Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Happy Market Day!!!

I may or may not have written about market day here in Korea, I don't remember. But I have a few vegan pictures to share. (Meaning I didn't whip the camera out for all the fish, sea creatures, and various and sundry land creatures.)

It's kimchi making season here, so you see piles of asian cabbage like this everywhere (including your own front and back yard):

And let's not forget the green onions!

Persimmons, which I have yet to taste. Ryan says they're not too bad.

Garlic!!! Usually I can find taller stacks- as in taller than a small person- but this was it for today:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free Advice Tuesday

I think it's Tuesday, anyway... I'm not real sure...

Anyway, so here is some advice for you, from me, free of charge. Consider it an early Christmas present. Or my attempt to help keep fellow parents from the bag of chocolate sitting in the freezer. Or the looney bin.

If, say, your children have some pots in their room that they've been playing with for a day or two, and they disappear into said room and close the door- don't forget that one or both of them was carrying an almost empty jug of dish soap.

Last I saw of them E was waving them both in the air, not sharing with his sister, so I thought nothing of it. Then, I heard their bedroom door close, and all was silent. Still didn't think about it because I'd already forgotten about the soap.

Went to check on them a bit later..... and I'll let you use your imagination.

Happy Birthday to Elisha

Elisha celebrated his 2nd birthday on October 23rd. And even I don't think he quite understood what was going on, he was perfectly happy to get new toys, fishies, and lots of attention. As well as lots of his favorite foods, LOL!

We didn't have a party, as I wasn't up for it, but we still managed to celebrate all weekend long. We started by enjoying dinner out and then a trip to the theater... dinner provided in the church basement and then several short skits put on by the drama group of teens from church. (The total time for the skits was half an hour- the kids not only lasted through it but enjoyed it as well.)

Saturday Ryan took Max to Home Plus to look for some "Cars" toys, but ended up with some fun little trains. I took Elisha to E-Mart where we picked up an inexpensive fish tank with a filter and some fish. After naptime we went to park to play and ended up going to an inexpensive restaurant with friends for dinner.

Sunday was E's actual birthday, so he opened some presents throughout the day, had a good time at church, and ate some of his favorite foods for lunch. (Hot dogs, cheddar cheese, and apples.) After naptime we hit another park, taking along some new toys to play with, then had dinner at McDonalds (he couldn't have been happier.)

Even though we did a lot, it was all low-key. I didn't even make a cake, because he doesn't like cake!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Did I mention...

... that we're expecting baby Kolbe #3? Well, we are! Yay! He, yes HE, is due in March. His first name is Nathaniel and we don't have a middle name, yet. We tried to pick a first name fairly quickly because we wanted to be able to tell the kids the name when we told them about the baby. Elisha doesn't give a hoot about the baby, yet. Max is excited, and asks questions, but, thankfully, not nearly as many as I had anticipated. We had held off telling the kids (Max) because she LOVES to ask questions, and the same questions, over and over and over and over and over again. Until Mommy wants to scream. Or just start giving ridiculous answers. Or both. But, we have been pleasantly surprised thus far-she has asked some questions, but it hasn't been the steady stream that we expected. (Thank you, Lord!!!!!)

We are hoping and planning on birthing at the Mediflower Women's Clinic (can't remember the exact name) in Seoul, with a doctor who is very pro-VBAC and natural birthing. Two friends of ours from school here have given birth there this year, and another friend is working as a doula, and helps there a lot. So we're super excited about the clinic, the doctor, the doula, and the birth.

Almost didn't check...

... my blog, because I couldn't remember posting in October, and figured it would be too depressing to see how lazy... um busy... I've been. That, and, pretty much everybody who reads the blog is also on FB, so they're up to date on the happenings around.

Of course, not everyone who is on both here AND FB actually CHECKS Facebook (ahem, I believe you know who you are), and thus rely on phone calls and video chats to keep up to date. Video chats that usually get cut short due to children getting into things and/or fighting. And my laptop battery is shot, so if the computer comes unplugged it shuts right off. No grace period. Just BAM. Off. What that means mainly for me is that I can't schlep my computer around the house while chasing children AND attempting to video chat. And we haven't replaced the battery because, to me, it really IS just a first-world problem. It's not a necessity, it's a want, and even then it's not at the top of the "wants" list. (Although that does make me wonder what's at the top of my "wants" list. Hmmm.)

So, anyway, I DID post in October. Once. AND in September. Once. Ha.

