Friday, 16 September 2011

where'd the quiet go??

I remember when PH was first born, the house was too quiet. I wanted music on, I watched movies in my free time, I called up friends to talk... something to fill in the quiet I wasn't used to.

These days the little boys wakes up talking, talks all day, and talks until he falls asleep. Rarely is there quiet in my day with him. And suddenly I miss quiet, like it was something I was well acquainted with at some point...

I read an article that said that kids around 18 months pick up a new word every hour or two, and it is so true! Things we say once get repeated again and again as he tries to master communicating his thoughts and needs. His favorite things these days? Talking on the phone, real or imaginary... Thank God for Skype, right?? He demands to talk to his Babcza daily!

This past week he began to use two more names of extended "family," and loves to stand at the fridge and point at the picture of his "auntie." He also talks himself through tasks, like putting on his boots.

"Boots. Feet. uh oh! Stuck!! Push. Push. Push! OK. Go. Walk. MOMMMM!"

He can also unlock the doors now, which means when I say it's not time for a walk he can try to go by himself. >.< These days I'm thankful for a gate around our house!

All in all, he's perfectly on schedule, talking up a storm and giving me stress.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Summer Vacation 2011

To be honest, I haven't kept updating as I rarely get onto a real computer these days and un-savy me hasn't figured out how to update from my iPhone... can it be done?

This year the Big Head (haha!) had FOUR weeks summer vacation (PTL!!) so we took off on a road trip around Korea to watch a ball game in every stadium. On July 29th we finally packed up our Kia and departed, several days late after SEVERE weather in Seoul (torrential rains, floods, mudslides, many deaths!), and headed south to Daejeon. This may have been my favourite game, as I actually got to see some!! The team is called the Eagles, and they had a kids room called the Eaglet's nest with free babysitting... score!!

After Daejeon we went farther South to Gwangju. We didn't spend to much time there, as we found the cities to be like very outdated mini Seouls. It was the smaller cities and places that we enjoyed the most... like Mokpo. One of the highlights of our trip was a night on a small island off Mokpo called Oedaldo (WAY-DOLL-DOH). It was a 9,000won (like $9) and 30minute ferry ride away. It had beaches and several "Pensions" and "minbak" which are a cross between a motel and a homestay. It also had tents for rent ($20/ night) and space for those who brought their own tent.

BUT, we didn't bring a tent, and there were no rooms or tents available. >.< And the last ferry out was shortly after our arrival... So a very kind man lent us a blanket and mosquito net, and allowed us to use a cabana (which he owned and rented out daily) for free! What an adventure!!

We were a 15foot drop away from sandy beach and ocean on one side, steps away from the main seawater swimming pool and not far from the outdoor "noraebang" (karaoke)!! Despite this, the Pumpkin Head slept 8 hours (better than expected in those conditions!) and we were safe and have quite the story to tell now! In the morning we had time to play on the beach, dig for crabs, enjoy the big (FREE) seawater swimming pools before we took the ferry out at noon.

After that we spent a night at a motel on the harbour in Mokpo, which was the perfect place to watch a fireworks display for their Maritime Culture Festival before a loooong nights sleep and hitting the road again...

*coming soon ~ more vaca stories and pics, Boseong, Tongyang, Geoje, etc...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

As much as I wanted to write each day, I gave in to birthday socializing and going to bed early due to a head cold for the past few days, followed by frantically finishing the hubby’s home-made birthday gift, and taking care of a sick toddler (plus the ceaseless laundry that goes along with sick toddlers).

That doesn’t go to say I didn’t spend time reading and reflecting. I very much tried... but for some reason the more that I was determined to do things well this month, the more irritable and cantankerous I became! What had happened to me?!? I knew I was acting childish, and there was an obvious right decision or action that I simply refused to do!
Proverbs 31:11~12 says,

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.

She brings him good and not harm all the days of her life.

Eish! Convicting. We are called to be trustworthy and act with kindness and grace. Before we can be good stewards, raise our children and take on other tasks, we need to act lovingly and be gracious to our husbands.

One of the definitions for the “good” that we should bring was:

Pleasant, Happy, Agreeable, Understanding, Kind, Beneficial, Bountiful, Prosperous, Becoming, Right, Moral

I’d like to personally add gracious to the list as well. As we can’t be forgiving, take the first steps, apologize or put other’s needs first if we don’t extend the grace that has so generously been given to us.

