August 25, 2008

And the "21st" BIRTHDAY PICS!

Last Wednesday at our weekly lunch some of the wives plotted and had me a little birthday party. Complete with a "21" birthday candle! :) I just to tell you all how much it meant to me. It was a rough week spending it without my kids and my sister, but you all made my day. Jeff was amazing too! Here are the pics from that, I know the posts are out of order, but hey! Who cares! :)


Well, at the beginning of yet another busy week, I am really, really missing home! Good news though, we will be coming home in February, we are not staying another year. *YAHOO* We are excited. And excited to go home. Jeff will not re-enlist at the end of his 3 years in the Army. We are going to come back home and settle somewhere close. You learn as you get older how important roots are, and while we both enjoy the travels we want to be home. To be able to come back home, be with our friends and family we miss so much! We have no idea where we will be going when we get our orders, but anywhere will be closer than South Korea! I am missing the boys something fierce, and with school starting, I know they will be busy now. And hopefully will help them with this adjustment. I cannot wait to have them in my arms again. Over the last 5 years of our lives together Jeff and I have always tried to do right and keep our family strong. I am feeling some failure in that department. It helps knowing that we didnt make this choice selfishly. I try not to get too upset about it b/c it gets to Jeff. Here is this wonderful man who gave up everything for a divorced gal with 2 little men to raise. And he has tried too terribly hard to give them everything they have wanted and or needed. I swear he fell in love with them before me, but then again, they are pretty darn irresistable! Anyways, I am rambling, just love them and miss them so much. And I am missing my sister, my little bro (who we are so proud of) and my mom and dad, and my Marie too! The next 6 months better fly by for us! So Saturday Kelly and I went on a tour of the DMZ. Which is the barrier between the North and South Koreas. It was scary and exciting in the same day! I was very nervous, we were not allowed off the bus at the JSA. Apparently there were some people there in a meeting and too important for us to be in the mix. But we got some amazing pictures of "The bridge of No Return", the JSA area, and the NK and SK soldiers facing off at the border. First we went to the JSA, which is the Joint Security between a ton of UN. There were some pretty major players there apparently so we couldnt even get out of our bus. Usually you get to go in a building and see the table where all the peace talks take place and take your picture on the North Korean side of the room, with the guards staring you down. Literally. I only got pics of the border between the lines with the NK soldier and the ROK soldiers with their noses to the wall. Then we went to "The bridge of no return" where when the Korean war ended and the POW's were returned, they could either go North to NK and China or obviously south. But the kicker was they could never return after they chose. There was also a bloody massacre over a huge poplar tree blocking the ROK vision of the observation tower #4they sent 15 ROK and American soldiers out to cut it down and were ambushed by NK soldiers. 2 were axed to death. The observation deck in the DMZ was next. But you can only take pictures behind a certain line, if you cross it and attempt pics, the ROK soldiers will take your camera and delete them. We are talking maximum security! I got some good pics (obviously far away) of "Propaganda City"which is the mock city NK built right beside the closest SK village line to put out communist messages and entice the SK to cross the border. I got an awesome pic of the North Korean flag, which is the tallest flag in the world. It is 160 feet high, the flag is 30 feet wide, and weighs 600 lbs. dry. Then we went to tunnel 3. NK over the last 50 years built a series of tunnels that were slowly discovered to get into SK and ambush Seoul. We literally went down a 45 degree angle slope almost a half mile (I believe) down into this tunnel. It was crazy! I wasnt supposed to get any pics down there but snuck a few in. Everyone did. Our tour guide just basically said hide your camera. It was amazing, and crazy to hear all the history and stories. There were landmine signs everywhere, and I got a picture of the ones running aside the highway. There is only 1 highway joining NK and SK. I tried to get pics, but I think Kelly got better ones. When she comes over this week she is bringing her card so I can copy those too. I got a picture of me with the NK flag flying in the background. Enjoy, and ask me anything, I will try to remember the answer. I was really nervous b/c it is really dangerous, but can research if I seem to forget, lol.Here is a link to the DMZ too to help describe the tunnels better. It was amazing to say the least! I kept reminding myself of all the fallen men sent there from our country, and how different it would be for them this time around. South Korea has came so far and continues to grow and stabilize as their own nation. We went to church on Sunday, and had dinner at the Atkinsons, with Kelsey and Kyle too. The kids went and played on the soccer field for a while. And Jeff and I walked almost halfway home. Kyle has a doctors appointment at the end of this week about his sleep apnea and his tonsils coming out. I am nervous as heck about him having surgery. He will be in good hands, and I know in the long run it is best. But not having my mom or Marie here to help will be hard. The support I will miss the most. Erica cut her toe open this week too. Talk about suck! I was cooking and she was standing in the kitchen with me and dropped a can of mandarin oranges on it. It busted open and she bled all over! It was horrible poor pookie. We were supposed to ride the bullet train this weekend down to the coast, but not sure at this point if we are going to go to Seoul Land for "big" Kyles birthday. I know they are wanting us to do that badly. And we are budgeting ourselves tightly the next 6 months to purchase a car and re-furnish our next home. As well as save up money for when we get home and have to get the big boys to our new location. I am so stoked! We are seriousy on a tight budget, but together I know the discipline needed to do it will come. Jeff and I have certainly learned to function together. And I must say being here has only made our marriage and commitment stronger than ever. I do not doubt his love for us and our family. We made some videos for you all to watch, we miss you so much. The nights are hardest for me b/c I know you all are just waking up and my thoughts tend to take over and not let me sleep. But we are on the downhill slope now and will push through. I am getting excited for fall. It is my absolute favorite time of the year! I love you all!

August 14, 2008

Our trip to The Childrens Grand Park and some other busy stuff...

Hello everyone! First of all I just want you all to know that my baby brother graduates from BCT in Kentucky tomorrow, the 15th and I so stoked and proud of him I cannot express it in words. He has went down a long, hard road to get here and really is an exceptional person and has overcome so much, send a little prayer for him as he heads off to AIT training this weekend, and a little prayer for my mom and sis who bless their hearts are going to spend some time without me and Stevie there the next year or so! I love you all so much and miss you, we will be thinking and talking about it tomorrow, and expect a call from us. Take lots of pictures for me and get them out asap! I love you!
Second, my big guys start school tomorrow and they are so excited, especially Luke to get out and not be so secluded at home with his dad. He is getting so big and doing so good for his mommy. :)
I cannot wait to hear how his day goes tomorrow, and know he will do so great! I am so proud of the way my family seems to overcome the obstacles thrown in our path and I know after weeks of praying that we do have a purpose and we will be together forever and overcome any fear we have. Our love will stay strong! I dont have a scanner, but sister sent Kyle a birthday card packed with some pics of his bubbas. Miss you sweet boys, and there is not a day that goes by you are not in my every other thought going through my head. We will prevail, and with the Lord on our side there is not much we cannot endure. I have been pretty cynical and depressive the last year, but I have to perk up and realize that these trials are not permanent and we are strong, loving, and faithful creatures of the Lord and he does love us and will get us through all that comes our way. Every time things get rough, I do know that it is for a reason, and I used to not believe that. I do now, I can see the lesson or purpose in so many of our trials, and our small family has made it through them all, together, in tact and we will stay that way.

So last weekend we made it down to the Childrens Grand Park, and had a marvelous time with the Atkinsons, who for those of you know them, are AMAZING forces of God and really have helped me through some rough times here. They are a blessing, and I am so in love with their little family. We had a blast, the kids had a blast, and took tons of pics. They had a zoo, and amusement part, as well as some authentic parts like a "Korean barefoot park", which by the way, was painful! lol...Joe says it isnt built for us fat Americans..heehee...

Kids loved the animals, and they had a great little water area and they played so much there, it was really hot, but they loved it. They also had a great little animal theater, they play was Snow White. I never knew you could incorporate monkeys, birds and seals into Snow White, lol! The kids didnt take their eyes off of it once.

On Thursday of last week, Jeff and I took a long walk out into the rural areas not far from here, and it was so beautiful. The weather and landscape is a lot like back home, and if I stopped and closed my eyes it was like being back home. Oh how that pulls at your heart! Makes me count our days even faster, but maybe the adjustment a little more easy? And yes, the dogs are farmed for their meat in the picture, Jeff wanted to take a pic so you all could actually see it!

We had our weekly lunch this week and it was fun! Sissy got her first hold of a 5 week old baby, and she adored him. Although our plans involving our family dont include a baby for a while, she still loved him and it was good to know. We are talking with another family down in Osan who has adopted while here, and also trying to find out the easiest, best possible route to add to our brood. Jeff and I both feel the tug of adoption, and the options here are many. I will keep you all updated as soon as something seems more solid.

We are planning a trip this weekend to Osan Air Force base and I am excited to get down South. I will take a ton of pics for you all!

We got a call this afternoon about Kyle possibly doing a commercial, so cross your fingers that works out, it would be a wonderful way to supplement finances and a good way for me to get out and keep busy if he is successful, or they take interest in sissy too.

Love you all, keep praying my beautiful boys get to join us, something has to happen! We are fighting too strongly to keep our heads up for it not too. I honestly do believe that together, Jeff and I complete each other, and with the help of our Christ, we will accomplish whatever it is we are spiritually capable of. On a straight and narrow road now to really building on the success of an honest, loving, amazing family we have!


August 5, 2008

Dongdaemun Market

Since Kyles birthday we have been super busy around here. Looks like we will be here for another year, so planning finances and trips home has been a big topic of discussion. We are looking at getting 5k of Jeffs bonus in September which will be able to get us home in October or November, and then after some penny pinching and taxes in early 2009 we will be coming home that late Spring, and hopefully able to talk Clint into allowing the boys to come here for the summer. By the time that rolls around we should have enough miles with United or whomever to get our tickets home again that late fall, early winter. I am super excited as it seems we are falling into a routine and having everything planned out with finances helps a ton. We will have a ton of miles building up after all this flying we are doing.

So I got to spend Saturday with just a few of the girls. No kiddos, no strollers, no long train rides with screaming toddlers...and it was wonderful. We went down to a place called Dongdaemun Market and it was amazing! Such a huge part of the city. Its really cool because the old gate is still standing in the center to what would have been the ancient city. The streets were packed and the shopping was amazing. It is such a girly heaven, lol. There were just streets of shopping. And the craft market was a 6 story warehouse full of nothing but silk, embellishments, jewelry, and anything else you can imagine. I got some beautiful silk for $3 a yard and we plan on going back again in 2 weeks to purchase some more. I am asking for a sewing machine for my birthday and Kellie has promised me she would teach me how to use it before she goes home. I am excited to be able to go down and get some stuff to make and take back home with us. There is also an antique market set up in Dongdaemun stadium but we didnt have enough time for that. I found a pair of Korean socks with my name on them, seriously, 7K miles from home and they had socks with "Tiffany" on them, how funny is that?

We hit up a train stop in Seongbuk on the way back and found the equivilant of a $1 tree but Korean style, it was awesome! I picked up some great stuff for the house.

We spent Sunday at church, and then at a friends house, then we went bowling after dinner. It was super fun! The friends we have found here are amazing.

We also spent some time at the soccer field last week and let the kids run wild, they loved it!

I am missing home quite a bit though, and just getting by here and counting the days until we make it home. I love you all and miss you! If you stop by, leave a comment so I know you were here reading our little story. Love and hugs to you! XOXO

.Live, love.

.Live, love.