I'll be back in a bit with more. =)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Birthday Kalbi! Part 2

A few weeks ago Ryan wrote a good post on going out to eat kalbi with friends. And promised pictures. So, here they are!!

Everyone sits on mats on the floor, and you cook your own food.

They bring you the raw, marinated meat, along with a plate of lettuce, garlic, peppers, and some carrot sticks. Then they come around and light the burner in the table and put a grate on it.

See the scissors and tongs? For the cooking and cutting of meat. And a little button to push up there for more of whatever you need.

You get a variety of side dishes, which are unlimited. (Which is good for us as they have this yummy pancake type thing that the kids love. One waitress finally figured out to just keep bringing piles of it for us.)

Jason's disembodied hand cooking the meat.

On the left, onions in something... yummy, anyway. We put those on the meat when we eat it. And rice, which you have to order separately. Go figure.

Clockwise from top: cold seaweedish soup, pickled jellyfish tenticles, hot egg stuff, and stinky dog soup- containing tofu, and some vegetables.

Eating some kalbi- I can't tell what all Ryan put on there, but it's usually a piece of lettuc, some onions, and sauce. In that white bowl with that that round flan looking thing- that's not flan. It's tofu.

This particular kalbi place has a nice play area, which is why it is our overall favorite place. It has stuff to climb on, play on, etc.

The sad thing that this place keeps raising it's prices. =( And now I'm hungry.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Birthday Kalbi!

We are at home waiting to go to Laurie Zanger's 2nd 29th birthday party. Since there was not much better to do, Corrie told me to write a blog post. I am complying because I am an awesome husband. Laurie's party is a multi-stage affair that is starting at our local Kalbi restaurant, then going bowling, and finally ending on Zanger's roof for dessert. Since I have no experience bowling in Korea and dessert will be pretty much you would expect, I am going to tell you about Kalbi.

Kalbi is a traditional Korean meat dish. It is usually done with pork because that is the cheapest/easiest meat in Korea, but it can also be done with beef. Long, wide strips of meat are marinated for a long time and then given to diners raw for them to cook and serve. I am very thankful that Corrie has turned out to be a great Kalbi-cooker...and a good-looking one too. While the meat is cooking, the table is set with various side dishes as well as a platter of various leafy greens, raw garlic, peppers, and carrots. The leaves are for making little wraps for the meat once it is cooked. The side dishes are quite diverse, from green salads with a bit of dressing to pickled jellyfish. I usually eat a bit of the jelly fish, pretty much to say I have and then I stick to the more familiar stuff. Tofu is also popular, but a bite or two is enough for me. Max and Elisha enjoy the "chun" which is like a dense pancake that has bits of carrot and, I think, green onion baked into it. Anyway, the star of the show is the pork. Once the meat has cooked a bit, kitchen shears are used to cut the strips into bite-sized chunks which are grabbed with chopsticks and put on the leafy greens with garnishes to be eaten. Kalbi is a good meal that is meant to be shared with friends and family. Our local place wont even let you order for one.

I will get some picture up from our dinner tonight. I hope you enjoyed me talking about food.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Readers are Leaders

Our kids like to read. They like to read to themselves and they like to be read to. Victoria and Elisha see Ryan and I reading all the time, as well, and like to imitate us. It's really great how they rarely need encouragement to read a book, either by themselves or with us. In fact, Victoria even asks Elisha if he wants to read a book with her and they'll sit and "read" together. Cuteness overload.

Monday, August 22, 2011

More Sunday afternoon fun

Our Sunday afternoon naps started and ended earlier than usual yesterday, so we took to the outdoors to enjoy unseasonably pleasant weather. (August in Korea is usually a nightmare, but not the last couple of days!!)

First we went to a public park that has an in-ground fountain that shoots water up really, really high for the kids to play in:

Then, when that ended (it only runs for an hour), we hit another public park, this time for the swings and slides. Although lately the swings have been the items of choice.

You'd think with over 2 hours of outdoor time, the kids would have gone to bed right away at bed time. But, you'd be wrong. =)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The end of an era...

...the era of Summer Vacation 2011. Sadness all around the Kolbe household. Corrie doesn't get to sleep in anymore. Ryan's at work all day. The kids miss their daddy something fierce.

But, with the start of school come paychecks and the promise of cooler weather. The last part was more of a "normally" thing, because this August has been nothing like last August. Crazy nice weather this year. No complaints.

Ryan had a great half-week start to school. He even has extra planning time during the day due to the absence of a 10th grade this year. (There is one 10th grader at the school, so it made more sense to combine with another grade.)

