Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Schabling has Arrived!

Leo Timothy was born on December 29 to my friend Paige and her husband David in Dallas, TX. She works for the hospital and they have already used him as a model for some hospital brochure. They also got their tax deduction. They both have MBAs so they were really hoping for an end-of-year baby.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008

We started off at my parents' house where the big hits were a new tricycle and the wrapping paper:

We went to brunch at my grandparents' house and then headed to Ohio to see Curt's mom.

We drove back to Erie on Saturday and then to see my cousin outside of Pittsburgh on Sunday. He is with my brother Matt in this picture. We didn't get as many pictures as we should.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Maternity Underwear Showdown & Over Belly Pants

I mentioned before that regular underwear and underbelly pants are bothering my c-section scar. So I bought several different types of underwear to try: Bravado Original Brief, Noppies Waistline Maternity Brief, and Motherhood's Hipster Panties.

The overbelly panties put a lot of pressure on my belly. Also, the Noppies do not have a cotton crotch they are all microfiber. So, I tried the Motherhood 3 pack hipsters since they have a soft, wide non-elastic waist band and we have a winner! The best part is that they are super cheap.

I also tried the Motherhood tights and they really pressed on my belly. They were horrible. Do not buy them!

On the other hand the Secret Fit Belly jeans are fabulous. The belly panel is soft and non-binding. They do slip down a bit because I have a small butt and hips, but they are comfortable.

Great Deals on Baby/Maternity and Another Baby Boy

The first of the Expat Moms has delivered her baby, a boy named Ryan. Congratulations, S!

Also, I got a tip from Z Recommends about a great Hanna Andersson sale. Really wish I knew the sex of the baby so I could buy more cute things. As it is, I scored some pjs for Ian and a few things for the baby. I bought a pair of Hanna Andersson overalls last year at a consignment shop here in Erie called Milestones. They were in great condition and Ian was able to wear them a long time. The clothes are pricey, but if you can get them on sale or consignment, they are great to have.

Also, Baby Center is a having an incredible sale on everything. There are Hot Slings for $9 and up and Mama Black jeans for $25 and up.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We Made It!

What a grueling trip, but we made it. This was what I woke up to this morning:

This photo was shot from the crib next to the bed and I couldn't get them all fully into the frame.

Now, I've done my documentational duties and I am going back to bed!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Baby Seoul: The Big Reveal

Well, not quite. That was the title of the post before I had my appointment. The baby was doing a lot of knee movements in front its pelvis, but the midwife said she thinks it is a girl. Looks like labia with no sign of penis, but she said,"Don't decorate the nursery".

I have a few items in gender specific colors. I guess I will be packing both sets.

And the Birthing Begins: Introducing Leo

The first of my currently pregnant friends gave birth to her third blond baby on December 12 in Canada:

Meet Leo:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Belly: 28 Weeks, 1 Day

Third Trimester!

Technological Success

After our many tech failures, we've actually had a success! Curt bought a VOIP phone. It allows up to call the US over the internet for free. We've been using calling cards, but their rates to cell phones aren't great and the rates to 1-800 numbers are horrendous. We will be able to talk a lot more now when Ian and I are in the US and Curt is in Korea.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Infertility Treatments in Seoul/ IVF in Seoul

Edited on June 15, 2012: This has been a very popular post. A fertility doctor in Korea just found this post and would like to offer her services to the expat community so I am adding it to this post and you can find the original post after. Maria Fertility Hospital is one of the largest IVF center in Korea. We perform more than three thousand IVF a year with high success rate. The international clinic offers infertility lectures in English occasionally and the schedule will be posted in advance. Dr. Hyejun Lee and Yeonhee Ku are in charge of the clinic. The address is 103-11 Shinseol-Dong, Dondaemun-Gu, Seoul Tel 02 2250 5515 website: By subway get off at Shinseol-Dong station of Line Number 1 or Line Number 2, and get out at exit number 6(Line No.1)or exit number10(Line No.2). * Free parking avaiable Edited on February 19, 2009 to add: My friend (referenced below) gave birth to a baby boy on September 1, 2009. The IVF worked on the first try. Also, a blog reader who found this post last year just wrote me to say that she is due March 12 after a successful IVF at Cha. So a few positive stories and baby dust for all of you reading this post!

If you are a foreigner in Korea and find yourself needing fertility treatments, I have some good news. Infertility treatments can be scary/frustrating/exhausting/physically and emotionally demanding, even if you are in your home country. In Korea, they don't have anything magic to take away that part of it, but it is extremely affordable compared to places like the US. The financial burden can add even more pressure to an already pressure-filled situation. In Korea, however, one round of IUI is 1,000,000 won and 1 round of IVF is 3,000,000 won. With the exchange rate, right now, you can get 5 IVF's for the price of 1 in the US. Now, I don't wish 5 IVFs on anyone, but it is nice to know that you can afford a lot more chances.

From my friend who is currently doing IVF (think positive thoughts for her):

Cha hospital, they are #1 in the country (remember the country is small.) tricare (for military) has a bus twice a day that takes you there. or you can take the subway, green line to Yeoksam, exit 7, go straight (there is a bus that you can take one stop, never have it is a short walk, so i don't remember the number.) Once you are a client they will give you a free parking pass and you can drive. walk about 10 mins and you will see the hospital on your right, in there is the International Clinic, across the street is the fertility clinic. the lady at the International Clinic's name is Julian Kim and her number is 02-3468-3127 or cell 010-9161-3117. the address is 650-9 Yeoksam, Kangnamgu, seoul 135-081
website: Julian's email is :

The doctor speaks ok English, Dr Kim (of course) most of the place can speak enough English to get you around, but you are definitely in Korea when you are there.

I think he told me their success rate was in the 40's for couples in there 30's, something like 42%*

I don't know much about protocol in the US as we never did it there, but i do know that there is no law in Korea about how many eggs you can implant, I think they do about three there, but should know more about that next week.

The cost for iui is about 1 million, and for ivf is about 3 million, however you pay as you go, so you have to carry the money with you each time that is a bit of a pain, unless you use a credit card.

*Back to me: A note on success rates, in the US many clinics advertise a 90+% success rate, but they really push people to donor eggs sooner and there are many factors going into it so you can't really compare rates unless you know everything that goes into coming up with the rates.

I have another friend doing IUI at the same clinic this week as well. I gave her the belly rub for luck. Again, positive thoughts for her as well.

Social Butterflies!

Ian and I went to our usual Wednesday playgroup this morning on the base, then hit the playground afterwards with some other friends. Just in time to meet a friend from yoga class for lunch in Itaewon. She mentioned that she would like to see the base so we signed her in and took the tour. It isn't much to see but it is a great resource and I'm am glad I have access. Then, we stopped at Starbucks. As we made the turn up the hill to Starbucks, but before you could see it, Ian said,"We gonna get coffee". He has such a good sense of direction. Since I am pregnant, I don't go to Starbucks very much and when I do, I usually go to the one by the PX instead of the one at the Embassy Club. I had a hot chocolate and she had a latte. I had a mission from my friend, G, to check to see if they had the Gingerbread Latte. Unfortunately, they didn't.

As I was driving her back to the check point, I got a call from my friend, W. I was late stopping by to see her. I had forgotten all about it, I thought I was on top of everything. I am so glad she called. I hopped back in the car and went to see her and my other friend S in Hannam. Ian recognized their building, which is on the top of the hill and he pointed to it and said,"There's Emma's house." Coming from Itaewon, we have to pass the hill that goes to their building and do a u-turn and come back, making it even more amazing that Ian recognized it on the first pass. Ian had a nice playdate in their complex playroom, though he took the chalk from the pool table and spiked it all over the room making a huge mess!

Tomorrow, we have another playdate in the morning and in the afternoon, I have to get Roxxy's paperwork to go to the US. Hope I remember!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Vegetarians in Seoul

Heres a link to an article from Dan at Seoul Eats on vegetarians in Seoul.. This list is also helpful for Muslims or other non-pork eaters because this part of the world uses a lot of pork as flavoring and won't always tell you if there is pork in there if it is just broth, fat or a bit of meat.

Expat Pregnancy Club Meets Again!

This time we meet at the Seven Springs restaurant in Myeongdong (near Myeongdong Station, Exit 6) on a side street. It is mainly a buffet place, which offered a lot of choice for our large group: 11 moms, 1 grandma and 2 babies.

I definitely need to come back to Myeongdong after pregnancy. There was a lot of cheap goods on the street.

Connecting with these other women has been great for all of us. It makes such a difference to have people to share information and experiences with. Even though we come from different places, the English language and our foreignness have allowed us to bond quickly. As Sarah said, I hope this becomes a baby group after everyone has their babies.

*******This small group has transformed into a Expat Parents Club Forum.

Go here to join:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One Thing at a Time

We are getting close to our departure and I have a list of things to do and appointments to keep. Sometimes I just want to hurry everything up and get things over with, but I am trying to remind myself to take things one at a time and enjoy them. It is hard in the freezing cold to venture out, but today, I got myself to yoga and then took the metro to Myeongdong to go to lunch with the Expat Pregnancy Club.

