October 2007 Archives

Happy Halloween!

Trick-or-Treating images by Craig

We had a Halloween party at our apartment complex tonight. Anna wasn't clear about what was going to happen so she was a little skeptical. Sarah barely knew she had her wings on and I'm not sure she thought it was strange that all of the big kids had costumes on or not.

After a quick dinner, the kids all went trick-or-treating through the complex. I went down with Sarah to hand out candy and Craig & Anna went trick-or-treating. Craig said one Norwegian guy was caught unprepared for the holiday and handed out chocolate from a box of chocolates he happened to have around. (I hope there aren't any Norwegian holidays I'm supposed to be preparing for, because I sure don't know about any!)

Anna was pretty excited about her candy, but she was also pretty excited that Kristin from school was wearing all pink (apparently, Kristin likes pink as much as Anna). I told Anna that Kristin was a "pink princess" (because that's what she was dressed up as!) and I have come to the realization that my sphere of influence is dwindling. "Princess" will become part of our regular vocabulary soon now. I'll try to show no resistance and maybe it won't be as bad as I'm imagining...

Creative Title

Anna, modeling a new skirt made by Grandma (paired with a new shirt as well—I bought a ton of new pink clothes for Anna because she was outgrowing the few pink things she had. Thanks, Anita for bringing it all out!)

Sarah, drooling and being sweet, as usual.


Sarah was not impressed with carrots this morning. "They" say it may take 10-15 tries for babies to like a new food. I just have one jar of (organic!) carrots from Ocean Department store so it looks like I won't be in a big rush to get back and buy another. This particular shop at Ocean is great though they have organic baby foods, wipes, diapers, and clothing; they carry Plan Toys and some other great brands. Of course it's all super pricey and there isn't a giant selection, but it's nice to have some quality options here.

Ribbon Blanket 2.0

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I am so much happier with the blanket I made today (very quickly, I might add; it makes a huge difference when you actually know how to run your machine!). So, I whipped up a batch of oatmeal cookies and brought them and this blanket over to my neighbor with the new baby. I did a much better job. The corners weren't perfect but they weren't bad, either. I'm excited to try something new for my next project (probably a tote bag for Anna).



I hope to get some better shots later on this week (Craig had my "real" camera in the trunk of his car but I didn't realize it until I already had the shoot set up...)

Edited 10/31 to add extra photos from this session as Anna's wings didn't really hold up after the Halloween party at our apartments tonight (so no second photo shoot).


Sarah: October 29, 2007 (5 months, 4 weeks old)

Anna: October 17, 2005 (7 months old)


Sarah added avocado to her repertoire today. I think she was surprised that there was a new flavor today more than anything.

Hakdong Family Portrait

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Photo by Brian

We all went to Hakdong Pebble Beach today. Anna didn't want to get out of the stroller and it was the middle of the day but it was about time we got a picture of the four of us again!

Playing with Papa

Anna & Papa were in her room playing with her dollhouse for quite a while before I tried to get a photo of them together. Unfortunately I wasn't sneaky enough and Anna spotted me through the curtains in the office. I just can't get over how easily she's warmed up to Nana & Papa this visit!

Eating Hair & Bedtime Reading

Sarah cannot not put something in her mouth if it is within reach. Does my hair taste good, Sarah? Photo by Craig

Everyone gathered around for Anna's bedtime reading.

Mouse Cookies

All photos by Craig.

Nana brought out decorations to make mouse cookies with Anna since everyone is still [insert-name]-Mouse around here. Anna loved it. We still have a ton of almond slivers and tiny chocolate chips to make more later on. We'll have to improvise on tails though as we are devouring the licorice that Anita brought with her.

Tea-time with Papa

Photo by Craig

While Sarah was having her first oatmeal, Anna had her first tea party with Papa. Anna took no time to warm up to Nana & Papa this time which was a relief. We've been watching a lot of Nana videos and she still really remembers being with them this summer.


"Is this for me?"

"Hmmmm..... I'm not sure what to think yet."

"Better have another taste."

"Give me more and get it in my mouth faster!"
All photos by Craig

Sarah had her first solids this morning! I went with oatmeal because it is not a color just in case Sarah made a big mess. She was super neat with the food (her motto must be "Waste not, want not") and seemed to think it was okay. I think we could have made it a bit thicker and used some warmer water for her. Perhaps next time we'll get the recipe down.

Waiting for Nana & Papa

I set up the AeroBed for Nana & Papa today so the kids & I had fun playing in the office/playroom on the bed. Anna likes to act out a scene from Richard Scarry's The Best Counting Video Ever where the mother rabbit sings a song to Lily Bunny at bedtime so we did that for a long time.



