Thursday, November 25, 2010

a thanksgiving treat

this is me on thanksgiving morning in Heber, AZ. heber is about 2.5 hours away from where i live in Gilbert/Mesa, AZ. chris' dad has a wickedly amazing cabin, that they affectionately call The Abbey (big beatles fan). we were up there last year, and had the good fortune of being up there again this year.

this year, i am SO thankful for my two and three year olds! man- they are so much easier to hang out with than the one and two year olds they were last year! they slept like champs, ate like champs, and played like champs the whoelt ime we were in Heber. and they did it with style (check out the pics below. i love the winter gear they finally got to wear!) they were so good that i actually felt like i was on vacation! it was a miracle. i even managed to play a card game with a friend while the kids watched Toy Story 2 on the laptop, and the men watched the 3rd and final football game of the day.

lily and topher had really great thanksgiving prayers last night. lily said: "Jesus, thank you for our dinner of pie." (she ate turkey too!) and topher said: "Jesus, thank you for thank yous." so precious! it's a blessing to be able to have things to be thankful for. topher is so deep for a two year old :)

obviously, i am thankful for my family. cause where would i be without my chris, my lily, and my topher? but this year, i am so superthankful for my four incredible in-laws. and after 2 and a half months of being homeless, i am thankful that we weren't able to move into a house right after our apartment lease. cause this experience of being able to live with all my in-laws has truly been more incredible than i could have ever imagined or hoped for. i have been able to strengthen my relationship with all of chris' parents, and the kids have just LOVED hanging out with 4 out of 6 of their grandparents on a daily basis. God is so good and He knows exactly what He is doing. His ways really are better and higher than my ways.

happy post-thanksgiving/black friday everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


samchoon means "mom's brother". and my brother, well, one of them, was fainlly able to come out for a visit!

alex came out last summer, which is great cause we did not get to go back to toronto this year. he was only out here for two and a half days, but we made the most of our time together.

the kids took a while to warm up to their uncle, but once they did, they loved having him around. i was very impressed when my brother was reading the kids a bedtime story, cause while he was reading, he followed the words on the page with his finger. that's good reading-to-children technique! (he's single ladies! marry him! we can be sisters!)

here are some pics from our brief time together:

Saturday, November 20, 2010


i used to have this thing from amazon that let me show you a picture of a book that i was recommending and then you could order it right from my post. but i took it oof and now i can't remember how to put it back... oh well...

today i want to talk about a great book called HEDGES. it's not going to win a pullitzer prize for riveting writing any time soon, mostly because the word 'hedges' appears in every other sentence. kind of annoying. but they are trying to make a point, and the point is: every marriage needs hedges.

i am writing this post cause i love marriages. each one is so special and unique. but the thing that is the same for all marriages is that they are sacred and meant to last FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i am so thankful that God has surrounded me with a plethora of married couples. most of them are great. a good number of them have struggled and come out on the other side stronger and better. and a sad number of them have just straight up dissolved into nothingness. although marriages don't just disappear, do they? when marriages end, there is always baggage. so much frickin baggage. it makes me sad thinking about the marriages i know that are no longer, and all the baggage the no-longer-weds carry around.

back to this book though- it is by Jerry B Jenkins, one of the 'Left Behind' writers. again, do not read this book thinking it's going to be a literary treasure that will rival the likes of Pride and Prejudice. if you want a good read, then read Pride and Prejudice. but if you want to protect your marriage- read this book. it just gives you practical advice on how to keep your marriage safe. the advice might seem a little 'too practical'- like not having private jokes with people of the opposite sex, and not flirting with your coworkers, etc. but i would say that most affairs start off as 'innocent friendships', where one person is unhappy in their marriage, or just unhappy with one aspect of their spouse, but one thing leads to another, and BLAMO! disasterville.

"many a man CLAIMS to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?"
prov 20:6

and that's not just a dig at men. women suck too. a marriage is composed of two people who made a commitment on their wedding day, and the only way that commitment will stick is if both parties work, daily, to remain faithful with their eyes, their bodies and their hearts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

all our special needs

as i mentioned before, i have the great pleasure of volunteering with the special needs ministry at our church. ok, it's not always a great pleasure. i've been slapped, tackled, and assaulted by very very loud and piercing screams and cries. some days are harder than others, but for the most part, it's a great way to spend an hour every sunday.

at the 11:59am hour, we have 6 kids with diagnosises (that's not a real word, is it?...) ranging from autism, mental retardation, and downs syndrome. when the 6 are together, it makes for a pretty loud hour. but for the last few months, we were lucky enough to have another classroom space open up, so we have been able to seperate the kids. it has made a world of difference volume-wise, which is great for me and the other volunteers, but more importantly than that- the kids are starting to thrive in a super-small classroom setting.