I think I’d better print these words out and post them where I can see them and not forget (the mirror?).

Ok, back to square one it seems, but I will not give up.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

A "Chayil" woman of virtue

Proverbs 31:10An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.

Looking through several translations I've seen this woman called a virtuous woman, a wife of noble character, a woman of strength, a capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman, etc. And I've been confused as to what it really means to be an excellent wife, I mean, I generally feel like I’m trying my best... but what is it that God really intended for women?

The word used in Hebrew is chayil. This is the definition of the word “virtuous” from the Hebrew as found in the Strong’s Concordance is:

chayil חיל ~ strength, ability, might, efficiency, wealth, force, army

This word was also used to describe great forces and armies. A woman said to be "chayil" would possess a certain strength, might, and power!

That’s interesting. These days I feel like it’s very difficult for a woman to live in Eastern or Western culture, be submissive to a husband and retain her own strength and power. It’s not that it can’t be done, but how often does it really go to one extreme or the other, not finding the balance?

Ephesians 5:22 instructs “wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord.” This isn’t one-sided though, husbands are “the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church, his body...” and that husbands should “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...”

Biblical marriage isn’t a dictatorship, but mutual submission; in which both partners can still possess strength and power. Not power over each other, but power to work to honour each other and honour God.

Putting each other’s needs first.

I guess my goal then should be to put my husband’s needs first. When I’m tired, drained, grumpy... when he’s tired, cranky, argumentative... (yes, it happens!) I’ll work hard to have a “me first” marriage.

Not “serve me first”, but “I’ll take the first step.”

I’ll consciously submit first, forgive first, make amends first. I’ll do the difficult parts first, and not begrudge my husband or wait for him to take the first step...

Perhaps the best use of this power isn’t in making demands or holding fast to stubbornness or rebellion. Perhaps it’s not even in big projects, changing the world, or even changing husbands! But mustering up the strength and integrity to do the hard work needed to make a marriage glorifying to God.

Isn’t that really the best use of the power, strength and might that God has given me as a wife?

Thursday, 31 March 2011

my April Proverbs challenge

In almost all aspects of life, wisdom is passed down through the generations. Children go to school, we study for our careers, we learn and repeat stories, etc. Traditionally it's been the same in Christianity, where there is an elder or teacher who instructs or disciples the young. And traditionally it's been the same in marriage, where the elder women pass on their wisdom.

These days I feel like that passing of wisdom is hard to find.

Maybe some youths don't want to listen. Maybe some elders have given up. Maybe everyone assumes that the young will learn their lessons from someone else.

For me, married and Christian, it's often hard to find balance and wisdom in my daily life. Media, peers, as well as Western and Asian culture all send mixed messages. Add to that two young adults and a toddler, and life can be pretty stressful and complicated.

I often wonder if I'm doing my job as a Christian, woman, wife and mother. I often wish there was someone in my life that would just tell me what the right thing to do really is... But God has prepared us for moments like this, recording His wisdom and instruction. We often hear that we should really study the Word and do what it says, but too often I feel we just like to listen to the nice stories.

I heard about a man who, as he was studying the Old Testament, literally lived out the rules of Leviticus for an entire year. (!!!!) Insane, right? While I'm not on that level, I decided to take the month of April to live out the instruction of Proverbs, focusing on Proverbs 31:10~31 about being a Godly wife ~ partially because I want to honour my husband's 30th birthday and partially because I feel I'm ready to step up to the challenge.

I plan to use this month to look at Proverbs 31:10~31, what it means and how I'm applying it to my life and marriage. But for today, I want to share the introduction of Proverbs (1:1~7).

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

What does this mean? It means that God has given us this scripture to give knowledge to the young and to aid the teachers to be even wiser; Giving wisdom and discretion to guide us through our lives and help us avoid the pitfalls of those who don't fear the Lord.

I fully believe that my Creator has a plan for me and my family, and that He gives wisdom to those who ask for it. So now I'm asking for wisdom to be a better woman, wife and mother and be able to honour and bring glory to the God who created me.

