Thursday, June 9, 2016


I'm not sure what the 15 year wedding anniversary gift is supposed to be, but I'm fairly certain it's not cardboard.

Nevertheless, Josh and I celebrated our anniversary with a couple of Korean guys and some packing materials.

This first shipment got off to a rather chaotic start. I was in my sleepwear on the couch at 9ish this morning, thinking about all the final things I needed to do to prepare for the movers, who were scheduled to show up between 1 and 2.

We had some final separating to do as far as what was coming with us, what was going in this shipment, and what will be going with the next shipment on Monday. I needed to run the dishwasher one more time to get the things they'd be packing cleaned and ready, I had a load of clothes in the dryer, hadn't moved my toiletries because I planned to shower, etc., etc., and so on, and so forth.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Josh got a phone call at that very moment saying they were on their way from the base. Which is about 15 minutes down the road.

Cue some insanity. Running around trying to move things that we didn't want packed into our off-limits room. Hand washing and drying the dishes that needed to be packed. Slapping on some deodorant in lieu of a shower and tossing toiletries in a bag willy-nilly.

The good news is that the movers were here and gone in 2 hours.

The bad news is that Lady the stuffed dog is somewhere in those crates, and Alex is not a happy camper. She was a casualty of the chaos, as well as a few other items that didn't get sorted before they got packed.

We'll get them all eventually, but they'll be taking the scenic route to Texas.

Sorry, Lady! Hope you enjoy your ocean cruise. Your girl is sad to sleep without you.

Korea to Texas move, Part 2, will take place on Monday. Those items should arrive via airplane, and more quickly than today's shipment.

Korea to Texas move, Part 3, shipment of humans, will take place next Wednesday.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Git 'er done

Less than 3 weeks until we leave the ROK! That's, like, no time at all.

Josh has been working hard to get things arranged for our move.

The time spent between moves is a lot like the time in between your children's births.

As soon as you finish a move, you think to yourself, "I don't ever want to do that again." I mean, you have to use a water bottle instead of toilet paper.
Then, as time goes by, you forget about how painful the experience was. Maybe even begin to entertain thoughts about the "next time."
Then the real work of the next move begins and you wonder how on earth you ended up agreeing to have another baby.

Hang on, I think I mixed up my analogy.

You get my drift though.

We are now in crunch time. We've got orders! This was a process, like it always is.

PCS* advice: TRUST NO ONE.

*Permanent Change of Station

If they say they sent your paperwork along to the next agency, don't believe them. Call to verify.

If they say, "No, you can't travel with your family unless you're taking leave outside of the continental United States along the way," give them the stink eye and ask to see it in writing. When they cannot produce any such thing, proceed to book tickets together.

(I am excited that we can all fly together this time, because I hate flying and I like to share my misery with my husband.)

(Also exciting-- it's not an overnight flight! This is good news for someone like me who cannot sleep even if it is an overnight flight, so why be miserable and tired, when you can simply be miserable?)


Because you will wreak havoc on your nails disassembling them. And placing them into ziplock baggies, and taping them into their boxes.
Because if you lose a piece, the set is worthless.
Worthless, I tell you.

We* scheduled the movers for 2 different shipments.
We** sold the car we bought here.
We* booked plane tickets (INC to AZO to SAT***)
We* booked a hotel at the base in San Antonio
We* got on the base housing list

All of these things that we*/we** did required about 500 steps each.

*= Josh
**=Josh, with the assistance of Erin's Facebook account
***= Seoul to Kalamazoo to San Antonio. Our pit stop in Michigan is short because of when Josh needs to report to his next base. Basically enough time for Josh and the kids to recover from their jetlag, and enough time for me to recover 1/3 of the way from my jetlag.

What? I told you I'm a terrible traveler. These things take time.

In other news, we finished school and Alex had her 11th birthday!

Naturally, she received Legos.

She had her friends over to celebrate, and they went bouncing in the trampoline café and then over to the dog café.
No coffee was consumed during these proceedings.

I don't know why that dog is wearing a diaper.

First & Last  Day of school picture comparison. I don't know if their brains grew, but their bodies sure did.

And now I have to get back to watching my husband do all the work to get us moved.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Title is the Hardest Part

Howdy y'all!  (I'm practicing.)

Here's what we've been up to lately.

Baseball. He's so cute!

Everyone wants a turn to be catcher. The best part is when the ball gets past them and they can't find it because all the equipment blocks their view.

Sister cheering on the Cardinals. She looks thrilled to be there, no?