I am down to 3 yoga classes to use and there are 6 classes that I can potentially attend before I go so I hope to be able to use them up. We did Yin Yoga today in my Heal class at Pure Yoga Studio in Apgujeong. Christina explained Yin Yoga as a passive yoga. You relax completely into the pose instead of pushing yourself for greater depth. It is really difficult, but there are a few poses I think I will try to do regularly. It is good preparation for using hypnosis in childbirth. It is difficult to relax completely but it is amazing as you stay in the pose and feel tension that you couldn't recognize before, release it and go deeper.

I've started to gather the things I want to take back to the States and put them in suitcases. I am going to try to get most of the packing done this weekend. We may need to buy another suitcase or two, but I am going to try to get by without buying anything more.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Maternity Underwear: Revised Statement

In a previous post, I said that I was going to get maternity underwear and thongs, but not the full belly kind. I also said I preferred underbelly pants. Well, as I approach the third trimester with cesarean scar, things have changed. As soon as I get back to the States I am buying belly covering panties and pants. The underbelly ones are irritating my incision site.

Freezing Friday

We've lost some photos due to lack of a back up system in the past. Before we came to Korea, we bought a back-up drive, but only a few months ago did we actually start to use it. Things were great using Time Machine on the Mac, but one day, the computer did not recognize the back-up drive. We tried it in a different computer and it didn't work there, either. We are going to try to send it to the company when we get back to the US, but for now we are without a back up drive. Curt is sick of tech failures and doesn't want to get another. Until that passes, I have burned some back-up dvds and spent half the day scanning our professional family photos. The scanned photos won;t be the best quality, but at least we will have some sort of back up for them. That dvd is burning right now. Then I will be done. I need to do our wedding album eventually, but I don't think it will happen before I leave for the States.

Ian and I went to the chiropractor today. He said my adjustments are holding and I should be good for about a month. With traveling and the holidays coming up, that works out perfectly. I usually park on the base and walk. Today was FREEZING cold. Luckily, Ian fell asleep in the car and I put him in the stroller with his winter coat, hat, gloves and a blanket. I think the blanket over his face is what kept him asleep the entire walk there and back. I had a hat and gloves, but not a scarf and my face was burning. I almost bought a scarf on the way there.

We were supposed to go to a party tonight, but Curt isn't feeling well, Ian ate something that did not agree with him and I am tired so I don't know if we will make it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Natural Childbirth Doctor in Korea

Dr. Chung will soon be delivering babies at Soonchunhyang University Hospital. Dr. Chung is a huge advocate of natural childbirth in Korea. I have heard nothing but fantastic reviews of this doctor, so it's nice to know that he will also be available (and yes, he speaks English). Currently, he can be reached at his screening clinic in Apkujeong: 010 6813 8000.

Also, Dr. Chung is currently getting certified to be a hypnobirthing instructor and will being teaching starting in February 2009.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

20% Off Hypnobabies Coupon Code

From the Hypnobabies Yahoo Group (code is good through 12/31/08):

Hi Ladies,

This year, in light of our current economy challenges, we have decided to give a 20% discount on all products at Hypnobabies throughout December, as our gift to all Hypno-Moms!

*PLEASE use the following code at checkout to order:


Available only at
Happy Holiday Hugs from Kerry

Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI

Founder/Director of Hypnobabies

(714) 952-BABY (2229)

A Must-Read Book for Empowering Natural Birth Stories! "Journey Into Motherhood"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baby Keepsake Books, Calendars and Boxes

There are a lot of choices in this category of baby item. You can get very stylish and personalized albums if you are willing to spend the money. There are lots of styles and formats. This item is difficult to choose online because the organization can make a big difference in how successful you are in filling it out.

After a lot of searching, I found an album by CR Gibson on clearance at Babies 'R Us for about $15. It is not quite like the one in the link but has a similar feel. It has acid free paper, a fabric cover with a slot for a baby photo in it, pockets for storing things and pages for events and interesting family information.

I found a lot of baby books were too cutsie with cartoon characters and that is not my style. Some of them were overly detailed in the amount and frequency of info they tracked. Others had the opposite problem, they were too blank. Of course, depending on your personality, different book formats are right for you.

Another way to go is the Baby Keepsake Box. You can put the baby's hospital bracelet, birth announcement, lock of hair, etc. You can keep everything together in a safe place. If you think you might not fill out a baby book, the box is a good way to keep memories organized without a lot of effort.

The third category, the Baby Memory Calendar, is a great supplement to either the Baby Book or Baby Box. I received one as a gift and thought I wouldn't need it because I had the baby book, but it turned out to be great for jotting down notes to transfer into the baby book later. It was easy to leave it out for quick access. Many come with milestone stickers so when baby gets his first tooth, you just slap a first tooth sticker on the calendar. You can get these for about $10. Of course, you can also just jot notes on your regular calendar. It won't have the stickers (which also help to remind you what to track), but those aren't completely necessary.

I was looking around for a book for Baby Seoul and found this one that has an ink free foot print option. I'd like to see more of the inside though. I think I will check out what I can find in person or maybe go to the designer's website to hopefully get a more detailed look of the inside.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cord Blood Banking in Korea

Medipos cell tree is offering a 15 year contract (which can be extended later on and they can transfer to a transplant doctor in your home country) for 1,3 million WON,you can choose to have a pram or 2 year+ car seat or a food dispenser as a free gift or no gift and pay 1,17 million WON. (Carseats and strollers are really expensive over here so that might be a very good deal depending on the product). They will send you an info brochure(English/Korean) and then the contract pack,they take about a month after the birth to see if they can bank the blood(test for viruses,stem cell count etc.) if it is not viable then you get a 100% refund.

There is 20% discount voucher you get with the banking contract on any Maclaren, Maxamec or Brittax product you buy from

Also, if you book early (like as soon as you find out) there is a significant discount of 310,000 Won.

The number for Medipos is 080 264 9380.

There is a number for an English-speaking consultant. E-mail me if you want the #. You get an extra year if someone signs up based on your referral. I will not be banking, but my friend R will be and it would be great if you could say she referred you. I will give you her name as well when you e-mail me.

A commenter just mentioned Cha Hospital's I Cord, Cord Bank. She contacted the International Clinic in Cha Hospital - phone number is 02-34683127 and they said that basically there is no English brochure and all the forms are in Korean, but if you schedule an appointment with the International clinic they will translate for you.
The cost is about 1 million won and they can store it for 15 or 17 years.
They can transfer the cord blood to your home country (they ask where you're from) if you like.

Especially, if you are a foreigner and not planning to stay in Korea forever, you should check the prices for transferring to your home country. Keep in mind that the Korean bank and the home country bank will probably have fees involved.

Hypnobirthing Instructor Training in Seoul: February 2009

A 32-Hour Hypnobirthing Teacher Training course will be taught in Seoul in Feb 2009 by the founder of Hypnobirthing, Marie Mickey Mongan. Full announcement and contact info for registration below:

HypnoBirthing ®
The Mongan Method

The Gold Standard of Calm, Gentle Birthing

Teaching women the art and joy
of rediscovering their natural
birthing instinct

A 32-hour professional workshop
For moms
childbirth educators
allied health professionals

A thoroughly thought out and well-organized program.
HypnoBirthing® is a wonderful gift to all birthing women.”
-Pam Daigneault, Labor & Birthing Nurse
Worcester Memorial Hospital, MA

“The concepts are so easily understood and presented in a forthright manner. The instructor is a is a gifted educator.”
-Norma Citron, Certified Hypnotherapist Calabasas, CA

“HypnoBirthing® is the missing link that those of us in the birthing field have been seeking for years.”
-Nancy Wainer, CPM, Midwife and Author, MA
“Silent Knife” and “Open Season”

“HypnoBirthing® has changed the way I practice Obstetrics.”
Dr. Jeffrey Segil, FACOG, Dover, NH

*32 hours credit toward certification as hypnotist—NGH
*Approved for Hypnotherapy CEU*
*Nursing CEUs by ANCC
*Midwifery CEUs by ACNM & MEAC;

Enjoy the rewards that come from teaching relaxation, visualization, fear release, and guided imagery to assist pregnant couples in achieving a gentle, normal, safer, and more comfortable birthing that most mirrors nature’s way.

Join the international network of HypnoBirthing® childbirth educators, who are finding it professionally and financially exciting to teach the most remarkable technique to appear on the birthing scene in several decades.

