Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hank Saga...Part 3

Okay, so this is the REAL part 2, but since I already used that title, deal with it. :P
So I left off with Taylor coming to my rescue at about 5am, saving me from the terror that was my sleeping chamber. It kind of felt like a death chamber at the time though.
Anyways. We headed down to feed Hank for the second time and Taylor managed to sneak in with me again. Apparently he was not supposed to be in the nursing room with me the first time but he had stood his ground and I think the nurses were just a little frightened of the 6 foot 3 inch foreigner. Just a little. :) SO since there were no other moms nursing, he was able to go in with me again. Hank was less puffy this time, definitely less purplish-red, and his nose was looking less like a bulldog's now. Poor kid. He was not a very attractive newborn when fresh out of the oven. I was a little concerned he would have that nose for the rest of his life... but it was not meant to be! :)
Taylor had managed to get a little bit of sleep in the car. I managed to tell him the story of the room without crying and perhaps even faked a laugh here and there... it still was not funny to me yet. :D (Okay, maybe a little, but I was tired and totally wiped from the sauna of a room I was confined to.)
After feeding Hank, the nurse came in and told us we needed to head back. I tried to pretend I was still nursing so that I could stay in the quiet nursery and see both Tay and the babe for a little longer. I think she caught on the second time she came in and I tried to use the same excuse. SO I finally just asked for ten more minutes. She nervously smiled and agreed. Taylor and I took a couple pictures with the phone and then sent out some e-mails to family with the phone since they didn't have wireless for Tay to use the computer to get word out. Then we had to give Hank back and head back to the room. Taylor decided to head towards Greg and Gabi's to get Corin since they both had to work that morning. It was still 5 something in the morning, so his plan was to sleep in the car until about 8. He left the phone with me in case they called on the cell to come feed again, and then he was off. I figured he was just as wiped as me, so I sent a text to our friends to let them know that he would be sleeping in the car in their parking lot and to go tap on the window before they left for work. Plus.... if he didn't show, I wanted to know ASAP... since he was a sleepy driver and all.
Sigh... for me it was back to that room. I got back and the "soundtrack" was still turned up full volume. Soon the sun would be shining through the windows and at least I could read then. I sat twiddling my fingers waiting for daybreak. Finally the sun beams shone into our windows and I was about to open my book, when I hear this "BANG BANG BANG" and then drilling and jackhammering. WHAT?!!!! What was going on?! Then I remembered that the building next door was under construction. Just my luck. After a few minutes I realized that I could not longer hear the moaning, snoring, or sleep talking. I was actually kind of thankful for the construction noise now. Soon, the people in the room were waking up and I began to fall asleep to the sound of workers cutting steel. I remember looking at the clock before the eyelids gave out and it was quarter 'til 8. I soon awoke to the nurse waking me to try and shoot me up with some unknown injection... to which I politely refused. She was so confused. She kept trying to explain that "You need" "you need"... to which I would reply, "I don't. I don't" She shook her head and spoke to me in Korean (at lightening speed I might add) so that I had absolutely no clue what she was saying and since she was talking so fast, there was no hope of me even catching a few of the words. She wet around and gave all the other patients the shot and walked by my bed on her way out with a somewhat scowling look. Oh well I thought. Then I looked at the clock. Rats. It was 8:20. That means I got a whopping 30 minutes of sleep at the most. I tried to lay back down but then another nurse came in, escorting the nurse who had just been in, and she tried to persuade me to take a drug that I had absolutely no clue what it was. She tried looking up the translation on her phone and showing me that it was an antibiotic, but I was not having it. So she gave up and they both walked out the door talking in amazement with one another. (Probably discussing how stubborn I was and that I was undoubtedly going to die without this much needed injection that every Korean takes without question.)
Again, laying the head down and eyes closed when in walks a couple women with meal trays. They messed with my bed trying to get the bed tray to come up and after 3 or 4 minutes of wrestling with it, finally managed to get the arm to come up and placed a tray of food on it for me. Of course in the process I was pushed and nudged in an attempt to make me move around so they could set it up. I was not happy.
I looked around the room and watched as all the women opened their food dishes with delight. I slowly pulled the lid off the bowl. I knew what it was going to be... seaweed soup and rice. This is the "prescribed meal" for women who have just given birth and this is what they eat for about three days postpartum. While I like seaweed soup and I like rice... I am not to keen on it being my breakfast. I pushed the tray back and grabbed a snack out of my bag since I was nursing, and then laid back down. Not two minutes later, a nurse walks in and informs me it is time to feed.
AT this point I am kind of just dragging. I was happy and eager to see Hank again. Taylor still wasn't back with Corin and so I went down alone. This time, there were about 5 other moms in there nursing. I was a little surprised to see other people since up until then I was the only one in there at feeding times. I found out later that the moms had the option of supplementing with formula if they wanted, and so during the night, no one nursed. Hmmm. Okay.
SO of course I walk into the room and all eyes are on the foreigner white girl. I think they were expecting the nurses to bring a half Korean baby in to me, but when they brought little white boy Hank, the women all stared harder. I averted my eyes from everyone but Henry and tried to be as discreet as I could while nursing. It was really awkward to have 6 other Korean women staring at em while I nursed. VERY AWKWARD! A nurse came into the room and was walking around helping women who had never breastfed before and then she came to me. Hank and I were doing just fine, but I think she wanted to "show off" her English and so she grabbed the baby and my nursing equipment and began to demonstrate to me "how to." I was in a slight amount of shock. I just looked at her blankly, pushed her hands away, and informed her that this wasn't my first time. She looked at me with pity... as if I was some poor crazy fool who was going to starve my child because I wouldn't take her advice on feeding.
The truth was... I WAS starting to go a little crazy. Every single Korean nurse treated me as if I were the most ignorant person ever. Finally a nurse came on duty that could speak some English, and she asked if this was my first baby. To which I replied that it was my third and she about fainted on the spot. "THREE" she gasped! I simply shook my head and then told her three is not uncommon in the U.S. She shook her head form side to side and said that I shouldn't have anymore because it is not good for my health. Then she asked how much my baby weighed. I was reluctant to answer because I knew where this was headed. Finally I told her and she made the most ridiculous face ever. I was fed up. I am not a freak show people... and I am not going to die from having three kids, four kids... however many stinking kids I choose! Get over it. Your way is not the ONLY way to do things!!!!! AHHHH! Of course those thoughts were kept to myself, but I decided I was just going to stop talking to the nurses from that point onward.
Hank was full and so I headed back to my room. As I walked out of the nursery, I took a second to look a the visitation times. there were two daily visiting times and each visit was only 20 minutes. I remember thinking that it must have been extremely hard for the moms who were not nursing to only see their babies through the glass for 40 minutes a day. All other contact was prohibited and they did not bring the babies to your rooms... even if it was a private room. Then I realized that none of the women in my room had even been out of bed since I got there. When I got back, they were all still in their beds... watching Korean dramas on T.V. and munching on the soup and rice. I was surprised at how they seemed to not mind the fact that they had not seen their babies yet since being up.
At 9:20, our room was on the schedule to have "visitation", but NONE of the women or men in the room left. There were two couples that were up and moving about, but they didn't go down to see the baby?! Why on earth not?! Was this normal? I was so confused as to why none of my roomies were trying to see their newborns. I assume since they had c-sections that they got to see the baby for the minimum 25 seconds that I got... if that. I began to wonder if they had even ever seen their babies at all. It was so strange. The women seemed more concerned with getting more meds or eating the hospital food than seeing the new little life they had just brought in tot he world.
Soon Tay and Corin walked in and boy was I happy to see them. :) Tay brought some fruit and snacks for me for breakfast and soon we were watching a movie on Tay's computer as the rest of the room stared at us... mainly Corin. NOt long after they got there, my doctor came in. I was soooo relieved to see her. She asked how I was doing and my response was, "I am ready to go home with my family." She looked at me, smiled, and said "Well then lets try to make that happen soon!" I was so happy she was there. She told us that we would have to probably be there through the afternoon since she had appointments full booked until after lunch (which is from 12-2) but that she would see me that afternoon to clear me for release. I felt like I could finally breathe. Taylor soon took Corin to go play in the playroom after he got antsy in my room... and I managed to sneak in another 30 minute nap before anther nurse came to get em to feed. Since Taylor and Corin had missed the first visitation, I somehow talked the nurse into letting the guys see the baby through the viewing window for a couple minutes. This was Corin's first time to meet Hank. He was pretty excited, but after only about minute, the nurse gestured that she had to take him out of the window and closed the curtain on us. Taylor and I were not happy to say the least, but it was like pulling teeth to even get that much viewing time "off schedule." Sigh. I was beyond glad that we would be going home that afternoon. I wasn't sure how much more I could take of this. After having midwives with Corin and Owen and taking them both home only 3 hours after birth... not to mention they were in the same room those three hours with us... this experience was a bitter pill to swallow in comparison.
Around noon Tay snuck out to go get us lunch and Corin and I snuggled up for a movie on my bed. Not long after Tay got back and I had finished my sandwich, a nurse came in and gently took my hand to take me to see the doctor. This was the first kind nurse I had had. She was so sweet and seemed to be quite intrigued by me, but not in a stared you down stalker kind of way... just a gentle smile and wanting to hold my hand (which is a very common way of expressing affection in Korean culture between girl friends.) I obliged her and she apologetically informed me (in very broken english mixed with Korean) that she had to take me to the other side of the hospital and that it was a long walk. I was still in pain obviously, so I was very grateful that she was kind and patient with me as I walked slowly beside her.
We finally got to the doctors office and she checked me out and then she said the magic words... "You are free to go home!" I hugged her and thanked her. She seemed surprised at the hug, but laughed and let k=me know what to expect at checkout.
Soon I was walking with my sweet little nurse again back to the room to get dressed and packed up. Meanwhile, another nurse came in and handed me a filled prescription and tried to tell me when to take them and why. I just nodded and said I understood (the doctor had already explained) and soon we were downstairs ready to pick up Hank!!!!! They asked for our take home outfit. I had the same outfit in hand that Corin and Owen both came home in. The only problem was... would it fit Hank? I mean neither of them were over 8lb. 2oz. Henry was a massive 9lb. 11oz. The nurse held it up and gave a doubtful look. I was a little doubtful too. :)
Soon, out came Henry with his shoulders sticking slightly out of the outfit, but at least he was able to carry on the tradition.... even if it was a little tight! :)
I asked if we needed to pay, she said they'd send and bill and so out the door we went!
We made one stop on the way home and that was to our friends' home to show off Hank to Greg and Gabi. Hank got passed from Greg's parents to Gabi when she walked in the door and made a bee-line for the sink to wash her hands! She was super excited to hold him. :) I was glad to oblige! Then we were headed home and soon I was able to get some real sleep! And Taylor was too! We were both WIPED out! Luckily, Hank was such a sweet fellow, that sleep was not hard to manage. And soo.... that is the story of how we brought our not so little Henry Aaron Lett in to the world. :)
I am sure I left some things out here and there, but for the most part, I think I covered it.
I'd like to take a moment to Thank a few people now...
First, Praise you Lord for the safe and healthy delivery of Henry.
Secondly, thank you Taylor for your support through it all... raging hormones of a pregnancy and raging lunatic of a laboring mother. I love you and could have never managed any of it without you! Especially the whole making a kid part! ;) Rawr!
Thirdly, Thanks to GReg and Gabi and Greg's parents for helping out with Corin... what a blessing. Seriously, Huge blessing! Thanks for being such great friends.
And I would like to thank friends and family who were praying for us!
P.s. Thanks to our parents for stocking us up with baby supplies, to my mom for coming out and helping in so many ways, and to great aunts and great grandparents for gifts as well! WE love you and miss you all! Can't wait to introduce you to Henry!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hank: Part 2

