Teen Anxiety and Blaming Parents

I recently read an article titled “10 Reasons Teens Have So Much Anxiety Today” and I was really quite shocked at just how much the author generalized and blamed parents in this article. A little too much blame methinks. As if parents don’t have enough stress on them too! How about the fact that in America it’s all about working rather than spending any quality time with your family? How about the fact that teachers aren’t given the respect and recognition they deserve? And yes, I do believe (highly unfairly) some parents expect teachers to raise and discipline their kids.

I think another factor is that society wants to give everyone a medal! God forbid we recognize that our child lost! – Our daughter had a soccer game the other day and it was awful! It was awful to watch. She played terribly. Her team was annihilated because none of them played well. She got into the car afterwards and told us how she played terribly. I said she had some moments that were good, but it definitely wasn’t fun to watch and she certainly wasn’t playing her best. She said she didn’t give it 100% – All we ask is that our kids do their best. Every time. If you are going to commit to something then you need to give it your best. I told her I appreciated her admitting that, but if she wants to play soccer then she needs to give it her best, every, single time. There is no talking it up at our house. We are by no means perfect parents but when our kid doesn’t commit and recognizes it themselves, I’m not going to disagree. I’m not going to praise the not-so-good. I am going to praise her great moments though. Our other daughter has just made a lacrosse team. It’s the B team. She started playing lacrosse at a free clinic last Summer. She did another clinic in Autumn. And another this Winter. She can’t expect miracles. She can’t expect to be the best immediately. It just doesn’t work that way. I’m proud of how she responded though when I told her this morning that she had made the B team. She said that if she wants to get better then she has to work hard. But she’s going to play hard nonetheless and actually said how thankful she was that we actually let her start playing the game now (14).

No one knows if they’re doing the parenting thing the ‘right’ way. Articles like these point out some great things to keep an eye on but they also blame parents in so many ways and that’s when it becomes unfair. We are trying to do our best. We are told what we can and can’t do as far as our parenting goes. We are told we are doing it wrong all the time. “Too many electronics!” “You have to have your kids skilled in electronics!” “They’re not exercising hard enough!” “You’re putting too much pressure on your kid by having them exercise hard throughout the week and playing competitive games on weekends!” There’s a happy medium somewhere there, but we can’t be blamed for everything! Society as a whole needs to intervene in a more productive way. Playtime at school has to happen. Yes to less screen time, but haven’t the so-called experts been saying that for years about TVs?

My son told me he was bored the other night, I told him to read a book or play legos or take his imagination on an adventure! We ended up playing a family card game of Uno. It was fun! Kids need to be bored and parents need to allow them time to develop coping skills, it’s also a time when parents can add some family fun into the mix.

I very much believe in the hierarchy point though. I have friends whose kids seem to dictate all that they do. I have friends who treat their kids as equals and share with them far too many facts about themselves or other adult friends. Your kid is your kid. Not your peer. Not your friend. When they are adult enough, become friends. But they need you as their parent, their guide, their guardian, right now.

This article points out things to keep an eye on within ourselves (as parents) and some modifications we can definitely make in our day-to-day lives as the parents of teens or even tweens, but blaming us for everything isn’t the answer either.

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May the fourteenth be with you! Ok, we’ll take the force! 

It’s been a few days now since I last wrote a blog and things have been a little all over the place. The local police called me to ensure there were no injuries in my car as this guy is obviously still insisting that he is injured, even though it was such a minor accident for his truck anyway, having no damage whatsoever, not so minor for my car that hit the corner of his truck bed, that was literally made of steel, yet we have no injuries and he is saying he was injured. I don’t think so! I am just hoping he was caught on camera unloading somewhat heavy items from the back of his truck after the accident. If there is one thing I don’t like it is people who try to to take advantage of the system and of situations. I had three children all under the age of 5 in my car, all in the back where the impact was, and they are all just fine. Seriously, just fine and this dude wants to try to sue me? Again, I don’t think so. 
Ok, let’s not focus on the negative, there were some positives from this week, the dentist was amazing and has said that he will continue with Ally’s treatment free of charge! Yes, free! Would any dentist in Australia or USA do that? No is the definitive answer. Very happy with that. Also, I finished the first 4 weeks of Insanity. Here are my photos so far (now the first one in the blue actually goes back to the beginning of the whole thing when I started T25, the second one is from 4 weeks ago when I began Insanity and the third is from tonight):

I can see some results. Not as many as I would have liked given how hard and how long I’ve been working out but also given that I haven’t been on a diet as such, I think it definitely shows that working out is helping me get toned. Oh and I’ve lost somewhere between 6-7.5lbs depending upon the time of day I weigh myself and the day of the week of course 😜 (who knew scales could be so bloody temperamental??). 
It has been a somewhat subdued week, I guess. Hunter went back to school on Thursday and Friday, but Thursday I ran around and did errands, we did get a new (old) car finally. It’s something from 2002. It was cheap. It runs well & has AC and heated seats and a heater of course. All the basics and it means some independence for me, although given how shitty last Monday went, I’m not too keen on driving just yet. It’s weird, I have always been a reasonably confident driver yet this accident has thrown me for a six. 
Friday was spent doing odds and ends at home, Maddy had a half day for some reason, so I couldn’t go get the Lipolysis shots either as I didn’t want to traumatize her, but she helped me so much around the house and got to play and hang out with her friends so it was a really nice day for the most part. We did happen to go to the grocery store and witness a man collapse and gash his head quite severely on his way down. The whole thing was all a little overwhelming with the ambulance getting called and this man literally out cold. It was obviously quite traumatic for her as she didn’t want to go back to the commissary on Saturday (I forgot to get milk) until I reassured her he was ok and that it wasn’t going to happen again whilst we were there. How do I know he’s ok? Well, we had some friends come over for dinner and drinks on Friday night and one of them happened to work with this guy, so when I started telling the story, she chimed in with how she had been the first person they called from the hospital because she was the last to speak with him on his phone. It really is a small community over here and I’m finding this out more and more on a daily basis. 
Saturday morning, we decided to purchase the entire collection of Star Wars movies with copious amounts of junk food (ok, maybe not copious but certainly more than we would normally ever consume in a week, let alone a weekend) and stay in for the weekend and have a Star Wars marathon. I had already worked out Saturday morning so I wasn’t feeling guilty about not doing too much for the rest of the day and the kids seemed to be onboard (until their friends came door knocking wanting to play with them outside). It ended up being hubby and I who really watched the movies with children grazing on junk food and watching bits and pieces then wanting all the blanks filled in because they were somewhat lost. We did make the ‘best parents ever’ stigma for a short time, given there were no set meals over the weekend and food consisted of very few ‘healthy’ things! Honestly, you may think I’m the worst, but every now and again one just has to go with the flow and let your kids just eat crap. They stayed up late interspersing their time throughout Saturday and Sunday with playing outside on their bikes and watching the movies with us. On Sunday afternoon we all went for another family bike ride and it was so enjoyable. This time Hunter didn’t complain at all and his little legs kept pedaling the entire time. It was truly fun, even when it started to rain, there was no complaining from anyone. The rain gave us a good excuse to watch one more Star Wars movie (yes, we made it through the first 5 in order, throughout the weekend). It was just a nice, low-key weekend, with no need to be anywhere at a particular time and no one demanding our attention outside of our family. 