I have a strong desire to be a crafty person so I decided to sew a "ribbon blanket" for my neighbor's new baby. I should have paid more attention to my mom's instructions on how to use my sewing machine but I think, ultimately, I had to learn through trial and error. This particular blanket will not be my gift to my neighbor because I know how shoddy the inside stitching is. I will make her a new one and actually be proud!

I have a sewing book and a "softies" book that I want to make a few things out of. I'll post pictures when I finish another project.

Monday Update

Anna is doing awesome with school now. She even turned to wave goodbye to me today when I dropped her off and waved goodbye to her teachers after school. I am so happy! I am also considering sending her three days per week after the winter break if there is space but haven't decided yet.

Sarah took a super long nap this morning which was just what I needed today! A little break and a rested child!

Chopped Liver


Anna loves Craig. She runs around pretending to be daddy and often calls herself "Little Daddy" (I had to make a distinction one night when they were both in the room and she was still "Daddy"). When we draw, it's Anna & Daddy, then Sarah, and then Mommy (sometimes I even have to remind her that I'm missing from the drawing!). I'm trying to not be offended since I was number one for so long.

What is going to make this hard is that Craig left today for four days to go to Seoul with his parents. I hope Anna can survive that long without him!

Foreigner's Club

Sarah hanging out in the Bjorn with Craig. Lucky he finds the Baby Bjorn tolerable because I can't stand it. Sarah loved it, of course.

Anna walking through the "cheese-house." (When we draw, I often draw a family of mice poking out of swiss cheese holes in a "cheese-house.")

I needed a few quick groceries so we decided to make it an outing and take the kids back to the playground at the Foreigner's Club today. I felt like I hit the mother-load at the Import Lady, it's just too bad that a lot of the stuff I was excited about I had Anita pack in her suitcase to bring here... I could have used that suitcase space for something else! Oh well, the Import Lady did have some Gerber cereals (oatmeal, rice, & mixed grain) so I got some for Sarah just to have on hand and for some variety for her when she starts solids soon.

Portraits: Sarah at Five Months

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Portraits: Mother with Daughters; Sisters


Photo by Craig

Portraits: Anna

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Anna wasn't super into getting portraits done today but had fun setting up her own "shoot" when mine was over.


I am really happy with the natural light we get from our giant window in the family room (especially in relation to Doha; I was happy with the light we got in our house in Texas).

Glasses from the "Halloween" endcap at Home Plus.

We missed the moms & tots group at the Foreigner's Club so we played on the playground there for a bit on our own.

Anna has a "little Sarah" that she puts in the Mega Saucer, the bouncy seat, etc.

Anna had set up a meal for "daddy" (Anna) and "Sarah" (the doll) and was kind of annoyed when I put Sarah down next to "Sarah" for a quick picture.

Craig was on a business call and Anna was sticking random vegetables in his back pockets as he paced the house.

Change of Scene

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The face I get when I ask Anna to make a "happy face."

Her sad face (although she was in too good of a mood to do a good one).

Sarah's first sit-down Starbucks experience. They don't do decaf here so I'm "stuck" with blended cremes (although I usually don't get the whipped cream on top; they didn't ask me today).

Anna wore a white shirt today! I had to get the camera out for the momentous occasion (it was really strange how refreshing this was to see her in another color!). Too bad her hair looks like she is just got back from a beauty pageant and she wasn't in the mood to get her picture taken...

Sarah took a long nap this afternoon so we went to Starbucks & Home Plus while skipping a third nap for the day.


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Anna set up her cookies as "piano buttons" so we could re-enact the videos I made of her and Grandma playing the piano at grandma's this summer.

Taking Out the Trash


You can't just throw something out here like you can in the US (where, at least where we lived, recycling was voluntary). It's an adjustment coming from Doha where there was absolutely no recycling to here where you have to divide things up even at fast food restaurants. In Korea we have to separate recyclables from non-recyclables and the cleaning ladies are supposed to separate our recyclables even further. I end up taking our plastic up a couple of times a week because we drink a ton of orange juice and use a lot of recyclable plastics. We also have a separate trash for food waste which we have to take up every other day or so (I purposely got a small trash can for this because it's just gross, not to mention how disgusting the food-waste bin for the apartment complex is (flies & maggots anyone?)).

The recyclable stuff goes into glass, plastic, paper, glass, and metal (tin cans) bins just on its own without a bag around it.

