Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas 2010

I DID IT!! I designed my cards, put in addresses and sent them on their way! Shutterfly made it super easy to do and saved everything for future reference. Now i can easily pop gifts and cards in the mail for special occasions with lovely photos of the Kimchi Kid and Kimchi Kid #2 when he arrives!
Yay for technology! Thank you Shutterfly!

Family Snowfall Midnight Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Cards-Family, you may actually get cards this Christmas!!

Hello all! Mommy Cha here! I just found out about a wonderful site called "Shutterfly"!
Thanks to a great posting by Mama Seoul , I have found a solution that will work for me!

As many of you(family and friends) who live outside of South Korea may have noticed, I am awful at getting to the post office to mail gifts, cards, photos, etc. I actually wrote cards when I was pregnant with the Kimchi Kid, addressed them and left them in my office until after his 1st birthday when I mailed them out for Christmas! So bad, I know! To make things worse, they didn't even have a photo of the Kimchi Kid in them, so I am sure everyone was disappointed to not see his shining face looking out from a Christmas greeting!

This is where Shutterfly comes to the rescue!
They offer GORGEOUS, glossy, colourful and creative holiday cards for amazing prices! Cards you can customize and add your own photos to! Cards like these lovely Christmas cards! I just love the many different designs they offer! From this lovely traditional styled card :

*Obviously not our family, but imagine how GOOD we would look on this card!

To these fun and funky Modern styled Christmas greetings:
*Cute kid, but nowhere near as cute as The Kimchi Kid! Right? RIGHT!?!

If it wasn't enough to know that I could order my Christmas Cards, I can also order them in 3 different styles! The cards are available as Folded Greeting Cards which allow you to put "photos and wishes inside and out", Flat Stationery Cards in "stylish designs frame your photos" or Flat Photo Cards which allow you to "send holiday love (for less)"!

There are so many choices, my only worry is choosing them in time for Christmas delivery! Luckily Shutterfly makes that easy for me too! They can stamp and mail my cards DIRECTLY! No more worries about me getting to the post office on time this year!

I wish I had discovered Shutterfly earlier, because it isn't just about Christmas cards, as awesome as they may be! They offer a variety of custom services, several of which I have used from Korean companies in the past. The benefit to me is that with Shutterfly I understand what is going on as it is all in English and I can ship it directly to my family instead of waiting for it to arrive here and then sending it on my own.

*Now no one will forget important days like Mommy Cha and The Kimchi Kid's birthdays!

One of those things is Wall Calendars. I have an adorable calendar on my wall of the Kimchi Kid in his Halloween costume from 2009. My in-laws in Texas also have one. Why doesn't the rest of my family? For the simple reason that my Korean future-SIL ordered and posted it to my in-laws and gave one to me. I would have loved to send a copy to everyone in Canada, but alas, my language skills failed me and I gave up. Now with Shutterfly I can send an awesome calendar to all my family members so they can enjoy the Kimchi Kid 365 days a year!

*Come visit us in South Korea and make YOUR OWN "Asian Adventure"!

The other thing I have done is created Photo Books for my sister and my nephew to commemorate their visit to South Korea in January of 2009. It took me hours on the Korean website to create the books and in the end, the whole process failed because I hadn't used Internet Explorer and the final submit button wouldn't display! I had written a personalized story to accompany the photos in my nephew's photo book and I had to re-write the whole thing! In the end the formatting and paragraphing was a little strange as well, due to the language differences between Korean and English. The saving grace was that he absolutely loved it, still does, and will gladly pull it out to read and pore over the pictures.
Customized Photo Books are awesome gifts for children, if you haven't tried it, I would highly recommend doing so! Be creative, write a narrative about the photos that the child can read on their own. Spice it up with some adventure or funny anecdotes! It will become a gift the whole family will love and treasure for years to come!

