Saturday, December 19, 2009

International Travel with Baby (on the move) and Toddler: All the Way to the USA

I've spent the day packing. It really does take all day to pack with little ones. We are taking two suitcases that are filled with our stuff and two others that are nested together but otherwise empty to bring back all the Christmas gifts and things we buy. I really need to go shopping! For carryons, we have two small roller bags, a back pack, a shoulder bag and Curt's brief case. We did very well packing light (for us) in the checked luggage, but for carryons, I packed a lot:

1. Shoulder Bag: has diapers, wipes, changing mat (my JJ Cole Diapers and Wipes pod plus more diapers), snacks, two lego cars with lego people, a small stuffed animal, baby food, a water bottle for Ian, a few crayons, pens, a travelcase with Crayola Color Wonder paper and markers (not a big fan, but it won't make a mess), hand sanitizer, baby tylenol, baby motrin, teething tablets, extra underwear for Ian, a few books (thin and light). I think that is it for this bag. This is the go-to bag that will be left out during the flight.

2. Backpack: has pajamas for both kids (2 sets for Eva), an extra pair of pants for Ian, a couple extra onesies for Eva, tissues, throat drops, and my wallet/passports, etc.

3. Roller Bag #1: two fleece blankets because I am usually cold on the plane and the familiar blankets are comforting to Ian as well. It also contains a full package of diapers. I've never seen diapers in an airport. I always over-pack diapers. The amount of diapers I've brought is enough to handle diarrhea and being stranded due to weather.

4. Roller Bag #2: our two laptops (I was going to leave mine but with the frozen water pipe problem and the skill of the "fixes"so far, I am worried that something is going to have to the apartment while we are gone, and our big camera bag with our SLR, pocket cameras, ipod, card reader, small video camera, US cell phone, Magic Jack. Finding all the chargers and getting everything charged was a huge pain and took a long time. Ian's hats and gloves will be in this one as well.

5. Curt's briefcase: whatever he puts in there.

We won't have a stroller on the way there because we are bringing the double stroller back, but I will carry Eva in the pack and hope for the best with Ian. I think we'll be o.k. once we get the checked baggage in.

A Gift Exchange I Did Not Dread

Well, I did dread it, but it was fun. I am not a big fan of gift exchanges and it seems that every organization/friend group wants to do them this time of year. I love to buy gifts when I know exactly what the person wants or needs. It is really fun for me to buy gifts then. But, gift exchanges, you need generic gifts within a certain price range and I usually dread picking out the gift.

I forgot about the gift exchange for this party (it was on the evite, but I think I blocked it out). (Un)Fortunately, the hostess reminded me yesterday so I couldn't weasel out of participating. But, unlike other exchanges, you weren't allowed to buy anything for it you had to bring something from your house or something that you made. Curt has a collection of unopened Hawaii mugs from all his trips to Hawaii for work. He gets them from the hotel that he stays at for frequent staying. Curt did not want to part with his Hawaii mug, but he didn't have anything else in mind so that is what he brought. I had a collection of 6 Pampered Chef chocolate molds that were here when we moved into the apartment. I've used a few as hot pads once, but they have never been used as chocolate molds. When I got to the party, C asked,"Are you excited about the gift exchange?"

I said,"No, but I think SB might like what I brought."

Curt was #1 and I was #2 and you could pick a present or steal someone else's. The game was fun. Curt ended up with this Seoul Survivor Bag which was a shopping bag (because they charge you for bags in Korea), an umbrella (because it rains a lot), and lots of Korean snacks and instant coffees and teas. I got a pack of play dough and a big bottle of bubbles. I had picked a bottle of wine with a wine bag, wine stopper and holder, but that gift was stolen twice and out of the game so Curt couldn't steal it back. Some funny moments, C's husband said,"I need stocking stuffers" and stole some holiday socks and then followed up with,"Merry Christmas, honey!". SB stole the chocolate molds. I'm glad she liked them. They are a good gift for someone that makes fancy desserts like that. I am glad they are getting more use than hot plates. The OC Season 4 DVD set was one of the gifts. W, who picked it first said,"Please steal this from me." C obliged.

Well, Ian is sleepy and wants stories. I told everyone we should do a Re-Gift, Gift Exchange in January.

Friday, December 18, 2009

EC Update

I started part-time EC (Elimination Communication) with Eva back in October. We are still doing it and still doing very well. Of course, it started out great and I got cocky and said,"Dirty diapers are for other people."

Of course, the two weeks that followed that statement were filled with misses!

But, we carry on. She pees on the potty a few times a day and I catch quite a few poops. Ian caught poops yesterday and today, which was very nice because they were very loose! Today, as she was pooping, I was saying,"Poop! Yay!" and she was making a "pa" sound. Wouldn't that make a hilarious baby book entry if her first word was "poop".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

VBAC: Joy Szabo Did it and You Can, Too!

Joy Szabo, a mother who had a c-section, VBAC and was pregnant with her third child was told by her hospital (the same one where she had her successful VBAC) that they were no longer allowing VBACs. They tried to force her to have a c-section. She refused and took her case to the media. The hospital did not relent, but hopefully, she drew attention to this pervasive human rights violation if trying to force women to have unnecessary surgery. Instead of giving in or giving up, she came up with a plan to move to Phoenix a few weeks before her due date so she could VBAC.

Talk about pressure! The anti-VBAC contingent would have loved for her fail so they could use her as an example of why VBAC is bad just as they are trying to do with Michelle Duggar. However, hello, she has 13 successful VBACs, including a set of twins.
Well, CNN just published the update and she did it! Easily, too! Like, Joy, I had a difficult road to find the right providers and I had to travel, but my actual birthing was easy. Now, not every woman will be able to VBAC, but with the right support, most will be successful. After my VBAC, I wrote a post on how to plan for your VBAC. I can't promise you that you will have a birth as easy as Joy's or mine, but I can tell you that it is worth it to take an active role in your health care.

2010, is the year of the VBAC. My first doula client, Doula Amy and another one of my moms, J, are due in July. Also, Abby Epstein is going for VBAC next year.

