My Current Routine for My Two Year Old

I have always appreciated having a routine that I can use as a guide, ever since my daughter was a few weeks old.  This has helped set my daughter up for success in knowing what to expect, and has also greatly reduced any power-struggles that can sometimes come with going down for naps or bedtime.
Here is my current general routine that I am following with my two-year old, keeping in mind that we all have ‘off-days’ and that is okay!  It is steady consistency and getting back on track when you are able that is the real key. 😉
6:00am–Ava wakes up and I bring her into my room for a diaper change, some snuggles and milk.
6:10– I let her watch one cartoon (such as Puffin Rock, Berenstain Bears, or Beginners Bible) while I get ready for the day, listen to a short audio devo, or inspirational podcast and then start breakfast.
6:30–breakfast
6:45–clean up and put away dishes (she helps with the dishwasher), tidy a few things in the house if needed
7:00–I have printed routine cards that my daughter likes to point to when it is time to get ready (brush teeth, make bed, etc.) and we start by getting dressed.
7:30–independent playtime in the living room, while I study in the same room.  She will sometimes color, or play with legos as well.
9:30–snacks, and playtime with mommy
10:00–go outside, story-hour at the library, run errands, or playdate…
11:30/11:45–lunchtime
12:00–naptime
2:30–up from nap, read several books together
3:00– independent playtime, while I clean up around the house or maybe do a little more studying
3:30–either continue playtime, or go outside to the playground
4:00–screen time
5:00–start dinner, sometimes she can help, or will color while I cook
5:30–dinnertime
6:00–clean-up, and then books or play with daddy
6:45–start getting ready for bed
7/7:15 bedtime

First Trimester Musings | New Duty Station Announcement

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:: Our Big Island, Hawaii trip in 2016 ::
I will be about two months along by my first official OB appointment, next week, at Daegu Catholic University Hospital.  I remember how thrilled I was when I discovered I was pregnant for the first time, with Ava.  It was just hours before my husband was coming to pick me up from work, on his lunch break, to drive me to the airport for a long weekend visit to a friend of mine in Indiana.  Not my ideal scenario for surprising him with the news!  So I waited until I came back from my trip, and gave him a gift bag that had a box of chocolates inside, with a two-piece newborn outfit underneath the chocolates, and a positive pregnancy test.  I remember the excitement we both shared and driving to Fort Bragg that afternoon to stroll one of their wooded walking paths.  I also remember my husband saying a prayer of thankfulness and a blessing on our unborn baby.  It was a special memory that I will always have of our first baby.
Being pregnant with a second feels so different than the first.  Still exciting, just very different.  I told my husband by handing him a little box with a Christmas ornament that said, “Can’t wait to meet you in August”.  Our 2-year old grabbed the box before he did, and the note came out of the picture ornament and he didn’t even understand it when he read it.  Ha-ha!  But I showed him two pregnancy tests and that got the message across clearly enough.
I am so happy to think about our first-born having a sibling and friend and I cannot wait to see their dynamic together.  I realize it may be hard for her to adjust to someone new taking up so much of mama’s time at first, but we will get through that and I look forward to lot’s of mommy-daughter dates together.
I was never sick with my first and didn’t honestly experience really any symptoms at all until I was well into my second trimester, but more so in my third.  In my late second trimester I had really sore feet (probably due to improper footwear…such as flat sandals) and could hardly walk without wearing my Keen-brand shoes.  I also had acid re-flux in my third trimester that made it hard to sleep.
With this second pregnancy, symptoms have shown up much sooner.  Bathroom breaks are frequent, exhaustion is intense, I had morning sickness all last week (feeling a lot better this week), and have had some food aversions.  Strangest aversion is hot coffee.  The thought of it makes me sick, so I make my own cold-brew with this pitcher from Amazon. It’s only $18!  
Another thing about this being my second pregnancy, is that I am less nervous.  I’m sure that is pretty normal.  I’ve done it once before, so not immediately seeing my OB as soon as I find out I am pregnant doesn’t worry me, thinking about the baby and worrying over it happens less because life with a toddler keeps me busy–and I am thankful for that!  I also have online college classes starting again this month and that keeps me pretty busy as well.  Staying busy has been a good thing for me and I am looking forward to classes starting back.  I like having goals and seeing them accomplished, whether it’s cleaning my house or knocking out college courses!
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:: Holland, Michigan in 2016 ::
I already miss holding a little baby and keep feeling that Ava is growing up too fast.  <insert sad face>  Thank heaven for babies!  It’s exhausting work, but the more work we put into something, the more rewarding it is–can I get an amen?! 🙂
2017 was so full of blessings, with a pregnancy announcement being one of them, and my husband being promotable to Major being another!  I am SO proud of him.  With that news comes another PCS move and in only six months because of the upcoming promotion.  But it means we are heading back to the states, and this time to Charlottesville, Virginia!!  I am really looking forward to being closer to family and to spending the holidays with them this year.
God has been so good.

