Learn the dance.. Live the dance.. Teach, talk and dance the dance!

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4

Thursday, May 27, 2010

To test, or not to test, that is the question.

Or maybe I should make that 'to homeschool, or not to homeschool'..  We will be discussing whether or not to continue homeschooling Big J this next year.  With the move happening, we still have about 2, maybe 3 weeks worth of work to do in order to finish up our year.  That's one huge plus to homeschooling.  It can go with us.  After our guests leave at the end of the month, I will be setting up our school room, and then we will be plunging back in.  It'll be nice to be back to our schedule completely. 

So, the topic was about testing.  I am unsure whether or not to get a standardized test for J, just to make sure that he is on the right track as we come to the end of our first year of homeschooling.  Its not too expensive, from what I have seen, but I don't really know if its necessary.  I know it probably isn't, but I don't want to find that we have missed something in his education (especially next year if we decide to put him in school)!  Any opinions?  Any sage words of advice?  :)

I'm off now, heading back to my world of dirty dishes and boxes to unpack.  Wish me well!  :P

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Well, phooey!

I just finished hanging the load of laundry that was sitting half-dry in our washer/dryer.  I pushed the button to turn it on, to finish drying the clothes.  Nothing.  Hmm.  Tried it again.  Called Jon, who switched the plugs.  Nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  I'm sure you get the picture by now. 

So, the upshot is, I have a heart-felt thank you to my Mom, who showed me the wisdom in hanging your clothes out on a line a mere 3 weeks ago, and another one to the realty company we are using right now, World Realty (Steve and GiGi are awesome!), who made a call and have a repairman coming tomorrow at 4pm.   :)  Definitely loving this company. 

Not really a downside to this post, because our clothes have been coming out smelling slightly burnt (its a steam dryer), and I don't really have the hang of exactly how long each variously-sized load needs to dry completely.  Ok, well the only downer is that we had to go buy the clothes rack we have now (bought it last week), and we need another couple of sets of hangers.  Which is a bike ride away at the PX, and with 3 cranky kids, will NOT be happening today. 

So, our washer/dryer is plastered with half-dry clothes.  My apartment is halfway to wreck-ville, courtesy of the 5 boxes we picked up at the mailroom today (thanks again, Mom!:) full of some stuff I have yet to find a home for.  Will work on that later- the kids are at the playground with Daddy, and the baby is napping.  Woot!  I call it a win. 

We are getting our furniture in a little over 15 hours!  :D  I already have most of the living room planned, and the kids room, and our room.  The third bedroom/guest room/ schoolroom is being occupied at the moment by friends, but we should be able to fit everything in other places for a few extra days.  Oh, the thought of cups, plates, actual silverware!  And a couch, better yet, even a table for us to sit at for meals!  Woo-hoo!

And on that note, I'm off to browse to Net for a bit, then to take advantage of the quiet to put some things away.  :)

Oh, yeah and I found a Zumba class here!  Squee!  :)  :)  :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back with some pictures- ok, LOTS of them!

Last pic with Grandma and Papa

Ok, now that I have a few minutes to myself (read: little J is sleeping for the moment)- here are some pictures from our trip and our first few days here.  I've been waiting for our furniture to arrive before taking pics of the apartment, because it looks exactly like the pictures I've already posted here.  Except it was cleaner in those other pictures!  :P

Walking around in the arcade to kill time on our 6 hour layover at JFK International Airport.

Big J using his Oreo container as a car.  More time killing, only about 2 hours left until we boarded.

Cool little double bike at the playground, right outside our apartment building.  We later found out it belongs to someone in the other building- oops. 

Remembering Daddy.  :P
Cutie- but bored with the photo shoot!

View of the mountains at sunrise.  (Oh, how fun it was to be up at o-dark thirty for the first four days)!

Love how he sleeps!  :)

First bath in the new tub!

Big J's new favorite game, Stratego. 