So in my hustle and bustle of writing out the trama on my part, I totally forgot to mention the amazing parts in part 1 of the Hank Saga.

Firstly, I forgot to mention the fact that Taylor was there by my side the entire time and for that I could not have been more grateful. He was my birthing coach, my sanity check, and the most adorable person I have ever seen when he held our baby. He also managed to get Corin set up with some AWESOME babysitters, held his ground when it came to decisions that needed to be made, and just overall a very patient husband while I was a not so patient patient. :/ Seriously, could not have made it through that experience on my own in the delivery room... He was my glue.

Secondly, I don't think I have ever prayed in a 24 hour time period... okay, maybe not a truthful statement, but I definitely did not pray that hard during the births of Corin or Owen. I knew that my midwives and family were there praying for me and ready to support me and help out. This time around, I was a little more stressed. By little I mean, well... I was FREAKED!!!!!! Good thing I had Tay.

Thirdly, I don't think I have ever felt as blessed as I had at the joy of being surprised! For 6 months now I was lead to believe we would be having a little girl and was a little nervous about what to do with a little lady in the mix. I was also a little dissappointed that I knew what we were having when I really enjoy the surprise at the birth. But low and behold, God fooled the doctors and I was given the joy ( and shock) of hearing "It's a BOY!" (Mind you, we STILL had not picked a middle name for who I though was to be Dylan. But we did however, for the third babe in a row, have the boy name settled and ready to go!) Yay for little boys! Did I mention the fact that I was also feeling super blessed with the safe delivery of a healthy baby boy to look after while here on earth after losing Owen only two years ago?! Well, I felt super blessed. I feel super blessed. I AM super blessed with an amazing husband and father to the two amazing children we now have.

Fourthly, did you know that it cost less than $300 total from first doctor visit to hospital check out to cover all our medical costs?! Did I also mention that we were gifted an amazing amount of baby supplies from friends and family both here in Korea and the States?! The Lord totally provided for us in every possible way! Our Heavenly Father is such a gracious and loving God. I wish I could just give Him a great big hug. :)

Okay, stay tuned for a part three and I will finish the saga... promise. AND post more pics of Hank the Tank! :P

Friday, September 30, 2011

Henry Aaron Lett~ Est. 2011 The Saga:Part 1

So as most of you know, Taylor and I took a little while finding the right doctor here in Korea. By a little while I mean I went for my frist appointment in the month of September with our new doctor after the epic fail at the doctors office in Masan at the end of May. Yes, we may have procrastinated and been a little indecisive within that limbo time frame, but it seemed to have all ended up working out in the end. Our doctor, who works out of a Women's and Children;s hospital in Daegu, speaks incredibly good English. The head nurse in her wing also speaks a decent amount of English and so I was feeling more and more confident with each visit... I know, all 3 of them! ;) Anyways... I knew this baby was getting pretty big. I had reached the uncomfortable stage and the doctor was getting concerned with the size as well. No at first I didn;t think much of it because most Korean babies weigh a whole whopping 6.5 pounds and so big to them was 7. I can handle 7. I can handle 8.2. I was NOT prepared for the whopper we got! 9.7 pounds! What? Neither of the other two were over 8.2, so this was totally unexpected. Well... we will get to that in a minute.

