Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

It's been a little over a month since the last blog & not too much has happened in our house. We have slowly been receiving all the packages we've ordered online for Christmas, thankfully! Our tree came first which took a while to get put up. Then it looked pathetic so I just had to go buy ornaments & items to decorate the house with. We're still waiting on the lights I ordered online, I probably should have just bought them at a store here BUT they were so cheap online I couldn't resist! We're also still waiting on a few packages of presents but for the most part everything is here so Christmas can happen on time & the kids' fears of Santa not coming to Korea will be appeased.

It has snowed here twice but one day it was a snow/rain mix which didn't leave anything on the ground but the mountain tops were white and the other time it only snowed for half the day so not much stuck. Then the weather was "warm" so it all melted away. So sad! I was able to let Ezzi and Gogi go outside and play while it was snowing which was too funny to watch. Ezzi got upset that Gogi was eating all the snow off the ground and Gogi was channeling his inner Husky! They had fun which is what counts.

playing with the settings, this is their favorite picture because they "look like zombies"
Daric has said countless times how much I don't use my camera, which he also says is my Christmas present so don't expect anything else! Yet when I took all the pictures off my memory card there were over 700 images!! I guess I really don't use that thing! I am by no means a photographer but I'm at least trying to learn how to get the best use out of the camera. It's a very nice one & I'm trying really hard to take care of it so it lasts. Every camera we've ever owned has died on us within a year so fingers crossed this one will last a lifetime...or at least until we get our money's worth out of it.

the terrible trio...ok they're not that bad

kissy face

I am currently 22 weeks along which means I was able to get an ultrasound and see the sex of our baby. I am happy to announce (if you didn't already know or hear the news) IT'S A GIRL!!!! We are beyond happy & I've already been scouring the internet for all things frilly & pink. We would've been happy either way but I'm finally ready for a daughter to do things with that I just can't do with the boys. Daric insists I can adapt what I want to do so I can do it with them but come on, I can't take them to get pedicures or have a "spa" day at just isn't the same. I've already instilled my shoe fetish into them as well as a clothing obsession most kids don't have so it's time for a daughter. I'm a bit disappointed with the pictures I was sent home with so as soon as I get a few good ones I'll post them in another blog. We haven't thought of any names, I didn't even want to start thinking until we knew what we were having so now that we know, we can start!

That pretty much brings everyone up to speed. The kids are currently on "winter recess" until January 3rd. Daric is working a half day schedule for the Army version of "winter recess" since he isn't taking any leave. Every weekend is a long weekend for him so I'm fine with him not taking any time off this year. He needs to save those days for when our little girl is born! And of course summer when we can get out & explore not only Korea but possibly Japan or China....or somewhere else!

I will make sure to take plenty of pictures with my new fabulous camera of our holidays here & if I don't post before then I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year! It's the year of my 30th birthday and according to the Mayans our final one so make it count!...even if it's not our last. Lots of love, hugs & kisses....from our house to yours! We love and miss you all!
The Bishop Crew

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's a Small World After All....

I have said we aren't alone in our apartments, there are other families living here, American military families. We have come to learn not only in our building do we have our immediate neighbors on the same floor but we have neighbors on the 18th floor & the 6th floor (or 4th or 5th...I can't remember what Daric said!) Akira was the first to encounter Kelly, our neighbor on the 18th floor. The other morning I got to at least see her with her Italian Mastiff & Dachsund (Akira told me that was Kelly). Daric got to meet & talk to her a bit in the elevator the other day too & he encountered the people on the 6th (5th or 4th) floor in the elevator also. So there are at least 4 families in our building. We know in each building there are at least 3-4 families so our small little community is growing rather quickly! The reason I bring this up is because I suffered from an EXTREME blonde moment after meeting 1 of our neighbors in the building next to ours. Let me give a little back story so you understand where this is going....

Last year, on Fort Leonard Wood, we had a tornado come through & do some major damage on New Year's Eve. An entire street was taken out! A friend of mine, who lived on that street but in the area where the tornado decided to veer away from, told me how she thought it was amazing that there was 1 single house that was completely untouched in the middle of all the devastation. It was incredible to see houses reduced to rubble & there like a beacon was 1 solitary house completely unscathed. My friend told me that house belonged to a Chaplain (military version of a minister more or less) & some of the neighbors & her joked about finding out what religion he practiced because they were converting!
Don't worry...I DID NOT take this picture!!

an overhead shot of the path of the tornado

so unbelievable

all of this happened on the street behind the kid's school

We met the West family & the wife, Christine, told me they were from Fort Leonard Wood also, cool! Then she told me her husband is a Chaplain. Then she told me they lived on Goethels Street & their house was the only 1 on the entire block not damaged from the New Year's Eve tornado last year. Can anyone else see where this is going? I won't took me a good week before all the pieces lined up in my head & I had my "OH!!!" moment. I was sitting having lunch with Ezzio when the lightbulb went off & I almost yelled "holy crap! He's the chaplain!" Ezz was a bit startled by my outburst but he knows mommy is a bit koo koo sometimes. What a small, small world! Just wanted to share how you never know who you're going to meet, when or why!

