Saturday, August 29, 2009

The land of the Morning Calm

We have been in Korea for one year and 5 months now and I can truly say that we like it a lot. The Koreans are very nice and friendly. They seem to be so interested with foreigners because whenever we're walking around town, most of the crowd are stopping by and talk to our kids and touch their faces (though we don't know what they're saying).

One of the most aspect that attracted me the most in this country is their love of flowers. There's flower everywhere you go, it makes the environment so inviting and attractive. The only thing that's concerns us is the language barrier. It is very hard to learn their language and they barely speak English, we find it hard to shop. It's interesting that when you go to a shopping mall, you have to buy your own plastic bag or else they'll just give you the merchandise without it.

Changwon house As a house occupied by Toeeun Ducheol, the 5th generation descendant of Sunheung Ahn family in approximately 100 years ago (1898, the 2nd year of Gwangmu), House of Changwon has been newly refurbished to prevent destruction of the traditional and unique housings of Korea, which are gradually disappearing from city centers due to establishment of Changwon Industrial Complex and new town development project, etc. Therefore, it has been aimed at educating the traditional cultures and customs of ancestors to the young people. On the area of 3,088 pyeong, 14 buildings have been constructed to exhibit agricultural farming tools used by the ancestors. House of Changwon is not only being used as the place of wholesome rest by citizens, but also used for the site of traditional wedding for free of charge. Source:

Traditional Korean costume called hanbok. Represents one of the most visible aspects of Korean culture. The top part called a jeogori is blouse-like with long sleeves with the men's version being longer, stretching down to the waist. Women wear skirts (chima) while men wear baggy pants (paji). Commoners wore white, except during festivals and special occasions such as weddings. Clothes for the upper classes were made of bright colors and indicated the wearer's social status. Various accessories such as foot gear, jewelry, and headdresses or hair pins completed the outfit. (Source:

with our Korean friends, Anne and Lina

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Potty Training Success and Failures

Rylie started potty training when she's about 8 months old. Whenever she has to poop, she'll grunt and point at the bathroom. She was very good with it but not with urinating.
When she turned 2, I told her that she have to tell me when she has to pee because I won't put diaper on her anymore but it frustrates me because she'll just go on the floor.

It's not until we transferred overseas that she completely stop wearing training pants. She knows how to use the restroom now by herself. She was 28 months old when she finally stop wearing a disposable training pants.
However, I am finding a hard time with EJ though.. He is still using training pants even if he is already 30 months old. I trained him for a week but it just made our carpet smelled like pure urine so we let him use training pants again. Hard on boys I guess!

Monday, August 24, 2009

well-travelled children

A lot of babies cry on their first time to fly on a plane. My daughter was eight months old when she first flew. We went to Pensacola Florida in March 2006 and and I can say that she was pretty good because she didn't cry at all. I think she got used to it when she was still in my tummy (lol). I ran from one side of that huge Houston Airport to the other side in order to catch our connecting flight to Pittsburgh. Whew that was tough because I was 7 months old preggy then! My husband and I said that we will never get a connecting flight with a very limited time to catch up especially in a very big airport like Texas.

With my son, he was 14 months old when he first travel on a plane. We came here in Korea in March of last year (2008) and I am so glad and lucky that both my kids are very good to travel with. They just play with the toys we brought and sleep when they are tired. Here's EJ sleeping from a very long-arduous flight. (Atlanta Georgia to Seoul Korea.)
Rylie and EJ playing on a boring flight to Korea. Way to go mga anak!

Here's some tips when you are traveling with kids:

  • Be sure to bring some of their favorite toys;
  • Snacks and drinks;
  • Coloring books and pens;
  • extra pair of clothes and towel; and
  • chewing gum.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Breast Feeding is the best for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding help Moms for their uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy state more quickly and decreases the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. And with no formula or vitamin costs, breastfeeding is more convenient and less expensive than bottle feeding.

For me, it is a very special bonding between you and your baby. Its a natural way of immunizing your precious one. It help s to prevent your child from having deceases. Believe me, my kids seldom get sick, they never had ear infection or things like that.

Health authorities such as the Surgeon General and the American Academy Pediatrics agree that breast milk offers superior infant nutrition. In addition, breastfed babies have significantly fewer respiratory-tract and ear infections than bottle-fed babies.

