Thursday, October 25, 2012


If you've wondered where I been. I've been instagramming.  It is so easy!  Even I can do it! ha!

After a long fun summer we finally arrived in Italy, and may never leave. (you think I'm kidding? )

We are still not settled in our house completely.  Things take time here in Italy.  Ci vuole pazienza.

My Italian is slowly coming back and I feel more and more comfortable every day.  I absolutely love it

here.  It is surreal being here.  There is so much to see and do it is overwhelming.  Every day I can't

believe it is true that I am here.  The pictures above are from August when we first moved here.  We

took a trip up to Austria.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.  I already have a million pictures as you can

imagine.  Get on instagram.  My user name is hlives.  I will eventually get it together and blog.  My

birthday is tomorrow and my gift to myself is having my sister Gloria come out and help me get

organized, and of course party and sight see. smile.  I don't think I can do this moving thing anymore.

It about does me in.  That and having a kidney stone right after I got here.  fun fun.

Hey!  It's 12:03a.m.  I am officially 42.  My heart is full of such gratitude. Every night I fall asleep

thanking Heavenly Father for everything I have been blessed with.  Just to all be healthy, all home

safe together at the end of the day, in a comfortable home,  with full stomachs, and hearts at peace

knowing of God's love and care for us.  And all those little things every day that add up to treasured

memories of a happy family life.  My goal-to share that love and gratitude with others.  To smile at

everyone.  To have a kind word for everyone.  To share the joy that I have.  Or as jacob says my

mantra should be "Keep calm, and mother on."  Now to bed, so I can be a nice mother tomorrow. smile

Monday, July 2, 2012

We love korea!

Here you go Cheri!  Here are our matchy matchy outfits!
We are going to wear them traveling tomorrow, korean style!
Tonight was our last night out on the main drag right outside the base in Songtan.
Kids choice, Brazilian meat house.  Their favorite!  

Whenever we go, we bring along kids from families where the mom is a vegetarian. ha ha.
I think they are only friends with us because we feed them meat. ha ha.

in a meat coma. Rachel just barely can move her fingers to text. 

I love these ladies so much.  
I am a better person for knowing them.
I will miss you Jane, jackie, and kristi!!!

When you live overseas, your friends become your family.
Jane, you are my sister forever.

Jackie watched ammon when we went to thailand, and she was telling me tonight
that she showed him off to all the african families and they just loved him,
and couldn't get over how well he could talk.
Can't wait to show him off to my family when we get to Utah. smile.
His favorite expressions right now are "jiminy crackett" (not sure why)
and "oh yahhhhhhh, lightening mcqueen"

sad day.

I finally have to face reality.  I am moving tomorrow, and all of these bags need to be packed.  The playing must stop. It's a sad day.  I really would rather blog about all the fun stuff we have been doing.  All the lasts.  All the goodbyes.  Maybe if I am a good girl and get all my work done, I can blog all night. It's not looking good though.  Everyone has been barely eating all day so they can eat a sickening amount at the brazilian restaurant tonight.  All the meat you can eat!  It's the kids favorite and their one last request before we leave our beloved korea.
The kids are out of their mind excited to go to the states and see family.
Tomorrow morning the new adventure begins.  The saddest and happiest day of our lives.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

book club tonight & making sense of despair

I didn't like this book. at all.  
That is until I went to book club tonight.....

and heard jane read her favorite part.  It was enchanting.
I think I would have loved the book if she had read the whole thing to me.

Then to be cozy all together discussing the book, and life, with some
of the most amazing women, and friends.  well, it is just something
i am really going to miss.

a lot.

especially while sipping limeade, and 

eating Jane's homemade peach cobbler.

The book was kind of a tragedy of sorts, and then we started discussing 
the tragedies that we see around us.  Sad things happen in this life.
It seems almost daily that i learn of another heartbreaking situation
in the life of a friend.  
Let alone so many atrocities that happen all over the world every day.
I can understand how one might feel
overwhelmed, fearful, and overcome with it all.

One of the characters in the book felt this way.  But in her moment of
despair she was able to recognize a moment of pure peace and beauty.
Here are her thoughts on the matter.

"Thinking back on it (her moment), this evening, with my heart and my stomach
all like jelly.  I have finally concluded, maybe that's what life is about:
there's a lot of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no
longer the same.  It's as if those strains of music 
created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere 
that had come to us, an always within never.
From now on, I'll be searching for those moments of always within never.
Beauty in this world"

I edited the quote slightly and didn't give all the details to not give away the book's
secrets, in case you want to read it.  Warning, it takes half way through the book to start
to really enjoy it. At least that's what they tell me. ha.

