Tuesday, March 23, 2010

GNO (Girls Night Out)

This past Friday the girls and I took a trip to Brainerd. The girls were going to play at their cousin's house while I got my hair done and then we would all spend the night and visit. When I arrived at my sister-in-laws house after my errands I noticed a few extra cars. I instantly knew it was some very special women in my life. It was the GNO girls. These are a group of women that I have known for many years. We all try to get together as often as our busy lives allow. I was so excited because I knew a night of visiting and laughing was in store. I want to thank my wonderful sister-in-law, Mona, for putting this together. I was truly surprised -- and very excited! I really am so lucky to have such a wonderful group of women in my life! Each one is so very different but so very special to me.

Back L to R: Patti, Ellen, Mona (my sister-in-law), Heather and Linda and Jessi (my cousin)
Front: L to R: Me and Kari

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Another long trip around the globe has been accomplished. Our morning started at 5:30am and ended about 24 hours later. Our first flight was a little over 12 hours. The girls did a great job. Of course I have lots of things for them to do plus they can watch all the cartoons their little hearts desire. They slept in shifts which allowed Cliff and I some time to watch a few movies ourselves. This is a new thing when flying. Usually we don't have time for that since the girls were requiring most of our attention.

We landed in Chicago and had a 3 hour layover. That allows about enough time to go through customs, get to our gate and maybe find something to eat. That is a nice short flight (51 minutes). Again, the girls did great. I was just happy there wasn't any vomiting. Our girls seem to get motion sickness. We had to learn this the hard way. But, Dramamine has really helped them out.

Train ride in Chicago (at the airport).

Madison and her new T-Rex watching us take off.

Our brother-in-law picked us up in Minneapolis and we proceeded with our two hour drive home. The girls and I slept the whole way home while the guys chatted. I was so happy to get home and stretch a bit. The girls were in heaven. They thought they hit the jackpot. Every toy seemed new again. Madison kept saying, "Mommy, I didn't remember this toy."

Now, here we are on day 3 and still dealing with the jet leg. It really messes up a person's body. Yesterday was tough, but we got through it. Today, I am up at a normal time drinking a cup of coffee and actually ready to get some things done today. Ten suitcases won't unpack themselves!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Big Milestone

NO MORE........Pull-ups for MacKenzie & Madison!

M&M wear pull-ups at bedtime, but have been sleeping in undies for the past week and have not had any accidents! We are so excited. Cliff and I bring them to the bathroom before we go to bed and then when Cliff gets up for work at 5:30am he takes each of them again. So far this has worked great. We leave for Minnesota on Saturday, so we will see what jet-leg does. Hopefully not a setback.

Some of you might be wondering why we would start a big change like this a week before we are to fly around the world. Well, we really have been waiting for the girls to tell us they were ready. We have asked numerous time of course, but they just didn't want to. When Dad asked them a week ago they jumped all over it.

We are so proud -- and excited. Now Kira is next. I don't think I will know what to do without having to deal with pull-ups -- NOT!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekend in Busan, South Korea

Friday afternoon Cliff, myself and our girls loaded up our vehicle and made the 4 hour+ drive to Busan. Having lived there for a year we had some dear friends that we really wanted to spend some time with.

I believe that people come into our lives for a purpose. Living in as many countries as we have we have met some amazing people. Some stay in our lives only a short time while others stay for a lifetime. These people are friends that will stay for a life time -- even if I have to stalk them. HA HA

One day in early May of 2008 I got a knock on our door (we were living in Busan at the time). There was this sweet looking Korean woman. I assumed it would be one of those encounters where neither of us would understand the other and away she would go. She proceeded to speak to me in English asking, "can I see your children?" I was confused. I didn't know her and she wanted to see my children? I told her they were napping. She said she would come back in 2 hours. I thought that would be the end of that story, but in fact it was the beginning of our story together. This was the day we met our special Korean "Ajuma." (Ajuma means married woman or aunt. And Ajoshi means married man or aunt.) You guessed it -- she came back that day and many, many days after. She was/is a great friend to me and a wonderful Grandma figure to our girls. She is one of the most caring and giving people I have ever met. So, that being said, of course we had to make the trip to see her and her wonderful husband. We spent a few hours at her house eating, visiting and enjoying our time with them. Ajuma and Ajoshi -- thank you for a wonderful lunch and for a lifetime of friendship!

After our visit with Ajuma and Ajoshi we went to the golf course Cliff worked on in Busan. It is always great to see the work that my husband does. He is great at what he does and I am very proud of him.

Our evening was saved for our good Norwegian friends, Sarah, Svein-Olav and their children Cornelia (6) and Gustav (4). And a wonderful Minnesota couple, Troy, Malissa and their daugther Sabina (5). Sarah was nice enough to have all of us over for dinner at her place. Cliff and I knew it would an evening of fun. The adults get along so well and the children play great together. And that's what happened. Too much fun was had by the adults and children alike. It was a late night for us all, but so worth it! Sarah and Malissa -- you both are so much fun. Malissa, I still am having a hard time getting that saying out of my head that your Mother-in-law always said. Makes me laugh every time. And Sarah you are a dancing fool (on and off the dance floor). You are all amazing and we can't wait for that Norway trip that Sarah has all mapped out for our 3 families!

