K-drama is back!

It's been a while so you might be thinking I haven't been watching too many dramas lately. Well, you'd be wrong. I've just been watching several "live" instead of marathoning them one at a time which makes it harder to write about them. But several just finished up so I had to share.

Lie to me - 2 stars

Don't. Just don't. I watched this because I kept hearing about it in certain contexts and wanted to know what the fuss was about. I hesitate to say more because I don't want you to get sucked into this mess but if you are curious it has to do with "cola" and "karaoke" and if you are really curious, just watch those scenes on youtube and skip the rest of this mess. I actually liked the main female lead, partly because Yoon Eun-hye is very talented and partly because she was an interesting character - in the beginning at least. But they never really developed the other characters - or the plot. And I really liked the younger brother but all of a sudden, the basically dropped his character. My guess is that Eun-hye had too much chemistry with him :-) So, as I said, just don't.

Dating Agency Cyrano  - 3.5

Fluffy and Fun. It's not deep, it's not emotionally moving and compared to the other "Oh Boy" series (SUFBB, FBND, etc) it's was a bit of a let down but it's still super cute and fun to watch. Gong Min Young joins a troop of (emotionally stilted?) guys as part of a undercover dating agency that works to set up crushes. The show does a good job balancing the shorter term cases with the long plot arc and ties them in together is not overly obvious and obnoxious manner.  And the story has a number of mystery and question but does a good job of slowly tying everything together instead of trying to keep all their cards hidden then dump all the answers on you in the last episode.

But I watch it mostly for the characters, both the main team and the cameos are pretty great. The boys, the sidekick goons which crack me up, and Master (is he or is he not evil?) I liked the main leads although as a couple they aren't my favorite OTP ever, but I gave in to them by the end.

The show takes a little detour at the second to last episode which leaves you wondering what show the writers thought they were writing for but at least they kept that kidnapping relative to the plot unlike some other show I might mention (MSOAL - I'm looking at you!) and they quickly get back on track for what else but a cute ending. If you're looking for a fun and breezy summer drama to fill your free time, this one's a good bet.

Monstar - 4

I wasn't sure what to expect from this one as it was the first from Mnet and in my experience, music networks are not know for quality original programming. But then again, MTV isn't korean and Mnet is and it's connected to tvN so perhaps I should have expected more.

Monstar is the story of K-pop idol Seol-Chan's (played by Beast idol Jun-hyung) stint in high school. It starts as a PR move to salvage his image but ends up being a chance for him to grow, fall in love and befriend a small gang of "surprisingly" talented musicians. Of course, it's not surprising at all but either way, the music is great. And with a few exceptions, the music is woven into the story surprisingly well. Even if the rest was awful, it might still be worth watching.

Luckily though, that is not the case because beyond the soundtrack, this story has a lot of heart. It's this sort of dreamy land high school in which idols and students can suddenly form a underdog band and battle the snots one sense but on the other hand, the problems are very teen, in a good way - crushes and first loves, parenting issues, bullying, more crushes and first loves. I loved watching the teens figure out their emotions when it is soooo obvious to us. The first 7-8 episodes were awesome. I felt for all the Color Bar Members and really enjoyed watching them grow as people and as a band.

And seeing as how we are dealing with a k-pop idol, his first love and their friends, there was bound to be cutesness but so much cuteness! Almost too much. It's like a kitten ate cotton candy and threw up this show. There is one scene with Seol-Chan and Se-Yi, our main female character, in which they walk up and down stairs over and over again. You wouldn't think that would be especially entertaining but it was probably one of the sweetest and funniest moments of the show. You might be thinking that there must be more to it than that, like I'm leaving so important detail out and I'm really not. It's just that much adorableness that it can't help but explode  So it's cute and funny and full of feels but...

That said, it wasn't perfect. Now this show is more about the heart than the plot, I just wish the writers had figured that out earlier instead of teasing us. They started out with a lot of sub plots and I liked that because it really drew us into the whole story and all the side characters but then it just stopped and became all about the OTP. And I liked the OTP so I liked those parts too but they kept that going until the last episode and then couldn't put it all together in time. The ending was pretty open. I'm okay with a fairly open ending considering that this is highschool. It's not like I was expecting anyone to get married or anything but there were a few storylines that I really wish had at least some semblance of a resolution one in particular Still, that didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the show too much in the end because it was more about the feels than the plot.

