Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting...Good bye 2013

I love the end of the year!  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve!  It seems happiness is in the air the whole time.  Tomorrow brings in 2014 and I am ready.  The most common things I hear is, "I can't wait for this year to be over." of "I am not ready for a new year yet."  I too have said that I was so happy for a year to be done and over with.  Like when the husband had his last deployment, but then I reflect and realize that yes he might have been deployed but.... look at all the good that also came out of it.  And that year there were plenty of things that came out of it even though he was missing for most of it!  One thing I remember the most was in 2011 I looked at my friend and said, "I can say the actual words that HE IS COMING HOME THIS YEAR!"  That always made deployments easier because I know longer had to say next year. So for any family member who's loved one comes home in 2014, yes you can finally say that they will be home in so many months but most of all you can say this year!  :)

So many things took place in 2013 for me.  So many challenges, heartache, headaches, and so much laughter.  We brought in the New Year with dear friends Mike and Meechi!  They were building their home through the same builders we were and were less than a month behind.  This was the first New Years in both our homes and they hosted.  Audrey was not even 2 months old yet, we met new people and celebrated with good friends!  A few weeks later my family came to visit us for the second time in Colorado.  The first time was when I found out I was pregnant and now this time to see the little granddaughter/niece.  On their last full day we took them out to dinner and they surprised me with telling me that my mother would be back out a few weeks later to help me settle after Collin left for Korea.  Little did I know how much I was going to need that visit.

Collin was set to leave just a few days before Valentines day.  He was originally going to Kuwait, then a very small possibility to Afghanistan, then back to Kuwait then we got the word on Korea.  Audrey was a preemie and we didn't think it was a good time for us to follow.  So the day came for him to leave and I lost my water proof mascara and so I had to run to the store less than 2 miles away!  Wouldn't you know it was the one snow that we got in about a month that caused the roads to be slightly slick and I my car picked that day of all days to meet the sidewalk just down from our house.  (which delayed him leaving a day) My mom was supposed to come in that night and called to say she couldn't make it due to not feeling well but would get a flight the next day.  So after hours of headache with the car and high stress between Collin leaving, being a new mom, and my mom being sick we finally got to bed.  The next morning came and we had to be at the airport at 0430.  It was a heartbreaking day but my mom made it in that evening safe and sound.  Still feeling a bit yucky but we was getting better.  The last week and a half Audrey became sick and the last week we ended up quarantined in a hospital room due to RSV.  My biggest fear of anything serious happening to Audrey while Collin was gone came just a few weeks after he left.  But my mommy was there and was the biggest help ever!  She got me through it and we got released the afternoon before my mom had to fly back to Ohio.  After she left I cried almost the whole way home.... if this was a sign of how my year was going to be, I wanted to close my eyes and make it stop, I wanted to wish away 2013.

Thank God as humans we can't do that.  Collin settled into a cozy 3 bedroom apartment and we made plans to join him.  In June I quit my job and my brother came to visit.  When I flew back East with Audrey and my brother I was flying away from Colorado.  I had spent all of April and May sorting through our new 4 story (including the finished basement) home, working half my day, and being a mom the other half.  In late May I found a Property Manager for the house and started working on any details that needed fixed before new renters came in.  Yes I will toot my own horn and say that I somehow became SUPER SUPER mom!  Michael left the house in early June to join the military and Audrey was growing and keeping me on my toes.  Mid June I was in my parents house and soon at my family reunion.  I soon got word that early to mid July I was to fly home for the movers to start coming.  Audrey and I spent a week between Colorado and Arizona.  We got back with 12 hours to spare before the first set of packers came.  The first group was for our HHG to get packed and shipped to Korea.  They left on Wednesday and Thursday I was on a plane to AZ.  I got back Tuesday night and Wednesday the group came by to pack up the rest of our house and take it off to storage. Friday I finished odds and ends and Saturday I was back on a plane. 
I got to visit a lot more of family and was able to watch my little Princess grow.  Every couple of days it seemed that something would come up about us moving to Korea and the stress would wear on me for a couple days each time.  Ft. Carson couldn't send the passports until I had my Command Sponsorship and then once I forwarded that on something was wrong with the paperwork so Collin and I went back and forth trying to get everything straightened out until I just forwarded the letter from Carson to him and told him to fix it.  It all took at least 2 days it seemed to get things straightened out due to the time difference.  Collin wouldn't find out what was going on until after work and then we would have to wait until the next day to get the paperwork fixed and that was if he could get it done on side the next day.  This is when I learned I needed to have a little bit of patients.  Which is something God did not bless me with lol!  However all this activity was teaching me how to find it.  We finally got everything straightened out and my new renters had moved in and I was set to meet Collin mid September.  But first I got to attend my brothers wedding at the beginning  the month and visit with Nana and Bill before take off.  While at Nana's we were sitting around after dinner on a Sunday and I was talking about packing up the next morning so we would be ready to leave in the middle of the night Tuesday to catch our very early flight! Then the phone rang, it was Collin. He had called asking me if I could leave a day sooner due to increased traffic because of the Korean Holiday.  With high stress already I said if you can change it this late in the game then go for it.... I knew in my mind it was not going to happen, he wanted me on a flight in less than 24 hours!  Well 15 minutes later I had a new itinerary.  It was now time to get on the phone and change my rental car location and for some reason it took a total of 4 phone calls between Dallas and Killeen because no one seemed to know the correct procedures on how to change my drop off location and how much to finally charge me.  It was such a mess.  I started packing late that evening and finally got to bed around midnight only to be up with baby and out the door by 4am.  Ever since I got her it has been sweet!  And an opportunity of a life time!  Learning new foods and ways of living and seeing some beautiful places it has been a great adventure.

Even though my year was busy and pretty stressful I got to have a lot of fun traveling around with Audrey, seeing family and had a great summer over all.  God had everything under control the whole time and he knew that I would learn many lessons, many important lessons.  Like a little bit of patients!  And I am so happy it changed to Korea.  I thought we would miss Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, but I was wrong here we are and through everything I loved what it took to get here.  I just can't wait to find our new adventures in 2014.

Speaking of I guess it's time to turn on TV, sign off and watch Korea bring in the New Year!  This was supposed to be a blog highlighting my year but as always I went on and on!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

As I sit here typing on my brand new keyboard that I can connect by blue tooth to my galaxy tablet I find myself smiling; It was a good day!  Collin is playing with his new camera equipment and Audrey is finally fast asleep.  She was having so much fun playing all day that she just didn't want to go down.  Mike came down for a visit and is extremely sick but it was good seeing him.

It all started yesterday when late afternoon I started baking.  Made Cinnamon bread and prepped my baked corn then headed to a church service.  It was a little different but we enjoyed it. (Even with Audrey all over the place)It was a service with different denominations.  It was beautiful.  However I will admit that because Audrey wouldn't be quiet unless we were singing or their was someone else singing or playing music we had to whisper while singing What Does the Fox Say in her ear was a little awkward, especially during prayer!  That's right Grampy chuckle away. I can almost hear you now :)  It was the first time in a long time that everyone around me had big smiles plastered on their faces.  I can't remember the last time I felt sincere happiness all around me.  I couldn't help but think about why it has been so long since I have seen this.  I don't know what it was but it felt like Christmas warmth filled the room, A big present was wrapped up in the prettiest paper and at the end of service joy and love exploded.  It was like acceptance and I didn't even know what I was being excepted for.  I didn't have to give my name or say who I was but I was excepted.  It was nice and we are going to try the church out this Sunday.
After coming home I backed 2 1/2 dozen sugar cookies in all different Christmas shapes.  Collin made his deviled eggs and then we decorated the cookies and started to clean up until we realized it was near midnight and time to call it quits.

Christmas morning...... I woke up to Collin getting a head start on the mess we left last night.  He was doing dishes and I was dirtying more making my blueberry muffins for breakfast!  About 830 Mike arrived and Audrey woke.  Mike started passing out gifts and the fun began.  It was so much fun watching Audrey partially unwrap a gift and then find entertainment in something else.  Santa was good to all of us this year!  Audrey loves Christmas!  Hopefully these toys will last her awhile as Santa seemed to have pleased her!
We got to google+ plus with family while opening gifts and they got to watch Audrey play with her new toys.
Early afternoon we began our simple but yummy feast!  Collin did amazing and you know its an amazing meal when you eat so much that now at 8pm we still never got that dessert.

As my day is ready to end and we are ready for bed I anxiously await to see pictures of Christmas morning from my friends and family. Merry Christmas!!!  A King is born!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Sunday in Korea

So yesterday I woke up bright and early, 8am on a Sunday is early for me.  Collin is home and can't sleep in due to his internal clock so he gets Audrey when she wakes. Anyway I woke up with a ton of idea's for things to do.  Including a visit to the Onnuri Church.  However, Collin explained that the morning service is pretty far away and he would rather we go to the 4pm service which is much closer.  I love the family we have at the other church.  The people there are amazing but Collin and I just are not getting fed the way we need to fed, so we are looking into other options.  Not for certain that we will leave our Church family that we currently have but I need to know what is out there and so this past Sunday was the first step. I just feel that God is leading me in a different directions.
With the decision of going to the afternoon service I had to make a new plan for the day.
First we would head onto post.  I had to Western Union some money to my mom from the Love for Lily fundraiser.  I had to pull money from an ATM for a Christmas gift that I am not able to purchase until a bit later and we pulled out WON to go back to the Christmas store!  Before we left post though I was for sure to go get a cupcake from the FRG bake sale.  A friend of mine makes the best cupcakes in the world and I wasn't about to miss out.
Once we left post Collin asked if we could just drive to the Christmas store.  I sucked it up and agreed.  Driving there of course made me nauseous as almost every drive does in Korea with the constant stop and go. I don't know why my car sickness seems to be getting worse and worse.  All things do come to an end though and we were pulling in to the bus terminal.  all three of us got out of the car and walking in the elevator.  The Christmas store is on the 3rd floor!  Anything you could want for Christmas decor is on that floor, just past the floral department.  As we reached the 3rd floor we noticed it was quiet and kind of dark.  When we turned the corner there was a man that spoke to Collin.  Even though I don't understand the language, I do understand when someone is trying to tell you that they are not opened.  I could even understand it more when my husband says REALLY in Korean.  I assumed Collin was asking a question when I was sure I heard the man say in English 12.  I smiled and looked at Collin and said, "12?  Well we will just come back that is only 50 minutes from not."  In my head I figured we would get an early lunch and then head back.  Then I heard that Korean word again for REALLY as my husband was conversing more........ Uh oh Thats not a good sound. I thought to myself and I was right.  As the elevator doors closed Collin announced that they were not opening that night until Midnight!  12am :(  Extremely upset I refused to believe the man.  As we left Collin conversed with the Gate Guy who charged us 2.00 for our 5 minutes of parking.  Then I heard that word again REALLY?  WOW!  ugh what now.  Well the parking guard confirmed it.  They were not opening until midnight.  My thoughts were  I got car sick for this, and we should have just went to morning service, and stupid Koreans!  Why would you not open until MIDNIGHT!  Ok so if you ask Collin they were not just my thoughts.

Upset we figured we would try to save our late morning/afternoon.  Let's take Audrey to play at a large indoor playground.  Once parking in an underground parking garage we walking in to find the elevators not working.  After entering a LONG dark hallway we came to the conclusion that they were not opened.  "You have got to be kidding me!"  I barked at Collin.  My day was not going as planned at all.  We finally ran into a woman at the end of the hallway as we were leaving and Collin asked her about it.  The woman (again in Korean) spoke quickly to Collin looking very annoyed.  Collin replied and I heard my favorite Korean word again but in a very confused tone REALLY?
I grumbled many upsetting things and I asked Collin why he seemed confused.  He said the woman told him they were closed for Holiday and when he asked what Holiday she said Sunday.  The confused tone was because she was calling Sunday a Holiday.

Well well, my Sunday has been thrown upside down.  Collin mentioned about going to Iteawan but to be honest I was too annoyed and didn't want to deal with Ajumma or anyone else on a crowded subway and it was too cold to walk with the baby.  Ajumma is the term for an old woman.  Not just old Korean woman though.  These ladies have special powers, they get their way, they are allowed to be rude, and if they want to put their purses and bags on a baby changing station right as you go to change your baby they will.  Thing about it though you can't say anything to them.  They are old and believe they are right and you are wrong no matter what.  I have only met one nice old Korean woman before.  So we went home and watched some tv and let Audrey fall sound asleep.
She woke just in time though.  330pm was fast approaching and we had to get to church.  I was not loving the afternoon/early evening service but was willing to give it a try.  It was a lot further than we expected and I am so glad we ended up driving the whole way instead of walking from post.  Parking was horrible and once parked I wasn't sure we were even on the same block as the church anymore.  Once we got inside an usher quickly came up to us to help find us seats (since we were late) but stopped and suggested that we go to the family room.  "ALL babies go to the family room" he said and another usher came up beside him and said "I will show him the way, you can stay here and go check on her if you want" he said looking at me.  I didn't say anything I wasn't about to be separated in an area I have never been before.  Sure enough like the past 2 churches we attended it was a family room.  I am quickly thinking that there isn't a church that exists that has a nursery like back in the states.  Well an English speaking one I guess.  It was very nice though.  4 big mats were laid out through the room and buckets of toys were laying on each mat.  There were little kid tables that lined the room and big brown mats for the parents to sit on.  In the far lower left corner there was a partisan (if that is the right word) that could block off a couch for mom's who needed to nurse or possibly even need to change a diaper.  In the front of the room there was a large TV in the wall so that the parents and children (ages 0-4) could participate in praise and worship and the sermon.  The only draw back to all this is paying attention to the sermon and not my daughter.  The kids were all pretty quiet and if you could get your eyes on the tv and not the kids it was easy to hear the pastor and follow him.  However, that was the issue.  Not being distracted by the children.  I followed maybe half of the sermon, maybe a little less, but I believe if I could follow it better I would enjoy the sermon.  It seemed to be the speed I was looking for.  After expressing my concern to Collin he has offered to stay with Audrey while I go to the sanctuary and listen, but that does not sit well with me.  I don't want to go to church "alone"  I need my husband beside me.  I want to grow together.  This is one of the reasons we were seeking new possibilities.  I need to know that my husband is able to grow with me, that he can continue to lead our family.  I guess I could give him a run down of the sermon on the way home or even after we are home but it's just not the same.  We figured just like in the past we can switch off Sundays to be with Audrey.  Each get the chance to see if we can be fed at this church but it is just so frustrating to me.  My mom suggested I see about starting a nursery but you generally have to become a member before you can even attempt anything like that and with only 2 sermons out of the month I don't know how quickly we will be able determine if this is where we want to grow.  I know God will show us the way, he will let us know if it is time to settle or not but I am just feeling very frustrated in the mean time.  It has been a little over 3 months and I was really hoping to find a church we were 100% ready to call home already.  I miss the family of the church we were at just last week but being a family of the Church we must all understand that when God is telling us we need more then we must move and act on that.
I have emailed a Church on post to see if they by any chance have a nursery.  If they do we will more than likely attend this upcoming Sunday.  If they do not we still might give it a go.  Just trying to listen and follow the direction God is giving to us.

Well it is getting late.  Soon to be 11pm.  Everyone is sleeping and my eyes are getting tired.  Have an amazing week everyone!  Oh yeah we got snow this week!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I miss.....

I suppose that this post comes at a good time since we just celebrated Thanksgiving and we are in the Christmas season!  I should be cleaning since the Queen of the house is down for a nap but I figured why not blog instead :)  Cleaning can come later and I can fold laundry and hang clothes even with my speedy crawler following me everywhere! 

As I was sitting here drinking my 4th cup of coffee today I was looking around my little apartment and thinking of the things I miss.  First on the list is my house.  I remember looking around my house about a year or so ago and thinking how I wish we would have went with a more open floor plan, and how I really want to paint these boring walls.  After having to replace the floor in the main level half bath, entry hallway and laundry room I remembered thinking how I want to change out all the bathroom floors from the vinyl to the tile and after the changed the main level floor how I disliked all the other bathroom floors and frowned when I walked in to one of the bathrooms.  I remember looking at the carpets and thinking how I wish I would have went with my first choice in carpet color and thickness and how I can't wait to redo the kitchen and Dining room floors in real wood.  I remember the disagreement with Collin on if we should zero scape or have grass.  (For 4 years I had zero scape and wanted to continue with the Colorado Climate but he wanted grass....... we got grass).  Then I remembered all the things I loved.  The size of the rooms and closets, my jetted tub, how we doubled the size of our deck for that patio furniture I wanted and never bought, the color of my house, the location as every time I went out back I was looking at Pikes Peak.... I could go on, but the point to this is all those things I love I love even more and all those things I wanted to change I miss so much just the way they are.  What I miss most about my house....... the size!  The fact that if I needed some quiet time I could wander to the basement and veg out, or if Collin was home and I got bored with his tv watching I could go up to the living room and read or watch my shows or just have quiet time, and if I needed to work on something I could just go to the office and have complete silence.  I could talk on the phone in any room and not have to worry about disturbing someone or them disturbing my phone call.  I miss my space!  I also miss the carpets like crazy.... this whole fake wood thing through the entire house with a baby is for the birds!  I will vacuum all day long if it means I don't have to look at another mop!  Plus the bumps and bruises from learning how to walk would be minimal compared to what Audrey is experiencing these days. Yes I miss my house!
I got used to looking at Pikes Peak whenever I wanted but I realize now I took that view for granted!  Now I look out my window to see tall buildings and a lot of fog these days.  Business and shops and people buzzing about.  The sounds of cars honking, police whistles blowing and tires screeching oh and the occasional bull horn being yelled into. I close my eyes sometimes and remember a snow covered Pikes Peak!  I miss the Colorado Mountains!

