Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I <3 Gmarket

I think it's so great that kitcheninafishbowl posted about her love of Gmarket today just as I was thinking of doing the same! I was thinking of doing so because gmarket chose me for a special event they're having...I won a gift certificate for being one of the top bloggers! Thanks!

I do a lot, if not most, of my shopping on Gmarket. It's like a gigantic shopping mall right in my computer room. I used to shop out in the real world a lot more before I had a baby, but since January 2009, Gmarket has come in very handy and serves most of my shopping needs. Shopping in Korea can be tough for a foreigner. Sometimes you just can't find what you're looking for...or if you're really new to Korea, you don't even know where to start. You see, there are product "districts" in Korea. For example, there are furniture districts, textile districts, lighting districts, and pet districts. Sometimes it's fun to go to certain districts if you want to see the product firsthand. I love shopping for fabric and yarn in Dongdaemun. But sometimes, it's a pain in the neck to take public transport across the city just to buy a trivial item. This is when Gmarket is very convenient.

It's also fun. It's nice to browse all the different options. There is an incredible amount of vendors on gmarket, so there are always some interesting and unique products. I have started to limit my browsing time, though, as I always seem to find something I "need." Another fun part is practicing and improving my Korean vocabulary. I learned a lot of Korean vocab from online shopping. That sounds funny, but it's true. Now, there are two gmarket sites: the Korean site and the global English site. I usually use the Korean one, but I took a look at the English site the other day, and there have been great improvements over there, so I'm going to give that site a go next time I need something and see what I come up with.

And finally, of course, the prices on gmarket really can't be beat. You can often find the more popular products with free shipping, and if not, it's never more than 2500 won ($2.50). I've often seen something in a store that I had bought on gmarket for several dollars cheaper. Over the last few years, I'm sure I've saved a lot of money by using gmarket. I know I saved hundreds right before Grace was born when I did my baby shopping! Baby stuff in the shops is very expensive.

Anyway, I'm not going to shop gmarket tonight because I just received my most recent order yesterday (diapers, deodorant, Quaker oatmeal, and knit baby leggings). I can't even begin to list all the things I've bought on gmarket. Too long... Oh, and my camera was bought on gmarket.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top Down Cardigan

I knitted this before Grace was born and she finally got to wear it! And it fits! Excuse the rest of Grace's outfit. I really should have put her in something cuter than sweat pants and a onesie for the shoot, and I should have at least wiped her face....but we were having a down day. Very cold and gray outside.

This is the pattern. If you've never done a top-down sweater -- try it! It's so much fun. And it's easy -- easier than you would think. As you're working along in the pattern, you have some major "AH HA!" moments as you see the sweater taking shape. And there is so little sewing up after. As it says at the top of the pattern, the cardigan is knitted in one piece. All you have to do afterwards is sew under the arms, and sew on a button of course. If I do this cardigan again, I'll make more button holes and make it button all the way up.

It was great putting this on Grace the other day because it inspired me to start knitting again. I haven't done anything in a while. Just been too busy, and I was on a doily kick for a while. But I think I'll get out the old bag (well....bags) of yarn and start stitching again. I think I'll knit ahead for spring.......something in cotton......

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Alone for Christmas

Well, maybe, maybe not; we'll see what we're up for Christmas Day. My friend very kindly invited me to her Christmas party, and while it's a bit far, I might just go and try to have a merry Christmas. It would be nice to socialize with people over 1 year old for a change, as well as see my friend again, of course. I could always take a taxi home if Grace is pooped. Otherwise, I will be alone, as Sejin will indeed be in the hospital until at least the first week of January. His doctor said that that is the minimum. He will decide then if he is okay to go home.

Grace and I went to visit him today. It was nice to see him hopping around on crutches. One thing about Sejin -- he always looks happy, no matter what is going on. I'm not sure how happy I would be in the hospital that long with a TV blaring all day and noisy roommates who, according to him, drink and smoke late into the night. Anyhow, he was happy to see us. Grace was well-behaved, as usual. She ate a whole cup of yogurt by herself while we were there, despite being fed before we left. She has a massive appetite. She can eat and eat and eat. I read on one of those baby developmental sites that at around this age babies may lose some interest in food because they are exploring their world -- not this one! I'm having trouble keeping up with her food prep and dishes, actually! The good news is that her chewing is getting better and better, and soon enough she'll be able to enjoy just about whatever I'm eating.

