Friday, February 25, 2011

Sophie on the Move

Just as with sitting, Sophie is learning crawling very quickly after a long period of trying. Here she is on the verge of real crawling yesterday:

She crawled a very tiny bit like this again today, and she has gotten much better at keeping herself up on her hands and knees, although she does still flop onto her stomach quite a bit. We had quite the exciting visit with our friends Alana and Igor today - Sophie demonstrated her crawling skills and waved at Alana when we got ready to leave!

Here is another video of us messing with the baby, as usual:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Visit to Mokpo

Last week Keegan was out at sea on a trial for the second of four ships he's working on. Sophie and I didn't want to stay at home alone, so we decided to visit Nate, Eliza, and two-month-old Marriet in Mokpo, about a three hour drive away.

Sophie and Marriet confer about techniques for keeping the parents up all night.

Sophie and I left on Wednesday morning and had a successful drive, with only a few tears in the last fifteen minutes or so. Eliza had prepared a delicious pasta sauce for dinner, and we had a good time catching up with our friends and oohing and ahhing about how Marriet is growing. I was a little worried about how Sophie would sleep in an unfamiliar place, but she did pretty well. She woke up often but fell back to sleep easily each time. Our white noise machine really helps, I think.

Thursday we got off to a late start and didn't do anything all day except take a nice walk around the area close to Nate and Eliza's apartment with Sveva the dog. Both babies fell asleep in their strollers and gave us mommies a nice break. Eliza made stir fry with brown rice and pineapples for dinner.

On Friday we mustered the troops in the morning for a trip to Marriet's pediatrician for vaccinations. The doctor is in a large maternity hospital absolutely swarming with babies and children. Eliza is quite happy with the doctors there, as they apparently speak good English and are very helpful. I am jealous. I was able to weigh Sophie at the hospital, and she is now up to seven kilograms (15 pounds, 7 ounces)! After the doctor visit, we went grocery shopping. Marriet slept in the Baby Bjorn and Sophie slept in her car seat/carrier in the shopping cart while Eliza and I raided the baby department and picked out some fresh red snapper for dinner. In the afternoon we took another walk, and Nathan cooked up the fish with green onions and garlic for a delicious meal.

Saturday was another late start, especially since Nate and I both Skyped with the grandparents in the morning. We took a long, cold, and windy walk in the afternoon. We were all underdressed because the thermometer said it was quite warm, but we forgot to take into account the wind and the quickly setting sun. The babies weathered the cold well, though, and again fell asleep for us. In the evening, Nathan brewed some beer and then produced the most delicious mild Thai curry ever. I had already put Sophie to bed when it was finally ready, and I enjoyed eating sans baby, while watching "The Social Network."

On Sunday we managed to get out in the early afternoon and have lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant where you can make your own spring rolls and eat hot tasty pho (noodle soup).

Mommy enjoys a handmade spring roll. Sophie is unimpressed.

The owner of the restaurant and our waitress were smitten with the babies and danced and made faces at Sophie to make her smile. They also picked her up and showed her off to whoever was back in the kitchen. She was a bit apprehensive but went along with her admirers. After lunch we went to Lotte Mart where I had a lot of fun spending some gift certificates on adorable baby hats and toys. Sophie fell asleep in the car on the way home, and Eliza and I had a chance for some tea and girl talk while Nate took Sveva for a walk. He then reprised the award-winning curry from the previous night. This time Sophie was awake and had a chance to try some eggplant, which she loved.

Keegan actually got back two days early from his sea trial, so Sophie and I packed up on Monday morning to head back to Geoje. She slept like a log most of the way home and barely cried or fussed at all. What a difference from a few months ago when she'd start screaming from the time we left the parking lot and not stop until we arrived at our destination! Sophie was very happy to see Keegan. She was a bit confused in Mokpo because Nathan, who looks similar to Keegan and who gets home every evening just like Keegan, had his own baby to hold and love on. Sophie would smile at him adoringly when he got home and then look mildly put out when he bypassed her to say hello to his own daughter. So seeing "Real Daddy" again was a big treat. We also had a chance to try out Sophie's brand new high chair, which arrived while we were gone. It's still a bit big for her, but she was outgrowing the Bumbo seat with tray, so we were happy to make the switch.

Sophie enjoying baby yogurt in the too-small Bumbo.

Sophie enjoying broccoli in her new throne-like highchair.

We had a great time with our friends and are actually looking forward to Keegan's next sea trial in less than two weeks!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Lunar New Year!