Josh got home a week ago from his really difficult trip to Spain. He was obviously overworked.

He came bearing gifts. Derek was always a Real Madrid fan, and Alex was loyal to Atleti. And just like "our" year in Madrid-- they will be playing each other in the Finals. Súper emocionante! And we will be dressed to represent for the big game.
Which we will not watch, unless it's somehow being shown on Netflix.

A treat after bouncing at the trampoline café. This kiddo will be turning 11 next week!

Found this playground. The slide was spitting kids out like greased lightening. You can see how far Derek rolled by his feet off to the left.

In other news, our time in Korea is rapidly coming to an end. We are hoping to have our rear ends in plane seats 35 days from now. Step 1 to enacting this plan is to have orders (the official paperwork for a military move without which nothing can be accomplished.)

We are currently in Step 0.5-- waiting for orders.

Why yes, astute reader, I do feel that I spend the majority of my life waiting on the Air Force. Thanks for asking.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Know Thyself

Today Alex was assigned to write a business letter as part of her English lesson. After we reviewed the reasons people typically write business letters, I asked if she preferred her scenario to be a letter of complaint or a complement.

Without hesitation she replied, "Definitely complaint. It's what I do best."

We all had a good laugh, and I suppose self-awareness is a good thing...


Saturday, April 23, 2016


I know you have all been on edge waiting for me to break the big news. And the wait is over!

As it turns out, coach pitch baseball at Osan Air Base uses soft-core baseballs!

Whew! We can all take a collective sigh of relief that Derek is in less danger of a ball related injury than I previously thought.

I'm sorry I left you all hanging so long, I know you were concerned.

Oh, and in other news, we're moving to Texas!


A mere 37 days after we expected to get our assignment, the personnel people have taken pity on us and have, well, actually given us our assignment.
This is a good development, because I had already gone through the 5 stages of grief.

Denial-- What do you mean we don't have an assignment? This cannot be true.
Anger-- This is my life you're messing with people! Work some dang overtime.
Bargaining-- I will send you some kimchi or a mink blanket or whatever else you want from Korea if you will just tell me where I'm moving.
Depression-- This set in after everyone else on God's green earth had received their assignment and we were still waiting
Acceptance-- Eh, not sure I ever made it to this phase. I just kept cycling back to anger.

And now that we have our assignment, I can safely say I was probably overreacting. Thanks for bearing with me.

So we are headed to Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio-- which is a part of Texas that I quite like. We are excited to be living in a big city that offers lots to do and delicious Mexican food. And hopefully, lots of opportunity to practice our Spanish skillz!

Speaking of Spanish, I mentioned before that Josh was out of town for a few weeks. I did not, however, mention that he is in my second favorite country in the whole world. That's right, I have been left behind in Korea while he eats tapas, drinks wine, and practices the siesta in España! I am jealous as all get out very happy for him.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the first weekend he was gone it rained and we were cooped up inside. I told myself we would not spend another Saturday in the apartment all day, and today this happened:

Thanks for nothing, China. Way to send all your pollution particles our way and keep us indoors again.

But at least I had plenty of internetting to keep me busy! After all, now is when the real work begins. Decisions about housing, schools, activities, where to find homemade tortillas. All important things!

Also, I had to make this elephant. Because we needed indoor activities and apparently play-doh is only fun if mom plays, too. In honor of our news, I gave him a cowboy hat and boots.

After my elephant, I made something else and got lectured by my 10 year old for mixing the colors.

"Ugh, mom. I thought once Derek was old enough not to mix the colors that we could finally keep the play doh nice."


Also, did I mention that we're supposed to arrive to Texas in 2 months and 4 days? That's like, no time at all. When we hop on a plane out of here, it will only have been about 10 months since the kids and I arrived. I'm not even sure I've fully recovered from that flight out.

But the good news is this will wrap up the 5-Moves-in-5-Years adventure!

2012- North Carolina to California
2013- California to Spain
2014- Spain to Alabama
2015- Alabama to Korea
2016- Korea to Texas

That list is responsible for some gray hair. We are looking forward to seeing how long we can stay put in this new location! Come visit us in San Antonio!

But maybe wait 'til we have a place to live, mmkay?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A couple of things.

Remember a month ago, when I said we'd have our assignment the next day?

Ha ha ha.

Ha Ha.


(Read that in the voice of someone teetering on the edge of their sanity.)

I suppose we'll know where we're headed sometime before the movers come. And that's about the only assumption I feel safe in making anymore.


In other news, Josh is away for a couple of weeks and the kids and I are plugging away at our final quarter of school.