Monday (today) has already been successful. I am now on the recovery week of Insanity, which means doing Core Cardio and Balance every day, starting today. And it felt good. I am still trying to kick this nasal, sinus, chest thingy I’ve got going on but I’m now guessing it’s from the yellow dust coming in from China. From what everyone has told me, it sticks with you for a while until you get used to it. Shit! If I wanted to deal with crap coming into my lungs killing me, I would have kept smoking. This is ridiculous. And poor Ally just cannot get rid of her cough! I’m thinking I will definitely have to take her to make sure she is not asthmatic or suffering from bronchitis or who knows what! This place is not agreeing with her lungs either. She is the worst of us all. One of her teachers actually made me so angry last week. Ally is always coughing, always blowing her nose, it is literally like she is allergic to this place, she gets into coughing fits and almost throws up at times. I have her doing a nasal rinse daily and we make sure she spits out all of the yucky stuff when she’s home, but the poor kid just doesn’t seem to be getting better. Back to this teacher. Ally came into her class and started coughing, the teacher stopped talking until Ally was done (as she apparently does when anyone makes any noise in her classroom that she hasn’t approved of). Then Ally’s nose started running and she had to use the roll of toilet paper this teacher had in her classroom for just such occasions. I can’t remember exactly what she said but she basically singled Ally out and ridiculed her then got mad at her for using too much of this roll of toilet paper. On top of that, Ally’s voice was a tad croaky last week because she has had this thing going on for so long, this teacher then made fun of her because she couldn’t reach the notes she had to reach in the class (it was choir class). Ally came home devastated. I was furious! I thought and thought about the best way to react to this. Ally didn’t want me to make a big scene and she didn’t want this teacher to pick on her further, and I completely understood where she was coming from. I know sometimes teachers will take it out further on the children if the parent intervenes, especially those teachers who don’t offer a nurturing environment to their pupils. That was the last thing our daughter needed in her life right now. So, I didn’t do anything until after I had calmed down immensely. When hubby got home, I asked Ally to tell him about it so I could gauge his reaction to the whole thing and was surprised at how angry it made him too. I told him my idea and as always he suggested I wait until I was calm to do it. Now a part of me would have liked to storm in there and grab this woman and shake her a bit until she came to her senses and stopped being such a bitch, but the more practical, sensible side of me knew that wasn’t anyway to show my child how to resolve conflict, instead I wrote her a letter and gave her a new roll of toilet paper. And yes, the toilet paper was my cheap shot, but at least this way, Ally can use it as much as she likes and this woman can never make her feel bad about it. 

She never gave Ally a reaction, but she hasn’t picked on her again, so I’ll take it as a win for my little (big) girl who needs all the wins she can get right now given her health and her friendship situation. More on that another day. 
Back to today, I went with my friend Rebecca back to see our favourite dermatologist spouse (again, hoping she’s actually a nurse) and to get our Lipolysis shots. This time, I actually took a photo of her sticking a shot into my belly. So weird. She and her husband only realized today that I’m actually Australian, even though I told them the first time I met them. Anyway, they were both excited today because their sons (yes, there are 2 of them) both live and study in Adelaide, Australia, and they have both been there. This was followed with, “it’s pretty, but it’s too hot and too dry.” I felt like saying in return that I could completely understand their distaste as this place is too cold and too wet, as well as too hot and too humid, (and yes, I do mean wet & humid independently of each other) for my liking. On top of that there’s the yellow dust and the monsoon season. Um, hello! Give me Australia’s weather any day! 

 Right, I think I’ve caught you up on all our exciting happenings. The days are definitely getting warmer here in South Korea, we are supposed to hit 33C on Saturday, That’s about my perfect temperature right there, although I think that’s hotter than it ever got whilst we were in Colorado Springs! A sprinkler may be in order though, just in case. 
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I hope you have a wonderful day or night, wherever you are in the world. This Aussie Mum plans on doing so! 😊

Challenge Accepted Day 53/Day 11

Well there’s never a dull day in South Korea and today reaffirms that for me. My plans were changed this morning due to my friend not feeling well, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from doing anything as A; we really needed some groceries and B; I just didn’t feel like staying at home. A day out with my son would be nice. Then he decided he desperately wanted to go to school today. Oh well, Mummy will have a day to herself. That’s just fine with me.

And that’s what I did. Had a day to myself. I dropped son and hubby off then planned to come home and work out before heading out for the day. On my way home, I got a call from the travel agent confirming she could get the hotel and hire car for Memorial Day weekend at Jeju Island. Our first real adventure here in South Korea is now confirmed for that weekend! So off I went to pay for that. Well boy did she keep me waiting! No one else would/could help me so I had to wait for her and it was close to an hour before I was seen, delaying all plans for the day. I was finally able to finish up the business and get home only to realize I no longer had time to workout this morning and would have to dress and get on my way. With no real plan in mind, I headed to the International Market outside of the Air Force base. Only knowing I wanted to go back to this little Thai restaurant I had tried once before, to ensure the food was as wonderful as it was the first time I went with my darling son. 

I was not disappointed. If you head to the US Air Force base main gate, in Songtan Station, about 8km south of Osan City, you will find one of the best Thai restaurants I have ever been to, outside of Bangkok! I do not say that lightly. I got ‘stuck’ in Thailand for 3 months a long time ago and the only time I ate anything other than Thai food (mainly from street vendors) I regretted it. The Thai people are some of the most incredibly gentle, lovely people, I have ever come across. Not only are they sweet and generous, but they can also claim some of the most amazing food I have ever tasted, as part of their cultural heritage! I kid you not, you will find something on a Thai menu you will love. And this restaurant is no exception. From the main gate, head into the main entrance of the marketplace, you will see a number of Thai restaurants around you and I cannot vouch for any of the others as I have not been, but this one, “Yummy Thai Restaurant” is on the second floor, above a coffee house on the left hand side as you head into the market, but not too far down. You enter some stairs that lead to a small alleyway. It continues on to some very clean public toilets and a carpark and the restaurant is on your right hand side. It is very small but inviting. It is not opulent, but it is clean and the window seats look straight out over the Main Street, making people watching easy. Juree is the owner, head chef, head waitress and possibly the only waitress but on top of all that, she is the epitome of all I remember about all the Thai people I have met. She is kind and sweet and lovely and she can cook incredible, authentic Thai food! I believe she came from Bangkok but I could be mistaken. She is definitely Thai and welcomed my Thai greetings and thank you’s. Now, I also have to tell you that my favourite Thai food is Tom Kha Gai and that is what I have had both times but I have heard other patrons exclaiming wondrous words about their food. This little restaurant is truly a hidden gem. But hopefully not for much longer as she deserves to have her cooking shared with many.

After enjoying my solo lunch, I made my way through the ‘Ville’ to look for a hairdressing salon. I haven’t had my hair cut since January and with our ball being just over a week away, it desperately needed a good cut! I wound my way through the streets of the ville and ended back in front of the main gates at a salon called Yi Beaty Salon. Where Ms Yi gave me a very simple haircut and took a good four inches off. I told her to just get rid of the dead hair, and so she did. My hair feels so light, and so much better. The curl has come back to it too. I didn’t have time for her to do anything else, but it was nice to be able to get a haircut when I needed it. From there, I went to the ‘fish’ place – see my previous blog a few weeks ago – and got my eyebrows waxed. Obviously threading (where one who specializes in this skill, uses cotton thread to interweave through the eyebrow hairs to pull them out in rapid succession) is not a popular thing here and that is definitely my preference when it comes to taking care of my eyebrows, but waxing will do. I’m not so sure about this woman though. She didn’t speak the entire time she did my brows (she was European too) then I thought, maybe she doesn’t speak English, but at the end I asked her about reading and she completely understood and told me that no one does it. I guess I just didn’t get warm and fuzzies from her. 
I had to get the groceries in a reasonable hurry and I also went and bought a clear shower curtain from the other end of the base, as we are doing a bake sale next week and the area my hubby works in has these beautiful table cloths that have been handmade (I think) and we want to use one to advertise ourselves but they need to be protected and how better to protect them without spending a fortune than to use a clear plastic shower curtain. I guess we’ll test it out and see how it goes. 
Then it was a mad panic to get home with every possible red light, filling of potholes, crazy Koreans, getting in my way! What would normally take 20-30 minutes, took a good 50 minutes and I didn’t want my daughter getting home without me there. I was literally less than 5km away and moving at 0! Everything in me was trying not to panic/worry because that’s what I do, I took deep breaths, tried to stay calm and think if I was 5 minutes late, it would be ok. But in my heart of hearts, I knew I wouldn’t be ok if I was 5 minutes late. It’s just me. But I didn’t completely stress out either. When I finally came close to the house and saw the bus coming from the other direction, I was finally able to relax. Yay, somehow, I made it, even after the arsehole truck cut me off at a red light! 