“I want to shout it from the rooftops. This is so incredible.”
Erin Kimball, Labor & Birthing Nurse
Houston, TX

“This is the way most births should be—simple, calm, and undisturbed.”
Maria Williamson, Midwife
Lancashire, England,

“A fantastic, well developed course. Every midwife and every birthing woman should do HypnoBirthing.”
Karen Steele , midwife, United Kingdom

¸ Teaches deep levels of relaxation to eliminate the fear that causes tension and, thus, pain
¸ Greatly reduces and often eliminates the need for chemical painkillers
¸ Shortens the first phase of labor
¸ Leaves mother alert, fresh, awake and with energy
¸ Helps keep oxygen supplied to baby during birthing
¸ Reduces the need for an episiotomy
¸ Reduces and often eliminates fatigue during labor
¸ Empowers parents with techniques to achieve a gentle, calm birth for themselves and their baby
¸ Gives the birthing companion in an integral role in the birthing
¸ Embraces the concept of pre-birth parenting
¸ Teaches breathing techniques that allow a woman to gently breathe her baby into the world without the violence of hard, physical pushing

About HypnoBirthing®
HypnoBirthing is as much a philosophy of birth as it is a technique for achieving a satisfying, relaxing and stress free birthing. HypnoBirthing teaches women and birthing companions the art and joy of experiencing birth in a safe, more comfortable manner for themselves and their babies. Through guided imagery and self-hypnosis women learn how to call upon their bodies’ own natural endorphins and thus eliminate or greatly reduce the need for medication. When a woman is properly prepared for childbirth and when the mind and body are in harmony, nature is free to function in the same well-designed manner that it does with women in other cultures and with all other creatures.

You will be fascinated as you view HypnoBirthing® videos showing laboring mothers, awake, alert and in good humor, as they experience safe, gentle birth – free of the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome. HypnoBirthing teaches a woman how to release all prior programming about birth, how to trust her body and work with it, as well as how to free herself of limiting thoughts and emotions that lead to pain-causing fear and resistant muscles.

HypnoBirthing helps women rediscover their natural birthing instinct. Moms are awake, aware, and fully in control, but profoundly relaxed as they bring their babies into the world.

“According to physiological law, all natural, normal functions of the body are achieved without peril or pain. Birth is a natural, normal physiological function for normal, healthy women and their healthy babies. It can, therefore, be inferred that healthy women, carrying healthy babies, can safely birth without peril or pain.”
Dr. Jon Dye, Easier Childbirth, Buffalo, 1891

Course Information:
A four-day workshop leading to certification as a HypnoBirthing Practitioner:
Cost: US $650. Tuition includes a manual for the introductory course, a copy of the textbook, HypnoBirthing®--The Mongan Method--; a DVD of seven HypnoBirthings; a CD with relaxation conditioning and birth affirmations; a 70-page practitioner’s teaching Syllabus with class outlines, scripts, and demonstrations; six hand posters for classroom use; a CD of forms and handouts, and other visual handouts

Certification also includes a listing on our on-line referral system, a copy of our newsletter four times a year, and regular updates.

Attendance at a HypnoBirthing Practitioner Certification Workshop does not automatically equate to Certification. Each candidate must submit a successfully completed Review of the Program following the course.

Only those persons who are certified through the HypnoBirthing Institute may use the registered trade name HypnoBirthing® and the logo in promotional and teaching materials.

Course Instructors
Instructors, named to the faculty by invitation only, are highly qualified professionals who have distinguished themselves through education, experience, motivation, and dedication to the principles and philosophy of HypnoBirthing®. Additionally, each must meet the requirements as set down by the Executive Board of the HypnoBirthing Institute. Your close attention to the course evaluation will ensure that this remains so.

I’ve been a Labor & Birthing nurse for 17 years; and after attending this program, I’ll never look at birth in the same light. It’s incredible.
Judy Richardson, RN
Traveling Nurse
Course Content--Segment 1: Prerequisite courses*
Introduction to Birthing Basics – for persons who do not have a background in birthing

• The Beautiful Female Birthing Body
• Anatomy of The Female Reproductive System
Internal & External Structures
• Conception and Early fetal development
• Characteristics of The uterus
Fundus, Body, Cervix
• The Baby’s Support System
Amniotic Sac
Umbilical Cord
• Three Trimesters of Pregnancy
• Physical Changes during Pregnancy
• Fetal Positioning during Pregnancy

• Turning Breech Presented Babies.
• Labor Signals
• Characteristics of Managed Labor
• Characteristics of HypnoBirthing Labor
• Onset of Labor
· Spontaneous
· Induction techniques
• Fetal Positioning during Birth
• Labor Stages As Defined in Typical Birthing
• Labor Phases as Defined in HypnoBirthing
• Mother Directed Birthing

Introduction to Hypnosis for Birthing—for persons who do not have certification in hypnosis
• Applications of hypnosis
• Attitudes about hypnosis
• Basics of Brainwave activity
• Laws of the mind
• Rationale for Hypnosis in Birthing
• Understanding Clients’ Learning Styles
• Direct and Permissive Hypnosis Approaches
• Steps to Achieving Hypnosis
• Dangers of Unqualified Therapy • Mind/Body Association and Application
• Judging Trance Depth
• Guidelines for Achieving change
• Eye Fixation/Closure
• Elman – Ericksonian – Shanti Leads
• Eye-lift Conversion Lead
• Deepening Techniques
• Posthypnotic Suggestions
• Alerting Techniques

Course Content - Segment II—
HypnoBirthing Practitioner Certification Program

• HypnoBirthing Philosophy and Beginnings
• How The Uterus Works in Birthing
• What’s wrong with Labor
• How Fear Affects Labor
• Origin of Fear and Pain in Labor
• Pre-Birth Parenting and Fetology
• Selecting the Care Provider
• Preparing The Mind and Body for Birth
• Hypnosis Deepening and Visualization
• Releasing Fear and Limiting Thoughts
• Building a Partnership with Care Providers

• Looking at The “Due Date”
• Avoiding Artificial Induction
• Preparing the Birth Preferences Sheets
• How The Body and Baby work together
• The onset of Labor
• Breathing Through Labor
• The Hallmarks of Labor
• Perinatal Bonding
• Breathing Through Labor
• Breathing with Birth
• Bonding with Baby
* Registrants needing both prerequisite courses may take the Introduction to Birthing Basics as an At-home Study

Registration Information:
Patricia Cumming 749 1752 / 010 6820 0701 /

HypnoBirthing® The Mongan Method

Taking the
Birthing World
by Calm!

Four-day Seminar and Certification Program

About the Founder

Marie Mickey Mongan, founder of HypnoBirthing®, is an award-winning therapist with over 30 years’ experience in counseling and teaching on the college level and in the private sector. She is a licensed counselor and a certified hypnotherapist, who holds several awards in hypnotherapy, including the National Guild of Hypnotists President’s Award, the coveted Charles Tebbetts Award, and in 2005, she became the first woman ever to receive the Guild’s highest honor, the Rexford L. North Award.

Early in her career, she was named one of five outstanding educational leaders in New Hampshire. And in 1992, she taught in Moscow as a diplomat for the Bridges for Peace Foundation.

She is the mother of four adult children, born in the mid-50s and early 60s, using the theories of Grantly Dick-Read, on whose work HypnoBirthing is based.

Her book, HypnoBirthing – The Mongan Method, is the textbook used in HypnoBirthing® classes.

Visit our website at www.

The HypnoBirthing® Premise

For most of their lives, women have been inundated with the negative stories of other women’s birth experiences. Everyone, from their mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, and even strangers, wants to tell them the horrors of giving birth. They have been conditioned to believe that excruciating pain is associated with birth; and because of this, women today hold an unprecedented fear of giving birth. This extreme fear causes their bodies to become tense, and that tension prohibits their bodies from easily performing a normal physiological function. The result?--exactly what they feared most--long, painful birthings.

People who are drawn to this method of childbirth have long been searching for a way to help women give birth as calmly, safely, and gently as possible. Until HypnoBirthing, it almost seemed unattainable.

Through a very simple program of self-hypnosis and education, women learn to work through fear-based stories and misinformation, and they are helped to see birth as normal. They learn to trust that their bodies know how to bring their babies into the world in the calm and gentle way that Nature intended.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Potty Progress

Since his first poop on the potty, Ian has pooped a couple times. It has always been a very small amount with lots of encouragement. Today, though, he said he wanted to pee on the potty. I took his diaper off and he went to sit. After awhile I lost interest and asked him if he was finished.

"No. I gonna poop on the potty."

I went to go to an online SuDoKu puzzle and left him to sit. (His potty is in the livingroom room). Next thing I know, he says,"I needa dump dis poop". I check it out and he has made a big poop and peed in the potty. We cheered, dumped and flushed. The hope for major potty progress at Montessori is growing. He starts in January. That would be awesome if he would start going regularly.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Curt cooked Thanksgiving dinner and we had two of his unaccompanied coworkers over. I made pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie.

The turkey:

Ian going for the camera,"No, MY do it!"

Ian,"doing it" takes Curt's picture:

I went into a turkey coma. Then, I had turkey for breakfast the next day right before a 10am yoga class, big mistake. We also had a get together with Curt's coworkers that night. We didn't last long. Thanksgiving can really wear you out!

