Monday, October 21, 2013

Do people even blog anymore??

Almost another year since I blogged and WOW!, what a year!
The Kimchi Kids now number at 3! Yes, that's right - 3!! Our beautiful baby girl was born September 2nd, 2013. So I can be forgiven for not blogging now, right?
Our beautiful little girl!!

The older Kimchi kids love and adore their baby sister. It's incredibly sweet to hear and see them oohing and aahing over her.

Both boys have been doing new and exciting things of their own. They're in a new, better kindergarten and thriving in all areas! Kimchi Kid #1 is now studying Taekwondo and loving every moment. Kimchi Kid #2 is starting to speak more and trying on exciting phrases like "That's so cool!" or "Mine!!".
Kimchi Kid #1 holding a parrot in the park.
Kimchi Kid #2 helping me cook and eating RAW onions!!

Kimchi Kid #3, my living doll! Hahaha...

Showing off my Reddit Cooking Exchange present!

Stopping to smell the flowers!

My little "angels"! ;)

Kimchi Kid #1 meets Kimchi Kid #3!

Well that's all I have time to share now. I'll see if this blogging thing is still a thing. If it is, I may update more often! Hahaha...xoxo.. Mommy Cha and The Kimchi Kids!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

1.5 YEARS!? Well, Merry Christmas then!'s been 1.5 years since I last blogged. That's unbelievable! Time flies when you have 2 kids, that's for sure!!

So here's a bit of a recap, just the past 6 months or so:

Graham turned 1(2)! Thomas turned 4(5)!

Happy 4(5) birthday Thomas!
Happy 1(2) birthday Graham!

We bought our first home, a 2 floor Villa in a lovely area, 6km from our old area.

Twinkle, twinkle little Christmas tree! Can you see the tree in the top left windows plus the terrace and windows! That's our home!

We had a wonderful summer full of fun.
Corn dogs, cotton candy and a day at the park!

The boys became best playmates and worst playmates at the same time.

Brotherly Love!
These boys crack me up!

We adopted a cat, who we named Lego Ninja Hero Princess Kitty, and we call her Ninja Kitty or Ninja for short. She's a Saint, eternally patient with the boys!
Ninja Kitty looks grumpy but is always loving!

We had a super exciting Halloween! REAL trick or treating, 3 different Halloween parties!
So much Halloween fun!!

Our school was featured in a Korean magazine and I got a new haircut for the occasion including BANGS! I haven't had bangs since high school and I've grown to love it!

Can you see me?? Hint...I'm NOT Korean!

We had our first snowfall in the new neighbourhood and it was so exciting for us to walk around and pull the boys in a sled. Graham wasn't impressed with walking in the snow though.

Thomas injured his thumb in ballet class and will have surgery in January to correct it. He's a trooper though, you'd never know it was injured!
Poor Thomas!! Doctor says it is Trigger Thumb.

Graham started Orff Play Music class with Daddy. He loves it! He's so interested in music, unlike his older brother.
Orff time with Daddy!

Thomas has shown a real improvement in his artistic ability much to my relief!
He's working on it...

I'm heading to Texas with the boys for Christmas in 10 days. Hope to have some more fun stuff to post, especially after being absent so long!
Cheers from the Cha Family!!
Advent Calendar excitment!!
  Bonus Graham cuteness!! He's such a little goofball!
Pretending he has snotty nose to play with toilet paper...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Kimchi Kid Says The Cutest Things!

Showing off the dragonfly he caught.

After his bath today Thomas came into my room to say good night. He showed me his wrinkled fingers and said "Oh no! Look Mommy! My fingers are Grandmaed!"

Watching TV with his baby brother.

After he pooped I went in the bathroom to wipe his bum. He shouted at me "No Mommy! Don't look a my poop! Don' t look at my poop! It's a big dirty one!"

Super Thomas to the rescue!

Thomas wanted desperately to watch "Super Zero" on Youtube.
He said to his daddy " I want to watch 'Super Zero'! The flying one with the clouds! Like the new spiderman! And the many flying and airplane! 'Super Zero'! I want 'Super Zero'!"

After a few frustrating minutes of trying to find out what video he was talking about we realized he meant "SUPER HERO" and it was an X-men cartoon he'd watched.

When we explained his mistake to him he said "Oh, sowwie Daddy. Sowwie."

If you want the puppy to come to you, this is how you have to hold your hand! Words of Wisdom from the Kimchi Kid!

Thomas knows that his Daddy sometimes goes out at night. Usually they shower and get ready for bed together. If Daddy doesn't do it with him it means he's going out. Thomas doesn't like that so he tries to come up with a way to prevent Daddy from leaving.

"Daddy! You have to take a shower! Daddy you're dirty! Daddy you have to take a shower, take off your shirt and panties and 바지(pants)!"

After the shower when Daddy still isn't undressed and ready for bed.
"Daddy you have to take off your shirt! Daddy you have to take it off or you will be 아픈(painful)!"

He talks a mile a minute these days so I've decided to make a concerted effort to share some of his hilarious logic and quirky comments. Watch this space!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kid's Cafes!

A kid's cafe is like a cleaner, nicer, alcohol-free version of Chuck E. Cheese. You always hear stories of parents getting drunk and in trouble with police at Chuck E. Cheese's in the USA but trust me, kid's cafes here are totally different!

We love kid's cafes and there are several in our area. We've been taking Thomas to them since he was 9 months old. The concept is generally a large play area with toys and blocks, a jungle gym/hamster cage/ball pit to climb and slid in, a cafe section for parents to relax and drink coffee at and several staff members to play with and moderately supervise the children. They tend to have a breastfeeding room and some infant bouncy chairs and exersaucers as well. It is a great place to go and relax with fellow parents, usually us mommies go but sometimes you see daddies there too. You can have some light snacks or order a meal and have a cup of coffee while your child runs around for 2 hours. It's a great way to turn your child into an exhausted, sweaty mess ready to fall asleep and give you a break! Hahaha...

My top tip for visiting cafes is to go early or go late!! You get 2 hours of play time in a cafe but most become crazy busy from around 1pm-5pm. Generally they open around 10am so an 11am start time is great. If you can't make it in the morning, after 6pm is usually slow. I'd also recommend NOT going on weekends unless you are going early or late for sure! It is so hectic then at every cafe and since fathers are usually off work the seating is even more limited as every child has both parents with them. Generally the cafes close at 9pm and offer food options so you can have dinner and relax while your child runs around like a maniac!

There are a few franchise cafes, Dalki Land, Little Bear and Little Prince, Chiro Chiro, etc. Little Bear, Chiro Chiro and Little Prince, are in our area, Bucheon/부천. Dalki Land has several locations, we've visited the Times Square Yeungdeungpo/영드포 and the Jamsil Olympic Park/잠실 올림픽공원.

Name: Little Bear Bucheon/부천점 (Charges for children over 12mths and for adults with a free drink.)
Best for: Young children under the age of 2.
Sorry, only have old pictures from Little Bear!

The cost for a child is 6,000won($6) and 4,000won($4) for an adult. But the adult gets a free drink-coffee, tea, fruit juice, etc.
Little Bear also offers arts and crafts activities once an hour for free which is nice. They have several ride on toys, a block area, a zip-line, a large climbing area, a ball room, a trampoline and a cool room with fans and balloons that small babies love. They also have a book nook and a Wii room.

The downside is they often cram as many families in as possible and they have no tables for you to sit at. This is common on weekends around 12-6pm so we avoid it then. Since it is across the street from us we've gone there the most over the past 2 years. They all know Thomas well and love to play with him, so we can easily spend 2 hours just relaxing while he runs around with the staff.

Name: Little Prince Bucheon/부천점 (A different style, charges for children over 12 months with a free drink, adults are free but you MUST buy a drink or food!)
Best for: Moms with babies and toddlers.
More old pictures, this time Little Prince! Sorry!

Adults are free and children cost 6,000won($6) but get a free organic juice. The catch is that they are a restaurant cafe, meaning that you MUST order from the menu! They do pride themselves on an MSG free and totally organic menu, but drinks start at 4,500won($4.50) and meals start at 12,000won($12). Each adult must order one item so it can add up fast if you are meeting friends.

They have a block area, floor piano, carousel swing and carousel, climbing area, mini train that goes in a circle under the climbing area and a small ball pit. They also have a system where they draw blinds down over the play area once every 3 hours and turn on UV lights to sanitize the whole place!
An interesting feature they offer is private rooms with large screen TVs to watch the CCTV on. This is great to sit and chat with friends and care for a young baby in. You can watch the older children play on the CCTV and the staff are good at watching them as well. They have exersaucers and bouncers for the babies too so it is easier to take the whole family here.
The other nice thing is that because it is a restaurant and you must order food, once the tables are full no more people can come in. It is often less busy inside as a result but if you arrive between 12-6pm you can often spend 1 hour waiting outside for a seat.
We've gone here a few times but we don't go as often because of the wait and the cost.

Name: I Like Dalki in Times Square Yeungdeungpo/영드포점 (Charges for children over 12mths and adults with a free drink.)
Best for: Older children, 5 and up.
The last of the old pictures, these are in I love Dalki!

Children are 10,000won($10) and they get 2 free train tickets. Adults are 5,000won ($5) and they get a free drink. The train is rather disappointing. It goes forward and then reverses back. Exciting at first but it lasts maybe 1 minute in total.
The actual play area here is small and cramped, not good for young children at all. It also gets very hot and overcrowded quickly. They have a ball pit with swings inside, a big bouncy area, two tube slides and a zip line.
Other than that there is a room with a giant teddy bear to bounce and climb on, but generally the older kids monopolize it and make it dangerous for toddlers. There is next to no staff to watch the kids and control the chaos here as well. There is a small reading and computer area, but nothing special. They have an art school you can pay extra to do activities in, but again, this is only really good for older kids.
Since Dalki is a big brand, they have many products available in a gift shop at the entrance which you must go past to get into the play center. Not too great for grabby toddlers! One cute thing they do offer is character cookies, in the shapes of Dalki and her friends' face. Overall the only good thing is the central location. We visited twice but have never wanted to go back.

Name: I Like Dalki Jamsil Olympic Park/잠실 올림픽공원점 (Charges for children over 12mths and adults with a free drink).
Best for: Day trips for the whole family with great food!
Nice newer pictures with the DSLR! I'll take more of the other cafes next time!

It is the same price as Times Square Yeungdeungpo/영드포 but there is no train!! It is the most expensive we've visited.

Children are 10,000won($10). Adults are 5,000won ($5) and they get a free drink.

This location is nice because it is in Olympic Park and so you can play outside and visit the park as well. Make a full day of it! They have a large restaurant area and offer a specialty menu of all natural and organic foods. The quality is very good, the food is delicious and healthy. They have the option to make tofu if you'd like as well.

The whole cafe is full of natural wood and they have some cute touches like airplanes and cars flying and driving around on the ceiling. The ballroom is suspended in the air. They also have a jumping area, zip line and tube slides just like in Times Square. Their reading area is larger and includes some games. Their art center is more integrated, it is an open concept and looked more interesting and suitable for younger ages. It was still very busy with minimal staff but it was more open, with lots of natural light. They had a small area with blocks and exersaucers for babies as well which Times Square was lacking.
If we want to have a nice day out, we may go back but it was quite a trip from our home in Bucheon.

Name: Chiro and Friends/부천 뉴코아점(Charges for children over 12mths with free tokens for coin-op rides and the train, charges for adults).
Best for: Zoning out on video games or TV.
Sorry no pictures of Bucheon of my own!Ilsan location.

This is probably the most disappointing Kid's Cafe in Bucheon. Children are 7,000won($7) and adults are 3000won($3). They do give you 4 tokens for the coin operated rides and train which is nice.

This kid's cafe has several locations, we've also visited one in Ilsan/일산. It is very basic, with a small climbing area and ball pit, a few ride on toys, a small playhouse with books inside, a few coin-op rides and a Wii/ TV theatre area which I HATE! I do NOT want to take my child to a kid's cafe only to have him sit and zone out with a TV show or Wii game!! It has a small train which you get to ride once or twice and it basically goes around in a circle 3-4 times.
There is so much wasted space, it feels half empty and the Bucheon location has the cafe with seats for parents tucked in the corner so if you sit down you can't see your kids! Ilsan at least was more open but they had a hallway and bathrooms behind a jumping area that kids could easily wander out of sight in. Both location have limited staff and the Ilsan location actually had a dangerous setup of a carousel and jumping area too close together. Our little friend almost got squished between them!

Name: Party Play Time in Home Plus/부천상동점. (Charges for children over 12mths, adults are free.)
Best for: EVERYTHING!! We love it!!

Only pictures of the party room at Party Play Time, sorry!
Last but not least is Party Play Time in our local Home Plus!! It is by far our favorite cafe to visit!

Children are 8,000won($8) and adults are free. There is no requirement to order food or drink here! So this makes it the most cost effective for both parents to go and have fun with the kids. They also restrict the number of children at any time, so while it can get busy it isn't too crazy.

This kid's cafe is probably twice the size of every other cafe. They have a train that kids and adults can ride on that actually goes in a large loop around half the cafe. They have a free art area with a real car-a MATIZ- that you can paint! There are paid art crafts as well. There is a large area full of blocks, puzzles, connector kits and a small house with kitchen goods and dinosaurs to play with. The ball pit here is inside the train loop and so the kids have to climb through a hamster tunnel setup to get inside. They also have a large bouncing area and a race track with cool little go-kart things to ride. They've got several electronic games such as a giant floor piano, dance grid, air hockey, video games, stationary bicycle video games, whack-a-mole and basketball shooting. In addition, they have some interesting electronic science activities like a magnifying glass TV, animal sounds, shapes making and some other things that I don't fully understand due to my lack of Korean. Best of all is a separate area with a mini ball pit, exersaucers and ride on toys for kids under 2! They have a lot of staff who are friendly and helpful.

Given the choice, Thomas will ask for this cafe anytime! They really do a great job watching over the kids and there is a small cafe inside where parents can have coffee and chat. They also offer some cooking activities like cookie art for a small extra fee.

Unfortunately we always have so much fun I have no pictures to share other than the party room, but I will next time!

I'll try and update this blog post later with nicer pictures and websites if I can.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy 3rd(4th) Birthday Thomas!

The happy 3/4 year old opening a gift!

In South Korea when you are born you are generally considered to be 1 year old. So when we went to a local kid's cafe to celebrate Thomas' 3rd birthday, they put a "4" on the cake to reflect his age in Korea. Luckily he knows to answer that he is 3 in English, 4 in Korean but it was confusing for a lot of people! Hahaha..
East Asian Age Reckoning - Korea

Koreans generally refer to their age in units called sal (살), using Korean numerals in ordinal form. Thus, a person is one sal during the first calendar year of life, and ten sal during the tenth calendar year.

The 100th-day anniversary of a baby is called baegil (백일), which literally means "a hundred days" in Korean, and is given a special celebration, marking the survival of what was once a period of high infant mortality. The first anniversary of birth named dol (돌) is likewise celebrated, and given even greater significance. Koreans celebrate their birthdays,[10] even though every Korean gains one 'sal' on New Year's Day.[11] Because the first year comes at birth and the second on the first day of the lunar New Year, a child born, for example, on December 29 (of the lunar calendar) will reach two years of age on Seolnal (Korean New Year) , when they are only days old in western reckoning.[12]

In modern Korea the traditional system is most often used, mistakenly even when talking to non-Koreans. The international age system is referred to as "man-nai" (만나이) in which "man" (만) means "full"[13] or "actual", and "nai" meaning "age".[11][14] For example, man yeol sal means "full ten years", or "ten years old" in English. The Korean word dol means "years elapsed", identical to the English "years old", but is only used to refer to the first few birthdays. Cheotdol or simply dol refers to the first Western-equivalent birthday, dudol refers to the second, and so on.

The Korean Birthday Celebrations by the lunar calendar is called eumnyeok saeng-il (음력 생일, 陰曆生日) and yangnyeok saeng-il (양력 생일, 陽曆生日) is the birthday by Gregorian calendar.

For official government uses, documents, and legal procedures, the Western age system is used. Regulations regarding age limits on alcohol and tobacco use, as well as the age of consent, are all based on the Western system (man-nai).

This system can be pretty confusing, so I always stick with just my Western age. What woman really wants to be a year or two older? Hahaha...

We're coming up on the baegil (백일) for Graham and I plan on doing it traditional style this time, especially since Grandma will be visiting us for the first time ever!

Here are some pictures from the 3rd/4th birthday! Enjoy!

The cafe served rice, salad, pork cutlet, chicken nuggets, french fries and orange juice for all the kids.

The Cafe supplied an MC for the party. Thomas got to sit up front and be celebrated by his friends!The MC released a confetti bomb that thrilled the whole crowd!

The lovely photos were courtesy of our friend Shane Lee of the blog Family Lee Together!
Thanks Shane!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's on Mommy Cha's mind?

 Wordle: Mommy Cha

I used my blog to make this lovely word cloud on Wordle.
Guess we know what is on my mind these days! :D

Friday, April 29, 2011

Graham 성호 Cha!! 12:06pm, April 12, 2011, 4.16kg, 55cm.

Despite all our hard work and preparation, Graham was stubborn and refused to budge. He also measured quite large so the lovely midwives at Bless Birth had no option but to refer us elsewhere.

We decided at this point our only options were a repeat C-section or a very expensive attempt at a VBAC in Mediflower. My husband and I discussed our options and we chose the best choice for our family - the repeat VBAC.

Despite having had a not so great experience with our first unexpected C-section we did know that I healed exceptionally well with a very minimal scar. We decided that it was best to work with the same surgeon that we used the first time. We also knew how and what to prepare for the post-op care this time so we were confident that our experience would be better. In addition we had the support of our Morning Calm doula, Karen Zamperini.

I visited the doctor and explained our situation. He performed an ultrasound and was surprised to see that Graham was measuring at 4.73kg-a full kilogram larger than Thomas was when he was born! While the previous doctor we had spoken to regarding a VBAC was terrified that I was almost full term, our doctor was rather nonchalant and scheduled us for a C-section 4 days later. I was surprised but appreciative as I had hoped for Graham's health to at least have a chance at labour. If we started labour before the scheduled day, we would have an emergency C-section. But Graham was very stubborn and we had no signs of labour whatsoever.

The morning of April 12th we were very excited and eager to greet our second son. Karen joined us and took some great photos of me saying good-bye to the first Kimchi Kid, driving myself to the hospital and waiting to go in to see the doctor. It was great to have her there and she was determined to help me to breastfeed as soon as I was out of recovery.

At the hospital we were asked a few basic questions, but one question I found very odd. They asked what type of C-section I wanted. My husband explained to me that they could perform an operation that made it easy to conceive a 3rd or a type that wasn't as easy. My husband immediately replied that we were done with 2, but I was worried that he perhaps didn't fully understand what they were asking. Just in case I asked for the easy-to-conceive-#3 style, because I didn't know if they would tie my tubes or something otherwise!

We then went to the delivery and nursery floor and that was when things started to go slightly wrong. I'd hoped that my husband could stay with me and come in the operation room, but they told me he could not. I was then instructed to undress, put on my robe and lay on the bed. After 10minutes by myself they realized I needed some translation help and brought my husband in. I was glad to see him as I was feeling lonely and teary, not the feelings I wanted to have at this point. They then escorted me into the operating room and he left.

There was a male nurse who tried to explain to me what to do next, which was comical and confusing. He kept talking about "shrimp, make a shrimp back" which meant nothing to me. Turns out they wanted me to curl up like a shrimp on my side to receive the spinal anaesthetic. I laughed at this and did as they asked. It is quite hard to do this move when you are 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant with a huge belly! The male nurse tried to help hold me and the doctor of anaesthesiology told me what she would do. They would make 2 attempts and if it failed, they would have to use a general anesthetic. I replied that it was fine, when I'd had my son she had done it successfully on the first try and I was 15kg/30lbs heavier that time!

It didn't work. It was horrible. I've never had such an awful feeling in my whole life. Just typing this makes me feel physically ill. She tried twice and then they had to bring my husband in. I was hysterical. It was so, so awful. I cried and cried, I apologized to my husband for being weak and told them not to try a third time. I couldn't allow them to do that to me again. I was so upset because I could only have the general anesthetic now and that meant I would miss the birth of my son. I cried and held my husband's hand as they made me count backwards into oblivion.

When I started to wake in the recovery room, the nurses brought Graham in to me. I will never forget seeing my beautiful baby boy for the first time. He was wearing a little white cap and they latched him onto my left breast. He suckled away, staring at me with one little eye opened. I was so happy to see him! I thought he looked just like his big brother and I was so in love! After that brief moment he was whisked away from me and confined to the nursery for the next 24 hours.

I was so happy that they allowed me that brief moment, and that first latch. The rest of my time in hospital went very smoothly. Doumi stayed with me the first 3 days and nights. She was so amazing, it made my experience so much better. Knowing what to expect and being prepared made the whole post-partum recovery a lot easier. We had a brief bout of bad latch in breastfeeding but the lactation consultant on staff was awesome and helped immensely! We had Graham with us all day and he stayed in the nursery from his 9:30pm bath time until 5 or 6am. They had a strict cup feeding policy in their nursery and the extra rest I feel really helped me to recover. We were able to go home at noon on Saturday, so I was very happy that things went so smoothly in the post-partum recovery department.

Since then he has been feeding and sleeping so well. He is nowhere near as fussy as his big brother was and he has been so good! We're truly blessed that he is healthy and happy!