We picked up Hunter, who had another great day at school but by the time he got the three steps from school to car, was completely exhausted and went into crazy preschool tired mode, where everything was an incredible drama, including the fact that I had brought Luna in the car with us and three of the boys at school were looking at her through the window. It only went down from there. Literally, three steps and the dynamics changed. But that’s how kids roll! Luckily he’s number three and I recognized all the signs. He’s still determined to go to school again tomorrow! In fact, this kid was so tired that at 7pm (we had almost finished dinner) he put his fork down and said, “can I please go to sleep!” Oh the pain of being three! 
When I was finally done with my day, including driving around trying to locate a dog groomer after doing an Internet search and finding most English speaking groomers have either stopped or are on maternity leave! Seriously, English speaking dog groomers could make a killing here! Anyway, randomly driving when I found one! Yay! I was stuck at a never-ending red light, so was even able to type the number in on my phone and make an appointment tomorrow! She so desperately needs it and I just cannot do it, don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried. I failed. Three hours of my time and I ended up just making her look like she was clean. Not cute and she’s the cutest dog, just clean! Grooming failure! I was sweaty, the house was covered in hypoallergenic dog hair, but dog hair nonetheless, the bathroom was a mess, the clippers were blunt, the dog was unhappy, I was unhappy. Three hours of both our lives gone with very little result! No, I’m good at lots of stuff but dog grooming is not one of them! So yay for appointment tomorrow. Unfortunately, the guy couldn’t give me a price, so let’s just hope it’s reasonable! Otherwise, I guess we’ll be driving around once again tomorrow looking for the original dog groomer I had been told about that obviously requires a treasure map with secret password to even locate them! 
Home. Children home from music lessons. Husband actually home reasonably early. Time to exercise. Didn’t want to! At all. It is really difficult to motivate yourself when your family is home and you want to hang out with them. It is so easy to come up with excuses but at the end of the day, the only person I’m doing this for, is me, so the excuses I give are to myself. That just doesn’t work if you look at the big picture. I’m letting myself down, no one else. I think that’s what a lot of people forget when they come up with excuses. They are only lying to themselves. My birthday is in nine days! Holy wow! There is no time for excuses, especially given how genetics have suddenly given up on me and age has taken over! The gala is in 8 days! My Rodan + Fields challenge comes to an end in 7 days! This is the big deal for me. I’ve worked hard for the majority of this challenge and I cannot give up now. So I didn’t. Thank god, it was cardio recovery, although some of those stretches are literally insane! Shaun T, I’m not sure what the hell you want from my thighs and buttocks, but they couldn’t play for the entire time today! Perhaps next time? 😜 I did my best! And there were only a couple of moves that I couldn’t continue to do for the crazy amount of time they were asking of me!
I made Alfredo pasta and Alfredo pizza for dinner for everyone and even Maddy had 4 (yes four) bowls of it! The pizza wasn’t that big so I had a small slice of it, as did Ally, and hubby ate the rest. But the pasta was a huge success. On top of that, I made myself a very nice, plain salad and finished off my Tom Kha Gai, that I had brought home. All in all, another great day, filled with mini adventures! 
I hope you are having a lovely day and/or night, no matter where in the world you might be. 
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Challenge Accepted Day 43 & Day 1….

My son went to a Korean kindergarten today. And he loved it. I have been worrying about it all weekend too. He has never really gone to kindergarten, even when I used to volunteer and he went into the childcare, it was hit and miss. It was only once a week, but sometimes he would cry for the first hour or even longer. It took about 3 months before he was finally okay to stay there without crying. He wouldn’t even stay with friends, my friend Trine was really the only person he would stay with for any period of time. We had talked about him starting school often over the last week. Yesterday, I even asked him if he was going to cry when Mummy said goodbye and he very proudly told me that no, he wouldn’t. Well, he told the truth. Not only did that kid not cry, he had a big smile on his face and was very excited. He had his little backpack with his blankie and his Spider-Man toy and he was ready to face the world and all its challenges. He kissed hubby and I goodbye and went into his classroom, ready to socialize with his classmates. The two German/American girls with whom he is friends, weren’t even there yet, but he was still excited to go in and see what this school thing was all about. I must confess that his bravery and eagerness did bring a tear to my eye, but don’t tell anyone will you! Hubby was quick to point me to the car in case he changed his mind and regretted his decision to face today with such courageous jubilance. But he didn’t. He walked into that classroom and immediately joined a group of young Korean boys and girls and happily played with them. 
For me, well I dropped hubby off at work and came home to a quiet house. I have to admit there were times I went to talk to Hunter throughout the day. A helicopter flew right over the car and I almost pointed it out (as I always do) until I realized he wasn’t there with me. It wasn’t like this with the girls and not because I don’t love them as much as I love him or anything to do with boy vs girl, it comes down to the fact that he is my last. There will be no more babies, and he is growing up. A day that makes you realize that things are changing, I’m getting older. There will be no more pitter patter of little feet in my house until the grandchildren days. Whoa! Grandchildren! Holy wow! Can’t even go there at this point in time, but I’m understanding my own feelings about why I was a little taken aback this morning at my own emotional response. Anyway, I got home and took some more ‘before’ photos, because today I started Insanity! Yes, my T25 voyage officially came to an end for now, although, my friend is going to send me her T25 DVDs (she doesn’t use them anymore and quite by chance offered them out to any takers on FB – I, of course, put my hand up big time). So Insanity it is! Here’s the original before photos with the photos I took today in the black pants which will now become my new before photos. 

I couldn’t really notice much of a difference in the first two front photos but I do see a difference in my butt from 5 weeks of T25! I did the fit test too, the one that you do at the beginning of the Insanity challenge, and did much better than I thought I would, surprising myself. I’m going to leave the results here so you can help me track my progress. 

Ok, enough Insanity talk and prep, there it is. You’ll just have to stick with me for another 60 days to see the results and then we can maybe go back to a T25 challenge and then who knows where? 😜
I decided to make hubby and I lunch and took it to him in his office, aren’t I the sweetest wife ever? 😂 yes, I crack me up too! But it was good and sweet, I even put it in a picnic basket. We didn’t have long unfortunately, but that was ok because I had things to do anyway. They have this paperwork that we have to have ready in case we need to evacuate (you know, like if someone just north of us might be a bit loopy and do something he threatens to do all the time). Anyway, it is actually serious business. We have to have everything in a ready to go packet so in a worst case scenario, we can be ready to go at the drop of a hat. Even the pets have to have their own paperwork, so my job today was to gather together final pieces for that. I picked up some groceries, and ran a couple of other errands before heading home. The first pick up was at the bus stop for Maddy, then we drove to the school to pick Hunter up. We got there a little early and the doors were open (with a teacher standing there) and we watched Hunter playing in his class, looking so happy still. Until……. He and another little girl were running to get something in this game they were playing and neither of them looked up and ended up banging heads. Tears were shed from both. Luckily it was on Hunter’s other side and not his already bruised eye. Finally his teacher saw me at the door and brought him over, then proceeded to tell me all about his day and an upcoming field trip, in Korean. I vowed then to use Google translate for every conversation. Thank god for modern technology! Because then she handed me all this paperwork that looked something like this:

Yes, I have at least 30 pages of Korean paperwork to fill out and read. So, I used Google translate for the first 10 pages and was able to understand most of it and fill it out, by the time I got done with that though, I was exhausted! It takes a lot to concentrate on this sort of stuff. With Latin based languages I can at least look at the root word and go from there but Korean may as well be alien writing to me. I am not only impressed but filled with admiration at those who can speak and read both Latin based languages and Asian languages! So, I did the next best thing and invited my realtor over for lunch and asked her if she would help me read through this. She said yes! So tomorrow, hopefully she can help me fill all of this out. One of them is a permission slip to go to Seoul on a field trip and I’m all about that but they would travel by bus (I think) and bus drivers her are the craziest of everyone! If my son’s going to be on one of those crazy buses, then I’m going to be there with him! Haven’t got a full plan yet like what I’ll do with Maddy in the afternoon, but one step at a time. 

Tonight, well, tonight has been quiet. The kids ate and were about to go to bed when hubby got home (he got a ride from his colleague) so we put them to bed and sat and had dinner together watching two of our favourite shows that we watch together; ‘The Good Wife’ & ‘Madam Secretary’. We are very diverse in our viewing preferences enjoying comedies to superheroes and everything in between; ‘Modern Family’ & ‘Blackish’ to ‘The Goldbergs’, to ‘Supergirl’, ‘Agent Carter’, ‘The Flash’, ‘Shield’, are all regulars on our tv and soon we’re hoping to borrow the entire Game of Thrones collection, so we can get into that. Anyway, it’s been interesting. Tomorrow I get to do the full Insanity thing! Tonight, I shall do the Rodan and Fields Redefine night regimen and follow it with the ACUTE Care, I only have a few of those left, so should be seeing a decease in the wrinkles (I am already). So I shall say adieu. For now. Have a wonderful day and or night wherever you may be and give those little babies a big kiss and enjoy their pitter patter, even for a moment.