But isn't that the truth? Amid the despair, there are moments of pure peace, understanding,
and beauty.  And we appreciate them all the more knowing that they don't last.
Like youth, like flowers, like sunsets. etc.  They are special moments
in time where the world seems to stand still and our spirit is renewed.
We are strengthened by the good and beautiful.

A couple of days ago I had one of those moments as I enjoyed the 
beauty of these roses.  I actually felt my Heavenly Father's great love for me
as I thought of the enjoyment that looking at beautiful flowers truly brings me.
  A lot of thought was put into creating
such a wide variety of flowers with all their amazing colors and details.  
Really, everything detail of beauty on this earth. 
 I am so grateful.  Grateful for the beauty of this earth, and for that moment 
in time when I really felt that gratitude.

Today's moment came when I was rushing around, moving 
laundry, cleaning up, making dinner, so I could get to book club.
I was also very distracted thinking about some sad news I received today.
And constantly praying for them. 
 I asked ammon to get in his seat to eat his dinner.  
His reply was, 
"Mommy, I just want to cozy you on the couch,"
in his little sweet voice.
He didn't want to eat, he just wanted my undivided attention for a moment.
No distractions, no racing around, just hugging and being together.
It was one of those beautiful moments that you stop and savor.

Like book club tonight.
It was one of those long wonderful moments of warm goodness.
Something I will remember always, and be grateful for
when the moments of despair come.
And they come all right.
But oh those precious moments.  They are there for the taking.
That is the taking notice of.  Look for them.
I would love to hear one of your latest favorites.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Found this thrown out, and was super excited.  It is real wood and in great working condition.  Just needs some love.  Glor and Kelly....ideas for refinishing it?  Anyone?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

last day of school!

whoop whoop!

We're so korean. smile.

When my sister and I lived in Japan she had their family picture taken in japanese traditional clothing.  They were so beautiful, and I wanted to do the same thing but never got around to it.  So I was bound and determined to make it happen when we were here in korea. To have a family picture in hambuk, the traditional korean clothing.  I have talked about it the whole two years we have been here.  Here we are down to the last month and no picture.  So I enlisted my friend Jihyun to help me make it happen.  She has helped me make a lot of things happen in the past two years.  I told her last night that she is going to realize when I leave what a burden my friendship was.  She will be so carefree without my constant pleas for help.  I will really miss her.  But lets not talk about that. It is too sad.

So here is a small sampling.  I bought the disc of all the images from the photographer and edited these myself.  I also took pictures myself while we were there.  We had these taken at the Korean folk village in Suwon.  It was so incredibly beautiful.  I wanted to take both my sister and the Hardings when they came to visit, but there wasn't time.  So here is a little peak.  Yes, Korea is beautiful my friends.  Talk to Nicole and the Hardings, they will tell you how amazing it is and how glad that they came.  I have so many pictures to post from both of their trips here.  I am seriously backlogged.  Time for another blog cleanse! smile.

So grandparents and family, you will finally get a family picture from us!!  It's a miracle.
                                                         I'll bring them this summer!  Can't wait!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

the celestial me?

I think if i could look like anyone, i wouldn't mind looking like this girl.  It would be a problem though because I think I would just look at myself in the mirror all day long. ha ha.  I know the scriptures say that when we are resurrected that not a hair of our head will be missing.  I wonder if I could add that it will be well styled like this as well. I mean do we get an upgrade in this perfect body we will have?  Does my perfect self possibly resemble this girl. ha ha.

I joke. I mean I love beautiful things.  Who doesn't.  But I am not really that concerned if I don't look like this.  I am content to just enjoy her beauty.  Because seriously, the most beautiful thing to me is a woman who is filled with that glow that comes naturally when you are aligning your life with God's will.  When you are developing charity, the pure love of Christ.  You know, the kind of woman that you just love to be in their presence because they make you feel so good about yourself and about life.  One who has the spirit and you feel so at peace and comfortable with and can trust completely.  Now that is priceless, and enduring beauty.  It is the beauty I am striving towards attaining.

I  think sometimes we get distracted by the world's definition of beauty and can get caught up in spending all of our time and money trying to attain it (and get attention that way) that we forget to work on true and lasting beauty.  It takes way more work and has nothing to do with our shape, size, skin etc.  Not that I think we shouldn't try to look our very best.  I am a big believer in that.  It is important to take care of yourself, and be attractive for yourself and your spouse.  It's keeping that balance and perspective that can be tricky.  Like everything in life, right?

So while I'm super content, even ecstatic to be 41 year old me..... is it wrong to hope for a little somethin somethin in the next life?  I mean, dang, look at those lips. smile.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

love is a good thing (and it inspires such fashion)

We love how the Korean couples wear matching outfits for special trips or occasions.
When you go to an amusement park you see all the young couples matching.
Jacob told his girlfriend that he wanted to get matching outfits before he
moved and go to Everland together (think Disney/ magic mountain/zoo).
She died laughing because she is half Korean and has lived here her whole life.
You know how you think it is so normal until you see an outside perspective.

But the end all be all was when Dave and I went to Thailand last May.
We were on a midnight flight on a Sunday night, so you got there in the morning.
So, let's just say that every couple that got married that weekend was there.
I seriously have never seen anything like this.  
We walked on the plane and the entire plane was couples with matching outfits.
A big plane.  The ones with three rows across.
I always wait until last to board so I don't have to stand and wait in line forever,
and then sit on the plane longer (I'm a princess like that. ha).

So when we walked on the plane, it was full.  It was like a "Sadie Hawkins" dance
from my high school days all taking a trip to Thailand together.  
Do you know what that is?  A girl ask guy dance that is western themed.  
 The girl buys matching shirts for both of them to wear.  Is that just a So. Cal. thing?
But this went way beyond Sadie Hawkins. 

Everyone had different themes and styles.  I wish I could have taken pictures of each
couple.  (be the dance photographer. ha).
They were all so fun and clever.  Some were so amazingly elaborate.
Hats, shoes, socks, sweatshirts, whatever....all matching.
With everything from sport team themes to Ralph Lauren linen looks that
weren't perfectly matching, but color coordinated.  You could see
each girls personality in their ensembles.  Because you know it isn't the 
guy who planned this all out. ha.  Although, you never know with Korea.
The men are really into looks and dress here.  A little too feminine for my taste at times.

I wanted so bad to take a picture when we walked on the plane, but it was full like
I said and everyone was staring at us.
I had to content myself with the few I took of some of the last couples boarding.
I just pretended I was playing with the ISO on my camera. ha.
There was one other older Caucasian couple already seated 
on the plane as we got on. 
When we walked by them I said, "Oh, you didn't get the memo either?"
(in reference to the matching outfits).
They laughed and knew exactly what I meant.

so here are just a few.

Dave and I swore that next trip we would get some outlandish matching outfit.
We laughed for a long time thinking of different ideas.
Any ideas?????  We need them quick.  You know why?  Remember how I said that
I was going to work on getting back to Thailand? smile.
Well, I am a good worker. 

My sister flys in tomorrow night and then we all leave Friday night for Thailand.
We are going to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.
We are super excited. We like to give reasons why we need to travel (smile)
  So our excuse for this trip is.......
 Jacob's last hurrah with our family!  His graduation party trip!
Good idea right?  
I would be sad if he were really leaving right away for school. But it
is like I qualified for bonus time on a video game-extended play time!
and I couldn't be happier.
I get my Jakie for one more year.  Both of my boys will be home.
Oh so cozy, and in Italy.  I just don't think it can get any better than that.
I say that a lot don't I?  What can I say? I truly love and value every day of my life.
My sister asked me today if I am excited for the trip.  I replied that I hadn't 
even thought of it yet because I just live for the excitement of the next day.
Every day there is so much to look forward to.
So much enjoyment to be had.
Don't waste a day.

This was especially driven home to me this past month.
Our friend, husband to wonderful woman, and dad to three of the greatest 
kids that are best friends with my kids, went in on a Monday April 2nd to the ER 
with stomach pains.
Dave had to read his CT scan where he found that there were masses
all over his body.  From the time he was in the ER he wasn't coherent.
He was immediately transferred to the hospital where things got worse.
Hemorrhaging in the brain before they even had a firm diagnosis.
We were helping out with the kids while his wife had to be at the 
hospital 24/7 to care for him.  You have to do that in Korean hospitals.
They miraculously were able to get him stable enough to medevac
him to the states to be closer to family.
I just found out that he passed away today, only three weeks later.
Never having even known he had cancer, or being able to say goodbye to his beautiful family.
My heart is aching for them.  He just turned 35 last week.

I didn't mean to write all that. I wasn't planning on it.
It just weighs so heavy on my heart.
So I repeat, enjoy every single day, every moment of this life with the ones you love.
Every day is so very precious.  Such a gift.

I know that this life isn't the end.  I know that. and that gives me great comfort and peace.
But it doesn't stop you from wondering why now, and grieving such a loss.
Only that can you receive from God and the Holy Ghost, and it takes time.
I've prayed a lot this month for just that for them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DMZ- stands for demilitarized zone

Here we are!  On a cold November day.  minus Ammon, who is too young for the tour.
This was pretty amazing to see. A must if you come to Korea.
You see, they have found four tunnels built by the North Koreans all leading to Seoul. Crazy.
Who knows how many more there are.  That's a scary thought.
Isn't it crazy how close Seoul the biggest South Korean city is to the DMZ? 
 It is hard to believe we live, work, play in such comfort while just a few miles away 
these poor people live such a different life of suffering and oppression.

You can walk down the tunnel, but our tour included the tram down.
I am not so sure that was a bonus.
If you are claustrophobic you will definitely want to skip this one.
I am a little, but I fought through it. ha.
These tunnels are so deep down it is amazing and small.
We had to bend over to not hit our heads most of the time.
Only the older ajimas could walk upright. ha.
Do you like the hats we had to wear?  You needed them.

Look at the entrance to the tunnel.  This was the widest opening.  You should have seen all
the big and tall Americans in there.  You are rubbing the side walls and having to duck it is so low in places.  Only in Asia.  I love how things don't have to be to American codes. ha.
(more on that later. smile)
Anyway, it was quite the trip down.  Then you walk down the tunnel to where they barricaded the walk to the North Korean side of the country.

This picture was in the information center.  There was a lot of cool information, history, and relics to see.  For more amazing pictures inside the tunnel and explanations about each one go here

close by is Dorasan station.  There is this brand new huge subway stop, that goes 
quite a few stops into North Korea.  It operated for a very short time. Steps
were made toward reunification, but North Korea is well........crazy.
I bought a train ticket.  You know, for when they are up and running again.

Freedom bridge at sunset.  It was amazing.
and emotional.
These pictures that were hanging on the wall by the bridge were some of the most 
heartbreaking that i have ever seen.
You really have to read those books I suggested.  They are so good!
(Taken from the bus window on our ride home.)  
They still man and patrol the entire boundary and all along the river. Not a fun job. 
 Especially in the cold.  BRRR.  Seoul has that wet go right through you kind of cold.

Seoul looked so melancholy on the way home, just like I was feeling.
While I am sad for North Korea's hunger and oppression.  They still do 
have families.  Which equals love.  They enjoy a much simpler life.  Life is a struggle, 
but it is simple.  Most of the North Koreans who have defected to South Korea say they 
would not leave N. Korea if they could go back in time. They struggle with the guilt of 
leaving family (and what probably happened to their family. death or concentration camps).
They are overwhelmed by the complexity of this modern world that is
so foreign to them.  They have an extremely difficult transition.
They go through a 6 month program provided by the government here to 
be able to function and to undo all the brain washing.
Plus their educations aren't to the modern standards, and they struggle for jobs.
They also are smaller due to malnutrition.
So many things. So hard. But if anyone can make a reunification work, 
it is the Koreans.


this is a satellite picture of Korea at night.  The south is all lit up with a large concentration
in Seoul.  Then look at the North.  Nothing.  It is almost completely dark
except for the capitol city.  No electricity.
I really hope the light of freedom comes to them soon.

 Until then, I think Jacob might just have to take his turn on border control. ha.

Ok, so it is 1:10am, and there have been loud planes, bugle calls, sirens, and artillery fire all night.
Yes, it is an exercise.  I don't think Ammon should ever join the army.  If he were 
ever in a real battle, he might just sleep through it.
It seems like we should feel unsafe here, but I have never felt safer in my life. 

Bedtime.  Tomorrow bright and early we are going to the Italian embassy
to get our visas!  I hope dave is driving. ha.

Buona notte cari amici!

Monday, April 23, 2012

my precious blondies

this picture puts a big smile on my face.
and makes me really happy.
Taken at the portland zoo circa 2002.
look at my babies, and their sweet sweet faces!!!
and all that white hair!
How did i ever get so mad with them? ha ha.
(i start having panic attacks when i read my journal from that time period. seriously. smile)
How did i handle so many littles all at once?
It looks easy when I see this picture, but I know it WAS NOT!
But joyful all the same.  Look at their bright spirits shining!
Makes me want to color coordinate all my girls outfits again.

PS-DMZ tomorrow, i promise (kinda).  It is too heavy to get into at 11:17pm.
until tomorrow.