Wonders Never Cease

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Our new life with Mr. Handsome February 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hlaclair @ 4:16 am

We’ve officially been home from Korea for 10 days now as a family of 5. We are all (finally!) over the jet lag, and trying to find our new normal. We are almost there! I’m still trying to get used to all the things I’ve forgotten about babies…and I swear, this kid is the fastest, most active on yet! Adam agrees with that. He is FAST and SNEAKY. We may be in trouble during his teenage years LOL.

The first week we were home, we were all battling jet lag. The big kids would be asleep by 6 PM and then up by 4:30 am. Luckily, they would stay upstairs and entertain themselves. How did I know they were up? Well, I was up with the baby of course! He napped pretty well, though I had to wake him so he didn’t sleep too long. He would go to sleep at night without much problem, but was waking up 3 or 4 times a night for a while. And when he was up, he’d be up for 2 to 3 hours at a stretch. It made for some LONG nights. But the good news is, that he was easily comforted by us, and while he was awake in the middle of the night, happy as a clam. He wanted to play. We did not LOL. We would sit in the rocking chair in his room and rock with him. He would have bottles too – they helped get him back to sleep, so he was having several per night at that point. But truly, no inconsolable crying, no avoidance, no back arching…no outward signs of grieving at all. He was attaching to us quite well. In fact, sometimes we’d put him in his crib to play while we sat in the rocking chair. He would peek through the bars, or over them, and smile at us and giggle. When he was ready to sleep, he wanted us to stay in the room. As long as we were there, he was happy. Yay!

Somewhere after 4 or 5 days, sleep started slowly getting better. He would sleep for longer stretches, and be up for less time in the middle of the night. It was very slowly improving. He was still happy as can be, both during the day, and at night. We get good (not great mind you, but good) eye contact during bottles. Somewhere around 4 days ago (so after 6 days home) we really turned the corner sleep wise. That night, he only got up twice. The first time, he drank a bottle and was back asleep in 30 to 40 minutes. The second time, he drank another bottle and was asleep in about an hour and a half. The next night was about the same, though it took less time the second time to get him back to sleep. And ever since then, he has been sleeping 11+ hours at night, and only gets up ONCE for a bottle. He’ll be up for about 45 minutes total, and then back asleep until morning. YAY!! He does love his bottles. I’d prefer he didn’t have a bottle in the middle of the night, but I’m certainly not going to take that away from him at this point. He is still napping well during the day too. Usually an hour to an hour and a half in the morning and about 2 hours in the afternoon. I’m not sure how we’ve gotten lucky again, but we have!

We are still getting to know baby Finn. He is SUPER ticklish. Seriously, every area on his little body is ticklish and when you tickle him, he just giggles so loudly. It is so stinking cute! He also LOVES his baths. From the first time we gave him one, he absolutely loved it. We have a spout cover that makes a waterfall and he loves to splash in it. He loves the cats. He follows them around endlessly and giggles so loudly when he seems them (or maybe it’s more like a scream of delight). He is eating pretty well too. He was eating some solid food in Korea, but not a lot – it listed soup, soft bread, rice, and bananas. We’ve kind of broken the one new food for 3 days rule with him and have been giving him what we’re eating. He loves meat. It’s his favorite. Mashed potatoes and french fries were also big hits. He loved the fried rice Adam made tonight, and liked the hot dogs I made last night. We need to get some more fruits and veggies into the mix, so I need to go to the store and pick some up. Everything we have right now in the house isn’t appropriate for his age yet. He also loves his big brother and sister. And they love him – especially Brett. He is so good with him and just smiles endlessly when he’s playing with Finn. They both hate that Finn naps and are disappointed if Adam picks them up from school and doesn’t have Finn with them (which he normally doesn’t since Finn is sleeping). The big kids fight over who gets to sit next to Finn at dinner. While annoying that I have to try to remember who sat there last night, it’s adorable that they just want to be near him. My three little monkeys are so darn cute together!