Peter Has Two Moms

Me: We are going to Peter's house for a playdate. Are you excited?

Ian: Yeah. Peter has two moms.

My friend A has a live-in nanny. Both she and the nanny got a kick out of Ian saying that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All My Single Babies

Sometimes I find myself singing,"All my single babies, all my single babies" to the tune of Beyonce's "Single Ladies". I can't help it. That song is so darn catchy and babies can't stop dancing to it. The other day I was singing it and dancing around and Ian said,"Your supposed to not have pants on to sing this song."

(If you have no idea why he said that, click the link to the Beyonce video).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Birthday Party at the Seoul Club

We went to R's first birthday party today. She and her mom wore beautiful white dresses. They both looked so beautiful. Another friend was there with her daughter, L, who also turned 1 today. She was wearing a pink pettiskirt and 1st Birthday t-shirt and looked adorable as well. The party was held at the Seoul club and it was our first time to go. The club is really nice. It has an outdoor pool (when it is warm), saunas (family and adult), meeting and banquet rooms, restaurants, tennis and racquetball and more. The food for the party was the Seoul Club Buffet. What a nice spread! There was a wide range of options and everything was great!

The room was decorated with balloons which are always a big hit with the kids. Eva was punching herself in the face with the balloon she was holding and then laughing hysterically. Ian was running around like a madman with a bunch of balloons. He got them all tangled up. He jumped on his mass of balloons and hid under the table and ran with the balloons. Our friends that moved to Taiwan were back for the party and Ian and E were running around together quite a bit.

R had an assortment of items to choose from to predict her future career. Despite her father urging her to pick the piggy bank, she went right for the paint brushes. An artist!

The cake was a Minnie Mouse cake from the bakery at the Hyatt. They custom made it. It was really pretty until they started hacking it up to serve it after the candle was blown out. Then Ian said,"That mouse is dead!" Other children started repeating it.

Everyone went home with red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in cute little boxes. I ate my cupcake and then Eva's. Tasty!

We have a wedding to go to tomorrow and another birthday party on Monday. I just realized we are flying soon. Yikes!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Warm Winter Apple Snack

It is cold and grey in Seoul today. I gave Eva some Apple Cinnamon Baby yogurt and it reminded me of the apple snack I ate almost daily the last month of my pregnancy with her. So I made it.

1. Slice apple into thin slices.
2. Toss apples with cinnamon.
3. Microwave for a few minutes until soft.

It is kind of like a low calorie apple pie filling. It is quick and simple. I like eating warm foods in the winter.
If you have more time, you can bake it in the oven. If you want more sweetness (and calories), you can add honey or sugar.

Recycled Eva

Dress: Clothing Swap
Onesie and Shoes: Hand-Me Down from Ian
Leggings: Hand-Me Down from friend R
Socks: bought new from Target
Piano: Hand-Me Down from friend P

Recycling is great! I had to sneak the piano out of my friend's house today so that her son wouldn't see it leaving. He is 3 and though he still plays with it sometimes, there are other, more relevant large plastic toys taking up space in my friend's house so she is trying to clear some things out.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lighting Up My Life

The tree is up! Ian and Eva immediately started banging and throwing our ornaments around (the majority of which are Egyptian glass). Miraculously, none of them broke. However, Curt broke two ornaments while attempting to stop the kids from breaking them. We left the bottom 2 feet of the tree pretty bare and used some fleece blankets under the tree to give the ornaments a chance of survival.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Birthing is a Journey: A Woman Who Serves

From the DONA website:

The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

I have been asked to serve a friend on her VBAC journey. She, herself, is a certified doula. She does not need me to give her information or resources about birth or VBAC or labor coping techniques. She has read and researched much more than I have. She has attended many births as a doula and has put many techniques in practical use. So why does she need a doula herself, and why me?


Every woman needs support in her pregnancy and birthing time. Her knowledge, goals and family situation may vary, but every woman needs support. In Amy's case, she has great knowledge and a supportive husband, but she has special circumstances since her first birth was by cesarean with an inverted-T incision. It can be difficult to find the right provider for a VBAC when you have a low, transverse incision, but an inverted T makes it even harder. The importance of creating a birth team, cannot be underestimated.

I am not a certified doula, but I did go to great lengths to birth Eva. I know what it is to wear the scarlet letter that a prior c-section represents to many doctors. I know what it is to believe that I can birth my baby even when it would be more convenient for everyone else involved (other than me and the baby) to submit to a major abdominal surgery. I know the courage it takes to prepare and to believe when most people around you don't understand, or worse yet, don't believe. I know how it feels to do everything you can and then surrender to the process.

So I will serve. I will listen. I will cheer. I will encourage. I will surrender to the process of her birth. I will trust that I will have the right words at the right time, the right touch at the right time and know when to just sit quietly in the corner and do nothing but be present.

I am honored to walk this road with her and for the next 9 months, I will serve in any way I can.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sewing Project

Though I have had some small sewing projects in school, I never really learned to sew. I can't cut or stitch a straight line and I am not mechanically inclined, so getting proper tension on the thread, threading the machine, winding the bobbin, all big obstacles to sewing. Before Ian was born, I made a crib skirt and quilt with the help of my mom and friend, Heather. My mom is much more precise about laying out the fabric correctly and pressing the seams. That paralyzed me even more.

I've had a simple pillowcase dress pattern for months that I have been unable to get myself to make for the reasons listed above. I think I am finally starting to realize that it doesn't matter if it is perfect, I just need to do it. The pattern is very forgiving as is the cotton fabric, so I am trying to just get it done. The pattern was a PDF so I got it printed and put together and then I cut it out. Now it is pinned together and ready to be stitched.

So the question is, how long will it take me to wind and load the bobbin, thread the machine and stitch?

What Does Daddy Do Every Sunday

My yoga teacher training course is all day long, every Sunday. People have been asking me,"How is Curt doing? What does he do all day wit the kids?"