Dinosaur Gosangol (고산골) Apsen Park, Daegu

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A few weeks ago, while we were heading to Suseong Lake (from the direction of Camp Walker) we passed by a sign for a dinosaur kids park at the edge of Apsen Park.  We decided to check it out and put “aspen park” into our Waze app so that it would get us to the general area.  The above photo is taken looking away from our parking area and towards the road/direction we came from.  I believe the far building on the left is a Spa place.
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Looking towards the park hedge trail from parking lot.
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The path is so relaxed and stroller friendly–there was even classic music playing on the lamp post speakers.
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Just below the trail was a little kids area near the parking lot.  This view is from looking to the left of the trail.  Take the trail left to get to the Dinosaur Park.  It was less than a mile away.
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 The sign was talking about fossilized dino tracks below in the creek bed.
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There were lots of elementary school group children out on field trip on this particular day.
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This was my favorite part!  The kids get to use old brushes to pretend to uncover dino bones.  Ava loved it.
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We walked out of the entrance, past several street restaurants and ended up eating at a fun cafe called Cafe San.  They did not speak any English but we pointed to a couple things on the menu (no pictures), and ended up with a surprise.  Haha, so it wasn’t what we thought it would be but we made the best of it.
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It’s best to take a picture of the menu and use your Google Translator app to decipher it.
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We ordered two “sets” which are combo meals, but in this case, instead of it coming with a drink (water is always free of course and you often help yourself to a water dispenser machine in Korean restaurants) it came with two Americano coffees.  We were unaware it came with the coffees and had already paid and left the building when a server came running out with the coffees on a tray.  It was a chilly day though so I didn’t mind the extra warmth from a hot drink.
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We thought we had ordered meat dishes but we got soup instead.  I didn’t take a picture of the clear broth soup with delicious dried seaweed on top, but I managed to get a shot of this solid bean soup with noodles.  My advice?  Maybe try to avoid the bean soup…noodles were good though! 😉

 

Turning 28 in Korea

Well I am now two years away from turning 30. Ha-ha  I spent my 28th birthday at the Chinhae Naval Base and got to tour around a little bit of the town.  The drive down there from Daegu was so relaxed.  I loved seeing all the green mountains and feeling like I was getting deeper into the countryside of Korea.  The weather was perfect, a warm fall day, and I got to enjoy it with my little family and my brother and sister, who came to visit us for a couple weeks.
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My favorite part of the day was the birthday-breakfast my sister treated me to at Bob’s Delight (probably my favorite baker and coffee place, although a little pricey).  We had a fantastic ham and cheese bread, ice coffee, and some ooey-gooey delicious “honey bread.”  I’d probably call it more of a warm, cream cheese danish.
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Driving to Chinhae!
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Great view at the top of the Jinhae Museum of Changwon City.
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I also enjoyed some shopping at Etude House.  I had been wanting to go here since before we moved– I had heard other bloggers rave about their beauty products!
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A delicious ham and cheese panini with a shot of espresso from Caffe Pascucci for breakfast the next morning. ❤
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There was a beautiful Eco-park nearby that we toured later after breakfast.
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Below is the fabulous, dark forest cherry cake that my sister and brother surprised me with!
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It was sad to have to say goodbye, especially since we haven’t lived in the continental U.S. for over two years now, so visits from family are not as easy as they used to be for holidays and special events.  I am very thankful they were able to visit us in Korea and spend some time with their niece.  ❤
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Life Lately | My Ramblings