How is baby Finn doing? February 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hlaclair @ 5:55 am

This is what I am asked lately. I haven’t posted too much because well, I’ve been busy. Plus, I wanted to catch up on my blog posts that I had neglected about the last part of our trip. But let’s start with an overall perception of how baby Finn is doing. In a word? Fantastically! He fits right in. He loves his siblings and is bonding well to us. He makes good eye contact and seeks us out for comfort. When he cries in the middle of the night, he is instantly comforted by us picking him up. He doesn’t like to lay down for diaper or clothing changes and hates having his nose wiped. He is SMART. Seriously smart. And fiesty. He doesn’t like getting dressed – especially the part of pulling his arms through sleeves. So what did he do tonight to my hubby when he didn’t want to put his jacket on? He locked his arms together behind his head and just grinned. Seriously. He’s 11 months old!!! I don’t remember when he did this, but at one point, he wanted to get something he wasn’t supposed to have and hubby was stopping him. He took his bottle, and threw it under the couch. As hubby was retrieving it, he started booking it across the room to whatever it was he wasn’t supposed to have. Mommy headed him off, but seriously, creating a distraction so he could sneak away? Scary smart. I reiterate…11 months old!!!

Day 1 at Home
Day 1 at home started the evening we got home. He went to bed, in his crib about 6 PM and slept happily in there, by himself for about 2 hours. Then he slept on Adam’s chest in the rocking chair from 8 until 10. Then he slept in our bed from 10 pm until 3 am. Then a bottle, then slept until 6 am on my chest in the rocking chair. Finally one more hour in the big bed. Essentially he slept from 6 pm until 7 am…just the place changed! Little man woke up happy and smiling. He spent the day checking everything out and playing with a few toys. He napped for 2 hours in the afternoon, in his crib. He went to bed at about 6:45 PM and slept for about 3 hours in his crib. The rest of the night Adam sat up with him in the rocking chair and he slept on his chest.

Day 2 at Home
Baby boy woke up happy and smiling again – or rather, we woke him up around 7:30 am. Adam took him on a couple errands in the morning so that I could sleep in. He’s not loving the car seat, but doesn’t hate it either. He fusses when you first put him in it, and then once you start moving he is fine, and frequently falls asleep. He had his first bath tonight too and loved it. Except of course, the rinsing of the hair. No one likes that LOL.

We had to switch his formula today as we ran out of the Korean formula. I went to Target and got their generic, older stage one (with the brown writing). He seemed to like it just fine, but it didn’t like him. This night was long. He was not happy and obviously uncomfortable. Poor little guy! He slept on and off, but I was up most of the night. I suppose letting him nap in the afternoon for 4 hours didn’t help any.

Day 3 at Home
Adam got up around 6:30 am to take the kids to school. He also planned on taking Finn to meet his mom today and letting me sleep in. Good thing, since last night was rough on me. I slept at most an hour or so throughout the night. I got to go to bed officially around 6:45 am and slept until the kids got home from school at noon. Of course, at that point, I felt hung over. Yuck.

When I got up, Finn was having a snack in the high chair. I changed him, and gave him a bottle and put him down for a nap. Now, at this point, we still have the Target formula. He has so far always gone down for a nap quite easily. Not this time. I would say it took me an hour to get him to sleep. He just wasn’t comfortable. It had to be the formula, so I decided I’d go out after he got up from his nap and get something else. I hadn’t looked closely enough at the Korean formula to see that it was lactose free. Target has a lactose free version, so I’ll get that. Once I got him down, I let him sleep for about 2 and a half hours. Once he was up, I packed up all 3 kids to take them to Target. I had some things to return (formula among them!) and got a present for a birthday party we’re going to tomorrow, valentines for the kids to take to school, and more formula – this time the lactose free stuff. I made him a bottle right in the Target cafe after we checked out and he sucked it down. Then we piled in the car and headed to the car dealership to check out a new, bigger car for Mommy. They do fit in my car, but it’s not convenient, especially for dropping the big kids off at school. The kids were very good at the dealership, and Finn didn’t seem to be having any issues with the new formula. Yay!