Other than that, I'm kept very busy during the day, keeping up with cooking, cleaning, laundry, caring for Grace, etc. I don't have very many spare moments to myself, except for this time after she's gone to sleep. Even then, I often can't stay awake very long to relish these moments. I've been going to be before 10 every night, which is really weird for me.

Speaking of sleep, I don't want to speak too soon, but I think we're making a bit of headway with the nursing at night situation. Lately I've been thinking a lot about night weaning Grace because she's getting me up far too often for a 12 month old. A lot of it is habit, and of course, we just had a major trip and she's in new surroundings. I'm probably going to start working again soon, so I really don't want to be a zombie anymore.

Anyway, yesterday Grace was flipping through one of her many books and she stopped and pointed at a picture of a girl sleeping. I said to her, "Yes, the girl is sleeping. Sleeping." She just looked at me like she understood, and kept going. So last night when she woke up the first time, I decided to try to talk to her. I'm often guilty of just picking her up right away. So, this time, I just gave her my hand and told her softly it's time to go back to sleep. After a few whimpers, she tried to go back to sleep. She tossed and turned for a few minutes with her eyes closed and eventually she fell asleep.

That encounter gave me hope that she won't be as hard to wean as I thought. Well, it will still be hard, but at least she understands what's going on and what she should do at night. It's also very exciting to know that she understands what I'm saying -- well, at least some of it. Sometimes I don't know what she's getting and what she's not. But she's probably got quite a little vocabulary stored up in there.

To end this post, a few cute things she's been doing... I let her listen to Sejin on the phone... since then, she holds my phone up to her ear, listening for someone. She goes "woof woof" when she sees a picture of a dog. She also likes to share her food with me. Today she thought it was hilarious while I was trying to juggle a couple of her blocks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baby jail and noisy neighbours

This big hunk of plastic is great! I was originally going to buy a traditional playpen, but foreign brands like Graco and Fisher Price are so expensive here in Korea. I couldn't find anything under $150. So I decided to look local. I found this strange looking thing on gmarket:
It was only $50 and ended up being a better choice because it's much bigger. Whenever I have to do something like shower, laundry, dishes, etc, I throw Grace in here with some toys and books and she's usually good for a little while, maybe 20 to 30 minutes. I try not to put her in too often so she doesn't get frustrated with it or feel cooped up. Anyway, I love good buys.

It was a rough early morning today. Grace went to sleep last night at 7:00 pm but wanted to get up at 4:00 a.m. We've been back a week now, so I think it's time to start "guiding" her onto a suitable sleep schedule. She really wanted to get up at 4, despite being obviously still tired, so it began. It took me about an hour to get her back to sleep. There was a tantrum. But in the end it worked out because she got up at 8:00 in a much better mood. I think we might be getting somewhere now. She's down for a nap now. Fingers crossed that this jetlag is behind us.

The apartment is slowly shaping up. An online friend lent me her nanny for two days and that really helped. She did some unpacking and cleaning for me, watched Grace while I did some organizing, she went to the market to get me some fresh food and even did a bit of cooking. I'm starting to finally feel like this place is coming together, although there is still a lot to do.

Now, if I could only get the people upstairs to move out, things would be even better. This apartment is old, and noise travels through the walls/floors very easily. There are obviously a number of children upstairs, because there is constant thumping, piano playing, etc. I can deal with that to a degree -- I certainly can't ask them to stop living their lives just because I'm downstairs! But last night things got really out of hand. There was some serious rough housing going on, running, pounding, sounded like the kids were fighting, except it went on and on and on. Finally I went upstairs and rang the doorbell -- three times. They would not answer because they knew who was there and for what reason. Finally, I had Sejin call the maintenance office to make a complaint. Shortly after that, the maintenance office called me and said don't worry, they will be quiet now. Hmmm, perhaps this isn't the first time they've had complaints about them. Anyway, after that, things quieted down a bit. Hopefully it doesn't get like that every Friday night!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

And we're back

After a very long trip to Canada, Grace and I are back in Korea. It was quite a trip, just the two of us. In short, it sucked -- but we got through it. We got up at 3:00 a.m. to leave for the airport at 4 a.m. -- that part really sucked. Grace puked all over herself in the car on the way to the airport (combo tired/car sickness?), so I had to change her clothes and wipe down her snowsuit as best I could.

The first 5 hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver was OK, but our seats were bad. We were seated near the back of the plane. I asked at check-in if I could have a bulkhead seat, but was denied, for what reason I have no idea. I asked the friendly Air Canada employee (note the sarcasm!) how priority for the bulkhead seats worked and expressed my deep desire for one, but she said should could not do anything -- yeah right. So I endured.