Please pray:
- that Ryan would continue on as he has started.
- for more students for the school.
- for extra wisdom and patience for me as I care for the kids by myself all day.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Car!!!

It is fairly common here in Korea for people, usually military, who are leaving to give away their cars. I would say that a lot of the of the givers and receivers are believers, so it's more along the lines of blessing others.

When we moved to Korea we figured we would wait and see how things went before thinking about getting a car. Coming over everyone we spoke to about getting around in Korea raved about the public transportation. But what NONE of them had experienced was public transportation with toddlers. For the first 6 months Elisha wasn't even walking, so he had to be worn or carried everywhere. Needless to say, public transportation is not that great with little people and a stroller. The train is easy, but that also means making sure to find all the elevators, and not all the stations even HAVE elevators. Halfway through our time here someone gave us a much better double stroller, and that definitely helped, but there were still places that you either had to walk to or ride the bus, and couldn't get to by train.

So we started praying for a car. We prayed that God would either give us a car outright or would give us the funds specifically for a car. A few months ago a family from church felt led to give us their tithe for a car, which ended up being a free car from another army member, and their tithe for insurance. Well, because the car wasn't in the greatest shape, and it was switching from the military system to the Korean system, the Koreans refused to pass it, so we had to junk it. Bummer, dude.

So, we kept praying. We know that if God really wants us to have, or even do, something, He will make it work in His timing.

Another family at school lent us their car while they were in the States for the summer, which was a HUGE blessing. The afternoon of the day that we returned their car to them another family from our church contacted us and said that they wanted to give us their car. (They were getting a slightly newer, slightly bigger car from someone ELSE at church.) And did we want it?? Well, yes, but we were slightly gunshy from the last time, so we asked lots of questions about the car. When those got answered satisfactorily, we agreed that their car would be a huge blessing to us.

So, insurance buying and a morning of paperwork at the vehicle registration place later, we own a car!!

Every time (okay, almost every time) we drive it, we thank God for it. It's not perfect, but it fits our needs. Ryan fits comfortably, the car seats fit, the stroller fits, and it's a good car. It is stick shift, as most personal vehicles here are, so Ryan has been learning to drive that. (He's doing really great!) Now he just has to get his Korean driver's license and he can start driving around, too. Yay!

With gas being more than $7 a gal. we don't just drive it for the heck of it, but so far it has been a huge blessing to us, and we are so thankful!

For those interested, its a 1994 Kia Capital. There are lots more models of both Kias and Hyundais here than in the states. And they're better made. By far.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Glimpses of Summer, Take 2

See, I told you there'd be more.

Celebrating one year in Korea! We ordered McDonald's delivery, since that is one of the things here that you can't get in the states. Sweetness, if I do say so myself.

Hanging out with new friends!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Riding the subway, Korean style

So, last Thursday we went out a family outing to Seoul, as we hadn't gone as much as we had hoped, and teacher orientation started a few days later. The actual outing itself is a post for later (like, when I get around to putting those pictures on the computer).

However, we rode the subway a LOT that day, and to help pass the time/amuse myself I wrote a mental blog post about how to ride a subway, Korean style. Please note that overall, the Koreans are nice people, just not particularly courteous.

So, the first thing to remember when riding the subway is to push. A lot. Getting on, getting off, moving down the aisle. If getting on, push past all the people trying to get off, then run for a seat. If no seats are available, stand by the door. Like, RIGHT by the door. Make it hard for people to get on and off around you.

Don't forgot to have your headphones in listening to music or watching a movie on your phone. If you are sitting down the following doesn't apply to you. However, if you are standing up, when the train slows and stops you have to make absolutely SURE you do not move from where ever you standing so others can get off and on. You MUST hold your position, at least until that white lady with the stroller and TWO kids comes up and almost runs you over. Then, move about an inch.

You get extra bonus points if you smell strongly of kimchi, garlic, or something unpleasant. Also, if you're over 50, help parent everyone else's kids. Whether it's the fact that one sucks his thumb, they're not wearing socks in 65 degree weather, or they're crying because they didn't get what they want.

Don't forget to use the handicap spots for scanning your train card while entering or exiting. Other people don't REALLY need the wider slot. Last, but not least, use the elevator over the escalator or stairs as much as possible. At least if you're over 45. Bonus points if there's nothing wrong with you. And cram as many people on as possible. Remember that pushing from earlier?? That comes in handy again here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Glimpses of Summer, Take 1

Nom nom nom nom.