So Monday, the 26th, I had an appoinment. I knew the doctor was going to talk to me about inducing based on her reaction the week before and the fact that I had had some contractions the previous week with nothing to follow it up. Sure enough, I walked in much to her surprise... still pregnant and no action. I told her that Taylor and I were interested in induction only if we could do it all natural. She also wanted to try a natural method before medicinal. A point for the doctor! :) So she agreed to "stripping the membranes." Google it if you are interested... I am not going into details. (You are welcome guys)

So I went home from my 3pm appointment hoping for the best. Sure enough, by the time we got home ( after our 45 minute drive) I was starting to have contractions. They were really far apart so I decided to eat and lay down to take it easy until later. Glad I did. Around 8 they got fast and furious... I mean out of no where they were 5 minutes apart! Bam. I was in labor. We were rushing out the door and making phone calls along the drive.

Once we got to the hospital, I was a little less nervous in thinking there would surely be some English speakers. I was wrong. Oh so wrong. Anxiety rose as I had to labor via phone... I ended up calling one of our church leaders and his wife (who is Korean) and she was able to translate all our requests and answer all our questions. I was so thankful to have an interpretter at that point that it didn't matter that I was having to talk to people through contractions. Soon though, the phone had to be passed as I hit the "every two minutes hard and heavy stage." I hate contractions. I mean I love them because they get the baby out... but I hate them.

So push time came... this was the only word the nurse on duty knew. "Pushi" "Pushi" .... "No pushi." Yeesh. How does a gal get so lucky?!

Praise the Lord, we had friends in Daegu, who were so willing to ditch their parents who were in town visiting, to come take Corin so Taylor could be with me during this stressful time... otherwise... well, let's not think about me having to have done that alone. They moved me from one bed to the next. I went through 3 beds during labor and delivery... then back to another bed. Then to a wheel chair... then to another bed! Yeesh. Laundry must be outrageous at this hospital.

Anyways... I was in the "pushi" stage when they tried to transfer me to this strage table out of the 1950's that had massive box lights over head and had leg holster thingys. It was a little scary. I was in a crazy amount of labor pain, and there was no way I was getting on that table. Taylor and nurses ended up lifting me onto it and I immediately found myself recalling reading about how Koreans like to strap laboring mothers down to "birthing tables" from my research on Korean birthing in hospitals... so out of the mouth of the laboring white girl came "Taylor, don't let them strap me down to the table!" Yes. I verified with Taylor later. I actually said it out loud. :/

Anyways, only a few minutes after the table change, I was pushing our what I thought to be baby girl out. Well... I told you I was hoping the doctor who decided I needed to know was wrong when he "spilled the beans." ... yeah, he was. Taylor asked if I wanted to know what we had... I kind of grinningly said yes as if he NEEDED to tell me. But then he said "boy" and I froze. What? Huh? Wait, are you kidding me?! He smiled and said that the first thing he saw was man parts... If you want the actual term he used, please consult Tay... and I was in total shock! A good kind of shock! I was a little nervous about this whole girl thing... but boys I can do! :) Plus... as usual, we still had not decided on a girl middle name and the boy name was all ready and waiting for him! God sure has a fun job, don't you think! I always think He comes up with the most creative ways to bless us!

Then they moved me to another bed and I was being moved back into another little room. No baby. I got to hold him a total of 25 seconds. This was hard for me. Taylor stayed with Henry while I was wheeled to the room.

Soon, I was transfered from there to what I thought was to be a private room... as they had told us when we were playing phone games at the beginning. Then, last minute, a nurse came and said "private rooms, all full." Okay, whatever, so I will have a roommate and I will get over it.
They stuck me in a wheel chair and rolled me through a maze of hallways and elevators and soon I was rolling into a room with not just one roommate, but four. Four roommates and their husbands on the floor next to them. The room was hot. I mean, floor heaters on, 4 inch window cracks, and no airconditioners or fans hot. I got nauseous almost immediately upon entry. Tay looked at me and pretty much asked off the bat if he could sleep in the car. I laughed and agreed... thinking to myself... maybe I can sneak out too.

After the nurse struggled to communicate with us (still not sure what all she said) we found out we would be able to feed and hold Hank in a few minutes and then I would be coming back here until the next feeding... without Hank. Sigh. To not have your baby when you are used to walking out the door and heading home with your babes only hours after birth.... not to mention watching the midwife process the baby in the meantime was a massively hard thing to have in comparison with the night so far. I had seen my baby for 25 seconds... and he had been in the world for almost 2 hours now.

Finally, Taylor went to go get him only to find out I was to walk down to go see him and feed. What?! Me, who just popped out an almost 10 pounder is supposed to stand up and walk down to see him? This was a little concerning to me considering all my previous experience was that I should stay off my feet as much as possible for the first few days. Hmmm. Oh well. So down we went. I finally got to hold my baby!!! Henry Aaron Lett.

He was such a cute looking little old man. Serously, looked like a new born old man! haha! But oh so sweet. I could have stayed in the room with him and stared at him all night, but eventually they kicked us both out of the nursing station... with no baby. Taylor and I both had a really hard time leaving without either of us there to stay with him. Really hard.

So back to the room. Taylor walked me up and then headed to the car due to the ridiculously hot room and I was there... lying on my back with the sounds of the room rushing through my ears.
You know those crazy sleep soundtracks that have recordings of mating jungle frogs and screaching birds? The ones that are supposed to let you fall asleep to the "sounds of nature"?! Yep... I lay there thinking that this room's soundtrack would make a funny prank version of those. I'll try to explain it as best as I can, but you really had to have been there to truly understand what I suffered that night. First off, you should know that all the other women in the room had a c-section and were therefore on drugs. Apparently really strong ones. The three gals on my left all made random moaning sounds through out the night. Two of the 8 people on my left (remember that husbands were on the floors next to them) were snoring out of sync. The girl directly to my left was talking in her sleep all night. As to what she was constantly chattering about, I have no clue, but it got pretty intense there for a while.
Now... the couple on my right... oh man. I think they alone would have been sufficient to make one want their own IV of goodies. So the lady apparently had just come out of surgery since she was awake when I first got there. Then the nurse hooked her up to a bag of something neon yellow... which with the lighting in the room looked neon green with the lights off and all I could think of was the toxic ooze from teenage mutant nunja turtles. Anyways, she was on the neon drip and that is when it started up with her. She fell asleep and immediately started up with a light moaning. A CONSTANT light moaning. Then it progressed to a moan mixed with sleep talk about a cute baby (I picked up on at least that much) and then she progressed to a hybrid mix of moaning, sleep talking and snoring all intermingled with a regular flail or two of her arms... which cause the bed to sound like crumpling newspapers.
Not long after she fell into sweet dreams, her husband dozed off and OH... MY... WORD.... this guy was sawing logs. I don't think I have ever heard someone snore as loud as he did. My bed was only about a foot from his little trundle bed and the entire right side of my bed was vibrating with each wave. I was miserable. I stared at the clock wondering when Taylor would come through the door with the good news that they had called us to come feed Hank. Hours passed and all I could think of was the verse about praying for your enemies. It was that bad. So I prayed for them. I prayed for me. I prayed that the Lord would keep me from hurting any and or all of the noise machines. I prayed for sanity. I prayed for sleep... I prayed a lot that night. God was probably fairly entertained. It was after I "prayed for my enemies" that I began to think how fun it would be to record the room sounds and give it as prank sleep soundtracts for friends for birthdays and Christmas. :) Perhaps I was a bit dilerious by then.
Finally, Tay walked through the door and I don't think I ever hopped out of bed so fast in my life. I was out the door before he couls say we got a call!