Know what we're going to do for school next year?
Yeah, me neither.
Because I don't know where I'll be living.

Derek is signed up to play baseball for the first time, and I'm hoping that Wii Sports has been enlightening enough that he knows which way to run when (if?) he hits the ball. Practices start this week, and I'm wondering if I can request that my tiny infant baby be allowed to play with a squishy ball because I'm worried he may get hurt.

He is not on board with that plan.

But do you know how hard those little balls are?

Alex isn't signed up for any sports this season, because they didn't offer any that don't involve a ball. She requires all of her activities to be free of projectiles.

Now you can consider yourself up-to-speed on my super exciting life.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cherry Blossoms

While Korea has some scenic locations, the majority of the cities would not be what you might refer to as pleasing to the eye.

And by that, I mean that our city is kind of ugly.

You know. Unattractive. Unkempt. Dirty looking.

However, we have reached the one week out of the year where it is not quite as ugly as normal.
I bring you, That Street with the Cherry Blossoms.

Thank you, Songtan, for our week of pretty trees.
It doesn't make up for the other 51, but it's better than nothing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

And that's why they call them rumors.

Remember last week when I pretty much said we'd get our assignment the next day?

Yeah, I was wrong about that.

And every day since then, when I've thought that surely we'd get our assignment the next day? Yep, wrong again. And again.

And again.

A short list of things I am fairly certain of:

1) In 3-ish months, we'll be moving to a new continent.

Consider yourself up-to-date.

ps. Josh has been in the Air Force for almost 15 years.
One might assume we'd be accustomed to this waiting process to find out what comes next.
One would be mistaken.
I find it draining.
Here's hoping we'll have some news...sometime.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Rumor has it

...that this might be the last night we spend wondering where we'll be living for the next few years.

Which would be nice, because as it gets closer to the time that assignments should be released, I find it gets harder and harder to stop thinking about it.

What will we do for the kids' schooling next year? Alex wants to take gymnastics-- will there be a place for that near our next base? Should I buy that heavy winter coat that's on sale for Derek, or will we be living in a warm climate?

See! Daily life is full of reminders that I don't know where we're moving to in July. And so, if the Great Big Air Force in the Sky would like to pass along that info, I am ready to receive it.

Maybe. I think.

Because what if it's some terrible place to which I don't want to move? Then maybe ignorance is bliss.

Life is so complicated. ;)

So other than that tiny detail hanging about in the back of my mind, it's life as usual. Oh, and it's warming up! Yea!

I've had a two-week long passionate affair with Netflix, as the base has been running an exercise that had Josh getting up at 3-something each morning and going to bed at 8pm. What else is a gal to do when she's all alone for 4 hours each night?

Unfortunately, we can only get the Korean version of Netflix which I must say does not offer as robust a selection as the American one. Yes, yes. First world problems.

Here are three photos from my phone so that this post doesn't seem as short as it actually is.

The kids on the street by our church.

Streets in Korea are synonymous with parking lots.
And sidewalks are synonymous with both streets and parking lots.
And to drive here is to experience road rage.

Here's Alex's cheerleading squad at practice.

It's been nice for her to have some other girls to hang with.

This guy is still a mama's boy. He loves his mama, and he loves bacon burgers from the bowling alley.

And I love him!

Alright, I'm off to bed in hopes of waking up tomorrow to some news.
And if we don't get any news tomorrow, do you know what I am going to do?!?

That's right.

I'm going to wait until the next day.

Repeat, as needed.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hello from the other side...

...of the world.

We're still here in Korea. In the winter. Being cold.

The kids are disappointed that we have not gotten much snow at all this winter. The most we got was on Thanksgiving morning, and since then it's just been flurries every now and then.

To make it up to them, we went to a nearby sledding hill where they make snow. Josh had taken a day of leave during the week and we were literally the only people there.

The guy running it was very nice, and tried to cater the music they played to us. Lots of AC/DC and songs from the Frozen soundtrack.

It's the thought that counts, right?

Between cheerleading, basketball, and AWANA, the kids' schedules are forcing me out of my hermit-hood. I suppose it's for the best since they tend to get a little stir-crazy hanging out in the apartment.
We've also met some new friends that we meet up with at the base gym to get more wiggles out.

Today I was contemplating this strange fact:
Any day now, Josh will get an e-mail.
This e-mail will tell him that he has a new assignment in the personnel system.
Then, he will log in to said system and find out where we are going to live for the next few years.