After that flight, we had one hour to get off the plane in Vancouver. I decided that this was ridiculous -- just who gets these bulkhead seats? So I talked to the agent at the gate. I just told her straight up that I needed a bulkhead seat as my daughter was going to be restless on the next 10 hour flight and I would need room to get up frequently, have access to carry-ons, etc. Well -- you'd think I had asked her for the moon. After some typing with intermittent huffing, she finally said I had been granted a bulkhead seat.

Now, I thought I had read somewhere on Air Canada's site that bulkhead seats were given to whoever needs them most, usually to handicapped people, people traveling with infants, or unusually tall people. As I boarded the plane for Seoul, I was interested to see why it was so hard for me to get a bulkhead seat -- perhaps there was a group of 6 handicapped people flying that day? No, there was not. Besides me and Grace, there were five young men seated in the special row. Anyway, this issue really bothers me, and I intend to contact Air Canada to see what exactly their policy is.

Ten hours went by slowly, as it always does. One of the worst parts was when I thought to myself, "Wow, we've been in the air for a while now -- time is flying"...then I saw that we still had seven hours left. Grace was good for the most part. She did not sleep very well, as I had expected. She has trouble relaxing enough to settle into sleep. I am not much different. I don't think I've ever slept on a plane. But we got through with lots of snacks, pacing, and a surprise new toy I had packed in my bag. The plane touching down was the best feeling in the world.
On the airplane....many hours more to go:
My friend L met me at the airport, and boy was it good to see a familiar face. The airport van guy was there waiting, too. It felt weird to be on the road with Grace on my lap rather than in a car seat. We finally got to my apartment and L helped me quickly lower the crib mattress and hang Grace's curtains. She ordered some chicken, although I was too tired to eat much. Grace had a few french fries and went to sleep. And that was the trip.

Since then, Grace has been pretty jetlagged, naturally. She's been up in the night a lot. But tonight she went down at around 7:00, which is great, so I'll get her up at 7 tomorrow and hopefully we'll be on our way back to a normal sleep schedule. She's adjusting to the new apartment well. I've just been spending lots of time with her. I brought back as many of her toys as I could fit, for familiarity's sake. She is settling in well, although she must be wondering where grandma and grandpa are.
The day after our arrival:
On Monday we made the trip into Seoul to see Sejin. He missed us a lot. I missed him too, of course, but I've been pretty busy writing books, caring for Grace, traveling, unpacking, dealing with jetlag. But he's just been sitting in a hospital bed for 3 weeks, so it must have been worse for him. He was pretty happy to see us. We didn't stay for long since Grace was so tired, but it was a nice visit. He says his foot is getting better, but he still has a lot of recovery left ahead of him. He showed me both of his legs side-by-side, and his injured leg is a lot smaller than the other. It's like the muscle has wasted way from not being used. He cannot move his toes yet. His doctor is now encouraging him to walk around on crutches, but he says it hurts a lot.
Anyway, that's a long update, but a lot has happened! I'm really looking forward to Sejin's return home. I hope he can be here for Christmas...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sarah Status

Should be leaving in less than 24 hours, but a huge storm swept through last night with wind gusts over 100 km/hr. Wind has died down somewhat today, although there are still strong gusts. It is also snowing intermittently, so with the gusting, visibility is very poor at times. Although I can check in to my flight on the web, I'm waiting in case there are delays. If there are delays, I will be able to reschedule my flight without penalty. But I have a feeling I will be leaving on time. Toronto is north of here and does not seem to be getting as severe weather. We always get blasted here in Fort Erie (about 10 minutes from Buffalo NY) with lots of lake effect snow. Just sucks that this had to hit right before my flight to add more worries to my already overcrowded brain.

Other than that, things look good. Bags are packed. Going out soon to get some diapers and last minute things. Grace is napping even though the wind is howling. It will definitely be an interesting flight. Stay tuned for that post!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It keeps getting better

I was feeling optimistic that Sejin may be home by the time I get back to Korea, but it doesn't appear so. It looks like he may not even be home for Christmas. Apparently, some of the tissue in his foot is 'dead.' I'm not a doctor, but to me, this doesn't sound good. He has another surgery scheduled for Wednesday to cut out this dead tissue. Hopefully there is not too much dead tissue, otherwise, they will have to transplant some from somewhere else. I guess all the oxygen therapy he's been getting has not been effective enough in rejuvenating his twisted up foot.