We are very thankful to be expecting baby #2 among other things!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Double Digits Til My Guess Date

I was reminded to check my baby counter by JJ's recent post about going from triple to double digits left in the "days to go". We have almost the same guess date, so I was happy to see that I am now in double digits as well: 99 days to go until my guess date. It is 20 days until my departure for the US.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pretty and Supportive Nursing Bras

There are two New Zealand companies that are making non-underwire, pretty nursing bras: Womama and Hot Milk. Even if you were an underwire fan in your pre-baby life, it is best to go with non-underwire for your nursing bras. Underwire can cause block ducts which lead to mastitis. Even if you are big busted, you can still find support without the wire. (Another note on underwire, I put on an underwire bra this summer when I was back to my normal size, but still nursing and my boobs reacted immediately and got engorged.) They are in shops in New Zealand, Australia and the UK and available online to US customers (and other places) through Zodee. You get a 5% discount if you become a member (it is free) and the shipping cost is reasonable to the US.

The cost of these bras is listed in Australian dollars with an estimated US dollar value. They are on the pricey side, but your nursing bras need to be work horses, especially the first 6 months when your breasts are at their fullest and your baby is nursing the most. I bought some Medela bras (great one hand closure) and they were very supportive and comfortable. They look o.k. but aren't that exciting or pretty or fun. I wore my Medela bras day and night for over a year and they held up nicely. After my breasts had returned to normal, pre-baby size, I bought some Target nursing bras. Within a month, they were looking as worn as my Medelas. It is worth investing in at least 2 (I recommend 3) nice bras and then as you nurse less and your boobs get smaller, you can get some cheaper bras. Some people like to get a nursing sleep bra as well. I just wore my Medelas, but it is about your comfort and how things fit you best.

Of course, if you are very small busted, you might be able to get away without a nursing bra or with a cheaper one, but I do think nursing bras make things more convenient no matter what your size.

The Zodee website suggests going down a band size in Womama and if you are really big busted, up a cup size in Hot Milk. So I ordered 10C (Australian size) in Womama and 12C (Australian size) in Hot Milk. I was a 34C in Medela nursing bras and am probably a 34 B in non-nursing size. Many people have to go up a band size and a cup size. It is good to get measured towards the end of your pregnancy for a more accurate guess. I tried on various sizes and 34 C is what fit me best. I am hoping these bras fit because I hate returning, but I will have plenty of time to exchange if I need to. I will also report back on the accuracy of fit suggestions once I get them and try them on.

E from Blacktating reminded me about the Condessa line of bras as well. The other thing is the Veronica line has underwire. The Cassandra line does not have underwire and that is what I would recommend if you want to try this line.

Elin brought my attention to nursing bra compatible shapewear called Slimpressions. It is designed to smooth out back fat and tummies.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No, Daddy Do It!

Ever since Curt got back from his last trip, Ian has been obsessed with Daddy. If Daddy is home, he refuses to let me change his diaper (oh, yeah, I'm real broken up over that one), help him with his dinner, etc. He wakes up asking for Daddy. This is going to be tough when we go back to the States because that boy loves his daddy.

Curt and Ian have spent a lot of quality time together this weekend. I've made it is yoga on both Saturday and Sunday. Ian has been pooping unnatural amounts and Curt has handled all of it. He even swished a dirty cloth diaper in the toilet (I am out of liners so swishing is required). It was my idea to use to cloth so I don't expect him to handle the mess, but he rose to the challenge.

On top of all that, Curt made cornish game hens and duck in the past few days. He also started prepping Thanksgiving dinner. So we have been hanging out and eating well. Life is good.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting a Toddler to Drink Milk

Ian was a huge fan breastmilk. He drank a lot of it until my milk ran out a few months ago. He still nurses at least once a day even though he isn't getting anything. Ever since he started eating solid foods, he has been a very adventurous eater, but in drinking he only wanted breastmilk and water. He didn't even like juice until a few months ago. In order to get him to drink milk, I have employed the following strategies:

1. Trying different kinds of milk and calling them by their specific kind: soy milk and cow's milk.

2. Drinking milk myself in front of him and clinking glasses with him and saying,"Cheers".

3. Giving him small amounts of milk to drink with lunch and dinner and slowly increasing the amount. A small amount is easier to negotiate over. It doesn't seem overwhelming so it is easier to get him to choose to drink it in order to get something else.

4. I give him milk in a special glass that he recognizes is for drinking milk.

5. I don't ask him if he wants to drink milk or give him a choice when it comes to lunch and dinner, I simply present a small amount for him to drink. If a child doesn't have a choice or you aren't sure if they will give you the answer you are looking for, don't ask. The choice I give him is to drink his milk or go without dessert (usually 1 square of dark chocolate). If he decides not to drink his milk, I put it back in the fridge and he does not get his dessert. Usually, he will drink the milk. Again, if he doesn't, I don't get hysterical, I just eat my chocolate in front of him.

I don't worry about the amount he drinks or try to force him to drink the recommended amount. The reason is that it just doesn't work. If you force feed, you will have limited success at a very high price. He prefers to drink orange juice and water, so I give him calcium fortified orange juice and he eats a lot of cheese and yogurt.

The reason I am writing about this again is to show that slow and steady really does win the race in many parenting situations. Today, he came home from "school" (the childcare center where he goes occasionally for hourly care and where they serve milk for lunch) and he asked for cow's milk! I didn't make a big deal out of it, I just gave it to him. He drank it and requested milk over his Cheerios. He ate the Cherrios and drank the leftover milk and requested more milk! I'm not so bold to think that this will be an everyday occurrence, but it does show progress.

Food issues can be extremely frustrating to deal with and can't always be prevented, but there are a few things you can do:

1. Child-led introduction to solids. In the the US, the recommended age for introducing solids is 6 months due to the maturing of the intestines and the tongue control that is usually present at the this age. However, if your child does not like solids and cries or is uninterested, then don't force the issue. Ian didn't eat solids until he was almost 8 months old. He went from crying at one bite, to downing an entire jar of sweet potatoes out of the blue. I just kept trying every few weeks. I thought this might mean that he would be a picky eater, but I didn't stress about it and now he is one of the best eaters around.

2. Don't over react to an eating strike or phase. If a child isn't hungry or is not feeling well, they may not want to eat. It may be just a day, it may be longer, but if you don't react and don't force food, you will be better off. In most cases, they will get over in in a few days if you ignore it. There are cases of previously good eaters suddenly refusing to eat a lot of things or getting really picky. Seems that most people who experience this say it happens between age 2 and 4 from what I've read if it comes out of the blue. Dr. Sears has some good tips on what to do if you have a picky eater.

3. Don't compensate with junk food. In most cases the child will not starve or suffer extreme nutritional consequences and if he/she does, it indicates bigger problems that need medical intervention.

Good luck and stay strong!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Whittling Down

As our departure date nears, I am trying to whittle down our supplies and my classes. Here is my progress:

1. Annie's Organic Cheddar Bunnies and Bunny Grahams: My sister sent me a case (12 boxes) or each in May and we are down to our last boxes. Ian loves them and they are a bit healthier than the conventional versions. I will run out before we leave, but I glad not to have snacks sitting around for months.

2. Chiropractic Care: I used my 10 classes that you buy as a package and now with about four weeks to go, Dr. Yoo has recommended we go to every two weeks so I will get in 1-2 more treatments before .

3. Yoga Classes: I am down to 8 classes left on my package. I should be able to get those done before I go as well.

4. Dog Stuff: Dog vitamins are gone. Down to one box of dog treats. Using the small bags of dog food so we won't end up with a lot left over. Roxxy is going with us and most likely not coming back until we move again into a house with a yard so I don't want lots of dog stuff left here.

5. Food: My husband loves to buy meat. Right now we have two cornish game hens, a duck, some tilapia, some ground beef and some chicken in the fridge. That is a low amount of meat. We still have to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving, but otherwise, I am trying to whittle down our freezer stash.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Korean Translations for Some Baby Items

Important translation for new expat Mums

속싸개 (swaddling cloth)

애기 이불(blanket for the baby)





유모차 커버(stroller cover against the wind & yellow dusts)

황사(yellow dusts)

유기농 물티슈 or 아토피 물티슈 (Organic baby wiper)


큐티 기저귀 (cuttie diaper)-it’s a Korean name for “pampers “ diapers.)

유아용 세탁세제(detergent for baby’s clothes)

젖병세제(detergent for washing the bottle or toys)

워터 스프레이(water mist)

제일평화시장 2F-3F (jae-il pyoung hwa market in Dongdaemun) –where you can buy baby body suits for reasonable price (Don’t go to department stores to buy baby clothes unless you have a lot of money!)