Well, every Sunday after they drop me off, they make pancakes. Then, the do a lot of this:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Standing and Scooting


Falling into the Splits:

Little Sister

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yesterday Sex, Today Death

So yesterday Ian hits us with,"I want to talk about sex," and today he picked Bambi off the shelf for me to read to him at storytime.

Ya know, the story about the little deer whose mother gets shot by the hunters. The book doesn't show Bambi's mom die, just tells you that it happened and on the next page Bambi appears with his father.

"What happened to Bambi's mother?"

"She died. The hunters shot her."

"Why did they do that? They shouldn't do that?"

"They wanted to eat her."

"You're not supposed to eat somebody's mom. I need to get in those pages and stop the bad guys from shooting her."

Think we might be going vegan. Until Curt makes ribs again.

First Sex Talk

My son is 3 years old. Not almost 4, not even 3.5, he is 38 months old. Yesterday, while he was getting into the bath he said,"I want to talk about sex, Mommy."


"Sex. Seeeexxxxx. Let's talk about sex."

Just then, my husband came home and I told him,"Ian wants to talk about sex."

Curt said,"We can talk about sex after your bath."

After his bath, Ian was jumping around in the livingroom,"I'm ready. Ready to talk about sex!"

So Curt says to him,"What do you think it is?"

Ian says,"I don't know."

Curt,"Where did you hear about it?"

Ian,"On the tv." (Darn those PSAs there is one that plays on AFN a lot that has kids sayingm"Mom, Dad talk to me about sex."

Curt,"Sex is something that adults do."

Ian,"Then I think I need to practice a lot." (probably said this because he had to practice going to the potty and putting on his clothes , etc)

Curt,"No, no, you don't need to practice until you are much older." (Oh boy, was Curt starting to sweat here).

Ian,"Can I eat these carrots?"

And so ends the first sex talk.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Moby Wrap Intervention Brought to You by Mama Seoul

Yesterday, I ran into a mom of three who was trying to help her older child with his homework, keep a toddler from jumping off the stairs and other destruction and calm a fussy newborn baby. She was holding him, but he was still fussing. Unable to concentrate on helping her older son, she set the baby down in his carseat carrier. She was very frustrated and so was the baby. Since Ian was occupied and Eva was sleeping I offered to hold the baby. The mom said,"That would be really nice, but he is hard to soothe."

I picked him up and wrapped my sweater tightly around him, like he would be held if I had my wrap, and he calmed instantly. I held him for about 15 minutes before Eva woke up. The mom was amazed and a little embarrassed. She said,"You calmed him and I couldn't. I should have been able to do it."

And then, of course, I told her about Moby,"It's not magic, it's Moby."

I'm no "baby whisperer", but the right carrier can really help a fussy baby. Unfortunately, my own wrap is out on loan, but I sent her the contact information for Moby Wrap Korea. It is amazing how a good baby carrier will change your life for the better.

Coincidently, Eva was wearing her Moby hat yesterday (with a very cute knit outfit that was given to me by my friend Katy). Moby has hats, blankets and Baby Legs to match your Moby. Korea only has the hats and blankets right now, but perhaps the Baby Legs will come soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Halloween 2009 started back in August when I decided not to be last minute about the costumes. I decided that Eva would be Cyndi Lauper and ordered the basis for her outfit. I tried to let Ian pick his costume but he kept going back and forth so I finally ordered a pirate costume sometime in September. Well, Eva's outfit was backordered and delayed and backordered. I think it has finally shipped, but it did not arrive on time. With the Passion for Birth seminar October 28-30, I was not prepared for Halloween.

Eva's costume had to be put together. She refused the wig I had (it was blonde, not colored so it didn't really fit for 80's Cyndi anyway), refused bracelets and refused makeup. So her costume ended up being somewhere between punk princess, senior cruisewear and vampire. Oh well, she is a baby.

It was raining on Saturday but did clear up between 6 and 8 so we were able to go Trick-or-Treating. I got a few pictures before the camera died. Then I shot some more with a friend's camera, but I don't have those pictures, yet. I got a few more with another camera at home. Next year, I need to make sure I have enough time for execution or just buy something premade . Ian had a lot of fun and did more houses than last year. Of course, last year we were able to get rid of most of his candy without him knowing. This year, he knows but we are rationing and I will still give out or throw away a lot of the candy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Girl Wants to Potty All the Time, Potty All the Time, Potty All the Ti-ime!

I haven't changed a poopy diaper since I started part-time Elimination Communication with Eva. Doing it part-time really takes the pressure/stress out of it. I've been catching pee by putting her on the potty as soon as she wakes up from night or naps, if she is fussy, and just periodically throughout the day. She seems to understand what she is supposed to do now and she pees pretty quickly when I put her on. I think if I put her on when I have to go, I can increase the # of pee catches without much effort. I tried to do it when we were out by holding her over the toilet, but that didn't work very well. I set her on the edge, but I don't her bottom on a public toilet seat so I think we will stick to doing it at home for now and maybe get a travel potty for the car later.

Boy! I sure was wrong about EC. With the right attitude anyone can do it part-time. I need to do more reading and research, to refine our process, but with very little reading and research, we already have success.

Monday, October 19, 2009

EC Day#4

For the past 3 days, I have put Eva on the potty when I picked up her signals. She nurses several times a night, but this morning, when she woke for her first nursing session of the morning, I put her on the potty and she peed for about 10 seconds. I caught a poop late morning before we went to pick Ian up at school.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Part-Time EC, I'm Going for It!

I always though that Elimination Communication (EC) was too much work and not for me. However, since I haven't really had any problems with Eva (like breastfeeding issues or colic--let me knock on wood after typing that) and she often has very loud signals for when she needs to poop, like grunting, I have been thinking about trying EC with her for awhile. Before we moved, I did about half a day of experimentation which involved observing the patterns around when she goes. However, the moving process was crazy and stressful and long and caused regression in Ian's potty training, so I shelved EC.

A few nights ago after an e-mail to an expat mom who practices EC part-time, I got thinking about it again. Then, while in the bathtub with Eva, she started to grunt. Oh, no! Not in the tub! I jumped out and put her on the potty. I made a grunting sound and she pooped! Encouraged by that success and the fact that it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" choice, I have decided to start trying to catch some poops and work with her on the potty.

Yesterday, I put her on (on the big potty with a potty insert) and Ian and I grunted for her and she put a woman-sized poop in the potty! Ian and I cheered for her. It is nice to have Ian help "teach" her.

Today, I her the signals but was busy so I missed the poop, but caught a pee.

Why do this?
Even if you do EC full-time, your child will probably not be completely independently potty trained until at least 18 months, but often later.

Why start early then?
Well, for every pee/poop you catch, you save a diaper from being used, which is better for the environment. Also, listening to and responding to a child's attempts to communicate their elimination needs, develops communication with your child. EC advocates talk about demonstrating respect for the child in this way so they are not sitting in waste. The child understands earlier what the potty is for and as long as your expectations are reasonable and there is no punishment or trauma involved, this can result in easier/earlier potty training. The Diaper Free Baby website has a long list of benefits and tips for getting started.

Eva is 7.5 months old and sits really well. She can sit on the potty by herself. I sit close with my hand on her leg so she doesn't jump off, but I don't have to hold her. Since she prefers to sit rather than crawl, she enjoys sitting on the potty. It is fun for Ian and I to encourage her. We are just going to start slowly. I will put her on the potty first thing in the morning, when I hear her signals and after eating. I will try to observe the times of day that she makes dirty diapers and maybe add potty time in if I can establish a pattern. I want to build up our commitment to EC because I don't want it to be stressful for either of us. Also, there are benefits to be reaped from occasional or part-time EC. Even though I potty training Ian was easy and gentle, even with the moving-related regression, I think Eva would really appreciate EC since she hates to be wet or dirty.

Anyone out there practice EC? How did it go for you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vaginal Breech Birth in Korea!

Update: Another expat had a vaginal breech birth with the same team in Feb of 2010!

One of the moms in the Expat Parents Club just had a baby boy here in Seoul on October 10 in a planned vaginal breech birth. She was attended by both a midwife and an OB. C-section averted! This was her second baby and all attempts to get the baby to turn, including ECV, failed. Awesome!

If you are pregnant in Korea and have a breech, you have options!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Baby Makin' Machine's March of Dimes Fundraiser/Giveaway

Future Mama J at Baby Makin' Machine is having a fundraiser/giveaway for the March of Dimes. Click on over to contribute to a great cause. You'll be entered to win some fabulous prizes that were donated by her sponsors. Not only are the babies guaranteed to win through the March of Dimes' hard work and dedication, every donor will receive two floral baby headbands or a dogie bandana made by the Future Mama!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009


We've transitioned from shorts to pants, but it really isn't cool enough for jackets, sweaters and hats. That didn't stop me today.

Fire Fighters!

It is Fire Safety Week and the Yongsan Firefighters visited the Preschool. The kids got to sit in the driver's seat and squirt the hose. Ian is obsessed with water guns, but he did not want to try the hose.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I Made Something, I Actually Made Something!

My friend Chalica and I are pathetic because we both own sewing machines and do not know how to use them. (Chalica is less pathetic than I am because we both also own cameras, but she actually knows how to use hers). Our friend, Jenny, showed us a very simple project that inspired us to break out the old machines.

Baby Leg Warmers Out of Knee Socks

Koreans seem to have a sock obsession because you can buy socks on the street everywhere. It is probably because they take their shoes off inside and so need to be more stylish with their socks. In any case, you can buy adult knee socks in Itaewon for less than 2,000 won per pair without negotiating. They offered us 6 pair for 10,000 won.

Then, you snip the sock foot off at the ankle.

Cut off the toe.

Cut of the heel.

Take the remaining band between the toe and the heel and fold it in on itself.

Stitch to the tube of the sock.

Zig zag over original stitching to secure.


Here is another set of instructions with a slight variation.

Anyway, she brought her machine over yesterday and we both got one leg warmer done before we screwed up the threading of our machines and had to stop for the day. Today, I finished the second leg and now have one pair done! The sewing ain't pretty and in all probability will have to be re-done after washing or wearing a few times, but it works!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Little Stunt Woman

Today, I put Eva on Ian's bed while I got her clothes out of the clothes (in the same room). In the time it took to pull a shirt off the hanger and reach into the drawer for a pair of pants, she had scooted herself to the edge of the bed and stood up! She pulled herself up on the bedrails that we have on there to keep Ian from falling out. I turned and saw her and before I could get to her, she smiled and bounced herself over the edge! She flipped over completely in the air and landed on her back.

This picture is of her napping after the fall. I made her stay awake for a long time afterwards just to be sure she was O.K. Then she fell asleep nursing in the chair. Lest you think that I've learned nothing from this incident, I just took her picture and then moved her to the floor.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

At a Party

We attended a birthday party yesterday and I will be posting more on the cake and decorations later. Happy Birthday, Alexandra!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Taste of Lemon

Despite the expression, she loved it.

6 Months Old and I've Already Doomed Her to Therapy!

I did it again! At Eva's 6 month checkup, I was looking deep into her eyes and smiling. Then they gave her the shots. Her pupils instantly dilated and she started screaming. I think I traumatized her for life. She is going to associate pain with me. I did this before as well. I think next time, I won't look at her until after.

I really need to start filling in her baby book. Another reason for therapy as I put quite a bit into Ian's book. I even had it at his third birthday party because there is a page about third birthday in it. I'll have to look through the blog and Twitter for Eva's updates.

Eva is in the 38% for weight. She was in the 86% at the two month check up I think. She is hardly wasting away, in fact, she is chunkier than Ian, so I don't think anything is wrong with her. She weighs 7.2 kg (almost 16 lbs). I wonder if the fact that she chose her own birthday (unlike so many others, including Ian) had anything to do with her being at the top of the weight charts when she was younger.

