Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Day

So, this post is mainly for our families in the U.S. of A. It contains many pictures of our Christmas day, so if seeing other people's kids opening gifts bores you, this post is not for you. And I will probably not be offended if you don't read and admire it in it's entirety.

Foreground: "ooooooh, presents!"
Background: "This internet is going to DIEEEEEE." (We were having internet woes Christmas morning.)

Could he BE any cuter? I think not!


Fun, beaded socks from Aunt Eileen!!

"I love them so much! They're just like the ones I used to have when I was a little baby!" (Note: 'when I was a little baby' refers to any time in her past.)

What is it??

"The Nerf gun I was eyeing at Emart!"

A fun noise making book!

Hmmmm ...

Holy Awesomeness, Batman!

Yeah, there are none of me opening presents. That's what happens when you're holding th camera. See Ryan in the background? Playing with his nerf gun. He did that all day. And the next day. And the next. Etc.

Fun shirt from Aunt Eileen! Insert historical story/happening/major life event of the Great Lakes area.

Happiness abounds. Only Victoria is actually playing with her own present; Nate is loving my "NO!" button from Fred and Tami, and E is enjoying Nate's book.

More presents?! From our friends, the Fredericks; that's Luke over on the right side.  Max got a great cooking set, which we have already used and documented. Pics to come later (surprise surprise!).

Awesome batman toys!! And Bubble Guppies for Nate!

Merry Belated Christmas!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Trashy Post

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the Korean way of doing things. I am not 100% sure of the rules and regulations regarding anything here. Therefore, please do not assume that any of the following statements regarding how things work here are 100% accurate, but are what we have observed and heard from fellow ex-pats.

One of the things that is both good and bad, and one of my favorite and least favorite things about Korea, is that the people who reside here don't seem to be that big into 2nd hand things.Thrift stores/recycle stores, Goodwill, etc., are few and far between. They do exist, but are not as easily accessible as they are in the States. This is good because it means that most 2nd hand stuff is free for the taking, but bad because anything and everything just gets thrown out.

Things that, if in the states, we would take to Goodwill or other thrift store, list on Craig's list, freecycle, etc., just get thrown out. The trash pickup system here is different, as well. Instead of house by house pick up, there are trash sites. These are located randomly throughout the cities and towns here, and the larger apartment complexes have two or more, each, as well. The way the system is supposed to work is that you buy special bags for your regular trash, special bags for your food trash, and separate your recycling out into another pile. For larger items- chairs, tables, couches, mirrors, wardrobes, bookshelves, you name it- you are supposed to purchase special stickers to affix to your items. I'm assuming that these bags and stickers take the place of special taxes or fees you might otherwise pay towards trash collection. You are supposed to take all your trash to a designated trash site, but furniture, if properly labeled, can be put on the sidewalk or at the end of a driveway for collection.(I'm told Koreans like to replace their furniture when they move, so this makes for lots of furniture fairly frequently.)

This brings me to the point of this post- the beauty of this system is that when you see something on the side of the road or at a trash site, you can take it home.Most of the things we pick up are not perfect, but usually almost perfect or only in need of a bit of repair.This has been a huge blessing to us, as new furniture here is very expensive, and so far the only thing we have needed and had to purchase has been the kids' bunkbed. Everything else we needed, God has provided!

Last night's find, which was fabulous because the kids' books had outgrown their shelves.

Solid wood play kitchen.

Inlaid mother-of-pearl cabinet.

Where our entertainment centers. 

Self-explanatory. If you look closely, or enlarge the picture, you can see the car I got Ryan for Christmas. Aren't I a great wife??

 Linen cabinet- this thing is crazy heavy!

Cute shelving above Max's bed.

Not pictured: dining chairs, and boards we procured for shelving on walls.

There have been more items that we have either used and passed on, used and trashed, or nabbed and resold. No shame, baby. 

I realized when writing this post that I could probably write an entire 2nd post on the trash system here, as there is more to the craziness. But that post won't happen tonight. If at all. =)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Festive Festivities

Growing up in Suriname, my family would do Advent activities every year. As children it would be simple things, like singing Jingle bells, or taking someone cookies. When we were older, we got together with a few other families and would do a weekly Advent thing, involving a Scripture reading, activity, and food. I have so many good memories of these times, and Ryan and I wanted to create those for our kids, as well as helping them walk through the Scripture foretelling the birth of Christ, and the months and days leading up to His coming.

This year, we had a reading every day as well as something to do on the majority of the days. These ranged from opening a Christmas book, to watching a Christmas movie, to making cookies, to going to someone's house.

We made pancakes and decorated them with whipped cream and strawberries, in an attempt to get them to look like Santa.

We decorated sugar cookies another night.

Nate looooooves to participate. But he wasn't sure about the frosting. 

We decorated "gingerbread" houses with our friends, the Sortores. It was pretty much a "one for the house, one for the mouth" scenario.

Nate is turning into a serious ham.

For a two year old, Tristan did a GREAT job.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A cupcake-y, pink, fluffy, baby shower!

Last month I was honored to host and throw a baby shower for one of my very best friends. This is the tale of that event. Ready?

   There were about a bajillion mini-cupcakes. (Which was okay, because they were yummy.) Chocolate with mint frosting, and Snickerdoodle.

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Mini-quiches and tortilla pinwheels.

Cupcake stand of party favors! Shout out to Gail for assembling the candy in the cups, wrapping, tying, AND adding cute paper inside!

The tulle is so fluffy!

Cake table, which it shared with the activity and a game. 

More food! Dulce de Leche cupcakes, fruit, and sausage balls.

Are these not the cutest things ever??

Clotheslines for decoration, and we decorated the clothing on them for Renee.

So so so glad Renee's mom could be here for the shower!!!

 Renee's baby, Elsa Mercedes, was born about a week or so prior to the shower, so she got to attend as well. But did I manage to get any pictures of her??? Noooooo. And do I have pictures of Renee and together?? Noooooo.

At least not from the shower, anyway. But I digress.

  All in all, lots of lovely ladies attended, fun was had, yummy food was consumed, and gifts were opened and appreciated. 

Not pictured: baby Elsa; the massive amounts of tulle hot glued to my living room ceiling; all the guests; all the food; and probably other things I forgot.