아기 욕조(Baby bath tub)

아기 비누(baby soap)

온습도계(thermometer for the temperature & humidity)

수유쿠션(breast feeding cushion)

기저귀 교환대 (changing table)

회음부 방석(cushion for the woman who had episiotomies)

귀체온계(ear thermometer)

수유패드(breastfeeding pads)

산모용 패드(Postpartum sanitary pads)

배넷 저고리(kimono style baby clothes for newborn)

아기 손톱가위(baby scissors for nail cutting)

유축기(breast pump)

모유저장팩(disposable breast milk storage bag)

기저귀 발진 크림(nappy rash cream)

유기농, 친환경(organic, bio items)

모기장(mosquito net)

복합식 가습기 ( Humidifier with cold steam and hot steam)

공기정화기 (air ventilator)

Affordable Classes for Children and Adults at iPark Culture Center

Classes: Cooking, Sewing, Prenatal Yoga, Yoga, Pilates Mat, Lectures, Music, Art, Children's
Classes (Including Julie's English Ballet for ages 2+)

Cost for the child's ballet is 3 months of classes, one class per week for 100,000 KW.

Where: The iPark Culture Center is located on the 4th floor of the iPark Mall, next to EMart,
close to the base. Take the elevators up and find the Sweet Story Candy Store. There is a
circular seating area in front of it. Face the candy store and make a right. The entrance to the
Culture Center is on the left. You can pick up a course catalog and register for classes there.
The catalog is in Korean. The people there today spoke a bit of English but you might need to
take the catalog and have a friend translate for you.

I haven't taken any classes and won't be able to until next spring since I am leaving for the
States for a few months shortly, but several people in Yongsan Playgroups have kids that
take classes there.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Expat Pregnancy Club Meets!

6 of us foreign pregnant/recent moms from 5 different countries met up for lunch on Sunday. We all met through the blog or through someone else that found the blog, though, subsequently, other common connections have been found.

The information exchange was awesome, hence the rash of posts yesterday and there is more to come. If you have good info on maternity/baby related things, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail. We are particularly interested in affordable products and classes, support, playgroups, doctors, etc. Your hospital/doctor experience including the cost and type of insurance you have would be helpful for people to have an idea about cost. If you have foreign insurance, how was the reimbursement process? Is there anything you need to be sure to request from the hospital for documentation to make that easier? More importantly, how were you treated? Would you recommend your doctor/hospital to others?

********This small group has transformed into a Expat Parents Club Forum.

Go here to join:

Childbirth Classes in Seoul for English Speakers

I've already posted about the Hypnobirthing Class taught by Patricia Cumming. Click the link for contact information. Patricia knows Keunhae, Lisa and Dr. Sung as well and is familiar with the birth culture in Korea so she can cover that as well.

Another option is taking a course taught by Lactation Consultants and Doulas, Keunhae Park and Lisa Fincaryk in conjunction with Dr. Sung. You pay Keunhae and Lisa separately from Dr. Sung. It is 350,000 KW for K & L and 200,000 KW for Dr. Sung. I think you can choose to do one or the other or both, but I need to verify that with my friends R and G who are taking the classes. Here is the outline:

Session Outline

1st Session 15.October(Wed.)
20:00 - 22:30 pm Keunhae’s
(In the UN village) Keunhae Park
Lisa Fincaryk
• Birthing culture in Korea
• Hospital Proceedures
• Labour Support and Birth Plans
• Things to bring to the hospital
• Relaxation (The effects of fear on labour)

2nd Session 22 Oct.(Wed.)
20:00 – 22:30pm Keunhae’s
House Keunhae Park
Lisa Fincaryk
• Breastfeeding
-- What's in it for the baby
-- What's in it for the mother, father
-- Tips to succeed
• Maternal Postpartum Care
• Ways to sooth a newborn

3rd Session 29.Oct.(Wed.)
20:00 - 22:30 pm Keunhae’s house) Keunhae Park
Lisa Fincaryk
• Anatomy or pregnancy and labour
• Signs of labour
• Phases and Stages of labour
• Breathing techniques
• Knowing when to go to the hospital (Emergency situations)
• Intervention Discussion
• Intervention Role-Play

4th Session 5.Nov.(Wed.)
20:00 - 22:30 pm Keunhae’s house Keunhae Park
Lisa Fincaryk
• The portrait of a newborn
• Vaccinations
• The FAQ’s of newborn care
• Relaxation & Partner Yoga
• Birthing Positons
• Birthing Scenario-Role Play

5th Session 9 Nov. (Thurs.)
19:00 - 22:30 pm Dr.Sung's Clinic
(Hannam-dong) Dr. Sung 3rd trimester prenatal care
Gentle birth, tailored birth
Delivery in Korea
Session 27 Nov(Thurs.)
19:00-22:30 Dr.Sung's Clinic
(Hannam-dong Dr. Sung
Labor pain & self pain control
Fetal monitoring
Birthing position, episiotomy
CPD, Failure to progress
C/section, overdue, neonatal care

Contact info:
Keun Hae Park
010-5416-5155 and 796-7174

Dr. Sung
3F Hyundai Liberty House, 258 Hannam-dong,
Yongsan-gu, Seoul, 140-211, Korea
TEL: (02)790-0802~3
FAX: (02)790-5678
Mobile: 017-210-5284

If you speak Korean, there are other hospital-based classes, but if you don't, it is nice to have these alternatives.

Maternity/Babywearing Coats

Ack! I waited too long to order the maternity winter coat from Old Navy. I wanted it to go on sale, when it finally did, they were out of my size. Old Navy tends to run a little large so I don't want to order a bigger size, especially since I won't get to see it for a month. I am going to have it sent to PA because the ship times to the APO are unpredictable.

I want a dressier coat in black or grey so I can wear it for all occasions. Target has a red coat for $59.99 which is a good price, but I don't want red.

Gap and Destination Maternity have coats for $148 and $100+.

Bump Couture Fleece Trench for $177. It is available on various sites in limited sizes and varying prices.

Olian Maternity Wool Winter Coat for $336.80

Isabella Oliver for $336 and up.

I really don't want to spend more than $150, but would rather spend about half that. I started looking a babywearing coats, but they are REALLY expensive.

Peekaru Original Babywearing Vest for $80

Peekaru Soft Shell for $199

M Coat for $384 CAD (about $310 US)

Babywearing Down Coat for $345

Suse's Kinder Deluxe Coat for $175

Suse's Kinder Divine Ride Jacket for $107

Suse's Kinder Babywearing Vest for $64.99

Aiska Poncho for $160 (on sale at for $99.99)

Mama Jacket Babywearing Wool Coat for $219 (and up depends on the site)

I am going to wait until I get back to the States to get something so I can either try on in person or receive it and return it quickly if it doesn't work out. Worst case scenario is I buy a regular coat in a bigger size which I would rather not do because I will be REALLY pregnant when it is REALLY cold out. My entire third trimester will be in very cold weather. I like the Peekaru vest for price and I could wear it under my regular jacket to cover my belly before the baby is born and then wear it over the baby after it is born. I also like the Aiska Poncho for the sale price, though, in my size, the only color is navy and I'd rather have grey. Additional searching might find other options.

If anyone has any other good sources for maternity or babywearing coats, please leave a comment.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Partying at the Dragon

Ian had a birthday party today at Dragon Hill Lodge. There was a balloon maker and a face painter for the kids. I got Ian a balloon dog, but all the other boys got swords so he looked a little pathetic trying to sword fight with a small poodle so he got a sword as well. The line was long for the face painting. They did a really nice job, but Ian was having fun with the balloon sword so we skipped it. He was the only boy who was dressed up. Most of the girls were in party dresses but the boys were casual. He wore his thrift store suit and looked snazzy. It was a little big, but we have Thanksgiving, Christmas and possibly family pictures in March after the baby is born to try to get use out if it, so hopefully it will last through those events.
Here is Ian, sword-fighting with the birthday girl.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Business of the Day

After a visit to Dr. Phil, the chiropractor (or firopractor* as Ian calls him), we hit Curt's office to pick up the mail and my reimbursement check for my Korea prenatal appointments was in there. It was pricey with the labs so I am glad we got reimbursed. They even reimbursed for the two sonograms which I am impressed with because the protocol here in Korea (and Egypt as well) is a sonogram at every appointment, but in the US, they do not do that. They must know that is how it is in Korea, though and they paid for it. That gives me comfort if that I would have decided to stay here that we would get reimbursed, but I am still glad to be going home. I could never get an answer from people about insurance because the foreigners that go off-post for medical care are with businesses and they are making so much money they don't seem to care or bother with reimbursement. Other friends, like Sarah, have the Korean medical plan so they don't deal with the cost. We have the Federal Employee Blue Cross Blue Shield Overseas Plan if anyone is reading this and wondering.