Once we got home, we had dinner and it was time to put Finn to bed. He sucked down a full 8 oz. bottle of the new formula (before, even when drinking the Korean formula, he would only eat 6 oz. at a time) and still seemed hungry. So, I made another 4 oz. and he sucked almost all of that down. He drank nearly 12 ounces and then fell asleep. I put him in his crib and he slept for a record 5 hours without waking. Hubby is in there right now trying to get him back to sleep. He’s been up for almost an hour at this point. Hopefully the rest of the night will go smoothly…


The trip home – the day I was dreading…

Filed under: Uncategorized — hlaclair @ 4:29 am

I’ll admit it…I was dreading the flight home with a wiggly and possibly grieving infant. The flight to Korea was 13 hours and 50 minutes flying time. And it went well. Surprisingly well. The flight home was shorter – around 12 hours 40 minutes flying time. OK, there’s one up side! But this time, we’ll have an infant with us who will likely be grieving. Yup, still dreading it!

We were instructed to meet the agency people at the airport nursery at 9:30 am. Our flight left at 11:40 am. We finished our packing in the morning (I was miraculously able to get everything packed and all bags were under 50 pounds!) and had our last breakfast at Fraser Place. It was kind of sad. We’ve had such a good time in Seoul on this trip. But, I was tired and ready to sleep on a bed that isn’t rock hard. And of course, to get our baby boy! After we finished breakfast we went back to our room and got our bags and headed downstairs. We checked out and had about 15 minutes before our bus arrived. We stood outside and waited. Then we hopped our bus and headed to the airport. It takes about an hour and 25 minutes to get to the airport on the bus. A taxi would have been faster, but Adam kept pointing out that our bags probably would not fit in a trunk. What, we’re a family of 4 traveling internationally? How many bags would be normal? We had 2 giant suitcases, 1 medium suitcase, 2 rolling carry ons, 2 kids’ backpacks, a laptop bag, a diaper bag, and one other shopping bag. OK, maybe slightly excessive LOL.

We got to the airport and found the nursery. They handed us our boy! He was smiling and happy, just like always. We gathered everyone (there were 3 agency people there I believe, us, and the two escorts for the other two babies) and headed to check in for our flights. That took a while, but we all got checked in and everyone had bulkhead seating. Important with an infant – it gives you extra room and a bassinette (if you request one ahead of time, which we did). We then headed back to the nursery. All the babies got a bottle and a diaper change. And then we headed to security. Trying to juggle all our carry ons and the baby and the big kids was fun…or not. We couldn’t wait to get on the plane and put our bags away. They did let us board early and get settled, yay!

So, we sat on the plane while everyone else boarded. Finn is such a sweet guy, but he is BUSY. Brett was a busy baby, but I think Finn tops even him! Wowzers…they told me Mira was super active too, but not compared to her brothers! I guess it’s just one more sign her was supposed to be ours. The sweet little boy fell asleep upon take off! Once we were in the air, they set up the bassinette. Since the boy was sleeping I put him in it. He slept in there for 2 hours – after all, it was his regular nap time! I settled in and watched Secretariat on the video screen. There are a couple downsides to having the bassinette though. First, between the bassinette and the video screen that pops up from under the armrest, it’s very difficult to get out of the seat during your flight. I was able to do it, but you essentially have to step over the arm rest which isn’t exactly easy. The other downside is that if the baby is in the bassinette, whenever the fasten seat belt sign comes on, you have to take the baby out. That’s a bummer if your baby is a light sleeper. During Finn’s second nap on the plane, which he normally would sleep for another 2 hours, I had to take him out at the 1.5 hour mark and it woke him up. Ah well…

Like I said earlier, Finn is active. Very active. So, while he slept for almost 4 hours of the flight, he was awake and active for the other 8.5 hours. The bassinette was in front of me, so when I held him, he would want in the bassinette, then out of it, then back in it, then out of it…and struggling against a squirmy baby really tires out your arms! So, Adam and I generally traded off who was holding him every other hour or so. Sometimes we would take him for a walk which he seemed more content with – likely because at least he was moving. But really, it was so much easier than I feared it would be. He was happy, pleasant, and didn’t cry even once. He just wanted to get down and move around, and frankly, who could blame him? We had also ordered the infant meal. They brought two huge jars of baby food and a jar of juice two different times. He drank the juice, but wouldn’t touch the baby food. Oh well, it’s messy anyway, and have you smelled that stuff? I don’t blame him one bit. The only bad thing that happened the whole flight? As we were standing up to deplane in Chicago, Finn spit up all over me. Well, thanks for waiting buddy, at least I can change my clothes in a regular bathroom!