Challenge Accepted Day 41

Today has been a sad day. I found out this morning that my friend passed away yesterday, she had cancer. She thought she had beaten it. It came back in full force, terminal. Yesterday, cancer won! The world lost. One of the good ones, gone. I’ll, be back to touch on this more on another day, but for now, that’s all I want to, all I can share about it. 
I do have some other disappointing news I’m afraid, nothing compared to how I started this blog, but disappointing as far as this blog is concerned anyway. Given the circumstances surrounding my T25 beta selection, I’m going to have to end my T25 challenge early and start a new challenge; I’ve chosen Insanity! I’ve inspected the DVDs and all look good, though I think my pioneer DVD player that I bought in 2001, may be half the problem also. I’m looking for something to be able to clean it up – any suggestions would be appreciated. I don’t want to get rid of it because it’s dual voltage and worldwide region and I’m attached to it, but it surely needs a clean 15 years later…..
Well, what a day we had today. Our first experience at a South Korean IKEA! It was crazy! I thought Costco was bad but IKEA was a nightmare. I have never experienced anything quite like it. Koreans are a very kind people but they move like they drive, they will literally push you out of the way if they need to get somewhere. We find it rude, culturally, but to them, it’s just the way it is. I’m doing my best not to get offended and today was really good practice for that! Hunter did freak out a little bit because there were so many people but the good thing is we stand out, all of us with golden blonde hair and all, so there was never any danger of getting lost. But at times, it was standing room only in the biggest IKEA I’ve ever seen in my life. That place must trade in the millions (of Korean won of course) on a daily basis! We alone spent our fair share of money in there! It was great though. Crazy, but great. Anytime we needed anything, we just found a store worker who normally spoke enough English to put our Korean to shame. We bought a new, bigger and better kitchen island, so I now have the pleasure of returning the other one to Costco, because we just aren’t happy with it at all. Once again, I hope Costco is as understanding as they are in the States. We also bought some storage for the laundry as it’s driving me crazy in there. Nothing goes into the concrete walls and nothing sticks to them because of the humidity, we have very little storage in this house and the laundry has now had to become our pantry as well, because there wasn’t even a decent cupboard to hold food. When there’s five of you and a cat and a dog, you need to have somewhere to put all of your food. Hopefully, what I’ve bought will work and will clean it all up. I never feel like the house is clean because there’s clutter everywhere. I’ve gotten rid of so much since we arrived here yet still have too much junk! A planned yard sale at the end of April combined with more decluttering, should get me somewhere! 
Everything else we bought was small or insignificant. One thing we did buy and I’m excited to start using, was a summer duvet. We use duvets or doonas (pronounced Doo-na) in Australia and they are used throughout Europe also. They are either feather and down quilts or wool or man made materials inside of a quilt type fabric. The difference is they are plain and you buy interchangeable covers for them as necessary to make your bed coverings the way you like them. It also means you don’t wash your duvet regularly, you just wash your cover, not ruining it like one does a quilt type spread whenever it needs to get washed (which is on a regular basis). My friend Trine who is Norwegian, introduced me to the idea of having both a Summer and a Winter duvet. Well, last night, and this may seem like TMI (too much information) but both hubby and I awoke absolutely saturated and no, not from anything fun! It is so humid here that one sweats immensely. I am not a sweater, yet I was drenched. It was disgusting! We talked this morning when he said he had woken up the same way and realized that the winter duvet we have is just too heavy and we need to do something about it. I told him about Trine and James and how they use both a Summer and Winter duvet and suggested we do the same. He was all about it. We both like to have a covering over us at night but this was just too heavy now and we also like to use the feather and down comforters, which actually offer a nice breathability, as does wool. IKEA was the perfect place to buy one, so we did. We thought about getting another cover but honestly, I’m still loving my white cover, especially as it is coming into Summer and I have my lovely blue accents to go with it, so I’m just going to stick with it for now and look next time we go (yes, we shall go again) for some new sheets as well. 
We eventually finished up at IKEA with 400 won each, soft serve ice cream cones (well, the four members of my family did & they were terrific apparently, especially at the equivalent of less than 40c) and moved on to the outlets next door. These outlets are not really what we would consider outlets. Most of the items in there were overpriced as far as we were concerned, even the stuff that was 50% off. Hubby showed me a really nice light pink water resistant golfing jacket from Nike and it was on sale for Korean won 129,900, that’s about US $120.00. In the States at a Nike outlet store, I would have expected to pay about $80. The same went for most of the stores in this place. The only time we found a bargain was when we bought Ally a new pair of trainers (she has been complaining and looking for new trainers for the past 2-3months) finally, we found some. They’re a ladies size 6 mind you, the smallest size they had in the store, and they fit my 11 yo daughter who is one of the smallest (as far as height goes) in her grade. We always laugh because the running joke (pardon the pun) is that she needs to grow into her feet! Anyway, they fit her well when we put her inner soles in it (she has flat feet) and were 39,000 won, cheaper than all the shoes I was looking at online and she was able to try them on. Perfect. I’ve just bought new inserts for her too, so they’ll be great in her new shoes. That was literally the only thing in the 5 levels that worked out. Otherwise, I wouldn’t waste my time going there again. At the time of writing, this is the only IKEA in South Korea, (Gwangmyeong) so you’ll know where I’m talking about. Don’t bother with the outlets next door. It’s just not worth it. 
We returned to our car and made our way back to Osan Airforce Base as the family had decided Chilis was on the menu (this is an American chain restaurant that has somehow made its way over here to a US Airforce base). I haven’t been all that impressed with it so far, but they all love it for some reason and tonight I finally found something on the menu I actually liked. Normally I’m a chicken kind of person at a restaurant, but all the chicken in this Chilis seems to have a lemon base in the cooking method and I don’t like lemon and chicken together unless it’s in a marinade and even then, I’m not the biggest fan. So it took me forever to decide on something and I was about to give dinner a miss altogether when I spotted something called the steak fajita quesadilla (I think). It was really good. No lemon in sight. It was just a very good meal. Far too much food for me, but good nonetheless. The steak was cooked well and was actually not very fatty, I got a blend of cheese rather than ‘jack’ cheese and it all worked well together. I highly recommend it if you’re heading to Chilis, Osan for dinner. We had some highly energetic kids still so we wandered over to the exchange store to look for some ‘slippers’ for Hunter for school on Monday. In Korean schools, you have to take your shoes off before entering the classroom, so you need some slipper type things to be able to wear inside there. I’m not really sure if I got him the right shoes, but we ended up getting a pair of adidas ‘flip flops/sandals’ and are hoping that not only will he be fine because of the little massaging pointy bits, but also that these will work as ‘slippers’.

I’m a tad nervous for him going to school on Monday. We keep talking about it but I’m just not sure how he’s going to do. I guess we’ll find out soon enough! Anyway, we found Madison a pair of trainers/runners as well and hubby found a lovely pair of dress shoes to match his new suit. All in all, a successful shopping trip. By the time we got home it was very late and dear son was sound asleep and we still hadn’t gone to visit the cats! We raced over there to find things a little amiss. Carpets moved, or rolled up. Different lights on. Weird stuff. The girls and I were a tad freaked out so I immediately sent my friend a message asking if anyone had come by today, thank god she answered almost immediately confirming someone had and apologizing for not letting me know. Then my phone died. We hung out with them for quite a while and when we finally got home I was able to get the full message about her friend stopping by and all being ok. Once home I did my nightly Rodan and Fields regimen followed by my AMP MD roller before sitting down to write my blog. And here I am. It’s almost 12:30am – I’ve missed my blog deadline. The girls are sitting up with hubby watching Harry Potter, and I am having a glass of wine or three and toasting my friend. I hope that you and yours are safe and well and you give all of your loves an extra squeeze tonight. Thanks for sticking with me and as always, pleas email me at:


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On a side note, I cannot take credit for the main image for this blog but I did find out as I was researching images for it, this is literally IKEA’s largest store in the world. Credit to ‘The National’ for their image. 