Then we went to the Four Seasons store on post which has various things including toys, to pick out a present for a birthday party that Ian is going to on Saturday. The child's dad is a pediatrician on post and the mom is very involved in on post organizations so they know a lot of people. Being that the child is an only child and has everything she needs, the parents have asked guests to bring gifts for the orphanage instead of for their daughter. I went to E Mart to pick out a doll because I figured that Korean kids should play with Korean dolls, but they didn't have any. All the dolls had light eyes (mostly light brown) and light hair (ranging from light brown to red to blonde) and they were expensive so I decided to get a doll at the Four Seasons instead. The doll I got comes with an outfit change and a stroller and was only $10. It is in a big package, too, so it should be fun to open. I also picked up two new Hot Wheels for Ian. I love picking out Hot Wheels. He doesn't care, particularly, so I pick them out by colors and shapes that interest me or I tell him to choose one that is a particular color that he doesn't have a lot of in his collection. The best part is that they are under a dollar a piece!

A short stop at the commissary because I forgot eggs when I went the other day and now we are home and ready for lunch.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bad Parent: My Two Year Old Has Road Rage

It is easy to have road rage in Korea. Imagine a place where everyone drives like a big (US) city cab driver, except the cab drivers because they are even worse and don't know the city as well as US cab drivers. Drivers are very selfish. Zippering is an unknown concept here, people drive up against the flow of traffic and push their way in. If there is plenty of room and you signal that you want to move over, they will speed up so you can't. People will cut you off inly to drive slowly so you miss the light. They don't miss the light because they will just run the light. Cabs will drive around traffic, going the wrong way to run a red light. They don't move out of the way for ambulances, though they managed to create a clear path during the fireworks so people could stop and watch them. After all that, they teach small children that they can just walk into traffic and hold up their hands and cars will stop for them. They also don't use carseats or seatbelts, much. One nice thing about Seoul is that they don't honk the horn. In Cairo, they honk constantly. It is much quieter.

In Cairo, lights are meaningless. People don't stop at all. It is worse there except that they don't get bent out of shape over minor accidents. Here, people will stop traffic and not move over for hours over an accident where you can't even see any damage. Also, in Cairo we had diplomatic immunity which we don't here. Here, you always pay, especially if you are a foreigner.

Anyway, it can be very annoying to drive here and Curt and I often yell at the other cars. Ian has started yelling at the cars too,"Car, get outta da way!" "Car, what are you doin?" He even did it (not in the car) in line at the check out counter, he yelled,"Dat lady's in da way!"

But, no swearing so we have made progress! Curt is much worse than me on the road rage issue and Ian has now started yelling at him,"Curt, calm down!"

They do listen to everything you say. Yes they do.

Glass Lock, Tupperware Alternative

I've been trying to cook more and then portion leftovers immediately for lunches. It makes me more likely to come home to eat and more likely for Curt to take his lunch if it is ready to go. I only had Ziplock and Glad plastic storage containers and I don't think Curt should be microwaving the food in there. I needed more food storage containers anyway, so I headed to E Mart and picked up 6 Glass Lock containers. The lid has a seal and snaps on in 4 pieces. Just put my first batch of leftovers in them and I like them so far. I am hoping the lids hold up, though.

Mosquitos in Korea

1. They don't die.
2. They love Ian.

He has bites all over his face including his eyelid and ears. Annoying! He has bites on the his face on the Christmas card as well. It didn't show much on screen, but it does when it is printed. Oh well. It represents our time here I guess.

Monday, November 10, 2008

International Babywearing Week November 12-18

To celebrate International Babywearing Week, Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing is having a contest where everyone posts their favorite babywearing photos. Check it out if you want to enter the contest. Link up your post in the Mr. Linky below and you will be entered to win a Pop Nest Sling or a Sparrow Hatchling Sling from Nonny & Boo! These aren't my favorite baywearing photos, but due to a computer issue, they are the only ones on my computer.

Just a word on babywearing: It makes life so much easier. Babies can't do anything for themselves when they are first born. They get bored, they want to be with you. You still need to get things done. So don't fight it, wear your baby. Some people will tell you that if you wear your baby all the time they will walk late or that they are manipulating you. This is so untrue! My son was walking holding onto things at 7 months. He was running at 10 months. I wore him a lot. I hiked up a mountain in the desert in Egypt, I visited the Pyramids, I made many international plane trips with him in it. I didn't use a stroller until he was 18 months old and we came to Seoul. The carrier was easier. It is one of the essential pieces of baby gear. It keeps baby comfortable, promotes bonding and gives you freedom.

Ian in the Baby Bjorn meeting President Mubarak of Egypt:

Ian meeting a women's college tour:

Ian, resting at Luxor:

Here is a link to an older post that reviews my favorite carriers, the Beco and the Ergo. The Bjorn was my first carrier, but it is not as attractive or comfortable as the other two. Save your money for something better and skip the Bjorn! There are tons of options out there.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Ian got a haircut on Sunday. He looks thinner afterwards.

Some funny things that he has said lately:

He said,"I hab a headache. I need ice."

I was hugging Curt and he said,"Get off! Do your e-mail!"

I said,"Obama is the new president."

He said,"No! He's MY president."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes We Can! We Won!

Congratulations to the United States of America for electing Barack Obama the next President of the United States! He possesses reason, dignity, intelligence and compassion. He understands law, history and culture. He will restore our image both at home and abroad. It is amazing and wonderful!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Baby Names

I haven't thought about names too much because I was waiting to find out the sex. Since the baby didn't cooperate, I still don't know. There are lots of baby name websites:

Baby Names
Baby Name Wizard

and much more.

I also have several good baby name books thanks to a chance meeting with my friend's boss. She gave me a bunch of baby books and a prenatal yoga dvd.

The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg

Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana: What to Name Your Baby Now

But, I still cannot decide. There are a few things I know:

1. I don't want a name that has a pronunciation that is completely different than the spelling. Examples of cool names like this are Aoife (pronouced E-fa), Niamh (pronounced Neve), Seoirse (pronounced Sorsha). They look pretty and/or sound pretty but seems like a pain to remember how to say them. I have an Irish friend named Aoife and she said it was even a pain for her in Ireland. Of course, that name is much more popular today than when she was born, but still.

2. I don't want a plain name with a fancy spelling like S'ra for Sarah or Karynne for Karen.

3. I want something that is easy to yell. A name like Aurora is pretty, but I don't want to trip over myself when I have to get the child's attention quickly.

That's not much to go on, but if anyone has any ideas, please leave a comment.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Belly: 22 Weeks, 3 Days

Happy Halloween!

Ian opening his musical Halloween card from Grandma and Grandpa:

Trick or Treating:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recipe for Egyptian Koshary

Koshary is one of the best, cheapest meals in Egypt. Almost nobody makes it at home because it is so cheap to order it and it is labor intensive. I used Samia Abdennour's recipe from her book, Egyptian Cooking, A Practical Guide. Then I made some additions to make it more like I had at the restaurant.

1 cup brown lentils
1 cup rice (I used Basmati. It is a long grain rice that they use or a combo)
1/8 kg macaroni (dittalini pasta is the closest but use whatever small pasta or elbow macaroni you have)
2 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups tomato sauce
hot chili (optional), salt

Cook lentils in salted water until tender. Strain. Cook rice in salted water until tender. Strain. Cook macaroni, preferably the small, round variety, strain, rinse, and strain again.

Place these three ingredients in a cooking pot. Fry onions (in a separate pan) to a rich brown (almost black), then remove the onions onto absorbent paper and strain the oil into the lentil mixture. Return the pot to the flame and cook for 7-10 minutes, tossing often to prevent sticking.

Serve by topping each individual plate with tomato sauce and fried onions. Sprinkle with hot chili.

Recipe for Samia's Tomato Sauce

2 cups tomato juice (or any tomato product, I used whole peeled tomatoes b/c I got a ton of them on sale and then just pureed later)
1-2 onions, chopped very finely
5-7 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon vinegar (white vinegar)
cooking oil, salt, pepper

Saute onions until soft, then add garlic and fry to a pale brown. Add tomato juice and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until sauce is cooked and becomes dark. Add vinegar and seasonings and cook 2-3 minutes longer.

This dish is usually served with two side sauces: a cumin, vinegar, garlic sauce and a spicy, tomato/chili sauce. I decided to just add some red pepper flakes to the dish, but I did make the cumin, vinegar, garlic sauce:

Take garlic cloves and hit the with the end of the knife, but don't break them up. Add into white vinegar. Add some cumin and coriander into the vinegar. Stir and let the flavors meld. I think they use whole seeds because when you get the sauce, you can definitely taste the cumin, but it just looks like a clear, slightly yellow liquid.

The keys to this dish are the fried onions and that cumin, garlic vinegar sauce.

I combined everything together and it tasted pretty authentic. It can be spicier in the restaurant, but I didn't spice it up too much so that Ian could eat it. Also, unlike other areas, Egyptians don't like things very hot anyway. As I was looking around for recipes, I saw one that said their was hot paprika in that chili sauce as well.

