Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cousin Bridget

Peter and Karen (my brother and his wife) welcomed their new baby girl this morning:
Bridget Ellen,
born at 10:15 (Utah time),
7 lbs 9.6 oz, 19 1/2" long.

We think she looks a lot like her big sister Elizabeth.

Welcome to the world, Bridget!

Update: details and more pics on Karen's blog.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Andy at 17 months

Taken May 27th (which is also my dad's birthday!)

Our cute little guy is 17 months old now! I took these outside, with Andy in the travel crib to keep him in one place. Look at those bonks and dings on his forehead. Poor kid.

He's still not saying much, though I think I heard him try to say "ball" the other day. And he was holding a blanket over his head and saying "hi." That was very cute. He's been enjoying looking at books by himself for quite a while now, but just lately he's been asking us to read to him more. He'll bring a book over and push into my hands. The Sandra Boynton board books seem to be his favorite. (Though often he wants to turn the page before I've finished reading it.)

Andy loves going outside and running around. (I'm constantly herding him away from the parking lot.) When we were down at Owen beach recently he really wanted to get in the water. He should enjoy the pool this summer.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our house stinks. Let's go to McDonald's.

After our apartment was run into on Friday they got the wall rebuilt, and on Monday the painter guy came in to finish up the details. He mentioned that when he sprayed the texture on the wallboard it was going to be really fumey, so we might want to leave the house for a while. So I asked Hyun Ju if we could go over to her house, which we did, and then we decided to take the kids to McDonald's for lunch.

I had my camera with me, and I was surprised by how nice the light was in the play area.

Andy and Hyun Ju. I've been referring to Hyun Ju as Andy's 이모 ("ee-mo"), which literally means "mother's sister" but is generally used for mother's female friend. (The same way we might call a close family friend Aunt or Uncle even if they aren't actually related.) She told me that she's never been one to ooh and ahh over babies, but she loves Andy.

Sky climbs a pipe.

Kate on the shoe shelf.

Andy's at that stage where he wants to push everything.

Sky is just one month older than Kate. They'll both be starting kindergarten this fall (but not at the same school).

Our house is all back together now! Yay!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Our neighbor Hyun Ju (정현주) and her older daughter Glory were baptized this last Saturday. They've been attending church for a few months and taking the discussions with the missionaries, and decided to get baptized. Our neighbor Catherine (also Korean) gave the talk on baptism, and Hyun Ju asked me (!!!) to give the talk on the Gift of the Holy Ghost. In Korean. Whew. I probably wouldn't have been up for it a few months ago, but I have been getting a lot of Korean practice lately. It was a little choppy but it went okay. And it was just cool to be able to do something like that again. I was happy to be asked.

I was hoping that we could all go, but Doug's mom came up from Klamath Falls that weekend, so Doug and Kate went to the Seattle aquarium with Grandma while Andy and I went to the baptism. (The aquarium is cool, but there was no way I was going to miss the baptism!)

Hyun Ju's husband works on Sunday and hasn't been to church, but he was able to come to the baptism and I think it was a good experience. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. (That red blur in the bottom corner is somebody stepping in front of the camera, but this was the best shot I got for people's expressions.)

Mom and girls. Sky's too young to get baptized, she just happens to be wearing a white dress. (With ladybugs on it.)

I found out that I had Sky's Korean name wrong. (For a whole year now.) I thought her name was 하늘이, but it's really 하누리. (Which sounds almost the same.) The confusion stems from the fact that her English name is Sky, and 하늘 does mean Sky. I guess I'll have to go back and change my previous entries.

After the baptism we had watermelon (yum!) and 콩떡 (bean rice cake) and everyone stood around in the hall visiting. There were quite a lot of people who came. The members are great. I've been up to the Korean branch (for church) four times now and really enjoyed it. (I'll enjoy it more when Andy's old enough to go to nursery--just one more month!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hole in our House

We had some excitement on Friday afternoon. Our elderly neighbor lost control of her car and ran into the corner of our apartment. Kate, Andy and I were all in the living room at the other end of the apartment when we heard the impact. I ran back into Kate's room and saw this:

I looked out the window and saw the car--I did not, at first, recognize it as our neighbor's, and the only thing I could think was, "!!!!! Somebody hit our house! There's a big crack in our house!"

I could hear someone hollering outside, and Kate was calling, "What was that?" I said, "Stay there!" and then she kept asking, "Why do I have to stay here, Mom? Why do I have to stay here?" The mailman was outside and saw it happen, so he ran to get the manager.

Here's what the outside of the building looked like. She wasn't going very fast when she hit (good thing!). She was parking, and couldn't get her foot up on the brake.

The license plate frame came off the car, and one of the rubber bumper things on the front. Other than that there was no damage to the car. It's one of those big old Fords with an all-metal body. (The license plate was facing inward, of course--someone turned it around before I took this picture. So I blanked out the number.)

After I got everything pulled away from the corner in Kate's room, I took another picture. I think they had already started taking things off from the other side, so the area around the electrical outlet was looking worse at this point (you can see daylight coming through).

The maintenance guys got started on it right away. They pulled out the whole section of wall. We were really fortunate that the window didn't break. That would have been a huge mess.

You can see how much this stud cracked. Yikes.

They got the whole section re-framed and buttoned back up pretty quickly. The accident happened around 1:30, and by 5:00-ish the wall was back up, with the wiring and insulation in place. We have bare wallboard on the inside and a sheet of plywood on the outside for now.

We're fine, and our neighbor's fine--the only casualty was the rhododendron bush that the car took out. (You may be able to spot the stump in that last photo.) I'm really glad that Kate wasn't in her room when it happened. That would have been severely traumatizing. The past couple of weeks she's been disturbed by noises at night. She'll be lying in bed trying to go to sleep, and then call, "Mo-om! I heard a weird noise outside!" Can you imagine what it would be like if she'd been sitting in her room when a car cracked the wall? Not good.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Typing Practice (한글로!)


Language packs in Windows
한컴 타자연습 typing tutor (I have not tested this download--might have adware)

Korean keyboard stickers

Virtual Korean keyboard

(I get a lot of hits from people looking for info on typing in Korean, so I thought I'd list those links at the beginning. Now, on to the post!)

I've been using the IME pad to input Korean. If you write the character you want on the pad, it brings up a bunch of options that it thinks matches, and then you click the right one. If I'm writing a lot, I use my graphics tablet and pen. This has generally worked pretty well for my needs.

It is a bit clunky, though, and it doesn't always work the first time. Especially if I'm writing quickly, sometimes it doesn't recognize what I'm trying to say, and then I have to clear it and start over, more neatly.

A while back I exchanged a few messages with a guy on the Straight Dope board who disparaged my use of the IME pad and told me that touch typing was definitely the way to go. He said, "It's much easier and it's a blast to see the reactions of my students and other visitors to my office when they see me typing Korean quite rapidly on an unmarked keyboard!" While that did indeed sound like a blast, I did not have any particular motivation to put in the effort to make this happen. I was happy enough with my IME pad. It did the job.

Now I have motivation. Facebook chat.

Kim Sang Kyung, one of my old mission companions, is on Facebook now. I sent her an invitation about a month ago and she joined, but it took her a while to figure it out. This last Saturday I got to chat with her. It was so fun and not easy. The faster I tried to write, the more the IME pad wasn't giving me the right characters. And clicking back and forth between the IME pad and the chat window made things hang up a bit.

But it was a hoot. A great, frantic, shrieking bundle of exhilaration and frustration.

"Ack!" said I. "I need to learn to type in Korean. For real."

So I gave it a try. It's pretty easy to find images of the Korean keyboard layout. But I wasn't happy with trying to hunt and peck, and decided I needed a real Korean typing practice program. I asked Amanda and she referred me to a program called 한컴 타자연습 (which you can download here). It's exactly what I wanted. (Note--the download that I had before is gone now--I don't know if this one might include adware or other annoyances.  I will see if I can confirm or find a different one.)

This is a great program. (And cute! It's for kids.) I've been playing with it for a few days now. My speed is pretty lousy, but it's getting better!

At this point I'm touch typing on an English keyboard. Since I'm not a total masochist, I have ordered some Korean keyboard stickers that I found on Amazon. But I'll keep practicing while I'm waiting for them to get here!

열심히 연습할거애요! 재미 있어요.

I have a pretty good collection of Korean fonts, too. Let me know if you're interested!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rolling in Dough

Yes, I'm still here! Just very distractible. As usual.

We had Glory and Sky over for a pretzel making party this last Thursday. I had mentioned it a few weeks before--"Hey, we should all get together and make pretzels!" and Glory kept asking about it, so we finally got ourselves organized. Pretzels happened!

(recipe here)

Kate had been to her first gymnastics class at the YMCA that morning. Hence the hair.

Getting the dough rolled out can be harder than it looks!

Andy enjoys having visitors.

Some of the finished product. Yum!

Hyun Ju (Glory and Sky's mom) was going to come too, but someone came over right then to fix her computer, so she had to go back home. She came over at the end and had a pretzel, and said, "These are better than the ones you buy at the mall!"

A couple of days after that, Doug and Kate made homemade noodles. I was working on something else, and Doug offered to scrape together something for lunch. He did a carbonara kind of thing with pancetta, and we ate it with porkchops and broccoli. (This is not the sort of thing that I come up with when I "scrape something together." Doug is very resourceful.)

Kate gets to help turn the crank. Fun!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

It's Mother's Day!

I always knew I wanted to be a mom, always wanted to have kids some day. I don't think I could have ever imagined myself here, at this time, with these kids. They are definitely their own people, irrespective of whatever I may have envisioned when I was growing up.

There are times when I don't feel like I'm a very good mom. I'm jealous of my time. I get involved in these big huge projects that take a lot of concentration. I get sarcastic. Kate and I have been having a lot of power struggles lately. She's very bright and imaginative, and also strong-willed and stubborn. Sometimes I think she's practicing being a surly teenager ten years early.

The Primary kids always sing to their moms for Mother's Day. I had taken extra-squirmy Andy out in the hall during the second half of the meeting, but was hanging out near the door so as not to miss the kids singing. Kids went up and sang, Kate didn't. When asked, later, she said it was boring.

She did make me this card in Primary. And we managed to get a picture after church. (It was very sunny!)

Our kids came to us late. For a while we weren't sure if we were going to be able to have any. I remember how sad I was when I contemplated never having anyone to read to, to love and to teach. I am thankful for these two little people who make life so interesting. We continue to learn from each other.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Saturday Night Fiddler

A beautiful spring evening hanging out with the neighbors:

Doug fiddles, Andy endures getting passed around, Glory listens, Sky dances (and gets her pronouns mixed up), Kate appears right at the end to mug for the camera.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Day After Children's Day

We didn't make it to the park on Wednesday (May 5), but Doug has no afternoon class on Thursdays, so we went the next day.

The weather was gorgeous but the lighting was tricky for pictures. Here's one to start with--I'll add some more soon!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The League of Prehistoric Superheros

Dinosaurs in capes! (And goggles, and medals around their necks.) We taped it up on the wall in Kate's room.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Reminds me of Thomas Kinkade. In a good way.

There are pink dogwoods blooming all over town. The pink against the green is so pretty.