On another note, since my ramblings tend to be random & follow no particular order, we took Ezz yesterday to finally get his hair cut. It took an American telling us he was "pretty like a girl" to finally take him. All of the Koreans have confused him for a girl, we figured it was due to his long, blonde hair since the Americans could tell he's a boy but 1 woman asked how old "she" was & when we corrected her that's when she said "oh wow, he's pretty like a girl". Poor baby. So here's the before....

And here's the after...

He doesn't even look like the same kid!! But now there will be no mistaking my wonderful little boy for a girl.
I have a lovely little lock for his baby book

he just couldn't believe this was really happening

now he's handsome like a boy!!

Good afternoon (night or morning!) from Junghung S-Class building 103, apartment 2001!

Parties, Pumpkins & Puppies...Oh My!!

So Akira had a birthday, September 30, and instead of the usual bowling alley birthday party he decided he wanted to go ice skating. The above pictures are outside the rink. I don't think he was fully aware what goes along with ice skating (think cold, hard ice meeting skinny, little behind!) He invited the Brown family since their son is about his age & their daughter is about Riley's age so it all worked out where both kids had a friend to hang with instead of just mom & dad. The kids had a good time, well Riley WAS NOT having a good time at all but then brightened up once he saw how bad Lizzie was at skating too. Ezzio was VERY angry about being left out. He wanted to be out there with the rest of them...poor little guy! Daric let him walk out on the ice with him but the 'rink guardian' started yelling at Daric in Korean. We can only imagine what he was saying! There were a bunch of teenage girls at the rink, they were super fun. We had pizza but couldn't eat it all so we shared & they were so grateful. Apparently pizza is a treat so us just handing it out meant a lot. It was a good day.

We took Akira to Baskin Robbins to pick out his cake since we weren't thinking too far ahead & semi forgot to get the cake earlier...whoops! He picked out an ice cream cake that looked like a Jack-o-lantern. Now we were all thinking this cake would be like the ice cream cakes you buy in the states but no, of course not! It was a literal ice cream 'cake', no actual cake in it just ice cream. There was like an orange sherbet flavored glaze on the outside, the mouth, teeth, stem & happy birthday sign were all made out of chocolate (yum!) & the ice cream inside the glaze was vanilla with chocolate covered peanuts & fudge ribbons. It was an odd combo with the glaze but it totally worked!
everything in Korea is a gift!!

And now on to the fun part....
Ever since we got here Daric has been whining about giving up Ollie (a friend of ours took him which made me happy since she has 3 kids about the same ages as our 3 & Ollie would be with people he knows & who would love him like we did). He discovered we could have brought Ollie with us, I still think it would have been very unfair to the poor dog especially since he's used to having endless grass to run in. Of course I miss him too, he's a good boy! Daric has been "guilt tripping" me about how "boys need a dog" & then of course Ezzio has his stuffed 'Ollie' & he cuddles it & carries it around the house so that doesn't exactly help me keep my foot down on the matter. We've seen plenty of cute puppies around but puppy mills are really bad out here so I've been wary.