The non-recyclable stuff must be put into a special bag that you buy at any grocery store on the island (the bags are coded by region). This ties into the fact that you must pay for a plastic bag at the grocery store and you have to tell the cashier how many bags you want before you begin the transaction. (You can buy your non-recyclable bags and use those to bring your groceries home, too). I've gotten really good at estimating how many bags I need for each store and its different bag size. However, many people do not buy bags but they pack their purchases up in the cardboard product boxes from the store. There is a big area where everyone gathers and packs their stuff up in cardboard boxes and tapes it up to bring home (where the consumer finally recycles it). I must start bringing my own canvas bag to the store because I just don't need all of the store bags here (since everything goes in the red non-recycle bag anyway) and I don't have the trunk space for boxes or the time to pack everything twice with two kids in the cart.

I think it's great that this is compulsory as it's really not that big of a hassle in our day-to-day lives and I wonder why the same thing can't be implemented at home (in the US).



Sarah sat for five minutes today! I was starting to feel like she wasn't really making any progress in this area and then she just did it. I'm hoping to get some more longer stretches like this before we start solids in the next couple of weeks. I'm thinking about having her start with avocado as her first food and then some sweet potato after that. I've already started making some stuff and freezing with the thought that I might not be able to find it all this winter (pumpkin, avocado, apples) and I want to make sure it's sugar-free, etc. There are some jarred baby foods but not a good variety and I haven't seen anything in the way of rice cereal or oatmeal or other grains specifically targeted to babies.

Costume Trials

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I haven't finished the details on the wings yet (I need to go out and get some white/yellow paper and I may do both sides of the wings).

Craig has an idea how to make the wings less floppy with chopsticks: hopefully it will work!

Just having some fun; I'm still not sure what Sarah will do for her costume this year...

I started working on Anna's butterfly costume this weekend to be sure I could do it with the supplies I found in Okpo in case I needed Anita to bring something extra out when they come. I think it will be great with one minor tweak we still need to work out. I am still not sure what to do about Sarah's costume as I don't have any brilliant ideas for what she was supposed to be (caterpillar) and I'm not sure I want to make her wear a hand-me-down. I am thinking about a pig costume since she was born in the year of the lucky pig and she'd make a pretty cute little piglet. I'll post pictures of the girls in their full costumes later this month. There will be a party at our apartment complex on the 31st and then another part on the 2nd at school.


I really never thought it would happen but we have a Starbucks on Geoje Island! We went to Home Plus this morning and as we were about to turn right to get to the parking garage, we saw the lovely green awnings beckoning us to come inside and enjoy a taste of home... Anna & I have been enjoying Davinci's strawberry smoothies but every once in a while we'll have to hit Starbucks (so big and spacious!) for some variety.

This is not the only thing that is new and improved on Geoje since we lived here last time. Home Plus in itself is a great improvement and I think it has helped bring better things to all of the stores in the area. We can get so many things at Suhyup that were Import-Lady-Only items last time we were here. Salsa, tortilla chips, and pepper-jack cheese right in town! Today at Home plus I saw frozen vegan (no eggs) waffles with flax, organic eggs, Gerber puffs (so excited about those!), flour tortillas, and more that I can't even remember. I'm seeing a lot more organic stuff around which is something I didn't see at all in 2003/2004.

It's not just food that is better, there is an Office Depot in Okpo! It's technically an Office Depot/Best Office but it is like a real office store! I remember struggling to find bubble wrap here last time and they carry it at Office Depot along with a bunch of other stuff that I was super excited to see. It's not quite like "home" but I'm comforted by the improvements (and I often wonder what the locals thing of all of this change).

So long, beloved Babyhawk

I am embarrassed to admit this happened but I guess it was a wake-up call to pay more attention to what I'm doing while getting the kids in and out of the car. I loved my Babyhawk for carting Sarah up and down the stairs and around town. It was comfortable for both of us and Sarah felt very secure in there (and cuddly). I wasn't paying attention to the straps (that is the only thing I never really liked about it, the excessive length of straps) when I got Sarah in the car at the Foreigner's Club and when I drove off, heard a noise coming from the back but assumed it was the stroller falling over. When I got home and tried to put Sarah in the Babyhawk, a strap was missing. So we are back to the sling (I tried the Bjorn and it was just awful!). We'll see if the Ergo works for us or if we're in the Hotsling for the rest of her non-walking/non-climbing-up-the-stairs days. (The hotsling really isn't bad, it's quick and light, it just doesn't feel as secure as the Babyhawk and I don't stay comfortable as long as with the Babyhawk).