Man, what a mess. Sejin is still trying to find a decent lawyer from his hospital bed. I'm wondering if there is going to be anything I can do to help him when I return to Korea. It's going to be just me and Grace after we return. I've also been thinking of all the things Sejin used to do for me -- grabbing bread on the way home, going to the health centre with me and Grace, cleaning up, watching Grace while I get an hour extra sleep... It's going to be a big adjustment for me, too...

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I thought that the above photo could be best described by "Tah-dah!" Grace is one funny duck. She is happy most of the time, especially while she's eating. Actually, she hardly ever stops eating, so she's usually pretty happy. This is a huge relief to me. When she was a little baby, I couldn't understand why she wanted to nurse around the clock. I thought something was wrong with ME -- like I wasn't meeting her needs or something. Now, looking back, I know exactly what was going on: this kid just likes to eat!! Whew! Case closed!

Now the only problem I have is figuring out what to feed her. She's been eating a lot of baby purees and cereal of course, but she seems to be on the verge of being ready to eat "real" food. She's quite good at chewing up toast, crackers, small pieces of fruits and vegetables...and a lot of them! So, before I go home, I'm going to have to make up a meal plan of healthy available foods so I'm never at a loss of what to feed her.

And those baby snacks -- they're expensive! Grace likes all those baby cookies, yogurt melts, rice crackers, etc, but those are not cheap. I'm also going to have to look into some healthy snack alternatives or she's going to make me go broke!


Sejin is still in the hospital dealing with his crushed foot. Poor guy has a sore butt from lying in bed all the time. He has been on the phone trying to find a lawyer who wants to take his case. Unfortunately, the law in Korea works much differently that it does here. Surprisingly, most lawyers are not interested in taking his case, probably because such cases are a dime a dozen. Also, he has found out through his research that the bus company (as I had suspected) cannot be trusted, as they are known to bribe the police department into changing official police reports. The bus company went to see Sejin yesterday in the hospital, simply asked how he was doing, and left within a minute. Very strange. I try to stay optimistic, but this does not look very good for us right now. We will probably end up having to accept a pitiful settlement and then I will be forced back to work in order to keep us afloat. We may end up moving to Canada sooner than I had thought. We may have to get the money from our apartment, pay off our debts and start all over in the Great White North. I just know I don't want to stay in a country where my family has been so greatly wronged.


A Christmas angel for the tree. I like how she turned out:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Welcome, Ruby

Ruby Taylor (middle name Taylor), my first niece, entered the world 5 days ago. She's so tiny. About average weight, but I guess I've already forgotten how small newborn babies are. She's so sweet. Thomas is already a superstar big brother. When asked how he likes having a baby sister, he replied, "It's awesome." What a cutie. I was so glad that I could be here for her arrival.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Poor Sejin

I just received a call from Sejin, who is in a Seoul hospital since yesterday. After work he was getting off the bus near our home in Uijeongbu and the bus driver took off too soon, sending him flying, and then running over his ankle. His ankle and foot were crushed. He was transferred to a bigger hospital in Seoul where he had surgery last night. He expects to be in the hospital for at least another two weeks, and won't be able to walk on it for three to four weeks. Realistically, it looks like full recovery will take months.
Poor Sejin. He is feeling very down right now, as he was just getting going at his new job. After the accident, his boss called him and was only concerned about whether she should hire a new teacher or not. No words of sympathy for him.

Road safety is a big problem in Korea, which is why I don't drive. But as you can see, taking public transportation is no guarantee of safety, either. I think the subway is the safest way to go, but it is sometimes not the most direct route, which is why buses are handy. But anyone who has taken the bus before knows that it is not a smooth ride, the drivers are impatient, and there is lots of pushing and shoving. I was on a bus once when the driver slammed on the breaks to avoid hitting someone, but everyone on the bus fell down. I was lucky to have had a seat. A teenage boy standing a the front of the bus banged his head on the metal bar near the driver and was down for a while. Crazy city.

Anyway, if you know Sejin and want to drop him a "cheer up" email, do so at josejin at hotmail dot com

Monday, November 23, 2009

Go Grace

I've been horrible at blogging regularly. Whenever I'm at the computer, I'm usually writing ESL material rather than emails or blog entries. The good news is, I finished the last unit (I think) last night, so I will be able to take a bit of a breather and relax in the evenings rather than write really boring multiple choice questions. I will be able to go to sleep earlier as well -- I really really need to do that.