I added some extra salt to the lentil mixture. Egyptian cooking is all about oil, salt, onions, garlic and cumin. You can't have too much. I also added chickpeas which are usually in this as well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What's for Breakfast? Deviled Eggs

I decided to make deviled eggs to mix up my daily egg routine. I found this website devoted to making the perfect deviled egg. I didn't follow all the steps since I was just making them for myself but this is great information if you were going to make them for a party and wanted them to look pretty. I just made the classic filling, but several recipes are listed and it would be easy to create your own variation.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

English-Speaking Chiropractor in Seoul

I just had my first appointment with chiropractor, Dr. Philip Yoo. He is an American, trained in the US, who came to Korea to learn Korean and liked it so much that he stayed. He also speaks Korean and Spanish.

I am going because my baby is breech and I want to do some body work to try to correct that. I did it with Ian, but didn't start soon enough and it didn't work. Plus, I know I am out of alignment and so it will be good for me anyway.

Today, he did a digital body analysis (38,000 KW). I also stood on this scale that measures how you carry your body weight. I carry most of my weight on my left side. He then gave me a treatment plan (including costs) and the option to start treatment today. I decided to go ahead and have a treatment since I was there.

Treatment involved laying on a massage table with an automatic roller thing. Then he did some adjustments. Treatments cost 48,000 KW, but if you pre-pay for 10 treatments you get 10% off, so that is what I did. This is more expensive than in the US, but not ridiculously so and I am hoping insurance will cover some of it.

The receptionists also speak English so making an appointment was pretty easy. You can also make appointments online, but I haven't tried that. I sent an e-mail but didn't get a response so I think calling is best.

There are two locations: Itaewon and one outside of Osan Airbase (Osan clinic has limited hours). The Itaewon clinic is located on the 1st floor of the green Hannam Building which also houses the International Clinic and the Seoul Global Center. It is across from the fire station.

Another service they offer is personalized Pilates training.

Stocked Up for the Weekend

Ian had his Flu Mist on Monday and then had flu-like symptoms on Thursday as did I: weakness, tiredness, I threw up, he didn't eat, both had diarrhea, he had a fever. We both seem to be better today, but since it is just before the weekend, I thought we'd better take precautions. I went to the hospital to see if I could get Ian in, they said I could go to the ER if he really needed to be seen, but otherwise I should just give him Tylenol and fluids. I also wanted to see the doctor so I could report the reaction to the Flu Mist. Not sure that is what did it, but it was very close.

I picked up some more Tylenol, Pedialyte for Ian, Gatorade for me, bottled water, milk (because we were out) and a few other snacks, the healthiest of which were string cheese and strawberries. Lots of crap, especially the Pedialyte and Gatorade, but Ian didn't eat anything yesterday and I could only get down soup so it is better than nothing. We have water delivered (in those big jugs for the dispenser) as part of our lease and we ran out of it. I tried to drink the tap water filtered through the Brita but it tasted like the river. Our water was tested this summer and they said it was safe to drink but the timing of the illness coincided with us drinking the tap water so I started wondering if that was the other cause. Plus, with the taste, I know I can't drink enough. I don't like buying individual bottles of water because of the waste, but we need to stay hydrated.

I was debating whether or not to get a flu shot this year. Now that I think I've had a mild case, maybe I don't need to, but I will be pregnant throughout the entire flu season. I think that if they have the mercury-free shot, I will do it, but if not, I won't. I don't think I even want the shot with the trace of mercury. There are enough heavy metals in the air here in Seoul that I don't want to add to it. Plus, there are lots of studies that show the flu shot doesn't work.

I have my chiropractor appointment today. Hope it goes well. I will have to take Ian with me, but that is the way it goes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hot Crab Dip

I made myself hot crab dip with a portabello mushroom. I just threw real crab, cream cheese, pepper jack, sour cream, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice. mayonnaise and chives together and baked it until hot and bubbly. I looked at some recipes online and then just threw in what I had. Ian was not in a dipping mood so it was just me. It is a bit wasteful, hope I can eat it all, but I just wanted it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sweet Innocence

Today, Ian took some legos with him as we took the dog outside. He dropped them and when he picked them up and re-formed them, they were in the shape of a gun. He didn't realize it, though. He doesn't shoot things. I have to comment on this because I know the day is near where everything will be a gun. Little boys tend to do this as soon as they discover the concept. It is just nice that we made it until he is over 2 without guns.

Other examples:

1. He sleeps with a baby doll. He doesn't know that "dolls are for girls".

2. He chose a purple balloon with theatre masks on it at the Yongsan Fall Fest. He doesn't know that "pink and purple are for girls".

3. He went to the doctor today to get his Flu Mist. He isn't afraid of the doctor.

4. He only knows Signing Time, Sesame Street, Barack Obama and John McCain from television (the last two, mostly like from the Daily Show/Colbert Report). People ask him about Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder, and the Wiggles and he just stares blankly. He doesn't know any of the Disney movies and has never watched a movie. Again, I know this is coming to an end soon. However, I appreciate the fact that I can dress him in my style, with almost no licenced character clothing, bedding or paraphernalia. He has a pair of Elmo overalls and a Barack Obama t-shirt. He has Elmo pjs but he outgrew them.

5. He doesn't feel excluded or ostracized or inferior in any way to any kids. I know that, too, will end shortly. Three and four year olds are mean! Today at the playground an older boy yelled at him and he yelled back louder. The boy went crying to his mother, but later pushed Ian off the steering wheel on the play structure. I didn't see it but Ian was crying and the kid had a maniacal look in his eye. Still, he got over it very quickly and was re-directed. He was upset but didn't take it personally. Sweet innocence.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mystery Baby

The baby had its legs crossed so the tech couldn't tell the sex. We should be having another ultrasound before we leave so we might find out then. Guess I just need to start thinking of names for both sexes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pregnancy Preparation Tracking

Since I started very early, I am taking my time with the Hypnobabies program. It is designed to start about 32 weeks and take each chapter one week to complete before you go in maintenance phase. It is a big commitment. especially starting early, which is why I think they suggest you start later. Since I will be without my husband for the last two months, I wanted to go through the program with him before I leave. That involves listening to one script and one affirmations cd a day, over 30 minutes each. The next chapter, I have to practice the "finger-drop technique" for going into self-hypnosis, 5 times a day. It just takes about 2 minutes each time, but still, a commitment to everyday. As I've said before, the difference in how successful people are with the program seems to be directly related to the amount of practicing they did. I want to get the most out of the program, so I want to do it every day. So far, I've only missed one day of affirmations, but done the script everyday.

I've also been very successful with exercising. Still need to get my workout in for today, though. I was planning to go to yoga but my husband is not feeling well so I let him sleep and stayed home instead. I was able to get Ian to nap and listen to my script, so the time was not lost.

This next chapter of Hypnobabies covers nutrition and recommends 75-80 grams of protein per day. Yikes! that is a lot, I have glanced at the Brewer Diet before and have been eating eggs (started with one and now I am eating two) almost every day for breakfast. I've also tried to drink milk for lunch and dinner. Milk has a lot of protein. Still, I don't know how much I am getting. I am going to start tracking it on the handy protein tracker sheet, but it is like my spending, I am afraid to track because I am afraid to see the results. Got to suck it up and do it (for the protein and the finances).

Then that brings me to the pregnancy specific exercises like Kegels (50-300 per day) pelvic rocking (20-40, 3 times a day), squats and tailor sitting. I haven't been doing much of these, except in yoga class or what is in the dvds. It seems overwhelming. I did not do any of this in my first pregnancy, except for yoga in in the third trimester and by then it was too late. I need to keep my ligaments loose so I have a better chance of proper positioning, instead of breech, like last time.

I am going to make a master chart for all of this. My housekeeping has virtually no chance of improving during this pregnancy, or probably for the 6 months afterward, but I am not totally giving up on that, either.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stage Parents

It is interesting to watch parental reactions (including my own) to children's lack of cooperation in activities. When your child misbehaves, it is embarrassing, especially because you might start to think the other parents are thinking that you should have better control. And sometimes they are thinking that. And sometimes they say that.

Ian had his first gymnastics class with the new teacher and he was horrendous! He had been crazy these past few weeks so I felt additional internal pressure to try to control him. During the warm up, I tried to hold him and make him do the tasks. He fought me and screamed. Then, the rotations started. He did well on some apparatus and not well on others. I got control of myself during the rotations and just moved him through. If he didn't want to do a particular station, we kept moving. Towards the end of the class, I just let him run. You can harp and yell and restrain and then you are both miserable.

He's only two.

But, we just had a moment of sweetness. Ian took my hand and said,"Come see the moon." He led me to the window and showed it to me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Let There Be Poop...

On the potty!

Ian pooped on the potty for the first time tonight and he did it as Curt was walking through the door so he got to witness. Curt preserved Ian's dignity by telling me,"No pictures." I was going to take a picture. Yeah, that's gross.