Let's see how this goes...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

iPhone day and kids cafe

So our pitiful Christmas gifts to each other have finally been fulfilled! Both the hubs and I have new iPhones. Not that we're any sort of crazy gadget people, OK, at least I'm not... but I really wanted something to help me document the insanity that is Pumpkin Head. ^.~ My camera recently broke so we thought these would tide us over until we can replace it. Also, we needed to sign two year contracts and we may be leaving Korea in March 2013, so we really couldn't delay any longer.

So far I'm happy with it. I mean, these days I'm not so great with change so learning something completely new when I don't actually have the time to sit and play with it is a bit irritating; but, because the hubs has the same phone, he can learn everything and tell me what I need to know, right?? Gosh I sound old...

Well after picking up the phones we had some time to kill before meeting friends for dinner, so we went to Lotte Department Store downtown and spent time on the 7th floor baby lounge and kid's cafe. Really awesome! If you have a baby or small kids in Seoul, I'd give this one a try! It's not one of the biggest or best out there, but clean and super convenient when you're downtown.

Here is PH and Daddy taking a picture together with Daddy's new iPhone.

And here's PH trying to climb up the slide... what a nut!

To use the cafe, named Bubble cafe or something like that, you need to order one item for an hour of play time. Coffees and other drinks cost about 5-6,000won (like $5) but are pretty good! There is also gelatto and some food dishes available. The play area in the cafe is small, but for toddlers and young kids I think its decent ~ PH played for an hour and never got bored.

The Bubble Cafe is also a children's hair salon, with seats shaped like airplanes and such. PH doesn't actually have hair to cut, so this wasn't really an interest to me, but it may be worth checking out.

And finally next to these is the mother's/ baby lounge. In here there are change tables, lotions, powder and plastic baggies for soiled items; an infant measurement scale; seating for tired moms and dads (or grandmas and aunties) and highchairs for feedings; sinks, detergents, washcloths, etc. for cleaning bottles and other baby items; a water cooler (hot and cold), and a baby lounge attendant who makes sure everything is clean and there are no problems.

Also here are two additional rooms, one for nursing and one for sleeping babies. The nursing room has air filters, soft music and dim lighting and boppy pillows. The sleeping room also has dim lighting and soft music as well as 6 or 7 cribs with clean bedding and seats for parents.

I think Korea is brilliant for having so many places like these for mothers and babies. For a country with such a low birthrate, they really are on a good track to making it feel more comfortable for families.

One other note, if you drive to Lotte you will have to purchase over $100 for even a little free parking. It's insane. Recently the government is trying to dissuade people from driving downtown. To help with this, they've decreased the amount of parking spaces downtown (I think Lotte went down by %20 last year when they remodeled), but they have increased the parking rates. If you're watching your spending, it is not worth it to drive downtown unless you know you will spend enough to warrant free parking. I can't remember exactly, but I do remember going for dinner there a while ago and we would've paid $60 for parking had we not had a free parking pass. (FYI~ cars are still totally useful in Korea, especially for families! Grocery stores have very reasonable parking fees, and carrying groceries and a baby on public transit is horrible!)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

wrong in all the right ways...: What My OB/GYN, Hallmark, and the Bible Taught Me ...

I read this article today ~ the authors frankness about her grooming habits for her husband made me laugh out loud, but also made me question how I can better love and honour my hubs... take a look!

wrong in all the right ways...: What My OB/GYN, Hallmark, and the Bible Taught Me ...: "As Valentine's Day approached, I began dwelling on what it means to love my husband--my forever Valentine--and how can I love him better as ..."

Sunday, 20 March 2011

North Korean orphans

"An estimated 20,000 North Korean children are orphaned and adrift in other countries because their parents died while escaping the North or because they were abandoned by their North Korean mothers and fathers from third countries, mainly China. Only 100 of them have been brought to South Korea and recognized so they can receive medical and educational benefits. Neither South Korea nor the countries of their fathers are interested in caring for them."
~ from an article taken from the Chosun Ilbo (a South Korean daily) on March 11th

Many of these children flee North Korea through China to southern countries only to be sold into slavery or the sex trade. Others are captured and returned to North Korea shutting them essentially into concentration camps. At this point in time there is no legal way to adopt one of these children, and no country seems to be taking responsibility for them, passing them off or shutting them away in pitiful orphanages.