Anna is interested lately in how to spell everything. She can spell mommy, daddy, Anna, & Sarah. We were playing with the letters on the refrigerator today and she wanted to spell all of the animals from the fridge farm. I wish she'd take this much interest in potty training...


We had a playdate this morning with one of Anna's new friends at school, Mia. I happened to talk to Lorraine (Mia's mom) during drop off and we decided to get together today. Lorraine was nice and came here because of Sarah's napping but it turns out it might have been just as easy for us to go to their apartment because Lorraine doesn't have a car so had to take a taxi, there weren't any taxis to be had, and then Sarah didn't take a good nap anyway... Oh well. Mia was a nice little girl and Anna says she likes her and even offered her some "pig tea" while she was here (pig tea was simply a pig from her Little People barn inside one of her tea cups).

Sarah & I went to coffee morning two weeks ago to try to find out the scoop on where the moms hang out with their kids. I met the woman I ran into at the grocery store when we first got here (the one with a son the same age as Sarah) and she said (as Julie had said) the moms met at Pinnochio on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I took the kids to the playgroup and Pinnochio was closed. I tried again on Tuesday but Pinnochio was closed! So frustrating! I've been planning to go back to Coffee Morning (or try the playgroup that meets at the Foreigner's Club on Monday & Friday) to see what the deal is but today Lorraine told me that the same thing happened to her and the other moms decided to stop going to Pinnochio because even though they had a set appointment with them, they kept not opening! They are now going to another place in town... We'll see if we ever make it there (I only have tried to go on the days when Sarah's nap ended early enough to attempt it).

This is part of the reason I was sad to leave Doha (and why I was sad to leave Texas)... it is hard getting out there and making new friends (and I liked the ones I had already made)! I've got two handicaps right now: those stairs (we only go up once per day) and Sarah's need for sleep (whether she has a good nap or a bad nap is out of my control). I know it will all work out in the end though.

No More Tears


Anna didn't cry today at Playschool. She ate all of her snack and her teachers said she did great. Craig said she was so engaged in playing (with a kitchen set and a strawberry, what else?) that she almost acted like she wasn't ready to go home.



I made these pretzels today with Anna's "assistance." (She watched me make the pretzel shapes and taste-tested the dough then got down from her chair to "make prentzels" in her play kitchen.) They were pretty good and at first I didn't think they were worth the labor but it turns out Anna & Craig really liked them.

When I finished all the prep and put the first sheet in the oven, I looked to see how Anna's pretzels were coming along in her kitchen and this is what she made:

Strawberry Umbrella

I went into town (by myself!) to check out the sewing shop in the market and ended up checking out all of the old & new stores in town since I didn't have any kids in tow. I came home with (among some other good finds) a pair of sparkly strawberry barrettes and this umbrella that looks like a strawberry (and has a strawberry at the end of the handle) for Anna. The look of pure joy on her face when presented with these items was priceless.

Little Things: Sarah Elinor 5 Months

Sarah is getting into a more predictable routine lately. She is going to bed (for the night) with no crying most nights; sleeping through some nights (my definition of sleeping through is going to bed at 7 PM and getting up between 6:30-7:30) but not all, wakes for pacifier several times some nights but most nights just once for a meal (between 1 AM and 4 AM).

Sometimes Sarah takes a long afternoon nap and then only takes two naps instead of three that day. She can comfortably stay up longer than two hours at a time now and we are doing naps at set times (between 9-9:30 AM, 1 PM, and 4 PM; bedtime is at about 7 PM).

Sarah is getting more social, squeals for our attention, laughs and smiles a lot. She still definitely thinks Anna is the coolest and when I ask Anna if she has any friends, she says, "Sarah," so I guess the feeling is becoming mutual. She is also getting to be highly distractable while nursing which is frustrating because even if I could position her so she could watch Anna, I can't make Anna stand still so the best I can hope for is that Anna is engaging in a quiet activity until Sarah's done eating.

Sarah can sit up for over a minute at a time, pushes up on arms when on tummy, and loves to stand. This standing obsession is almost obnoxious because she will not bend her body when she wants to stand and she does this often.

We have been considering calling her Nora which is a nickname for her middle name, Elinor. We'll keep you posted on that development.



Sarah sneezed so I copied her and she thought it was hilarious. Of course her laugh is toned down a bit for the camera but I think I got few good ones here.

Fourth Day

Anna cried when I left her at Playschool again but this time I heard her stop as soon as the door was shut. Craig says the teachers told him she did really well today and she says she had fun, too. So, I guess that's that! Four days and she's fine. I still expect some resistance at drop-off, but I can deal with that better knowing she's finally enjoying herself.

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