Month: September 2012
My Mom’s birthday is in a few days so we planned to celebrate before she left town. Alex couldn’t wait to open the presents and then had a lot of fun with the tissue paper. This is his “beard”.
We are learning more about Teague and his personality all the time. We’ve decided he must have been clapped for quite a bit. He loves to hear “yay” and will immediately begin to clap.
We’ve been working with Alex to bow his head and close his eyes while saying the blessing before dinner. When we sat down tonight he looked at Teague (who is wearing an eye patch – one hour a day per his foster mother’s instructions) and pointed out that Teague only had to close one eye.
We don’t go to the pediatrician for a few weeks, but I’ll be curious what he says about Teague’s eyes and how quickly we are referred to the Eye Clinic at Children’s.
Alex and Abram decided to “hide” in the window wells. Silly boys.
Alex woke up at his normal 7 am and we went to play with Gam (who had to play too because she was sleeping on the couch). Teague woke up at 8 and Wade joined us all for the meeting of brothers. (We also got a morning delivery of a fruit bouquet just in time for breakfast – thank you Kubickis and Strouds.)
We quickly moved the party outside where Alex wanted to do “yard work” and Teague wanted to copy Alex.
We managed to get dressed before the neighbors met up outside to play. I love the two distinct groups we have of “older boys” and “younger babies”. (Poor Glenna is still the only girl.)
We went inside for lunch and naps before going back outside to play. Wade and I decided on a cheesy I Love Korea T-shirt picture (sadly they didn’t make the shirts small enough for Teague) and then we played some more with Abram and Grant.
Teague loves to eat! We had a Southern meal for dinner – fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans. Teague definitely ate more than Alex and almost more than I did. I put him in his bed at 7 pm with no fuss and we didn’t hear a thing until midnight. Then it took a little work to get him back to sleep at 1 am. He slept till 10 the next morning.
Teague seems to be adjusting to life in Milwaukee just fine.
Alex was really excited and made a sign for meeting us at the airport. Then we changed our flight and came in after he was in bed.
(Photograph courtesy of Gam.)
Teague loves Daddy’s funny faces.
Teague woke up this morning and he was happy! This was the first time we hadn’t seen shy or crying. He was inquisitive and giggled. The best was when we realized he liked to hug and snuggle. While we were getting him ready for a bath (hence no clothes), Wade picked him up and Teague immediately put his head on his shoulder. Wade was in heaven!
We spent the rest of the morning walking around Insadong and then packing for our return flight. Teague’s foster mother obviously loved him very much. Instead of including just the required items she essentially filled another suitcase with gifts for Teague, Alex, Wade, and I (not to mention snacks and clothes for Teague). The sweetest items were the matching hanboks (traditional Korean clothing) she bought for Teague and Alex. Eventually we were packed and then began our LONG journey home (first flight – 18 hours; second flight – 2 hours). We flew Korean Air (which I highly recommend – again highly recommend – they were amazing) from Seoul to Atlanta. When they realized we had Teague, they “blocked” a third seat for us in business class (free of charge). Teague was amazing on the flight and essentially slept most of the way.
When we reached Atlanta we made our way through immigration (a little longer process because of Teague’s Korean passport and US visa) and then had a quick visit with Wade’s family. When they realized we would be in Atlanta with a 3 hour layover they drove over hoping to see us (but with no guarantee). Teague was awake enough to meet and eventually give hugs.
Our flight arrived in Milwaukee a little before 11 pm. Amber kindly came over to sit with Alex (who was asleep) and my Mom came to pick us up at the airport. We all got to bed around 2 am. We were shocked (and so glad) that Teague went to sleep without a sound in the crib alone in his room (he is used to co-sleeping with his foster parents).
Alex loves Daddy’s “lipstick”.
(Photograph courtesy of Gam.)
My first picture (taken with my camera) of Teague.
Sleeping in our hotel room.
Last week I was doing some last minute internet searching to answer some random questions I had about adopting in Korea. I stumbled upon a woman’s blog who had traveled in August to pick up her 23 month old son. She mentioned something I had never seen before – she hired a photographer for the meeting at Holt. Genius! I contacted her about the photographer and a few other questions. She was awesome and raved about her photographer. I quickly contacted the photographer. He was unfortunately unavailable but through his suggestions (and the woman’s) I found Dylan Goldby (see his blog here).
Wade and I had been informed the cab ride was about 30 minutes so we left our hotel at 12:30 for our 1:30 meeting. Dylan told us he would arrive at Holt around 1 pm. It turns out the ride was only 15 minutes. We had just walked inside and started chatting with the social worker when she heard the outer door and quickly left the room. She shortly returned to the room and said, “Your son is here. Would you like to meet him?” I must admit my first thought was “YES”, but my second was, “But our photographer isn’t here.” As Teague and his foster mother walked in the room, our social worker announced, “And your photographer is here.” Whew. The following shots are all courtesy of Dylan (who got them to us the same night!).
As you can tell from the pictures, Teague was shy and clung to his foster mother. We were able to tempt him away with treats and toys, but only for brief periods. (It didn’t help that the meeting time was during his normal nap time.) Overall we were happy with the few smiles and weren’t surprised by the tears. Below is actually my favorite picture of the meeting. It sums it up very well. I have a huge grin on my face and Teague is screaming!
He screamed most of the cab ride back to the hotel before falling asleep in Wade’s arms. We got him inside and he slept from 3pm through until 8:00 the next morning.
Gam took Alex to the toy store and he chose a mop.
(Photograph courtesy of Gam.)