So now you may be wondering, why all the Shutterfly love?
Beyond making my life so much easier and allowing me to share the adorable Kimchi Kid with everyone, they have a great holiday promotion on right now!
Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, follow the arrow à

How can you resist the lure of Shutterfly's awesome cards, calendars, books and more, especially when you can get 50 free cards just for writing about them?? I know I couldn't!

So if you want a gorgeous Christmas card from Mommy Cha and the Kimchi Kid, be sure to give me your address so I can send one your way!

Mommy Cha

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Let's Play Catch-Up! Part 1

Who's that kid?? The Kimchi Kid, that's who! He's back and better than ever!

Hello everyone, so sorry for the delay in blogging! The Kimchi Kid and I have been very busy, and the Kimchi Kid #2 gave me the worst morning, noon and night sickness!

Showing off my burgeoning baby bump!


To start, I had to take time off work in September due to my morning sickness. I was unable to keep any food down every time I ate. A good day meant that 1 meal or snack didn't come back up, and those days were few and far between. I was also having trouble sleeping, so I had no energy for even the basic aspects of life like caring for my son let alone trying to teach rambunctious Korean kindergarten students. Luckily my work was very understanding and allowed me to take time off to rest.

Through the first trimester I was frequently reassured that I MUST be having a girl since my first pregnancy was nothing like this and so many friends who had girls had suffered morning sickness like this. Since a girl was what we wanted, this made us excited to find out the gender! Surely this would be the much desired daughter! My MIL and I both had dreams of me giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. Koreans have a lot of superstitions regarding pregnancy and this was considered a very strong sign that we were having a girl.

The only problem was the Kimchi Kid. Thomas was frequently asked about his sibling, and he always replied "형", which means "older brother" in Korean. We laughed and thought this meant that he wanted an older brother instead of a younger sibling. However when our doumi returned to us after her 6month long to China, she informed us that often Koreans believe the older sibling can identify the gender of the new sibling best. So she asked Thomas the morning of our scan, what was the gender of his new sibling. Thomas replied "남자" which means "male". We laughed and told the doumi he keeps asking for "형" and we were all sure it was a girl.

When we arrived at the doctor's we asked him to check the gender for us. Usually this is not done in Korea, but as I am a foreigner here, I was able to get the doctor to do so. At first he thought he wouldn't be able to find out, but he was able to get the angle right and showed us what we were waiting for.

The "bits"! It is a BOY! Surprise!

Can you tell what that blurry picture is? It was much clearer in the office and the original print of the scan. That is Kimchi Kid #2's penis. That's right, we were all wrong and only Thomas was right! We're having another boy!

After the doctor told us and showed us the news, he proceeded to check on the rest of the baby. I was shocked and asked him if he was sure it wasn't the umbilical cord. He laughed at me, moved the scan back and showed us again what was very obviously a boy. My first reaction was to cry, which caused a lot of laughter in the doctor's office. Eventually we realized this would be for the best, for Thomas and for us. We'll save so much money on clothing and toys, and the Kimchi Kid will have an awesome playmate which is why we always wanted to have a second child.

When we came home and told doumi, she also cried. She had just finished hand washing a delicate pink sweater I had worn as an infant. She was so proud of managing to remove the ugly stain on it and was so excited to see our beautiful baby girl, she simply couldn't believe she was wrong! Even now she is convinced our next check up will show the doctor to be wrong and that we are having the girl everyone longs for! ^.^

The Kimchi Kid waiting for our flight to the USA.

I had introduced a friend of ours to my BIL almost 2 years ago. They had an MSN relationship that culminated in meeting in person at the Kimchi Kid's 1st Birthday party in May 2009. As my BIL lives in Texas their relationship was mostly long distance, daily Skype calls, e-mails and a few visits over the past 2 years. This Summer my BIL decided enough was enough and asked our friend to marry him. We were so excited and threw a good-bye/bridal shower for her! A whirlwind of paperwork ensued and she was on her way to a new life in Austin, Texas in August of this year.

Bridal shower cupcakes made by Gerry of Butter Sugar Cream! Delicious and gorgeous! Bridal bouquets, linked wedding rings and the couple's initials in white chocolate!

