Monday, January 31, 2011

Biggest Loser kick off!

Today is the beginning of the Biggest Loser competition that I joined for the Military Spouse forum (online) that I am a part of.  I've been a member of this particular group for over 2 years, and have gotten to know quite a few people (and met a handful in real life too!).  I really think it's going to be a lot of fun, and great motivation to keep up with all the other ladies trying to lose weight over the next 12 weeks!  We post our starting weights today (you think I'm telling you???  HAha, NO WAY!!), and we also post starting pictures!  Yikes!  You want to be motivated to lose weight?  Just take pictures of yourself in workout pants and a sports bra and then show them to total strangers.  ICK.

At the recommendation of my friend Jaclyn (otherwise known as the Girl Scout Biggest Loser Queen) I am using Myfitnesspal to track calories in, and using my Bodybugg to track calories out- so far it seems to be a pretty good system!  Weight loss really comes down to the basic premise of calories burned vs. calories eaten.  As long as you are honest with yourself about both, you can successfully lose weight (barring any health complications).  If you are on MFP add me as a friend, my username is mgmama.  :)  The food tracking part of MFP is really user friendly and has a ton of brand name foods in it with relatively accurate calorie counts.  I am enjoying using the bodybugg to track my calorie burn and exercise levels, but the food entry system they use is really not up to par.  It doesn't have all varieties, or all brands, and it is just an antiquated feeling program.  They can do better- especially since they charge people monthly to use their system beyond what people already pay for the BB.  I got a 12 month subscription with my purchase and I don't know how much I'll use it beyond that (because let's face it, I'm gonna be at my GOAL weight by then....right??).

I'll keep you posted of my progress using the little ticker icon on my blog, and maybe occasional stories here and there about how it is going.  If any of you want to join me in a 12 week challenge for better health, jump right in!  I enjoyed gaining all this weight while growing baby Maverick, but I'm going to make 2011 the year that I lose this weight for the LAST TIME!

My new (used) treadmill!  We got this from another military family that moved it here and decided they didn't really want it anymore.  I'm SO glad to have it, especially since it hasn't gotten above freezing here in weeks. Now I can work out without having to wait for Marshall to get home to watch the kids, or wait for it to warm up.  Yay!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alone again

**I hesitate to post this, because I'm really not looking for sympathy, praise, or whatever....I just want to type out stuff and get it off my chest**

I just got both kids in bed, and since it is actually only 8:05pm as I'm typing- that is a pretty amazing feat!  Maddox's bedtime routine is pretty set, but I don't normally have to wrangle both kids at once while changing, tooth brushing, story reading is going on.  Now I know it can be done, so that's a good thing!

Marshall headed off to California today for a 3-ish week long TDY.  I know he is looking forward to some warmer weather, seeing some people he used to work with, and working on something interesting.  He really is lucky to enjoy his job so much, and to be so good at it that he keeps getting recommended to do extra stuff like these TDYs.   I- on the other hand- it's not that I don't enjoy being a stay-at-home-Mom, maybe I'm just not good at it, or maybe I just really miss teaching.  I'm glad I'm here in Korea and I'm glad that I have this time with Maverick while he is so little, but I feel conflicted because I can't wait to get back to teaching as soon as I can, hopefully in Germany.  I am glad that we have Maddox enrolled in preschool here because she gets socialization with other kids, and she gets to have music, art, and other fun activities that I know I wouldn't do with her if she were here with me all day.  I think my friend Jaclyn said it really well in her post, and there will always be people who will judge and disagree....but I think I appreciate my kids more and make our time much higher quality when I get to have a little time away.

Of course I'm saying that as I'm staring down the barrel of a 3 week stretch of single parenting.  Not only single's outnumbered single parenting in a foreign country!  Oi!  I'm not looking for a medal here, I know many people do this much more than I do.  Marshall is really great about doing things around the house and playing with the kids when he's home from work.  He builds log cabins with Mdx almost daily (she mostly watches him build), takes out the trash when it gets full (my number one hate-to-do-it job), and picks up odds and ends at the commissary or BX whenever I need him to in order to save me the trip.  SIGH- I'm so lucky to have him...when I have him!