Now, because this post is getting rather long and because I have other things to do than just sit at the computer all day to tell you how funny it was (in retrospect) to stay in a Korean hospital, I will have to let you go for now and continue the saga at a later time. I hope you enjoy the story so far... cause it aint over yet. :)
Discloser: Please forgive any and all spelling errors as I am not fully recovered from the trama of the events stated above. I leave you with pictures.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Letts come to town... eeerrr country. :)

This month has been a bit of a whirlwind. It seems like we have been running around a lot more as of late. Between weekly doctor visits for baby bump, church, and family visiting, this month has been flying by.
The latest update on Bumpy is that the doctor thinks the due date will be before Oct.1 and last week she said Bumpy is already almost the same size and weight as the boys were... so I think we are getting close!
Tay's parents and little sister came out for a 10 day visit. Taylor and I subjected the Letts to all sorts of Korean food, from kimchi jiggae(spicy red pepper and cabbage soup with tofu and pork) to hoddeok (sweet rice flour pancake/ fried and stuffed with brown sugar, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more yumminess). Natalie was not too impressed with most of it, but she was quite the trooper and tried just about everything! Ray and Kate were pretty good sports, though I would have to say that Ray ate the widest variety and the most at all the meals.
We hit some hot spots in Busan after staying the night at a Beach front hotel off Gwangalli Beach. We tried to walk the Jagalchi fish market, but only the street vendors were open as it was Chuseok... Korean Thanksgiving. We then headed over to Nampodong where we ate yummy lunch and our favorite street sweet.. hoddeok. :) We proceeded to do a little window and street-side shopping where Natalie stocked up on socks galore. ( A must do in Nampo)
We went for several walks in our countryside rice patties, they hiked in Yeongsan, visited a nearby temple and did a little more shopping in town. We also visited Masan/Changwon for a dose of Korean McDonalds and the only one adventurous enough to try the bulgogi burger was Ray... way to go Ray! :) Then we did a little more shopping and got Natalie a good Konglish shirt and picked up a few other gifts. Of course we intorduced them to our beloved Home Plus and they were able to get a few goodies for other people there.
We also were able to stay a night just outside of Daegu at a BEAUTIFUL cabin that backed up to a mountain. Kate and I stayed behind to take in the scenery from our back porch as the others went off exploring that evening. In the morning hours, they had some fun in the mountain stream while Kate and I again enjoyed the fresh air and gorgeous views that we were blessed with from our porch. Morning quiet times are pretty much amazing with that view! (May have to invest in a mountain-side cabin home.)Taylor and I are already trying to figure out how many more times we can take advantage of those cabins before we leave Korea!
We managed to squeeze in a trip to a Bulgogi restaurant way out in the gorgeous countryside.

Afterwards we went to nearby Changwon for a look-see at the historical museum which included relics of the past as well as famous Korean burial tombs.

This might have been a mistake though, because for the rest of the Letts' visit, my poor little baby bump was likened to a burial tomb. Stinkers. (If you look at the pictures of the tombs, you might be inclined to do the same... I suggest you don't though. I have the power to withhold pics of said soon to be vacated tomb resident!) :P
By the end of the trip, the girls were all in pretty bad shape... kind of funny, kind of not. Natalie had bruised her tailbone by sliding down a rock which apparently was not made for sliding, Kate was having hip issues (which I am sure our rock-like bed did not help) and I was, well I was dealing with the joys of being nine months pregnant. So the three of us hobbled, wobbled and groaned as we sat down in an effort to get comfy. The traditional Korean floor tables, at which we ate for most of the restaurant outings, were definitely giving us some problems!
It was overall a fun vacation filled with lasting memories. I am really glad Ray, Kate and Nat got to come out and experience a little bit of Korea.
I won't lie though, while it was great having them here, I was kind of glad to get back to a quiet house and sleeping in my own bed. (Grandparents and Aunts sure do know how to wind up a 4 year old!) Speaking of Four year old... Corin got his birthday present early from the Lett family. He got his very first baseball mit and is pretty much obsessed with it! He has played with it day in and day out since unwrapping it. Thanks Grandma Katy-bob, Grrrrandpapa, and Aunt Natawie!

I will leave you with a pic of three generations of Lett men! :)
Since this was not exactly my vacation and since we had been most the places before, I didn't take all that many pictures, so if the Lett Srs decide to upload photos, I will try and share more... but for now, this is what I've got! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summertime in the ROK

As most of you probably already know, the Letts just finished up three weeks of vacation. What did we do, you ask? Well, we mostly enjoyed relaxing at home together and watching lots of movies and eating lots of ice cream bars! :) When we weren't busy relaxing in our airconditioned room, we were taking day trips here and there. We visited friends, spent a couple days at the beach, attended a fishing festival, and we went to a couple going away parties for friends headed back to the States. It was good to have time together as a family. Corin loved having dad home for such a long period of time.
Taylor just started back to work Monday and Corin about lost it when he left that morning. He was quite upset and constantly asked when Tay would be coming home.
While I enjoy vacation time, it is always nice to get back to a daily routine and have the house in order once again. I felt like I was living in a constantly exploding home for the past three weeks.... as if I could not keep up with the daily wear and tear the house endured. So, while I am saddened that Tay has to be back at work all day, I am glad to be back in control of the daily duties.
Monday I reached 35 weeks pregnant and am counting down the weeks now until little Lett arrives. We are getting pretty excited about all that is happening in the next month. The Letts... as in Tay's parents and little sister, will be visiting us in about two weeks!!!! It should be a lot of fun playing tour guides yet again. It has been a year and a half since Taylor has seen any family, well, other than skyping Coops. After their ten day visit, there will be a week or so before my mom arrives in time to help with birthday preparations for both Corin and the little one! I am hoping this baby doesn't decide to hunker down as long as Owen did past the expected due date. My birth prediction date is October 4th at the moment, though we will see how close I get to guessing correctly! :)
Corin is constantly growing and becoming more imaginative. He is quite the little entertainer. He has also become quite the engineer with his legos. He constructs some pretty ornate vehicles and replicas of various vehicles he has spotted on our drives to and from Busan. The other day he made a crane that looked very similar to the ones in the shipping yards we pass on our way to church.
The weather has been rainy and cool this past week, which is a total relief after the sweat dripping weather we have had prior to. I know, I know... it's hot in Texas... but it's Texas. (Home of the bi-polar weather patterns.) Korea seems to have fairly distinguished seasons. I think I prefer having 4 seasons rather than 2. :)
Ihope to get some pictures up soon, not that I took a ton over our vacation, but I will post what I've got at some point in the near future. :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like... July.

Wheeeeewwweee. Things are warming up quickly here in the ROK. This past weekend was especially brutal as we went to an evening baseball game in Daegu with our friends, the Boys. Greg and Gabi graciously took us into thier home and fed us, watered us, and then took us to a ballgame! Go Lotte Giants! Of course, this was a game between our two big rival cities... Daegu (Samsung Lions) vs Busan (Lotte Giants) I won't mention who won as it is a sensitive subject for the Boys... who LOST! :) Anyways. That morning, before we left for the game, the guys headed to a nearby hiking area complete with river for cooling down in. Corin of course DOMINATED the water! :) Here are a couple shots of the guys doing what guys do best...

And here is a couple shots from the sweltering baseball game...

And now it is time for...

So things Corin has said and or done in the past month, which trust me this is NOT a complete list!

Funny things:
1. Corin can now write his name... both forwards and backwards!

2. Corin can also draw people in realistic stances. (When asked why his Corin only had one arm, his reply was:" Well mommy, I I am waving and I only wave with one arm." Aha. I see. I too only wave with one arm, so this makes perfect sense.)