Challenge Accepted Day 40

Another day in beautiful South Korea. I’m not going to call it a good day or a bad day just another day. It was interesting. I had hoped to meet my girlfriend in a city called Daegu today. We travelled here (to South Korea) together and the story of our travel is pretty funny. Another day though. Anyway, we became fast friends during our respective journeys and I am so glad we did but we are just far enough away from each other that things keep popping in the way, yet close enough that we should be able to sort it out! I thought today might have been the day. Missed communication, combined with a planned dinner date tonight with hubby and his ‘work-wife’ and her husband (it’s an Army thing) – that didn’t even work out because she ended up having to go to Daegu (of all places!!!) and my hubby went to Seoul, meant it just didn’t happen. But it needs to. I feel like we need to ensure our friendship endures. We have both had some adjusting to do whilst here and neither of us are ‘loving’ it here yet, but we’re getting there and I know we’d do better if we each made a bigger effort! Also goes back to the one car thing. I have to be here in time to pick my hubby up if I want the car then there’s the school bus pick up when the kids are in school and it’s a 2 hour journey on a good day! So many variables get in the way of our social lives! I’m not sure how other Mums/Moms do it! For me, it was enough just trying to get to a farewell lunch for a lady today after our original plans didn’t really work out. Up and out of the house at 0430 to drop hubby off just so I could have the car, it almost wasn’t worth it to get up at that hour, then I remembered that today was the last day of Spring break so it was worth it to get out and do stuff. Though, nothing went as planned….
It’s a pot luck. I’m up at literally ‘sparrow-fart’, I start thinking about what I could make with what’s in the fridge/freezer. Stromboli. Yum! My one-coffee mind thinks yes, defrost it and get it happening, my one-coffee mind doesn’t take into account size of microwave versus size of glass container holding the frozen bread and that it won’t turn around in said microwave. I put it in there anyway. Low and behold, however many minutes later, one side of the bread has started to cook and is now ruined. Shit! What now? Spaghetti and pasta. Everyone loves spaghetti. Oh dear, no spaghetti sauce! I’m going to have to make it and double time it to get all the ingredients loving each other (as they should in spaghetti sauce). That’s what I do. It’s a little bit of crushed tomatoes, meets a little bit of tomato paste, meets a little bit of tomato sauce. Onions and garlic join forces, as do pepperoni (I know, I never thought I would be putting pepperoni in spaghetti but it’s a winner with kids) and ham. Mince (aka ground beef) with red wine and lots of seasonings including basil pesto, all top it off. For the next 2 hours, all of the above mentioned ingredients happily meet and intertwine to create a yummy, kid-friendly spaghetti sauce. 
There is no workout today! I know, disappointing. There is something going on with my T25 Beta selection and I’m not sure about what to do. They used to work, now they don’t. I may have to axe the T25 workout and move on to Insanity! After ensuring all DVDs are in good working order that is. I have done lots of running and walking and lifting and stretching, but none of it is in conjunction with any DVD. I haven’t figured all of this out just yet as it was all a bit of a surprise. I was going to give it more thought and further fiddling this afternoon but my afternoon disappeared in a flash. 
So we went to this luncheon/potluck/farewell. It was a bit weird because I didn’t know anyone and felt like a bit of an outsider, but all of the ladies were so friendly and inviting though not at first, even if any of them read this I have to share with you what happened when I first walked in; so we get there about 15 minutes late because I take a wrong turn. It’s all ok, I’m not too worried. We walk in the door and our host has to immediately go and deal with her two screaming children so I just stand there, crockpot in hand thinking “umm, ok…” No one turns to say hello, no says anything. I tend to my kids and put the crockpot in the kitchen and still no one acknowledges my arrival. It’s a small place. I’m thinking ok, I guess I need to take a leap out of my comfort zone and greet all of you, so I do. Finally, the 7 or 8 women who are there, start speaking to me. I don’t know about you, but for me, I was ready to haul my butt out of there very shortly after arriving! I don’t think any of them were purposefully being rude, most just didn’t know me and those couple who did were in conversation with their backs to the door and there were noisy kids everywhere. Anyway, not the most welcoming greeting I’ve been given but I did enjoy myself afterwards nonetheless. In fact, I really enjoyed myself and was able to connect with a couple of women and thought we could become firm friends. All good things must come to an end and I had to pick up some stuff at the grocery store and Mail off the package to my Mum (that I forgot to take with me on post). So 2.5 hours later, we finally left the party. 
Ally had decided to stay home, so Maddy, Hunter and I went to the commissary without a list, but using Mummy’s incredible baby-deranged memory. Yes, we forgot half the stuff! Oh well. Here’s the deal with the commissary, there are packers/baggers who pack/bag your groceries but only for tips. There are big signs in every commissary specifying this. As I explained to my daughter today, I think it’s a great service but A; I hate other people bagging my groceries. B; I hate being told to pay other people to bag my groceries. C; these people use more plastic than a small country would (the commissary has the worst plastic bags I’ve ever seen and, if given the chance, most of the baggers would triple bag your groceries) I have my own grocery bags that I use most of the time but sometimes I forget them and it drives me almost to the point of insanity with the number of bags these people think should be used for a couple of heavy items. On top of that, things are never put together or where I need them to be. I once watched as 2 baggers packed my groceries and used my frozen ‘freezer’ bags to put canned goods in because they were the sturdiest. Seriously, it really gets under my skin. I’m a pretty efficient bagger and I normally won’t do it unless I’ve got someone there to help me, like my 7yo old daughter today, but today really pissed me off. I was determined not to get stressed, I didn’t have very many items. I had brought in my own bags and had to tell them 3 times that I would bag it myself. Madison and Hunter unpacked it, I bagged it. We had one of those half trolleys/carts – that wasn’t even full. It wasn’t a long or difficult process yet, they started getting cranky because I was still bagging and the woman was asking me to pay. I paid then moved back to bagging the 7 or so items I had remaining. This man came over and started yelling at these women and I knew it was about me doing my own groceries. The cashier starts telling him (I think) that I wanted to do it myself and he is getting crankier and crankier. The door to the commissary decides at that point to close/open (hard to explain as I didn’t really see it) on my son’s head, so he starts screaming. I think to myself, I’m going to be very calm and I’m going to finish my groceries, my son isn’t bleeding, he’s not in tremendous danger or pain, he’s just gotten a fright) so I shall do what I’m doing then deal with him as we go to the car. Well, they all start freaking out (not about my son but the fact that now it is taking me too long to pack my groceries) and this man starts yelling some more and the ladies start pushing me out of the way. The whole thing turned into an ordeal. Yet there was only one person waiting in line and 3 checkouts open. I told them all they need to calm down and I calmly grabbed my son’s elbow as we walked out and asked him and Madison what exactly happened. This all took place in a matter of 30 – 60 seconds. It was weird and really pissed me off. Again, no one needs to dictate to me who packs my groceries, especially in a store the size of a 7-11. 
I got home a little cranky, grabbed the eldest child and the package and headed back to park almost exactly where I had been not 20 minutes before. We went to the post office, she grabbed me some butter (yes, I thought it best I not go back to the commissary today) and we came home. Our little garden was looking a tad worse for wear and we were starting to compete in the white trash competition, so I decided to clean it up with the help of the children. We cleaned, we prettied, we organized and all looked great. The girls then asked if they could go and ride their bikes and after all their hard work, it was a well-deserved reprieve. Hunter and I played in the new yard until Daddy called asking for us to come and get him. I grabbed Maddy, leaving Ally with her neighbourhood friends, and off we went. We came back to find Ally with a fresh bandage on her knee and a bloodied wound underneath. She did well though, she came home, grabbed her Girl Scout first aid kit, cleaned and wrapped the wound and was riding back to join her friends when we came along. We left Maddy with her and headed back to the house. Hubby was exhausted but ready for an ice cold beer, he and I sat out on our porch with Hunter discussing our days. Our neighbour’s came over to talk/meet, (their girls will be in Hunter’s class on Monday) and it was nice to finally meet the husband, but all of a sudden our dear, clumsy, crazy son, crashes behind me and I see Rebecca’s face and think “What has he done now?” Well, let’s just say he came damn close to doing permanent damage to his eye and the kid has a very fresh graze and scrape all the way down the left side of his face. He had already started to get a black eye when I picked him up off the ground! How, I don’t know. Only our Hunter could do it though. Our neighbours left when he started screaming and our eldest came back from bike riding crying and the entire house was filled with drama for the next 30 minutes. Luckily nothing is permanent. Ally and her sister had a fight and Madison embarrassed Ally in front of all the kids, and Hunter, well Hunter is truly a drama King and I’m sure he has a not-so-secret desire to do some permanent damage to his face! One day I’ll tell you about all the stuff our 3yo has done to his face! There was no emergency room trip today, but the sting is very real and he must have had a bit of a headache tonight as I gave him ibuprofen for his pain and he was out. No, he didn’t damage himself so badly he had a concussion, yes, sometimes it can just hurt like hell. Yes, I just went and checked on him after writing that to make sure he is ok! 


