Saturday, April 30, 2011

Street Food In Seoul

I just love to capture the street food in Seoul. I think it somewhat captures the essence of Seoul.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, anyone?

 You see it on every corner's everywhere.

I wanted to stop at each one and try something...

Especially these....hoduk. They are pancake type treats filled with sweetness on the inside. They are everywhere and are popular. We saw so many people toting these things around.

A friend of mine picked up some mix at our local korean grocery store and I plan on making them in my own kitchen very soon.

In fact, in the wee hours of the morning, laying in bed next to Jihee, I have thought about them many times.

The next time I go back to Korea, I am determined to have learned more of the language so I can read these signs and know exactly what they are selling.

Although I think I might just leave the squid jerkey alone...

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I know...couldn't you just eat her up?

One week ago this lovely little baby was placed in my arms forever.

Soft, squishy, smells good, and the yarn ain't bad either.

Remember this Springtime In Hollis sweater, girls? The one that I was so annoyed with because it was too big and "never gonna fit my 9 mo. old baby"? I'm so glad I made it now.

Ummm...yeah, it fits.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday's Ramblings

Jetlag still has a firm grip on me. I wish I wasn't typing this at 3:30am.

Texas Roadhouse delivered to our door by some very special friends is not only food for the tummy...but food for the soul.

Having rain and gloomy skies during the day while suffering from said jetlag is like having the universe screaming at you to "Go back to bed!"

There's nothing cuter than a face full of choclate crumbs after Lily has enjoyed some chocolate cookies from her Easter bucket.

Ella dove for water toys during swimming lessons yesterday. She's proud of what she accomplished and I'm proud of her too.

Aaaaahhhh, having your newest just smile at you when she sees you at the computer at 3:30am makes this all worth while.

Love watching Ben run into the water at lessons with reckless abandon. Oh to be 4 again.

A clean kitchen makes life feel less chaotic.

Felt really blessed when I looked at all four kids in the tub splashing about tonight.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Only Hours Left....

It's 10:20am in Korea right now...and the countdown has begun.

Only 2 hours and 40 minutes until we go to pick up Cora. I can hardly believe it. We are off the the E-Mart to pick up some food for tonight to eat in our room as well as a few familiar snacks for Jihee. This just might be our last excursion here in Korea other than heading to the airport tomorrow so we better get as much fresh air as we can now.

The nerves are starting...

The excitment is building...

...and yet...there's something...

Cora is going to be seeing her korean family for the last time today. She doesn't even know it's coming or can understand what it's all about. She doesn't know her fostermama is about to say "good-bye". And that, my friends, is one of the down sides of adoption. It's another loss that my baby is going to have to endure. It's another hole that is going to be left in her heart.

As her mother, I am excited to call her my own, to take her home, to watch her grow up, to care for her and love her...but this is when a mother's heart isn't 100% full of excitment. I can't even begin to understand what she is about to go through and what she has already endured in her short little 9 months on this earth. My heart aches for my daughter. I'm on a wicked rollercoaster of emotion. Please say a prayer for Cora as her world is about to be turned upside-down and inside-out.

Lotte World

Yesterday started out sunny although hazy. We were wanting to go to Seoul Tower and Namsan park, but since it was still so hazy, we decided to check out Lotte World while we waited for the weather to get better.

Lotte World sort of reminds me of a smaller Mall of America in some respects. It has 3 floors and an ice skating rink in the center.

The top floor has an amusement-type area with rides. From the sounds of it, there were some kids having lots of fun.

I wish we could have gotten a better look, but there was an entrance fee...and you all know how good I do on anything that moves.

Wouldn't you just love to be a kid in this park?

It was a pretty quiet day there otherwise and only a few people out on the rink. I was so hoping to see a little skater or two...and then this little one appeared on the ice.

I couldn't stop watching. This child was just so incredibly cute. The coach was so patient and you could tell they were both having a lot of fun too.

I got to admit, that Lotte World was pretty impressive, but this little one stole the show for me.

After watching for awhile, we meandered through some stores. It's amazing how hard it can be to communicate without the use of language. We bought a few things, but by the time I was done gesturing and trying to explain what I was looking for, I was sweating.

And we were this close to buying a whole lot of gelato just looked so good.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I know many of you have been waiting for this moment...

I know because I've gotten lot of emails telling me so. :)

Without further ado...

Introducing Miss Cora Jihee...

Jihee is 9 months old now and is definitely all still baby. A gorgeous, chunky baby. With lots of attitude and expression.