While my world has been a little on the boring side, what with staying in most of the time and working, Grace's world, on the other hand, has been very exciting. It seems every day she can wake up and do something new. I realize that to people with older kids, or with more than one kid, this stuff is really old hat, but since Grace is my first, I take delight in all her new developments, no matter how small. I think it's amazing all the developments that happen in the first year of life. I really had no idea.
Here's a few things have have been keeping Grace busy:

Eating. She's been an enthusiastic eater from the start, but she's loving real food these days. I often end up sharing my own food (within reason) with her, because she'll get super frustrated otherwise. She just can't seem to get enough. Problem is, I think she's getting a little bored with the baby purees. She'll still eat them, but when she's had enough, that's it. She loves to share some whole wheat toast with me in the morning. She has potatoes and carrots a lot. I've even shared my macaroni and cheese with her -- not the healthiest, but man, did she ever whine for more. She also loves to snack on Cheerios. Cheerios are so great to keep her busy when we're out shopping.
Placing Objects. Recently she has discovered that she can put objects down somewhere and retrieve them again. It's really funny to watch her put a Cheerio on a pillow and look at it a few second, and then pick it up and eat it. Last night, she put all the Cheerios on her high chair tray into the little cup holder hole. Once they were all in there, she threw them all on the floor for the dog. She also put a Cheerio in Elmo's mouth!

Pointing. Just recently, her little index finger has started pointing at everything. She points, looks at me, keeps pointing. She likes pointing at the Christmas tree, just in case I've missed it.

Reading. She still loves going through her box of books. Before I was skeptical of how much she was actually seeing/understanding, but lately I've seen evidence that she knows a lot more than I think she does. She loves farm animals, especially chickens and cows. She tries to make animal noises (so far, animals only say "bababa" or "roooar"). I think she knows some shapes, as well. She even sometimes mimics the people in the books. There's a page in the Velveteen Rabbit with a fairy with her arms stretched towards the sky. When I get to that page, she puts both her arms in the air and looks to the ceiling. I thought it was a fluke the first time she did this, but nope, she does it every time now. There's a lot going on in that little head!
Listening to music. I have some kids CDs and she loves when I put them on. Her favourite songs are "Old MacDonald" (do all kids have a thing for farm animals?), and "The Wheels On the Bus." When I put these songs on, she gets really quiet and serious, but with a little half-smile on her face. She will occasionally clap at her favourite parts.

Watching TV. *sigh* Yes, yes, I know TV is evil, but after 3 or more hours of entertaining Grace with countless toys and books, sometimes it is necessary to take a break, especially if she is refusing a nap, another thing she is really good at. I figure, after she learns to walk, she won't want to sit still and watch much TV. She doesn't like many shows anyway. She hates cartoons. She will only watch Baby Einstein or Elmo. *sigh*
Grace is still not crawling. A couple of months ago I thought, 'what the heck is wrong with her?', but that worry has completely disappeared as she is so determined to stand and walk. She pulls herself up and loves to try to balance without holding on, without my hands on her. Problem is, if she actually succeeds and stands on her own for a few second, she gets too excited, bounces and claps, and just falls down. It's really funny to watch. I guess she's going to be one of those babies that doesn't crawl. She just doesn't seem to get it. She'll get onto her hands and knees, and then extend her legs (trying to stand up) with her butt in the air, making a triangle with the floor. It looks kind of like a yoga move. Anyway, like I said, not too concerned, because she doesn't seem very concerned, either.

She's such a good baby. I'm very lucky. I will print out this blog post for her baby book.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Knitting/crochet projects/an uneventful 30th