3. Corin and I are creating a Biblical History timeline around his room using Bible coloring pages. So far, we have only gotten through creation, but forward we go!

4. Corin adores standing at the back window to say long loving goodbyes in the mornings when daddy leaves for work and LOVES greeting him curbside when he comes back home!
5. Corin thinks he's a cheetah about 59% of the time.
6. Corin is immune to freezing cold water and loves to play in it be at the beach, the river or in a tiny tub of water in our back wetroom.
7. Corin is highly allergic to some forms of bugbites and his eye tends to swell to triple the size when bitten on the eyelid by said mysterious bug.
8. Corin thinks every bug is his best friend.
9. Corin's name for every bug, plant, animal, or unknown person: Larry. (Kind of my fault... I got tired of coming up with and remembering names for each new "friend" and so Larry became my staple... and Corin's too!)
10. Corin loves to watch Superbook. (Bible story cartoon from 80's or 90's)

Funny things Corin has said:
1. While talking to grandma about why they had to get rid of one of their dogs that nipped his cousin Austin, Corin seemed to put his Biblical knowledge into play and told Grandma Maynard that " If that dog tried to bite Austin, I would throw it into the fiery furnace!" (Too much veggietales perhaps? Hmm. We had to explain that he was not Nebakanezer.)
2. Corin loves to sing and was busting out some Lacrae lyrics the other day as he roamed about the house singing repeatedly, "I'm a snitch man, I'm a snitch man!"
3. Corin is a diligent littel prayer partner for the staff at Kid's Camp this week. We have been praying at dinner time for people we were assigned to as prayer partners as well as the rest of staff and campers. Corin loves praying for Superman, Kimo, Strider, Coondog, Lois Lane and Fizz right along with us! :)
4. Some of the most hilarious conversations happen in the car while we are driving to church, but I can;t ever really rememeber the specifics... I hope to catch him on video in the next couple pf weeks to document for him how much of a chatterbox he was at age three. Yeesh that kid can talk!!! :) He also has quite humorous conversations while in his room during "quiet time."
5. Corin is going through a forced laugh phase. It is quite loud and obnoxious... we are working with him to tone it down a bit and or drop it all together, but he likes to be in on the jokes with the adults and his mental capacity for understanding some jokes just has not yet developed... poor guy, he is trying to grow up so fast. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Korean Neighbor

On nice evenings, when the rain has subsided, our little family goes on a walk down back behind our home. As we weave through the older homes, gardens and rice patties/fields, we meet older Korean men and women out and about doing what needs to be done in thier small farming community. Most tend to thier fields or greenhouses, while others sit out and chat over a cigarette or box of soy milk. Some aspects of our walks feel quite homey to me having grown up in the rural farmland of Indiana, and yet I am still caught off guard more times than not. Traditional Korean culture is very giving and sharing oriented. Living in the countryside, Taylor aand I tend to experience this aspect of Korean living more so than our city friends. There have been multiple times where Taylor will come home from school with massive amounts of fruits or vegetables... or if we are not quite as lucky, strange rice cake concoctions. None the less, we are always very grateful for the generous gesture and have tried to recipricate our thankfulness with a homemade treat. This is where things get a little comical. But wait, I am getting off base... I was talking about our evening walks. Several times now, Taylor and I have come back from our walks and have recieved some sort of garden fresh, hand-picked crop. A few weeks ago... one such gift was recieved by a sweet little Korean widow that lives just a few moments walk away from our apartment on the alley behind our complex. She is weather worn, but gentle in appearance. I would guess her to be in her late 70s or early 80s tops. Her smile is laced with silver fillings or caps, but there is no harshness to her smile whatso-ever. She is one of the warmest women I have encountered in Korea and you can't help but be drawn in by her kind spirit and graceful gestures. She is thin, yet able bodied and is constantly in her garden weeding and nurturing it. She has entitled herself Corin's Korean grandmother, a title which I would not deny her. Corin finds her quite approachable too... which is rare for him since he is usually smothered by the older generations here and therefore avoids them like the plague. But his Korean grandmother... she is different. She is unique. She is loving and gentle and patient and willing to communicate with us in the most primitive manner... gestures. Siunce neither of us really speak the other's language, we are forced to play cherades with one another hoping our smiles and expressions relate our feelings well enough. So as we walked home a couple weeks ago, she popped her head round the corner of her home and quickly came near to us, gestureing to her garden and repeating the word "sam". Which means "three" or "wrap" in in Hangul. So we were a little confused at first. But then she proceeded to pick us a massive amount of lettuce and prune it to be sure we were getting only the finest quality gift she could bestow to us on that day. It was enough to make two HUGE batches of salad with, but that is not what this type of lettuce was used for here in Korea. Here, it was for "wrapping" ingredients to create a little lettuce bite. You see it mostly in wrapping marinated cooked meats like bulgogi or sam gyup sal. (beef or pork) But you can wrap veggies and rice in them too. Taylor and I of course do not have traditional Korean food on a regular basis in our homes so we felt a little guilty taking from this womans supply in such a large helping... but if there is one thing I have learned, there is not refusing or compromising with an older Korean... you just take the gift and smile. So as an effort to bless her in return, I went home and immediately began to make her homemade caramel corn to present to her the next day during our family walk. She had gestured to us where she lived and so I knew if she was not out and about, I could find her. The next evening, Taylor stayed home to rest after a long day and some not so great school cafeteria food, and so Corin and I ventured out to find our little Korean grandma. She was not out that evening, so we walked up to her home and called to her. I felt badly when I realised she had been anpping, but she woke with such a joyous smile on her face that any guilt quickly subsided. She came out and joined us on her patio as we presented her with a gift of two ziplocks bulging with caramel corn (a treat Koreans tend to enjoy.) At first she tried to give it back as she blushed in the sight of the wrapped gift. I of course, pushed it into her hands with a smile and she began speaking in Korean with a touched expression on her face. The smile never left her. She opened the small token of our appreciation and tears began to form in the corners of her eyes... and then so they formed in my own. She was abundantly grateful and invited us into her home. Corin made himself right at home as he sprawled out on her entry floor. I peered around and tried asking if she lived alone or if her husband was out working. She hung her head for a moment and touched her hand to her chest, covering her heart. She rubbed her heart and then pointed to a nearby hillside where burial mounds graced the side facing us. She then gestured a sleeping motion and held up one finger. She had just explained in hangul that her heart had died and was buried there on the hillside and that she was left here alone. My heart broke for her. You typically see older women living with thier children once widowed, but she seemed determined to live her life out in her own home, in the home she shared with her "heart", her love, her husband. It was a sweet little home. Small, but plenty of room for her and her husband to have thrived in. It was very clean and tidy, with little clutter or material items on the floor. She was a simple woman, from a simple generation and was not used to life of luxury, but rather a life of labor in the fields. I remember seeing her sweet face helping in the garlic planting season last fall as she and several other older women from the community squat in the fields hand-planting the garlic bulbs in hopes of a great harvest come late spring. All these thoughts of how we could minister to this woman swirled in my head as we sat in a moment of silent glances and smiles. I then gestured that we needed to leave and she was up in a split second to walk us out. as we left, she loaded us up with rolled cookies to take and then stopped to gift us even more treats from her garden. I tried to politley decline for fear that we would eat her out of house and home, but she forced the fresh picked garlic bulbs into my hands and smiled as if she had sufficiently returned her gratitude for the popcorn treat. Such a generous heart amongst a very generous generationa dn culture. We are constantly given such bountiful gifts and yet have nothing to give in return...
In fact, just yesterday Taylor came home with about a 15lb bag filled with massive heads of cabbage. Oh dear, we will have cabbage for weeks! :) But such a sweet gesture and gift. Taylor and I have been enjoying giving "American" treats in return for the Korean treats we recieve. Hopefully we are not only sharing our culture with the recipients, but also Go's love is shining through. We can only hope. :)