Yesterday morning was an odd morning. This trip for that matter has felt somewhat the same. I know it's gonna sound weird, but it's all felt very surreal. It truly wasn't that long ago that I was here on korean soil picking up Lily. And to be here again...well, I haven't been sure what to make of it. It's as if the idea of picking up Cora is still settling into my mind. Sort of like a really great, unbelievable gift that just doesn't seem like reality yet. Oh, I know I've talked plenty about her....but it has felt somewhat like a dream, like a thought that's just too awesome that it might not come true.

So although I got up plenty early in the morning to get ready, it just somehow didn't feel like I was really going to see her. Like it's all just a dream...not reality. Jason and I got in our nice dress clothes, grabbed our presents, and set out for the agency.

We rode the elevator up to floor 7...Intercountry adoptions....walked in the door and were greeted by the social workers. Our social worker, Ms. Lee, had a few things to do quick, so we sat down and snapped a few pictures. Here is what the office looks like:

(And all of our presents waiting to be handed out)

We were told that the van and driver were waiting downstairs to take us to Jihee's home. I know, you would think that that would make things seem real to me...but, sorry, nope it did not. I just went with the motions....all while feeling hardly any emotion. So what was going through my head?

"Go see a baby at someone's home?...Sure, I'll go. Sounds like fun."

"By the way...who's baby are we gonna see? "

Mine? Um...I don't have a baby...that's just a dream I have had...a wonderful, fantastic, amazing dream....but a dream none-the-less...that's not seriously happening..."

We were told the drive would take about an hour, so we hopped in and got settled. Traffic was terrible but the views of the city were amazing. We always take the subway to places within Seoul and you end up missing out on seeing so many things. Getting to ride in the van provided a feast for the eyes. It didn't take long before the big buildings started spreading out and the apartments started being in clusters further and further away from each other. We were leaving Seoul and heading out of the city. It ended up taking about an hour and 15 minutes to get to our destination.

The van dropped us off and we went inside, got in the elevator and rode it to the top floor. 17th floor to be exact.

The doors opened...

and there, riding on her fostermother's back...

was the most beautiful baby in the world.

And then...

well then, my hit me.

And it hit me hard!

Like a ton of a bulldozer moving at warp speed...I was blown away.

And I was in L.O.V.E.

My face crumpled, I felt the rush of air inside my body as I gasped, and the emotions rolled over me like a giant wave tossing me about. I was overcome. Overcome that this moment had indeed arrived, overcome that this wasn't just a dream, but I was living my reality, overcome at the sheer beauty of the child before me. Overcome because when I looked at that face...I could see a face I have looked at many times before. The tears came and they rocked me. I couldn't control it and I stood sobbing.

I was looking at my daughter...looking her in the eyes, and aching to hold her. Aching to tell her how much I love her and how much I want to get to know her. 

Everyone went into the apartment, but I was stuck. Stuck like a statue, the emotions controlling all my movements. My body crippled by the tears falling. The social worker took me by the arm and led me into the entryway. I fumbled with my socks as I tried to stop my body from shaking. As I stood in that entryway... all alone...I willed myself to get even an ounce of control.

I sat on her couch and watched as she took Cora out of her podaegi. She walked right over to me...and handed me my daughter.

Oh the feeling of holding your daughter for the first's one of the greatest gifts God gives to parents and words could never capture or even begin to capture it. But you parents out there know what I am talking about. Suddenly your heart has swelled ten times it's normal size with the most fiercest of loves, you want to do anything and everything for your baby, and you know that you would give your very life for the precious little one who is in yours arms.

Sigh. I was indeed in L.O.V.E.

It was such a wonderful hour. She sat on my lap and played, looked at Jason quite a bit (she was a little curious about that guy) and I asked question after question trying to learn as much as I could about my new daugther. How does she sleep? can you show me how you feed her? how warm does she like her bottles? does she like baths? how do you comfort her? what makes her unhappy? does she eat in her highchair or do you hold her? does she self-feed? what's her favorite food? when does she nap? etc, etc, etc. I wanted to glean every grain of information that I could...knowing that soon I will be bringing her home to be a Hubler.

Oh, I should have forewarned you...that cutie-pie headband on her head is called a "hair band" comes with little tufts of hair on them. So, no, Cora does not have curly little piggies in her hair. But isn't she just one of the sweetest babies ya ever did saw??

The foster mother was so gracious, she brought out a beautiful array of snacks. We all sat on the floor at a small table and enjoyed fresh fruit and korean rice cakes. And she served coffee, with cream and lots of sugar, which was the first one I've had in Korea and it was delicious.

By the way...check out these cheeks!!

Once the meeting was over, she walked us down and outside to the waiting van. We were told that we will be able to receive Jihee on Thursday morning at 1pm. Close to 48 hours later, I will be holding my child!! The thought is so grand I can hardle wrap my head around it. I cried as I had to say good-bye, but smiled with joy just knowing that soon she will be in my arms again.

And now onto a mini pic parade....

She smelled so good, I couldn't help but just breathe her in.

 Just took her hat off...had to see that hair.

Getting ready to have a snack...

Me asking 1,000,000 questions

And I don't think I'm the only smitten-kitten around here...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Meeting Cora...

Our first meeting is scheduled for tomorrow morning, Tuesday, April 19 at 9am. That's 7pm on Monday night for all you back home.

It can't come soon enough, I want to see my baby! We haven't gotten any update pics of her so I'm sure she has changed.

And I can't. wait. to. meet. her.

It's gonna be a long day to get through today...just waiting for the hours to tick by. I have been waiting for this moment and it's so close now, I can taste it!

The Longest Nightmare...

Oh where to start? How 'bout the beginning?

Friday, April 15...

I spent the day packing and spending time with the kids. I dind't have a lot left to do, so I would work on a few things, then stop, grab a child, and sit in the rocking chair snuggling with said child. It was a nice way to spend my last hours before boarding a plane for South Korea.

Funny how sometimes you just want a quiet moment, well that day, I just wanted to hold and play with my kids as much as I could. I hadn't even left yet and I was already missing them desperately.

After some teary goodbyes from my kiddos, we loaded up all 4 giant suitecases and two carry-on's and left for the airport. I could't believe the good fortune we were having with rush hour traffic. We never really slowed down much and made it there in record time. Un-benownst to me...the good fortune was about to run out.

And run out it did!

Our American Airlines flight to Chicago had been cancelled. Cancelled! We have a 1 hour flight to O'Hare and a 14 hour flight to Seoul...and the first leg got cancelled! The weather was bad in Chicago and flights were being delayed on every airline...except American who just up and cancelled all of theirs instead. The lady at the ticket counter begged and pleaded, but every other airline was already overbooked and we just weren't going to get out on any major airline n St. Paul. We found a flight on Southwest Airlines that was still flying (although delayed) to Midway Airport in Chicago. The only problem....we still have to buy two tickets for the flight, they wouldn't let us do it over the phone, and it's at the other terminal in St. Paul. The ticket agent gives me a hug and says "Get might just make it afterall!"

So I grab two suitecases, Kris (Jason's mother who had been our ride to the airport) grabs one, and Jason grabs one...and we all start running. With tears welling up in my eyes and my body shaking from all the stress and adreneline, we booked it out of that terminal.

We ran out into the parking ramp all the way to the truck! Where's the truck?!? Where's? The? TRUCK?!? Kris realized that it was on the 2nd level...not the 3rd where we stood. I was pretty sure that I was going to throw-up on my shoes at that very moment.

Instead of going all the way back to the terminal, Jason decides that he is just gonna take his chances and run down the sprial ramp (yes, where cars go UP to enter into the next level for parking...and yes, where there is only room enough for a car to get by and not a human body running frantically by). Kris and I waited...and waited...and waited. By now I was barely holding it together. I wanted to scream. I was living a nightmare...wanting and needing so badly to get to Korea and nothing was working. After what seemed like an eternity, we saw the truck come up the spiral...only to see it not get off on the 3rd level! What was going on?!? It was like a cruel joke...watching the close and yet so far away. Then we saw Jason drive down the other spiral...this one didn't have any access to the 3rd level either! The truck came, the truck left, and we still were stranded on the 3rd level.

15 min. had just ticked by. We were losing time. The flight was departing in less than 1 hour and we still had to get to the airport, still purchase tickets, and still get on that blasted plane! If we even could get to the airport, get last minute tickets, and get on that blasted lovely plane.

30 minutes later, we heard Jason yelling from below. I looked over the concrete barrier of the sprial to see him waving me down. Yes, down. The same UP spiral that he had run down. Seriously. I'm not a risk taker...and those of you that know me well know this about me. I had just seen a police car zoom up that spiral moments ago. Drivers coming up are NOT expecting a person coming the opposite was a recipe for a disaster of epic proportions! Not to mention I still had 2 carry on's, 4 big rolling suitecases, and a mother-in-law in tow.

But my husband...he wasn't messin' around. "GET DOWN HERE!" And when Jason puts his foot down, you don't question the usually easy-going, calm, and controlled man. You do what he says and you do it at lightening speed.