Breastfeeding reduces an infant's risks of food allergy, and initial research suggests that breastfeeding may have a long term positive effect on baby's immune system, intelligence quotient (IQ) and lower risk of obesity, reduce incidence of lymphoma, diabetes and SIDS. (taken from Madela handbook)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Internet Bliss

Having Internet is great, it makes everything so easy. You can do pretty much everything online, from shopping to applying for a job, paying bills, reading news, watching your favorite shows and movies, listening to music, researching, you name it.

I will be forever grateful that Internet was launched. These are the memorable things I got online:

  • My daughter's middle name
  • My son's first name
  • Did most of the researches for my thesis
  • Learned to cook from the recipes online
  • Made a lot of friends
  • Made my immigration stuff quicker
  • And it's the reason why I am living happily and complete now because through Internet, I found the love of my life!
  • How about you, are you glad that Internet emerged?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Prayer that heals

When my daughter was born, my husband and I said "No more kids". But she was only nine months when I got pregnant again with my son. I have to admit, I doubted  myself if I can do it.  I guess, my strong belief and faith in God has turned my doubts into a positive perspective.

On the second trimester of my pregnancy, my OB Gyne told me that my blood test result had abnormalities to it. She sent me to a specialist for Maternal Serum Screening (Quad Screen). It is a test designed to identify women who have a higher than average chance to have a baby with chromosome problem such as Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18 or an open neural tube defect like spina bifida.
The test is usually performed between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy and measures the levels of four substances that are made by the baby and the placenta and can be found in a mother's blood stream. But anyhow when the result came, it showed that I do not have an increased risk to have a baby with an open neural tube defect or Trisomy 18. However the result indicate that there is a chance to have a child with Down Syndrome.
The result of my tests had modified this chance to 1 in 118. Turning this numbers around there is a 117 in 118 or greater 99% chance that my baby does not have DS. The genetic Counsellor asked us if we would be willing to have a prenatal test called amniocentesis that is available to analyze the baby's chromosomes before birth. She said that amniocentesis carries a 1 in 200 or 0.5% risk for complications. Complications of the test can include bleeding, loss of amniotic fluid, infection and a 1 in 750 chance for miscarriage. She also discussed to us the last type of testing called Cystic Fibrosis
We said no to all of them. We stood firm that no matter what happen, he's still our baby and we want him born. Why risk of losing your baby if there still hope from up above? Me and my husband, our families and friends prayed together that our son will be alright. When he was born, he is perfectly fit. But then my son's pediatrician informed us that based from the result he made on him, our son might have a Thalassemia ( a group of genetic blood disorder)..
My OB Gyne told me that it is impossible that our son will have that kind of disorder because in order to have it, one of us parents would have to have it. And neither of us has it. So we didn't even bother to have our son check . What for? Our son is healthy and hey sometimes this professionals can be wrong too.

We are so happy to have him. When I look at my son now, I always say that we made the right decision. This kind of ordeal gave me so much stress and agonizing time but it made me strong and confident with my beliefs and instinct. Thanks to
HIS guidance!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Miraculous Blessing

My husband said that he will never forget the feelings he had when I was in labor with our first bundle of joy. I was doing good with it and getting ready to deliver, had the epidural and can't even talk because of numbness when suddenly my husband panicked and he was asking, "What's happening, what's happening?"

He saw on the monitor that my daughter's heartbeat stop. The doctor and her team rushed me to the operating room for C-section. Later, the doctor told us that our daughter's umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. It was abrupt, thanks be to God, He was watching over us that day!

Rylie was born with jaundice (eyes were yellowish) and stayed for a day in the billirubin incubator. I was so bummed out and cried the whole time she was there because I know that It was very very hard for her.

But after some sun exposure, it went away eventually. God is great, you just have to put your faith and trust to Him. Looking back to what had happened, I am still scared that we almost lost her, but thanks God, He was there!

Do you have the same experience? You may share it here..

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Loving In-Laws

When I left the Philippines, I was so sad and yet happy. Sad because all my friends and family were there but I am also happy because I'd be able to wake up every morning with my husband, my new world, my new family. Coming to States was never easy, it took us almost a year and a half before my visa got approve.

I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter when I first came to States. Travelling was a big challenge for me. My husband waited for me in Guam. I was so nervous because that was my first time flying alone. One of my luggage got lost (it had all my maternity clothes) so it took me so long to get out from the airport. We spent 2 days there and then we flew on the third day again. On our connecting flight from Texas to Pittsburgh, I had to run just to catch the flight. It was tough but I survived through God's grace.