June 2nd

So today is a day of rememberance. A day we take joy in the memories of our little Owen coming into the world. He was such a sweet faced baby. The perfect little neck to nuzzle into with his quickly growing baby rolls. He was a spitting image of his daddy. Owen fittingly shared the same middle name as his daddy and he brought us all great joy. Corin was timid in his reactions to Owen, not quite sure if he was ready to give up center stage for stage left just yet and so it was, our family grew from three to four. I never knew how chaotic it could be to graduate from a mother of one to two and certainly was not expecting to lose that title so quickly. As we remember the joy of Owen's birth... we also grieve the fact that he is not here to share with us his little two year old grin, or the joy in seeing his very own birthday poster, or the reaction in him opening his presents as we hold Corin back from trying to shred the paper off himself. We are missing out on a lot of things, but I am hopeful that what we are most missing out on is the joy Owen is experiencing with our Lord and Savior as He celebrates with Owen today.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

ICC Women's Weekend

I had a few intrigues about the women's weekend that I hosted at our home. Taylor of course cleared the area and headed to Seoul for a memorable night with some buddies and Corin.
The ladies started arriving Friday night, the 29th of April. We had snacks, played games and just enjoyed each others' company as we awaited the arrival of all our Friday nightr guests. Saturday morning, we woke up to what we thought would be a rainy and dreary day, but God is Good, and he held off the rain inour part of the countryside. We all had a yummy breakfast with a nice warm cup of coffee to get us up and going. Then we decided to go for a walk as we waited for the rest of the ladies that would be coming out to join us. It was on the walk that I was thankful again for our rural placement. The ladies really enjoyed getting out in the fresh country air. When we got back, a few others had joined our numbers and soon we were diving into God's word together. I gave a short devotion on Colossians chapter 3, focusing mostly on renewal. I felt as though it went really well. Then we split into small groups and had a time of discussion, reflection and prayer. Sooooo good. I love hearing what God is doing in the hearts of others and how the scriptures move each of us individually. It just goes to show that God's word is LIVING, constant, and applicable. (and so much more)
We then shared a feast at lunch since our numbers dropped from the original head count. There was plenty to go around and we were all quite satisfied by the time the table was cleared.
I had asked a friend if she might be intereseted in creating a devotional for the ladies as well and she (Melody) presented hers just after lunch. She focused on Ezekiel 47:1-12. Mel had us close our eyes as she read the passage and encouraged us to take that opportunity to envision the scene described. She then lead us to John 7:37-39, showing us how the river in Ezekiel represents the Holy Spirit and then to 1Corinthians 3:16 to relay that our bodies are the temple spoken of in the original passage as well. We then went back to Ezekiel and reread the passage, this time envisioning ourselves as the temple and the Holy Spirit as the river constantly flowing from us. It was a great, refreshing, and vivid reminder of the LIFE we have that is constantly flowing in, through and out of us.
We then, of course being ladies, moved on to crafting time. We made fabric flower broaches and hair clips. It was so fun to see God's creativity displayed through the creations of these women.
Then it was time to pack up and head out. I was sad to see the time go so quickly, but it was quality time indeed.

My reflections: As I prepared for the devotional, I was very much tried in the ares that I was intending to teach on. The sin seems to bubble up throughout the weeks leading tot he retreat and I knew it was Satan trying to deter me from presenting the TRUTH through the word of God. (Melody also mentioned some defeat in her preparations as well.) Satan is a sly one, but God is triumphant!!!
I was slightly discouraged by the number of attendants. Last year we had a fairly large group where as this year, our numbers dwendled down to only 11. I felt as if I had failed to make the retreat sound enticing or that the distance to travel was a deterant, but come Saturday morning... when we sat down for the first devotional and then split for our small discussion/prayer groups... I was so thankful for the number of women that God had encouraged to come. I was reminded that it was not about me and what I wanted out tof the weekend. The Lord was using this time for His Glory and so I was pleased to have the opportunity to host a time of worship and fellowship. I also found that I was very much less stressed this time around. I made most of the food ahead of time, which helped a great deal, but I also just felt more spiritually prepared that day. I was very encouraged by the weekend and always love growing closer with the ladies in the body. I look forward to hopefully squeezing in one more women's weekend before February... just in case we decide to head back to the States.

Friday, May 6, 2011

In the month of May

As most of you know, we have been tackling the task of finding an option for natural birthing here in Korea. Our searches for midwives or doulas in the immediate area were unsuccessful. We had Korean speaking friends or co-workers help find a women's hospital in the area that specializes in Prenatal care, birth and pediatrics. They are very common in Korea and are usually refered to as Women and children's hosptials.
We finally got in to see a doctor this past Wednesday. The nurses and staff really didn't speak much english, which was not exactly a confidence boost, but I was happy to be getting in somewhere and ready to make a choice in health care. The doctor seemed nice enough. He spoke English, but it was rather broken and his pronunciation left me slightly puzzled at times. (Side note: If you have ever played the game Mad Gab, this is what it felt like throughout the appointment. It is always fun trying to decipher the phrase and I feel as though I should get points each time I am right... especially on the first try!) So we were told we would go intot he sonographer's room and take a look at the baby. Before doing so, we repeated told the doctor we did NOT want to know the sex of the baby. This was our first sonogram ever, with all three of the kiddos, so it was kind of neat to see the little heart beating in its chest and all the wiggling around. As the doctor started naming off parts of the body, Taylor left the room and I reminded him I didn't want to know, boy or girl. He proceeded with his anatomy lesson and said something to Taylor's coteacher in Korean before turning to me and say, it is a ______.
My heart kind of sunk, not because I was not excited about this little life and the gender it was chosen to be from the beginning, but that I now knew. That I would have to keep a secret from Taylor and that I was now denied the exciting joy of finding out as the baby came out into the world. Well, life goes on. I am very excited to welcome another healthy baby into the world, just a little less suspence this time and a little more dislike for the Korean method of child birth. Apparently, Koreans feel you should know what you are getting. They think this way concerning not only the sex, but also the deformities (both mental and physical) before giving. birth. They test for everything they possibly can, from genetic disabilities to birth defects to contractable diseases. Sad to think that most parents in Korea (and around the world) have ample time to decide to put thier child up for adoption based on thier pursuit of the perfect child to raise.
Anyways, we left the hospital determined to have a birthplan in hand, in Korean and english, the next time we walked through those doors. Luckily we have a month to figure out all the details.
The next day was Cinco de Mayo, or as they call it in Korea... Children's day. Yes, the celebrate these very creations we had just seen on the big screen in the doctors office with an entire national holiday devoted to them and thier pleasure! Parents take the day off, if they don't already ahve it off (being a national holiday and all) and take thier kids out shopping, to festivals and museums and even amusement parks. It is crazy, but kind of fun since kids here don;t really celebrate thier birthdays on thier actual birthday, but rather on lunar new year. Since Taylor had the day off, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and try our luck at the dinosaur museum again. (If you recall, we went last summer, but it was pouring cats and dogs, so we only got to view the inside of the museum.) It was gorgeous outside. Perfect t-shirt weather. The sky was birght blue and Corin was in a fairly good mood, so the rest of us were too! We made a quick tour of the inside museum again, as just a refresher course and then headed to the outside grounds. There were playgrounds everywhere and dinosuar statues. Corin thought it was pretty cool... Okay, I won't lie, I did too! The museum is positioned on a seaside mountain that has trials winding down to the shore along the cove. The rocky beach is littered with dinosaur footprints and a boardwalk type trail that guides you on a tour of bboth the footprints and the beautiful ocean views. It was such an amazing view. You will find an album in the left hand column to get an idea of the beauty you are missing out on here in Korea!
We had a great time driving in the countryside in our little white car as we made our way to and from Goseong to take in the dinos. I am really thankful for a directionally sound husband and the blessing of a car. :) I donlt think I could ever get tired of mountains and tiered fields full of lush green crops.
P.s. Corin kind of dressed himself that day. Hence the fingerless gloves and socks with sandals. (Taylor might have made a comment in regards to Corin taking on his dad's sense of style before he did... )

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A few blog worthy moments.