We were talking the other day and I said "I realized that in 2010 we were only apart the 2 months you were TDY in Mississippi".  He said "I was in Mississippi 3 months".....I said "Oh yeah.  AND the 2 months we were still in the States after you came to Korea.  NEVERMIND".  So- at least 5 months of 2010 we were apart.  It really didn't seem like it was that much because it was so spread out I guess.  It is kind of sad when we are thinking that 5 months being apart (in one year) is not that bad.  Still, it could have been a deployment, so it could have been worse.  I don't want to jinx it, but it's looking like 2011 just might be the year that we are together the most in our entire marriage so far.  WOW!  Good thing we came to Korea!

I'm making friends, but slowly.  I went to M.O.P.S., which was pretty fun!  The ladies at my table were nice, and I got a couple phone numbers of people I can call to hang out with.  I should definitely do that this week or next.   I also joined a book club and have made some friends at the Hospitality House, which is close to where we live.  There's a strange vibe around here that I can't put my finger on.  It feels kind of like everyone knows everyone already in a strange sort of I'm-the-new-girl-at-this-school way- I don't remember feeling that way at Langley, but it was a much larger base.  I definitely got the feeling from a few people (just by the questions they were asking me) that they were trying to figure out if I'm an enlisted or officer wife.  But you know??  I'm neither!!  I'm just me, I'm a civilian, I'm not my husband's rank.  I'm actually a fairly intelligent, fun, out-going person who sucks at sewing but secretly wishes I could do better, loves to drink coffee, loves to drink wine more, reads a ton, and I don't have a nice camera.  I don't get pedicures because I'm extremely ticklish, and I stopped biting my nails on whim (after 30ish years!) during this last pregnancy.  I breastfeed, but I'm NOT a lactivist.  I'm not normally this fat.  (HA!) My favorite food is cake, and my favorite style of music is probably bluegrass, but ask me again tomorrow.  And if you care about my husband's rank then I probably wouldn't be your friend anyway!  I have no problem being friends with ANY kind of wife, as long as she's cool and we have things in common.  So....those will be the kind of questions I ask from now on.  Not: "What does your husband do?"  Or:  "Are you a member of the OSC?"  I'll just cut to the chase and say: "Are you cool or lame?"  :)   LMAO!!!  I would NEVER say that!!

Ah- off to bed.  Thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Playgrounds around Songtan

Marshall has been putting his imagery skills to good use by using Google Earth to find playgrounds around town, then he and Maddox go for a walk and find them.

During one trip playing right outside our apartment, they got this parachute man stuck in a tree!  I need to check if he's still there.

This is a building not far from where we live- it is offices, but it has an amphitheater behind it, and a small playground too!

One day after Marshall picked up Mdx at school they went exploring to go find the playground.

One of the small playgrounds they have found.

On a teeter-totter!  What fun!

A different playground.

Some exercise equipment for adults.

Maddox likes to play with it, even though she is too little.

Mdx met some friends at the park.  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Way back When-esday, NYE 09-10

I planned a surprise vacation for us (minus Maddox) over the New Year's Eve weekend last year.  I started planning it while Marshall was deployed, and asked a few friends for recommendations.  Our friends Steven and Heidi had taken a vacation in the mountains of Virginia, staying in a B&B and going to vineyards- which seemed like a great idea!  Mom came up to stay with Mdx for the long weekend.  I didn't tell Marshall where we were going, just what kind of clothes to pack.

Our first stop was at Monticello.  Neither of us had been there before.  We really enjoyed the tour of the house and the historical information there, but would love to go back in warmer weather.

On our way down the mountain we ate at Mitchie's Tavern.  The food was delicious and plentiful!

We arrived at our destination in Harrisonburg, called By the Side of the Road Bed & Breakfast.  It was a larger house with a few smaller cabins you could rent.  We rented this 2 story cabin that had a great big hot tub next to a fireplace.  The heat went out the first night we were there and we were FREEZING!!  Finally it was fixed late in the night, but not until after I made Marshall drive to the nearest Walmart and buy us a space heater.  :)

We walked around the square in downtown Harrisonburg.  They were preparing for NYE activities the next night.

