February 2008 Archives

Reading & Chatting

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Sarah can never decide who she should call first, Nana or Grandma...

I feel like it's rare for Sarah to actually stop and play with a toy. Not eat it, play with it. She is also not as into books as Anna was (even at this age Anna was more into reading, but then again, she wasn't trying to eat the books either). Anyway, Sarah and I stayed home this morning instead of running errands while Anna was at school so we had a good time together. Maybe the reason it seems like Sarah is on the go so much is because my attention is split between the two kids constantly.

Party Planning

I handed out three invitations to Anna's third birthday party this morning! (The invitations went to Gwenn, Kristin, and Eleni.) I think Anna is getting excited about the party!


Aksana was nice enough to bring buy the application forms for Anna for the International School next year yesterday which was great. I thought I'd stop by the school after Sarah's nap to get Anna signed up to be a "Lady Bird" this fall. Then last night we got an email from Playschool saying "hurry and register at OIS so you don't lose your spot!" The instant Anna's head hit the pillow last night I was filling out the form and we left early this morning to drop it off before Anna went to school. There are fifteen spots in the class and apparently eight kids had already signed up, a big project is coming to town, etc. Hopefully we are good to go now.

More Playdate Fun

We had Isabel and Alfred down today. I was a little nervous since the last time we had kids with their mom over Anna was super clingy. Today she was still hovering around me (or climbing on me) but she was okay if I stepped out of the room to get a drink for the moms (this tells me that I'm doing the right thing by having a playdate every week—she's getting used to it again and will hopefully be totally comfortable with it after a while). Alfred is a little sweetheart who reminds me a lot of my nephew Sam. Playdates are nice for me with Sarah because she stops moving a bit and sits and observes the new people for a few minutes.

Alfred's mom actually knew me before I knew her which isn't the first time this has happened to me: people here will do a search for something on Geoje and come across my old South Korea Journal or this blog. She happened to be looking for information on Playschool. Sometime I should sift through my stats and see what other people are searching for when they end up here. Hopefully I am providing useful information!


I keep forgetting to write that Sarah is moving more and more toward the "traditional" crawl. She still goes on her belly some but she's figuring out the hands and knees thing. She also cruises along the coffee table pretty well. Sometimes she likes to walk holding hands or push the stroller or one of the riding toys but she's not obsessive about it yet.

Another Playdate with Kristin

We had Kristin over again today. We basically did all the same things as last week except we couldn't go outside because it was raining. Anna was a little more relaxed today and obviously more comfortable which was great to see! I don't know if Anna actually spoke to Kristin today but she did interact on her own (while they played with the doll house I read to Sarah in the office (so Anna could see me but also so Sarah wouldn't eat the doll house furniture).

Dress Up

Sarah checking out the Home Plus Hanbok.

Sarah in the tutu and Anna in the hanbok. This actually all lasted longer than I thought it would.

Monthly Portraits

Nine Month Portraits

A hair shot just because sometimes it is hard to believe how red it is (and then again other times it's not so shocking; I guess it depends on the light).

Portrait Sunday

Of course I have to try to get a shot of Anna and a shot of the girls together on Sarah's monthly portrait day but I'm a little worried about getting Anna's three-year shot since she really doesn't want to look at the camera for me. Pre-kids I never was this obsessed about eye-contact in portraits but I think because Anna avoids it so thoroughly it makes me want it even more...


With the bandana and her BCG scars, I thought Sarah looked like she was just released from the Big House and showing off her jailhouse tats.

Anna got the BCG vaccine in Doha in April and still talks about it, it was that awful. She just has one mark but Sarah got her vaccine here in September and she has eighteen marks. If I had known that the injections would be different here I might have gone ahead with it in Doha. Note that you can only see nine scars on Sarah's arm, there is another set just above that one, under her sleeve.


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Sarah joined in the bandana-fun after her nap.

Time for a Nap

Photo by Craig

Playdate for Sarah

I had some of our neighbors over this morning for a little playdate for Sarah. Sarah's friends are all Norwegian so far (except Macayla who is Canadian/American but also moving to Qatar soon so we won't see her after next month). We're lucky that there is a girl five months younger than Sarah and a boy one month younger than Sarah that live in the terrace homes with us.


I copied the design of another of Anna's barrettes to make this "orange blossom" barrette for her. My hand-sewing isn't perfect but it was cute enough to send her out of the house in this morning.