Well, since I have been neglecting you all, I suppose I should make up for it in divulging the details of various happenings from the past couple months. Such events might include the many adventures of traveling to the States through Japan, mal-adjustments in being Stateside, and Corinisms.

Let's start with the quakes in Japan.

Corin and I were headed to Texas to visit family and friends for about three weeks and had a four hour layover in Japan followed by a two hour layover in Houston. Combined with 18 hours of flight time, it was going to be a long trek to the States without Taylor.
Friday morning,on our first flight from Busan to Tokyo Japan, I decided to read the CNN newfeed rather than watch a movie. I browsed the headlines, one of which was entitled "Earthquake in Northern Japan" and decided to skim the contents. The article told of a quake hitting the northern areas of Japan on Wednesday of that week, but that it did little damage to the affect area. I really didn't think much of it as I moved on to the next article. Soon we had landed in the Narita airport, just northeast of Tokyo. Knowing we were there for the next four hours, I got our boarding passes, let Corin watch our plane get fueled up and the catering truck load up our flight with food, and then we headed to the children's play area. I sat down on one of the benches to watch Corin play with the few toys in the room. We'd been there for maybe 20-25 minutes when I felt a slight shake under me. I looked around and asked the other two moms if they had just felt that too, or if it was just me. One replied that it was probably just a plane taking off as the other mom nodded in agreement. Hmm. I found myself thinking that I prefer to never be in an airport that shook when planes took off, but before I could state that I thought it might have beena small earthquake instead, the room started swaying side to side. Well... poop. THIS was no small earthquake. I grabbed Corin and the carryon luggage and headed out of the playroom. There I pulled Corin under an internet connection desk and told him we were hiding from the earthquake monster who was currently shaking the building. The quake lasted maybe 1 1/2-2 minutes. I jammed my thumb as we were forced into the confines of the small desk by the quake. The ceiling tiles were rattling and debri was falling from around the tiles, lights and airducts on the ceiling. You could hear glass breaking far off and people were freaking out all around us. Once the quake ended, I took Corin to our departure terminal to see what the plan was for our flight. once we arrived in that terminal, another quake hit. Lesser than the last, but still threatening enough to temp Corin and I to seek shelter under the sturdy steel waiting benches. Once under the bench, Corin began instructing those around us to hide from the earthquake monster as well. They all thought he was cute, but very few accepted his invite. Soon after this quake, and announcement came on the entercom and we were all instructed to head to the nearest exit for evacuation. The staff lead us out to the tarmac, where we would spend the next 2 hours. It was chilly, but not too bad. The sun was out and luckily Corin and I had on our winter coats as well as long sleeves and pants. Others were not so lucky. Some were transfering through Japan to or from a tropical destination. Those poor t-shirt and shorts adorning travelers. Corin was quickly growing bored with standing around and so I was forced to sit down and pull out his coloring book and crayons. Just a few feet away, a little girl (1/2 Japanese & 1/2 Canadian) was hiding behind her dad as he talked on the phone with his Japanese wife. (As you can guess, he is the Canadian in the little girl's equation) Anyways, she longingly looked at Corins crayons and so I invited her to join in on the coloring. She was eager to join and Corin eager to share. Soon the two were inseperable buddies. The little girl, Raenna, was four and was very open and friendly. The two shared snacks, toys, coloring books, and lots of giggles over the next several hours. Soon we were herded back into one of the lower sections of the airport that was concluded to be safe. We awaited further details as everyone crammed in around the televisions to see the horrifying footage of not only the earthquake damage, but now the tsunami as well. The local Japanese were taking it hardest and foreigners soon made way for the loacls to have front row seats at the TVs. Each time they showed a different city or footage, you'd see three or four people pop up and start making phone calls with frightened expressions on thier faces. The Canadian dad, Josh, and I decided to team up so our kids would not be so bored and also to take shifts with bathroom duties and whatnot. Luckily, Josh living in Japan, had a cell phone and service. He let me send a few e-mails to Taylor before the airport staff announcing that we could expect no flights to go out for at least a day and a half. WHAT?!!!! My heart about sank into my shoes. I had just been looking out the window at the airplane I was to board and fly out on only a few hours before that. Why could we not just take off? I knew it was fueled up. It had food... which at this point they were handing out "rations" of Ritz crackers and bottled water. They told us the waterlines had been damaged and that we would have to use our bottled water wisely. They also told us all transportation and roads to and from Tokyo and the narita area were closed down. Great. So even if we had wanted to pay for a nice comfy bed to rest in while we awaited a rescheduled flight, we didn't have that option. Not to mention, they had turned off the heating system... which I assume is because it was feuled by gas.. and so we were now getting colder with each passing hour. Once the sun was down, most people were covered in the 4X4 thin fleece blankets they had been handing out. Around 10:30pm, now almost 10 hours after we first arrived in Japan, the airport announced that two flights would be taking off for thier destinations. These two flights were ones that the passengers had already boarded prior tot he quake and had been bunkered up in those planes now for almost 7 and a half hours. Both flights were originally only supposed to be 2-3 hour flights. At that point, I was thankful for being in the airport rather than an airplane. Soon after, the staff opened the second floor of the building to allow us to spread out. The staff had inspected the building and verified it as safe to move about it. Soon, the sardines were unpacking out of the lower level can and we were able to get out from under other people's feet. Whew. The only problem with freedom of movement, was that it was accompanied by colder temperatures. The second floor was more exposed to the wind, and with most of the perimeter structure boasting shatter proof glass, we were quite chilly in our new crash pad. By now it was 11 something and both myself and Josh were trying to get our toddlers to sleep. I covered Corin in all available cloth, including the wimpy fleece blankets and both our coats as I shivered in hopes of a new round of blankets that were announced to arrive. Soon Corin was out and I sat listening to the news from a nearby television and the occasional announcment of snacks in various areas of the airport. Then the long awaited news came, our flight, my flight to Houston, was to leave the next day. The airport staff wanted to verify the conditions of the runway early the next morning and then would announce a specific departure time from there. I was so happy! Finally the staff came around with thremals blankets and I was able to get a few hours of sleep before Corin woke me at 5am. This would be a long day. But I was thankful that most of it would be on a flight to Houston! :) Throughout the night I had been lifted from my sleep by several aftershocks, some more powerful than others, but none that compared to the initial quake I felt around 3 on Friday. Saturday morning we all stood around looking at each other as we waited for staff to open the restaurants and serve us coffee. Something that never happened... well not the coffee part anyways. There was an udon noodle shop that opened it's doors and charged people about $25 for a noodles soup meal. Yep, Corin and I ate Ritz crackers for breakfast. The aftershocks, or tremors as I called them, continued on through the morning Each one with the lingering fear that we would get a big one soon, much like Chile. Praise the Lord, that did not happen. Around 9am our flight was confirmed to head out at 1pm. By this time I was quite familiar witht he layout of the airport. Corin and I had been walking the halls in search of a place to eat lunch for several hours. Around 11 a small cafe opened up and so we ate sandwiches with contents of unknown origin, recognizable pretzel snacks, and a couple bottled beverages. I also got gummi bears for the next flight since Corin's ears had bothered him on the first landing. Soon it was 1:00 and we began boarding the plane. As we took off, I could only think of God's protection and provision for us during that time. I was thankful. And soon, Corin and I were napping and enjoying the plane ride(and the never ending orange juice!)

