Thursday, December 31, 2009

National Museum

We took a subway ride out to see the National Museum of Korea. We figured since it was so cold outside this would be a good option for us to see things but be inside. We all ended up a bit tired and hungry by the time we got there but were glad we tried to fit one more thing into our time in Korea. We will have lots to see when we return someday and we plan not to go in the middle of winter. We could not take many pictures in the museum since they do not allow flashes in many exhibits. So here is what we got!
Mom and Jack outside the Museum.
Dad outside the museum. He was excited. Enjoying his trip!

What to expect.

We did learn a few things about Jack yesterday while out and about. He is super smiles with us... Flirt flirt flirt. When he saw others like at museums or on the subway who tried to get is attention or talk to him he froze and stared. He was overwhelmed on the subway and yesterday afternoon when we went to the national museum.
We know this is his behavior when he does not like something or when something is too much for him. Yesterday when he woke up in the moring John had on his glasses and didn't have on a shirt. Suddenly the daddy who he smiled and flirted and snuggled with the day before kind of scared him. He went from full on play fun mode, to shut down not moving snuggle with mommy mode.
From reading books we kind of see what may be going through his little head. Smiles and flirting with mom and dad is to say possibly I am cute and I am good don't leave me. Then the total opposite behavior for strangers out and about we know means he is scared. He doesn't know what is going to happen, he has been handed off to strangers by his Omma, who's to say it can't happen again at any point. You can tell he is worried and a little hyper vigelant when awake. Putting him in the carrier helps since he is not as easily passed off to someone and he knows it. But he still only gives strangers blank stares when in it and even won't smile for us when overwhelmed or in a large group.
His nose is still stuffy, diapers are improving texture wise but are still more frequent than his once or twice a day usual. He is also not eating as much as Omma said he does and takes a bottle better from dad right now than from mom. Mom got overtired last night and Jack was tired too so it was nice to have a daddy that could come to both our rescues.
Sorry about the pictures for the last posts. I have a ton of them but want to use my time getting rest instead of posting them all. They will get up at a later point. I have them all mostly on photobucket, but have to resize them all for the blog and we took a ton yesterday.
Love you all see you soon. Today is our airplane day!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Korean Food Finally!

We finally went out to a Korean resturant. We had Bulgogi of course. It was good. John and I tried all of the differnt side dishes as well. Jack slept the whole time. We sat upstairs in the resturant so we had to take off our shoes to go up there and we sat on mats on the floor. John was really out of his element. I loved it. We were the only ones up there. The waitress did not speak any English so we did the best we could. Good thing I knew how to say Bulgogi!


We had to head back and grab a few last things for family at Insadong shopping area. We feel pretty comfortable down there this time compaired to the first trip. We had our camera this time to so here is what we wanted to show you about what this place looks like.
On the street of Insadong. Shops and resturants line both side of the street.
This is what a lot of the shops looked like inside. Many places had the same things.
Notice there are two masks missing off the wall. We bought those for grandma and grandpa.

Gyeongbok Palace

Just across from the Sommerset hotel there is a Palace to see. Gyeongbok Palace. We arrived just in time for the changing of the guard. It was WAY freezing outside but we paid the three dollars to go in and see it. I was neat! We couldn't stay long enought to learn much about it on a tour because of the cold temperatures. We had Jack in Omma style dress with 3 layers shoes and snow suit with a hat and under a blanket. He pretty much slept the whole time. I wanted to take a picture of his cute face with the palace in the background but it would have been torture. So although we got some pictures with him as a big hump on my back I still don't have great pictures of him in his birth country. Other than the hotel room. I felt so bad hauling him around in the carrier but he honestly slept the whole time, did not want a bottle and didn't need his pants changed. When we got back to the hotel room he was all smiles ready to play so I didn't feel so bad. He was up for a while when we visited the Palace museum nearby and enjoyed looking at the different displays.
Changing of the guard.
Inside the gates of the palace.
The outside gate.
All the celings are decorated ornately.
All the closer we could get of a picture of Jack at the palace. He is the blue bump on my back. Sleeping.

How did he sleep?

Well it is somewhere around 4 or so in the morning I belive. I needed a snack so that is why I am up. Jack was sleeping in the crib which just a tad smaller than he one we have a home. His Omma said he likes to move around at night and boy she wasn't kidding. Rollin over and back and crawling someplace to get comfy. He got smooshed up between the two sides of the crib in the corner and woke up at 12. Omma said he take bottles at night still so I was not sure if he wanted one so I made him one. He wasn't too hungry. But was so confussed we put him in bed with us but five minutes went by and he was still tossing and turning and trying to get confortable then he got upset. I think we were too much stimulation for him. But he let us know what he wanted. Uooba which means back carry. Instantly he relaxed and went out in less than 5 minutes again so we tossed the crib blanket and bedding on the floor where he slept fine until 3 when he stirred so I gave him medicine which he was due for, and was sounding a little stuffy. He doesn't care for the medicine and was pretty mad, but I gave him the bottle and he calmed down pretty quick, then he drank about 4 oz or so and then took out the bottle and I was able to lay him back down no problem. He was out. Everything seems pretty much like Omma said so far, except the bath thing, which one other family sent me a message saying the same thing happened to them and it just took time. Her bet was that he knows that is Omma's job just like we thought might have been the problem.
He is sound asleep now and even laughed in his sleep a few minutes ago. I can not believe it. Thank you so much for all the prayers, keep them coming. Pray that his cold and tummy troubles go away before the plane ride home.
We will see how the rest of the night goes sleep wise but I don't think it will be an issue. If I did I would be in bed sleeping right now instead of filling you all in.


The most important meal of the day. Honestly it is the nicest meal of the day because it is included in our hotel stay and has familiar food.
It is buffet style and has scrambled eggs, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, french fries, tator tots, baked beans, made to order eggs and omlets, cressants, mushrooms, kimchi of course, soups, pastries and other dishes I ether don't recognize or don't remember off the top of my head. This is one reason I am glad we are staying at the Sommerset. It is nice to to have to worry about breakfast and we know we will at least have one familiar meal each day. John says if we return with the whole crew someday he would love to stay here again and he is pretty picky when it comes to hotels.
Here is Jack enjoying breakfast and the buffet is in the background.
Yummy food! John took a picture of his breakfast!

Jack's Tricks

We ended up staying in the hotel after getting Jack. Once he was asleep he napped 2hrs or more. Combining his usual 1 hour morning nap and 1 hour afternoon nap into one we believe. He has had a couple of boughts of saddness. His cry is very soft and very sad, but those are not long lived. We have had a few smiles too.
Once Jack woke up Daddy fell asleep for 2 hours leaving Mommy and Jack with some one on one time. Not sure when Mommy is going to get her nap. Jack was pretty calm but now is coming out of his shell after a whole day. He is into everything! He can push up to his feet no problem and from what I have seen is not to shabby at getting back down either. He got afraid a few times this afternoon and didn't want me to go farther than 4 feet or so from him. Even washing my hands after diaper changes he was sad. But I tried my best to assure him I wasn't going anywere and tonight has been much differnt. Well with daddy awake it helps. He isn't keeping a super close eye on me like he was when daddy was asleep.
John and I both were not excited about eating dinner. So we settled for some snacks from the convience store in the hotel. On the way down we looked at the Christmas lights. Jack excitedly grunted at them all saying "UHHHH" over and over. People standing by thought it was very cute. We headed up stairs and had a picnic in our hotel room. Jack had rice cereal given to us by HOLT for him. It is not like our rice cereal but has all kinds of things in it, it is still a mush but has veggies and meat and doesn't smell too good but he ate all that they said that he would which was quite a bit compaired to what my older kids used to eat. He also had about half a small banana. He also likes the gerber puffs we brought and we bought him a bag of potato sticks, the same snack he was eating at HOLT the first day we met him. I had a colbyjack cheese stick which was a softer cheese than I was used to, and bought a pack of saltine crackers which were harder than I was used to. I also enjoyed a snickers bar. John had a chocolate chip muffin. Here is a picture of our picnic food.

Jack had a couple boughts of dirreah today. One I barley saved from going up his back. Good thing I have some experience. Totally not a job for a first timer. Hope that the banana will help. He also enjoyed a cracker tonight.
Busy busy busy!!! He can pick up tiny things and can pull himself up so that means big brother and big sister have to put their toys up high expecially the ones they don't want to be chewed on. Everything goes in Jack's mouth.
Daddy got some full out giggles out of Jack tonight by copying the sounds Jack made when he coughed and doing his Donald duck wiggle voice.
We WILL be going out tomorrow. The only way to contain this little man is to carry him on our back. We will see how tonight goes as far as his sleeping and how sad he is not at home with his Omma but right now we are very busy trying to keep up with him. Dad is starting the bath for him now, one of his other favorites from what his reports said. I am hearing the same grunts that I heard when he saw the Christmas lights. I think he is excited!!!
Then again maybe not. Bathtime was a flop. Tears and all. We didn't wash his hair or anything. We thought it was maybe because he was in the tub alone but he was still not too sure when I went in with him. He was better but still not liking it. Maybe it was the diaper rash. Maybe he takes his bath in the sink, maybe it was too cold. Who knows. Note to others following me. Be sure to ask Omma about bathtime. It was supposedly one of his favorites. Yet maybe it just sent him down a sadness path because it is Omma's job and where is she? No way to know for sure what is in his little head. He is all dry now in his new jammies from his Omma having a bottle with dad. Poor guy. What a big day. Five minutes in the carrier on daddy's back and he was out. That was pretty easy woke a bit when we layed him in the crib but I just patted his back and he layed down. No tears or anything. Wow! We will see how long he sleeps. His Omma said he still wakes for bottles and he will need more medicine at 3am and a diaper change I am sure.

On our way down to buy munchies.
Upon our return to the room showing off his flexibility.
Our munchies of choice for the evening.
Getting ready for bathtime!
For all you worried about big babies from Korea, Jack is 25 pounds and 9 months. There is not much chub there. He is heavy but really not that big.
Just cute!!
Really cute!

In jammies ready for bed.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

He Is With Us!

We picked up our little man today. Everything went well. He is on medicine for his cold and for dirreah. His foster mother said he had two loose stools since yesterday. Once we had him back to the hotel and finishing his bottle he had some dirreah. So we are glad we have the medicine. I also picked up a banana at breakfast so we may try some of that later too.
Anyway... The pick up went well. His foster mother bought him a really cute outfit and shoes, and hat, and mittens and coat. I didn't want to make her feel bad so I didn't get out his fleece snow suit we brought him. As it was he bairly fit in the carrier he has so many layers on. We also put a blanket on top of the carrier. Mrs. Lee said it looked like I had a mountian on my back. He had some of his bottle on the subway. They have a straw type thing in the bottle so that they do not have to be tipped to drink it. So we just stuffed it in the carrier and he happily sucked away.
The subway ride went without incident except for a man probably in his 50's or so thought Jack was cute and gave him a piece of hard candy. Put it right in his mouth. (SHOCK!!) I know he was just trying to be nice but HELLO! chocking hazard!! He didn't know or think I guess. I couldn't do anything because he was on my back. John just stood there in shock. Lucky Jack spit it out pretty quickly. John held it so that Jack could lick it, just to not offend the man. He didn't speak English and we are not sure how the univeral sign for chocking would have gone over in this situation. John threw the candy away at the next subway stop and got out a wet nap for his now sticky fingers.
They like to put layers on babies in Korea. Today Jack is wearing two long sleeved shirts, and a zip up sweatshirt, two pairs of pants socks shoes and a hat. He is sleeping comfortably in all those clothes, including the hat, right now.
He was not too excited when we tried to put him down for a nap. His foster mother said his nap was at 11 so he needed a bottle and a nap right away. He wss too busy checking out the toys we brought and the room and us. He wanted to make sure he didn't miss out on anything and was very intereste in everything daddy was doing.
He didn't care for when we turned the lights off and cried a bit. So we decided to head downstairs with him on my back and grab some sandwiches in a shop downstairs at the hotel. By the time we left the shop to take our food upstairs he was out. We left the lights off in the room and I was able to lay him down on a blanket on the floor. Now we are just waiting for him to wake up so we can play some more. But it is nice to have some time to tell you all what is going on.
His foster mother didn't cry. Which was a relief. But she was sure worried about the wind outside, kind of makes me think that we should have taken the polar fleece suit out to show her that we were prepared. Oh well. She was a bit sad I think, but like I said she has done this like 35 times, so I am sure that helps a bit.
Time for some more picures.
Daddy holding Jack at pick up time at HOLT office. No tears at all today when he saw us!
Waiting for the subway train.
Me with a mountian on my back.
Tired boy snuggles with mom.
Snuggley guy!
My "teething bling" necklace was a huge hit with Jack.
He also liked this ball.
A little on the tired side, but too much going on to sleep.
Looking out at Seoul from hotel room window.
He can pull up to his knees.

We get Jack today for good!

I am feeling a bit nervous, excited, and scared. It is so hard to fathom that they are just going to give him to us and he is ours. No one will tell us what to or what not to do. All the decisions about his care will suddenly be up to us. Well I know first thing I am going to do is get some Triple Paste out for that diaper rash. It didn't seem like they were using anything on it yesterday. This is the stuff that takes care of that in a hurry. I happened to have a travel sample of it and knew to pack it. Ha, funny to think one of my first steps as a mom to Jack is to put on the diaper rash cream.
Depending on Jack and depending on the weather, we may try to go to a museum today or a palace. Both are very close to our hotel, and we are thinking an adventure out being carried on a back, (his favorite thing) may be a distraction opposed to being in a hotel room all day.
We pick him up at 10 and will venture back to the hotel first to drop off his medical folder of information and his HOLT diaper bag wich will have two cans of formula for us and two bottles. They know we packed diapers and a carrier so we won't be needing the ones they give other families who don't bring one.
We also brought him a winter hat and a columbia polar fleece snow suit and can't wait to see him all bundled up. He is a bit of a drooler cutting his top teeth so I am glad I brought a burp rag and some drool bibs, but worried about his little mouth getting chapped. We will just have to keep him burried under the blanket we brought. Well I guess he is used to being burried outside anyway.
We haven't decided yet if we are taking the subway back to the hotel or getting a taxi. Taxi's usually have no working seatbelts and forget about a car seat in Korea. It was supposed to snow here yesterday which it did for like an hour, just a dusting, but it was predicted 5-6 inches overnight. I do not see any additional snow out the window right now so maybe it didn't happen after all. Yet if it did snow we would probably avoid the taxi for sure. No snow plows in Korea, traffic is very dangerous when accumulating snow fall occurs. Honestly I would almost say traffic is dangerous anytime. Fast paced lane changes, lots of honking. And if you are walking across the street and a car is coming, you better run, because they may not stop. I do what I see other's doing and many Koreans are running to get out of the way.
What an adventure today will be! Not sure when I will get a chance to write about it but hopefully I will.

Korean Chinese food /American Chinese food

I have always heard people ask where to have good Authentic Chinese food. No one seems to think there is any in Sioux Falls. I have always heard that it is "Americanised" well just as much as our Chinese food has an american flare, I believe this resturant in particular had Korean Chinese food. We went out for Chinese food last night. There is a place we can see from out our hotel window so we asked at the front desk if it was a good place and they said it was good. So feeling confident, after all we have been to many Chinese resturants in the US we walked in. NO one spoke English, which was fine. We sat down and they bring small bowls of kimche (a Korean spicy pickled cabbage dish eaten with most every meal in Korea), raw onions sliced into big chunks, some yellow half circle shaped things we didn't identify, a tiny bowl with what I think was plumb sauce but was a bit more salty, and another bowl of somthing that kind of looked like maybe summer kimche?? At any rate John was confussed. I knew from research and from others that in Korea they have many small bowls of food on the table and this was sort of like the bread course that everyone gets. John didn't buy it, he just sat there staring. I tasted a few of the things and John said "how do you know they don't bring those out to every table, like these were on the last table and no one ate them so they brought them here." I just looked at him confussed not even sure what he was saying. Needless to say he did not try any of it.
We were able to order by pointing at the menu items we wanted. Garlic Chicken, and Sweet and Sour pork. The Garlic Chicken was pretty spicy, but ok, and the sweet and sour pork was ok too but in a sweet clear looking sauce not a red sauce. No rice was served, you could order fried rice meals but we were suprised at the fact there was no steamed rice. There was plenty of food and we couldn't finish it all. We wondered if we could take our leftovers home since we have a fridge and microwave in the room but after looking in all the Korean guide books we found no place that said "doggie bag please" or "may I have a take home box" worried that we would end up confussing the waitress to no end, we ate a bit more than we needed and left it there. We were not super crazy about our meal anyway so I was not sure I wanted leftovers. I guess we do not enjoy Korean/Chinese food. We will stick to our favorite American Chinese food.
After dinner we took a walk down the street to see an ice skating rink we could see people skating on from our hotel room window.
View from hotel window at night. Notice the blue lights?
All the blue lights are decorations on trees for winter/Christmas. Here is John by one of the trees.
This is me by a subway entrance. More trees in the background.
The outside of our hotel at night.
Elevator door sign at our hotel. I guess you are not suppoed to lean on the door or you will fall and hit your head. John enjoyed the sign.

Interview with an American???

We started down the street in Insadong and got no further than one block when a guy with a video camera stopped us. He was from a local TV station doing a story on Korean food. His english was not so good but he wanted our opinion on Korean food. I told him we actually had not had any yet. He was not taking this for an answer and I think he thought that we were saying we had not had lunch yet. He asked what I thought of bulgogi or if I knew bulgogi. I said yes because I know what it is and I have had it myself, only because I made it once at home. I am sure that homemade bulgogi by a person who has never had actual Korean food does not make me fit to answer questions about it. But he insisted. So on camera I mumbled something about bugogi having more familiar flavors to me than other Korean foods. Then he asked what I thought of Korean food. Wanted my opinin. Still I insisted that I didn't have one yet because I had not had any, but again not good enough for him so on camera I said it was spicy. That is all I know from what people have said. So if you happen to watch Korean TV tonight please be nice to the American in Korea who interviewed about Korean food but never really had any. I am pretty sure no one I know is going to see it. It was too funny!

Insadong shopping

We set off to find some lunch and do some shopping after our meeting with Jack. We started off exploring the tourist shopping area nearby. I ended up really enjoying this. We found out that the prices on things are not necessarily set in stone when sale people started automatically giving 10 percent off things automatically. I am guessing we could even get them to go lower on prices if we asked. Most of the stuff we got was already a great price. We got Jack a Korean mask for his room, and some wedding ducks. We also got our family a set of Korean chopsticks which are made of metal. We got a few Red Devils soccer shirts/jersey for Allie and Ethan. Since we love soccer in our family we thought this was an awesome find and a great price. I was so excited! We also got some spinning tops and some Yut games. I loved stopping in the Korean quilt shops because my mother quilts and I know she would love to see them too. Unfortunately when I tried to take a picture of one of the shops we realized that we had left our memory stick in the compter from when we unloaded Jack's pictures. That is ok we will have time to go back. It is so closeby and there are many resturants in that area so we will probably end up there for most of our meals.
I am guessing you may be wondering what we had for lunch. Well John was not yet feeling brave enough yet to try out a Korean resturant. We ended up at good old McDonalds.
We are holding out for some good pulgogi. I am pretty sure John will be a fan of this korean dish even if he doesn't care for the other dishes we have seen on signs today, many of which feature meals containing octopus. YUMMY!

A few more pics.

I didn't have time to post them all before so here are a few more.

First Meeting

We took off from the hotel this moring giving ourselves 45 minutes to get to holt by the subway. We had directions from the web forums that another mom had posted and they were AWESOME directions. We referred to them many times. I don't think we would have made it without them. As it was, 45 min for us was not enough. We did take a few wrong turns on the way and had to backtrack. The directions were right, we just didn't follow them to a tee, missed a part here or there. Then when we read them agian we got it right. Anyone waiting to go, print those off to take with you!!!
Anyway with our two wrong turns and having to wait a whole 5 min for one train, no clue what that was about, we ended up being 15 minutes late. We went inside and mistakingly went to the first floor. The guy there did not speak any english so we sat and waited. One foster mother walked in with a very large baby and we almost assumed it was Jack. He was waving like crazy at us and had a huge smile. So we waved back and smiled too. But this was not Jack. We were not dissapointed by this, but the pic we had of him was from 5 months and we thought he would be HUGE since he weighs 25lbs.
Next we saw another foster mother walk in. We noticed the back of her coat buldging. It kind of made her look like a she had a hump back. We smiled because we knew she had a baby under her wool dress coat. Her coat in the front was all buttoned up. We assued it was a small baby because it just doesn't seem physically possible to fit an older child under a coat like that. Later we learned that that bump was Jack!
We finally talked to a man in another office nearby and leared we were supposed to go to the second floor. So now about 20 minutes late, we sat and waited with Mrs. Lee for Jack.
I guess Jack was downstairs having a bottle before he came up. He didn't drink much of it because he was upstairs pretty quick. Well daddy got his wish as you can see. Jack's hair no longer sticks straight up. But oh is he ever cute! We think so anyway. We soon got to hold him but he was not very happy about it. He started to cry, but he didn't turn and reach for his foster mother, he just burried his head in my shoulder and snuggled in. When we knew we could not distract him with toys I handed him back to his foster mother who sat him next to her and Mrs. Lee gave him a snack. You can see he is pretty happy eating in some of the pictures. When we tried to play with him a bit he would start to pout. But after we exchanged gifts with the foster mother he had warmed up to us already. Let us hold him and play with him a bit. Still keeping Omma close by.
I asked Mrs. Lee to ask Jack's foster mother how many children she had fostered. Well it turns out she can't even remember the exact number. Somewhere between 35 and 40 children. I know from experience right there that I probably didn't need to ask half the questions I had lined up. An incredible woman who has cared for over 35 children, told me that Jack was an easy going guy. She told us he loves other kids, and when I asked about if she was concerned with any of his medical background she answered that he is perfectly normal. She thinks the doctor was overly concerned about nothing. I figure that a foster mother who has cared for that many children would know. We didn't even ask to see his back knee, or the tip-toeing at this meeting. Honestly we are not concerned about it. I am sure when we talk to the doctor tomorrow he will show us.
We took Jack down to see the doctor today too. He is getting his two top teeth, which may be the cause of his cold. Yep poor thing has a cold, is teething, and had some dirriah yesterday, but not today, and is fighting a diaper rash from the dirreah yesterday. Lucky I packed a whole baby pharmacy so I think we totally have these things covered. Plus have a couple days. The rash doesn't seem to bother him too much even when the doctor was examining it, he didn't cry.
Jacks foster mother said he is not shy with anyone but was with us a bit this morning and was tired at our meeting. He came down with his cold yesterday or the day before, and is cutting his top teeth. She says she thinks he knows something is coming. I belive she would know after all her experience.
I don't expect her to be super sad tomorrow. Sad yes, but not fall down greeving sad, which is a relief to us especially John. We have a pro on our hands so to speak. I wouldn't doubt if she took a new baby home with her tomorrow possibly. That doesn't mean she doesn't love Jack. Oh my you can tell she does, We got professional pictures from her of Jack, and tons of other pictures from the camera we sent, and from her personal camera as well. We got gifts from her on top of that as well. Some artwork for our home, and a hanbok for Jack.
Jack actually had two foster mothers and his first Foster mother actually saved us his umbilical chord when it fell off. She also sent to us his first set of clothes that he wore home from the hospital, she bought them herself, and made him a mobile by hand that she sent with him for us to bring home. We also have pictures of Jack that she took. We are so blessed by these two women!
We showed Jack pictures of Allie and Ethan and he was really interested in them, or maybe dad's credit card which was right by them. He did like the pictures though. I can't wait until we are all together as a family of 5.
We still don't know how things will go on the plane ride home. We are hopeful that his personality will make things a bit easier, but the cold and diaper rash may do us in. We have a few days before we leave so hopefully we can get that taken care of before we board.
We pick him up tomorrow at 10am. I origionally thought we met at 10am today and got him at 11 tomorrow but I somehow had switched that around. John randomly asked to read that email and caught the mistake so at least we were not as late today as we could have been. Yet we still go there before Jack so I think we were ok. I just kept picturing him there waiting for us but was glad that was not the case.
We left the meeting on a high. Perminate smiles were on our faces all though the subway. What an amazing day!
Oh and you probably wondered how we knew Jack was under the coat. We saw his foster mother outside walking down the street with her bump on her back. Jack looks like he has a full head of hair but actually is is bit like an old man in the back. I think it maybe from her coat. We treid to get a picture, but couldn't get the camera out while walking and she soon had crossed the street and was too far away. But I will never forget our/her little baby bump.

Monday, December 28, 2009