Lots of arts and crafts...and messes.

Anniversary dinner at On The Border!!!! Yummmmmmm

A serious love of bathtubs. So much so that falling in headfirst, completely clothed, doesn't faze him.

Stay tuned for Take 2. There's moooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A moldy problem

AKA: Mold. A four letter word.

This post is mainly to put to rest various rumors and misconceptions people have right now about our apartment and mold.

Here are the facts:
- it rained here for 2 straight weeks. Maybe longer. I lost track. No sun. Tons of humidity and warm temperatures
- anyone who knows anything about anything can tell you that moisture (humidity) plus warmth generally equals mold.
- mold/mildew took over our strollers, and could be found in the shape and size of small dots of myriads of other things in, on, and around our apartment.
- most Korean apartments are cement with wallpaper on the inside. No sheetrock, no paint, no insulation.

- our apartment is overrun by mold.
- special cleaning has to be employed to rid ourselves of this nastiness.

Basically the humidity needs to go down. Then all will be well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sunday afternoon fun

About two weeks ago, on yet another Sunday afternoon, we made and decorated cookies together. It was a lot of fun doing it "all together!" as Max likes to say. But it took my kitchen several days to recover...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

An Excellent Day

Last Sunday was a great day. It really was. I'll tell you why. And I might throw in some pictures, too, if Blogger cooperates.

1) We got to go to church as a family. (After sleeping in a bit, since church doesn't start until 10:30 this month.)

2) Max went to her Sunday School class and stayed the WHOLE TIME. Without a meltdown. Without Ryan or me. For real.

3) We got to drive the car that some friends are letting us borrow until the end of the month to church, so we didn't arrive at either destination hot, sweaty, and tired.

4) Lunch had been made ahead of time. 'Nuff said.

5) I got a bunch of insurance stuff filed, so hopefully we'll start seeing some reimbursements before we starve. (I'm kidding. Mostly.)

6) Day four of the Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred. (For me. Ryan paid too much attention to me complaining when my legs were aching to be very interested in joining in.)

7) Max was in a good mood all day long. Always a good thing.

8) Had fun playing in the rain after dinner, before bathtime. Good, free entertainment. Doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

You were on a roll... what happened?

... a blogging roll, that is. Well, I'll tell you what happened. Crap. Crap happened. (At this point my mother might stop reading. Sorry, but crap is the best word I've got.)
One sick little boy. Misdiagnosed for 2 days and ended up in the hospital.

The family doctor kept saying Elisha had "the common cold." He said this two days in a row, ignoring my saying that E was running a fever and definitely not well. On the SECOND visit on the second day, he finally heard him cry, believed me when I said he was having trouble breathing, and sent us to a pediatrician and pediatric hospital.
So I carted E over there (did I mention that Ryan and Victoria were in Seoul at a wedding?), only to have THAT doctor take ONE listen to his chest and tell me "Ajou. Suwon." (Ajou is a big university hospital up in Suwon. A place I could not reach on my own, for a number of reasons.) At this point I called a friend who is fluent in Korean and pleaded for help.
She came over with another friend (for moral support) and took us to a hospital in Pyongtaek. The doctor THERE confirmed what I had been saying for two days, which was that E had bronchitis, laryngitis, and a serious case of the croup. He needed antibiotics, a steroid shot, and breathing treatments. The only problem was that that hospital was full, and there were 10 people ahead of us waiting for a room. Longer story shorter, we went to another hospital. Got a room. More meds.

Random "skin test." Don't know why or what for. Not Tb, as they checked 20 minutes later.

Have IV? Will travel. Seriously, you could go outside for walks, up and down hallways... or elevators...Wow I look fat in that picture.

Wait. This is about Elisha. Right.

After the meds kicked in, he wanted to Par-Tay. Thankfully, he did go to sleep, and slept off and on through the next day. 24 hrs. later he felt much better, but that only lasted a few hours. He spent the next 3 days whining, crying, and not wanting to do anything. They released us Monday, thankfully. A check-up on Thursday realized all that mess to be gone, but one ear is slightly infected. Sigh.

Anyway.... this post is seriously not complete without a few pictures of hospital food. Korean hospital food.
Quail eggs, anyone? Seaweed soup? Rice? (Rice and that soup stuff in the upper left with every meal.)

Ah, fish. 7 meals in the hospital and 4 had fish. 3 of those meals were breakfast.

Waaaiitttt.... what? What are those?

Are those what I think they are?

Why yes. They're little dead fishes. Lots of them. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH