Saturday, September 29, 2012

Less than a year left in Korea...I should be happy right?

We have nine more months left in the land of "The Morning Calm."  I should be excited to go back home right?  Most people here are counting down the days until they get on the plane...not me I love Korea.  I do not love Paul's work here, kind of have a very strong dislike for his job here.  But God has been so good to us here in Korea (not that it will change when we move).  This little house has become our home, I love it so much!  I do want to visit our families, but I cry when I think we may never come back to Korea.  Here are a few reasons why I love this place so so so much.
1.  We can do dinner for under $10 total.  Folks that is not fast food that is salad, meat, kimbap, and sides!
2.  Asher's babysitter here is so sweet!  We love her to pieces!
3.  Speaking of which every time we get on the subway we have free babysitters...I will miss the people who play with Asher and entertain him on the subway.
4.  The best doctors I've ever had are here!  And even without health insurance they are affordable.
5.  I mentioned it earlier, but since I love it so much I'll say it again.  I love our little home and sweet neighbors!  My son was born in this house how could it not be special!
6.   Biking to the DMZ is an awesome experience.
7.  Strawberries.  They are perfect here.
8.  Running along the roads by the rice fields, they are so green and peaceful.
9.  Always feeling safe, I never worry when Paul is in the field.  I trust our neighbors and have never seen weird people driving in our neighborhood.
10.  Kimchi this stuff is so yummy!
11.  Driving through Soyosan and seeing the older Koreans who have had a bit too much soju...always makes me laugh.
12.  If only Asher were older he would have the perfect opportunity to learn Korean. 
13.  Fall in Korea is the best season, the leaves change colors, there is a slight chill in the air.  It's perfect!
14.  Family snuggle time.  Our house doesn't get warm enough in the winter so what better way to keep warm than to put on your favorite sweater and cuddle up in bed with a good movie or perhaps a hot breakfast.
15.  Not understanding people.  At first it drove me crazy not knowing what people were saying.  Now if I need to communicate something hand signals go a long way, and the times I don't I don't have to listen to "OMG did you hear...."

I am so thankful for the wonderful opportunity to have lived in Korea.  I really hope we get the chance to go to Europe next.  But if not I know we will make the best of where ever God puts us.  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:  it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."  Isaiah 55:8-11

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Naturopathic vs Western Medicine

I have never completely agreed with the western approach to medicine.  I think there are many doctors with good intentions.  Unfortunately the western view of medicine is exactly that, medicine.  If something is wrong we need medicine.  A pill for every ill, or so we've come to believe.  Once Asher was born I was no longer able to simply avoid going to the doctor.  I found myself doubting I was doing the right things for my child.  Even more frightening if nothing was going horribly wrong with Asher my pediatrician really didn't care.  She never even cared to know my name, to her I was, hold on let me look at the chart...oh Asher's mom.    Now I must say not all pediatricians are like the one I fact I am sure there are some wonderful ones out there!  But the fact remains they do not promote health.  They can be great when something does go wrong, but that is sick care, my child is healthy, so what I'm left with is a doctor who is constantly trying to find something to fix with some medicine or a shot. 

Yes, I will admit I am a bit, okay extremely obsessed with everything that affects Asher.  Especially things that go in his body (food, vaccines, supplements, and medicine).  This is where naturopathic medicine comes in to our new and improved health care plan for Asher (sounds official right?).  After hours and hours of research I managed to find the only naturopathic doctor in South Korea (maybe there are more and if so let me know but as far as I can tell she is the only one).  She is the complete opposite from his previous pediatrician.  She emailed me herself, she came out of her office when we got there to introduce herself and spent an hour going over everything that affects Asher.  Not just medical history (she did look over all of his medical history including my prenatal care and how I felt during my pregnancy), she wanted to know how our family was doing, how he sleeps, what his personality is like, how he is developing, and the stress levels of each person in the household.  Turns out that the parent's stress levels directly effect the child's stress level.  She had info on feeding that she took the time to put together.  Not only are a bunch of foods listed, but the reason why you should start with them is also listed.  For example at 6 months she lists lots of iron rich veggies.  At 9 months foods rich in zinc to promote a healthy immune system.  We had previously talked about how I was concerned about the current vaccine schedule and she took time to discuss this, along with providing me information from both sides of the argument. 

At his next appointment we are going to talk about ways to support his immune system before and after vaccines along with some more info on feeding.  Until then Asher and I have homework...well not so much Asher.  I have to keep a food diary for the next four days, read the articles she gave me and look at changing some of his foods.  In case you haven't gathered it so far, I am loving the approach naturopathic medicine takes.  There is so much that affects are lives and causes our bodies to react in different ways.  Dr. Oh was respectful, and knew her stuff.  She took time to understand Asher's unique needs.  Plus Asher liked her.  So in the end she gets two baby thumbs up and two mommy thumbs up!
Here is the website incase anyone wants to check this place out!

Monday, September 10, 2012


What is a Thailand vacation without an elephant ride?
 We spent the day at Silver Beach...Asher slept everytime we went walking by the water.
 Beanbags on the beach = perfect baby chair

 Asher was too busy looking at the fish, no time for pictures
 "Thai dancing is easy"
 After a long day on the beach it was time to relax and watch some TV
This is what I think about while I am doing yoga!  It was the best vacation of my life and I can't wait until we can all do it again!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our (Future) Bed and Breakfast

There is something about the Texas Hill Country that can melt away stress.  Maybe its the quiet, or the millions of stars at night, or just the simple, slow pace of life.  Paul and I love going there, we have planned bike rides for when we get back to the states, talked about how we can't wait to pick peaches, and of course the crystal clear rivers will be perfect for a summer swim!  That is why we should, hopefully, cross your fingers, unless something crazy happens, own a piece of it!  That is right we bought (officially its still under contract) a 10 acre lot with a very rustic cabin!
There is a lot of work to be done before it is livable, but one can always dream.  So dream I will!  Until we get the property payed off we plan to use it for camping and leasing it to hunters...not at the same time.  I can't wait until Ash is old enough to explore the creek.  We want to dig a pond on it and of course Paul will make sure it is stocked with fish.  I can envision many picnic lunches taking place there.  One day we want to build a beautiful bed and breakfast.  My very own little business!  I am already spending hours scrolling through pictures on the HGTV web-site trying to decide what would look best.  I am now finally excited to go back to The States!

Look at the view!
 This little cabin will stay until we are ready to build our dream Bed and Breakfast

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Post Baby Fitness: No Excuses!

Oh the list of excuses why one can't exercise after having a baby.  No time, too tired, no one to watch the baby, what do they all add up to?  GARBAGE!
I have had this crazy goal since I got pregnant.  I want to complete a triathlon within 9 months of giving birth without embarrassing myself.  This was a major part of my motivation to stay in shape, and improve my fitness during pregnancy.  Since Asher was born it has been the reason why I am at the gym six days per week.  Are there times I don't want to workout?  Absolutely, but this is what I have learned:  1) If I don't get my workout in I am no fun to be around 2) If I don't get my workout in I feel exhausted all day 3)  There are very, VERY few times my reasons why I can't get a great workout in are anything more than pitiful excuses.  4) If I stop crying about working out and just do it I feel great!
So that is why I workout and here is how I make it happen.  1)  Early mornings.  Asher is a great sleeper in the mornings, if I get to the gym around 6:30 I have between 30 minutes and an hour to workout while he sleeps in his stroller.  2)  Lunch time.  Paul has been great and agreed to watch him a couple days each week while he is at lunch.  This is the perfect time to get in the pool and swim laps for 30 minutes.  3)  After Paul gets home...This doesn't happen as much anymore since Paul often doesn't get home until after 7:00.  4)  Saturday/Long weekends.  We hire a babysitter on Saturdays so we can go on a long bike ride together and/or lap swim.  It is great "us time" with the added bonus of a great workout.  This leaves us both feeling rejuvenated.  5) I workout with a trainer who is sweet enough to hold babe while I do some strength training.  
Obviously working out is different than before, but I consider it even MORE IMPORTANT now.  I need the emotional boost working out gives me, and I need to be physically strong to keep up with Asher.  You don't have to train for a tri to get those benefits.  But you do have to workout.  So stop making excuses and make working out a priority.  If you do that I promise you will find a way to make it happen.  Plus it feels so great to not only weigh less than I did before I was pregnant but also be so much stronger!  Now set a goal, stop making excuses, and make it happen.

Friday, April 6, 2012

    • Paul and I are so excited to have Asher here! After 39 weeks of preparing for his arrival I was honestly excited to begin labor. I don’t think I started this pregnancy journey wanting anything extraordinary. I knew I wanted to have a healthy baby and avoid as many unnecessary procedures throughout my pregnancy and birth as I could. Little did I know what this journey would start…after countless hours of research we decided a hospital birth was the last thing we wanted. Not that I am saying a hospital birth is necessarily a bad thing, it has its place. However, I do not believe that the majority of births REQUIRE a hospital. In our case a hospital was not required. Nor were many of the procedures routinely done in a hospital. That is right, Asher hasn’t had an APGAR test, any shots, eye drops, been circumcised, or been taken away from us since he was born. Guess what, our baby is happy (except for diaper changing time), healthy, and a great eater. He was born at home. There were no doctors, bright lights, or loud noises. In fact my labor was exactly what Paul and I wanted. From talking to other mommies this seems to be rare. Some don’t seem to know there are other options, some are afraid of the going outside of the hospital, or trying anything different and very few are genuinely happy about their birthing experience. So while I understand this may not be what everyone wants, here is Asher’s birth story.  For us, it was perfect.
      11:00pm Sunday: I had been so sleepy all day, and had been having light contractions the past 2 days. It turns out my body was indeed getting ready for labor, my water broke when we were about to go to bed. I was beyond excited; finally the day I had been waiting for was here! I fully expected Asher to be born Monday. We called our doula, at that time my contractions were about 6 minutes apart. She decided it would be best to wait until the morning to come to our house with the midwife. Paul set up the birthing tub before we went to bed. 
      I slept as much as I could, but between contractions and excitement it wasn’t much.
      7:30am Monday: Mi-Yeon (our doula) and Danica (our midwife) arrived at our house. My contractions were about once every 3-4 minutes. Paul and Mi-Yeon filled the tub and I got in, convinced it would only be a matter of hours before Asher was born! You cannot imagine how disappointed I was when Danica told me I was only 2 cm dilated. The good news was Asher was low and my cervix had thinned. Now I just had to wait for it to dilate, that couldn’t take too long right? 
      After about 30 minutes in the tub I got out so labor wouldn’t slow too much. The next day is so much of a blur. I had no sense of time. I tried to sleep but my contractions kept coming pretty regularly. Monday afternoon Mi-Yeon and Danica decided I needed to go outside and walk to see if that would speed labor up some. The contractions had slowed to once every 5 minutes. This was the most difficult walk I have ever taken. I felt like running a marathon would have been easier than trying to go on a walk while I was in labor. It was really a beautiful sunny day so we walked along the hiking trail behind our house. It has a pretty steep hill and when I got to the top I felt Asher drop even further, all I could do was sit down on my knees. I didn’t feel like my hips could stand the pressure anymore! All I wanted was to be back in the tub and be warm. Unfortunately, by the time we got home the water had cooled down to much so instead I opted for the shower when I got back. The water was so relaxing! Paul got into his swimsuit and stood in the shower with me for what I can only guess was about 30 minutes. The rest of the night I felt a very intense pressure on my hips. I had only dilated to 3 cm so it wasn’t nearly close enough to push. Thankfully Mi-Yeon shared a secret with me: 1-5 cm takes the longest after 6 cm it goes quickly and Danica said at 9 cm I could start pushing. I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear that! I had a goal, and I was over half-way to the almost done part. I spent the next few hours lying on the couch trying to watch any funny TV show we could find. This is the part of my labor I don’t know if I would have gotten through without my doula. The pressure during contractions had moved to my lower back, for the next 5 hours, whenever I had a contraction Mi-Yeon would rub that part of my back and help me breathe through the contraction. I don’t remember a lot during this part of my labor, it was the most difficult part and is mostly a blur. I was having trouble keeping much down. Danica and Mi-Yeon would feed me chocolates and ice because I couldn’t stand the thought of eating anything else and I drank a lot of coconut water to stay hydrated. Unfortunately, only about half of it stayed down so I did ask for an IV. I am so thankful I was not in a hospital and Danica only left the IV in for about 30 minutes. While it was in I had to stay lying down and if that was how I would have had to spend my whole labor I don’t think it would have been a natural birth. Once she took the IV out I was able to labor leaning on the couch rocking my hips which felt good, at least for a while. I think it was about an hour later that I was able to get back into the tub. The water felt so good, there wasn’t nearly as much pressure and I was able to relax better through contractions. I was finally able to start pushing!!! Pushing felt good. I didn’t feel like I could push as well as I needed to in the water, and I was exhausted so I moved to the bed to try and rest. My bed had never felt so comfortable. I dozed in and out of sleep between contractions for 20 or so minutes. It was what I needed though, and when I got up I told the midwife I was ready to push again. I pushed in bed for a few contractions and then moved to the bathroom. I found it easiest to push while I sat on the toilet. I had two very strong (not painful at all, but just an overwhelming urge) sensations to push and Asher had crowned! They wanted me to move to the living room but just standing up was enough so I ended up on my hands and knees on the bathroom floor. I was able to see and feel his head, and it was so amazing to think in a few more pushes I would be holding my baby! Once his head was born it was very difficult not to push so he would be born slowly, but it was so worth it since I didn’t have any tearing.

      moved from the bathroom to the bedroom once Asher was    born.  There I was able to lay in my bed and admire my precious baby!  I had been seeing Dr. Chung throughout my pregnancy and I was thrilled to find out he had driven all the way up to our house (about a 1.5 hour drive) to check on Asher and me!  After a couple of hours everyone left and we were all able to get some great rest.  I feel like having Asher at home helped us to adjust to life with him.  
      Now, less than two weeks later I am going back to the gym, Paul has taken to being a dad, Izzy is back to sleeping (only getting up on occasion to check on Asher).  Life is great!  I can't imagine Asher not being here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Step At A Time

It looks like 38 isn't Asher's lucky number...maybe he likes 39 better?  I'm not going to lie, this last week has been rough.  I had it in my head Asher would be here sometime during the 38th week, that didn't happen.  Everyday that went by was so discouraging.  I know baby will come when baby is ready.  But knowing one thing and feeling one thing are so completely different!!!!  So what better way to de-stress than to get on Jacob's ladder...well, there might be more relaxing ways, but after 30 minutes of climbing there isn't any stress left!  I always feel better after a good workout, plus today a Jordan Sparks song came on and it was just what I needed to hear:
"Hurry up and wait so close but so far away...Now your feeling more and more frustrated and your getting all kind of impatient, waiting We live and we learn to take one step at a time, there's no need to rush...When you can't wait any longer, But there's no end in sight, It's your faith that makes you stronger, The only way to get there is one step at a time."
For some reason that just made everything click in my mind.  Just relax and enjoy the time I have left being pregnant.  Before I know it Asher will be here.  Now not only do I know this, but I feel it too.  So for the next 1 day to 3 weeks I will be enjoying every minute I have left of pregnancy, taking it one step at a time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

After the Christmas Party we felt so happy and so exhausted.  No way was I about to post a picture of how we looked...but I figured this picture just about sums it up.  We spent the next couple days in hibernation.  
 We spent Christmas Eve skiing and I think the fresh air did us some good because we were both up early on Christmas Day to call our families and open some presents!

I think the best way to welcome in a new year is by ending the old one on a good note.  So we made a wonderful healthy pizza, thats right whole wheat crust and lots of veggies!
Some yummy and very refreshing cranberry apple lime juice.
And took a nice hike up the trail behind our house!  7 months pregnant and still going strong!

I love the view from our living room window when it snows!  Well except the garden that I should have taken better care of before the snow....oops
Ahhh 2011 was a great year!  So many changes in our family, we moved to Korea, found out we are going to have a baby boy, Paul learned to cook, and I learned how to ski (yes these last two are very important!!!!), just to name a few.  But now on to 2012!!!!!!  I can't wait to see what this year has in store for us.  We can't wait to hold Asher, obviously that is at the top of our "What We Are Excited For In 2012" list.  We have started planning our trip to Thailand, I can't wait to be at the beach again!  In preparation for Thailand I have planned baby swimming lessons for Asher.  If you have never seen babies swim it is amazing!    
As you can tell Paul is determined to improve his golf swing this year...he isn't letting the snow stop him!  We went to play screen golf for his birthday.  I thought it would be easier than real golf...I thought wrong, turns out I just liked putting here too.  But, at least with screen golf they bring juice and water to drink while you play (or don't play, as I quickly let Paul take over for me) and there is a couch to sit on and watch.  So as a spectator, and designated putter person, I much prefer this form of golf!     
I guess I should start with an update about how our Christmas Party was wonderful!  Seriously, I think it is one of the best Christmas memories I have.  The best part was having everyone over who was helping the night before.  Let me tell you they peeled more apples and potatoes than I have ever seen peeled!  The guys who came out to help had the best attitudes.  I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard.  Seeing a bunch of guys (who barley knew how to peel potatoes when we started) attempt to bake an apple pie was the highlight of my Christmas.  There are some very loyal soldiers out there too, because when they heard that one of the apple pies was baked by Mr. Rob they all had to have a slice!  
Yep those bags are full of potatoes, apples, along with other ingredients for the party...and this is only half of what we had!

This lovely lady was a life saver!  She hemmed all of my table cloths in about 15 minutes!  I am sure going to miss Korea when we have to leave
One of the centerpieces, those pine branches and pine cones are real.  That's right not only did the guys have to peel potatoes, I sent them off into the forest to collect greenery for the tables.  The room smelled divine!
The tables are all set up and ready!  We had 3 rows of tables like this and a few couches, when it came time to eat every chair was full!      
I ended up baking over 150 cookies!  Some went to the mailroom, and the rest are all packaged to hand out to the soldiers. 
I love this picture, after weeks of planning, cooking, making decorations, it all came together.  To see the guys serving and giving their time to their soldiers meant so much.  I think this is our new Christmas tradition.  From now on, we are going to try and give back in one way or another.  Not only is it more fun than simply opening a Christmas present and then forgetting about it in a couple weeks, but other people benefit as well.  I also want Asher to learn to put others before himself.  It would make me happier than anyone could ever know for him to tell me how he wants to help others, instead of bringing me a list of presents he wants.