Now that our wonderful weekend is over I have started to mentally pack for our trip back to MN. My lists are started and clothes are being washed. Next, the suitcases will come out and away I pack. It makes me tired thinking about it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chopsticks and a Story

Cliff took this video from his camera not long after we arrived in Korea. MacKenzie and Madison are getting pretty good at using their chopsticks -- as you can see. It is so crazy how we have fallen back into our Korean lifestyle. We have rice almost every night and the girls use their chopsticks to eat it. Korean rice is very sticky and easy to pick up in clumps. I LOVE their rice!

Kira was busy playing when Dad caught her off guard with the camera -- hence the funny smile. She thought he was going to take her picture. I think she was trying to multi-task. Play and smile at the same time. Gotta love her sweet story though.

Happy weekend to all (remember we are 15 hours ahead of MN).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What About Me?

I figured I would do a little update on myself as well.

I finally finished all of my Praxis tests and received my teaching license last year. I am now licensed to teach K-8. I was so excited to get past those hard tests and to have that license in my hands! Since MacKenzie & Madison start Kindergarten next year I knew it was getting closer to the day I get to have my own classroom. The excitment of it! So, that being said I figured I better get some classroom time under my belt. When I graduated from college I was very pregnant with my twins. And I went into preterm labor the day after graduation. And since then I have been a SAHM. So, I put my name on the substitute list at our local school. I was subbing the next week. I did this until December. That was when all of the craziness of X-mas and packing began. I plan on putting my name back on the list once we get back to Minnesota. I really enjoyed it.

I also went to a few Viking's games this year. We have season tickets (along with two of Cliff's sisters and my cousin and her husband). We all have seats together. Normally I try to go to all of the games, but it just gets harder to do that (on me more than anything..LOL). We had quite the season. It was supposed to OUR year!!

Cliff has been working away. Hopping from one golf course to the next. The past few years have kept him in Korea. Right now that is where golf courses are booming. We are hoping it starts back up in Europe soon. Come on economy. Truthfully, we are just happy he is working. A lot of shapers aren't right now.

Other than that is has been our normal day to day life.

Me and my hubby. We kicked the Packers butts this night!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trying to Catch Up

Just wanted to write a brief recap of our lives since I last posted (mid-June).

We had a great summer in Minnesota. MacKenzie & Madison were old enough to spend the week at Grandma and Grandpa Hamilton's for the famous "Cousin's Week." Each year my in-laws take all of their grandkids (that are potty trained) for a whole week. They have been doing this for many years. Our girls are the youngest of the grandkids, so I was very excited for them to join in the fun. I also took advantage of this time to take a trip to Canada to see our great friend's the Bodnars. Since Kira wasn't potty trained at the time she joined me. This worked out great since they have 2 year old identical twin boys. Kira and the boys played great together and the Mom's got to enjoy themselves a bit.

Bonnie, Josh, Cole, Kira and me

The rest of the summer was spent at the beach, going to Grandma's, playing with cousins, a trip to the Zoo and The Children's Museum.

We welcomed Fall with open arms. It is always nice to see the leaves change and for football to begin (this was supposed to be the Viking's year!) And October brought another birthday for Kira. She turned 3 (but thinks she is 10). She is such a sweet, lovable and independant little girl. We are so blessed.

Mom, Kira & Dad

Fall also meant that MacKenzie and Madison would be starting pre-school. Pre-shool? What? When did my babies grow up? Milestones really can be bitter sweet. They are such great girls. They love to laugh and have fun. And it is so fun to see them with a sense of humor. We ar so lucky to have them as our daughters.

MacKenzie & Madison (R)

Kira was also enrolled in Early Childhood classes with Mommy. This is only once a week, but she LOVES going to "school."

That brings us to Christmas. What can I say? B - U - S - Y! But, so much fun. All 3 girls are really into the whole "opening presents" spirit. And let me tell you -- they are good at it! :) When I was a kid we had 2 days of presents. Well, our kids had like 6. Between families and getting together with friends. The big gift of the Season was new bikes from Santa.
They were pretty excited. Especially since they had sat on Santa's lap and asked for a new bike with a helmet. They knew they must have been really good girls to have gotten what they asked for. Which they really are good girls!
Madison, Kira & MacKenzie (R)

So, once Christmas was done I knew I had to kick it in high gear. MacKenzie and Madison had their 5th birthday party coming up, plus I was starting to pack for Korea. We had decided to spend a few months with Cliff in Korea. It is really tough for all of us to be apart. It is stressful at the time, but it always ends up working out just fine. Good thing I am an organized person.

What? Did you say we get to open more presents? Their cousin Sydney is helping them out.

I think their cake turned out so cute. I added the My Little Ponies since they LOVE horses.

That catches you up to January and being in Minnesota. I will post about or travels to Korea and will keep you posted on some of the fun things we have done since arriving. Our time is already closing in and we will be heading back to Minnesota in less than two weeks.