Spoiler points
  • Sun-woo? What happened to him? He was the biggest disappointment. I never shipped him with either of our girls but still, he was at least decent in the beginning so I'm sad with how he ended things with well, everyone! I could try and look at his last line as redeeming himself with Nana but I almost want better for her
  • Nana. She probably did get the best ending just because she's awesome and now has two devoted fan boys. Just don't end up with one of them or you'll start another fight 
  • Those boys, probably my favorite side relationship. I really do love a good bromance.
  • Aunt and her teacher friend. Not a big storyline but I would have liked a kiss. Just sayin'
  • What was with that pillow?
  • What was with the snails? I mean, I guess I understand what they were going for, trying to tie some scene together, moving slow, etc but really, snails? That's the best you can come up with? They are all oozy and buggy and snailish.
  • Seol-Chan and his mom. Heartbreak. I still don't really get how Sun-woo was involved, did I misunderstand or did they just not tell the full story. Not sure. Three names, poor guy. That said, I really loved the scene where she keeps interrupting them. So funny. And it's true, she should have been listening. Good mom! (At least right then, still not enough to redeem that other stuff but at least your trying)

I Hear Your Voice - 5 

I didn't start watching it because the premise, two lawyers and a high school mind reader solving crimes, seemed a bit odd. And I, like everyone else I'm sure, was confused as to who was the male lead (the high schooler or the other detective) and how they would handle that if this was a romantic comedy. But I joined mid-way because of all the talk and I'm so glad I did. This show was awesome - and everything! A rom-com, heartbreaking law show and intense revenge thriller rolled into one. Normally when someone says that about a k-drama they mean the writer couldn't decide what type of show they want to do and gives the viewers whiplash but in this case, it is a compliment of the highest order.

The cutesty parts were super adorable but then BAM and you heart would be racing and you'd be yelling at your screen "Don't do it!" or "Ahhh, don't die!" I'll warn you, it gets intense. I was really really glad it showed on Wednesday/Thursdays because those were Craig's days off and I don't think I could have watched in alone in my house at night. He might have wished that at times though, I think there were at least two parts where I actually put the computer down and walked away for a minute.

I loved all 4 main characters and how they all developed over the course of the show.

Hye Sung is an awesome lead. The lawyer that you love in the beginning because you think you know who she is. Of course, just like Park So Ha, you don't know the whole story but you stick with her despite her flaws, root for as she grows, and are so proud of in the end. One of my all time favorite k-drama leads.

Park So Ha is just adorable that you worry about not just because you know his sad story but because while you don't really know how he feels (well, unless you are a mind reading orphan whose one goal is to protect the women who saved your life), you still feel what he feels. And his puppiness kills me whether it is slightly cocky 19 year old with a noona crush puppy face or the completely lost please help me puppy face.

Lawyer Oska Cha could easily lead you into a case of Second Male Lead syndrome but he's also more than just the really good guy. He's got a great heart but that isn't always for the best when you are a defense lawyer so he definitely has some flaws too. You love him and want to hate him and then you love him all over again.

And Seo Do-Yeon seemed like she would be another standard despicable female lead but she completely surprised me. In one episode, I may have actually shed tears for her. Tears for a second lead! And not in a "my goodness, why has someone not run this person over with a bus yet" way. I hope this actress gets a first lead role soon because I would love to see more of her.

So the four main leads are awesome in terms of both writing and acting but it's really the combination that takes this show to a next level. The relationships keep changing which is great. All too often you get stuck with characters rehashing the same stuff just different situations but that is not the case her. The writing is so good. The extension from 16-18 episdodes hurt it slightly in terms of pacing (all of a sudden our super bad guy resorts to sending mail?) but it is a testament to how great the show is because those filler moments were still gold. I loved all these guys so I didn't mind things getting stretched out a bit if it meant I got more cute stuff amidst the heart attack moments.

Final verdict - You must watch this show! Just not alone.

Answer Me, 1997 - 4.5

It's not quite a 5, but it's pretty darn close. High school nostalgia at it's best. I loved it even though I know I couldn't even appreciate it in all it's glory because I didn't grow up in the 90s in Korea. Of course, I did spend my 16th and 17th years in Korea, just 5 years later, but I don't think that has much to do with it.
 In the same way you don't have to have lived in the 60s to appreciate The Wonder Years (or the 80s if you're a fan of Freaks and Geeks), you can still appreciate this show because in so many ways, the teen years are universal. But I did appreciate a few of the meta jokes and quite a bit of the 90s paraphalia (and the one and only boy band concert I ever attended was in Seoul and I think it might have been at the concert venue seen in one of the last episodes. Fun!)

This drama shows the lives of 6 friends starting in 1997 and moving to current times (with a few big jumps). It starts when they are 18, which seemed a bit old for me until I remembered that is korean age so that really means 16/17 for us Americans. And I would say Shi-Won's obsession with k-pop band H.O.T. stuck around a little longer than is plausible, but I also know fully grown women who attended the NKOTB tour so that throws that theory out the window.

And unlike many other teen shows, this one was very relateable.  The family drama, fighting and love. The many relationship, daughter and father, brothers, friends, crushes and first loves. It has so much heart and so few drama tropes (although it did have one big one and while I wasn't a fan, it was done well for being what it was).

One of the drama cliches they managed to avoid was the side characters - no psychotic, clingy second female leads, the parents were decent people who loved their daughter, and the other friends actually had plot points and developed characters as well. I loved them all. (Hmm, does this sound familar. Why is this such an issue. Great dramas have 4+ drama characters. Crappy dramas have 2 good characters and a bunch of stock ones. It's not that hard people!)

Shi-Won is a great female lead. Fun and loveable and spunky but it's Yoon Yoon-Jae, played by Seo In-guk, arg. Your heart breaks for him. He's an great character because he isn't that annoying, haughty know it all guy that so often k-dramas rely on for first lead material - but he isn't perfect either. You want so much for him at different points but he can't help being who he is. And I get to see more of him because he's in Master's Sun, the new Hong Sister's drama starting up soon! Yah!

Other highlights:

The haircuts. The first - classic korean parenting! The second - true best friend love. The third set - that's what high school and "discovering yourself" is all about, right?

The continuity and attention to detail - the broken arm story coming back illustrates this perfectly but the way they tie things in and make a complete story. It's just awesome!

The reunion mystery. I didn't even mind it continuing to the last episode. If they had actually kept us in suspense, it would have gotten old but as I was completely sure who our mystery fellow would be, I didn't mind going along for the ride.

So with all this gushing, why not a 5? The last two episodes mostly. They just didn't fit the pacing of the others. I didn't really mind because by that point, I loved everyone so much I didn't want to see them go, but narratively speaking, they probably should have kept them shorter. I also wish they had kept is in the 90s for another episode or two although maybe if they had I would have felt the ending was cut off. It's not that the 2000s were bad, it just that the 90s were better so they suffered in comparison.

The timing of all the episodes was off, although that might be an issue of episode division online because of the odd 2 episodes a night format. This is more FYI than a score effecting negative but it was disconcerting to watch a 45 minute episode followed by a 20 minute episode and sometimes it seemed like they cut off mid-episode. Not really an issue if you marathon it so just keep going and it will make sense. I had this problem on both dramafever and Viki.

The only other issue I had was the one storyline. I would have liked a second character much better without it. I'm trying to be vague so as not to spoil things but now I'm realizing that could apply to two different guys but I'm mostly talking about Han Chan. If not for "Russian Unnis" I would have loved him. The bus scene(s)- so sweet! On a related note, it's another tvN drama (as all the best usual are) so standard cable caveats apply although they are fairly minor (PG13?)

*Sidenote #1 - Blogger's spellcheck really wants to me change marathoning to marinating but no, that is not the word I want. I wrote marathoning and I meant marathoning, thank you very much

Sidenote #2 - Yes, I did say that I didn't like watching show simulcast as much but their happened to be a cluster of really good dramas on and once you start one, it's easy to just add another and now I really do like watching them that way. Of course, its more risky and there are still lots of older shows I want to go back and watch but I think I've found room for both in my life. Well, maybe not room, but who needs to do laundry anyway - I kid, I kid - dusting is the first chore to get dropped :-)


Deck the Deck

The next step in gussying up the front of our house, after installing a new front door, was to refinish the deck, which was long overdue. Here's how it looked to start with:

The paint - it was paint, not stain - on the vertical surfaces was in pretty good shape, but the paint on the horizontal surfaces was almost gone, and there was a lot of rotten wood. I replaced about 40 feet of the deck with new wood. After doing that, and before I realized the paint was paint, I tried to remove it using the Sherwin-Williams brand Deckscapes Stain and Sealer Remover, to no avail. Upon learning that it was paint, I tried Citristrip, which worked a little bit, but had a nice odor. I think it's an OK product, just not one suited for this job. Then I decided to just pressure wash the deck and stain over the paint that was on there.

I settled upon Sherwin-Williams DeckScapes Exterior solid color stain. I wanted to use a water-based stain for ease of cleanup, and I needed a sold color stain to cover the old red paint. I thought about using Behr Deckover, a new product that has been heavily hyped that covers everything with a thick layer of stuff. I normally go with Consumer Reports reviews, and CR likes Behr, but then I found this site that hates Behr. That site gave mid-range reviews of Sherwin-Williams, but did not rate the particular type I used. My color and water-based requirements limited my access to the best-rated brands on that site.

Sherwin-Williams is one of those places that has a sale half the time, kind of like Kohl's. If you watch their website or the Sunday paper, you can find their next sale period and save 15-30% on their products. If they aren't having a sale, wait a week or two. We choose a gray color to kind of match our roof.

But first I had to replace those boards. Not that the walking surface doesn't have a lot of paint left on it. I replaced more boards than what is shown here. Note that the boards that go across the tops of the railings are mostly removed.

Here's a summary of the staining process: It took a long time, I used a brush in order to work the stain into the wood (and into the cracks), 90+ degree days limited my working hours to before noon and after about 7 pm (you also aren't supposed to apply in direct sunlight), I used about 5 gallons of stain (but I have yet to apply a second coat to the walking surface, so I may have to buy more). Here's the result:

I later built some gates for each end of the deck, because when we put Jonah down out there, he heads straight for the stairs. He used to head straight for the outlet, put I put duct tape over the cover so he couldn't open it. Unfortunately, he seems to have already figured out how to open the gate latch.

I was able to build these gates largely out of lumber I had on hand. It is nice when, on occasion, my big stockpile of leftover lumber that I have saved from projects over the years comes in handy.


Not naked

And now, not naked!
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I think Lucy likes her.
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For the record, the new doll's name is wait for it - Fairy Pussy Willow. Fairy Pussy Willow is the name of a fairy that I tell Lucy stories about. Most of the stories involve her helping a child not to be naughty: reminding a child to be quiet at church, or helping distract a child who is trying not to eat a cookie before dinnertime or calming a child that is upset because her baby brother keeps touching her things.
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Had I know that I would have be telling these stories so much or that a doll would be named after her, I would have picked a better name in the middle of that hike instead of just thinking up the first thing I could. But Fairy Pussy Willow she is - except when Lucy is playing with her in the bed tent (bed with a play silk over it). 
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 In the tent, green baby becomes May and Fairy Pussy Willow becomes Ruby and I become confused. But I had better figure it out because Lucy gets very upset if I call her by the wrong name. But passion is a good sign that Fairy Pussy Willow/Ruby will be a part of our life for at least a little while so I'm happy.
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So far she has been taken to the doctor, to story time (for show and tell!), and on a field trip (the tutu is another frequent traveler with us these days).
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She even has jammies for when its time for snuggles.

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And now Lucy knows the joys and struggles of being a co-sleeping mama.
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But don't worry about green baby, she's getting lots of attention from someone else these days. 

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11 months

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Dear Jonah,

This month you finally hit two milestones: walking and teeth. Both came only 2 days after you turned 10 months old. You've still only got one tooth but I think another one is about to make an appearance any time now.

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And walking, your a pro now. You can walk across a room now and even turn around or switch directions. often walk with one hand in front of you in a sort of "Charge!" posture and if you are not walking anywhere specific, you often go sideways as much as forward. It's so cute.

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Trouble? Who me?
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You've also started to carry things with you. You really like to be strong. You make this weightlifter face when you pick things up or when you are trying to tear things apart. Its often accompanies by an arrgg sound. Such a boy you are!

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You've also started to enjoy books more and more which is so much fun for me. When Lucy is asleep but you aren't, you get annoyed and a little bit whiney but I can usually cheer you up by reading to you. Your favorite part is flipping pages. I'll lift the page up and you smack it over as fast as you can. Lately you will even go over and look at them yourself. A few days ago I was cooking dinner while you were playing and banging and screeching and all of a sudden I realized it was quiet. Too quiet. I ran over to the living room excepting to find you climbing up something dangerous or having snuck into the bathroom to play in the toilet but there you were, sitting all nicely just flipping the pages of one of your books. I had to take a picture to prove it had happened - you can be quiet and still. Of course, 5 minutes later you had dumped every single book off of Lucy's shelf. It was nice while it lasted though.

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You've started to copy and mimic us a lot. You like to help sweep. You've really taken off with babbeling. You don't have any real words yet but your infection is pretty much spot on. You'll tilt your head and say things like its a question and just stare at me. Your probably wondering why I'm not answering them correctly. You've also gotten pretty independent recently. We've always done baby led weaning but on occasion I would give you food from my spoon or fork. But now, you want the spoon or fork. Sometimes you jab at the food but more often you pick up the fork, pick up the food and put it on the fork, then put it in your mouth. Some of your favorite foods are avocado/guacamole, cheese, and curry (or what Lucy calls "Chicken Curry in a Hurry" but your favorite "food" is actually a drink - water. You absolutely LOVE to drink water from your glass.

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You've really become Daddy's little guy this month. Most nights, you want to nurse but then daddy needs to be the one to put you to sleep. I'm not complaining!

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You're also starting actually play with toys instead of just bang things with the. You can push the balls through your hammering toy (we've taken the hammer away since the incident with Lucy's face) and you can put the rings on your ring stacker too. You get so excited when you finally get one of those into place.

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 You also love dolls. Lucy doesn't really like you playing with her dolls so that's another treat you get to experience when she's sleeping. You just hug and kiss them all up while you have the chance. Of course, you like to give kisses to me too. And you love to be kissed and hugged by everyone, but especially Lucy. If she accidentally (or truthfully, not accidentally) hurts you, she knows to say sorry and give you a hug and a kiss and you almost always stop crying as soon as you get your hug. She also gives you "hug and a smooch" whenever you go down for a nap and you always smile when she does. You two are so sweet - most of the time.

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Impromptu Break

I ended up taking last week as a semi-internet fast. I still did stuff online but I tried to stay off the computer during my "work hours" unless both kids were asleep. And since they have decided to stagger their naps, that was almost all day all week long. So I didn't blog and I'm behind in some emails but we did
  • Spend a day at the nearby state park hiking, exploring fungus (we saw three different types that morning!), feeding fish, and playing on the playground. Except when Lucy "plays on the playground" she really plays near the playground. That day she used the wooden edging boards as balance beams and walked around them over and over again while Jonah ate wood chips. Fun was had by all.
  • Enjoy the "fall weather." It's not technically fall yet but nobody told the weather. Poor Lucy kept asking to go to the pool so she could show me her swimming lesson skills but I kept having to distract her. 72 is just not warm enough for me to sit in the baby pool area is normally shady freezing but hikes and parks and Neighbor J's kids did the trick. Charlotte Mason's recommendation of 4-6 hours outside every day normally seems insurmountable but we hit 4+ hrs 3 days in a row this week!
  • Finish sewing doll paraphernalia. More pictures coming soon but she now has a clothes and pajamas so there is no excuse for nakedness. I'm not saying she won't be naked, just that it won't be my fault.
  • Start and finish five books: Kisses for Katie, What to Expect When No One's Expecting, Call the Midwife, How to Live on 24 hrs a day and Thyme of Death. For the record, I enjoyed them all except Thyme of Death which I thought was only so-so despite my love of herbs, small towns in Texas and murder mysteries.
  • Can tomatoes. This is our third year of growing tomatoes but the first I'm really trying to put some away. The first year we didn't get too many more than we wanted to eat. Last year we did but I was hugely pregnant and not about to spend all day canning. This year, I'm ready for whatever then can grow throw at me.
  • Start "reading lessons." Lucy became obsessed with letters a few months ago, learned about 2/3 of her sounds then poof, she was over them. But recently she has renewed her interest. She's been asking me to teach her how to read so I told her we would work on letter sounds and once she learns them all "we'll see." We'll see is mama code for "probably not yet but I don't want to fight so I'll just wait for you to be distracted" but either way, she's excited for her reading lessons every morning when Jonah takes his nap. 
  • Walking. Jonah's been taking steps here and there for a little while not but in the last week, he's gotten a lot more confident. Lucy loves to find him standing somewhere and call him over to her. At which point she tries to hug him and knocks him over to the floor and I hold my breath hoping he'll start laughing instead of crying.
  • Prepped for preschool. I'm really ready for fall and the structure of staring "school" again. With only two little ones at home, you wouldn't think summer would be that different but I can tell the summer boredom, less of a routine thing is getting old for the kids as well as me. Just one more week!


Almost there.

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Overall, I loved making this doll. While researching my green baby purchase I stumbled upon several blogs and forums recommending making over buying but at the time it didn't appeal to me at all, I just couldn't image even trying. But this really wasn't difficult at all and only took me a little over a week of working on it in the evenings while Craig worked and the kids slept. It did mean I had to move to american tv since I couldn't work and read subtitles but that's a smalls sacrifice. And Lucy loved waking up each morning to see the progress. 

I used this weir doll kit and I did go ahead and purchase a pre-made head. I think it was a great choice, it made the whole doll making experience a lot less stressful. And despite the images on the website seeming a little old fashioned,  there is so much flexibility that your doesn't have to look like that. I spent a lot of time browsing waldorf dolls online to find what I wanted, probably more time that I spent making her. But it allowed me to customize what type of smile, eyes, what type of hair yarn, what style of hair. 

I was planning on making her blond but Lucy really wanted her to to have brown hair like "green baby" did so I relented. 

I gave her a slight smile to make green baby. 

I didn't give her a nose even though they are very cute because I've heard they were out very quickly and green baby's face is a totally different color than it was (you can lift up the hat a bit you can see the difference) and I'm hoping this one gets as much use. 

I was very particular about eye size and spacing. I couldn't figure out why I was turned off from several ones I saw by wide big eyes. They looked creepy to me. That's just personal preference but I didn't know until I saw a lot.

I went ahead and did a crocheted wig cap. Reading about the different options it seemed like this would be a pain and right now Lucy isn't into styling hair but I would have been frustrated with myself if I didn't do it so I bit the bullet. BUT this was really quick and easy in the end so don't skip this step to save time, it's not hard and makes a big difference. I wish I had made it a bit bigger so it went farther down on the neck but that's just something to remember for the next doll. And yes, I want to make another one some day!


The making of a doll

If you've been around the blog for a while, you might remember "green baby," Lucy's waldorf baby doll. She was a favorite for a long time but for the last few months, she's been downgraded. She still gets played with occasionally, but she's no longer the little friend that gets dragged to church, the library, storytime, etc. It made me sad for a little while but time moves on.

We tried getting her bigger dolls, the bitty twins, for Christmas, but to be honest, they were a bit of a flop. I adored my american girls growing up but I think she was used to soft doll. She played with them and would try to sleep with one but it kept poking her so she stopped, first snuggling, then even playing with them. I put them up hoping that if I take them back down again in a few months, she might show a renewed interest.

I've been thinking she would like a bigger kid Waldorf doll but those things are expensive and after the above doll disaster (okay, disaster is probably too strong of a word, but I like the alliteration) I didn't want to splurge. But with Craig's latest night shift, I decided I needed a project. I bought a doll making kit and am attempting to make my own waldorf doll. It's a bit nerve wracking but a lot of fun.

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Ignore that spot on the front. I stabbed myself under the nail with a needle and before I even registered the pain, blood had gotten all over the doll. At first, I freaked out thinking I had ruined her but then I remembered my midwife's trick of putting hydrogen peroxide on blood. It works like magic and within a few seconds, all but the biggest spot was completely gone. That last spot looks worse in the picture because it is still wet but its small and really faint now. The wonderful things you learn from midwives!

To be continued...


Random Monday!

And look at that, it's actually still Monday. I numbered these but not really sure why.

1) I really want to learn Hangul because. Well, I don't know why really, I just do. So there. I don't mean I want to learn Korea although I don't not mean that either. I just want to learn the alphabet/sounds. A lot of people did this while living in Korea. I don't know why I didn't. What was wrong with me? Didn't I know that 10 years later I would develop an obsession with the country that at the time I wanted nothing to do with? Anyway, that's a current goal. Who's with me?!

2) We turned Lucy's car seat around last week. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Before she would sit facing the back seat and quietly look at books, only talking when she needed something. She was a horrible car seat passenger as a baby but a great toddler/kid. But now front facing, the talking, and talking and talking! She just doesn't stop. We are working on not talking when I'm in the city and trying to figure out where I'm going because I can't handle that but now she'll tell me "Oh mommy, it's straight now so I can talk!" or "Are we on the highway now? Can I talk now?" I know I should appreciate these moments of conversation but car rides used to be one time I could just think. I miss it. Also, since she can see me, I can no longer give her a healthy snack and secretly eat my chocolate. :-(

On the positive side, she's suddenly noticing a lot of things now and it's pretty hilarious because she thinks everything is bee-u-tee-ful. "Oh momma, look at the beautiful lights on that truck!" and "That sign look like a sea shell, I love it!"

3) Lucy's first swim lesson is tomorrow. I'm a bit nervous about how it will go. She's been loving the pool this summer and is really looking forward to them but this will be the first time she's been in a class where she has to do what she's told. Craig will be in the water with her which may help but we'll see how much her strong willed spirit comes out. Either way, I'm excited for her. My baby, getting big and heading off into the big world of the "tugboats!"


The middlings

Okay guise, I'm gonna be real here. It has been a rough month. I try to focus on the good stuff on my blog, the things I want to remember (because, if they aren't written down here, there is a good chance I'll forget them :-) and the things I want to share with you all - my friends and family.

But I also don't want it to be fake either. Showing nothing but roses and sunshine all the time. And this month has had lots of fun memories and trips and good moments - but it's had a lot of bad ones too. Nothing major. And ironically, that's part of the problem. I've been in those deep places, dealing with the big stuff - the depression, the loss of a child, the loss of a parent. And I know the me that was there, even just a year or two ago, would give anything to be dealing with "the little" issues I'm dealing with now.

But the truth is, they aren't really "little" issues either. I can deal with the stomach bugs (in fact, Lucy threw up tonight so we very may be dealing with just that in the next few days- wish me luck!), the missed-a-nap days when bedtime just doesn't seem to be coming soon enough, the day where you're running late and can't find the car keys - or your wallet and then when you do, you run over that bottle of bubbles you promised you'd let the kids play with that afternoon. I'm pretty good with remembering that "tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it" at least when I know the freezer has ice cream and my k-dramas are waiting for me when bedtime finally does come around.

But these things I'm struggling with aren't just one bad day things. I know I'll wake up tomorrow and they still be here. And a month from now, and probably 3 months from now too. Hoping in 6 months, we'll be moving on - but I'm sure I'll have other issues to deal with. It's just life. And I know that everyone has struggles and things they deal with and that's normal and okay but I haven't been letting myself feel that way.

And I've come to realize that in doing so, I'm actually sinning. Because if I refuse to say, "This is hard. I am struggling" then I can't let myself ask God for help. When faced with a big thing - I knew I couldn't handle it and was more than willing to give, or shove it, onto God. But these things, these "middlings" I'm trying to handle all by myself, to power through. I can handle it. Except I can't. And that's becoming more and more obvious. I'm tired. Not just lacking sleep tired, but worn out, emotionally and physically. So I'm trying to hand over those middlings to God. And that starts by being here and being willing to admit, "The middlings are hard too!"