Wednesday, September 30, 2009

5 Months Home and 14 Months Old!

Wow! Time flies, doesn't it?!?!? Hard to believe. We still have yet to reach the same number of months home that she was in Korea, but it still feels like she's been here all along! What can I say? Another month of joy! I will admit that the adjustment from one (very high maintenance!) child to two, has been a big jump for us, but we are more than happy to go along for the ride! Zoey is just a ball of energy and into everything she can get her hands on! Her new trick is getting tops off markers and pens and writing on her, the window seals, the dogs and the couch. She's very good at hiding when she's into something too, and unless you're watching her like a hawk, she's marked red ink all over your white pillow before you can even blink. She is also into climbing. On everything. Chairs, the couch, you name it, she'll climb it. Even if it's not meant to be climbed! She loves to play outdoors and attempt everything her brother does. She's very stubborn and strong willed and does not wait for anything! If she's hungry, you better have a snack in your pocket, and if she's tired, the bottle better be warm and ready to go, or you're in for a real treat of a temper tantrum! My hubby says that her personality reminds him of someone else he knows, but I just can't figure out he's talking about!!! :) Sleeping has become much, much better around here. There are now nights we don't hear a peep from either kiddo all night, last night included!! We still have our rough nights, but who doesn't? She is very healthy and her eczema is under control. She still gets flair ups and raw skin and has some discoloration on her arms that may or may not go away. Her hair is crazy as usual and hard to keep out of her face, but growing quickly, so hopefully will become more manageable. She is repeating words very well and even picked up a new "head banging" dance that is absolutely hilarious! Our last post placement visit will be at the end of the month and then the finalization process begins!! We're hoping to have all of that completed by the end of the year, where she will officially be ours forever!

And this has got to be one of the funniest videos yet!! I have no idea where she got the idea this was dancing, but she rocks it!! Her fussin' in between is because she was eating one of her favorites, rice porridge and wanted more! Don't worry, I was sneaking her bites in between dance moves! The music playing is in Korean, so don't be surprised that you can't understand it!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dan&Kim Plus Eight!

I live in a crazy house currently!! One husband, two kids, two dogs, one bunny and now three kittens! We recently found a litter of stray kittens in our backyard and after realizing the momma cat had taken off, the neighbors behind us took in two, and we now have three making home in our garage for the last week. They are cute as can be, but we're not really cat people, and our current pets don't really mix well with them! Our local animal control is just now getting their own facility which won't be open till October 10, so if we can't find homes for them before then, we'll be taking them there to hopefully be adopted at their grand opening. Needless to say, it's makes for one busy mama! I feel like all I do is change diapers, change litter boxes, feed kids, then feed animals, then clean bunny cages and kitten pen, and the list goes on and on! I feel like I run a pet store! Here's a few pictures of our mad house!

Tell us how you really feel about it, Braedan!

Givin' loves to one of our dogs (actually he's my parent's dog, but since they live next door, the kids and he think he's our dog!) And check out that cute outfit!!

And the three little kittens...

If anyone in the area is interested in one of these cuties, please let me know!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


It's strange to see Zoey's hair pulled back like this! We're just so used to it being everywhere all the time! She finally enjoys her bath (unless you actually try to wash her!) and loves to get in from time to time with brother, who she just loves to splash! (And you can see from his picture how much he enjoys that!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hat Lady.

This is one of the updated pictures we received during our wait and we laughed when we saw her with her little do-rag on! We knew that keeping all that hair controlled would be a feat (as we certainly know now!) and thought this was a quick and easy way to accomplish that!!

But I had forgotten all about the fact that she would probably be used to wearing something on her head, so would probably keep a hat on. Well the last few days, she's been handing me clothing items to put on her head and squeals with delight when I do! She'll leave them on for a while too, just walking around the house going about her business! This is one with her shorts on her head...

And today she got a little more creative and decided that brother's underwear would work well too! (Don't worry, they're clean!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yes, she's alive!

Drool and all! These are the first good pictures I could get of Zoey after a week long battle with a cold, that we aren't winning! But I promise, she hasn't lost any of her cuteness! We are amazed every day how beautiful she is and how blessed we are to have her!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Y, E, L, L, everybody yell, GO YANG GO!

Okay, yes I was a cheerleader as a teenager and yes the original ending was "GO BUFFALOES GO!", but I couldn't think of anything else fitting for this post!

For a reason my father still can't figure out, he receives a weekly subscription to Sports Illustrated and every week after he finishes reading it, it ends up at our house for my husband to read. This is not a magazine I normally read or usually even slightly interested in! But I've had some extra time on my hands since our four year gave up his bobo (pacifier) recently and most nights he requires one of us to stay by his bedside till he falls asleep. I was reading one from last month, with an article about Y.E. Yang, a South Korean, winning the PGA against Tiger Woods. Now, I love Tiger Woods just like the rest of you, but I watched this tournament on TV with my family that Sunday, August 16, and I must say, that it was a great thing to watch! Y.E. Yang is "the first Asian male to win a grand slam event"!
The article read,"Yang's victory completes one of golf's most unlikely journeys. He grew up working on his family's vegetable and rice farm on the island of Jeju. In his teens Yang was an aspiring bodybuilder whose grandest dream was to someday own his own gym. A knee injury at 18 ended his heavy-duty weightlifting, and he found his way to a local driving range, where he giddily whacked balls into a net with a baseball grip. Self-taught with instructional videos, Yang was breaking par within three years but his development was slowed when he served almost two years of compulsory military service. By 1997, Yang had earned a place on the small-potatoes Korean PGA tour, and over the years he steadily moved up to the Asian and then Japanenes tours. Heading to Hazeltine he had nine worldwide wins across four tours, including the PGA Tour's Honda Classic in March. Still, there was nothing to hint at the breakthrought that was to come at the PGA."

I must admit, that a huge sense of pride overcame me with his win. To see what this man had accomplished against odds that were greatly against him and watch him rise to the top, beating one of, if not the greatest golfer in history. And though I have lived in the US nearly all my life and am a proud US citizen, I have a great love and appreciation for my country of birth and any ties to it. What a wonderful triumph for he and his family and all his hard work and dedication. It just proves that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything you want to in life.

The article concludes,
"In the clubhouse, Yang had been ushered into a private ceremony with Hazeltine members and various tournament dignitaries. Yang is not the champion this crowd had been looking forward to greeting but the polite applause grew louder as he acknowledged the clapping with four long, courtly bows. After lustily downing a flute of champagne alongside his teary-eyed wife, Yang addressed his audience. Tapping his heart, the new champ said, "This has been the best day of my life.'"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My meatloaf isn't that bad, is it?!?!

As I mentioned earlier, we're all fighting off pretty bad colds around here and none of us have been sleeping very well. So last night at dinner, just a few minutes after I served meatloaf (normally a favorite around here!) this is what we found at the dinner table! Braedan was snoring away!

Not sure why this picture turned out so unclear, but Zoey was laying her head down on her high chair tray as she scooped peas into her mouth!
Needless to say, we were all in bed pretty early last night and I'm happy to say that after a struggle to get them down, they both stayed asleep and in their beds from 10pm till 7am this morning! Much needed rest for all of us! I kept waking up every few hours thinking a kid should crying about now!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fun Facts About Our Adoption

Well, it's been a little boring around our house lately as both the kids have colds and we've been hanging around the house mostly. Poor Zoey is like a running faucet lately! So I decided it would be fun to share some fun facts about our adoption process!

*Originally, we were going to use a different adoption agency that works with Eastern Social Welfare Society in Korea, which is where I was adopted, but when that didn't work out, we chose Holt International in Oregon, which works with Holt Korea. Our original application was dated May 28, 2008.

*We had to wait to complete our homestudy at that time because we were in process of building a new house that we would not close on until June 10, 2008.

*Our actual homestudy visit was November 5, 2008, election day, at 2:30pm. By 3pm, we were getting nervous that our social worker hadn't showed up. We finally remembered that we had put our phones on silent and she had called both of us several times! She had accidentally gone to my parent's old house, where we were living before our home was built. Unfortunately, they didn't live there anymore either, as their house was being built at the same time as ours, and now lived next door to us! After spending weeks and weeks rearranging and cleaning our home, the social worker didn't leave the couch! Finally at the end of our visit, we volunteered a tour of the house, which she took. So I guess it wasn't entirely for nothing!

*Our homestudy was completed and submitted to Holt on December 18, 2008 and we received our referral on December 19, 2008 via a phonecall at 12:42pm! Seon-Mi's file had just arrived at Holt offices that very morning! My husband, son and I had the stomach flu all week and could barely peel ourselves off the couch. This call definetly jump started us!

These are the two photos we had at the time of referral.

We didn't see her with her eyes open till we received an updated picture January 6, 2009!

*We mailed our completed acceptance packet January 2, 2009 and overnighted it to Holt. Twice I had to correct forms and pay to overnight them again!! It ended up costing us a total of $75 to mail the acceptance packet because of the mistakes! Our acceptance packet was then sent on to Korea on January 15, 2009.

*Seon-Mi's legal documents arrived January 22, 2009 and filed our I600 that afternoon and overnighted it to our local USCIS office. We had submitted our I600A on December 22, 2008 and sent a check for $830.00. Cost of the same forms for my parents 27 years ago for my adoption...$35!!

*We were fortunate enough to receive Well Baby Checkups every month dated
December 22, 2008
January 20, 2009
February 23, 2009
March 24, 2009

*She has never been above the 10th percentile on height and weight until she arrived home, where she is now in the 50th percentile!

*Seon-Mi was transferred to a foster home in Seoul on November 13, 2008, from a foster home in her city of birth.

*I applied for my passport on January 7, 2009 and was very nervous to hand over my only original Certificate of Citizenship to the post office! But it made it back safe and sound and I received my passport on January 17, 2009.

On March 19, 2009, we received updated pictures! Seon-Mi was wearing the sweater we had sent in her care package!

*After many struggles with our local USCIS office, we finally received our I600 approval on March 24, 2009.

*Seon-Mi was approved for her Emigration Permit on February 17, 2009. Our I600 was logged into the National Visa Center on April 6, 2009 and it was logged out on April 8, 2009. Our Packet 3 was sent to the Korean Embassy on April 14, 2009 and Seon-Mi's Visa Interview was scheduled for April 24, 2009 (Korea time).

*On April 23, 2009 at 11:55am, I pulled over to the side of the road after picking up my husband from work, to answer a call from Holt International who told us our girl was ready to come home!

*I left for Korea on April 25 and returned home on April 30, 2009, a day after my son's fourth birthday with his best present ever, his baby sister!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day Back to Preschool

Doesn't he look thrilled?!?!?!

The truth is, he hates carrying his own backback, he hates when I have to turn off Transformers right in the middle so we can get to school on time, and he hates posing for pictures!! But he LOVES school! He's been off since May and he just fell right back into it as if he'd been going all summer! He knows his new teacher from being right across the hall from her last year, and fell in love with her then, so was thrilled to see her this morning! I'm not quite sure I have this whole get two kids dressed, fed and out the door at a certain time thing yet, but it's coming together! And I promise, my son is not as big of a, dare I say, brat, as he appears in this picture...for the most part. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

If Yan can cook, so can you!

Anyone remember that show!! It used to be my favorite! Anyway, tonight I made Yakimandu using the recipe a Korean friend of mine had given me. She actually froze the filling she had made for us to use at Zoey's party, so we didn't have to make it. It was yummy! But I wanted to master it on my own, so I gave it a shot , and I must say, the Korean in me came out tonight! I had several requests to post the recipe, so without further ado, here we go!

I used the grating blade on my food processor to julienne two medium zucchini, 3 small carrots and about half a head of Napa cabbage. Cut everything into about 1 inch chunks to process. Let that mixture drain in a colander while you make the remainder of the filling. This step is really important as you want the filling to be really dry. Meanwhile, brown a pound of lean ground beef making sure the pieces are small and there's no big clumps of meat. Drain well. Boil about 3 quarts of water and cook about half a package of rice noodles. I used a really thin vermicelli Korean noodle from our local market. Drain well. Then using kitchen shears, cut the noodles into about 1/2 inch pieces. If possible, squeeze veggie mixture through cheesecloth. I just used paper towels. Add it to a large bowl and then add ground beef and noodles. Salt and pepper to taste (I would say about a 2 teaspoons each, but this is really up to you) and then add about a 2 teaspoons of garlic powder. Mix well and then taste. Add whatever you see fit! Here's what mine looked like when all together!

And then, all you'll need to assemble is the Won Ton wrappers (available at any grocery store, mine are from the Korean market though), a spoon, and a small bowl of water.

Wet your fingertips and run it along outer edge of Won Ton wrapper. Spoon a teaspoon full of mixture into the center of wrapper making sure it's not overloaded.

Fold wrapper in half and seal edges together, then you can pinch and tuck to make a decorative design.

Heat canola oil in a Wok to about 350-375 degrees and drop mandu in one by one! I like to use chopsticks to turn them over to cook evenly and they are in the oil just till they brown, a few minutes each.

Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil and you can serve with Yakimandu sauce which is just equals parts soy sauce and rice vinegar with about a teaspoon of sugar to every cup of sauce. Then....ENJOY!!

This recipe makes about 100 plus mandu, so make what you wish and then you can freeze the rest of the filling in tupperware and defrost mixture in a paper towel lined colander to drain. The Won Ton wrappers can be frozen as well.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It'll only hurt for a minute...

Well, yesterday Braedan had his four year old shots and he was less than thrilled about it. To be exact, he came out with the most blood-curdling scream I have ever heard in my whole life and the entire pediatrician's office heard it as well. I wouldn't doubt that people got up and left the waiting room for fear they were torturing children in the back room. I believe he has gone two full years since his last shots and they have been a blissful two years for him! He had four in total and it did not go well. I insisted the sticks would only hurt for a minute, but I knew he would be sore for several days and of course, running a fever is not uncommon. He was very pleased after being carried around all afternoon that he was finally able to walk again! He was convinced it was a miracle!

Zoey was actually scheduled first but because of some paperwork issues (long story) they had to reschedule her for this morning. Braedan had no problem staying with his Papa who was home today, and was grateful to not have to go back! But he was quite concerned for Zoey and kept asking over and over if she had to get shots too. Well, if my hubby and I had thought ahead, we would've taken Zoey out of the room while Braedan was getting his shots. Unfortunately, we didn't and she recognized the same nurse and immediately started to scream. I thought about holding off until next time, but they had already drawn them up and she cried when the doctor looked at her wrong, so I knew it was a lost cause trying to make this experience more positive for her. It didn't help that she was overdue for her morning nap too so things just weren't looking good for her.

But both kids have yet to spike fevers and are now sleeping peacefully. Braedan is our big boy at 41 1/2 lbs and 3'6" tall! That 75th percentile! Zoey is not far behind him at 21.5 lbs and 29 3/4 inches tall. She is now at around 50th percentile for both which is amazing considering she was never over 10th percentile while in Korea!! I guess we're feeding both of them well!

Zoey still struggles with her eczema and we're still trying our best to keep it under control, but have not yet found the magic combination of body wash and lotions to make it more comfortable. The doctor did give her stronger hydrocortisone cream and suggested we switch to Eucerin cream rather than the Aveeno we have been using. The really inflamed areas are starting to discolor pretty badly and some of the areas are scabbing over too. We know it can't be comfortable for her and may have some to due with her sleeping issues she has had in the past.

But all in all, my kids are healthy and cute as can be and I can't complain about that! Shots are over for now and we're hoping to have a long, fun weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009