I miss my friends.  One of my best friends lived just a half mile down the road.  I regret not going to her house more. Half a mile away and we only got together once or twice a week and I blame myself. I would get so busy with work and hubby that I didn't take enough time to be with my friends.  Now I miss all of them so much! 

I desperately miss my car!  I am waiting on ours to die every time we get in it.  There are so many things wrong with it that I couldn't begin to start listing the problems.  I will miss it when we have to start taking a cab to the commissary or PX until we get a new one or ship ours over here but right now, now that I wonder everyday if it will run the next time.... I hate every thing about it. 
My car, like all cars at one point is new, clean, leather seats, sun rough, and all the safety bells and whistles and runs very smooth.  It's got the room to fit a PX trip and a monthly grocery shopping trip in it (unlike what we have now).  I figured the stress of driving the car to TX to get it delivered here wasn't worth it since we already had a FREE car here.  HA!  I should have endured the 13 hour drive with my 9 month old at the time and got it over here. It wouldn't be half as stressful as our current car situation. Our FREE car was free for a reason.

I miss the fact that if I want to buy something that isn't an everyday item that I can't just jump in my car and run to the store.  Chances are, while living here, I have to order it off line, pay shipping, and wait for the arrival.  I miss not having the luxury of choosing where to get my groceries or where to get my clothes or even having a mall that I can afford and I certainly miss the outlets. (example of this is going into baby gap at one of the malls here and seeing a winter coat for about 100.00.... For my growing toddler.... I don't think so).   The outlet prices here are the same as mall prices in America if not worse. I miss American restaurants being just minutes away and the many choices we have.  I miss being able to go to a Sky Sox baseball game for 10 bucks or a Cochise College Hockey game just a short drive away.

I miss my massages with Brenda, I miss walking into a nail salon and saying what I want and how I want it.  I have yet to do any of that here and one reason is because of the language barrier.  I am afraid it won't be what I wanted or how I want it and I won't be able to find away to tell them to fix it.  Even on post it is rare to find anyone who works at these types of places who speaks great English so I just have not bothered and really I have learned to live without these things but at the same time miss the pampering.  Plus I am afraid of spending the money on a massage only to be disappointed because it wasn't as great as my visits with Brenda....... for anyone in the Colorado Springs area Brenda is amazing at Therapeutic Massage off of Powers blvd and also does amazing prenatal massages (I had someone else for one of my prenatal massages and it just wasn't as good).

Yes I miss a lot from America!

In the few short months I have been here I have learned a lot of things.  I love my life and love where I am but I learned that when you have something appreciate it.  I know one day when I am driving down Powers Blvd I will miss subway transportation.  When I am filling up my tank and spending 100 plus a month on gas I will miss paying a cab or subway fare or even walking miles at a time to go somewhere.  Knowing I am not living here forever though, I am embracing all of these things now. I will  probably even miss the simplicity of my tiny little apartment and the convenient location.  I do everything I can to embrace everyday here, but I wish I would have learned this lesson when I was in the states. 
Hummm I say that but isn't it the American way to want bigger and better all the time?!  To not have enough time to visit with friends?  This also makes me realize that as an American we speed through life and want things on demand.  Hopefully I can learn from this and one day when I return I can remember to embrace everything and everyone just a little bit more.  I am sure once I am back to American life I will fall back into the American way again. I can only hope that you will remind me of this post.  Of this very moment of sitting in my apartment wishing I had my American life.  I hope that I can sit back once I am home again and smile and realize I embraced the days of Korean life and I didn't waste my time here.