Another adventure to Lotte Mart, which is Korea's version of Walmart.  They have a HUGE seafood section.  Yes, those are baby octopuses (octopi)?   Either that, or they're squids.  Didn't get close enough to really tell!  :P  We were trying to walk and look at everything.  Oh, and they had samples of lots of stuff.  So now I know that the kids don't like avocado raw.  Neither do I, really.  But there's some big yellow fruit that tasted really good, and if I could identify it, I would.  But I don't speak Korean, so I have no clue what it was he told me that it is. 

Big playground behind our building.  It has walking trails, fountains, exercise equipment and lots of pretty landscaping.  The Korean family that literally descended on James at the playground.  I basically just watched as they played with him for over an hour.  It was a hoot, trying to speak with each other, although the little girl could speak a bit of English.  I have got to learn a few basic phrases other than hello, goodbye, and thank you!

Fountains and walking bridge at the big park.

                                                                  Really big and creepy looking bug.
Big ants, too.  Luckily, those don't bite.  They just look icky.  That big black thing to the left side.   Yes, that.
View from about 1/4 mile away from our apartment.

View of the bridge I took the previous pic from. We can't figure out if they put flowers out just because they normally do at this time of year, or if it was in honor of Buddha's birthday, which was apparently Saturday (I think).  Either way, they look beautiful.

Gardens are literally everywhere. The ivy-covered wall is the outside wall of Camp Casey. No clue who owns the plants that are planted there at the base of the wall, but the garden stretches pretty much most of the 1/2 mile of our walk to post. There are also several different gardens under the train overpasses.

The view of our apartment complex, from the flower-covered bridge.  Our building is the last one on the right side.

 Our adventures yesterday, with our new stuff.  Aren't those helmets and vests cute?  :P

Little J was exhausted from 3 hours spent at the PX while we exchanged my bike for a different style, and Jon figured out how to put the carrier on the back of his bike.  Then, he took it for a test ride with C, and promptly blew the inner tube in his back tire.  Woops!

Anyhow, Little J has woken up, so my computer is in peril!  I will add pictures of our outing to the Asian-Pacific Luau and Rock later on tonight.  Or maybe tomorrow.  We've been going to bed right after the kids, pooped from all of that bike riding! :)

So, now that we're over our jet lag..

What do we do now??

We've been out and about every single day, most of the time walking the half mile or so onto post, and the commissary, PX and a few other buildings associated with settling into Army life (tricare, housing, transportation, etc).  It really is true that we are paying our gas money that we budgeted for in the States for cab money over here.  This led to our weekend expedition of bicycle-buying.  Jon now has a shiny new road bike, and I have a mountain bike (which, we discovered last night, is NOT as good as a road bike).  The kids are the lovely users of a new bike trailer and bike seat.  This took a good chunk out of our savings, so we are now working on how to get it back into savings.  Maybe all the cab money we will save will make up for it!  One can only hope. 
Anyhow, I am in the process of uploading pictures that we have taken over the last couple of days (which is going really slowly, due to the fact that I have an irate 9 month old grabbing my computer every 4.2 seconds, chewing on my internet cable every 6.8 seconds, and screaming every 10 seconds when I tell him no about the computer.  I will be extremely happy to see my computer desk in 2 days.  :D

Monday, May 17, 2010

First post from Korea

We got our internet hooked up in our apartment a few hours ago.  I've been like an addict who's been deprived for too long- reading lots of blogs, 63 emails, posting on facebook, etc.  And one of the funny things is, I have totally forgotten that I'm not even in the same country I was in 4 days ago.  I wondered why no one was around posting things on Facebook.  Face it, I would seriously wonder why anyone would be up at 230 am posting stuff on Facebook! 

So, a few things about living on this side of the International Date Line...