We arrived in Chicago on time. We weren’t looking forward to this part of the trip either. We had to pick up our luggage, go through customs and immigration, and then recheck our luggage. Yippee. We made it through customs and immigration just fine (with no luggage searches, yay!) and rechecked our luggage. We then had to catch the train to another terminal to catch our United flight to Detroit. We only had 2 hours to do all this, and we got to our next gate about 40 minutes before the flight was supposed to leave. It was so hot in that airport. Seriously hot. I was dripping with sweat. Yuck! But at least we had time to get some drinks and a quick snack before boarding our next flight.

The flight from Chicago to Detroit is short – about 45 minutes flying time. We sat down, and Finn fell asleep on my chest. Awww….so sweet. We landed in Detroit about 10 minutes early and headed to find our luggage. My parents, my grandmother, and two friends, Bonnie & Jenny were waiting for us just outside the security entrance. It was really sweet! They brought balloons and a big cookie from Mrs. Fields that said Welcome Home. Good, I’m starving! The last meal on the flight didn’t have anything I liked so I didn’t eat much of it. Jenny took some photos and then we headed down to get our luggage.

We stood there talking while everyone got their luggage. After a while, I realized no more luggage was coming out and ours wasn’t there. Oh joy. A couple thousand dollars worth of stuff I purchased and the luggage is lost. Really???? So, I head to the United luggage office and tell the lady my luggage didn’t come out. Her response? “Well, you have to file a claim”. That was it. No apology, no, don’t worry I’m sure it will be here soon, let me help you file a claim. Yup, welcome back to the US, which is completely lacking in customer service. Maybe it’s good to be home? She was completely unhelpful in every question I asked and said it may take days to find my luggage but she can’t look it up because it was a Korean Air flight. Grrr….at least I know it made it to Chicago.

We headed home and were exhausted. My parents and grandma stayed for a little while and then headed home. We were so hungry but exhaustion won out. Me and all the kids were in bed by 6 PM I think! Adam stayed up later. Sometime later, we got a phone call about our luggage. Adam said it arrived on our doorstep around 10 PM. I wouldn’t know…I was sleeping. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ……………………………


Meeting Mira’s Foster Family & Visiting Baby Finn Again February 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hlaclair @ 2:46 am

Monday…our last day in Seoul! We’ve had a great time on our trip – even Adam who doesn’t travel well! We plan on coming back in about 5 years. Adam says when the kids are old enough to carry bags LOL….we of course brought WAY too much stuff.

Anyway…Monday at 2 PM we were to go back to KSS to meet with Mira & Finn’s foster families, and to visit Finn again. It was also my last shopping day in Seoul, and the first day after the holiday where all the stores would be open again (if shopping is one of your focuses, do NOT go during Lunar New Year!). So in the morning, I headed back to Dongdaemun to pick up the rest of the hanboks I needed. All in all, I think I purchased 20 of them – 10 for my kids, and 10 for other people. I liked the ones I found in the underground Dongdaemun shopping center best, and I didn’t really have time to explore other stores so I went back there. I picked up several hanboks, but two that I really wanted they didn’t have the sizes I needed. However, since it wasn’t the holiday anymore, he said they could get them. I said I would come back at 6 PM and he said he would have them then. Score! Unfortunately, it took longer in Dongdaemun than I had hoped, so I wasn’t able to make it back to Itaewan. It was unfortunate, since I had 3 name scrolls for people I was supposed to get. So sorry guys! When I went to Itaewan the first time, the shopping center was closed and I just wasn’t able to make it back.