super cute but a puppy mill pup being sold in a realtor's office

I did find a woman who had a puppy, not a puppy mill puppy either! She rescued her 2 dogs from the meat market...yes, meat market. She said their 1st dog was rescued from a box full of puppies on their way to a meat market (gross!) & their 2nd dog was rescued from the actual meat market! They were waiting to get their dogs in to get spayed/neutered but nature ran it's course & they ended up with a pregnant dog by appointment time. Luckily they only had 2 puppies, a boy & girl. The girl went fast & by the time I found the woman she only had the little boy left. Her 2 dogs are both Korean Jindo's. I've googled a whole lot to find out what I can about the breed since I've never heard of a Jindo. Apparently they are a dog native to the island of Jindo & have been made a national treasure. The dogs almost went extinct so the island has been super strict about Jindo breeding & apparently exportation. From what I've read it's illegal to take a purebred Jindo out of the country BUT people have smuggled them out & if the dog is labeled as a 'mix' or 'mutt' then it's a-ok! There's a Jindo Research Institute that will do basically a DNA test on your dog to determine if it's purebred or not & if it's found to be purebred they microchip it & then it's not allowed to leave Jindo island!! (They're doing their best Darwin impression out there & ensuring they have the 'fittest' to survive!) I've read some interesting things about them like they're highly intelligent, they're extremely loyal (they love their master & will tolerate guests in their home unless they get to know them as family or friends. Anyone else is an intruder & will be regarded as such), they can remember & recognize something like 30,000 different scents (amazing!!), they have a high prey drive meaning they're the ideal hunting dog (locals tell stories of a pack of Jindos taking down a deer & the pack stayed with the kill while 1 dog went to fetch the master & show him where the deer was), they are like marathon runners, stamina, stamina, stamina!, they have an excellent sense of direction & will never lead their master astray (more stories talk of an elderly lady who had to give up her Jindo she couldn't care for anymore only to have the dog escape the new owner's home & travel over 200 miles to get back home. The elderly lady ended up keeping her Jindo after that, who wouldn't!) So much interesting stuff I've been finding out about the breed.

So to make a long story even longer...I've finally caved & 2 weekends ago we picked up our new puppy. Daric insisted we give him a Korean name, a Korean food name to be exact (like kulgogi! Kulgogi on a restaurant menu means dog meat. I didn't find that as funny as he did) so we met in the middle & have named the pup Gogi, meaning "meat". So far what I read about Jindos is true, this little bugger is super smart! We had him for 2 days before he started to whine to let us know he needed to be let out to the bathroom, potty training has been super easy with this guy! Time will tell if the rest of what I've read is true as well. So here he is...our Korean puppy Gogi.

Ezzio's new best friend

he insists Gogi is MY dog...sure looks like my dog!

I'll admit he's super cute

Hopefully from now on the rest of our Korean souvenirs will be furniture & trinkets!! Good night (morning or afternoon depending on where you are!) from our apartment in the clouds!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who Doesn't Love Teenage Girls & Trickeye?!

Odd title indeed! Let me we were walking "downtown" in our neighborhood I stopped into the Korean equivalent of The Body Shop or other such store to get some face cleaner & just see what they had. While I was inside by myself I heard a bunch of laughing & squealing outside. I looked up to see the kids surrounded by a group of teenage girls all taking turns taking pictures with them with their cell phones. I saw Daric standing off to the side laughing & obviously enjoying the moment a bit too much! Akira wasn't sure what to make of the situation but Riley thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. The squealing I heard was the girls every time Riley said hi in Korean. They ate it up & kept asking him to speak in Korean again. If you notice his expression in the above picture you can tell he was totally playing up the situation. Oh Riley! The kids have only been mobbed that 1 time but they have had their pictures taken plenty on the trains & even at the museum by adults!

Speaking of the museum...a friend of ours, who is in Seoul at the base, found the Trickeye Museum on a 'Sights in Seoul' tourist-y type website. ( She told me about it & asked if the kids & I would like to go with her & her son. From the description & then my further research the place sounded like a lot of fun so we made plans to go. The Trickeye Museum is a museum with paintings painted straight onto the walls in a way that makes them look like they're either coming out of the wall at you or look like you are actually in them...depending on how you're angled to take your picture. That place was AWESOME!!!! We all had so much fun acting like goofs posing with the paintings & having our pictures taken. We had so much fun Daric was jealous & "forced" us to go again the next weekend. (Yes, the kids & I needed much coercing & prodding to get us back there!) We again had a great time, only made better that time by the addition of authentic Italian pizza for lunch & delicious tarts with drinking chocolate for dessert. Yes, drinking chocolate. The tart place basically melts the different kinds of chocolate down, pours it into a cup with cream or milk & serves it to you with a spoon since if you don't drink it fast enough it thickens up & then you need the spoon to eat the rest. Delicious!

There are a WHOLE lot more pictures, these were just some of the funniest. I think my next post will be solely the pictures from Trickeye Museum. I need to upload the ones with Daric so I can add them too! He had a good time posing for the pictures.

Aside from meeting a few more neighbors, American neighbors, things have been slowing down around here. The weather has finally started to change. It's colder now & the leaves are all those beautiful oranges, golds & reds. I'm happy we're surrounded by enough countryside to get to see that every day. Rumor has it we'll start having snow by November! "They" also say the worse monsoon season is the worse snow season is & since this year we had historic rains...well...historic snows possibly are in our future??? Love to all of you from all of us. I hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them! Until the next adventure....