I turned 30 yesterday. Nothing special happened. I don't feel any different, or in any type of crisis, so that's a relief. My mom, sister, and I just went out for dinner. I did realize something last night, though: nearly all of my friends are in Korea. I have hardly any friends here in Ontario anymore. I guess this is natural after spending seven plus years overseas.
It seems I need my crafting time as much as I need sleep. If I don't get it, I get restless. So I try to do a little bit every day, even if I just do a few stitches/rows/rounds. I've been back on a doily kick. I don't know why doilies get me excited, but they do. I recently picked up a great book called "A Year of Doilies" which has really pretty patterns. It was a rare find, as I actually like all 12 patterns. The reason I usually don't buy books is because I usually only like one or two's kind of like buying a CD just for a few songs. Anyway, I started with my two favourites, White Blossom, and Summer Sun.
I have a small collection of really old doily books from a box my mom picked up at a garage sale. I think making things from vintage patterns is really cool. I bet no one has crocheted this Motif Doily is aaaaages. It was my first time doing anything with motifs.
Finally, I've had an urge to make Grace some accessories for winter. I started with Aviatrix, a really fun knit. It actually turned out okay. I have a habit of really messing up hats. They all end up either too small or really huge. The great thing about this hat is that it stays on, and for some reason, Grace doesn't try to get it off, as she does with other hats.
Store bought hat.... not going well:
Hat made by mommy...much more comfy.
Right now I'm working on some baby legwarmers. It seems every time I pick up Grace, or she's in the stroller, carrier, or car seat, her pants ride up and her little legs are exposed. We'll see if they turn out. I'm just winging it for now.

Monday, November 2, 2009


We had an uneventful Halloween this year with fewer kids than usual. There were high wind warnings yesterday, so the weather wasn't that great. H1N1 in the news and people being sick probably accounted for more kids staying in. That means there's more candy left over for us though. Grace was into the candy, too, but in the end, decided that the Smarties worked better as rattles.A week until we depart for Korea if all goes smoothly. I'm waiting on the WHO to decide whether infants actually do need the second H1N1 booster. She had a half dose last Thursday. If she does need the second, we may have to extend our trip by 3 to 4 weeks. Although I'd like to stay longer, Grace is getting stronger and more mobile by the day, so I'd kind of like to get this trip over with!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yay Grace!

I'm happy to report that Grace's sleep has really improved this last month. She sleeps for 5-6 hour stretches on average (she slept a 10 hour stretch the other night), and I'm sure she will continue to improve. Not only is this good for me, but I've noticed that she seems better off, too. She is in a better mood and can stay up longer in the mornings. She used to need to go down for a nap very soon after getting up, but now she can go about a 3 1/2 hour stretch 'til that morning nap. This is really good. I'm so relieved. I hope this is the end of really boring blog posts about sleep.

You'd think that with Grace sleeping so much better, I'd be getting better sleep. But it isn't so. My body is very used to sleeping light and waking up every couple of hours. Sometimes it takes me a long time to get to sleep because I'm subconsciously waiting for her to wake up. Then when I fall asleep, I sometimes wake up for no reason. I'm pretty confident that I'll get over this though. It's just been so long since I slept well -- I have to relearn how to sleep. Who would've thought?

Although I'm still a bit on the tired side, I'm happy about Grace's improvements and am feeling good in general. I'm starting to feel the desire to take back just a teensy weensy bit of my life. Grace will always have 95% of my focus, but I've been feeling the itch to do things like dry and style my hair, exercise, have a coffee out, stuff like that. I think this is actually a good sign that I'm adjusting to motherhood.

I can't believe October is almost done. Time is really flying, just like people told me it would. Grace will be 10 months

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Fall is definitely here. A lovely 10 degrees and sunny on Sunday meant a good day for photos! We also had our Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday.

Grace and I are doing well. I'm still working hard to complete two books by the end of October (can it be done? I'll try...), and Grace is working hard on improving her sleep. She's doing well. She is not getting me up as often. The other night she left from 8:30pm til 5am. That was pretty long and not the usual, but I am confident those long stretches will become more frequent.

Lots in store in the coming weeks. Trip to Buffalo tomorrow, going to a pumpkin patch on Saturday, my sister's baby shower on the 25th, Halloween, and my birthday on Nov 3rd.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Still here

I have been taking a very much needed internet break these past 5 weeks. It's actually been nice to be away from the computer and be communicating with family and friends, shopping, eating, and even relaxing. The only bad part is that I have not been keeping up with my friends back in Korea or keeping up my blog. I have no idea what's going on with my many real-life, blogger, and facebook friends.

I will try to write an update post sometime soon. I have extended my ticket to November 7th so that I can write two books while staying here with my parents. Time for bed!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Serenity Now, Right Now

Day before departure. Many things to do. Grace woken up three times by noises in apartment. Milk carton dropped on floor. Spilled coffee. No lunch. Disorganized packing. Last minute shopping trip a disaster. Crazy man sits next to me on train. Arrive in D-mun to find everything is closed. Just today. Going home with no gifts. Arrive home. Sejin's good-hearted attempt at packing has me puzzled. Hungry. Must attempt web check-in. Must pack.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

48 hours to Canada

Wow. The time certainly has flown. We've been in our new apt for a week and in two days we go to Canada.