This sign told us this was the place we should go to eat/drink dinner!

Marshall had the beer sampler and I had a glass of water.  One of the beers tasted like banana nut bread, it was a very strange taste!

The next day we went to a handful of vineyards.  This one is called Barren Ridge.  It had the cutest little dog that just sat in front of the fire and charmed customers.

This one is called Crosskeys Vineyard.  It was right across from a ginormous mansion.

While we were there we had a beautiful picnic basket of cheese and crackers, that was a surprise gift from our friends Steven and Heidi.  You guys rock!!

We went to a great Italian place for NYE dinner.

This is a great tree topper.  We may try that next year.
 The next night we took in a show at the American Shakespeare Center- designed to be a replica of Shakespeare's original theater.

We also took a trip to the Luray Caverns, which were really cool!  We got headsets that guided us on a walking tour through the cavern.

Underground lake reflecting the stalactites and stalagmites.

Us enjoying our far-too-rare vacation time!  :)

It was a fabulous trip and I'm so glad we did it.  I don't think it was what Marshall was expecting (he probably thought we would go someplace warm and sunny), but it was just the right length, and just the right distance away that we could pull it off.  Next time we'll hit up a Sandal's okay honey??  But YOU plan it, not me.  LOL!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A check up and a Birthday

Mav's 4 month old well-baby appointment was on Jan 5th- Marshall's Birthday!

I helped Maddox make this sign for Marshall to see when he got home.  She had so much fun gluing on the puff balls!  We used some of the craft supplies she got for Chrismas and glued/stuck them onto a piece of cardboard from another Christmas present.  We are becoming very adept at using and enjoying whatever we have around, since we can't just run down the road to Target anymore.  :)

We got Marshall a guitar stand for Christmas so he can have is guitar out in the apartment.  Maybe he'll play it more if it is out of the case.  I can't believe I didn't get any pics of his cake!  Oh well- it was yellow cake with chocolate icing.  MMmmmm.

We had no problem getting an appointment for Mav to see the Pediatrician on base at Osan, even though we are Non-command sponsored.  We were told before we came, by the people that so "highly discouraged" us from coming, that we would have a very hard time getting medical care and might have to go off base.  But truthfully, it was easier than Langley.  At Langley when we moved there the Peds were full, so we were all assigned to a General Practitioner.  However, they were at a same-day-only clinic, so you couldn't make appointments in advance- you had to get up and call at 6am on the day you wanted to see the doctor.  Even that was no guarantee that you'd get an appointment- somehow sometimes they'd already be full.  And if Mdx ever became sick after 6:15am, we had to go to Urgent Care, because there was no way we could see our own doctor.....It was a huge PITA.  Anyhow- no such problems here.  When I called they gave me their first available appointment, which happened to be 2.5 weeks in the future, and I gladly said "I'll take it!".  If we get sick here, we'll still probably have to end up going to the ER on base- but I'm used to that now.

Waiting for the doctor.   Mav loves to see his (and my) reflection!

As you can see, I put him in disposables when we leave the house.  Trying to keep life simple here as much as possible!  He enjoyed tearing up the paper on the table.

He has no neck- only chins!  

The Pediatrician was a very nice Korean doctor, who spoke very good English.  He told me Maverick looks and acts like a 6 month old baby, and that if I would like to give him baby food now I can, if he is acting interested and does not have the tongue thrust reflex any longer (that is what Mdx had that made her not really be able to swallow baby food until around 7 months).  He weighed 16.9 lbs, which is 77% for his age, his length was right at 54%, and his head circumference was  32%.  It looks like he may have avoided getting Marshall's large noggin.  It also explains why 3-6 months clothes aren't really fitting him anymore.  Bring on the 6 month clothes!  I have a rubbermaid tub of baby clothes that I sent here, and it's fun to go through it and see what I saved from Maddox, and what fits him now.  I'm supplementing nursing with organic formula, and I wonder if he'll eat less once he gets some real food in that big ole' belly!

My cutie pie wearing one of his sister's old outfits!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting out for a while

With the weather so cold we decided that we needed to burn some energy- so we took Maddox to the bowling alley on base.

