Monday, December 31, 2007

new years resolutions

can it possibly be 2008 and am i a total dork because writing "2007" just starting feeling natural a couple of months ago?? i find the whole new years resolution thing to be a unique phenomenon...that one day a year you would actually highlight your faults and plan to do better (dont the vast majority of people do this at least weekly, if not daily anyway??) all the while sharing your lofty goals and aspirations with anyone faining interest only to crash and burn around day 6 of the new year. i have not been immune to this and have finally decided that if i throw this on the blog in size 12 font for all the world (or all 8 of you that read) to see, maybe there would be some degree of accountability to really keep me on track. after a lot of reflection and thought, these are just a few things i think i may be able to manage to keep up with::

1. i will not gain more than 5 lbs in 2008. anymore than that better have a really great explanation like growing a child or a new interest in body building.
2. i will drink red wine exclusively for the health benefits to my heart.
3. i will not place any gap orders online after benefiting my heart.
4. i will take the stairs WITHOUT complaining when the elevator is not running as fast as my feet could.
5. i will not buy myself a pair of $100 running shoes as incentive to take the stairs more often.
6. i will not purchase any ice cream in mass quantities with the exception of hazelnut dream.
7. i will stop perusing the volvo dealership without patrick with me.
8. i will order something other than chicken pad thai every 4th time we go out for thai food.
9. i will stop answering my phone until i have had a cup of coffee (some of you are relieved, i know)
10. i will slow down when approaching a pedestrian crosswalk instead of speeding up, hoping to pass the intersection before peds get to the curb...its obnoxious and dangerous...i was never a crossing guard.

thats my quick list. if you have any to add, feel free. im just hoping i wont fail myself this year. happy new year to you and yours and may 2008 be a great one!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

we had an outstanding Christmas day celebrating the birth of Jesus. pat and i are both anxious for peach to begin understanding the real meaning of the day and participate in all the traditions...this year she was in bed when we read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve and we decided to forgo the birthday cake for baby Jesus as i knew it would be yours truly putting down the majority of it. we enjoyed a candle light service on Christmas Eve until georgia announced at 8 pm that she wanted her 'paci and crib'...with that we hummed joy to the world and made a quick exit out the back. while trying to buy ourselves a few more minutes in the lobby she continued asking for her paci (which we conveniently left at home) until finally a fellow mama rocking her infant in the universal spot for disruptive children said she had an extra that we could have. i gratefully accepted while hoping that her baby wasnt carrying any major viruses and gave the paci to georgia. she still has it in her possession and refers to it as 'some babies' paci. she didnt wake up until 9 on Christmas day and we, as all well meaning parents do promptly ushered her to the tree to begin opening her time to waste, we had a meal to prepare for 10 friends spending the day with us. here are a few pics of the morning...truly a great family day....minus a whole lot of family we are missing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

gratitude and what not

i am a huge fan of gratitude in any and all forms. make a list, write a note, lift a prayer or tell a friend, just BE grateful. i am blogging this down today because lately i have been unbelievably homesick for the holidays (a post i started but decided in the end it read like a really lame spoiled kid missing the luxuries of home while surrounded by luxuries of a different kind) and opening every package that arrives with sappy tears followed by a pity party and sometimes even the ugly cry (oprah would be so proud). i typically am able to see the silver lining so to speak and readily point it out to others when needed and yet, here i am in korea with better half and peach for another joyous Christmas season and the only thing i seem to notice is my lack of decor (one tub accidentally got sent to storage), my lack of family (besides the above mentioned), and my lack of holiday traditions (although i have a new one...have i mentioned hazelnut dream?).

i went to chapel last night bitching almost incessantly about my cold (clearly ive been too healthy for too long if a cold is all it takes) and checked my watch as we sat down...this has become an annoying habit of mine that i intend to break by no longer wearing a watch to church and then i waited to get this church show on the road. this is the first base chapel that pat and i have ever attended and we have really begun to love it. it keeps us grateful as one scan of the pews reminds us that we are one of the few families that are not separated by this korea assignment. but last night, God, in His infinite wisdom and clarity stopped my "woe is me" train in its tracks. we have never been part of a church that was small enough to share prayer requests in the middle of the service, but here, at this small and intimate gathering of people who all have more than a few things in common, church starts with sharing needs.
here is what i remember::

1. pray for carol whose husband (my best friend) was blown up in iraq last month. she and her two young boys will be spending their first christmas without him.
2. pray for rose, my mother, who lost my father suddenly in an accident 3 months ago. while i am here, it is going to be a particularly lonely christmas for her.
3. pray for my childhood friend, andrea, who was less than 20 yards from the gunman at new life church in the foyer moments before he was shot dead by the security guard.
4. pray for my sister, tracey, who is unwed, 19 and pregnant. we are a family in crisis.
5. pray for tina and patrick, neighbors from a previous assignment who lost their baby girl as she slept last week.

so there it is. my moment when finally the tears i shed were legit. shed on behalf of families in crisis, of loved ones gripped by grief, of a brave young woman now mother, of loss and of loneliness and of gratitude. overwhelming and all consuming gratitude. who am i, that i should spend even a moment without pain? without grief? without suffering? who am i, that this Savior would come into the world in the most humble of ways, wailing and willing, covered in blood and yet sinless and pure bringing the gift, the grace, the hope and the joy of it all to mankind and to me? i will soak in this sea of gratitude and lift heartfelt prayers on behalf of those drowning in grief and despair. i will mark these names, carol, rose, andrea, tracey, tina and patrick in my memory and carry them with me through the upcoming weeks. if you have a moment, a second, a brief period when you can pause in the business of these weeks and remember them as well, i would be grateful. and if you know someone, a name that you would like me to add to my list, please pass them onto me. i will spend this season remembering the joy of it all, the significance of this holiday and the blessings that are too numerous to count but i will be mindful, prayerful and even tearful remembering those who at this time while surrounded by lights, carols and commercialism are covered in too many layers of grief, loneliness, uncertainty and fear to even notice. my hope is that this season of blessings received becomes one of lavish giving and tremendous gratitude.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

sooo good

i would have waited to post this for awhile, at least until it could follow something thoughtful or entertaining (both of which have been on hiatus from my blog as of late...would you believe me if i said i was sympathetically participating in the writers strike??) but when i saw the sign 'flavor of the MONTH', i knew i didnt have precious time to waste. okay, this may be my final endorsement of an ice cream, but after experiencing 'hazelnut dream' tonight at baskin robbins (yes, even here in good old korea) i cannot be silenced. seriously, this rivals my peanut butter tracks addiction and has me honestly considering buying this hazelnut sensation by the gallons. afterall, it is the 9th already and that only leaves 22 days to get my fix. do not wait to try this!! you will wish you had experienced it earlier in the month, i promise. im wondering how many gallons i have to store to get me through the rest of my time here...

Monday, November 26, 2007

too much of a good thing

you know the saying there is such a thing as 'too much of a good thing'? i have rarely to never subscribed to that ridiculous theory regardless of the context. lets think of some good things that are easy to mention...chocolate, ice cream, baileys, cabernet, naps, fresh air, extra leg space on a long flight...still not seeing where too much of any of these would not be a good thing. topping my list of good things is the beautiful and life saving pot of coffee i start everyday with. i have never believed in too much of it (with the exception of when i was pregnant and went through some significant withdrawals all for the love of the peach) and i admit i do require a minimum of two cups to speak in complete sentences, but today i realized what happens when i have dare i say too much. you know that feeling you have when you are running late and traffic just isnt moving quickly enough, lights arent changing fast enough and every song on your radio makes you feel edgy? take that feeling, make it for no reason and then increase it exponentially. i had too much coffee today without any food to help balance that surge of joy that the blessed little bean gives to me. my mind was scattered and i was trying to do too much aimlessly and managed to jump from task to task without completing anything.

i took a shower while thinking of all the things i needed to get done and dried my hair only to realize i hadnt rinsed the conditioner out. i couldnt for the life of me find matching socks and the dog we are taking care of (the cutest little rat on a string if you ask pat) was practically floating behind me trying to keep up with my exceptionally pointless, but nonetheless hurried pace down the hallway on our last quick trip outside. im either singing or rhyming virtually everything i say and am continually having to retype words as i miss cue them. ugh. i would love a nap, a chance to try and wind down but with my eyes as wide as a chihuahua, im venturing to say that would be pointless. maybe food will help. yes, the kind of food you eat when you have had too much to drink and are following the universal rules of bread to help soak up the beverage and water to begin diluting it. (who makes this stuff up anyway?) okay, no more caffeine today, i will forgo the 3 afternoon diet cokes and just simmer down with some tea. ill even make it decaf. im also thinking this could have been preventable if maybe i had just eaten before firing up that second pot which has me thinking it wasnt too much of my good thing, but maybe too little of something else. thats a thought. a completely logical one, too. enough said on this one, ill post more later this week while better half is on a business trip.

Monday, November 19, 2007

big news

no. we are not expecting another baby at this moment in time and trust me you won't be hearing about it on our blog first when God willing it does happen some day. rather our big news is that we are in fact leaving south korea in july to head to the d.c. area for a year of school for better half. it was a really great surprise and while we knew it was a slim (emphasis on very slim) chance it would happen for so many reasons, we are thrilled. the military typically isnt hip with moving families back a year early after spending thousands of dollars to get us all the way over here, but suffice it to say, pat and i feel really excited and are looking forward to the change (the biggest which might be living in our car after doing some brief searches on homes and seeing the prices...which everyone continues to tell us are rapidly falling).

and with every move, every transition and every life change, God finds new ways to reveal pieces of myself to none other than myself. what i am beginning to fully understand about myself is that while i claim to love surprises, nothing in my life supports that claim. i had a similar realization about myself several years ago when in the midst of a 'discussion' with patrick, i blurted out that i thought i was laid back and began rattling off the proof when he, like those of you who know me just laughed. what was brought to my attention that night is that of course im laid back when my carefully laid plans are going perfectly according to plan and im mentally or literally checking off the details in my mind as they happen just as i had hoped and imagined. what i now know after having some truth sprinkled on me with the subtlety of a downpour is that i am in fact high strung and very unlikely to handle changes in my plans very well.

and as we waited for this news like waiting on the white sale at macys or gas prices to drop i realized how ridiculously impatient i am and how i loathe not knowing what will happen next. i am the girl at the movie who asks better half what he thinks will happen next and you can forget about getting through it with me if you have already seen the movie. i will be relentless in my questioning until you finally have revealed the conclusion. i have always been tempted to read the last chapter of a book first but now have only given myself permission to read the last sentence first, which i always inevitably forget sometime during the book, but this is a pattern with me that is fairly universal regardless of the situation. God is constantly reminding me to trust Him with the full picture of my life, but im reluctant to do that without seeing just a little more of the canvas He is painting. i can feel Him prompting me to have complete faith and peace without knowing His plans, but knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that His plans are better than what i can possibly imagine and that they always have been. He is generous in His love and His patience with me that in spite of my strong desire to know what is happening before I give total trust to Him, He continues to bless us mightily and grow my faith.

when we were waiting and wondering what would happen with our assignment here and i would talk to people and answer the common question of "do you want to go to korea?", i would answer initially that i was extremely excited to go for a year but really did not want to think about being there two years. after a month of these conversations, God very clearly told me that i was to be excited about either possibility. that my happiness and contentment was not contingent upon my hopeful plan of one year, but in whatever His plan was for us. it became clear that my contentment and happiness could not be contingent upon my plans coming to fruition. that if He chose to keep us here two years, i should be even more excited because His plans are always better and knowing His great love for us, He must have exciting reasons to keep us for that second year. from the moment that i felt that prompting from Him, i tried to obey and have a spirit that was content with the outcome without knowing what it would be. it was and is a struggle. there were moments that my whole heart felt that peace and there were days that it did not. because of my nature, i have to remind myself daily to patiently wait upon His plans for me with great expectations and peace of what He is going to do next. this is so much easier said than done, but as i stayed up until 2 am last night finishing love in the time of cholera and read the last page, having completely forgotten what it said when i started the book days ago, i realized how much better the ending was because i didnt remember what it was. how the anticipation of not knowing how it would end is what kept me up turning pages until the wee hours of the morning. and i think im figuring it out, this part of me that longs to know what next and the part of me that was willing to hang on last night in spite of the late hour and weary eyes just to get to the ending is the who i most want to be. willing to wait, turning the pages of my life expecting great things for the chapters ahead that have already been written by He who writes the best books.

Monday, November 05, 2007

problem solved & a happy late halloween

today my blog magically reappeared like poop on the bottom of a childs drained bubble bath. there it was after a week of non existence like it had never left. i dont really know how nor do i really care why it reappeared, but i do find the whole thing a bit strange. perhaps the korean internet monitors did in fact realize my blog was mind numbingly boring and not a real threat to anyone on this little peninsula who wanted to read it. on a side note, i hope everyone had a really happy halloween or a really happy halloween boycott whichever you chose to be. we had a great halloween with peach dressed up as a texas a&m cheerleader. she had the whole 'ticker teat' thing mastered by the end of the night and has unsuccessfuly mentioned it a few times since in hopes of acquiring an additional piece of candy. we managed to hand out 16 bags of candy in about an hour here in the madness of the high rise. it was so much fun hanging out with new friends and new neighbors while the kiddos who had stretched their imaginations in creating the perfect costumes made the rounds for candy. one of the things i love about halloween is it is one of the few times a year neighbors come OUT of their homes to experience their neighborhood community together. that rare occurence coupled with permission to eat too much candy for a day makes it a favorite of mine. so, happy fall & happy late halloween.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

s.k.i. #3

for the past 5 days i have been unable to visit my blog. or your blog. or any random blog that has blogspot in the address. i can get to the blogger page, can even create a post, but cannot actually see the blog. this has been unbelievably frustrating and coupled with the fact i am reducing carbs in my daily diet has made for a slightly edgy katie. i have tried other computers with the same result, even seeking wisdom from fellow bloggers, but to no avail. it seems as though for whatever reason, blogs cannot be viewed from this little paradise known as the south korean peninsula any longer. if you or anyone you know has any brilliant ideas or suggestions, please forward them to me. until then, ill be finishing off a tub of cookie dough and waiting for the problem to hopefully resolve itself. i dont know if i can access comments, so email me any and all of your potentially wise suggestions at

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

chinas different

no kidding, right? but, i mean really different. sure, theres a subway and cars and we stayed at a 5 star hotel and ate at fantastic restaurants, but its just way different than what i had imagined. beijing is a fast paced ginormous city with lights and shopping and way too many people without the illusion of 'clean' that some american cities manage to have. i had a great time with an uneventful flight, (with the exception of the person next to me taking pills to help her fly that she seemed unwilling to share or even discuss) great friends, worlds best tour guide, ming li and a nice driver we named joe. we shopped and sight saw from 8 am-11:30 pm every day and became down right experts at handling our time sans children and husbands. there are a lot of highlights from this weekend but i will keep it to a few notables::

1. china is a communist country (this is for people like tricia who i know dont have time for real news in their life). this is a fact that is easy to overlook until you realize that amid all of the stores you can shop at, there is not a book store or even book in sight anywhere. or magazines or newspapers with the exception of one paper monitored by the government that very few people were reading. they have limited access to the internet and ours in the hotel was conveniently not working while we were there. on our tour of tienanmen square, we were given a brief history of the communist regime, how its the largest square in the world, how many celebrations are there..blah blah blah. what i, in my admitted naivety was waiting for was a brief mention of what the rest of the free world immediately thinks of when we hear 'tienanmen square'. can you say heart wrenching image of young man standing in front of a tank?? since ming li, who is university educated and in her mid 30's didnt volunteer the information, i asked. her answer was astonishing. those students willing to die for democracy were in fact paid pawns by an opposing political party to disrupt the communist government. i guess what she said next was what i found most surprising...the image of the young man and the tank that has been permanently seared into millions of minds (mine at the tender age of 12) has never been seen by ming li. nope. not a snapshot, not a tv clip, nothing. she has NEVER seen it according to her. without that one conversation, i could have almost forgotten where i was visiting and the power and control that the chinese people live under.

2. we have great toilets in america. if you have never experienced a squatty potty, you have truly never lived. i experienced only one, as i was more than willing to take my chances with a bladder infection rather than risk peeing on myself, my jeans or standing in the filth generously left by those before me. suffice it to say, it was worth hiking the great wall preoccupied with the thought of needing to pee if it spared me from the squatty potty that i could smell 100 yards away. enough said.

3. chinese acrobats are cooler than cirque de solei. if you are triple jointed, 85 pounds, and missing enough vertebrae in your back to bend in highly unnatural ways, you may have a future in chinese acrobatics. truly on the edge of your seat amazing. you cannot go to beijing and not see the show. it was second only to the great wall and my burberry cashmere scarf. :)

4. shopping in china is like a crash course in the art of arguing with a splash of bull s*** and a heap of patience. let me splain...picture a 5 story home depot with 8 aisles across no wider than a grocery store aisle lined on each side with craft fair size stalls. the upside is that instead of americana crafts and porcelain dolls, you have stalls of cashmere, purses, luggage, northface, rolex, polo, silks, etc. the monotony is that in spite of the overwhelming vastness of the place, it is the same 10-15 items throughout the entire building. the superfun part is that as you attempt to walk down the aisles you are shouted at continually by vendors trying to get you in their stall. they are aggressive and annoying and once you are in their stall, they will maneuver their way in front of you to keep you there for the duration of the negotiating process. im telling you, the only thing worth doing this is the possibility of a northface winter coat for $20 or any number of the other treasures that i was willing to work so hard for. i got some amazing deals, but trust me, it was not without significant effort and patience. this is how the process goes...they shout things like "hey pretty lady, you like coach?" while occasionally grabbing you. fun, i tell you. when they get you in their stall, they ask what you like at which time you act like you like nothing, but you may be willing to negotiate for a particular item. they explain that it is 'best quality' (i heard this everywhere i went, so i began just saying it to them first, hoping to just cut out a few seconds of the dance) and try to get you to name a price. of course, you dont offer a price and make them start the process instead. they type in an outlandishly high price like $230 for the north face, and then because they want to give you 'good deal' will let you buy it for just $160. so you type in the calculator an offer of $15. they say things like "youre killing me" "your crazy" "i make no profit" and on and on and on. so they come down to $140 and continue the arguing for awhile longer until you offer a final price of $20 followed by promptly walking away. at this time, they chase you down, grab your arm and sell the jacket for $20. im telling you, it was no nordstroms. it was work that required some serious patience, but it was at times hilarious and the deals were most definitely worth the effort. there were some particularly amusing stories from these shopping days i may share at a later time, but i think you get the picture.

5. the great wall is better than great. i could easily go back to china and just spend an entire day at the great wall. i took a gondola ride to the top with only a minor panic attack and hiked down late in the afternoon under perfect blue skies and a setting sun. the only thing that would have made it better is if patrick was with me (which since he wasnt and since some of you are wondering why...he checked the great wall box years ago when he was stationed here before and has no desire to return. his exact words were something like, 'no thanks, china just doesnt do anything for me'). its hard to explain it in words that dont sound super cliche and tour guidish. suffice it to say, i think every person who can go should go once in their lifetime. and be sure to use the restrooms at your 5 star hotel, because the great wall squatty pottys are not great at all.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

im not spontaneous

so you can imagine why im having some significant anxiety about my spur of the moment decision to go to china for the weekend with some friends on a major shopping trip, err visit to the great wall. i have lots to post about...a recent day trip to a place called rosary hill (even snapped pics that i will post), a word i wish i hadnt said in front of georgia that she proceeded to repeat no less than 15 times, my manicure that ended up with my nails painted a pink that only beachtime bimbo barbie would be caught dead in and so much more. but, alas, because of my spontaneous decision, i must pack and spend quality time with my better half and peach. when i return (say a prayer that all goes well....i HATE flying) i will post and post and post until im tired of posting and you are way more tired of reading. promise. oh, and i joined a book club. more on that to follow. cheers.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

ahoy matie

do you ever look back at pictures and wonder what pill someone must have slipped you to have made you wear such a ridiculous item? or maybe wished you had invested in a full length mirror sooner? or had married someone just a little more metrosexual so that some fashion input could be trusted?

i really try hard to avoid most fashion trends. i believe most of them to be viable enemies with the skinny jean emerging straight from the depths of hell and the empire waisted shirts being a girl fight waiting to happen...they make everyone look pregnant. i am pretty much a breathing advertisement for all things plain. and brown, grey or black. i avoid prints, stripes and all things floral. im even a bit envious of a new friend who is known for her 'beautiful shirts in gorgeous colors'. who knew even within these strict and boring parameters i could manage to find myself navigating my way through laughable fashion waters.

i had a function the other night and needed something fairly conservative, figure forgiving (i have been living on chips, guac, white rice and wine) and of course somewhat fun as this was an evening out. i started with black favorite alternative to the almighty denim and then selected a fairly new gray top from a trusted store that will not be named but is named after a fruit and where i am currently living (sort of). anyway, the top has a scoopish neck, blousy 3/4 sleeves and a gathered waist. i grabbed strappy heels, some giant hoops and i was out the door. it was not until i caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror that i had to stop and laugh. i looked like keira knightly in pirates of the carribean sans sharp clavicles, gorgeous hair and waif like figure. basically, the hoops with the top looked just like pirate couture. better half said i did not look a lot like a pirate...right, because i was missing the eye patch and hook, but im telling you, ive got my halloween costume nailed.

im also thinking its not 'ahoy' either...isnt it 'aaargg'....either way, this pirate is ready to sail come october 31st.

Monday, October 01, 2007


i have spent the last few days horrified and haunted. sickened and saddened. outraged and enraged. full of rage if im willing to be honest. i, like most of you have seen the news about the little girl in vegas, who at age 3 had her repeated rapes by a monster videotaped. and i cannot for the life of me stop thinking about her. about her past, about her present, about her future. about the scars, wounds and nightmares that she will carry with her every moment of every day for the rest of her life. about what she must think of men, of God and of herself. how the horror of what has happened to her will be the lens that she sees the rest of her life through. how every experience and every emotion will be tainted by the pain of her past. and i know our God is the great healer. and i know His power and His love can cover and heal her, but it cannot take it away from her and it cannot bring back the child that existed before that day.

my heart is heavy and my stomach is weak as i pray for this little one. and the millions of little ones who are daily victimized in the same way globally and i wonder if it will end. and i wonder if i can do something. anything. i can lift up my prayers to a God who listens, who compassionately hears what i am begging Him for. i can pray for His protection, for His intervention and for His justice. and there will be a day for His justice and there will even be a day for His grace, His mercy and subsequent forgiveness, but for now i want justice for this precious and broken little girl. i want this animal who is still on the loose and on the run to feel hunted and consumed with terrifying fear every second of every minute of every hour of everyday until he is found. i want him to be sick with the anticipation of what his justice will look like and when it will arrive. and i know that we are all capable of being redeemed and that no one is beyond His loving reach, that when He had nails in his hands and feet and blood on his beaten, broken body that it was for all of mankind, for even this man who was created by Him in His image, but i cannot stomach his sin and i cannot see beyond it. i want to have a heart that forgives, that offers grace and mercy and love and extends it all with the hope of being a glimpse of Christ to those who need Him most. but this? i seem to have found where my boundary is. the place where i cannot seem to go any further with this grace that has been given to me. maybe in time, God will soften and change me, make me more like Him, but that day is not today.

today at this moment, i simply desire justice, peace, healing, hope and protection for this angel and for the millions of victims of sexual abuse around the world and up our street. God is here and there and waiting for the moment when we are willing to be His hands and their voice and rescue them from their hell on earth and i am waiting and wondering what i can do besides lift a heartfelt prayer from my knees on behalf of these children from the safety and luxury of my home where i am healthy and secure and comfortably, conveniently removed. or so i think. what i really know to be true is that while this abuse happens in the shadows, there are shadows everywhere and until there is light willing and able to shine and save, it will continue to happen next door and thousands of miles away. and lives will be broken, childhoods lost, lies told, secrets kept and cries ignored until we are all willing to admit we can do something and indifferent is no longer who we are.

the Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit-psalms 34:18

Friday, September 21, 2007

s.k.i. #2

i am tempted to start a new heading for the strange and stupid things i as an american do in korea. i imagine that somewhere in this great little country there is someone blogging about d.a.i. or dumb american incidents. i am afraid the list may be long and i know i have a place on it permanently and for various offenses. but, because i get to record these strange korean incidents, i am choosing to keep my heading of s.k.i.'s and move on. where was i and how many cups of coffee have i had today??

i need to first ask if this type of thing has ever happened to you while travelling in a foreign country where in spite of everyone telling you that everyone speaks english, in reality they dont. and why should they? i have managed to live the majority of my life in the states and have never bothered to pick up any other languages mainly because i believed the lie that everyone everywhere speaks it and a career in international business and more challenging courses in college were just not that appealing. okay, so the question...(how many cups??) have you ever found yourself acting like rather than a simple language barrier is preventing you from communicating your request, it is instead a hearing issue? or a mildly retarded one? let me splain...

i have discovered that when speaking with the locals (koreans if you just tuned in), i speak loudly, slowly and with as few words as possible. i must look and sound like an idiot. thank goodness i have discovered (albeit 5 weeks late) how moronic i appear and can now make a concentrated effort to appear less deaf, less retarded and less like im struggling to speak my own language. however, this epiphany arrived 5 weeks too late and at least one incident will spend the next 50 years keeping me humble and thoroughly embarrassed.

i have become a fixture downtown at the shops, finally learning to navigate my way through dirty alleys, i mean streets and i can now say that i have my top 5 shops to find the bag or purse of your choice. i had the great fortune of meeting the worlds most apt shopper within a week of my arrival and she has graciously whisked me under her jimmy choo wing and we have taken flight. its been more than fun, its been a true apprenticeship in finding the right places and the right prices. on one of my solo excursions, i got a little turned around (easy to do with every store front and alley looking almost the exact same...and lets be honest, there are no big, tall or blond koreans that ive met and well, i have gotten a bit confused more than once as to which shopkeepers ive met but at the risk of sounding like a horrible person, ill stop there). a little disoriented, i wandered into a particular store and found the pleasant owner. here is how i managed to crash and burn and then burn again... the conversation went like this:

kt: (speaking clearly, slowly and with an unnaturally high volume) hi, you have big (must gesture intended size) brown (pointing to closest brown purse) purse (holding up mine for her to see) for me (pointing back to my ridiculously stupid self)?

shopkeeper mentally thinking of all the koreans she will tell about this total dumbarse: oh, you want a large chocolate coach purse? do you want the messenger bag or the diaper one?

kt: (stunned, as this is the first korean i have met that spoke FLUENT english) thatd be great! thank you so much!! (completely over enthusiastic...those of you who know me can completely imagine) okay, thanks again! (should have left store embarrassed, but smarter than when i arrived, but no, stunned katie must say just one more stupid thing). so, where are you from?

KOREAN shopkeeper: here, but i lived in sacramento for a few years. (silently thinking you have now been elevated to dumbest person status over just dumbest american status).

kt: okay, have a great day!

you know how when you completely blow it, you try and think of all the ways it could have been worse? i cannot for the life of me think of one unless of course she had a security camera in the store with volume. that would be worse. although i would at least be locally famous after it circulated its way through every korean tv channel and email. yes, that would definitely worse.

Monday, September 17, 2007

free parenting tip

i will keep this brief...if you have a child who is prone to pooping in the tub, a bubble bath is not a good option as bubbles have a way of conveniently hiding the most disgusting of things. you can thank me later for the horror this has saved you.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

could she be the one?

theres this part of moving to a new place that always seems to highlight my greatest insecurities as i meet new people and wonder each time, will she be the one? will she be the friend that when im leaving in two years i thank God for bringing into my life. i spend these first months without fail wondering if i will ever have 'that' friend. and yet, as predictable as the days there is always one or two or more that i cant imagine my life without when it is all said and done. and yet, it is these first weeks that are always the hardest as our boxes are unpacked, but the feeling of 'home' is somewhat absent.

i found myself talking last night to a great friend and making the comment that i feel like i wish everyone had a drink before i met them the first time, just one to help take any potential edge they may have off. i absolutely hate the early stages where i am afraid to be myself, afraid to say too much or not enough or inadvertently offend. and yet, the harder i try to be 'surface' katie, the more awkward i become. i was this way with patricks family for some time, wanting desperately for them to like me that i finished most conversations wondering who it was that had just been speaking for me. (they probably thought the same thing) it was definitely not me, but a watered down, trying to be liked me. it made for some fairly embarrassing moments and i was relieved several years ago when it no longer felt that way. i still remember the visit when i left and it was comfortable, natural and fun. like family, really.

i guess ive been spoiled at our last few assignments because i cant for the life of me remember there being that 'get to know you' awkward stage. truly, we met friends and instantly just knew we would always be connected. and we are. so, here i am, in korea wondering if ive met her yet. have we shared a brief conversation that we will one day look back on and laugh as the first time we met? will we have more in common than both being military wives or mothers? surely, we will. or i at least hope we will. or maybe we will very different from one another and she will bring about the balance in me ive found in other friends. the curiosity in and of itself of who will be the one keeps me optimistically expectant. i seem to always forget this part of each move probably because by the time we leave it is hard to remember how hard it was in the beginning finding the 'ones'. the seeds of lasting friendships have already been deeply sown and managed to erase the memory of an empty field.

so, ill wait. ill hold doors open, make small talk in the elevator, show up at meetings, find places to volunteer, speak at the check out, host a few dinners and wine tastings at our place for 'acquaintances', hopefully opening the door, the opportunity to find the ones. and ill be grateful. and ill be joyful. and ill do my best to just be me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

love is effortless

or not. interesting that it has taken me this long to realize this fact wholeheartedly. there are seasons that may last a week, a month or even a year where this whole marriage thing seems almost effortless, easy really. and then there are seasons where it is not. this is where i am tonight and it is at no fault of my better halfs. he is remarkable in every sense of the word, kind and loving, honest and faithful. he is everything i have hoped and prayed for and even more. he is often times the greatest evidence of God's goodness and love towards me. and yet, i am tired. i am full of gratitude at the privilege of motherhood and recognize the luxury of staying at home to relish in and experience it and yet tonight i am exhausted in every sense of the word. and maybe its the wine (a new shiraz that was on sale today) or the lack of restful sleep (its been eluding me for almost 10 months now) or the fact that today i realized i have had collectively 3 hours away from my sweet peach in almost 40 days. it is wearing on me on so many levels. similar to how i feel after too many days of rain and gray skies, i feel it in my spirit that i am not myself. at least not the self i like to be.

and so tonight when better half, the one that works so diligently to afford me the luxury of full time motherhood, called to say he would be late (only the courtesy call is a new development) followed by another call 45 minutes later to extend his evening at work, i realized that saving dinner, heating it up and welcoming him with warmth and respect would be effort tonight. it would not be what is easy, but rather what is deserved. as if he would rather spend time working than being the husband and father he loves to be. but i am tired. and i wanted to make him cookies or a card, but that was last weeks late night of work and today i was fresh out. fresh out of what he truly deserves. and if i wasnt in a new place, and if i had those great friends or babysitters or full social calendar, i would be feeling alright. but for the life of me, those things are not within reach this week, but my pity party is.

so tomorrow i will try and make an even greater effort than i made today. better half loves banana bread almost as much as his aggie football and i am going to try and make him some. and it will be made with a sincere effort on my behalf, but it will be made with a sincere love as well. God is so good to me and has shown me in so many ways the blessing of a servants heart. how i have been the recipient of it countless times, most recently when our sweet abe passed and friends loved, encouraged, supported and even grieved with us through it all. i want to be that servant. that one where i am given opportunities to love and to serve and experience the selflessness that only draws us closer to our beloveds and ultimately to Him. how can i be disappointed when God is answering my prayer of opening up ways to serve Him more? so i am thankful. for long hours and jobs that provide. for 40 days with a healthy and happy little one. for a new place with new opportunities and a love that is worth all of my greatest efforts and more.

Friday, September 07, 2007

since you've been gone

in the last 2 days since you have left it has not stopped raining once. not for even a moment, at least not in the waking hours or the hours in the middle of the night when i am awake. i have this ritual when you are away where i start off sleeping in the middle of our bed. my side feels pretty lonely and laying in the middle, without sharing one bit of my space seems like it should be a perk to these times apart from one another. strange that it has never worked and yet every night i place myself there expecting to feel happy (briefly albeit) that i have the whole place to myself.

i am a creature of habit, a slave to routine, wary of interruptions to my schedule so imagine my delight tonight when in the 'routine' of bath time, you know those 2o minutes when all i have to do as a mother is supervise gk while she splashes around, she poops. yes, in all the disgustingness you can imagine. i think it was partly my fault, after all, i laughed at the bubbles when she tooted, not realizing she would attempt to recreate those for the almighty 'mommy giggle'. yuck. so i broke from the routine and called it a night early, tucking her in and praying for you.

today she woke up with hives head to toe for the first time. is it possible youve only been gone 2 days? i took her to the doctor in the pouring rain (cant seem to locate the umbrella since weve moved in) amid looks from strangers that said 'can you not at least cover your child up, you terrible mother?' by the time we met the doctor there was not a single trace of the hives that had landed us the appointment. i apologized for wasting her time but was glad to have had the chance to meet her and expected us to be on our way. not so fast. dr. thorough asked a series of relentless questions in an attempt to crack the hive causing code. she asked me if peach had been exposed to peanuts. um, yeah at a year old i started her on peanut butter with the permission of my pediatrician (whom im convinced was nothing short of brilliant and had a cnp that i adored). i didnt do it covered in honey on an egg sandwich while on a camping trip in the mountains, though. and believe it or not, shes fine. really. never had a reaction to peanut butter. can we go now? horrified, the nice doctor informs me to remove all these things from her diet to include dairy for good measure until we get the results back from her blood draw allergy test. right. ill get right on that after she has a cup of milk and pb&j sandwich. clearly, ive lost my nomination for mother of the year and im okay with that. georgia thanked the doctor 4 different times during the exam for checking each ear, listening to her heart and taking her blood pressure. i think we're doing all right. i walked as slowly as possible to the lab and waited for her blood draw. miraculously, they got her arm on the first attempt and other than the discomfort that comes from hearing your sweet child crying, we were both okay. and she had her first lollipop which instantly stopped the tears and brought on the humming that only happens when she is really enjoying what shes eating. thats our girl.

you know how we have our suspicions about the thermostat being for decorative purposes only? well, its been confirmed. it is ridiculously warm in the apartment, but cool outside and regardless of what i do to it, the temp never changes. im tempted to take it off the wall and prove its just a way to make us think we have some control over it, but maybe ill wait until you get home.

oh, and when i went to the commissary today, i realized that the parking space ive parked in the last two times (its been empty and in a great location) had a generals tag on it. fabulous. hopefully his wife wasnt trying to grocery shop at the same time as the majors illiterate wife. it gave me a laugh as i wondered what people must have thought as i hopped in and out of our car with georgia not realizing my stupid mistake. thank goodness those korean plates dont allow for our a&m plate cover, i wouldnt want to be too easily identifiable.

i think this about covers it, but it has just been two days. have a great trip and we cant wait to see you when you get home. love you, us

Monday, September 03, 2007

sincere empathy

it wasnt that long ago i was attempting (and often failing) to move furniture throughout the place trying to find the optimal placement by myself. better half was at work and impatient half refused to wait for help. one particular afternoon our sofa table tried out no less than 4 places in the house and on its second to last voyage across the living room floor, the corner of it came into contact with my two littlest pigs. ouch. fall to the floor, grab said pigs and keep expletives in my mind ouch. peach immediately comes over to inspect mommys 'owie' and offers to 'iss' it. no thanks, peach, thats only not gross when its your pigs. we chat about it for a bit before georgia decides the only way to really make me feel better is to inflict a little pain on herself. she proceeds to kick the same corner that i identified as the culprit to my owie with vigor and then says, 'gza gza owie toe'. ah, yes. its that heart of compassion we've been praying for. it really was so sweet and so funny but i had to temper my reaction so that she did not file this self inflicted sympathy away under 'good ideas'. here are a couple of recent pics of gk that her aunt lisa took of her just days before hopping the plane to land of the not quite right. add photography to her long list of creative endeavors.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

s.k.i. #1 (strange korean incident)

while on a walk yesterday a korean man in what i would estimate his late 60's was pedaling towards me on a bicycle that had a motor (something i have never seen before) and a large wicker basket on the front. i noticed as he got closer he was sporting long sleeves, socks with sandals and a giant hat (it was in the low 90's). interestingly enough it wasnt the bike with a motor and pedals or the older man in hot attire that made this encounter notable. rather, it was the fact that as we passed and he smiled and waved at georgia that there was carousel music coming from his bike. okay, do you have the visual? older korean man in a hat, long sleeved shirt, socks with sandals on a bike that has a motor pedaling up hill with a basket and a smile with fairly loud carousel music. wow. i really wish he would have stopped...i have a feeling he would be an interesting man to know with some potentially amusing stories. ill let you know if i see him again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

a red lacy mystery...

the other morning started out like any other average day in the sutherland house. pat was out the door early and peach had enjoyed blueberry awfuls as she calls them and i was on my third cup of the liquid bean checking email and chatting with a good friend back in the states. georgia disappeared momentarily to retrieve some toys from her room and returned within moments. i looked to see what her pleasure was today, the babies and blankies or maybe the new magnadoodle. you will have to use your wildest imagination to picture the look on my face when i saw that it wasnt the babies or the magnadoodle, but rather a red, lacy, lowcut, please seduce me shirt that resembled lingerie to my tired eyes half on her head and half on her little body. that didnt belong to me. right. oh. my. gawd. so here is where a few of you in denial with a strong sense of judgment and who know pat and i say to yourselves "oh, katie. please. its pat. dont be ridiculous. im sure there is a great explanation." to which i say, fine. let it happen to you, in your house with your child. add the fact you have just had a two month separation and the bag from which the above mentioned lingerie came from was waiting to go out with the days trash. i hang up with my friend and grab the shirt...must inspect size and condition.

because i do adore pat and know only my father to possess as much faith, character and integrity, i did not immediately throw his things over the balcony. but my heart was in my stomach as i tried to figure out every innocent scenario as to how this other womans shirt made its way into our apartment. mind you, if it was a marathon t shirt, i would have just assumed it got swapped at the gym, but this?? my mind was a blur with a million questions and answers so i decided i needed to bring in an expert. not on infidelity, but a best friend who loves pat almost as much as i do and yet is not related to either of us. i just couldnt imagine calling anyone from my family or from his for that matter. perfect. dial up suzy. i told her what had just happened and she got this nervous giggle. nervous like, "i cant believe this could actually happen and im afraid of what will happen next if it did".

fast forward through 62 minutes of therapeutic "what ifs" and "couldnt bes" and you get the idea. emotionally exhausted and tired of trying to wrap my brain around what my new potential reality was, i was ready to throw in the towel and just wait for pat to get home and explain it to me. im proud to say the only completely neurotic thing i did was put the meat i had thawing to cook for him back in the freezer. i decided against a home cooked meal made with love for that night. at about the 62 minute point in my free counseling session with suz she said, "katie, im just seeing visions of pat at last years squadron christmas party in a mrs. claus mini skirt riding a mechanical bull. do you think there could be anything work related that this scandalous shirt could be attributed to?" silence. light bulb shining as bright as the north star immediately over my head. THATS IT!!! yes, pat told me over a month ago he had to play in a drag football game for his squadron and was borrowing a friends wifes shirt. suzy, i love you. i love pat. i love the woman that owns this shirt. how generous of her to let such a lovely garment endure a football game. and a morning of dirty looks and speculation. i knew i had called the perfect person. the meat came back out of the freezer, the day became above average and pat and i had a really great laugh over dinner. mystery solved.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

shout out

very rarely (okay never) do i offer up a shout out to anything on my blog, but today folks, i have found something worthy of a shameless plug. those of you who know me know i have a soft spot (primarily in my belly region) for ice cream. it could be the worlds most perfect food and today i have stumbled upon a new flavor worthy of the "p" word. thats right,
phe-nom-in-al! ben and jerrys typically takes the cake with me and coldstone is a great dinner in and of itself, but breyers has a new flavor that will have all ice cream connoisseurs celebrating. my only disclaimer is you must love peanut butter and not have any peanut allergies...ryan, this is NOT for you...okay, drum roll please...peanut butter tracks. peanut butter light ice cream (its practically healthy) with peanut butter swirls and chocolatey coated peanut butter filled cups. try it and then let me know if it is not one of the yummiest flavors ever. you can thank me later. or just let me know what your favorite up for new addictions. side note...its so good that last night when pat went to get his nightly bowl and realized we were out, he tossed gk in the stroller (still have not picked up our car, but he could not be stopped) and ran to the store with only 7 minutes until closing time. thats good ice cream.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

my 16 year old self

recently a great friend and phenomenal writer, natalie, mentioned a book she had read about a number of well known women ranging from entertainers to politicians who had penned letters to their 16 year old selves with wisdom, insights and some encouragement. natalie penned one to herself on her blog and after months of thinking about it, i decided i too would do the same. here it goes:

dear 16 year old katie,

wow, you have a lot to learn. the world is so much bigger than you realize and has much more to offer than you can possibly imagine. you are wrapped up in nets of insecurity that are leading you to crossroads that you cannot handle wisely. listen, those full time frenemies of yours that you continue to involve yourself with will rarely to never cross your mind within a week of graduation and you will be blessed with friendships of the lasting kind that you have never experienced. oh, and electric blue eyeliner does not make your eyes look bluer and no one should have their hair highlighted through a cap. you look almost as ridiculous when your hair is done as you did when it was pulled through that contraption and covered in bleach.

that gut feeling you have is your strongest compass on making choices so stop doubting your own sense. those questions you have about your faith are going to plant the seeds for one that is genuine, steadfast and vibrant. however, know that wherever those doubts lead you and no matter how far and how fast you try to pursue an agnostic life, your Savior will pursue you harder. He will remind you in astounding ways that no one including you is beyond His grip and His gift of grace. you will experience the strongest waves of His mercy on your soul as you try to reconcile yourself to Him and you will be blessed. and healed. and healthy. and happy. and you will trust Him completely someday...if you were reading this, hopefully it would be sooner than later.

that boy you think you are destined to marry is clearly not the one (refer back to that inner compass) and the last person you would expect will bring you more joy and contentment with love that you cannot fathom. he will be a best friend in every sense of the word and offer gifts of respect, encouragement, compassion and understanding wrapped in layers upon layers of love. he will remind you in many ways of your dad in the way he possesses integrity and wisdom. speaking of your parents, katie, they are easily your biggest fans and greatest heroes. do not overlook all they have to offer you. you will see in just a few short years the depth of their love, faith and strength. you will come to treasure them and regard their friendships as a sacred treasure, a great gift from above.

above all, hold on. hold onto the potential of you. protect the good work that has been started and watch it grow. this is simply the beginning of a most incredible adventure. live it. love it. and let it be the greatest life it can be.

always hopeful, always there,


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

hours and hours and hours and hours of f-u-n

first of all, thank you megan for being a genius and helping me navigate the language thing...not being able to read korean would have prohibited me from ever finding the language menu and thereby kept me from blogging...a relief im sure to some of you. :)

as i mentioned we are officially in korea and i am in an apartment that even nate berkus would be proud of. while it is small, it has an unbelievable amount of space. i have more cabinet room in this apartment than i have ever had in any house more than twice this size and thanks to rock star husband working like a dog to unpack things, i have a far more manageable load than the usual move entails. and while i am settling into our new space and this new base, the journey here was long and i would be remiss if i did not at least share a few highlights of the 27 hours of travel that led us to this magnificent location. ah yes.

our day started at 4:30 am on saturday in san antonio where we headed to the airport with the peach, 5 suitcases, stroller, car seat, 2 carry ons and coffee in tow. thank goodness for those handy airport carts, i just wish they came with a handy mule to pull them. i hadnt slept the night before as the huge ball of anxiety swimming in my belly made it virtually impossible to rest, and yet there was this grand sense of adventure within me too as i thought of this opportunity to live in a foreign country and shop for purses, i mean experience the culture.

5:30 am - check in with nice man at the delta counter who must have read my thoughts of "please dont ask me if i can make this bag lighter. i cant and i wont and you can have my credit card to make up the difference." he graciously threw our bags over all with the carefully placed 'heavy' tag on them and thanked pat for his service and my sacrifice as his wife. i cried. yep. now would be a good time to mention that for all this anxiety and excitement, the only real emotion i could muster and not control was the crying. buckets of tears that i am certain had the majority of passersby wondering what funeral we were on our to or home from. we boarded our 2 hour flight to atlanta that went swimmingly. i was careful not to reveal too many of the new toys id packed for gk in preparation for our 15 hour flight and she did great, even sleeping for a whopping 20 minutes. woo.

11:00 am - arrive in atlanta and wait for 2 hours to board korean air. during this time i made several phone calls that allowed me to further cleanse my system of a few more liters of tears. i also got my annual workout chasing georgia up and down the terminal while she burned off the excess energy that comes from waking up 4 hours before her usual time. oh, almost forgot to mention this perk of the day...apparently pat and i were not scheduled to be sitting together on the longest flight in the world and while we as in me were apprehensive and tearful, we were also confident than any person with half of a brain would happily trade seats with pat to avoid a 15 hour flight next to a toddler. i would ride on the wing to avoid kiddos 2 and under for that length of time, so as concerned as i was that our boarding passes didnt actually have us next to each other, i thought there was no possible way someone wouldnt happily trade seats. this brings me to the next hour...

1:00 pm - board plane like cattle trying not to knock anyone out with either the giant car seat that pat was wielding around (almost took the heads off of two young korean girls in the waiting area prior to boarding) or the 2 large carry ons that i was carrying with peach on my hip. we made it to our row and put gks big seat in the middle (we thought a sure fire deterrent to the passenger unfortunate enough to be sitting next to her on the aisle) and waited. finally a twenty something korean man (who what a relief and shock was not 6'6 and in need of the aisle to stretch out his legs) appeared. pat explained that he would love to trade his middle seat 5 rows back for his aisle seat next to a seemingly unruly toddler (who was on cue bouncing in her seat squealing) and insanely emotional wife (who now had dried mascara worthy of an alice cooper look alike on her face and eyes full and ready for the next down pour). he said no. he said he wanted an aisle seat and he wouldnt trade. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? there is not enough wine, patience or kleenex on this plane for me to handle this 15 hours of bliss without pat with me. (i know lots of people do it by themselves...i will be one of them when i fly back in the winter, but not this time. not this move. not by myself.) so here we go, the flood gates open, i begin crying and pleading with this short man who has just been awarded the LCP (least compassionate passenger) by a landslide. pat takes his case to the stewardess who assures us in broken english she will see what she can do. LCP heads to the back of the plane while the stewardess and i frantically scan the rows for a potential opening. she eventually returns and sincerely apologizes, but reiterates the LCP wants his aisle seat. and he obviously has never been around children. and is fresh out of a heart. pat finds my hero on the aisle 2 rows up studying an air force manual and explains the situation. without hesitation the hero says sure and takes pats middle seat so LCP can have his treasured aisle seat. what a great man. i will never forget his generosity or pats creative and bold move.

3:00 pm -this could not be going any better. georgia is happily trying out each of our laps and enjoying an endless supply of cheeze its. while she has yet to nap, she is happy and we are too. this really isnt so bad. what was i so worried about??

5:00 pm - peach closes her eyes while i begin to ponder which one of the 15 movies ive missed over the past year that i would like to see. pat reminds me i could potentially watch 6 movies during this flight. right. oh, and they are serving a glass of complimentary wine. thank you God. this is so great. sleeping baby, time with my beloved, no turbulence...this is a 5 star day.

5:13 pm - peach is awake and mad that she is not still asleep. she kicks her feet out and nails the seat in front of her sending it forward a good 3 inches before it snaps back (now would be a good time to master "im sorry" in korean). she is crying and feeling the effects of a collective 33 minute nap after a 4:40 am wake up. we unveil the first mystery toy...a power toothbrush. she loves to brush her teeth and this has buttons, is hot pink and is lots of fun. however, it also sounds to the people around us like there could be a problem with the jet engine. maybe not such a great idea. sure, we'll just carefully extract this new fun toy from her and hold her legs down so she wont kick the lady in front of her again. no, she'll just scream.

6:00 pm - snacks save the day and we are happy again. time to unveil mystery toy #2, a handheld flashlight fan. genius. except all the shades are drawn, people are trying to sleep and a flashlight in the possession of a toddler makes it difficult to do that. extract toy again. i forgot to hold her feet. kick seat again.

8:00 pm - the flight is beginning to feel really long and gk is restless and tired but being a belly sleeper cant get comfortable in her car seat. we opt for a quiet activity that does not require batteries or cause fear and irritability in fellow passengers. we unveil mystery toy #3, a pad of paper and stickers. thank you, sticker inventor man. we stick stickers with a fury until pages are covered and we are happy. gk even manages to fall asleep of course not before tossing and turning and naturally stretching her legs into the seat in front of her.

11:00 pm - gk wakes up screaming, probably having a nightmare that shes on a plane at 36000 feet for the tenth hour in a row strapped in her car seat on her way to a foreign country without the ability to even stretch her legs. we set her free and notice a strong odor. this is the second smell to invade my space on this flight. why is it that when you smell something strong and terrible your first instinct is to smell it again?? its absolutely disgusting and mind boggling at the same time. at least this time it did belong to our peach who was altogether ripe at that moment. off to the 1 square foot bathroom to sanitize the area and attempt to change a diaper. i will spare you the details, just know there should be some kind of medal for the maneuvering that took place in that square foot. back to the seat while avoiding giving LCP dirty looks when i walk by and settle into the official rocking mode to get gk back to sleep. where is the wine cart?

12:20 am - peach is sound asleep in my arms and i am wondering if i will ever regain full feeling in my left arm and leg. the good news is she is sound asleep, mouth open and drooling just like her dad next to me. this isnt so bad and with the map on my screen in front of me i see we are just under 3 hours from landing. i thank God for the safe travel thus far and for the sleeping baby in my arms. i manage to doze for awhile, suddenly feeling the effects of the absence of rest in the past 24 hours.

3:30 am - we are landing in what looks like the ocean, but i know better because pat explained to my geographically challenged self that south korea is in fact a peninsula and there is nothing to worry about. i thank the hero again and tell him he will never know just how much he helped us by trading seats. we whizzed through customs when we werent being stopped by strangers to fall over georgia. its true, they are so crazy about kids!!

4:30 am -we caught a bus back to the base for the hour and half ride, ordered out pancakes from a diner and called it a night.

7:30 am - tucked ourselves in and slept like babies. all in all, we could not have had a better day of travelling and while it was long, it went remarkably well. thank you for all of the prayers...they were definitely answered.

uh...just one slight problem

so, here i am in one semi sane piece in korea or land of the not quite right as my better half continues to call it ready to recount the adventure of traveling for 27 hours with a toddler and im noticing a significant problem. my entire blogging page is in korean. all of it. i have no idea what to click on or where to make changes. for those of you who dont blog this probably does not make any sense, but imagine your entire email page in another language that uses symbols, spanish does not count. so, if you have any brilliant ideas on how i can change my language, please let me know. i have lots to share, but no clear way to do it....ideas, thoughts, suggestions...??

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

styrofoam is weak

recently my sister and i were driving home on busy i-70 from an afternoon of much needed retail therapy when we stopped by my favorite fast food place, sonic, for some refreshment. sidenote, i am a sonic junkie and believe that God has been saving me from at least a solid 20 lbs of sonic weight by preventing me from living within 300 miles of one since i left home many years ago. ask anyone, i know their menu by heart and even a few items that arent mentioned on the menu like peanut butter as a sundae topping. its an insider secret that you heard here first...ask for it next time.

with our cherry limeades (i add vanilla to mine) in tow and a glass of water with the worlds best crushed ice safely in the hands of a thirsty peach we were ready to trek home enjoying the euphoria that only comes after a successful day of shopping. we were not very far in our journey when i heard gk mention "juice" from the back seat. yes, georgia, you do have juice...isnt it tasty? not realizing just how average water is because she has yet to experience the sugar surge from real juice, she says "yes" followed soon by "whoa". hmm. i better turn around. holy fazzoli...there is a waterfall in the back seat coming from the bottom of the styrofoam cup filled to the brim with water. yes, peach had punctured the cup with her ultra strong finger. nice.

with lightening quick mom reflexes i grab the cup and transfer the continual waterfall to the front seat and without thinking dump the cup out over the window praying the worlds tastiest ice and water now flying behind us dont hit the cars lucky enough to be trailling the worlds strongest child. thank goodness i didnt drop the cup...all id need is a littering ticket to make this fiasco better. the mess was cleaned as well as it could be with two kleenex and some old napkin in the glove box and we decided that maybe those crazy sippie cup people at avent were onto something...styrofoam is weak. plastic is not.

Friday, July 13, 2007

the circle

yes, the circle. im sure it sounds silly to most of you that this crew of crazies known as my 3 best buddies would be dubbed the circle of love by none other than ourselves and yet that is exactly what we did awhile back as we sat in a circle around a table sipping wine, sharing stories, smiles and a whole lot of love. love is the one thing we seem to have an endless well of for one another. and not just because we have been through over a decade of life, loss and learning together, but because we manage to come through all of it still hoping, still supporting and still laughing.

i am posting this from the living room of tricias house on day 2 of our annual reunion and im realizing that this trip has been in the making for over a year as we hyped up the 'year of the 30', the milestone that we would all celebrate together with vigor and excitement. and im thinking of what a year it has been for all of us. im reminded of how much we have lost and how much we have found. how we have done it all together inspite of the miles and countries between us.

we have lost weight, husbands, unrealistic expectations, parents, debt, homes, jobs, emotional baggage and guilt. we have found amazing love in new babies and pregnancies, renewed faith in marriages, hope in the future, peace in our indepence and comfort in God's plan for us. we are healthier, happier, and stronger than we knew and smarter than we thought. it has been a year of unspeakable grief and unfathomable joy and through it all, there has been a circle connected in prayer, in love and in spirit that has surrounded each of us, always present and always felt. it is a profound blessing to know these women, to share in their lives and experience all that our personal journeys entail. what a weekend. what a friendship. what a circle.