The aptartment is shaping up slowly. I think Sejin and I deserve some kind of award for what we've done so far. We've wallpapered the remainder of the living room and the whole bedroom, unpacked and got mostly organized, all while watching a little baby. I've done all this on virtually no sleep. I'll post pics of the improvements.

Grace has been a "challenge" lately. During the day she's been fine. We've been moving her from her chair to her walker to the floor and surrounding her with many toys as we get organized. She does really well at entertaining herself. It's at night when the madness begins. Since we've moved in, almost every night she's been waking up at least every 2 hours. Last night she woke up about 7 times. I slept a couple of hours this morning when SJ took her for me.

Yes, this could be due to the move and the new environment, but things have been heading in this direction for a while. She was doing well at 5 months, waking up 2-3 times a night. I thought we were getting somewhere. But around 6 months she started waking up more and more frequently and will not go back to sleep without nursing. Now at 7 months, I'm nearing the end of my patience. If we weren't going to Canada in a couple of days, I would do something drastic, like stay at a friend's one night and let Sejin do his best. But it is useless to try anything now. We'll see how the trip goes.

Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing. Now I know why it has been used as a method of torture. My mind just isn't funtioning at full capacity. I have to write everything down. I've lost motivation to cook proper meals or exercise. Luckily Sejin has been here to keep me going. But when we return, we both plan on working. This won't be possible if I'm only going on a couple of hours of sleep a night. A big change is needed.

Now to start packing our bags.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Moved in...sort of

We're in. But things are not where they're supposed to be. In the past, I would just work really hard for a couple of days, pulling some late nights to get it all done. But now I have one serious limitation that starts with a G.

Poor Grace is not adjusting as well as I thought she would. Serious trouble sleeping - nap time and night time. She is in some realm of overtiredness I did not think existed. Excellent fun. She hasn't cried a whole lot since birth, but in the last couple days she has been so whiny and there has been crying. She must be thinking, When are we going home?? Tonight she crashed at 8:00 and has woken up three times since then and it's now 10:00. Somewhere in that time I made the final decision not to have any more children.

I'm too tired to write more. Unfortunately I am not really looking forward to our trip to Canada in one week (sorry mom and dad...). I am traveling across the planet with a cranky overtired baby that can only nurse to sleep. That should be an interesting blog post.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Book done, some wallpaper up

Just finished writing a coursebook. It will be book 1 of a 3-part series. Another writer who has far more time wrote the other 2 books. *sigh* I'm hoping to get more of this work when I return from Canada. If I can, I may have to get someone to watch Grace so that I can work more during the day and less at night. Grace goes to sleep around 8:00 these days and then it's work time. Of course, I surf and chat here and there, but the work usually keeps me up too late and I can't get a good sleep even if I want to.

We're moving in a day. It doesn't feel like it. Last time we moved we went through all our stuff, got rid of junk, had everything organized and ready to go. This time we will probably end up moving junk and getting rid of it when we unpack. Grace + work + misc stuff left us no time to get ready properly.

The only thing we did manage was to put up a bit of wallpaper in our new living room. It went surprisingly well. It's not easy work, but the pre-cut pre-glued strips of wallpaper are great. It eliminates a lot of steps. It's not a perfect job, but it looks a heck of a lot better than it did. The only problem now is the plug in the middle of the wall near the ceiling. It's there for a wall-mounted air-conditioner, but ours is a standing unit. I can either stick some wallpaper over it, or get some kind of a wreath or decorative thing to hang over it. I didn't take proper before pictures because I didn't think I would post before and afters. This is the best I can do. Now that we know how to hang the paper, we'll probably order more for the bedroom because right now it's the ugliest colour you can imagine. Some kind of grayish purple.

Our Internet will be disconnected tomorrow night and reconnected on Monday. Hope the move goes well!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Serenity Now

I was reminded of this Seinfeld episode this morning after Grace would not go down for her morning nap, although she was rubbing her eyes wildly. I put her down from sleeping on my shoulder four times and each time she either woke up immediately, or woke up within ten minutes. Something's going on... maybe a tooth waiting to pop out, or else the plumbing's backed up again. Serenity now!

Monday, July 27, 2009


The woodwork was painted yesterday. I didn't feel like going all the way to Uijeongbu to choose a colour, so I had simply told Sejin: ivory. I figured anything is an improvement over the bright blue that it was. He took photos today and it does look better. Clean.

The wallpaper arrived today. It's a heavy box. I hope I made the right decision. As I said before, either a really good idea, or a really bad one. We'll do that on Wednesday.

Grace still enjoying the sitting position. Tonight she sat in the centre of our bed for a good 10 minutes just staring at us. No smiling. It was kind of weird. Her posture was sort of gorilla-like and she looked territorial as well. Sejin took some good pictures of it.

Today I had one of those guests that doesn't 'get' when to leave. A dear Korean friend of mine who is 7 months pregnant. She's really lovely, but I think she must be bored. She arrived before 2:00. Around 6:00 I started hinting that we had to start getting Grace in the bath and ready for bed, but at 8:00 she was still here. Sometimes it's difficult to explain to people without kids about the importance of the nighttime ritual. It's especially important for Grace since I've had problems with getting her down at night at a reasonable hour. She's pretty sensitive about sleep. Now that she's going down again between 7 and 8:30 (this took work!), I'm not going to mess with that for anything. I ended up just starting the routine while she was still here and a couple times she looked kind of horrified. She said to me before she left, "Are all babies like this?" I don't know if it was in reference to Grace's resistance or the amount of work it took to get through the routine, from bathing to changing, feeding, reading and then finally putting her down. When I finally whispered to her, "Good night! Good luck with the baby!" as she headed out the door, I was exhausted and ready for my ice cream reward.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Moving is always hard, but it always feels good when it's done. Trying to keep that in mind.

This week we have a tonne of things to do, from going through our belongings and getting rid to junk to wallpapering! Yes, we are wallpapering ourselves. I'm not sure how good of an idea this is. We've ordered the wallpaper for the living room and we will attempt to put it up on Tuesday or Wednesday. If it goes smoothly, we will order more for the master bedroom. The cool thing about where we ordered our wallpaper from is that it comes in pre-cut strips. They are roughly the length of the wall, so we won't have to mess around with a big roll. They are nicely cut and have glue on them already. Luckily I took pretty good measurements last time I was there, so I was able to order the exact number of pieces. For the wall along the sofa, I chose (what looks like) a nice cherry blossom pattern. For the TV wall, a simple light beige. This could either look really good or really, really bad. I will post before and after photos.

Other than that, just trying to keep my head on straight. Grace is doing great. Today she sat on the floor by herself, back straight for about 15 minutes. I was spotting, of course, but she did incredibly well. She was turning and looking at us and playing with some blocks at the same time. What really amazes me about babies is that one day they can't do something, then the next day they surprise you be being able to do something really well, like they've known it all along. She surprised herself, I think. She sat there squealing and smiling for a while. Very cute.

Some laundry and book work to do this afternoon. Tomorrow we may head up to Uijeongbu to see how the woodwork paint looks. The painters were there today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Igloo Self Photos

We finally made it over to Dapsimni to take Grace's photos at Igloo Photo Studio. We were going to get 100-day photos and we just kept putting it off and putting it off. That turned out to be a good thing because she's super cute at six months and better able to hold her head up for photos.
There are three rooms at Igloo. We booked room C, which is for infants. There are things like baskets, bumbos, lots of pillows and toys for support. It is also the cheapest room. They have a full wardrobe that you can use, but we used mostly our own stuff. We took a walk through the other rooms, and they are pretty cute for toddlers. We might take Grace back for her 1 year photos, or try another "self" studio closer to our new place.

We also rented their camera. I was afraid of using it, but it turns out they have it all set up so you don't have to adjust anything on it. There is one of those huge photographer light/flash things on wheels that you can move to adjust the lighting for each background. I regret not fooling around with the lighting more. Next time.

We rented the room for one hour, which was enough for Grace, but for an older baby, I would book for 2 hours. But even after one hour, we were just exhausted from all the wardrobe changes and trying to get Grace to smile. She was kind of dazzled by the new environment and didn't want to smile much. That was kind of disappointing, but we managed to get a few good ones.

The quality is not quite professional quality, but for what you pay, I think it's pretty good. We paid 50,000 won for the room rental, camera rental, and the CD with all 800 photos that we took. Sejin was the photographer, as he got frustrated with my slow picture-taking. This was good because he managed to take A LOT of photos, but I kind of wish we had traded off because I think he missed some good angles (sorry Sejin).

I'm sure there are lots more of these self photo studios, but I just didn't know about them before. I think it's a great idea to save some money and get some good photos out of it. It was a lot of fun, too. So much better than the Sears portrait studio at home!

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