You can read the full Chosun Ilbo article here. It breaks my heart to know that so many children, and adults as well, must feel like there is no hope for them.

While the pain I've felt for these children has been ongoing, I've also recently started to learn more about how they are susceptible to the slave trade. Last week we had the privilege to listen to David Batstone discuss modern day slavery at our church in Seoul. His organization, Not For Sale, has a lot of information on slavery in the world and what we can do to stop it. I really think it's worth a look ~ and I've just started reading his book, which I can't wait to discuss.

Here's a note: more than 70% of slaves are female, and %50 are children.

So to those of you reading this, I ask you to take a moment to pray for North Korea and its orphans and that South Korean people and government would really agree on a way to help and accept these children. Also check out the Not For Sale website. If you have some time, it's worth it to listen to or watch to the sermon from OEM's Freedom Sunday ~March 14th.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


It's 9:30pm. The company has gone home. The kid is sound asleep. The dishes and laundry are done and the toys are put away... I've forgotten what it's like to have free time... what do I do now?!?!?

We've fallen into a wonderful and well organized routine, and life has become predictable yet still fun again! I'm very happy with life these days and still feeling refreshed. Which is odd, because I've had quite a few rough nights recently with PH sick and teething. I think the major difference is that we rested up and really let go of a lot of stress while on vacation ~ Praise God, eh?? Now stresses come and go, but don't really linger.

Psalm 62:5~8 says,
5 Yes, my soul, finds rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on Godc]">;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge."

Often I would allow fear, anxiety, or stress to take over. I would be consumed by it, and though I rationally know it's not healthy, I could not easily give it up. People would tell me to let go and give my worries to God. Cast all my cares on Him, right? He gives me strength. But often that feels more like a theory than a reality when you really don't know how to actually do it! Honestly, I don't have many answers, but I do know that real rest starts with belief and trust.

I believe there is a God who created me. I believe He created me, with all my flaws and weaknesses for a purpose and that when I let go He guides my life. I trust that He will lead me in the path I should go.

Now when stress comes, I know that I can find rest when I begin by trusting God. And these days I am very thankful that I'm able to experience such lovely rest after such a hectic and stressful year.

I'm now happy to put the kid to bed, finish up the chores and take some time to really rest, and I hope all of you out there can find some of this wonderful rest as well.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

New Beginnings

Today is the hub's first day at his new job ~ YAY!!

While I'm sad to have him out of the house longer (still a short day by Korean standards) I'm really looking forward to settling into a nice, new routine. We've also just returned from a month in Canada and are trying to adjust to the time change ~ which I imagine will actually help us to start a new schedule rather than try to change an existing one.

The beginning of this contract year allows me to indulge some of my inner "crazy." I love making lists, so let me share some of what's on my mind today...

Some of my goals for this year are:
-getting on a better sleep/ wake cycle (going to bed earlier, waking earlier)
-eating healthier
-getting more exercise and getting PH outdoors to explore more

To eat healthier, I'm planning to write a dinner menu for the month, then a grocery list according to the planned menu. This will help me to prepare healthier meals because there won't be any last minute "hmmm and haas" about what to make, resulting in last minute, bad food choices. I'm also happy to be more prudent with money and not waste food. For breakfasts, we already have our routines ~ I eat cereal, hubs eats toast. Everyday. Simple, eh? And for lunch, hubs has lunch prepared at his new school's cafeteria (SO jealous!!) and I can make simple things or leftovers.

Now I've just got to prepare a menu. Having PH starting to eat what we eat is a real wake up call. I knew we didn't always have well balanced meals, but I'm a little surprised at how many things we eat that I'd never dream of giving him... I want to model healthy habits, so time to start them! But what to make?!?!?!

Off hand, here are some options:
-Roast chicken, hot chicken sandwiches, chicken soup...
-tuna casserole
-couscous with feta and tomato
-lazy beth's cabbage rolls (ground pork cooked in V8 with large chunks of cabbage, onion and carrots over rice)
-curry and rice
-spaghetti and meatballs
-vegetarian chili

I also am stealing an idea from my MIL ~ cheeseburger casserole: seasoned ground meat, mushroom soup, grated cheese and potatoes served with a veggie. She uses tater tots, so I think I'll try small "hashbrown" sized potato cubes instead.

Hmmmm, what else???? Anyone have any other ideas??