My approach to potty training is very laid back. We've been talking about the potty for awhile and this summer I bought a potty. We keep it in the livingroom and he sits on it when he wants to. He pooped on it once before because I caught him doing it and put him on it, but he hasn't peed, yet. Today was the first time that he said,"I need to poop." His diaper had been falling off so I told him to take it off and try to pee on the potty. He did that and then came back and said he needed to poop so I said,"Go sit on the potty!" We went over together and he sat down. I put his feet up on the seat so it would be easier to find the muscles to control the pooping and said,"Push the poop in the potty." He pushed and got a little air. We cheered and he said,"More?" and did it a few more times before the poop started coming out. Curt walked in the door just as he was doing it, We cheered again, he carried it to the big toilet, dumped in it and flushed.

I don't expect him to start pooping on the potty regularly, but that is definitely progress. It would be really cool if he did, though!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Yongsan ICE Site (Interactive Customer Evaluation)

I can and do complain A LOT, along with lots of other moms about a lot of things on the base. There is a forum to air complaints called the Interactive Customer Evaluation or ICE. Supposedly, all the complaints are seen by the Garrison Commander.

I haven't used ICE before because I didn't know where it was and didn't think it would make any difference. I still don't think it will make a difference, but like voting, you have to participate. Bitching with other moms may relieve stress but it definitely won;t change anything. Submitting a formal complaint, which you can do anonymously, might. If the right person sees it, it might make a difference. And, at least you can say that you tried to do something productive with your experience.

So, it is on my List of Pain, to put my complaints into ICE. Some of them are about horrible customer service and specific individuals. Others are more suggestions like, CDC Hourly Care. It is available from 8-3pm for toddlers and preschoolers. The spaces are so limited that you have to call two weeks ahead in the early morning, to get in. The morning slots fill fastest because the afternoon slots aren't long enough to do anything. ACS offers free Korean classes at 5:30 and there are exercise classes at 5:30, but I can't do them because Curt doesn't get home early enough and there is no Hourly Care that late. Now, the CDC is only open until 6pm, so childcare for ACS classes or workouts couldn't be provided in that way, but at least Hourly Care could go from 6am to 6pm when the regular CDC is open for the full-time kids. There was an OB orientation starting at 1pm which was scheduled to go until 4pm. I had to take Ian with me because Hourly wasn't open long enough. It ended up only lasting until 3pm, but that was still too late to be at the CDC by 3pm. Extending Hourly until 6pm would have solved that problem.

Maybe there could be another option for the exercise classes. When I went to Jazzercise in VA or to the YMCA in PA, they had a childcare center for working out. There was a two hour time limit and they could not feed or change your child (different regulations and requirements kick in if they do). If your child cried too much they would come and get you, but it worked for some people. It didn't really work for me at the time, but I think it would now.

My List of Pain goals for this week are ICE and dealing with the computer and the composter.

Crying in Public

I'm not a very emotional pregnant woman. I don't get emotional in relation to my periods, either. I am a pretty passionate person and have been known to cry in public when under stress or extreme frustration (When Bush got re-elected in 2004, I cried for a week in public, multiple times a day). But today I had an episode of crying in public that was probably pregnancy related.

I went to yoga because I have 21 classes to use up before I leave in December. The schedule changes every month and since I didn't go this weekend, I didn't have the new schedule. Additionally, getting into Hourly Care is so difficult that you have to schedule two weeks in advance in order to get in, meaning, I have to schedule before I know the yoga schedule. The schedule is online and you have to have a Korean registration number to register for the website. So, I went to my husband's office to call to see what classes they were giving at 10:00am and 12:00pm because my babysitting covered both. 10:00am was Vinyasa and 12:00pm was Hot Yoga. I decided to go to Vinyasa, because, although it is still in heat, it is not as hot. I bought two bottles of water (after realizing I forgot my water bottle and phone at home) and figured I would drink a lot and take breaks if it got too hot.

I got there and the teacher, got another teacher to tell me that I couldn't take Vinyasa because it was too hard for pregnancy and dangerous. I could only take Heal class. Before I bought this latest bundle of 30 classes, I had asked the owner if I could take yoga during pregnancy because I was trying to conceive. She said,"Yes, no problem. Yoga is good for you". So I bought 30 classes and then conceived immediately. This same teacher who told me I couldn't do Vinyasa said I couldn't do yoga in the first trimester. The owner hadn't said that, but I guess she must have assumed that I knew that. So, I took the summer off from yoga, but now I need to get these classes done before I leave. I prefer to go to Heal or Hatha, but I think I can do Vinyasa with modifications. The owner might have a different perspective, but she wasn't there so I thought I was going to have to leave without going to class. So I started crying.

I explained to the other teacher that I had to use these classes and it was hard to get babysitting and I wasn't going to be able to get through them. I went upstairs to change and then they came up and said they would do a Heal class today for me so I could take class today. That was very nice, but I was really embarrassed for crying I am glad that I got to do the class, only 20 to go! I was sobbing. I couldn't control myself.

Factors complicating me using my classes:
1. Limited number of classes at times that I can go to.
2. Times I can go are limited by limited hourly care hours, husband working late, nannies that we know are only available nights and weekends and with the uncertain emergency services, I don't want to leave Ian with just anyone.
3. Appointments, Ian's classes, etc.
4. Korean holidays (I need to find out which ones result in studio closure).
5. Curt's traveling.

I do have time to get the classes done, but I don't want to be cutting it close. I wish I could guarantee that I could go three times a week at the same time, but that is hard to do. I think that will be my goal. If I can do that, I will be done in 7 weeks. I have about 10 weeks to go. The owner said she would extend the time I have to use them, but since I will be gone for so long and then have to get childcare for two kids, I don't want to have a lot of expensive classes hanging out over my head. I invested a lot in these classes and if I get to use them, it will be worth it, but if I don't, I will feel terribly guilty about it.

In other news, I got Ian signed up for Gymnastics with the new teacher because he needs more activities. I didn't think we would miss it as much as we did. I found a little suit for Ian at the Thrift Store. It was $12 which is high for the thrift store, but it is cute, nice material and I walked away on Friday. I told myself if it were still there, I would get it, so I did. Now I need to find a shirt for him to wear with it. It is Korean and I've seen them for much more than that, so I am o.k. with the deal.

Friday, October 3, 2008

So, How Do You Like It, Here?

I hate that question when I am relatively new to a place because I hate transition (but I love change after it has happened). Someone asked me today at an office picnic.

The day to day life here is fine. I don't love it. I don't hate it. I am pretty happy with my family. Just wish Curt worked fewer hours. But as far as the things I like about Korea, I like the food. That is really it for the moment. And, because of pregnancy and US government guidance my food indulgences are restricted. I am not usually as strict as the Embassy suggests, but during pregnancy I am extra cautious.

The incident with Ian locking me in the laundry room and no Koreans, not even the building security helping has really disturbed me. What if there were a medical emergency? What would I do? Would the base ambulance come? How would they know how to get to my apartment building? No one seems to know where it is. I said that to the guy who asked the question and he said he saw a street vendor getting electrocuted in Itaewon and all the Koreans just stood there watching. No one helped until this guy (an American) grabbed a 2 x 4 and broke the connection of the faulty wire and stopped the guy from getting totally fried. Yikes.

I need to find out about that. What to do in case of emergency.

We are going to try to do some MWR trips in November. Curt will be gone most of October and then we leave in December, so we need to go do some things. Public transportation with a toddler is not convenient. Driving and parking without a good map is not convenient. I just have to accept that, especially with a family, you can't wander around Korea like you can wander around Europe. Going on some tours will give us some more experiences and help us figure out where things are and hopefully how to get back. Some of this is just me. I don't like to be in the position of cluelessness. Some people are a lot more go with the flow in this area and therefore have an easier transition.

When I think back to getting used to Cairo, two things helped: learning to read Arabic and making friends. I need to learn to read Korean but just don't have the energy right now. I have a few friends so that area is getting better as well, but it is still hard.

The common factor between my experiences in Cairo and Seoul is that we do not have a very supportive organization. It makes a big difference. There is no one to ask for the policies written down as to what we are supposed to get. People are just not that helpful. Mainly because, they don't need help. In both Cairo and Seoul, most of the people in the organization have been here for many years and are either first generation Americans with roots to Egypt or another Arabic speaking country or in the case or Seoul, the roots are Korean or they are married to a native speaker. They don't need to know what we need to know and they aren't very good (or interested) in helping us. That is hard. The military and State Department are much better organized to support families because people move a lot more frequently. So I stumble around (and I hate stumbling) and grow even more resentful because other organizations are so much more supportive of their people and they don't stumble quite as much.

Thinking about our housing situation, our lease ends when I am in the States having a baby. The complex is nice but the community is non-existent, the building management is not helpful and no one knows where it is. Staying would be easier, but I think we should move to a more convenient location that is better dealing with foreigners.

Ugh. I want to positive. I do not like to be negative, but I like to have more control than I have right now.