Saturday, August 25, 2012

Growing girl

Ellie was gracious enough to take a break from her evening novel (above) for another picture. In fact, she's been quite gracious all around, letting us drag her here and there.

For example, she braved the mosquitoes to have a barbecue out at Strouds Run.

It was a rather ironic moment. As we pulled into the parking lot near one of the shelter houses, Joo said, "Hey, isn't that Randy Longenecker?" And it was... just a few feet away!

I've heard that one of the saddest parts of having a little baby is when you realize that a favorite outfit has been outgrown. Over the past few weeks, Ellie has matured past the purple button-up elephant shirt (that carried us past the first couple weeks when we couldn't figure out how to get her head through the neckhole of a tight shirt), a cute pink shirt, and now the frog zip-up (below).

Luckily, her best accessories still have some room to go.

Mom and Dad came down for their weekly visit - Dad got his first shot at the front carrier and Ellie loved it; perhaps even more than his trademark interviews (although it's a toss-up).

Daddy Dan is ready to jump into another semester of classes starting on Monday. Especially after crossing 21 items off of his to do list today. 22 now that the blog is done :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Because the former baby carrier didn't fit me too well, Changmonim sewed a special one that I could use. It seems to work well most of the time, unless Ellie's hungry.

Last week, we headed over to Dayton to say goodbye to Heather and Bob before their move out to Alamogordos, New Mexico. Everyone handled the move in their own unique way...

After everything was packed, we headed over to City BBQ to relax.

It was such a nice trip until we got in our car to head back to Athens. Bob pointed out the fact that there was a large nail sticking out of one of our tires. Unsure of the condition of our spare, and hoping the nail would just hold its own, we headed out anyway. I stopped every half hour or so to check on the tire, and it seemed to be going okay. Then, 30 miles outside of Athens, it suddenly sounded like we were going over railroad tracks... constantly. In 18 years of driving, I've never actually gotten a flat while driving, but because Bob had tipped me off about the nail, I assumed that's what it was.

So, it was 11 pm, on a dark stretch of road, and I had a choice to make. Do I try to change it myself or call AAA and wait it out? I had changed tires before, but that was over a decade ago, in the daylight, on a flat surface, with no pressure if I somehow messed it up. Feeling very unmanly, I went ahead and made the call. Then, we waited. Around midnight, Ellie started wailing, and we weren't really in a place where we could get up and walk around (our failsafe way of soothing her). Eventually, JooYeon turned her around and then we gave her a four-hand massage, which settled her down.

About that time, AAA called back saying that they couldn't find any drivers, but that I was to call 911. I did, and 911 transferred me to the state highway patrol. A little after 1:00 am, the patrol showed up, helped me change the tire, and we were home by 2:00. The fun part of the adventure was that everyone handled it well and we joked around quite a bit (we've come a long way since the automobile disasters that happened during Changmonim's first visit to the U.S. four years ago!) JooYeon and her mother were convinced that someone had sabotaged our tire, while I argued (comicly) that it had been an accident. Each side presented rather detailed and convincing arguments, which we then presented to the state highway patrolman (he took my side).

The next day, everyone slept in, and Ellie awoke in a cheerful mood.

Ellie loves to stand, so I do some walking practice with her most evenings. I'm not sure why, as I don't have any particular desire for her to walk quickly! I've talked with enough people who have reminisced about how quickly their children grew up that I'm trying to savor every stage as much as I can.

Having never sewed before coming to the U.S. (as far as I know), Changmonim has now finished hand-sewing two quilts, three baby carriers, and a few other things, so she turned her attention to hats. Here's one of the three she's made for Ellie in the past couple days. Had our house not been quite so messy when she first arrived, she probably would have had twice that amount done by now.

I just realized that we should probably include a video now and then, so here's one from this morning:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Shots of faith

Ellie's been digging her new nighttime ritual of being strapped to one of our backs.

I probably mentioned this before, but it's been very interesting to raise a child in a different culture; much different than just experiencing other cultures myself. How much trust should I place in traditions that run counter to my intuition but have been practiced regularly with success for thousands of years on the other side of the world? It's a much larger leap of faith than just eating tarantulas.

But there's no disputing that Ellie loves the carrier; in fact, she even started using one herself for her baby. 

The best part is when you twist the carrier around and finally get to see the results of all the hard work :)

Ellie went in yesterday for her 2-month vaccinations. Based on a friend's recommendation, and knowing JooYeon's tendency to play flashbacks in her mind, I had her stay out in the waiting room. From a practical standpoint, it was fairly routine. From an empathetic standpoint, it was torture - wondering if Ellie felt betrayed; having done nothing wrong, she was being pricked while her father just let it all happen. I wonder if my perspective on the event was similar to God's perspective on watching people struggle on earth, even knowing that the suffering ultimately bears fruits.

Of course, Ellie's a resilient little one and was soon back to her normal cheerful self.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ellie's first vacation

My work on the high school math textbook gave us all an opportunity to spend four days in Columbus at a Hilton (a rarity for us, given my propensity for couchsurfing). On three of the four days, my family members came down to spend the day with Ellie, Ellie's mom, and JooYeon's mom (a little bit of direct translation from Korean there).

We even managed to further break our family tradition by going out to eat a couple times, at Whole Foods and at Aladdin's.

Ellie was incredibly patient with us as we zipped her all around town.

Of course, she wasn't the only one wearing strange glasses. Back at my workshops, there was a focus on spatial reasoning, so we broke out the 3-D glasses.

The anticipation among the textbook team climaxed as we met every night, preparing to finish up our first of four parts and distribute it to a handful of teachers who will field test the curriculum.

Late nights then were back at the hotel to watch the Olympics and get some time with my beloveds.

When the week ended, Ellie had no intentions of going back to Athens, so she led the charge up to my parents' house for the weekend.

Heather and Bob joined us for some quality time in their last weeks as Ohio residents. With their baby now avocado size, Bob prepared for his life as a daddy by changing his first diaper. It was one of the more hilarious moments actually, because it followed an interview with my dad.

Dad: Ellie, do you want Bob to change your diaper?

(Ellie gets a big grin on her face.)

Dad: Now, Ellie, let's be nice because this is Bob's first time. No more poos...

(Ellie promptly deposits a loud number two in her diaper.)

Heather and Bob had prepared a song for Ellie and performed it to her delight.

The long week eventually wore on Ellie and she started crying hard one evening; none of us could stop her. Changmonim came to the rescue with an ancient Korean tradition of back-swaddling (it was what she had used with her three kids, because it allowed her to continue working while holding the baby). Ellie fell asleep instantly every time.

Heather had given Bob a birthday present of a zip-line tour at the course behind our house - I had the pleasure of stepping in for Heather because she hadn't anticipated being four months pregnant during the zipping.

It was a completely different experience from the Costa Rica zipline that spanned hilltops; this one was mostly fun for me because of getting some one-on-one time with Bob.

After her rough night, Ellie returned to her normal peaceful self, sleeping through the nights. During the  day time, she started cooing more than ever before in response to the constant love and attention. Bob had fixed a glow-worm from Heather and my childhood, and Ellie seemed to enjoy that!

So it was a wonderful week for our little traveler!