Maladjustments Stateside:

First and foremost, sleep was scattered at best. I never fully adjusted to a normal sleep pattern. I woke up every night at 3:30 and would start at the ceiling in hopes of those z's returning. They did... at 6:30. Of Course Corin would wake at 6:50, so it did little good. (I took multiple naps while back.)

Second, I got an upset stomach after every meal I ate. Not sure if it was the chlorine in the water... aka the Plano pool water... or if it had something to do with the actual food.

Third, I felt the compulsion to bow when I met someone. And when I thanked someone, and when I said goodbye to someone.

Fourth, for the first few days/week, Corin asked of each person we came in contact with;"Does he/she speak in English?"

Fifth, I felt compelled to run red lights as well. ( A common practice of many... scratch that... all Korean drivers.)


So, as most of you know, Corin is in the midst of potty training. He is currently house trained. :) Public outings are still a little worrisome... but time will heal that. Anyways, the other day I was sitting in my room reading while Corin was playing in his own room with his cars. Then I hear him run to the bathroom. Then I hear a grunt. "ERRR. UGH. Oh, Come on!!!" In my head, I was thinking.... oh dear, what is he doing, or trying to do? Then I hear him come out of the bathroom without having flushed. I kindly ask if he had pooped. He looked at me, sighed, and said "Nope. Mommy?,,, will you go poop for me so I can have some chocolate?!" I about died laughing. I then explained that he, Corin, had to be the one to poop in order to get the two m&ms. He sighed and walked back to his room, head hung low. "Okay mom."

When in the car, unable to spank Corin for his misbehavior, we've been known to ask him to spank himself. Corin grunts, then lifts a cheek off the seat and smacks his own bottom. Then he replies that he does not like spankings. :) (To which of course we reply that we don't like disobeying.) FYI: just because we spank, doesn't mean we abuse... so if you are opposed to spanking... read the Bible and search for "the rod." Thank you and good day.

Corin has had a year and half run with this phobia of haircuts. Yesterday, I talked him into a wide awake haircut... I say awake because up until now, I have been butchering his hair in his sleep. Anyways, with the promise of a family walk afterwards, Corin relented to the haircut. He whined of course. He mostly disliked the discomfort that arose when he tried to wipe the hair off his neck resulting in an itchy neck. He showered afterwards and happily took a walk with us and his new haircut. Hooray!

Corin has begun to quote movies... it makes life slightly scripted, but funny none the less. "Who's the cat, who's the cat, who's the cat?!" Favorite quote of the week... name that movie! oh and "I know all your tricks old man."

His Likes: Peanut butter sandwiches,baseball hats, motorcross anything, and car shows..
His Dislikes: "quiet times", dad leaving for work.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What to expect in the year to come...

A baby of course! :) For those who don't know yet, Tayor and I are expecting a baby around the end of September. September 26th is our predicted due date... the exact same due date we were give for Corin! We are excited to see what the delivery day brings us... will it be a boy or girl?! Good thing God already has that decided and is growing a beautiful little baby as we speak! Please be praying for us as we take on the challenge of foreign hospitals and doctors as well as planning for a little one in the months to come. Thank you all for your shared joy and prayers in this blessed event!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The start of a new year.

Well, contracts have been signed, visas renewed, and plane tickets bought. Corin and I(Linz) will be flying home to Dallas for a three week visit in a few days. It will be a bittersweet visit as we will both miss Tay and he will, I am sure, miss us! ;) We have decided to remain with the same school and will be roughing it in the middle of nowhere again this year! Yeongsan has become home to us and we are excited to see the multiple ministry opportunities we are given this year in opening up our spacious home to guests. There are already talks of regular game nights, which has Taylor and I thrilled to pieces! I am planning to host another women's weekend as I did last year and I believe there will be another men's retreat in the works as well.

Corin is growing like a weed. He is contantly catching Taylor and I off guard with a new vocabulary word or two and has begun to make actual jokes. He is quite humorous. :) (Obviously he did not get that from me!) Corin is obsessed with puzzles and enjoys books and coloring as well. He endures travel pretty well, which is good since neither of the churches we attend are less than an hour away! :) He has taken up the habit of correcting others, movies... even the audio books we listen to in the car, in that he will say "don't say that" to the speaker when they say words he is not allowed to use. (Like stupid, shut up, oh my gosh... so on.) I have found that the people who hangout with us most, now catch themselves before they say these phrases! Haha, our little language police is shaping up Korea one mouth at a time! Corin also has started to learn to play the ukulele along side his daddy who plays guitar. theya re quite the cute duo. :) Taylor and I have a video posted on our facebook pages, check it out! :)

Taylor and I are anticipating visitors this year, so let us know if we can set aside time for any of you that desire to travel to Korea! It is a beautiful mountainous country and has some pretty friendly people! We have a spare room and bed... so boarding is taken care of!:)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Contract Time!!!

Taylor finally got his contract yesterday! With three days until his visa expires, we are relieved to finally have that in hand! So now, we would love to ask prayer for our visas, that they would renew with no glitches and be processed quickly! So Lord willing, the Lett life will continue here in South Korea until late February of 2012!
Thank you for all your prayers, encouragment and support over the past year. One down, one to go! Yay for overseas adventures! We will keep you posted on Visas and further developments.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


One thing you learn about Korea, is that nothing gets done quickly. Nothing is rushed. Nothing important that is. Taylor and I are still awaiting a contract and subsequently visa renewals. And subsequently plans for the future. And subsequently a grasp as to where we will be next year... next month, and yes, even next week. I suppose you could say Korea has made me a slightly more patient person... but I might disagree with that after this month. I am sick of the waiting, of the drawing this whole contract renewal thing out. HELLOOO... there are things we would like to get the ball rolling on. But... as it stands, the ball is very much still sitting in the same place. Waiting for a nudge. and so are we. We will keep you updated on any further developments with our life. For now... just pray that we are able to be patient. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New focus.

Happy New Year to all!
I realize most people tend to avoid the cliche of "resolving" a goal for the New Year. I however, think that it is great to get your focus in check. While I am not necessarily setting a specific goal for myself, I AM returning my focus to what is Important to me, to my family, to my life here on Earth.
It is all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and get off track... starting in November. That is little over two months of hoppin and boppin around trying to get to all the holiday parties, gift shopping done, and food... alll that fooooood! I must admit that my own focus tends to waver from Christ and on to the moment. I get so caught up in my surroundings at times that I forget to eat the Bread of Life. I forget to take a sip of much needed Living Water and I get dehydrated and famished. You do some crazy things when you are malnurished and thirsty. I recognized my need for God's word, for prayer, for supplication and adoration and confession and repentance and TIME. Just plain time with the Lord. With my Savior and Redeemer. Time. I need to focus on setting aside that time again.
So join me in setting down that magazine or remote, and lifting your eyes, praise, prayers and hearts to Christ.

***On a side note, I resolve to try and update the blog a tad more often... ;)