The ticket agent at Southwest was very helpful and due to our plight, didn't even charge us for the extra two suitcases that are usually not free on any domestic flight. We got through security, got to the gate, then were told we didn't have boarding passes yet and needed to stant in that line. You know the line...the one that doesn't seem to move and has a ridiculous amount of people in it. Yeah. that one.

We had moved to the front at what seemed like a turtle's pace. The lady said "next!" and I moved. Except that an older lady budged in front of me, gave me a look of death, and said "I have been waiting a very long time!" And knowing that I was ready to karate chop her if she said another word, I moved back so I wouldn't be in striking distance. I'm guessing they wouldn't have let a woman on the plane who had just attacked another passanger. So...even though I wanted to let her know just exactly what I had been through, I let her go ahead of me.

We got our boarding passes about a minute (seriously) before we had to board the plane. Yes, it was that close. And they weren't waiting for nobody. That plane was already late, and once it arrived in Minneapolis, they turned it around so fast to board it and get it in the air, that they hadn't even cleaned the plane (at all) from it's previous flight that had literally just landed minutes before.

Miraciously, the flight took off and we were in the air. One hurdle down. But would we make it in time to make our connecting flight? The one that would ultimately bring us to our sweet Cora?

Second hurdle: We were landing at Midway Airport and our connectcion was at O'Hare...40 minutes away.

The flight landed and we booked it to baggage claim...knowing every minute was precious. Current plan: Grab bags, jump in cab, rush to O'Hare and try to make our flight. We stood right where the bags would come out, making sure we were the first to pick them off as they came out. 5 minutes, 10 minutes...the carousel wasn't even moving! 15 minutes, 20 minutes....still no bags. What was going on?!? Not a single suitecase had come out of the shoot! Honestly, I was on the verge of a breakdown. I was stressed, tired, and feeling not very hopeful at this point. To top it off, it was now well after 10pm and I hadn't had anything to eat since before we left for the airport many hours ago. And again, those of you that know me, know that I need my food!

After 30 minutes of waiting for our luggage, the carousel started turning. Get this: our four bags were in the first 8 bags that appeared. Thank God for that miracle! We grabbed them and ran outside, threw them in the trunk of a cab, and raced off. Our cab driver...well, I'm just glad that we got in his cab. He drove 80mph in a 55 mph zone...and at times maxing out at 85mph. He got us to O'Hare in record time. We were able to get our luggage checked, clear security, and get to our gate in time. Second hurdle down.

Third hurdle: So many flights had been delayed getting into Chicago...was our flight even going to make it out of O'Hare? Or were we going to be delayed or maybe even grounded? We waited and then the voice came over the loudspeaker: "Ladies and Gentlemen...we would like to begin boarding for Flight 235 with service to Seoul, South Korea." Oh sweet words to my ears!! We got on the flight, got settled in our seats, and I was asleep before the plane even left the tarmac.

I am now typing from my hotel room in Seoul. Enjoying the beautiful view out my window. It's only 6am here, but Jason and I slept a giant portion of the night. Which is amazing considering the jetlag and fact that our bodies really aren't adjusted to this time zone yet. We took a nap yesterday afternoon, went to bed at 7pm, and woke up this morning at 5am.

Oh..and that police officer I saw fly up that spiral ramp back at the airport? Well...come to hear Jason's side of the story...and I have a sneaking suspicion that the Officer was looking for my husband. Apparently, while I was waiting on the 3rd level, Jason had run up and down the spirals 4 times trying to figure out a way to get to the 2nd level where the infamous truck sat parked. Let me remind you again, they spirals are not made for people to be on them. At. all. And I won't mention any names, but there apparently was a crazy guy in a truck who, when dumped out into the parking ramp exit area (where you pay and leave the terminal) was honking at people, waving them to get out of his way, backing up into oncoming traffic, jumping the curbs and driving on the sidewalks, and trying to driving UP the DOWN spirals.

It truely is a miracle that we are in Seoul right now...and I give God all the glory for He is Good!

"I sought the Lord and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Travel Call!!!!!

It's here! The day has arrived!!

I got the call at 8:09 this morning telling me my daughter is ready to come home!!!

Cora...Mommy and Daddy are coming!!

To our Friends in Korea...

Please check your email! I have details on our trip for you!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Wait... getting harder and harder.

Being this close to the end is in some ways agonizing. It's kind of a two-edged sword. Knowing that there is only one more step standing between me and my little girl is awesome, don't get me wrong. But knowing that there is only one last thing to get taken care of makes me want to hold her all the more! I just so badly want my phone to ring to tell me that she is ready for her Mama to pick her up.

It's like it's so close to happening that I can just barely stand it.

The wait is getting increasingly hard.

