Thursday, November 10, 2011

Almost Home

After between in transition for almost 4 months, this weekend we will move into our new house. Leaving the expat lifestyle behind will be a big transition. Our new area has a lot going on, our task is to learn all about it. Our furniture doesn't fit well in the new house so the next few months will be spent organizing and trying to get everything done before the new baby comes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Can Take the Mama Out of Seoul, But You Can't Take the Soul Out of the Mama

We are leaving Seoul and moving back to the US. What will I call myself? I think I'll keep MamaSeoul until I figure that out. We are going to a Philadelphia, but will be hanging out with family for a few months. Will the blog survive this move? I don't know. I've been neglecting the blog because I finally surrendered to the dark side of Facebook.

Out with the Old, In with the New

I was finally able to retire my Ergo purse today. It's totally worn out. My friend, Rachel, had one that she never used so she graciously gave it to me. I like hers better. It is a little less sporty than mine. I won mine as part of the Ergo calendar contest. It is supposed to clip onto the belt of the Ergo as a travel system, but I always overload mine and just carry it as a purse. I like it because my id is easily accessible and it has a clip for my keys (which I can never find otherwise).

Recently, I ordered a Julie Apple Mobomini which will hopefully work for me keeping my essentials together.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ian & Eva Speak, The Quotables of the Past Few Months

These are getting lost on Facebook, so here I cut and paste for my non-Facebooking family members:

Watching Oprah's Farewell and Ian says,"I see the guy who talks about sad people who did things (referring to Dr. Phil).

Eva: Mom, I need to nurse and then you need to put the quinoa in my mouth.

I'm putting the baby toys away because there is no baby in this house. Though, Ian said today,"I think we need 1 more baby".

Me,"Why's that?"

Ian,"Because people will think its adorable!"

(I think he is referencing an Olivia the Pig episode)

Me:Ian, Eat your spinach and lentils.

Ian: But I want broccoli. My heart wants what it tells me it wants.

Me: Here, have some broccoli.

Broccoli, the heart's desire.

Moroccan Chickpeas & Zucchini over Quinoa
Ian says,"Mom, what you maked tonight is the best!"
Me,"You like the zucchini."
Me,"And the chickpeas, do you like the chickpeas."
Ian,"No, I LOVE the chickpeas!"

Ian (holding two packages of M&Ms in his hand this morning),"What about these be our new vitamins?"
Nice try, buddy. Nice try.

Eva punched me and said,"I punch you. Good job." (I think that is evidence enough that this woman is right about not saying"good job")

Never realized how often I use the word "actually" until Eva started saying it.

Ian's school report said:

Ian is incredibly sensitive and kind. Today he told me,"My sister is the most prettiest girl in the whole world!"

playing my Deepening CD and Eva is saying,"Deeper and Deeper. Deeper and Deeper to Relax"

Had two great nights with Eva using the Hypnobabies Toddler Sleepy Time CD. Ian wants to listen, too and Eva says,"No, that's MY hypnosis cd." I'm going to use it for 2 weeks before doing a full blog post, but I am very pleased so far!

Yesterday we made it to Target, went to lunch and then fell into a coma-like sleep. Woke up about 8pm. Finally got everyone back to sleep at 4am and woke up at 6am. Ian said,"Wow! This morning came faster than yesterday!"

Ian: Do wizards die?
Me: I don't know. They are pretend. Everything real dies.
Ian: No, God and wizards don't die. Because they have sticks.

Theology by Ian.

Ian,"Mama, Nathan and Tremain's skin is brown. Nathan's is light brown."

Me,"Yes that's true. What about you?"

Ian,"Mine is peach. Light peach."

Eva pinched Ian. Me to Eva,"Don't pinch Ian. Gentle touch."

Eva to me,"Ian pinched ME. Don't pinch me, Ian" (Not true)

How does she know how to blame others so early!

Here are the quotes from January, right about when my blogging really started to slack:
Curt to Ian,"What's after 15?"
Eva chimes in with,"16"
Curt to Eva,"Wow, what's after 16?"

Curt to Eva,"I will not negotiate with you."
Eva to Curt,"Negotiate, Daddy!"

Eva is saying."No head-butting. Hahaha. No head-butting. hahaha."

(Eva likes to head-butt so she hears "no head butting a lot).

Good mom moment: Ian says,"Thank you for making me spinach, mom!"

More Eva:

"I need privacy." (She was on the potty).

"I nurse now. Count to three. One, two..."

Me: Eva, come here!
Eva: Are you talking to me?

Eva requested Geek Yogurt (Greek Yogurt) for breakfast this morning.

Yesterday Eva said,"Curt! Don't go to work." Just now she said,"Karen, Karen, look at my baby!"