This week Korea is celebrating the beginning of the year of the rabbit. Keegan is enjoying several days off of work, the longest holiday he's had in a long time. In fact, we're all enjoying it! On Tuesday evening, we left to take a very short vacation in Muju, which some of you may remember we visited in the fall of 2009. Muju is known for it's ski resort, so this winter visit was actually a more appropriate time to go. We had an easy drive there, stopping for udong noodles at a rest area along the way. We checked into our cabin and said hello to our friend Matt and also Nathan and Eliza and Marriet, who were sharing our two-bedroom cabin with us. We didn't stay up long before it was time to put Sophie to bed, and we followed soon afterward.

On Wednesday morning, we had a leisurely breakfast before Nathan and Keegan left to go skiing. Eliza and I stayed with the babies, and our friend Sojung came over from the cabin next door with her daughter Anna-Lynn. We all enjoyed having company for baby care duties. In the late morning, everyone retired for naps, and then we met up again when the guys came back to go for lunch at a nearby Korean restaurant.

Sophie is very proud of her banana-eating abilities.

Sojung told us that the restaurant had particularly fresh vegetables and delicious side dishes, and she was right. There was a mushroom dish that was absolutely fabulous, good kimchi, and a very eggy pajeon (Korean egg pancake with onions and seafood). The restaurant's proprietor enjoyed greeting all of the babies in our little group.

In the afternoon, Sojung and Eliza wanted to rest at home, but I was raring to go to the spa at the Muju resort. So I drove up the mountain and had some much-needed Mommy pampering time. This is a particularly nice sauna, with three tubs: one hot, one warm, and one cold. There is nothing like soaking in the hot tub, cooling off in the cool tub, and then returning to the glorious warm tub again. I was more relaxed after my soak than I have been in a long, long time (perhaps seven months?). It was really nice of Keegan to watch Sophie for me. Apparently, he and Nathan and Marriet went for a wintry walk by the frozen stream behind the cabins.

This slippery activity was not endorsed by Mom.

In the evening, we had a huge barbecue, with lots of ribs, salmon, and vegetables. A lot of other friends from Geoje were staying in the same cabin complex, so we had a big group to share the bounty with.

Dinner with friends

After dinner, we got to toast marshmallows, which is a pretty darn good dessert, if you ask me. The night was a little rough because of the vagaries of the cabin's heating system, which seemed to have two settings: surface of the sun or arctic tundra. But we survived.

On Thursday morning, we got to have delicious leftover-salmon omelets, and then it was already time to start packing up our huge stores of food and all of our baby gear. It was a very quick visit, but it was wonderful to see everyone's growing babies and to spend some time away from home. We are already talking about our next visit to our little vacation haven.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Busan Aquarium

Sophie had her first visit to the aquarium this Sunday. Our friend Alana invited us to join a big group of Brazilians who were going to watch as a few brave group members went Scuba diving in the main tank. The main tank contains several very large and toothy sharks.

I do not want to share a pool with you, Mr. Shark

No, thank you! But we were interested to see our friends come face to face with sharp-toothed terror, so we hit the road a little before 10 on Sunday morning.

This was our first time driving on the new bridge that connects Geoje and Busan, and we were quite happy. We figure we can now make it to the airport in about forty minutes. We made it all the way to Haeundae Beach (the far side of Busan) in just a little over an hour, no ferry reservations necessary! We loaded Sophie into her backpack and set off through frigid wind to the aquarium.

Sophie's first visit to Haeundae Beach

The aquarium was packed and hot, so we spent the first hour or so gradually shedding layers as we oohed and ahhed over the fish, penguin, and otter displays. Sophie was overdue for a nap, overheated, and overstimulated by the crowds of people, but she did fairly well. I was able to take a break and nurse her in the relatively quiet nursing room, which helped her to recharge and face the afternoon. After our break she seemed more interested in watching the fish in the main tank for a short time.

It's an amazing world, little snork!

By 2:00 we were starving, and there was still no sign of our friends in the tank. So we bowed out and went to get some lunch at the Fuzzy Navel, a Mexican restaurant and bar where we ate burritos and Sophie got admired and photographed by the wait staff.

Hooray for Mexican food!

To finish off the day, we decided to try going to Costco to pick up some goodies that we can't find in Geoje. It was a big mistake to go to Costco on the Sunday afternoon before Lunar New Year, but we soldiered on. The parking lot and the store were packed! Amusing sights included a woman with a shopping cart full of 5-kilo bags of sugar and families huddled around their shopping carts eating lunches spread out atop their purchases.

By the time we got home, Sophie was punchy from exhaustion. She ate some carrots and potatoes, had a very giggly, squealy bath, and passed out for a seven-hour stretch. She was a trooper for her first trip to Busan on the new bridge!