Today we were on our own and I had some shopping on my agenda. Wade found a wonderful site for expats (see here) and we headed to Itaewon. I found some souvenirs and we had a fantastic lunch at Sugi’s. Lunch was definitely American food, but superb. I would choose it over most local places in the US. Pictured below is Insadong (shopping from yesterday), our hotel (Somerset Palace), and the gifts ready for tomorrow’s visit to the adoption agency.
Wade and I also decided to change our return flight from Saturday evening to Thursday evening. We had talked to a few of the families after getting their children and things appeared to have gone smoothly. We weren’t sure extra days in our hotel with Teague would truly make a difference in his reaction to the long flight and we would be much more comfortable with him at home.
Our adoption agency arranged a “City Tour” for us today. Student volunteers took us to Gyeongbokgung – a palace near our hotel, Insadong (a street market), and lunch in a Korean restaurant (Wade chose Bee Bim Bop with octopus). I hadn’t realized how many families would be traveling at the same time (normally it is only a couple at most). There were at least six in our tour group – most of them having “Family Day” tomorrow.
(Photograph courtesy of Gam.)
The flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis went pretty quickly. The four hour layover was horrible. Then we boarded the flight for Japan. I watched three movies, finished my book, ate two dinners, ate one breakfast, and managed to sleep a few hours. When I wasn’t watching a movie I enjoyed tracking our progress on my personal screen.
Wade also has access to the Skyclubs so we spent our time in Japan (2 hours) napping and eating sushi.
We were met at baggage claim in Seoul and took an hour taxi ride to our hotel. Now it’s midnight and we desperately need sleep.
Gram provided new play dough!
(Photograph courtesy of Gam.)
Last picture of us as a family of three.
Gam and Alex dropped us off at the airport this morning.
Today we loaded up the car and headed to the airport. Finally we are leaving for Korea! Sometime this summer we had been discussing the trip at my Dad’s house and he offered up any skymiles he had if it would help. We thought, “Any amount helps.” Then we looked into how many he had. (He had no clue. He accumulates them on a business credit card per dollars spent and has never used them.) He had more than enough for two first class tickets (woo hoo). We aren’t buying a seat for Teague on the way back so the extra room in first class will be a blessing. I haven’t flown over the ocean since college, but I do remember trying to sleep in coach. First class is definitely the way to travel!!
After “forting” (Alex’s verb for making a fort), we were informed it wasn’t for playing, but for reading.
Wade took this picture. Anyone surprised?
Gam arrived today. Wade and I immediately became chopped liver. We were told numerous times that we could leave the room or we didn’t need to play too. I was also asked not to talk to Gram. Obviously Alex will have no trouble with us being gone a week and having Gam all to himself.
We always read books before naptime and Madison normally joins us on the rug.
Milwaukee has the world’s largest model train distributor (Walthers Model Railroading). Tour Club arranged a tour and it was a hit! This free tour (sometimes we have to pay $5-$10 per tour) included playing in the showroom, a tour of the facilities, a special room with puzzles nad coloring books, and a train whistle and engineer hat to take home. Alex loved watching the model trains and really loved the track that incorporated both trains and race cars (both of which Alex could control). The staff was wonderful and didn’t seem to mind 3-6 year olds touching and interacting with their models. Fantastic. If we ever leave the wooden Thomas nad move to electric trains this is the place to go!
Last hugs before Daddy leaves on a business trip.
Alex had a really hard time waking up from his nap today.
For the second year in a row (see last year here) we planned a morning at Apple Holler with Abram and Riley. The most noticeable difference between our two trips (which were only a day apart) is the clothing. Today was warm and the boys could wear shorts. Last year they had on hats and sweaters. Abram is in K4 this year and had to join us a little late. Riley and Alex spent 90% of their time on the wooden train. These boys love their trains.
A picnic dinner – one of our favorite ways to eat.
Somebody stole my chips.
Wade had surgery this morning for a torn meniscus in his knee. He needed to be there at 6 am so he drove himself and Alex and I got ready for school. We showed up at the surgery center around 8. I had a bag of entertainment for Alex and a special breakfast we picked up.
The doctor came out to tell us about the surgery and that Wade should be good as new in two weeks. About 10 minutes later, my phone rang. Because I was sitting in the lobby I debated answering but then I realized the call was coming from Michigan (Bethany headquarters is in MI). I answered and got the great news that Teague was ready to travel!! They wanted us in Seoul within 5-7 days. Pretty shortly thereafter we went back to see Wade in recovery. Wade doesn’t react well to medicine (any medicine) so he was very slow to wake up from anesthesia. I got to tell him four different times about our travel call!
(Through discussion with our social worker and Wade, we decided to put off traveling till Saturday, the 22nd, so that Wade’s knee had more time to heal.)
Family movie night.
Wade was very groggy waking up from anesthesia (he had a torn meniscus repaired), but the first thing he wanted was a hug from Alex.
Amy and I had great plans to take the kids apple picking, but it turns out there is no apple picking in Southeast Wisconsin this year. Our early warm weather followed by freeze yielded 10% of the normal crop. Most places are still selling apples so we went to an orchard and let the kids “pick” apples.
I’d always planned to have a cushion on the bench in the hallway. Initially I planned to get one after I refinished the bench. Then I just never got around to looking for fabric. I mentioned it to my mom and she said she probably had some remnants that would work. She did and now I finally have a cushion!!
“I’ll protect you Tabit.”
Alex amused himself this morning while I cooked.
Our church was having a chili cook-off I needed to prepare for!
It’s getting redundant, but we went to a Kite Festival today. We saw it advertised last weekend and knew Alex would love it. We took our kite but didn’t get it out. There were tons of trick kites, choreographed kites, and huge kid-friendly kites to watch.
Picking out a project to do with Daddy.