1.  I will NEVER get in a cab for a long distance drive again, unless it is a dire emergency!  I lost count after about the third time that our driver (who was following another cab containing Jon and Jacob, along with half our luggage) slammed on her brakes and ended up having to swerve to the other lane in order to  not hit the first cab at a stop light.

2.  Stop lights really are optional here.

3.  This country is beautiful- we are nestled at the base of some mountains, and there are flowers EVERYWHERE.  I will post more when I have a chance to take some pictures of them and find out what they are. 

4.  They recycle everything that its possible to recycle.  We now have 7 plastic shoebins (hey, I didn't want to pay 5.99 per mini trashcan!), one for plastic, plastic bottles, glass, cans, paper, cardboard, styrofoam, and then we have to use the Korean-made waste bags for things like diapers and other non-recyclables.  We have a neat little composter type thingy under our sink.  You put in the food (leftovers, things the kids didn't eat, banana peels, etc) and it dries it out, and the smell is whisked away through some tubes that are built in.  Its definitely interesting.  Thanks goes to my Mom, who really made me watch it when recycling these last few weeks living in NY! 

5.  Paying in dollars, and getting won in change. 

6.  The Koreans love babies and children.  I've lost count of how many people have said, beautiful children, good family, so cute, and various other things like that.  The cab driver that waylaid Jon at the airport told him he was extremely lucky. 

7.  Walking everywhere is extremely tiring to three jet-lagged children.  (And their mama!)  We set out for the second time in one day to walk to the PX (about a half mile), and James bit the dust about halfway there, followed 3 minutes later by Caitlynn, and poor Jacob had to walk all the way to the PX, but he gave in as soon as we got there.  Cait was so asleep that she was reeling all around in the cart, and Jon kept having to toss his arm down for her to land her head on.  We piled a towel under each of their heads and they slept the whole time we were there, the next 30 minutes while Jon shopped in the commissary, the cab ride home, and upstairs.  Cait woke up and stayed up when we got home, but Jacob actually put himself back in bed and slept through the night. 

Of course, this means that J was up at 430am the next morning.  this morning, we managed to make it til 534.  I have hopes that tomorrow will be better.  Neither of the older children napped today, and we have successfully fed them dinner this time, without them falling asleep.  So, we are off to curl up in front of the laptop and watch Avatar.
Wonder how long it'll take them to fall asleep??  :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

And we're off!!

On Thursday, that is.  :D      3 MORE DAYS!!!  I can't wait to see my hubby again!!!

We have to get up super early Thursday morning to make it to the airport 2 hours early, a 1 hour flight to NYC's JFK International Airport, followed by a 6 hour layover at said airport (insert whine here)!  THEN, its a 14 hour and 35 minute straight shot flight to Incheon International Airport.  Woo!   Altogether, that makes for a 26 1/2 hour long day, and that only gets us to the airport in Korea.  It will take awhile to get our luggage, and take it to whatever bus we will be riding for the 1 1/2 hour trip back to the apartment.  Then we can collapse onto the air mattresses Jon is buying today (snerk) that the Army says we can't sleep on. 

So, I'm praying that I won't have to dye my hair when we land, in order to hide all the gray that is likely to appear, and that I (or someone else) don't kill my children whilst at 35,000 feet in the air. 

Seriously, though, I've already started praying for the pilots, none of that flying-too-much syndrome for them, please.  I'd like them to be well-rested for this flight.  :P  Oh, and no children directing the plane when it lands, either, please. 

I have a backpack full of new small toys (oh, alright, and a new Leapster game) in order to keep them halfway entertained on the flight.  No medications, though, even though I'm sorely tempted.   I learned my lesson last time I flew with two kids, and am only bringing one book with me, plus my Bible.  I have a new one, its an NIV/The Message parallel Bible, and it. is. awesome!  I love it.  Its so interesting to hear one verse, and then get a modern-day translation.  Most of the time, I don't really need the translation, but it gives me a whole new perspective on what's being said.  Ok, back to the trip stuff. 
The kids are all excited, they have seen pictures of our new apartment, and the new blankets that Daddy bought for them.  Jacob even pointed out where he thinks our desk should go in the living room.  I didn't want to explain that we didn't take the desk.. lol.  So, if you're interested, here are a couple of pictures of the new apartment.  Oh, and a quirk- its written into our lease that we cannot ever wear shoes in the apartment.  Period. 