My inhibitions about my in-laws vanished when I met them in person for the first time. They're all nice in welcoming me to their family. I was so scared in meeting them thinking that they might not like me but I was wrong. They treat me as if I am one of their long lost family member. I was so relieved and thankful that God gave me a very loving family who understand me while I'm far away from home. They helped me overcome home sickness. I just wish that my mother in law is still alive when I came.

But even though we weren't given a chance to meet personally, I was able to talked to her on the phone while I'm back home. I am one of the fortunate ones who have a very close connection with in laws. Every morning when I wake up, I thank God that HE gave me to a loving and caring family whose values and morals are high.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Light After Darkness

Four months had pass since our first meeting and he returned so we could get married. He arrived on the 30th of July. The next day we went to US Embassy in Manila to get an authorization to wed. We were so happy because he got it. We headed for the travel agent to get our airline tickets to Legazpi. John ran into the travel agent while I waited in a taxi.

While waiting for his return, I opened my cellphone and was stunned by the messages I had received from my brother Rick. It felt like every bit of excitement and energy had left my body when I found out that MY FATHER HAD JUST PASSED AWAY. I didn't know what to say, I couldn't even open my mouth to utter a single word. Tears filled my eyes and began running down my face.

I was full of remorse during my father's wake, I regretted that I never told my father that I love him, that I appreciated everything that he did for us. I learned a lot of things when he died. I learned that we should never let hatred reign in our hearts for so long, that no matter what happens, we should always show our love to our parents/family while they're still around.

Despite of the tragedy, we still got married. My Mother said that it was what my father wanted. August of 2003 when we said our vows (civil wedding in Donsol, Sorsogon), then we tied our knot for the second time on a church wedding the next year (2004) at The Lady of the Gate Parish in Daraga, Albay. Our motif were the colors we're wearing when we first met, red and yellow.

I'm glad that I took the chance of giving us time to let our relationship blossom. I'm glad I didn't listen to the people who tried to discouraged me, who told me that "it won't work out", "that "it will just end up with tears". Now, when I look back on what I have gone through, I always thank God for giving me so much grace.

We've been married for six years now and our love is still growing stronger as each day passes. We we're blessed with two adorable and beautiful kids that we love dearly. One girl and one boy....exactly the outcome we had hoped and prayed for in our life together. Now I can say that my life is complete.

Happy Anniversary Hon! Thank you for being so loving everyday!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Knight in Shining Armour

This is a little bit funny so read along my friends!

Six Years ago I thought my hope of having kids of my own and being married is over for me. I was in the stage of life where I'm beginning to question myself if I ever going to find a man who could love me for what I am, who would understand my family situation, and who would marry me. But I guess it's Destiny that  brought us together. Never in my wild imagination had I ever dreamed of marrying a man that came from a different race, beliefs and culture.

In March 2003, John(my bf then) and I met for the first time face to face. I went to Manila the evening of March 21st right after the final defense of my thesis to fetch John at the airport the next morning. Whoa, what a schedule! I was so drained and exhausted from my defense but at the same time excited and anxious about meeting the man of my dreams.

Fr. Baby, a good friend of mine, fetched me at the bus station in Cubao and took me to Catholic Trade in Manila where I rested for few hours while waiting for John's flight arrival. Later that day, Fr. Baby sent his driver to take me to the airport (Fr. Babes, I can't thank you enough for all the advises and good deeds you've done for me!).

While waiting for the plane to land, I was a bundle of nerves, so full of mixed emotions. I was very tense and felt like throwing up. I told myself "this is it, it's now or never". John and I had an agreement that I would wear a yellow top and he a red one so we could easily identify each other in such a large crowd. I played a little trick, I put a black jacket on top of my yellow top so as to not be so easily identified. Although I stood before him, smiling and knees shaking, he overlooked me because he didn't see the yellow color that I was supposed to wear. So I approached him and gave him a hug and he told me "You got me on that one".

So we went and stayed a night or two in Manila Gallery Suites before proceeding to Bicol to meet my family. Even though my family couldn't speak english, John tried to communicate with them through me (I was the translator lol). Mama was very nervous but Papa talked to John bravely because he was drunk (that's why he's so courageous hehehe). John stayed for 10 days in my apartment in Legazpi City then flew back to Guam.

These photos were taken during John's second visit in the Philippines, when we decided to tie the knot (civil wedding).

It's been..

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