We were very excited for them and the wedding was planned for 10/10/10 (October 10, 2010) in Las Vegas. We informed the family that we'd be unable to attend, but they had other plans. As a result we had a whirlwind of planning of our own to do! Thomas and I had to leave Daddy behind due to his work, but we flew to Austin, Texas for 11 days. We then flew with the family to Las Vegas, Nevada for 2 days. I had booked tickets from Las Vegas to Victoria, BC, Canada to see my family as well. We stayed in Victoria for 6 days and then headed to Nanaimo, BC for 4 days before returning back to Korea.

One of the few outings in Austin, Texas. Zilker Park playground. He wore his Texas Longhorns jersey because it was a game day!

I was extremely sick for the majority of the time in Austin, Texas. My morning sickness was either aggravated by the jet-lag or some greasy Mexican food that caused me to have food-poisioning. I ended up in bed for almost 3 days, so sick and weak that I was almost ready to go to the hospital despite the cost. Poor Thomas was so upset by my illness that he became extremely clingy and terrified of his grandparents. It made for a hard visit to say the least.
Every time his grandmother tried to take him he began screaming, crying and shouting "할머니 무서워!" which means "Grandmother is scary!" The trip to Texas ended up being an exhausting round of hysterical toddler, draining shopping trips and hours spent on the couch watching TV.

To make matters worse, the wedding was canceled 5 days before we were due to fly to Las Vegas! My friend had been having a hard time adjusting to life in Texas and was very depressed. Her mother had also begun to pressure her to return to South Korea since she felt that my BIL was not a good person. This was due to the fact that he had not flown to South Korea to visit his future in-laws. Despite being offered airfare to come to Texas to meet the family, which they refused, my friend's parents were adamant that she not marry my BIL! This put her under a lot of stress and eventually she made the decision to honour her parents wishes. Since so many of our family had booked tickets and hotel rooms, the decision was made to turn the trip into a mini-family reunion!

Thomas checking out the scuba maintenance guys in front of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Not having been to Las Vegas with a child before and knowing that we were staying at the Bellagio hotel, I thought it would be a nice trip. The day before we flew my morning sickness seemed to pass and I was excited to go. Thomas was excited to go on another "비행기", "airplane", and I thought we could spend time in the pool.

I was not anticipating the constant battles to drag him away from the slot machines with all their flashing lights and sounds. To get to any restaurant, exit the hotel or get to our room, you HAD to walk through the casino. I was also shocked to realize that all casinos are smoking areas, so we had to walk through clouds of cigarette stench at all hours. My BIL was great at chasing the Kimchi Kid down and carrying him when I was unable to. We had brought a stroller that worked at confining him but he would often cry "내려줘!" which meant "Let me down!".

Las Vegas was most definitely not child or stroller friendly. To get anywhere you have to walk over moving sidewalks or pedestrian overpasses. Escalators are everywhere and elevators were often out of service. The moving sidewalks often had signs posted on them saying "NO STROLLERS". Each Casino on the strip was huge, meaning to get from one to another required lots of walking in the hot sun. The sun was magnified by the shiny glass buildings and lack of shade on the sidewalks. All of this combines to drive people indoors to the dark and cool casinos where they will most likely gamble away, but if you have a child, it makes for a miserable time!

Thomas being cute inside the Shark Reef at the Mandaly Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It took us close to 2 hours to get to the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef on our last day. This was due to the convoluted route required to walk there and the fact that you have to walk almost 30min INSIDE the casino just to get to the aquarium! Despite the glowing advertisements and expectations, it was much smaller than the COEX aquarium here in Korea and we were all exhausted by the end. This was meant to be the highlight of our 2 days with Thomas in Vegas, so it was very disappointing.

In the end, I was very happy to leave Las Vegas and head to Canada to see my family!

More on that later, I need a break! ^.~ Catch-up part 2, The AWESOME trip to Canada coming soon!