She is vocalizing and spitting a lot. Besides pteradactyl noise, I've heard "hi", "mama", "dad", and "What are you people doing?" among other things. I don't count these as real words because she isn't associating them to people/objects or saying them in context, but that just gives you an idea about her vocal experimentation.

Satya Movement Arts: Yoga, Pilates and Dance Classes in English in Seoul

Check out Satya Movement Arts for a list of yoga, pilates and dance classes in Seoul taught in English. Not all are open to the public and you might want to contact individual instructors to makes sure the schedule is current.

Also check out Pure Yoga, Jai Yoga Center and Magic Pond Yoga.

I took classes at Pure Yoga and I am doing the Yoga Teacher Training Program at Magic Pond. Jai Yoga Center brings in internationally-known instructors and has some prenatal yoga classes as well. I haven't taken there, but I have me the owner and would like to take from her, but all of my time is focused on Magic Pond right now.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Ian still nurses before bed and nap and Eva is primarily breastfed (has a bit of solids). Last night, Ian couldn't wait for Eva to nurse. I was laying in the dark with my two children in their striped pajamas listening to the them nurse and feeling their little bodies relax into mine.

After just two Sundays, Curt has become amazingly response to Eva's needs, even when I am home. He used to wait for me to handle things, but his confidence has just blossomed. Now, when Eva starts fussing, he takes the lead. In fact, he uses the Ergo so much that the new blue one has become his. Our setting are very different, so I will use the old one and we'll keep the new one adjusted to his settings. I am going to use the Ergo Back Pack (part of the Hands-Free System Eva and I won) as a diaper bag for Curt so he is ready to go out on Sundays.

My friend Chalica and her husband Jason helped us tremendously with the party. She told me that for Emma's party (which we missed because that was the day of our move), she ran out of time to hang the streamers and the kids had tons of fun playing with them. We hung up a few for Ian's party, but then gave the rest to the kids. They loved it! I bought two bags of balloons, but one of them had really tiny balloons. They were so small, that Jason, a musician, popped the first balloon with one breath while trying to blow it up. Luckily, the other bag had big balloons. Everyone should have a trumpet-player friend around when it is time to blow up balloons!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gender Studies with Ian

Ian was playing with his friend Emma a few weeks ago. She put on a tutu and twirled around saying,"I am a princess! I am a princess."

Ian, not wanting to be left out, said,"I want a tutu!".

Emma's mom got out another one and we put it on him. He twirled around and exclaimed,"I am a princess! I am a princess!"

Ah, such innocence! How sweet! And then....

He picked up a lego and yelled,"Bang! Bang! I'm shooting you! I'm a princess and I'm shooting you!"

Like a girlie Rambo.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Winners Again!

Two years ago, my testimonial photo won a place in the Ergo Calendar. We were living in Egypt at the time and we got our picture taken in front of the Pyramids of Giza. Ian was nursing in the Ergo as I enjoyed visiting the sole surviving wonder on the Seven Wonder of the World list.

Fast forward to this July when we went to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat and other ancient temples. Though I love my Beco (4th Generation), it was the Ergo I chose to bring to Cambodia. I wanted the extra support provided by the thicker shoulder and waist straps as well as the zippered front pocket (really convenient for passports, tickets and money while traveling). We had a great trip and Eva slept, nursed and smiled in the Ergo the whole trip. I was able to climb to the tops of the temples and walk all around. We didn't miss out on anything.

When we returned home to Korea, I had an e-mail from Ergo about a new photo contest. I sent in a few photos from our trip and to my surprise and delight, we won! The prize was an Ergo Hands-Free System. It arrived today. The contest was almost over when we entered and I hadn't really focused on the prize, but I was pleased to try it out. I opened the first box and it was the Ergo Backpack in Blue. I wondered why they didn't send me camel to match my carrier, but I thought,"Well, that's o.k. they blue will go with the camel". Then I opened the second box. It was a front pouch. Finally, there was a third box. "What could this be?" I asked as I picked up the third box.

It was a brand new Ergo carrier in blue! They have made several improvements since I bought my carrier in January 2007.

From the Ergo website:

The chest straps are now permanently attached to the shoulder straps with a "runner", and will keep the chest strap in its desired location so it won't need readjusting each time the carrier is taken on and off. The chest straps are dyed to match the carrier, enhancing the carrier's overall appearance.

The hood straps are shorter and now attach directly onto the shoulder straps; therefore, the D-rings are no longer needed. The elastacized hood provides more length in spite of the shorter straps and will "cup" around your baby's head.

The one current D-ring is for your personal use. These changes are not yet reflected in our instructional videos.

This is a great change. The old sleeping hood is fine once you get the straps attached, but you have to find the D-ring, slide the straps through the D-ring and snap them. They are very long and it is difficult to attach. I just tried on the new carrier and put up the hood. It was so much quicker and easier with the new design.

I will review the other components of the hands-free system after I use them long enough to get a good feel.

I noticed that on the Ergo site that Ergo will be unveiling Heart2Heart carrier in September. I searched online and couldn't find anymore information except that a few bloggers are set up to receive it when it comes out for a review and/or giveaway. I am guessing that this carrier will have an integrated infant insert. I have no basis for this guess except that I find the Ergo infant insert bulky and a pain to use, plus, other competitors, like Beco have built-in infant inserts. I love the Ergo. It is an awesome carrier once you can use it without the infant insert all the way through to when you don't want to carry your child anymore, but the infant insert leaves a lot to be desired. It is fine once baby is in, but when you take the baby in out and you have two big pieces to deal with. Some people love it though, but for me, the Ergo is best post-infant stage, especially when baby/toddler gets big and squirmy!

I used a Mamma's Milk Adjustable Pouch with Eva until she could use the Ergo and Beco (I have the old 4th Generation model Beco that requires an infant insert, the Butterfly II has a built-in infant insert) without the insert. Though the Mamma's Milk Adjustable Pouch is beautiful and worked well with Eva, it is still a one-shouldered carrier. I just don't last as long with a one-shouldered carrier. Since I've tried a wrap, I now believe that I will prefer to use the Moby Wrap with my next newborn, even after looking at the Beco's built-in infant insert. Still, I am interested to see what Ergo will come up with. Ergo was at the Baby Fair this weekend, but I didn't stop by since I already have my Ergo and I was demonstrating the Moby. I wonder of they had Heart2Heart there....

What a great week it has been for me and babywearing! I got a Moby Wrap and learned how to use it and I won a new Ergo system! (In the winning Ergo photo, I'm also wearing the Japanese Weekend Nursing Top that I won in the Blacktating Blogiversary celebration--It brought me luck!)

Stay tuned for my upcoming post, "Can You Have Too Many Babycarriers?" in which I will give MY answer to this question and compare my favorite carriers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Moby Modeling at the Coex Baby Fair 2009

Let me just say that I am converted! After unsatisfying attempts to use ring slings and pouches (often touted as the easiest most basic of carriers), I went straight to the soft-structured carriers (Ergo and Beco which I love). I never tried a wrap because even though wrap-wearers are a devoted set, wraps seemed too complicated and if I couldn't handle a ring sling, how would I master a wrap?

And then I met Sarah. She preaches the gospel of Moby. She loved her wrap so much that she became the Moby Wrap distributor for Korea. When Moby Wrap Korea got a last minute spot at the Coex Baby Fair, I offered (with Eva) to be a product demonstrator. The Moby website has very good instructions and Sarah helped me when I got there. We put her in the Hug Hold Eva felt "snug as a bug in a rug" as my dad says. It felt like I was hugging her. It is very well named. She fell asleep immediately. I walked around both levels of the Fair, armed with brochures. Several people pointed and stared at me. I handed them brochures and said "Moby, 3rd floor by Sony". I went about walking around the fair with Eva in the Moby and pushing my stuff in the stroller, remembering too late why I hate to use a stroller. After making the full circuit, I went back to check in with Sarah.

The demonstrator toddler was cranky, so after Eva had a snack, she jumped into the roll of demonstrator baby. Eva is a great product demonstrator because she really responds when people smile at her and she loved the Moby. Cute baby plus honest enjoyment of the product = very good marketing. Eva nursed well in the Moby (Hug Hold) and I think her nursing sold a grandmother who was on the fence. As soon as she saw Eva nursing, she smiled and gestured about nursing and then bought one! In addition to Hug Hold, I tried Lotus Hold(forward facing) and Cradle Hold. Eva is a little big for Cradle Hold, but we did it to show a perspective buyer. There is also Hike Hold (back carry) and Hip Hold.

The Moby Wrap has several variations: Moby Wrap, Moby UV, Moby D (has woven or silk center panel), Moby Select(Organic).

We got the Moby D Jade Silk Panel on Chocolate, though I am thinking the Pink Silk Panel on Black would be better for fall...

Some interesting notes on what the Koreans liked: natural (regular and organic), lilac, chocolate, eggplant (organic). The silks did really well, also. When they were told that chocolate was the #1 seller, they really liked that.

The advantages of the Moby over many other carriers:

*Adjustability: You can customize the wrap to a wide range of body types. Soft-structured carriers can handle height and width differences, but Moby has a real advantage for the well-endowed. You can also customize for very small babies, even premies, up to 35 lbs toddlers. You can also hold twins.

*Comfort for You and Baby: The fabric is soft, yet supportive and the carries use both shoulders which I find to be much more comfortable than one-shouldered carriers. Over the course of the 5 hours I wore the Moby (at the fair and the way home), I didn't feel anything in my shoulders (it was heaven on the shoulders). I did start to feel a little twinge in my back towards the end, but Sarah spread out the fabric and fixed that. Eva had no complaints.

*Compact: The Moby comes with a small matching bag where you can store your Moby and then put it in a diaper bag. You could also just fold it up or roll it up as well. I'm not one to put my carrier away while I'm out and about. I usually leave it on while I am driving so I can put the baby back in quicker when I reach my destination. Once you tie on the Moby, it looks kind of like a t-shirt. You don't have to take it off to get the baby out. So if you prefer to leave it on, it will save you time and be neat.

*Multi-Purpose: You can use it as a blanket or changing mat. Korea seems to either have elaborate nursing/changing rooms or nothing. Someone really ought to start selling those restroom pull-down diaper change things here. It is nice to have something to provide a barrier for diaper changes.

The main drawback to the Moby is the learning curve to use it, but it is not insurmountable. You need to remember how to put it on and to make the adjustments properly. However, I think this will be easier than I previously thought. After just looking at the instructions and having Sarah help me today, I am sure that I can get to be as quick and Sarah and her business partners are about putting them on and taking them off without too much effort.

I think the Moby Wrap is the best carrier for newborns. With Ian, I tried to use a ring sling, but it never felt secure and I couldn't get Ian comfortable, plus it is on one-shoulder. I had the Baby Bjorn, but I found it hard to get him in and out and it really hurts your back and shoulders, even with very small, very young babies. I made a pouch, but I am not a very good seamstress and don;t think I got the measurements quite right. I got the Ergo and Beco when Ian was almost 5 months old and they were perfect right out of the box. No learning curve, just awesome security, ease of use and comfort for Ian. However, when I tried to use the Ergo and Beco (I have the 4th Generation, the new Butterfly II has a built-in infant insert, but I haven't tried it) with Eva as a newborn, I found the infant insert to be bulky and awkward. I received a beautiful light blue silk adjustable Momma's Milk pouch as a gift, so that is what I used with Eva for the first few months. The adjustability ensured a good fit for me, but my husband could not wear it. Also, pouches are one-shouldered carriers so you do feel the strain on your working shoulder a lot quicker than 2 shouldered carriers. Even at 5 months, it was very comfortable to wear Eva. I wish I would have had the Moby from the beginning with her. Sarah still uses it quite a bit with her toddler. I will have to update this review after a few months of use.

Here is my Eva with Sarah. They look so cute together!

The Moby Booth is against the back wall on the 3rd floor near the Sony booth. The Baby Fair runs through Sunday. Go here to pre-register so you can get into the Baby Fair free. Go to the desk for Foreigners and Press and tell them you pre-registered online.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coex Baby Fair 2009

The Coex Baby Fair is this week, August 20-23. Mommy Cha will be there with Moby Wrap Korea. The fair has representatives from many pregnancy/baby related items from cloth diapers to photographers to gear to services, etc. They often have discounts and special deals. I found a lot of the items to be pretty pricey last year, but it is definitely worth a look. If you have a Moby, please wear it to support Moby Wrap Korea and stop by their booth to say hello.

Mommy Cha sent some free tickets to Baby Fair for me to give away, but there appears to have been a postal mixup and they haven't arrived. However, last year, we pre-registered and were able to get in free. Here's the link we used last year. Hope it works again! Ignore the contradictory Konglish message at the top and just fill it out and submit.

Milestones: Ian Uses Chopsticks

Or "chapsticks" as he prefers to call them. He doesn't believe me when I tell him "chopsticks". What is the Korean word for them? Maybe he'll believe that...

They are training chopsticks, but I was still impressed that he was able to put his fingers in the right places and get food (he picked the eel out of the rolls) in his mouth.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Clothing Swaps, Beyond Awesome!

When I was little, I had a very entrepreneurial spirit. I loved to sell things. I sold lemonade, honey suckles, bows, fruit salad and more. Then, something happened and selling became distasteful to me. I can't stand it. I always seem to feel ripped off whether I am doing the buying or selling. I much prefer to donate things or give them away. Still, it is nice to get something out of the things I have that just don't work for me and that is where clothing swaps come in.

I have a vague memory of doing one in DC with my roommates years ago. My friend Lauri, of Found Clothing, has been doing them for years. The Expat Parents Club did one in June but I wasn't able to participate. It was a great success. And today, I attended one held by the Yongsan Playgroups. I really cleaned up! I got a winter coat and pair of jeans for Ian and a ton of stuff for Eva in sizes 6-12 months through 24 months, but mostly, size 12-18 months. Between what I already have for her and what I got today, she is pretty well set for clothes. I can fill in the gaps with things I really like.

I have been holding onto a lot of things that either didn't fit well or just weren't my style because I didn't want to deal with selling them, but didn't want to just give them away like:

1. Maternity/nursing clothes, including very nice pajamas, that are too big. I had a big pile of maternity clothes. They just don't quite work. I should have returned them, but I talked myself into keeping them to avoid the hassle of returns (trying to break that bad habit).

2. Baby bathrobes (3 of them that I received as gifts). They are super cute, but I just don't use them. It seems like by the time I get them on, I could have their clothes on. That is what I do. I used them once or twice with Ian because I was aware I wasn't using them. Then I determined it just wasn't worth the effort. However, some people do use them. My friend Heather says she uses robes on her kids all the time. Hopefully those cute robes went to someone who will love them.

3. Baby wash cloths. I have more than I need (given as gifts) and I never use them. I was happy to pass them on.

4. Extra onesies. I got a package of 6 onesies as a gift for Ian, but I never used them because I already had enough in that size.

5. Two new dresses that were gifts for Eva that will not be the right season when she hits that size.

6. A crib sheet that I received as a gift that I never used because it didn't match the crib skirt I made. I also don't use the crib very much anyway.

7. A pile of other clothes from Ian that just weren't my style.

This was so much fun. I got such a nice haul that I will be freer to buy special things for the kids and freer to give things away at the next swap. My friend, Heather, also saved some long sleeved t-shirts for Ian. She has them at her house so we'll just pick them up at our next playdate. Her son is 6 months older than Ian so it works great for hand-me downs. Her second (and last) child is a girl so she is getting rid of most things from her son. Great for us!

Swapping is good for your wallet, the environment and your feng shui! To set up a swap, you just need people and their stuff. You can make it as tight or as loose as you want as far as rules go. The way the swap worked at Yongsan Playgroups was that everyone put their stuff into piles based on loose categories/sizes. Then, everyone could take 5 items. The plan was to take a break after 5 items, but since it was going so smoothly and calmly, we decided just to keep going. The plan was to take as many items as you brought. Whatever items were left at the end could either be taken home by the person who brought them, taken by someone else, or donated.

There were lots of clothes/people at this swap and lots of clothes to pick from and we are a tight knit community so I think when you have those circumstances you can use looser rules/structure. If you do a swap with a smaller group/smaller pile, you might need to take turns and go around the room choosing one item at a time so everyone gets the chance at the good stuff. If you do a swap with a big group, it is probably a good idea to start with a limit and take take breaks until you see how aggressive people are in the choosing to make sure it is a positive/pleasant experience for everyone.

Have fun, and get swapping!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley, perhaps best known for her books on sleep issues, is the author of the No-Cry Discipline Solution.

I turned to this book last year when my son picked my unfortunate swearing habit. Pantley's book gives age-appropriate remedies that mostly involve reducing exposure to the words, especially from you! . Click here for that post. I will say that it worked almost immediately.

This summer has been super stressful and while I have (mostly) refrained from dropping f-bombs, "Oh God" has been uttered many times by both me and my little mimic. I don't like to hear him say that but I know exactly where it is coming from, so back to the book! I picked this book back up because of this issue and as I glanced through it, I realized I needed to re-read it. Elizabeth Pantley defines the goal of discipline on page 4:

Parental discipline is about helping our children create a foundation of strong values, morals, and guidelines that they
can use for a lifetime of self-discipline.

In other words, you want to teach your child to make good decisions when you aren't there. I believe this and in practice, I have found that when I am able to stay in control, I have a better outcome with Ian. Still, it is my nature and/or learned habit to yell and lose control. That is why a book like this is so valuable. Not only does it reinforce my theoretical beliefs regarding discipline, it gives practical strategies to real-life discipline problems. Time to get reading...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Whoa, Dude! Time to Prepare for Cup Feeding and First Solids

How did this happen? Having a baby breaks all sense of linear views of time and existence. I feel like I've loved her forever, but at the same time, it seems like just a few weeks ago that I met her. Now, we have been through a lot in her short lifetime: numerous roadtrips, multiple international flights, and multiple moves. Unbelievably, she really hasn't made any of this much harder. She nursed and slept and smiled through most of it.

Breastfeeding has been so effortless this time. I'm not bragging, believe me, with Ian it was rough for the first 3 months. With Eva, it was very natural, the way every woman thinks it should be. It was so easy and great, that I didn't bother giving her a bottle more than twice. I really just couldn't manage it on top of everything else going on. But, I am trying to prepare her for my yoga class, so I have to do something by August 30.

With Ian, I followed the conventional advice of introducing the bottle at 6 weeks. I gave him one bottle a day for about 6 weeks and then only when needed after that. He never had a problem. Another friend has a newborn and was asking about introducing the bottle. I did a quick kellymom search and found lots of links. I decided to check them out myself and found another plan of attack. Between 4-6 months, a baby can usually handle a sippy cup and it is often easier for a baby this age to accept it than a bottle. I really wanted to try out those Adiri bottles, but perhaps the cup method would work better. Today, I pumped 2.75 oz (in 25 minutes). I went out and bought some Platex First Sipster cups. They are cheap, BPA-free and the Playtex sippy cup lines is highly rated on Z Recommends.

I can also start thinking about solids for her. She loves to watch me eat so I think she will take them earlier than Ian did, but we'll see. Last night, I realized I need to get Ian out of the highchair. I still have him in it because the tray confines the mess, but he doesn't use a highchair when we are out and didn't at my parents' house, so he doesn't need it. He does, however, need to be transitioned out of it. So, last night, I told him that he needed to pick a new place at the table.

When Curt gets home we will be experimenting with my 2.75 oz. I'll report back later...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Preparing to Leave My Daughter

Starting August 30, I will be leaving my daughter for a good portion of the day, every Sunday, to participate in a yoga teacher training course at Magic Pond Yoga Studio. Up until now, I've made one, 20 minute roundtrip to the Post Office and maybe one quick grocery run, when I left her with my mom and I got a massage in Cambodia when I left her with Curt and my sister. Now, every Sunday, I will be leaving her with Curt. With Ian, we were separated a lot during Ian's infancy because I went back to the States to have him, Curt was traveling for work and then went to Iraq. He has never been too sure about what to do with an infant and didn't really get the chance to find out. Well, that's about to change. I think this will be a good thing for Curt, Eva and I, but it is a little scary.

With Ian, I had breastfeeding troubles so I started giving him one bottle a day from 6-12 weeks to give myself a break from breastfeeding so I could either pump, or just have a break. I've had absolutely no breastfeeding problems with Eva and with all the moving, she has only had one bottle and she didn't really drink it. We have less than 30 days to get her to take a bottle, or Curt and Eva are going to have very rough time. But, it has to be done.

So here is my plan, I am going to start pumping today. I am going to pump a little bit every day for the next 26 days and have Curt give her a bottle. I don't like pumping, so I will slowly increase the amount of pump time so I can build up a frozen supply and increase efficiency. My blog friend Connie, went back to work after a short maternity leave with both of her kids and neither ever had ANY formula. This was after 2 c-sections as well. That is dedication. If moms can pump enough for a 5-day work week, I can suck it up and pump for a once a week class.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Eva, Month 5 or I Found My Toes in Cambodia

Picture of Eva on top of her zodiac statue at the National Folk Museum of Korea:

Eva turned 4 months old on July 5, the day that we moved in with my 2nd cousin who we met for the first time the day before. How's that for instant family bonding? We spent July touring around Seoul, going to the Mud Festival, hanging out at the pool, moving in and traveling to Cambodia. Eva spent most of that time riding in the Beco or Ergo, sleeping, nursing and smiling.
She is playing in the bouncer now and enjoying toys as well. She still prefers people to toys, but is starting to get interested. I'm glad she's a smiler because everyone in Korea seems to love to try to get babies to smile. Ian is not a smiler. He really has to be amused to smile. Eva will smile just because she was smiled at. When Ian was her age, he would just raise his eyebrows and glare when people tried to get him to smile. She's babbling a lot as well. She has always made noises, but she is awake more now so she seems to make more deliberate sounds.

While in Cambodia, she hung out with Buddhist nuns, the President of the Cambodian Senate, and climbed many temple steps with me. I over-dressed her because I was worried about mosquitos biting her, but she did fine. Eva is a delicate flower in her movements and appearance, but she sweats like man, so she was not amused with my choice of clothing for her. I brought one onesie and a pair of Baby Legs so she had to wear that a lot because she got too hot.

She became obsessed with her toes in Cambodia and rolled from back to stomach for the first time at the hotel there. (She did roll from back to stomach two times before but that was at 3 days old and two weeks old or something like that and I don't think she realized what she did). She rolled over again at home, but she often gets distracted by her toes and just hangs out on her side, trying to chew her toes. She really isn't left alone lying down, unless she is sleeping. She does not like tummy time. She is very strong and being in the carrier counts as tummy time, but doesn't present her with opportunities to roll over.

When Ian was 4 months old, we went on a Nile Cruise. The President of Egypt was meeting with Condoleeza Rice at the hotel where our boat was docked. He actually came on our boat and we got a picture with him. It was pure, dumb luck. We were staying at a nice hotel, but not the nicest and we did not know they would be holding a meeting there. It was cool. Not to be outdone, Eva got her picture taken with the President of the Senate of Cambodia, who just happened to be staying at our hotel. Again, the hotel was nice, but not the nicest in town. The tour guide said he stays there because he knows the owner and the owner is Cambodian. Very cool and lucky! Just wish our tour guide had arrived a few minutes earlier so he could have gotten his picture taken with him as well. Now, I do have to say, in order to protect Eva's potential future political career, that we do not know anything about this guy's politics. He is a member of the current ruling party and Cambodia is at Peace now, internally, but a lot of stuff has gone down in Cambodia in that guy's lifetime. We just got the picture taken with him because it was weird to have him there. Plus, his picture is hanging in every restaurant and all over the place in Cambodia.