Sleeping In

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I had to wake Anna up to get to school on time today but when she didn't wake after I opened the shades I decided I needed to also take a photograph. Anna goes to bed at 7 PM and wakes between 7-8 each day (but she needs to be up by 7:40 in order for us to be at school on time). Sarah goes to bed at 6:30 PM and is finally sleeping to 6:30 or so some mornings and also talking when she wakes instead of crying right away. Anna talks or sings herself to sleep and gets going again in the morning the same way.

Bunny Party

Anna decided to have a "bunny party" tonight which meant everyone had to have hats on. This later evolved into everyone needing cookies & tea. The best part though was when "Carrot" came (this was Anna) and was obsessively cleaning and putting things away. We remarked several times that we really like it when Carrot comes over to play so hopefully she will make her way back here often.

The Climb

The weather has been nice the past few days so the girls and I have been going up to the playground each afternoon. Sarah is having fun climbing up the five stairs to one of the slides. I am not looking forward to when she thinks she wants to climb the stairs from our apartment because they are pretty dirty and it will take a really long time to go up the four flights of stairs that way! I am glad I found a place for her to practice though. It also gives her something to do other than try to eat grass or sticks.

Playdate with Kristin

Kristin was a ham for the camera; I got a bunch of cute shots to share with Laurel.

We had Kristin over today without her mom to both give Laurel a break (her husband is out of town for two weeks) and to see if Anna would feel more relaxed without a "strange" adult around. I think Anna did pretty well. We had a snack, played with play-doh, painted, colored, watched about five minutes of Dora the Explorer, and then went upstairs to play after Sarah woke up from her nap. Anna actually relaxed and had fun with Kristin outside even after Laurel arrived to pick up Kristin. I think we'll try it again next week and hopefully see some progress.

Chunky Hat


You can kind of see Sarah's two top teeth in this shot.

The little red pilot's cap Sarah has been wearing is on the edge of being too small and this knit hat was the only other option in the drawer at the time so I put it on and when she saw herself in the mirror she just laughed and laughed. I didn't have a mirror handy in a well-lit place so she's not as super-happy in these photos but still super-cute.

Picking Up the Pace

Date Night

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Craig & I went on our second date-night last night. This time we went to Mabin's here in Okpo. Steaks again and they were about equal-goodness to VIPS. This is closer so that is a plus. We went into town after dinner and had coffee and hot chocolate at Dunkin' Donuts. It feels very strange to me to be out with Craig without the girls since it happens so very rarely (I felt strange out on my hike, too). We didn't get Sung Hee again but her friend came and since the kids are in bed by the time we leave that's fine.

Admiral Hike Four (77 minutes)

Craig & I have decided to take turns hiking the Admiral alone so we can get the full loop in. However, the real exercise is the part of the hike we've been doing with the girls because it is so steep. The way down is long and meandering so next time I may try to do it backwards to increase the length of good cardio exercise. I could definitely tell that I was up until 1 AM (out for Valerie's birthday), hadn't worked out since Monday at TKD, and that I didn't have 21 pounds of Sarah on my back. Hopefully next weekend I'll feel better when I head out.

Valentine's Day

These are the hearts I made for the girls; Anna's is in front and Sarah's is in back.

Anna & I made sugar cookies today for Valentine's Day. She wanted stars in addition to hearts. I left her in charge of the sprinkles and she knocked a bowl-full of them on the floor in the middle of the decorating. She's a good kid though and helped me get it all cleaned up in time for her friend Gwenn to come over for a playdate.

Anna seemed a little better with this playdate and I'm not sure if it's because she knows Gwenn's mom a little more (she has helped out at the school) or if it's because we've been having playdates more frequently. We are going to have Kristin over next week without Laurel to see if Anna is more comfortable without the "strange" adult around (thankfully Kristin should be fine without her mother!).


Anna wanted to wear her lunch bag (which we've never used a lunch bag anyway) as a back pack so I helped her wrap the straps around her arms. I've finally introduced her to Dora the Explorer so I don't know if the desire for a backpack came from that or from her friend Camilla who Anna says has a backpack (and, unfortunately, Camilla moved to China this month).

Wearing Me Down

[Warning: this is a throw-up story.]

Sarah has been doing this really annoying thing where she wakes up around 5:30 each morning. I refuse to go to her until 6. Sometimes she falls back asleep at 6 and other times she stays awake until her morning nap at 9. I realize that this is something we need to work on but I don't have the energy. She caught a cold from Anna a few weeks ago and still has some junk in her throat and today she was playing in the kitchen and I thought she must have gotten something in her mouth she shouldn't have because she was acting like she was choking. Then she threw up on me just a little. So, I thought, "OK, this isn't so bad, let's go get us changed." I set her down on my bed to remove clothing and she repeated this choking thing and up came a ton more throw-up and Sarah & I were saturated. I think a little even got on my mouth and I had to really focus to not throw up right back on her! I really think this was just a case of too much mucous/phlegm that caused her to throw up but that's something I've never experienced before (and would like to not have it happen again!). Anna was a great helper getting burp cloths for me for the initial clean-up and Craig & I are sleeping with a hodge-podge of blankets tonight since I'll have to take the comforter to the dry-cleaners.

This is all to say that I didn't make it to TKD tonight; I was too exhausted and I felt that getting thrown-up on was just the last straw for making today "one of those days."

Tae Kwon Do: Night Five

Good workout; not the best but I'm glad I went.

Still Standing

I hate to laugh but I just had to run into Sarah's room because she was so sad that I thought maybe something was wrong (she usually just goes to sleep without fussing or crying and this cry was starting to sound a little panicked) and she was "stuck" standing in her crib. I guess the couple of head-bonks she's experienced lately have made her a little more cautious about just flopping herself backwards.


We went out for gamjatang tonight. This is one of the few places we have gone multiple times with the kids because we can arrive any time and they are ready to serve food, it is fast, it has a trampoline, and (most importantly) it is good!

Sarah did really well tonight sitting on the mat on the floor here but she is too wild to take to Starbucks right now. She can't stop climbing all over the chair, trying to climb across the table, etc.

Anna did a fantastic job with her chopsticks tonight and, as usual, she asks to try kimchi and ends up spitting it out. I don't know what about the look of it is appealing to her but I am glad she is willing to try something new (she also always wants to try raw onion but never likes that, either).


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Anna is mimicking Angel Cake's pose in the book here (bottom of photo, she's calling her friends to invite them over to bake a cake while mixing the cake batter). After we took the picture she had to get her purple ribbons in her hair as well.


A series of photos of Sarah playing "roll-the-ball." Every time she released the ball she did this cute little "ta-da" pose. Craig & Anna went to Costco today so I got to spend some quality one-on-one time with Sarah.

Another Lazy Day

Fun with hats & daddy.

We had a good day around the house today just relaxing, mostly. I made a batch of pretzels (this time Sarah was able to enjoy them as well since I didn't use egg white on the glaze on top—she loved them) and we had Joe, Julie, and Macayla over. They're moving to Doha soon so we loaded them up with some books that we had about Qatar and Arabic culture.

Admiral Hike Three

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We really wanted to do the full loop of the Admiral hike today but didn't make it because Sarah started crying and I haven't done the loop since 2004 and I don't know for sure how long it will take. I guess I have to go do it alone one day to scope it out before we take the girls. In the end it would have been OK to do the loop because Sarah ended up falling asleep (she took a horrible nap before we left). Anyway we had a good hike and I think we both felt good going up today because we figured out what clothes to wear with a 20 or 30 pound kid on your back and because we've both been hitting the gym regularly the past couple of weeks. Anna complained she was cold so we might have to put off family hiking until it warms up a bit more, we'll see.

Oh, I should mention that Craig is home Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week for the Lunar New Year. Today is the first day of the Year of the Rat. Happy New Year!



Modeling the hat Erin Furtak knit for Sarah.

We got out the red background paper for a mini-session today but the kids weren't very cooperative. Sarah won't sit still on the paper and Anna wasn't into it even though she was the one who requested it. These kids really make me question my abilities as a photographer so I have to remind myself (frequently) that it is so much harder to photograph your own kids.

Sarah Elinor: Nine Months

Sarah is nine months today! She is changing so fast right now and the differences between her and Anna are really starting to show. The most obvious is that Sarah is much more physical than Anna was and I'm now realizing how easy we had it with her! Sarah pulls up on everything and anything. She likes to stand, kneel (something Anna never did), walk holding hands a little bit, and mostly, she just likes to keep moving constantly. She still hasn't mastered the "traditional" crawl but sometimes goes one to four steps (?) before getting back onto her belly and doing the Army crawl (she can get going pretty fast!).

Sarah is getting her top two front teeth (the left one finally broke through) and I think possibly another one on the bottom right. OUCH! She has not napping very well the past couple of weeks and I've suspected teething so I hopefully they all break through and we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

She loves pizza crust, pancakes (made with just egg yolks), beans (her favorite right now), yogurt (she gets mad when the container is empty), chicken, meatballs (again with just the yolks), likes broccoli, cauliflower, carrots. Basically she doesn't like to be spoon-fed and really wants to eat whatever we're eating (which is, thankfully, getting to the point where it is possible more often than not).

Sarah is babbling a lot. She says "a na na na na" a lot and I do wonder if she's saying "Anna" but am not sure. She also says "mamama mamamama" a lot as well. She is signing "brush teeth" now and possibly "drink." She hasn't kept up with the other signs we've seen her do so I'll be interested to see when she keeps them in her regular repertoire.

She pays attention when we're reading books (she's done this for a few months now) and still likes lift-the-flap, touch-and-feel, and picture books the best. She does like Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton though and it makes her laugh every time I read it with her.

Sarah has never been terribly excited about riding in the car (the first night we tried to go out as a family in Doha when she was a couple of weeks old she cried all the way home from The Villagio) but now that I've given her her Snack Trap while we drive she is content to dig O's out (and sometimes rip the lid off of the trap and dump them everywhere—Anna never took the lid off of her Snack Trap until she was 2 so this one little example I see of Anna being a rule-follower and Sarah being a rule-breaker). She does, however like to ride the little ride-on cars with Anna. It's too bad this really hurts my back & neck to do it for extended periods but the girls like to zip around the apartment stopping at each of the Stawberry Shortcake character's houses (Sarah's room is Apple Dumplin's Apple Orchard and Anna's room is Orange Blossom's Orange Blossom Acres, for example).

TKD Night Four

We did the regular warm-up tonight and then played soccer for the second half of the class so it was not as good of a workout tonight but I wouldn't have felt up to a run anyway so it's good I went and got moving a bit tonight (even if we did all have ice cream after!).

TKD Night Three

Sabunim (Pyongwon, not Mijung's husband; he is getting his other dojang started up now so unless otherwise indicated, "Sabunim" is Pyongwon) tried to kill me tonight! I hadn't done all of the kicks I knew yet during the last two classes so tonight was my first try at head kicks (my favorite kick!) and I wasn't flexible enough for them (yet). My high straight kicks were about the same though (bad, since I'm nervous about falling on my back again). Overall, a very good workout tonight. I will go again tomorrow since there is no class the rest of the week because of the Lunar New Year.

30 Minutes or 4K Whichever Comes Second

I was supposed to run last night but got lazy. I hope that I don't die at TKD this week since I have to go Monday & Tuesday as there is no class Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday because of the Lunar New Year.

Home Plus Hanbok

Photo by Craig.

Anna keeps asking to play dress-up in the really nice Hanbok from Mijung and there is now a small tear in it (which I will ask my mom to fix—it should be easy but she's a much better seamstress than me so I don't trust myself to do it) so when I saw Home Plus had Hanboks for sale this week (for the Lunar New Year) I decided to get one for the girls to play in. I will take Sarah's one-year photo (and maybe Anna's three-year photo) in the one from Mijung and then retire it so it doesn't get ruined. Anna picked this one out herself and I was surprised because we had it down to two different Hanboks and she chose the one with the blue skirt. We were barely in the door of the apartment when she started stripping out of her regular clothes to get the Hanbok on.

Making Pizza

I'll have to remember to look for Anna's photo of the pizzas when I upload the photos from her camera and post it here.



I decided to run at least 5K so I could compare my time each month against that distance. I took the last two nights off from working out so I had to go tonight. I remember running the summer before I got pregnant with Sarah and I learned that I couldn't take off more than two days in a row without feeling like I was starting all over again the next time I went out.


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Anyone who buys diapers (in the US) these days will recognize that these Korean Cuties have the exact same logo as US Pampers. I can't easily find information about these online (did a couple of Google searches but haven't come up with anything). Pampers.com has no information for Korea and I can't seem to find information on Ssang Yong C&B (the logo at the top right of the diaper pack). We have found a lot that copyrighted logos are mis-used all of the time here. You'll see Mickey Mouse on stuff that is clearly not a Disney product, for example. Anyway, the Cuties are the best fit for Sarah and they are actually built like Pampers which makes me suspect that there must be some kind of agreement with Ssang Yong C&B and Pampers/Proctor & Gamble.

Here's another "happy" Korean web site for Sharon (in English, for Anita!): Pororo is the penguin character on the Cuties.

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