There is a great indoor play area for kids, even better than the one at the BX.

 They have four kid lanes, that are shorter and meant just for children.  It's a very cool feature for a bowling alley at a base that doesn't have a ton of families!  Langley should take notes.

Mdx thought her shoes were very snazzy.

Mav was too tired to stay awake, and slept through all the noise and fun.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cold days= Cabin fever

Since before Christmas there has been a permanent dusting of snow on the ground that hasn't melted because it hasn't gotten above freezing.

In case you were wondering, this is what cabin fever looks like:

We went outside with Marshall while he grilled.  It was about -5 Celsius I think.  My hair looks awful, I've got to do something with it.  I have something in mind- but I'm not telling yet!  :)

The view of town from behind our apartment.  There are small mountains in the distance, but I've never been over there.  I made this pic bigger so you could see more.

The door on our apartment does not have a key- it uses a code.  It talks to you (I don't know what it is saying) when you open and close the door.  It also locks itself behind you once you are inside.  I hope we never lose power, or we won't be able to get in our apartment!

Mav loves looking at himself in his new mirror that he got from Aunt Kathy for Christmas!

Maverick's eyes look like they will be blue, but we'll see!

Maddox's eyes are an interesting tan in the middle, greenish on the outside.

Mav loves his new sweater that Aunt Em made!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dance Performance

Right after Christmas Maddox's school had their dance performance.  We had gotten many previews in the days and weeks leading up to the big concert, but we couldn't tell what Maddox was making up, and what we were really going to see on the stage.

The entrance to the school was decorated with balloon bouquets.  There is a line blocking off the front walkway (we go in the side by the column) because of all the ice and snow making the marble really slippery.

They decorated the auditorium with a treehouse background, balloons and an intricate light display.  The chairs were children's chairs and SO tiny!  All the children were being held in a back classroom and weren't brought out until right before each number.

I took this pic of Marshall and Mav so that you could see the fire extinguisher on the wall behind him.  It's a bottle of water.

All the teachers got up to be recognized at the beginning.  The first lady on the left is the music teacher, then the dance teacher, the next two are assistants, the lady in the leather jacket is the school Director, and the man is the Tae Kwon Do instructor.

This is Mdx's classroom lead teacher.  She does not speak much English, but is extremely fond of Mdx!  She was the announcer, and was wearing a traditional Korean dress that was very beautiful!  Because she is so short she was wearing the tallest heels I've ever seen- probably 6 inches tall.

The first group was the older kids doing Tae Kwon Do.  They were very good and broke some boards too!

Next was the 3 year old class wearing these hilarious costumes!  In Korea they say that a baby is 1 year old when it is born, so these children are 2 in American age, but 3 in Korean age.

This is a small group of the 4 year old class (some of Mdx's classmates) doing a partner dance.  This girl is J, one of Mdx's best friends at school.  She is Korean American and speaks Korean and English.

The older kids did a song about fruit and vegetables that was really cute!

Maddox's class was next with their first song.  They did a traditional Korean dance in costumes with long white sleeves that they would shake and fling around.  Mdx was mesmerized by all the lights and decorations at first, but when the music started she finally got into it!

A smaller group from Mdx's class did this dance to a Korean pop (Kpop) song by the Wondergirls called "Nobody but you".  The main verse has parts in English, but the song is mostly in Korean.  Mdx loves this song and sings it a lot- when we are out in public if a Korean person hears her sing it they get very excited and start singing it too!  It is really funny!

Enjoying the attention.  

The older kids had a music number where they played little keyboards that they had to blow into to make the sound come out.  

Maddox had one more time up on stage, but we think she was put into this number at the last minute because another kid had to leave (this isn't her class, it's the 3 year olds).  She didn't know the dance and tried to copy the one point she turned around and stuck her butt up in the air.  That was embarassing!  But she looked cute!

There was a vendor selling all kinds of cloth flower bouquets that had candy or toys stuck in them.  We got Mdx this one that had purple flowers and lollipops.  She has eaten the lollipops but said she wants to keep the bouquet forever.