Foyer L. Room, part of the hallway bathroom
 Closet wall (master bedroom)Kitchen
Living roomYes, its a picture of the kitchen sink. :P
He was in a hurry that day, so these are the only pictures we have so far.  He is going back Tuesday, so stay tuned for some pictures of the bedrooms, and a requested pic of the playground (from the kids) and the front of the building (from me).  :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sometimes I feel like a fraud

I think I'm getting caught up in the 'everything's better on the other side' blues. 

I see all the wondeful moms who create their own homeschool lessons, have to-die-for photography skills, creatively genius blogs, or wonderful people who have gone through horrible things in their lives and can still find beautiful ways to blog about the experience and be such an example to others, etc...  and then I look at my blog, my life, and I feel so inadequate. Sometimes I want to yell, "What's the matter with me, God?   You don't think I could handle anything like that?"  I wonder if my faith isn't good enough for Him to test, or if I'm not good enough for Him to use.  And then I realize that God KNOWS I couldn't handle some of the experiences I have been reading about.   Maybe I don't realize it, but He might be using some of the small situations I am going through as a learning and growing experience.  Just because I'm not in a third-world country feeding orphans doesn't mean I'm not good enough for God.  Just because I haven't lost a child, or a close family member, haven't had marriage problems or been desperately ill, doesn't mean that my faith isn't being tested in the place I'm in right now.  Just because I use a pre-planned curriculum, and don't do everything myself, doesn't mean that I am a failure. 

Please don't get me wrong, I don't WANT anything bad to happen!  I just mean that I've been feeling very down about myself and my faith lately.  I guess its one of those seasons where I feel like my prayers are bouncing off the sky.  I know He hears everything... it just doesn't seem like anything is happening (according to my pitiful schedule, at least)!  :) 

So, to help drag myself out of this pity pool, I'm going to list some of my blessings.  That way I can be reminded time after time that God loves me, even when I don't feel it.

1.  My husband.
2.  My 3 beautiful children.
3.  My family that loves me.
4.  Financial situations resolved nicely.
5.  The car I drive, the house we own, the one we are fortunate enough to be living in, and the apartment we have waiting for us in another country.
6.  The job my husband sacrifices ALOT of things for, that pays for the bills and some creature comforts.
7.  The abundance that we have that we are able to give to others easily. 

What are the blessings that you remember in down times?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

whew! Its hot in here!

Its about 80 degrees in here!  It was absolutely gorgeous this weekend, temperatures in the low 80's, a little bit of afternoon rain yesterday that cooled the evening off nicely... Tons of flowers blooming everywhere (lol, mostly dandelions in our yard, though), the trees and bushes are blooming and flowering.  Its beautiful in the North Country.

On the other hand, I'm really praying about a situation Jon and I have run across.  Can't really say much here, but its something we are struggling with (not in our marriage, though).  Any additional prayers are appreciated. 

I have some of our curriculum for next year set.  I have really been waffling on what to use for each subject.  I really need to buckle down and pray harder about this.  In some good news, though, we will be finished with our school year by mid-June.  That's pretty good, considering we didn't start until the first week of October, and had lots of interruptions this year.  We are going to relax this summer and enjoy our new apartment, new country, everything.  We will be catching up on all of the reading assignments from Sonlight's P 4/5 curriculum.  I hope it lasts the whole summer, but I don't think it will, seeing how my kiddos are wanting me to read everything in sight lately!  :) 

Anyhow, off to talk with my hubby on Skype, and get ready for a brand new week!