So, basically today was a failure as far as T25 was concerned, though I did do both my day and night regimen of the Rodan and Fields Redefine. No AMP MD though. It was a failure as far as Stromboli was concerned but a winner when we talk spaghetti. A failure when it comes to entrances but it evened out when it came to staying the course. Both hit and miss in the commissary. Definitely some parenting wins and fails as well. Hence the reason why today was neither good nor bad, we shall call today and equilibrium of days. A day where  everything met to give an average of ok. 
I hope though that for you, your day and or night is amazing! 
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Challenge Accepted Day 36

Well what a lovely day! I awoke feeling like rubbish still, but it was time to put the big girl panties on and get out and about. And out and about we got. My girls are on Spring break this week and today was a great start to it (other than my rubbish cold that is)! Our neighbor and newfound friend, Rachel put out last week that she wanted to go and check out this place called Anmyeondo island. I love the beach, I love water, I love the peaceful feeling I get when I’m near it and I needed to feel some of that. So I jumped at the chance to join in and travel there. We cancelled our dentist appointments and changed some other stuff around just so we could go. That’s how important it was to me. 
This past year has felt like a very long winter. We moved from Hawaii to Colorado in July, 2013 and although Colorado was in Summer at the time, it doesn’t really ever get over 80F in the Springs and that doesn’t qualify as Summer for me, just like Hawaii never got over 80 nor did it ever really get under 70F. So the weather suited me just fine because it was always semi-warm, whereas when it gets cold, I need it to get hot, just to balance me out. My friend Trine (Norwegian) doesn’t think it gets really cold in Colorado and perhaps compared to Norway it doesn’t, but it got down to -32C once (That’s -25.6F) aka bloody cold, too bloody cold for my liking! No one told me hair can freeze when it gets that cold, my hair was damp when I left the house and it froze almost immediately and a giant chunk snapped off, literally snapped. Goodbye hair, it was nice knowing you. No, thank you very much. I like my hair and I like my warmth and though she is one of my dearest friends, we shall always agree to disagree when it comes to Winter. It just doesn’t work for me. Off point, I know. 2015 was a year that seemed to me like perpetual cold. No, it wasn’t the coldest winter on record in Colorado, in fact it was a fairly warm winter, but it was still winter, then we went to Australia in July, my first time home in 5 years, almost to the day, and it’s winter, again. Yay (sarcasm) It hadn’t even gotten up to 80 in Colorado yet! The Sunshine Coast was ok, though I still desperately missed Summer, but Melbourne was absolutely freezing. By the time I get back to Colorado at the end of August, they have pretty much had 5 weeks straight of 80+F temps that all came to an end the week we arrived back, no I’m not kidding! We booked a cruise in January to try and locate some warmth, but even that only gave us one day of nice, warm, laying in the sun, weather and that was on our second last day.
We get to South Korea and it’s bleak and miserable and cold and we arrive in Seoul to -30C weather where we have to go and take our dog to play every day, at least twice a day and where the son does nothing but cry as soon as we head outside. It was truly miserable. The one thing about Colorado’s winter is that it is truly beautiful, picturesque probably better describes it. It may be cold and snowing but at least the sun comes out a lot and there’s beautiful mountains and scenery to look at, even on the coldest days. Not South Korea. The trees seem to all be deciduous, so everything looks dead in Winter. It’s cold and bleak with high rises and buildings and junk everywhere. The Koreans are extremely technologically advanced but they still don’t care about litter. I drove back from the beach today and watched car after car roll down their windows and throw stuff out. The beach was covered in trash in parts, just like the streets here. I hate it. I want to stop people in the street and say “what are you doing?” There are also no public rubbish bins (garbage bins) so what are people supposed to do with their garbage? I had two bags of garbage just after our picnic today, the first I left in the restrooms inside the garbage bin in there because I didn’t want to leave a bag of garbage in my car, the second, I took with us. 
Back to today; I would have liked to crawl back into bed, but my need for beach and fresh air was more important, even with an almost 2 hour drive each way! I get out of bed and get cracking early enough to get an esky (cooler) packed as well as our picnic, but not early enough to work out. I do my Rodan and Fields regimen and lavish my face with Reverse #4 sunscreen (my fave sunscreen ever) then have to get breakfast for all children whilst also getting the youngest two ready. I take lots of vitamin C and some medicine that will stop my nose from running. Then it’s time to drop hubby off at work before feeding the cats we are looking after and picking up hubby’s colleague’s teenage daughter whom I have asked to join us, then meeting with Rachel at 9am (0900 in military speak). Crazy start to the day, yes. 
We are off. It was a fairly easy drive given the Korean driving skills, no great drama on the roads, a couple of weird GPS turns, but I expect nothing less, and all goes smoothly. Rachel is leading the minivan convoy and does a great job. I’m a terrible driver/leader, I don’t know why but I always sit there and think the person behind me wants me to go faster or something, and here, all I want to do is go faster but apparently, the Korean speeding ticket is an absolute fortune and there are speed cameras everywhere, so I don’t take any chances. I actually led on the way back and my phone and my car GPS were going crazy with camera locations so it was really a matter of using my cruise control, but I probably also braked a lot and poor Rachel was probably like, “What are you doing?” But I’m not sure how anal they are with speeding tickets and I don’t want to take a chance, so if I thought there was a speed camera, I slowed down to the exact speed limit if not less. And it helped that my GPS lady shuts up when I slow down too!
There are 9 of us hitting the beach including 2 adults, two teens, one tween, and 4 kids all under 8. In our car, we are excited. I can tell you that we all looked at the scenery as we were driving through these regions and finally saw ‘beautiful’ South Korea. It was wonderful to see only green for a change, or green intermingled with flowering cherry blossoms. I wish I could share a photo of it with you, but unfortunately as the driver, there were no good photos. It didn’t help that I didn’t take my camera either! We crossed a number of large bridges to get to the island and it was truly magnificent. I go excited the minute I saw water! We had no idea which beach we should have chosen though, so it was a matter of guess work and between us, we ended up at a bit of a rocky cove, but it meant we found amazing shells! I have never seen so many shells in my life! It was truly amazing. And we collected a lot. Thank goodness Rachel had a spare ziplock bag for us to throw some cool shells in. 
Leaving my eldest on the beach with her teenage friend (because neither of them really felt like going for a walk) the rest of us did a short hike over to the next beach where we discovered some cool shells, tide pools and a big rock stack. A gorgeous scenic viewing area claimed some space at the top of a fairly steep (for my 3 yo) staircase, there were also bunkers (we think) in between. That was my guess anyway, perhaps dating back to the Korean War where sentries kept an eye out for invasion? If anyone can enlighten me further, I would appreciate it.

It was a very easy hike even with young kids and well worth it for what awaited us at beach number 3, Sambong. A real life beach, with sand, and few rocks but lots of shells and tide pools. My phone decided a good time to die was right before I got a great photo of the entire beach! What I did get a photo of and what excited me the most was when Rachel’s kids found starfish! Starfish! They were beautiful and they were everywhere. It was so exciting, possibly even more so for me than for the kids, I love starfish! I grew up next to the wate but starfish were something I remember from a kid in New Guinea, I saw some in Tahiti, I think, and some in Malaysia or Thailand (or both) and a couple snorkeling in Hawaii, but that was it. This was literally hundreds of starfish hanging out on the beach in tide pools. We spent a long time just rescuing some who were looking like they had been beached, were starting to curl up, that sort of stuff. I have tried to do some research on starfish rescue (or ‘sea stars’ as they are now known – Ally kept saying this all afternoon but I didn’t give her credit and yet she was 100% correct) but no one seems to know too much about them. Apparently many are committing suicide on the west coast of the United States??? Seriously! Who knew? But no one knows why! Maybe real estate prices? Very strange though considering they have no brain according to scientists. Anyway, the kids and I thought it better safe than sorry given sometimes starfish just have to roll with the surf and have no control over where they end up, better to end up in small tidal pools with access to mussels than not, I say. So that’s what we did. Between us, we must have rescued 50 starfish. And yes, we are sticking with rescued! My kids are heroes! Even Hunter who hates anything stick or gooey on his hands, was very happy to pick these babies up and deliver them to the nearest tidal pool – Hero! 😊
These following two photos are credited to Rachel White:

 We eventually decided, given the next beach was 10km away, to end the hike there and return to our original location, find my eldest, and let the kids just play for a while before making our way back. On the way back, it seemed like what was an empty path became filled with Korean tourists from a bus tour, all on the steep steps. After many ‘hello’s’ though we go to the lookout to see the last group trying to take a photo. I asked if I could help by taking a photo for them and they were very happy. Having no idea, I mean none whatsoever, what Koreans use to say smile in a photo, I used the go-to for any English speaking person, “Cheese!” But this one dude in the back row cracked me up when his response was: “Kim Cheeeeeese!” Kimchee, or kimchi is a well known Korean dish and this seriously made me laugh, just because I guess I was expecting something like it, but I wasn’t. Brilliant! Next time, that shall be my go-to line, not Kimchee, but kimcheeeese! 
Back to the beach we go where the kids get to play for a while and the weather has warmed up enough for us to remove sweaters for a short while. It was fun. Needing to use the toilet wasn’t mind you, given the barnacle/rock extravaganza that awaited us, but it was fun nonetheless. I took the lead as I previously mentioned, to drive home when Rachel’s app didn’t want to cooperate, and it was all good except for my speeding up/slowing down maneuvers of course. We got home at a more decent hour than I expected and hubby was actually in between (meaning he came home to change before going out again) so it all worked out as the kids got to tell him all about their awesome, amazing, wonderful day at the beach. 
Unfortunately, the minute I got home, it was like all the congestion that spent most of the day leaving my body, came back in full force, perhaps the ocean air was a big contributor, anyway, rubbish was how I felt! It was time to check on the kitties again and I was supposed to start T25 beta round but at 7pm (the time we were back in the house) all this body wanted to do was relax, instead, I had to get my kids the extremely gourmet meal of ramen (2minute) noodles – thank you noodle Monday and for the fact that sometimes I don’t have to be elaborate! I had leftover pasta, got everyone in respective showers, including myself. Did the night regimen, no AMP MD tonight either, and sat down to write this. There may have been some trashy Korean TV in between, a first for our family as we searched for something suitable for the kids to watch with us, and it may have involved ‘little people’, a video of my dog intently watching the show ‘Little People, Big World’ and I may have also let my girls watch that crazy show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ just to give them an idea about how I am a very normal mummy! But otherwise, a relatively quiet night! 
I hope your day and or night are magnificent, no matter where you are. For me, I just want to wake up without a sore, runny nose in the morning and be able to do a double Tuesday workout, given I didn’t do this one today! 
Happy trails! 😊

Challenge Accepted Day 35

Another interesting day in South Korea! I started out my day feeling like rubbish! Honestly, it was like my head had filled up with gunk overnight! Yuck. Not nice. We had a birthday party to get to and we didn’t get up until late, so it was a bit of a dash to ensure everyone was organized and ready to go. I forgot to buy a birthday card also, so the kiddos had to make one this morning as well. I hate buying birthday cards though. They are expensive, they get read then thrown away. I’d much prefer to just throw a small slip of paper into the bag/box/packaging and save a tree. Oh well, just personal preference. I had some cough/cold medicine that tasted awful and did nothing for me, followed with vitamin C and OJ, none of which did jack! Oh well, ‘big girl panties’ got put on and off we went. 
We headed off to the party which was to be followed by a work lunch for hubby. He had some VIPs who came in and they were trying to ensure they had a shopping and local dining experience that was relaxed and fun. The party was great. The kids had a blast and they had food, like real food. And good real food. We were full by the time we went to lunch with hubby’s VIPs. I was also starting to feel like rubbish again. We get to this all you can eat meat place where everything is so low key, they are not hounding us about the amount of food we are going to eat or anything! In fact, neither hubby nor I ate but I cooked Korean bbq style at the table for the kiddos and decided this was actually a good opportunity to try Soju! Actually, I thought it was more wine, but it wasn’t. It was straight Soju that I picked out. And no, not a midday drink. I tried to share it around but only two others would partake, so I packed the remainder of the bottle up in my bag and left it at that. It’s about the size of a mini wine bottle and it was just sitting there in the fridge; what’s one to expect? Not some sort of Korean vodka/whisky type thing anyway! 

I felt immediately better and told my hubby Soju worked much better than cough medicine any day! As I am writing, I am sneezing like a crazy woman! Not sure if tomorrow (our day at the beach) is going to pan out! We have a good time though wondering through the streets of the Osan ‘Ville’ – what makes it super interesting is I see this spa type store that has fish in it eating this girl’s dead skin! I’ve read about them but never actually seen one. How cool! Before I know it, I am saying, “Yea, I’m in!”

Very interesting! I’ve never felt anything quite like it. The fish tickled, felt revolting and amazing all at the same time! It was weird. They nibble away, they tickle, they feel refreshing, they tickle, they feel weird and revolting. That’s the best way I can explain it. When you get out (it’s a 10 minute thing) your feet and legs feel great! I would have liked something deeper that went about mid thigh. They really went crazy on my legs, perhaps because I had just shaved this morning? I don’t know. But my ankles/lower calves came out feeling amazing! And still look amazing 4 hours later. I may be on to something here. The legs rather than the feet needing the nurture? 😉

We came home and visited our temporary custodian cats; Luna still doesn’t like us but greeted us with joy nonetheless. Itty Bit (our 20 year old feline friend) was more enthusiastic and purred her love for us all. We spent a long time hanging out with them and showing them a bit of love, before heading back to the abode.

Tomorrow is still up in the air; With me feeling like rubbish, the lady who organized it concerned about air quality and various other ‘Korean’ factors coming in to play, I am still all a go right now but must hit the sack and attempt to get rid of this congestion! I shall keep you in the loop as far as everything unfolds!
Unfortunately there has been no T25 stretching today 😕 it just hasn’t happened and I haven’t pushed it given the crappiness that is filling my head right now. I hope you however, are feeling amazing and continue to do so! 

Have a wonderful day and or night no matter where in the worl you are!

Challenge Accepted Day 34

Hello and goodbye to Saturday! Not sure where you went, but you’ve gone! We had a busy, but not hectic day over here. It all started with my silly internal alarm knowing I could sleep in but not doing so. Awake at 0600, I was, not good! Dear son greeted me just after 7 and the day was off. Coffee, breakfast, washing, I thought about running and should have taken Luna for a run, but it just didn’t happen. We went and fed and hung out with the cats for a good half hour (we’re pet sitting for the next 10 days, and that was fun. They have a Luna too, but she’s not a big fan of little people unfortunately, unlike our Luna who loves everyone). It was all good though. One of the cats is 20 years old so she needs some special attention and Madison has taken it upon herself to make sure she gets it. She made her walk around, we fed them, the kids tried to get Luna to play a little with them, we made sure the old lady had her medication. It was all good, and the sweet lady we are looking after them for left all sorts of gifts on the counter. Individual gifts for each of my children and a bottle of vino for moi. I didn’t grab any of them though as I don’t think any of us should get anything until we’ve done a good job and until the job is finished. So I didn’t even show the kids anything. 
By the time we returned home, we had to head out. Hubby had to go to the airport at 1300 (also known as 1pm in the civilian world) and he had to pick up a suit he had made in the ville beforehand. Then everyone would need to eat and that would be our time with him today done. We parked and walked to the tailor shop and wow! That suit was perfect. The stitching on it was superb, the cut was identical to what we had picked out and it fit my husband like a glove (no, not a glove, like a Savile Row suit though) very impressive as was the price. If ever you need a suit, the quality here in South Korea is very good. Hubby had a suit made in Bahrain years ago and the quality of it was nothing on this one. I’m even thinking about getting them to make me a dress for the gala. Here’s one I found online: 


What do you think? I’m not sure of the dressmaking skills though, nor about how they would put together such an elaborate outfit so it’s probably not going to happen, but I can always ask and see what fabric/suggestions they’ve got. There’s a couple more that I have found too so it could be really fun. I’ll need to decide in time to buy some shoes though, can’t really get too much variety around here with a foot my size, so I either need to have shoes to match or need to order some online. God I sound like a bit of a diva! I’m not even really into all that stuff, more often then not you’ll find me walking around with ‘active wear’ (anytime I hear that I immediately think of the YouTube hit by the Australian women of the same title, if you haven’t seen it then it’s a must). Anyway, it’s either exercise gear because I’m about to exercise or have already (that’s my go-to outfit for the bus stop because I always work out in the morning) or it’s track suit pants and a shirt, soon it will probably be a pair of 3/4 pants or shorts, nothing remotely lovely. I also rarely wear makeup and like I told you in another blog, my hair is up in a ponytail or hidden under a hat, so that’s as far as my egocentric dress code goes. When I do have the opportunity to dress up, I take it. 