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(A view of Daegu)
I’m sitting here in my mostly empty home (save for a couch, bed, kitchen table…the basics from the military base’s loaner furniture dept.) trying to think of what to write about.  I did just move to a foreign country, and although I have been here for about a month I still wouldn’t say I have seen much of Korea yet, since most of our time here has been spent getting the essential things taken care of like attending Spouse Orientation for myself, finding the home we are now renting, completing my Korean driver’s testing and obtaining my license…etc.  I still do not feel fully settled of course, because we do not have our household goods yet.  They arrived in Busan a couple days ago but it can take a week to two weeks to clear inspection and be finally delivered.  I cannot wait.  Well, I have to wait, but you know…  Does it sound awful that I really miss our TV?  I miss the Disney Channel in particular, ha I’m not kidding!  I loved watching a couple Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes every morning after breakfast with Ava and just slowing waking up together.  It takes a lot of creativity to come up with a good schedule and ways to entertain a toddler when your home is empty!  I make sure to take her outside at least once (usually multiple) times a day to help her get some energy out, and give us both some fresh air.  I’ve met a couple of the military spouses and their children while out on some of our walks and have enjoyed chatting with them and getting more info. on things to do in the area.  Once I get more used to it, the transportation here is going to be a lot of fun to use–and very convenient!  There is a bus stop just outside our apartment complex and within a short walk, a subway as well.  I’m looking forward to hiking the mountains in the fall, experiencing Christmas here in the winter, trying more of the local foods…  The locals here in Daegu have all been very kind, and there is a particular security guard that just loves to wave at my 21 month old girl and offer us both Korean treats whenever we visit.  She makes his day.  Children have no idea how deeply they might touch the heart of someone, with a simple smile, wave, or hug.  It’s very special.  I love being her Mommy and being rewarded by those little gestures too–it always makes everything worth it.  She has really done the best she can to adjust to all the big changes we have had to put her through for this move, and she will simply have to adjust again when we move in another year or two.  That’s just the life of a military family!  It’s exhausting, stressful, chaotic, and yet exciting, adventurous and incredibly rewarding.
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Adventures in Korea | Playtime Kids Club + Lotte Dept. Store

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Last Sunday, we decided to take a bus to Camp Walker and check out the town just outside the base.  We ended up taking the train after we found one of their employees near the card machines to sell us the reload-able train cards.  We added about 10,000 won onto each of them and then hopped on the train.  After about three stops, we got out and walked into the multi-floor Lotte Department store.
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The department store was gorgeous!  One floor had beautiful bakeries and cafes, with treats in the shapes of roses, smiley faces, and all sorts of things, while the next floor had every brand of cosmetics you could ever want.  There were many floors with high-end designer clothing, but they also had Columbia, Crocs (the really cute kind 😉 and other more recognizable brands.  I did see a cute pair of shoes I liked but they didn’t have my size.  I had to use a translator app and my few Korean words that I knew to request my shoe size and inquire into some other products.  It was a little tough, but if you try to stay calm and patient, they will really appreciate your efforts and will do their best to help you.  In the end, I found a couple blouses on another floor and handed them to the Korean lady that was standing watch for when I needed help and she took them and folded them, placed them in a bag, and motioned for me to follow her to the counter to pay and did everything for me.  She motioned for my to use my credit card when the terminal was ready and I said “thank you” in Korean when the transaction was finished.  It was pretty painless. 😉  The two shirts were 53 won, total, but with the exchange rate, I saw that I had only paid $47 in USD once it hit my bank account.
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I was really excited when I saw a sign on the 6th (?) floor for a coffee shop that ended up being Angel-in-us.  I had been wanting to try it out ever since I’d seen in from the bus when driving through Daegu—the name of the cafe was too fun for me to pass up getting a cup of coffee from it. Haha  They make a delicious iced Caramel Machiatto by the way.
While I was waiting for my drink order, my husband noticed a sign for a kids corner upstairs, so we went to check it out with our twenty-month-old.  There was a sliding door that opened to an outside patio that had a mini roller coaster and train for kids–they were both free!  Ava loved it. 🙂
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After we rode both rides, we decided to enter the store from the opposite side of the patio and discovered a little room with a lego wall that kids and their parents were enjoying playing with–it was nice to have a break from the humidity outside.  You have to take your shoes off and leave them in front of the mat.
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I believe it was the 7th floor that had all the children’s clothes, but it is also where I discovered a children’s play-place in the far corner of this floor, called Playtime Kids Club.  They had a book they opened that had English in it.  There were different amounts you could pay, based on how long you would stay there to play (with an accompanied adult) and I think there might have even been a membership cost you could pay if you wanted to sign up.  We ended up paying 10,000 won for 2 hours of play (although we only stayed a little over an hour) but we were both able to go into the play area.  Of course, as is the custom, you again remove your shoes and then place them in the cubby locker.  There are drinks and sugary-treats for the kids that you can get from the front desk–I think you pay for them as you leave but I am not sure.
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This play-place was much bigger than it looked at first glance.  There was a block building pit, a wood-pebble pit with dump trucks, sand pit (you have to slip on the provided boots before you walk into the sand pit) a pretend grocery corner with grocery carts and plastic food, a climbing corner, ball pit, bubble zone…I just kept wishing I was still a kid!!  I was so much fun to watch Ava interact with the other children, who kept calling her “eva” or just “baby” and all wanting to hold her hand and play with her.  One of the little girls kept coming up to us, saying, “hi! nice to meet you!”, over and over.  I think she was practicing her English. 😉  It was very cute.
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 Ava fell asleep very quickly in her daddy’s arms after this exciting visit with her new friends came to an end. 😉
We took the train back near Walker, caught the bus, then finally made it back to our hotel, exhausted but happy and excited for out future adventures in Korea.

PCS Trip: South Korea

At 2:00am last week on a Wednesday, our little family of three, left the States for Seoul, South Korea.
We drove for 45 minutes to the airport, boarded a couple hours later, and flew on a 2.5 hour flight to Dallas, Texas.
Ava did pretty well and enjoyed being entertained by the stewardesses.  You can’t see them in the picture below but they were having fun watching her walk the back aisle and then collapse on the floor for a couple minutes before getting back up again and waving at everyone. 😉
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Once we arrived at the Dallas Airport, we had a few hours to kill before our last (16 or so hour-long) flight to Korea.  My husband took us to the USO, which was the best decision of our day. 🙂  We were warmly greeted and our 20-month old was given a little kitty beanie baby, which she was thrilled about.  They had all sorts of drinks and snacks, a playroom for Ava, a little theater room, small library selection, and a computer room, as well as free toiletry items in the bathrooms and free diapers and wipes!
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This was the setup for the last flight, which I boarded early to set up Ava’s carseat and get everything situated.  It was right next to the bathrooms which is a good and bad thing.  Good to be close for when you need it, but bad when you need to sleep and everyone else needs to use it.  It tends to be louder near the bathrooms (those things are loud when they flush! haha).
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Thankfully the seats had movie screens and a great selection of movies.  The flight was exhausting and sometimes felt like it would never end, but honestly, Ava did very well all things considered.  I used some Plant Therapy “Calming the Child” essential oil on her and it was a big help.  She slept twice on the plane for a few hours each time–praise the Lord!   The second time she woke up, she was so groggy, that she just quietly sat in her carseat, hugging her Hello Kitty blanket and watching 3 or 4 episodes of her favorite Disney show–Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 😉  Towards the last couple hours of the flight, I ended up injecting myself with all the coffee I could find. Haha!
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Once we landed and went through customs, we got to the far corner of the airport where our bus was to be and realized we had missed it by 5 or 10 minutes, which meant we had to wait for 2 more hours.  We boarded the bus finally and I honestly don’t remember how long the ride was because I dozed off and on for the whole trip.  It was at least an hour I think?  We made it to Dragon Hill Lodge and got set up for the night after my husband had to attend a couple meetings, but I remember feeling a huge sense of relief that night, laying in the most comfortable hotel bed in the world (or so it felt after a 20+ hour travel day!) and thanking God that we made it safely to the country that held the next big adventure for our family.  PCSing (with a toddler) is never easy, especially when moving to another country, but it’s worth it!  Can’t wait to share our adventures with you all in the near future!

It’s PCS Season! | We’re Moving to…

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Korea!
We are moving in just under 3 short months and it’s honestly all I can think about.  It’s a combination of the usual PCS excitement (I’ve actually wanted to move to Korea so I’m looking forward to it), and the dread of flying SO many hours with a toddler. Help! Thankfully my 16 month old is a pretty good flyer but that doesn’t mean any child wants to sit in one place for 15+ hours!  How can you blame them?  Confession: I have already been brainstorming toy and snack ideas for the trip…yes, I always plan way in advance. 😉
It will be one busy summer this year!  But we will really miss Hawaii. 😦 I remember hearing a lot of negative things from other Milspouse bloggers about Hawaii before we moved and that made me nervous, but my family and I couldn’t have been more happy here.  Yes, it is an island but there is much more to do here than you might think.  We feel incredibly blessed to have experienced “HI Life” and to have met so many kind people that have truly embodied the spirit of “Aloha”.  So, while it will be hard to leave, that it just one part of our lives and our lives are full of change.  I’ve learned to embrace change and I’ve discovered that some of the most beautiful things can come out of it.