to the house of no running or touching valuable things. Anyways, one of the last things he says to me is "you and JoAnn don't have to live under the same roof" and I say the obvious come back which is "thank heavens!" right? He then takes the opportunity to tell me that this is the core problem I have that I have to have the last word and that I have all these zingers at the ready. I had no response to that... Perhaps I need to re- evaluate my need to say something to him. He is getting old and I don't want to go down this road over and over only to have him up and die some day with me feeling badly towards him. He is in a tricky situation being in the middle of two women he loves who don't really like eachother. I must add a zinger here at the end though-it's really all her fault.

June 14, 2007

Seoul Searching

As I sit here in the quiet of our hotel room(s), I am contemplating my experience here in Seoul over the past two years. We leave for the US tomorrow evening, and it's my last 24 hours here in the land of the morning calm. I must say that I have been smiling all week long at the prospect of returning home. Living here has made me appreciate the United States more in many ways, and I am ready to go home to all things familiar. It's been challenging to be a stranger in a land where you cannot communicate with one another easily. I never did acquire much taste for the food, and the culture was baffling at times. Still, I am a better person for having been here. I have seen things I never could have seen. Traveled places I never would have before. I learned to laugh through the ridiculous adventures we had here. It has a been a good hardship to have had.

The Korean people are many things: I was thinking of all the adjectives I could use to describe them and here are some. They are hard working, kind, funny, deceitful, tricky, blunt, dedicated, smart, honourable, religious, thrifty, smelly, smiley, bowing, segregated, loving, touching, shoving, respectful, reserved, homogeneous, unique people. (And much much more!). I will miss them more than I realize right now. I am grateful to have learned so much about another culture. Also for the chance it has given to my children to see another side of the world and how they live.

I had an experience a while ago that I keep thinking about. We have this large dumpster outside our apartment entrance (lovely eh?) and we are supposed to sort our trash before dumping into it. They give us special trash bags to put mostly food items in (no disposal- oh how I missed that!!!), and then there are separate sections for the paper, metal and glass. Well the complex where I live hires older Ajimas and Atashis (Korean for Aunt and Uncle- but is how older folks are all referred to here- like Sir or Madam), who sort the trash. The first time I saw these older women out there digging through and sorting the trash with their bent backs and their little white protective gloves on my heart went right into my throat. That's their full time job- to sort out what the wasteful Americans are too lazy to sort correctly. I made a mental note to myself that I would be more diligent in my recycling effort in the future. I was shocked when an friend of ours put things a bit more bluntly when he said he didn't sort trash in his home because he wanted to give those women a job to do. A job they probably needed. That's one way to look at it I guess.

Anyways, my experience last March (I think) was that I was getting rid of socks that had no mates (a whole bag), and it felt so wasteful to just throw them away for some reason. I mean I am sure there is a trash sorter out there who could put these things to good use right? So I don't really know which place to put them- they aren't metal, glass or food items. So I just go in search of the trash sorter who's face I see regularly on my way to my car. It was shocking to me to find that on a cold day to get out of the wind he was kicking back in an upright position napping in the paper trasch recepticle. I think I startled him, and I know he startled me! I awkwardly tried to use my charades to indicate that I had some socks for him, and instantly felt the gravity of the situation. I have too many things and I need this elderly man to find some use for these for me. And he has no heat or soft chair at the moment. I should have been giving him something to ease his pain. But I offered him unmatched socks. I went inside and cried. I cry now at this memory. I was always friendly, and tried my best to be even more friendly to this poor man after this episode. But in reality I feel that I fell way too short in my efforts to just bow more deeply to this man. This man was so familiar to me. Couldn't I have done more for him? Perhaps some coa coa? It's such a 'class separate' society. I am certain he would not have accepted an invitation into my home. I hope I can be prepared to be more kind to those less fortunate than myself in the future. I am so grateful for what I have been blessed with. Words fail me, and I cannot express myself well. I have loved Korea, I have learned here. I am leaving dear friends. And I will miss the trash collecter at building D. Till me meet again.

May 28, 2007

Disney Sea

The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness

This has got to be my all time favorite ride at Disneyland. I just love the atmosphere and the best part is when they say that it's the "wildest ride in the wilderness!" Although they didn't say this in Japan (unless it was said in Japanese and we didn't understand), it was still a joyful time. I mean just look at these happy faces.

More Disney

May 27, 2007

Toyko Disney

We (and by that I mean the kids and me), are big Disney fans. So I was thrilled that Japan had a Disneyland for us to take the kids to. I grew up going to the theme park in Anaheim and T grew up mostly camping for family vacations. He couldn't really relate to my tears of joy on our first family Disney adventure when I realized that the magic kingdom in Florida is laid out the same as the one I grew up going to in California. It could have been the post pregnancy hormones, but when I saw that castle and the same Disney parade going on as we walked into the park, I was reduced to tears. FYI- Disney Tokyo has the same basic layout as the other two parks. They really know how to get to you.