My friend and fellow adoptive mama is waiting for her little love to come home. She just got updated pictures...I have to admit, I'm trying not to be jealous, but it's hard. I love my pics of Cora...but they are from Jan. 11. I'm sure she has changed so much over the past three months and I wish I knew what she looked like right now. It's hard to have a certain picture of your daughter in your head, then get to Korea, meet her, and try to adjust because she doesn't look like what you had pictured.

Ok, time to go cast all my cares on the One who matters.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Getting Closer...

It was a hard week last week...trying to get information on where our paperwork was at. After many tears and many calls, our paperwork was forwarded to the Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. This is the last step needed for Cora to come home. The Embassy is in charge of issuing her visa and once that is done we will get the call that she is ready to come home.

Hoping to travel before the end of the month...

"B" Week

We are working our way through the alphabet for school. We just started so last week was "B" week.

The kids and I read "Babe, The Gallant Pig" and also rented the movie to watch. We learned how to draw pigs and made a picture of Babe.

We had a Beach day...we read the book "The Fish Who Cried Wolf." It's about Tiddler, a fish who makes up tall stories. We made our very own Tiddlers and hung them from the ceiling. All 3 kids were fingerpainting, including Lily. It was a wild time.

To go along with the Beach theme, we also made starfish.

Did you know that there are starfish who have up to 40 arms? And to think they only came in the 5-arm versions?!? We learned that they are bumpy, not we glued oatmeal onto our starfish...Lily ate hers. Glue and all. Oops.

For a special treat, I made them bunny pancakes with bacon. It's amazing how many "b" words there are.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

House of Cards

Jason has taught the kids how to build card houses.

And it has proven to keep Ben busy for a very long time.

...Well, and Lily...because she's so busy trying to blow down all of Ben's hard work.

...And when you are told "no" just makes it that much more intriguing.

I tell no lies...see for yourself...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lily's "New Bed"

Since we got word of Cora, we decided that Lily and Ella would share a room. We started the transition in February and I am so glad that we did. It has taken quite a while for the two of them to get used to each other. Lily gets so excited that she gets to sleep in the same room as Ella that often times she has a hard time settling down to go to bed. She would much rather play with Ella or tell her stories all night long.

The first week that we moved Lily into her new room, she routinely insisted on going upstairs so she could show every one her "new bed".

"New bed, Mama"

"New bed, Daddy...come"

"New bed"

Most of my conversations with Lily that first week revolved around her new bed...and to be honest, it hasn't worn off that much in over two months time. She still adores her new surroundings and feels like she is such a big girl.

Hard to disagree, isn't it?!?

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Gonna have to make more room...

Gonna need to fit another baby body on this loveseat...

My life is so blessed.

By the way, this is a regular sight at my house...

*disclaimer*'ll have to excuse my photographer husband...must have forgot where the focus button on the camera was. hehe. But you get the point.

Soft, Squishy...

I'm a self-professed knitting nerd. Keep that in mind.

The newest creation for Little Miss Jihee...

Adding that to her pile of soft, homemade, squishy items...

Can't wait to get this baby home!

Friday, April 1, 2011

I600 Approval!

Holla' Woot! Woot!

Whew...I'm guessing you heard the h.u.g.e. *sigh* of relief! We have been approved and I am on cloud 9. I called the NBC on Tuesday, since the officer had told me we would be approved in the next couple of days when I had called the previous Thursday. (Get all of that?) Well, when I called Tues, she said we weren't approved yet, but would be by day's end.

So, I did what any other mother waiting to get her baby home would do, I called the very next morning to follow up on her pledge that she had indeed appoved us. And much to my amazement...we were!

Our I600 was then  "2 day express" mailed to the NVC (National Visa Center) where they upload all of the information so that the Embassy in Seoul can pull off the info that they need to process Cora's visa.

So if you are following what I am saying, you would know that it has now been 2 days since it was sent so that means all of our info is currently at the NVC! This is getting exciting peeps!

I sent Ella out to the mailbox today, not expecting anything, because as many of you know the USPS is called snail-mail for a reason. Well, low and behold, God sent me a surprise. What was waiting for us...our hard copy of the approval! Getting it in my hands doesn't speed anything up at this point...but it sure does make everything feel R.E.A.L. In fact, it really doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I came running from the mailbox, waiving a letter in the air, and shouting across the cul-de-sac to Ella "It's's here!!" (That was Lily's I600 appoval) It kind of feels surreal to be holding one of these again.

We are getting close...very close. Everything is done state-side now and the only step left it for Cora's visa to be issued. That means the next thing I hear is my phone ringing telling me it's time to come pick up my daughter.