i have two kids that show up regularly- D and E. one has mental retardation and does not relate well to his peers and prefers to hang out with adults. the other has autism and doesn't relate well to... almost anyone. but they have been forced to hang out, pretty much just the two of them, with their 1-on-1 helper, every sunday, for the last few months. and this week- miracle of miracle, we had breakthroughs. like a million of em:

E showed up on sunday with his tired mama. E had a terrible week and had to be picked up early from school 3 times last week! he wasn't sleeping well (thus mama and dad were not sleeping well either) and no one knew what cause the change. maybe he was getting sick? no one knew. so mama E was telling us all this and said that we shouldn't feel bad if we needed to call her out of service. we never call the parents out of service- they need a break! and a break with Jesus is all the better. D was listening to mama E and said: "i'll bring E some sleeping powder next week!" ok D. that's sweet. so mama E left and E calmed down very quickly. then D and E went to music time with the other elementary kids. E loves music and singing praises to Jesus! but sunday was an off day for him, so he started crying during music time, and expressed that he was scared. his helper held him and gave him tight squeezes and then E asked for D. so they stood together and sang for the rest of music time. then during our small class time, we listened to a story, did a craft, had a snack and then played. regular stuff. the boys played together, setting up an obstacle course in our little room, and racing around the room, laughing like crazy all the while. it was so wonderful! what a great sunday.

then i got a couple e-mails today.

the first one was from D's mom. she wrote that D had been praying for E several times a day since sunday. he was praying specifically that E would sleep well. D's mom was just so proud of her little boy, who has been growing in confidence over the last few months, for standing up for his friend in need, before the Lord. what a great story.

that e-mail was passed along to all the 11:59am volunteers and E's parents. then E's parents wrote back. she said she had been very tired and frustrated because there was no rhyme or reason to E's change in behavior. he had been sleeping so well, and was doing well at school. but all of a sudden, he was waking up 4-5 times a night, staying awake for hours on end. no fun for anyone. and then sunday night- E slept well. and he did again monday, and tuesday as well. now THAT's a great story!

thank you Jesus, for the special needs ministry at our church. thanks for the kids that we are able to serve, and in turn their families. thanks for loving all of us equally and not judging us according to our abilities or our needs. but thanks for giving us different needs and allowing us to lift up those needs to you in prayer. thanks for providing for our needs and regarding them, not as annoying or cumbersome, but as really kinda special.

(this is a shameful plug, but if you are at all interested in serving in the special needs ministry at sun valley cc, please feel free to leave a comment or throw me an e-mail!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

road trip

lily and i went to california last weekend and we had a GREAT TIME!
traveling with a talkative and giant-bladdered child is the best and i highly recommend it.

the keys to our success:
- lily is awesome.
- when we left on sunday, it was daylight for our entire 6 hour ride. no sleepy mama at the wheel!
- we found a very nice and clean mc donalds in indio (about the halfway point between phoenix and l.a.)
- we walked around l.a.'s cultural district for about 4hours on monday morning, then got in the car, and drove a million hours to get back home due to traffic in l.a. traffic! at 2:30 in the afternoon! really? why are there so many people on the road? i am an out-of-town-stay-at-home-mom! what's everyone elses' excuse???

we drove as far and long as we did, because one of my dearest friends, jenn, was in l.a. for her sister-in-law's wedding. jenn and her hubby jimmy live in beijing and are both architects. they met at MIT. and actually, the last time i saw jenn was when i went to visit her in boston when i was in my first trimester with lily. jenn and i went to high school together, and attended the University of Toronto together too.

anyhoo, we went to see her, but we were very fortunate to see our other friend who lives in l.a., minhee, and we stayed at her house sunday night. we walked around The Grove, which is one of my favorite places in l.a. it's kinda like san tan mall, only much bigger. and there's a farmer's market with a bunch of restaurant/stand type things, so we ate some brazillian bbq for dinner and had hot chocolate and cupcakes and walked around. just the perfect thing for a bunch of ladies to do on a sunday evening!

here's some pics from our 36 hours away from home:

my absolute favorite part of my time with lily was driving on the mountains. on our way to cali, we were coming down the mountain and lily started shouting: "my ear is not working!" so awesome. i told her it was because of the mountain and pressure and blah blah blah and that it would eventually pop and that her ear would be restored after said pop occured.

then, on our way home, we were going up the mountain and lily shouted: "don't do that!" and i told her i was just driving, and that she is not to yell at mommy. and then lily said: "i'm not talking to you! i'm talking to the mountain."
ok. so i let her yell to her heart's content.

lily: "mountain! don't do that to my ear! that's not funny! i'm not playing right now!i don't like it when you do that! you can't do that. stop it! that's not funny. say you're sorry!"

jihae/aka mountain: "sorry lily!"

lily: "mom! did you hear that? the mountain said sorry!"

jihae: "wow! that's so polite of the mountain!"

lily continued to tell at the mountain for about 5 more minutes. she stopped when chris called to check on us. then she wanted to talk to her dad.

"dad? is topher with you?... hi topher! it's noona. did you miss me?"

so hilarious.

meanwhile, back in az, chris and topher had a great time together. what started out as a joke-picture-message turned into a pretty serious new look for topher:

he loves the look and does not want to get his hair cut.

it was tons of fun hanging out with the kids seperately, but it is so great to be back together again!

Friday, November 12, 2010


happy veterans day (yesterday, USA)
happy remembrance day (yesterday, CANADA)
happy peppero day (yesterday, KOREA)

happy marine birthday (11/10, USA)

11/10 i s a big day in our family because chris is a former marine. not an ex-marine. that would mean he is dead. but apparently when you are a marine at some point in your life, you are always a marine.

chris was a marine for 6 years, actively, and has been non-actively a marine for the last 5 years. we have been very actively celebrating his 'other birthday' since we started dating 6 years ago.

this has been a seriously hectic week. i went to california for 36 hours. i watched a ton of kids. my brother, alex, came out for a brief visit, arriving on wednesday and leaving today. and now it's already been a week since my last post. and of course, we still have no word on where we are supposed to live.

but i still find myself happy. maybe delusionally so. but i am happy and thankful for all the distractions we've had the last few days. i am SO happy that my brother was finally able to come out and hang out with his niece and nephew, and that they were able to hang out with him! i miss me some Hams. i am so happy that our family here continue to tolerate us in their homes. i am SOOOO happy that i got to go to california and have a girly road trip with my favoritest girl in the whole wide world (major post on that later). i am happy that a snack called 'peppero' exists- which is a chocolate covered pretzel/cookie stick and that crazy koreans made a 'holiday' around it (i will have to dedicate an entire post to peppero day. this week! i promise!...)

i am happy to live in a land where i am free and therefore i am thankful for all the veterans who gave of themselves, their time, their comfort, sometimes their lives, so that we can live the lives we live here in North America.

and i am SOOO happy to know some really great marines. one in particular really really floats my boat:

here is chris staring at our waiter, and not paying attention to the camera. he is happy about his birthday treat at On the Border.

Happy Marine Birthday to ya former Sgt Watson!

Friday, November 5, 2010

quick update on monsieur H

the hobeman is home! yeah!!!!!

he got home yesterday evening at about 5. he is officially on anti-seizure medicine, which he takes twice a day, and something else for his ear infection. there is a permanently-residing bottle of baby tylenol in his diaper bag, because the minute he starts to feel a little bit feverish, we are to medicate him asap styles.

hobey had a long string of tests done, MRIs, spinal taps, etc etc. everything came back looking clear and fine. i admittedly feared some brain damage because of the sheer length of his seizure. God may have spared him from that for my sake alone. who knows. all i know is that God is good! he also has no signs of epilepsy, tumours or cancers. also major fears. he just hates having a fever i guess.

thanks so much to every one who prayed for him and his family. they really needed it! and for those who prayed for me as well- thanks so much. hobey's parents called me often with updates, but every time they called they would ask how i was doing with the utmost concern. it was sweet, and i think maybe i am doing as well as i am because of your prayers too.

we are back on our regular schedule next week, for the most part. i just need to get a video baby monitor (if anyone is getting rid of theirs i will buy it off of you!) and maybe create some kind of device that sets off alarms and whistles if hobey should happen to make a strange movement or two while napping.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

got common sense?