I got back to the hotel around noon, and we planned on leaving at 12:30. It takes about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes to get to KSS, so we wouldn’t be super early this time. We were crossing our fingers that we would get a taxi driver that could find it. It really is a little difficult to find – tucked back on a hill behind other buildings. You have to access it via alleyways. We took the subway to the Suyu station stop and headed out to find a taxi. We found one, and showed him our map and where we needed to go. He said yes, he could take us there. Yay! So we piled in and headed out. We were at a different subway station this time, so the trip didn’t really look familiar. But as we got in the general area of KSS, we knew we were headed in the right direction. He took us to a spot and said this was it. Well, sort of! We could see the KSS building, but we were on the wrong side of the brick wall from it. Ah well, we can walk just a little bit. Taxis in Seoul are so much cheaper than here. In the US, with 4 people getting in, they would automatically tack on a fee. Our entire taxi fare ended up being about 4,000 won, which is roughly $3.60!

We had to walk up the street a little and come around the brick wall to get to the KSS entrance. As we were walking up their driveway, we saw Mira’s foster family standing by their car. The foster father, foster mother, and foster sister were there. They were so excited, smiling and waving. Mira didn’t quite know what to think. I told her who they were and that she could go see them. Such a sweet little thing, she went right up to them and was hugged and talked to in Korean for quite a while. Then we all headed inside.

We went back into the little meeting room and exchanged gifts with the foster family. They brought Mira a beautiful hanbok! She loved it. They also gave her a bunch of little hair clips and pony tail holders. They asked a few questions. I told them that Mira takes Tae Kwon Do but was only a white belt. I told them that she wants to learn Korean and that she has loved our trip. They asked (through the agency representative) if she was around other Korean kids and I told them about our playgroup. I told them that she taught herself how to use chopsticks and that her big brother was still working on that. They seemed so proud of her. She is the first foster child that has come back to visit. I learned that the foster father took the day off to come and visit with us, and that their son really wanted to be there but is now in the army and couldn’t make it. They remembered what a good and easy baby she was, and I told them that she was for us too – right from the start. They repeated over and over again how beautiful she was.

I was trying to get Brett a little involved in this meeting but he didn’t really want to participate. He had said before that he was excited to meet Mira’s foster family, but once we were there, I think he was feeling a bit left out because of all the excitement surrounding Mira. It was like she was famous! Adam said that at one point, Brett appeared to wipe away a little tear. Poor buddy…but the foster family appeared to notice this as well and eventaully got Brett interacting with them as well. He was smiling and happy again. They are such sweet people!

At this point, it was time to go visit baby Finn. The foster family came with us. We headed back up to the room with the little KSS rug. Finn was more awake this time and happy as ever. He appeared happy to see us! We played with him for quite a while, and the foster family played with the big kids for most of that time (they gave the kids coins and were playing games with it!). We had been there for over two hours when they said they had to go. We said our goodbyes to them. They want to meet again next time we come back to Seoul. We finished our visit with Finn, and gave him a bottle. He was obviously tired at this point, it was almost 5:00! So we took him to the nursery to say our goodbyes. That adorable little boy didn’t seem to want us to leave. I put him in his crib, and he whined and reached for me. I picked him back up and he was happy again. They tried to get the nurse to take him. She kept reaching her hands out to him and talking to him (I assume asking him to come to her) and he just held on to me. Awwww…..made it so much harder to hand him over but we had to go and he needed to sleep. Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day!

On our way home, we had to change trains at the Dongdaemun subway station, so I went and grabbed the last two hanboks and we headed to dinner. We ate at Bennigan’s again and then had those funky ice cream cones for dessert (they have them at the Seoul Station Lotte Mart). I know it’s bizarre…we were in Seoul an entire week and didn’t eat Korean food once, other than on the airplane and a few things at breakfast each day. There are several Korean foods that we really like…however, many of the restaurants near the hotel were closed for the holiday, and even when they were open, the posted menus didn’t have any of the foods we were familiar with. No bulgogi, no jap chae, no dak gue eh, no katsu (OK that one is Japanese, but still, very popular in Korea I’m told!). There were lots of seafood dishes (me and the kids don’t eat seafood, though Adam does) and lots of stews and such. The menus generally had pictures too, and nothing looked familiar. Oh well, I guess next time we will try to be braver – or at least go with someone who knows what is what!

