Thursday, July 20, 2006


Just some recent pics of the girls together...

HRH and the power behind the throne...

Love my sister!

Serious and Silly Maeve

Being Claire

"Just give me the Fruit Loops and no one gets hurt..."

Lost amid the Little People

"My kitchen!" (translation: Stay outta my kitchen!)

"Chicken!" "Too hot!" "I wanna make it hot."

Can you see me now?

I'd like to take your order, but this writing thing...

Juice, anyone?

As you can see from the tiara, Claire is a fan of Cinderella. She can even (almost) say her name.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Flooding in the ROK

Sam emailed me some incredible pictures of the flooding here in Korea which I can't figure out how to post here. The Han River is at its highest point in 30 years. It has overflowed its banks and flooded the parks on its banks and has even flooded parts of the Olympic Expressway which runs next to the river on its south bank. For a comparison to those of you who have never been to Seoul, imagine the Washington Beltway flooded in places. There were pictures of buses in Youido (part of Seoul), where all you could see were the tops of the buses! These pictures were taken a couple of days ago when it was really pouring down rain. Seoul has received 14 inches of rain in the last week with more expected. In fact, I just received a weather advisory telling me heavy rain is expected for the next few days, with the possiblity of as much as 2 to 6 inches daily. Hm-m...just wondering if this is how Noah felt...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

rain rain, go away....

What a week! Last Sunday, we lost power for most of the day (from around 1:30 p.m. to almost 10:00 p.m.). They finally got it back on, then we lost it again Monday morning around 9 a.m. We were put on a generator a little before 5 p.m. and were told to limit usage of high wattage appliances like the A/C, washer & dryer, and stove. And we've been on the generator ever since! I think it finally ran out of fuel today (Sunday) when we again lost power. This time, they had the generator running shortly after they arrived. I've been told it could be 10 to 15 days before they can fix the problem. Fun!
To add to all of that, it's been raining since Monday! That's right, it's Sunday now and it's still raining. You do the math. The typhoon that went by the peninsula explains Monday and maybe even Tuesday. But it doesn't explain Saturday and today, when it was really coming down. Welcome to monsoon season! We may not need to go to the pool for Maeve's swim lesson this week.

Friday, July 07, 2006

swim lessons

Considering that Maeve wouldn't even put her face in the water in April and left her first swim lesson that month in tears, I think she's made great progress in a short time. Yes, I know I'm biased. But she's jumping in the deep end and swimming with her face in the water. When she comes up sputtering, having swallowed water, she catches her breath and goes right back under the water. She's a very determined little girl and she amazes me all the time!

Visitors from home!

Sam's mother (Grammy Ruth) and his aunt (Aunt Mary) came for a whirlwind visit in June. We had all been looking forward to this visit for awhile. They only had a week, so we did our best to wear them out by dragging them to as many places as we could while we had them! No rest for jet-lagged visitors here! Considering that monsoon season had already officially started, we were very lucky that the weather held during their week-long visit. It was hot and humid. But it never poured rain -- it only drizzled a bit. Ruth and Mary in the Dragonhill Lodge courtyard.

On the subway the day after their arrival. Sam and I didn't realize how much Claire had grown until we saw that she required two laps during her snooze on the subway.
After exchanging money and shopping in Itaewon their first morning, we took them to see Gyeongbokgung Palace that afternoon. We took the English guided tour and as you can see by the next picture, Maeve didn't let the guide get too far away (even during a quick break mid-way through the tour). She just didn't want to miss anything, I suppose. This was a problem at a museum we visited the following week, but I'll get to that later.

The next day we took the Seoul City Bus Tour, which we hadn't done before and really enjoyed. We hopped off the bus a few times to see traditional houses, the top of Namsan and to see the view from Seoul Tower (visibility and air quality were so poor we couldn't even see the Han River), and to find a place to have lunch in Insadong. The tour also gave us ideas of places we want to return to and explore in greater detail.

The girls put on a fashion show for our guests. Princesses kept disappearing into the playroom only to reemerge as another princess. They also modeled their han-boks for us. The only problem was they kept changing clothes and didn't want to stop.

Sam and Maeve took Grammy Ruth and Aunt Mary on a KTX train to Daejeon. Mainly, it gave them a chance to ride the KTX (the fast train) and to get a glimpse of where Sam lived last year. But since Maeve joined the expedition at the last minute, it turned out to be mostly for her since they went to Expo Park and enjoyed the attractions there before returning to Seoul.

Sam, Ruth, Claire and Maeve in the Dragonhill Lodge courtyard. This was Sam's last day with us before he left for Hawaii for work. So we took it pretty easy that day.

After Sam left, we still kept our visitors busy and on the go. A friend kept the girls for me one day so that we could go shopping at Namdaemun Market. Our 4-hour excursion (including subway rides, shopping and a detour through Itaewon on the return trip) was pretty successful to judge by the bags we were carrying back.

The next day, Ruth and Mary took a tour of the DMZ. While not necessarily a "fun" thing, it is an informative way to spend a day. I would certainly recommend it as a "must do" for anyone visiting Korea. Between my visit there last year and visits to a few other places, including the War Memorial (next few pictures), I've certainly learned more about the Korean War than I ever knew before coming here.

These next pictures were taken at the War Memorial (a museum that covers the military history of Korea, with a big focus on the Korean War). We visited there the day before Grammy and Aunt Mary were scheduled to return home.

Now, remember how Maeve shadowed our tour guide at the palace? At this museum, we had hand-held audio guides that told us about exhibits throughout the museum. Left to her own devices, Maeve would have listened to each and every one! She wanted to hear everything, see everything. Finally, I told her that she and Daddy could come back and spend an entire day looking at everything and he would do a much better job than Mommy at explaining everything, especially the equipment! They'll both be in heaven then! Is it normal for 5 year old to enjoy museums so much?

Maeve exploring the planes in the outdoor exhibit.

Claire fell asleep while we were still outside and didn't wake up until we were half-way through the interior of the museum. Later, she and Grammy rested in the shade before walking back to the car. Did I mention it was hot and muggy?

This is probably what Maeve enjoyed most about the visit, though: reading to Grammy and Aunt Mary every night. She usually read them 3 or 4 books. Unfortunately for them, they tended to be the same books each night! Claire would listen for a little while, but then would jump up to play or grab her own book to look at before listening a little more. Then, she'd jump up... you get the idea. Between all the outings and the showing off, the girls were pretty tired and easy to put to bed most nights.

It really was a whirlwind visit. It seemed that they had just arrived, but before we knew it, Grammy Ruth and Aunt Mary had returned home. The girls certainly missed all the extra attention they received! It was pretty quiet here until Sam returned from his trip a few days later.