I know that's how the system works-- it's just when I stop to think about it, it seems like an odd thing to consider. Some e-mail arriving who-knows-when will tell me where I'll be living 5 months from now.

The military life is never dull.

Except, of course, when it is.

So. Speaking of dull.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Think warm thoughts.

It's been a while! Like usual.
Christmas has come and gone, and so has our lovely vacation to Boracay Island in the Philippines.

It was so beautiful. And warm. Hot even.

I'm trying to conjure up what that felt like as I sit wrapped in blankets on the couch. We are just now coming out of a super cold spell here in Korea. On Sunday morning, when we left for church, it was 1 degree outside with a wind chill of negative 12.

You can all admire our dedication for getting out there anyway, but the truth is that we were signed up to teach the Sunday school class for the kids and had no choice. We have been known to conduct a little home-church in our living room when weather or circumstances make me lazier than normal.  Josh prepares a lesson, I choose the worship songs off of you-tube, and we gather in our jammie-jam-jammerkins.

Is it normal to nickname pajamas?
I fear not.

Anyway, things started to warm up to above freezing today*, so I kicked the kids outside at the first opportunity.

Homeschooling with "indoor recess" and restless children can grate on one's nerves, as you might imagine.
I bribed them to stay out with hot chocolate, and indicated that I would be more generous with marshmallows the longer they stayed outside.

*To retain blogular accuracy, I should note that I wrote this post a couple of days ago, but didn't have time to upload pics until now.

One thing I've been grateful for during this cold streak is that our cars sleep in a garage that stays around 45-50 degrees. Without going outside we can get right into a car that doesn't need much warming up. It almost makes up for the fact that all the Korean drivers are always trying to kill me.

I realize that is a stereotype.

I stand by that statement.

Alex lost a couple of teeth a week or so ago, and as we were sneaking won under her pillow, I wondered what the Korean version of the tooth fairy is. In the US we have the fairy, in Spain there was a little mouse (Ratoncito Pérez), and in Korea...I don't know.

So I made up a version in my mind and it was a Little Guy in the shape of a garlic clove who drives around on a motorcycle cutting everyone off and trying to kill me.

Alright, I just googled it.
If we are to believe everything we read on the internet, then here is the answer to the mystery:

Children in Korea throw their tooth on the roof of their house and sing, “Blackbird, blackbird, my old tooth I give to you.  Bring me a new tooth.”

I do wonder about the veracity of that, as the great majority of people here seem to live in towering apartment buildings. Not sure how they get their teeth up to the roof.

We have officially passed the halfway point of our Korean assignment. Time flies, eh? We still have no idea of where we will be moving this summer, but should hear something in the next month or two. In the meantime, if Kim Jung Un would just chill out with all his toys it would make our lives a bit easier. Every time North Korea is in the news, you can know that the folks here are working ridiculous hours and things become annoying.

And now, without further delay, we shall all take in the beauty of Boracay Island.
Fact: I did not know that the islands of the Philippines were so gorgeous.
Fact: I would never have thought to travel there.
Fact: One of Josh's co-workers told us about Boracay and we said: "Okay."

We were treated to amazing sunsets every evening.

We ate lots of food. A meal for the 4 of us ran around 15-25 USD.

Derek really wanted to try a coconut. He didn't like it.

Surf was higher at this beach on the north side of the island, but the colors were still perfect.

View from the top

Our favorite activity was a sail on a paraw. (it's a double outrigger sailboat)

Nothing but net...between our butts and the sea.

The water-- I can't handle the color of the water.

I mean, is this a pool or the Pacific?

Fruit shakes. Every day. Twice a day. Or more.
There's a whole mango in there.

Breakfast in Paradise was included with our hotel. I want to eat there every day for the rest of my life. 
I must call your attention to the little huts on the right. Those are the massage tents. At night, the drapes are lowered, the fans blow a little breeze, and Josh and I got 5 massages. We had some included in our package, and the extras we felt obligated to throw in because where else will you find an hour long massage for under 10USD. 

Derek enjoying a Cookies-N-Cream crepe.

This is one way to enter or leave Spider House restaurant.

Riding in a trike taxi. It's like a motorcycle with a sidecar.

This was on the ferry over to the island. In order to get to the Philippines, we took 1) A city bus to Incheon Airport in Seoul, 2) a 4-hour flight to Manila, 3) a 1-hour flight to Caticlan, 4) a 3-minute van ride to the ferry port, 5) a 15-minute ferry to Boracay, 6) a 15-minute van ride to the hotel.
Worth it.

 Aaaaand, now I want to go back.