"common sense" is an oxy moron, much like "short sale".
common sense is not as common as one might think. and sometimes we are choc full of common sense, but we still need 'professionals' to tell us things that we already know. like before we did the 'Financial Peace University' program (which i highly recommend to all) chris already knew what Dave Ramsey was going to tell us- don't use credit cards, save your money, don't live beyond your means (he has a billboard here in the valley that says "act your wage" which is cheesy, but hilarious, and great advice) but we didn't necessarily do these things until Mr.Ramsey told us to.

anyway, i realized this week that i lack common sense in a certain area in particular- and that is the health area. i've had a broken toe, an ear infection or two, a bunch of colds, flus, and allergic reactions, but other than that, i know little about illnesses and stuff. since i feel like your common sense barrel gets fuller with experience, my medical common sense cup does not floweth over.

monday i went to work with a strange-feeling stomach. i was drinking coffee and my stomach started to burn. i've had this feeling before. it's called an ulcer. so i stopped drinking coffee. but the pain got worse. i went to the potty, had a movement. went back to my desk. still in pain. hours go by. i go to Sprouts to get some basic groceries and some soup for my poor stomach. at this point i am nauseaus now too. not pregnant though. so stop thinking that. i go to Sprouts and all of a sudden i can't really walk any more. the pain is crippling. i pretend to be looking at a box of something organic near the ground, and i call my doctor. i tell them i am having really sharp pains and i am nauseaus, so they tell me i can come in at 3. awesome. i pick myself up off of the floor, and go to the bathroom. i have another 'movement'. similar to the one i had that morning. nothing spectacular, but 5minutes later, i feel better. embarrassingly much better. so with my tail between my legs, i call the doctor, tell them what happened and i cancel my appointment. so glad for telephones. apparently constipation can cause serious crippling pain and nausea. i didn't think i was constipated (the two movements i had par example)but apparently i was. another morsel for the common sense tank.

then yesterday i almost had a heart attack. not a real one. though i should probably teach lily what to do should i ever have one. anyhoo, yesterday i was hanging out with my boy hobes. he went down for a nap at 2:30ish, even though he had napped for about 2.5 hours in the morning. this boy loves his sleep. ipso facto i love this boy. his mom called me at about 4 to tell me she was on her way to get him. but still about 45 minutes away. no problem. so i go to wake the boy up at about 4:20. and he is sleeping facedown in his crib. and his arms are twitching. ok. so i pick him up, and he is VERY WARM. ok, he's sick. so i bring him into the living room to change his diaper. i lay him down and his eyes are open, but he is not focusing on anything, he is still 'asleep' and he is twitching A LOT. i call his mom and tell her i am pretty sure he is having a seizure. but i can't be certain, cause i have never seen anyone having a seizure before. but even though i've never seen a chicken with it's head cut off, i'm sure that if i saw one, i would know what it was. anyway, what little common sense i had before, was vacating the premises at an alarming rate.

his mom is trying not to panic, so she tells me to get in the car and start driving to her pediatrician, who is about 7 miles away from me, and that she will call him to see what he has to say about all of this. so i get the 3 kids in the car at a pretty quick, yet calm manner. i am calm for everyone except for chris, who i have called to beg him to pray for me. and hobey obviously. chris, the awesome husband that he is, left work immediately. so i am driving my kids and poor hobey and trying not to crash and run red lights. hobey's mom calls me back and tells me to go to the hospital. which is about 7 more miles away from where i was. chris had advised me to call 911, but i told him i was waiting to hear what hobey's mom wanted me to do.

we got to the hospital, hobey's mom, and her friend (so thankful for the friend for SO MANY reason!!!) were walking up as i was pulling into the pediatric emergency ward. they pulled out the still-seizing little guy and brought him in. i parked in the parking lot (common sense hadn't left the building completely!) and then the friend came out and said they wanted to ask me questions inside. so she drove off with my kids and kept them very entertained for about 20 minutes. see what i said about how great it was that she was there?) i went into the room and there were TONS of people working on hobey who was laying on the hospital bed being poked and prodded, while still seizing. i told them we had a VERY normal day. which we did!
and his mom said this was only the second time in his life that he had been sick. but of course the last time he was sick was that time he didn't wake up from his nap... man this kid is dramatic! and cannot handle a fever!

hobey is doing MUCH better today than he was yesterday. he has undergone a billion tests. and hopefully they will actually find something this time. apparently he seized for another 30-45 minutes after i left the hospital, which makes his total seizure time which brings his seizure to having lasted well over an hour. and who knows when he started seizing before i went to wake him up! did you know that a 'normal' seizure lasts 1-2 MINUTES! omg. i did not know that. i know i should have called 911. i don't know why i didn't. lack of common sense? perhaps. but that's just another coin for the common sense bank. not that i am EVER anticipating this to EVER happen again (cause i will have hobey nap on my lap from now on!!!!) but 911 is there for emergencies, and i was in the middle of an emergency, even though i was unwilling to admit it.

there are some people who just have A LOT of common sense. there are others who have common sense but need people to tell them to act on their common sense in order to look like a person who has common sense. then there are others who need to experience things, occassionally painfully so, to be able to learn things and add to their common sense pot. read my stories folks. they are here for you to add to your common sense container.