We spent the rest of the evening packing. I actually was able to get everything packed, and none of the bags were over the weight limit. Whew! It was close LOL.


The National Museum

Filed under: Uncategorized — hlaclair @ 2:02 am

OK, I’ve been chastised by a few people for not completing my travel blog, so here we go!

On Sunday in Seoul, we headed to the National Museum at Ichon. We were meeting a friend and her daughter there. The place is massive! We started at the Children’s Museum. Hae Won offered to take the kids and let us go through the rest of the museum but Adam and I like to keep close tabs on the kids so we all went to the Children’s Museum. It was free, and fun! The kids had a great time and there were several hands on crafts to do. Unfortunately, I also forgot my camera that day! Drat! I took some pics with my phone, and Hae Won took some with her camera.

After we finished at the Children’s Museum, we grabbed some lunch at the Reflecting Pond Restaurant. It has a limited menu, but the food was quite good! Then, we took the kids through the main part of the museum. Adam wanted to see the paintings so we went through that gallery. There was some beautiful artwork there! But, the kids were about done with the being quiet and behaving part, and we were getting tired so we headed back to the hotel.

I would recommend the museum to anyone traveling to Seoul! It is a big place though. Hae Won said that many people take 2 or 3 days to go through the entire thing.


Meeting Baby Finn February 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hlaclair @ 10:55 pm

Saturday was the day. We have been in Seoul almost a week and are finally getting to meet baby Finn. I was so worried about being able to find KSS. It takes about an hour to get there, and it’s in the far northern part of Seoul in Dobong-Gu. We couldn’t take one mode of transportation there. Well, at least we weren’t sure we could. We might be able to take the bus, but we decided to take the subway and then a taxi. We took two different subway trains and got off at the Ssangmun station. We had a map to KSS, written in Korean, to show the taxi driver. We came up out of the subway and there was a cab sitting right there. I showed him the map to ask if he could take us there. He looked at it for a minute and shook his head no. Right about then, a man came up who spoke perfect English. He looked at our map and said it wasn’t too far away and would we like to take a taxi or the bus. We said a taxi and he agreed that would be easiest. So when the next taxi came up, he explained to the driver where we needed to go and the driver said he could take us there. Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers! Truly, everyone here has been so very kind to us.

This was our first taxi ride in Seoul. We have heard horror stories about the taxi rides! But this one was just fine – no issues at all. It took maybe 10 to 15 minutes to get to KSS. He had a slightly difficult time finding it because it’s off the road and up a hill a bit. But he got us there without much trouble. The taxi ride cost us a whopping 4500 W. With a family of 4, just getting INTO a taxi in the US would cost more than that! So, we were finally at KSS. It’s tucked back on the hill. The main area is a small brick building. There are other buildings around it on the complex, but I don’t know what they are. The grounds are quite lovely, and I suspect would be beautiful in the spring and summer.

We had gotten there so early – about 45 minutes early. The kids were standing in front of the porch for me to take pictures when the lady we were to meet got there. I believe her name was Sun Hee, but I was so nervous (and a bit embarrassed for showing up so early) that I didn’t quite catch her name. She was very gracious though and took us in and offered us coffee and juice. We sat in a little meeting room with our drinks for a little while. When she came back, I gave her our donations for KSS. Then it was time to head upstairs to meet baby Finn!

She put us in a little room with the famous KSS rug. The floors are heated and it was HOT in there. She was gone for a while, seemed like 10 or 15 minutes and then came back with Finn. He was sound asleep when she brought him in (it was right about nap time!) and she set him on the floor. He woke up, but was in a daze. He sat close to her and just looked at us for a bit. I wanted to just snatch him up in my lap but I resisted the urge. Didn’t want to scare the poor guy! We sat like that, just staring at each other (and playing with his little feet) for a few minutes. Then I got out some of the toys we brought for him. By far, the favorite toy was the little Pororo phone that I picked up at Lotte Mart. I also had some musical books, a set of keys and some teethers.

He started warming up to us after a little while, but I still didn’t pick him up. I waited until Sun Hee left the room for a while. I picked him up and he was fine. There wasn’t one tear the entire time we visited with him, which was over 2 hours. The kids were doing every thing they could to get a smile out of him and he was quite smitten with them. We only got a few smiles at first though. I’m not really sure if it was due to the sleepiness or apprehension. He also really seemed to like Daddy. Adam left the room a couple of times to use the bathroom and Finn would look around for him while he was gone. He also really liked a water bottle that Adam had and spent a lot of time just chewing on it. At one point, he sat between my legs chewing on his bottle and resting his head on my leg. It was so cute. I think he sat there for 4 or 5 minutes.

We must have sat in this little room and played with him for an hour and a half. By the end of that time, he was really interacting with us and having fun with his big brother and sister. Sun Hee came and left a few times during this time. She came back again and asked us if we’d like to see the nursery. Of course! So she took us into an equally tiny room where the little babies were. There were 7 little babies in that room, but I couldn’t tell if they were boys or girls! If I had to guess, I would say they were all boys, but a couple of the tiniest ones could have been either. There was one boy who was just starting to crawl and was standing in his crib. He was very cute, and had very light colored hair. There was another boy (at least I think!) that had the most hair I’ve ever seen. I wonder if that was the other baby Finn’s foster mom took care of because at one point, Finn crawled over to him and head butted him in the stomach. Not hard, but it was kind of funny. He crawled over to him on more than one occasion, so I suspect he knew him well.

We sat in this little room for the rest of the time with Sun Hee, a nurse, and a volunteer. They were playing with the babies that were awake (3 or 4 of them slept the entire time we were there) and teaching them how to roll over and exercising their legs and such. I got to give Finn a bottle at this point and I got some really good eye contact. He was getting very comfortable with us. But I think he was getting tired. He climbed right up into a little swing chair but they said he was too big for it. Poor guy, he REALLY wanted that little chair! I tried to put him in his crib a couple of times, but he kept trying to climb out and get in the chair. Finally Sun Hee said it was time to go. I handed Finn to the nurse and we started to leave. They told Finn to wave goodbye and he smiled and waved madly the whole time we were leaving. It was about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! We get to go back and visit him on Monday at 2:00 PM (so about midnight Sunday for those of you back home!).

We grabbed a taxi and headed back to the subway. Turns out, the Suyu station is slightly closer to KSS than Ssangmun station.


The Marathon Shopping Day & Modern Art Museum February 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hlaclair @ 11:05 pm

Friday I decided would be my shopping day. I left Adam and the kids at the hotel. They were going to work on homwork and classwork (which they finished!) and then go swimming again. I was headed to Insadong, even though I wasn’t entirely sure what would be open since it was the last day of the national holiday. I found it without much trouble – I must be getting much better at navigating Seoul. I didn’t leave until 10 am since things open so late here, and when I got there, it was just starting to open. Many stores were closed today, but maybe half were open. There were many “Korean Souvenir” shops that I wandered through. I also went through a larger store with individual vendors and picked up some Red Ginseng for a friend. There was a woman with hanboks there that were very nice, but the selection was very limited. Most of the vendors spoke a fair amount of English and were super nice.

I continued up the little street. I passed tea houses, art galleries, pottery stores, brush painting supply stores, and restaurants. There is even a small mall type building that is 4 or 5 stories. You walk up the stairs to the second floor, but after that, the stores line a little ramp walkway that slowing winds around the building up the top floor. There were a lot of cool things in that little mall. I could have bought a ton of stuff, but it’s hard to decide when you have limited space to bring things home. I did pick up a beautiful carved name chop for baby Finn! What I didn’t really find though, was a nice hanbok store. There were lots of modern hanboks to be found here though, if you are looking for that. Since I had the entire day, I decided to make a few more stops.

I wanted to go back to Mapo-Gu, where I went the first day to find Eastern Social Welfare Society, and go to the hanbok store that I spotted while there. It had some very nice hanboks in the window and had rows of them hanging on racks. Unfortunately, when I got there, it was still closed. I suspect it may be closed for the entire weekend, though they didn’t have a paper sign up. They do have a digital marquis, but obviously I couldn’t read what that said (though there weren’t any dates listed on it, like I’ve seen on other shops that were closed for the holiday).

Another thing I needed to do was go to Itaewan and find the name scroll guy. So, what the heck, might as well go now! So I got back on the subway and headed to Itaewan. I found the Hamilton shopping center without any problem, but it was closed! Drat! Stupid holiday! There was a tourist information person standing there and he did say it would be open tomorrow. So I’m going to have to try to make it back there after we see Finn. I don’t know how long it takes for him to make the name scrolls (I need 3 of them for friends) but I’m running out of time! I walked down and then back up the main street in Itaewan. I found a little place that had hanboks and spent some time there looking at things. They weren’t the best quality though. I did get one for Brett that is black and peach and he said he likes it, so that’s good! And it was more affordable than the others I bought.

After I was done in Itaewan, it was time to head back to the hotel. I whipped out my handy subway map and figured out how to get home. I had to switch trains at Seoul station. Hmmm…that’s where Lotte Mart is. Well gee, I guess I’ll have to stop there, since I’ll be right there and all. So into Lotte Mart I go. It was busy, but not like it was the last time we were there. That must have been due to holiday shopping: kind of like going to the grocery store the day before Christmas or Thanksgiving. The women working there were not in hanboks today either – another feature of the holiday. I headed up to the toy section again – Brett was just dying for another Ninjago figure so he could actually have a battle. And I had some shopping to do for a friend’s kids as well. I grabbed a bunch of toys for my kids and hers. I went to look at their hanboks again, and they really are quite nice. But, they didn’t have the right color for one friend, and didn’t have a matching set for another. Drat again! I also grabbed some training chopsticks for my kids. Mira can use regular chopsticks, but Brett can’t. I got some for him and Finn and couldn’t leave Mira out, so got her some too. I had quite the load of toys! Good thing I brought two big reusable shopping bags. Lotte Mart doesn’t give you bags at check out. I still have a couple things that wouldn’t fit in my bags though. By this time, I’m carrying two large reusable shopping bags filled with toys, a small paper bag filled with red ginseng and a name chop, and a large bag filled with a hanbok and another toy. And then I also had my camera bag, and a large Pororo laptop under my arm. I looked like a pack mule and was dreading having to carry all that stuff up the subway stairs.

I headed back to the hotel. By this time, I had been out walking from 10 am, and didn’t get back to the hotel until about 4 PM. I was so hot and tired by the time I got there. My face was all red and flushed and the room felt like 100 degrees. I unloaded all the stuff, set the kids off with their toys, and relaxed for a few minutes. We decided to go check out the Museum of modern Art that was nearby, and Deoksugung Palace. We bought our tickets and then went to tour the museum. We had NO IDEA how popular the museum is. It was PACKED. And so hot. Hottest place we’ve been so far. It was kind of small too. There were 4 galleries, and we pushed out way through them pretty quickly. Adam would have preferred to study the paintings more, but it was too hot and too crowded. We couldn’t wait to get outside to the cool weather!

We then toured the palace grounds and snapped some photos. Brett really likes the palaces. Once we were done there, it was around 6 and it was time for dinner. There was an Outback across the street so we headed there. We had our dinner and then headed back to the hotel. The kids were exhausted and it was getting late!

So that was yesterday’s adventure. My feet still hurt, but I must say, my legs barely hurt going up all those stairs now. It’s surprising how quickly you get used to that. Tomorrow is Saturday. The BIG day. We get to meet Finn. We are supposed to be at KSS at 3:00 PM which is giving me all kinds of stress. It’s not an easy place to get to, and I so hope we don’t get lost! Wish us luck!