What I've Learned About Toys

I just went on a toy rampage. My kids like to dump their toys out and scatter everything. Then, things are put away in a rush and all mixed up creating an overwhelming disaster of a mess. Games and flashcards are the worst offenders. The "urge to purge" hot when Curt was out of town (of course). I unsuccessfuly tried to do it by myself, but had to give up when the kids were "helping me". So, I waited for one of my babysitting days and got to work. Surprisingly (or not) it only took a few hours to go through everything. I got rid of broken toys and games with important missing pieces. There was a huge full bag of trash as a result. Then, I pulled out all of the baby toys since I do not have a baby in the house anymore (hate to admit that, but it is true). The kids still play with some of the baby toys, but since they have so many other options, I decided to reduce. Then, I bought plastic bins and labeled them so that there is a good place to be everything and everyone will know what should be in each bin. My friend suggested that I put laminated pictures on the outside of the bins so that the kids could see what goes in. I think that is a great idea and plan to do that eventually.

So this mess:

Became this:

Going through the toys got me thinking about toys in general. We are not big toy buyers. In fact, we did not buy most of the toys, but, at only 4 years into parenthood, we already have TOO MANY TOYS! So, here are some tips based on my experience:

1. Buy small amounts for birthdays and holidays for the first few years. The first few years, parents get really excited and go crazy buying way too much. When you add in what they will get from other people, you just get an overwhelming mess. I bought very few toys because I knew they'd get presents and even though I did this, we still ended up with too much. I wrapped up socks, underwear and clothes along with the toys so they'd have something to open. Ian will still say,"Wow, new socks!" Little ones get bored opening presents (and then they like to play with the box). You only need a few presents to open when they are small.

2. Stay out of the toy aisle. Parents, it is hard to resist cute toys and flashy toys even when you know you don't need anything. Plus, when kids get to be mobile, they will want to take toys home with them and not understand when you have to leave them.

3. Simple toys that do not require batteries and can be used in a variety of ways, last the longest, are best for independent play and are the best value. Toys like blocks, legos, wooden train tracks, etc.

4. Don't start a collection for the child before the child has a desire to collect. It can get out of hand quickly. Also, the very young child doesn't appreciate 10 dolls anymore than 1 doll. Same with dvds. Kids like repetition so, take advantage and just get a few dvds until they start to notice and want them. Then, you can add dvds at the holidays slowly, so they can appreciate them more.

5. Think small. Some of the most favored stuffed animals have been very small ones. Burger King toys like plastic animals and action figures are long lasting in this house. Why spend $5-10 on a Spiderman action figure at the store when the BK or MCD's kids meal version pleases them just as much? (Should kids be eating BK and MCD's? That's another post, but, if you do eat there (in moderation), the toys have a lot longer staying power than you'd think. On the small side, my favorite baby doll, the Corolle 12" doll has been a big hit in my house and in others as I've started to give this doll as a gift. It is small and soft-bodied, machine washable and does not require batteries. It is easy to carry and kids love it. Most of the dolls on the market have hard plastic bodies and require batteries. I don't think a doll should cry, eat, talk etc. I think the child should imagine that the doll does these things. Bells and whistles look fun in the store, but I think less is more when it comes to dolls.

6. Put games, flashcards and toys with multiple pieces out of reach so that your children cannot destroy the box and scatter the pieces. Better yet, don't buy flashcards. They can be fun, but so can books.

7. Have a list of toys/books/art supplies that you'd like people to give your children for birthdays and holidays. People will bring gifts even if you say not to and they want suggestions. Not everyone will listen, but most will.

8. Don't be afraid to return some toys or put away some toys after a big birthday or holiday. Again on the battery-powered, bells & whistles toys. Save the environment and your sanity and limit these! Don't get me wrong, one of my kids favorite toys was a ride-on toy with lights and music. My cousin got this for Ian for his first birthday and I JUST put it away. He is over 4. They still like it, but he has a bike and Eva has a tricycle and a balance bike so they don't really need it. I will bring it out if we have guests, especially younger ones. I am getting off-track here but you get the point. A few of these can be great, but a whole collection leads to swearing (because the batteries are dead again), bankruptcy (because of buying those darn batteries) and environmental ruin. OK, I'm exaggerating, but the truth is that it results in a lot of clutter. If a child gets too much for one particular event, putting some of it away for the next holiday or even rainy day can spread the impact.

9. Do a toy purge (including books, games and art supplies) at least once a year. Your house will thank you for it and your kids will enjoy what they have a lot more.

10. Along the same lines, when you bring a big item in, take a big item out. You are usually doing this because the kid needs an upgrade because of size or development, so make the switch.

Happy playing!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Pognae Shoot

My friend is the Pognae distributor for Sweden.