We ate lunch at an American style diner after checking out a South African place we had heard great things about but deciding hubby and I should return sans kids for date night there. It was literally called JJ’s American Diner. Well, I wasn’t too impressed. It was pricey for what you got, there were no drinks with kids meals (a normal thing Stateside) and my wrap did say tenders but I assumed that meant the cut of the chicken meat not actually chicken nugget tenders shoved inside a wrap with lettuce and tomato. And the avocado ranch was a little bit of avocado thrown into ranch dressing. I felt like I could have gone to the store and bought everything and made it for myself in a matter of minutes using all prepackaged store bought ingredients. Hubby had a panini melt and it looked good and he said it tasted great but it was basically a toasted sandwich with prosciutto, ham, and salami on it. Madison’s hot dog was awful! I’m not sure what meat they used on it but I would never again buy a Korean hotdog if that’s the standard to go buy. Yuck. We all broke a little off to taste it after she said it was disgusting and everyone agreed with her afterwards. We left there feeling ok to never return. 
We dropped hubby off, ran some errands then decided to check out the community activity center (CAC). Inside of there, Hunter guided us towards the pool (he had been there before with hubby) and we were all shocked at the size of the indoor pool. The kids begged me to take them swimming so how could I say no? Home we went to grab our gear and swimming it was. What fun, if a tad cold for my liking, but it was good for the kids and I to have some fun together. I’m normally the one who hangs out on the side whilst hubby plays with the kids in the water so it was good today for me to have to stay in there with them the entire time. We had a good time and I got a little bit of natural exercise in on my rest day. 

I made a concoction for dinner that turned out to be amazing! Yes, I shall give you my recipe though it’s definitely not a ‘healthy’ choice! 

Large pasta shells (entire box)

2 bottles of red pasta sauce – your choice

1 large can of white chicken breast meat – low fat

1 small container ricotta 

Other cheese (a couple of handfuls of the grated kind, I used 4 cheese Mexican mix) and about 1 cup mozzarella.

About half cup fresh Parmesan

Chicken salt or other seasoned salt, pepper to taste

Garlic powder

Parsley (fresh is best but jar will suffice)

Onion could be optional (I didn’t use it but had it just been me eating it, I would have)

Cook pasta shells about 9 mins as per directions. 

Get two large dishes and pour half a jar into the bottom of each dish (using and entire jar to do both).

Mix chicken, ricotta, half of 4 cheese blend (or equivalent), half of Parmesan and half mozzarella and parsley

Add salt and pepper to taste (literally taste it cold, you’ll know if you need more seasoning

Stuff shells with your mix filling up both dishes. Cover with remaining sauce (1/2 jar each) and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes in a medium to hot oven (400F/200C)

Yum! Enjoy


I haven’t really touched on the T25 or Rodan + Fields stuff today but I don’t want to bore you by repeating myself daily either. There was nothing new to report today. All went well with my face regime this morning, my skin is feeling really good, no sensitivity at all. And it was rest day prior to stretching tomorrow before beginning T25 Beta Monday! 
So, now I sit here, my eyes are closing, I am tired from my day of doing a lot but not doing too much. Tomorrow we have a birthday party to go to followed by who knows what other adventures! Have a wonderful day or night, wherever you are. 
If you would like to order your own products from Rodan + Fields (the number 2 Premium skincare Company in the USA mind you) then please go to my website:


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Challenge Accepted Day 33

Hello and happy Friday! First things first, today was supposed to be a sleep in day but instead I awoke before hubby’s alarm, needing to go to the toilet but not wanting to get up! Isn’t it crazy how we do that? You lay there thinking it might pass because you don’t want to get out of your warm, cozy bed, never fully comprehending (no matter how many years you’ve been on earth) that the urge isn’t going anywhere and eventually you will have to give in to it. Today I held out for over an hour! Unfortunately meaning I didn’t ever go back to sleep, but somehow won the battle with my bladder because I did stay in bed! So, got up to the pitter patter of little feet at about 7 and got on with our day, me in desperate need of coffee before being the nice Mummy I can be sometimes. Madison unfortunately tested me before coffee intake and lost that battle! I gave her two chocolate doughnuts, she wanted the last three, I told her she could have two, she went on about how unfair it was, I sent her to her room and told her to come back downstairs when she had lost the attitude and to start again, this time without any doughnuts! So she did. Seriously, pick your battles with Mummy! And don’t even begin them when Mummy hasn’t had coffee, on top of holding her bladder for forever! 😜

We breakfasted without further incident and I finally willed myself to go upstairs and work out leaving the children playing on their tablets. Again, I could have used any excuse under the sun not to workout and I was thinking of them all. Even when I pressed play on ‘Cardio’ (no TBC today) I was thinking of excuses as to why I couldn’t do a second workout today, but I ignored them and I did lower focus. I did have a little half-chuckle to myself at my very brief notion last night of doing some extra squats and lunges. Bwahaha! After lower focus, there was no way in hell this body was capable of any extra lunges or squats! But it was good, and I was thankful to have not listened to my inner voice and to have done both workouts today and, given I am now about halfway through the T25 challenge, I wanted to show you my results:

Well, what do you think? I’d love some feedback! Madison told me I look a lot more muscular in the after shots. So I’ll take that as a win. I know the scales are only saying about a one pound difference (that’s about half a kilo) but the body is actually speaking (minor changes, I know) in these pictures. Thank god! As far as my face is concerned, I know you really want to see some photos of me without makeup as a halfway point for the R+F challenge, but I’m just not sure the photos are capturing the differences so I’m going to keep you in suspense until the due date for those results. If you look closely on the body photos, I’m not wearing any makeup and there is definitely a difference, you may just have to trust me on that one for right now. 
I followed my workout with my morning regime with Rodan and Fields and guess what? No irritation after using the AMP MD last night! Please ignore everything I said about using the AMP MD in the morning, the ‘night’ renewing serum is meant for just that and my skin felt amazing again this morning when I awoke and amazing after my morning regime. Back on track, I am. Yes, please call me Yoda. 😆 
I walked out of the bathroom with fresh skin, knowing what I wanted to do today; I wanted to paint and I wanted to be inspired by nature and by beauty. I dragged the kids and the dog down to the rice paddies and snapped some photos and collected some small branches and got a little inspired. I really like the ‘Southwest’ (USA) painting style and I am ok at it, whereas water inspired stuff, doesn’t work for me, as much as I love it. Now, please understand, I am on painting number 5 in my life. I’ve never had any training, not even art in school after grade 8, so this is a reasonably new hobby. I’m practicing my painting of water scenes but I did one painting of a Southwest scene and gave it to a friend and their daughter-in-law wanted to commission me to paint something similar for her family once they bought a new house, unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon how one looks at it) we moved over here and they moved into their house at about the same time. Anyway, back to the painting today, I wanted to try something different. When we were in Australia, I saw a lot of 3D art and thought today I would attempt to make my own. It didn’t quite come out like I had pictured it, well no, let me rephrase, I had no idea what I was planning on so I guess it came out as it was meant to….

(This was my second painting ever (well aside from finger painting I guess).

My abstract 3D painting from today…..

The afternoon was followed with drawing another ‘Southwest’ picture, I may just start painting it shortly. We’ll see. I have to go with the vibe when it hits me and I know I’m accountable to all of you each and every day as far as my blog is concerned, so that takes priority, well, after my family of course. Our dinner was a wonderful roast beef, I’ve finally mastered the 110 voltage converters here we live out in town rather than on the base/post and there are 110v and 220v plugs with a built in converter somewhere), they aren’t very good and for whatever reason, the 110v are very slow, even the toaster spits out bread rather than toast. So the 110V slow cooker has to have a couple of hours added on to the time, today’s meal took 10 hours whereas stateside it would have taken 8 on low cook. At least I know and can be prepared from now on. Anyway, the dinner was wonderful, a very lean, tender roast beef, with a gravy made from tomatoes, onions, celery, carrot, organic chicken and beef stock as well as vegetable stock and a light red wine, actually ‘Le card Bordeaux’, Alessandra couldn’t stop saying how wonderful the gravy was! We had Costco bread rolls, broccoli, mashed potato and homemade oven chips (fries) with chicken salt. Wonderful. All five plates clean. So, it’s Friday night, and I am going to say adieu because I haven’t really seen my hubby for a few days and finally he is here and doesn’t have his nose buried in paperwork, have a great day or night depending upon where you are and I’ll see you on Saturday! I’ll leave you with some more photos from our walk today: