***

***

Is it Bedtime yet?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August was hard.

Now that September has arrived and August is in the rear view mirror, I think I will just go ahead and say that August was mostly a no-good-very-bad-month.

We arrived in Korea on August 1st. I believe I already mentioned the MERS + jetlag combo that marked our first 2 weeks here. Also present were sticky-hot days with 1000% humidity.

We managed one enjoyable, post-acclimation weekend together before the base began it's big yearly joint exercise with the South Korean military. Josh was working nights and sleeping days on the base. The kids and I were on our own here in the apartment complex.
Number of friends and/or polite acquaintances: Zero.
Ability to get around: Low. We only have one vehicle and it was too dang hot to walk anywhere.

The kids and I, lacking anything else to do, started school. It's been a learning curve for us all, but mostly for me. I found myself up late each night preparing for the next day and trying to establish a routine that works for us. We are getting there.

Then, if you are readers of the news, you will recall that things became quite tense on the peninsula. That guy up north started making threats. People from the base began reminding the families here of evacuation protocol. Josh's work hours grew, but no longer because of an exercise. I pulled a suitcase back out of the closet, and placed the gas-masks by the front door so I wouldn't forget them. I read the news, prepared school lessons, and wondered what the heck I was doing here.

Then, because his timing is always perfect, Derek got pinkeye and I got the opportunity to make a fool of myself trying to get him seen by a doctor. That could be a whole post unto itself, but with pantomime and dragging him up to people and pointing to his eye, we eventually got him seen and got some medicine.
This was the victory photo after leaving the pharmacy:



Turns out it must have been the viral type, because his eye did not respond to the antibiotics and the red eye endured for over a week, until it cleared up and the other one started in. Pinkeye = no swimming. Frowny face.

So that was pretty much August.

The good news is that tensions have died down, I put the gas masks away, and Josh has 2 weeks of leave to start September.
Yesterday we surprised the kids with a trip to Everland amusement park which is just under an hour's drive from us. It reminded me of Busch Gardens. It had a very scenic, mountain setting. We would have preferred to wait until the weather cooled off a little more, but we can't always count on Josh getting leave so we just went for it.


A good time was had by all. By the end of the day I realized I had seen only one other non-Asian looking group in the whole park. I'm guessing we stuck out a little.
Good thing we are such avid theme-park-goers, because we just assumed that most of the instructions we could not read or understand were saying things like, please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. If not, well-- we survived.

You can see Alex's favorite ride in the background-- a large wooden roller coaster with quite the steep drop. She and Josh rode it twice together, a third time with me, and Derek said no way.



Today we packed our bags again, because tomorrow we're off to explore more of Korea. We're going to spend some time touring in Seoul and then we're flying to Jeju Island off the southern tip of the peninsula. Yes, you read that right. I'm getting on another plane.

But this flight is only an hour and I'm not changing any time zones, so hopefully all will be well.
We've heard Jeju is called "the Hawaii of Korea." And while I'm looking forward to some pretty sunsets and waterfalls, they also said that Everland was "the Disney of Korea", and I have to say that's being a little generous.

Hope to be back with a report of happy and healthy travels :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Re-entry

I feel like an astronaut who was lost on a mission to outer space, and whom everyone had presumed dead. Yet through some miracle, I survived and am re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. My first communication is to say-- It's me, Erin. I know you've all given up on me, but I'm still out here.

Of course, I could never be an astronaut. I despise flying.
But you get the sentiment.

So let's just assume I was abducted by aliens and that's why my last blog post was from about 5 months ago, my blog profile still says I live in Spain (and that I move every 3 years-- ha!), and why my picture header shows my children looking fresh from the womb.

Here's what's gone down with the Schore family since I last posted and announced that our next assignment would be to Korea.

1) Crap. It's hard to remember.
2) Josh graduated from SAASS at Maxwell AFB, AL. It's not important to know what it stands for. (Nerd School)
3) The children finished their school year.
4) We went to Disney World.
5) We drove to Michigan to visit our family.
6) Josh left for Korea in mid-July.
7) The kids and I followed a few weeks later.
8) We now live in Korea. I would clarify that it's South Korea, but I don't want to insult your intelligence. (Fact-- people have asked me if we'd be in North or South Korea)
9) I am homeschooling our precious* cherubs. Who are now 10 and 8.


*almost exclusively between the hours of 9pm and 8am.

I've been living in Korea for over 3 weeks now, but the first 10 days don't count. I had a cold and jet lag and post traumatic stress syndrome from the trip over.
I should point out that the kids did great on our travel day, which included a short hop to Detroit, a 4 hour layover, a 13 hour flight, and a 90 minute bus ride. It's me who is the bad traveler.
I got off the flight hoping that I would like it here, because I was never getting on another plane.

Those feelings are starting to subside. It's like childbirth, I suppose. You eventually forget the pain.
(I should clarify with anyone angry at me for comparing a long flight with seatback entertainment and complementary wine to childbirth, that I obviously had epidurals.)

The first week here passed in a haze of sleepiness and the headcold from Hades. Josh accused me of having contracted the MERS.
During that week, I had to do terrible things like leave the house, go to base, fill out paperwork, study for and take my driver's test.

I am officially the worst jet-lagger ever. I was not motivated to do anything, but we had no choice since Josh had only a few days off work to get us all set up.

I should also take a moment to laud my husband for making this whole process as easy on us as possible. He only had about a 2.5 week head start on us, and he managed to get out here, jump through about a zillion hoops to pick up our sporty Corolla from Seoul, get his driver's license, find us an apartment, receive our household goods shipment, in-process and begin work, and meet us at the airport to save my sanity on the bus ride from Seoul to our new home.
He's my hero.

I can't say how much nicer it was to be laid up with MERS and jetlag in my own (new to me, Korean-style, soft-as-concrete bed.)

I have lots to share about our new home here on the other side of the world, so I'm dusting of ye ole blog. Back soon-- barring any extraterrestrial interference.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

This Blog Post is Brought to you by Credit Card Fraud.

It's true. Someone out there was attempting to use our credit card and they're not allowed to because they're not us. So we had to cancel our cards and are waiting for new ones to arrive. In the meantime, Netflix couldn't process the automatic payment we have set up and so I can't watch any shows. Hence, I'm blogging.

Here is a picture of me.


I took it after I got my hairs cut. I like to take pictures of my new haircuts for multiple reasons:
1) The nice lady makes it look better than I can.
2) That way, when 6 months go by before I get my hairs cut again, I can show the nice lady what I want or don't want.
3) I guess those are all the reasons I have.

But I do have a reason for including it on this post. You see, I'm not very photogenic and I prefer to take pictures instead of being in them. But I'm afraid that if I let too much time go by in between posting a picture of myself, one day you will all be shocked at how much I have aged. So I'd rather make my aging seem more gradual.

This is a lot of typing just to talk about one selfie, is it not?

Moving on.

The kids had character day at school and had to dress up like a character from a book. I just love coming up with costume ideas. (That was typed sarcastically.)

Thanks to a borrowed bonnet, Alex pulled off Caddie Woodlawn fairly easily.



Derek pulled out his inner Spaniard and played a role from Ferdinand the Bull. Muy guapo, no?



Life is breezing by quickly, and is about to start going even faster as we approach moving season...


And now, for the main event.

The Schore family is on the move again. A recap of our shenanigans over the last 14 years of military life:

Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls TX 2001-2006
Seymour Johnson AFB, Goldsboro NC  2006-2007
Mountain Home AFB, Mountain Home ID  2007-2010
Seymour Johnson AFB part deux, Goldsboro NC  2010-2012
Presidio of Monterey, Monterey CA  2012
Madrid, Spain  2013-2014
Maxwell AFB, Montgomery AL  2014-2015

And next...in hemispheres yet unexplored...in the land of fermented cabbage and Cooch purses....drumroll please....

We're going to Korea!

Well, allow me to clarify. Josh is being sent to Korea for a 1-year unaccompanied tour.

 But since we like each other, and Korea is a place we can legally go along, the kids and I are going to join him.

And just when I thought I knew all there was to know about military moves, here comes a new scenario.

The biggest differences in moving to Korea "command sponsored" vs "non command sponsored" (like us) are that:

-- the Air Force doesn't pay for our trip over
-- we are not allowed to live on base
-- we are the lowest priority for receiving routine medical service and other support services.
-- they'll only ship 10% of our household goods weight.
-- Josh has to receive permission to live off base with us.
-- I have to...gulp...homeschool the kids.

Now that I've typed that out, I think I need to go find a paper bag to breathe into.
Let's talk more later.




Monday, February 16, 2015

Do I still have a blog?

I've done a pretty good job forgetting I have this here blog. Though every now and again I get a nasty-gram via e-mail or text reminding me of my failure. Then I think to myself, "I should go blog" or "I should go write a good-bye entry on that blog and put it out of its misery."

But I can never decide which of the two to do.

So I guess I'll just blog.

When last I posted, I mentioned my weekly schedule of laziness. Go figure that as soon as I posted it, I realized that Christmas was around the corner and all of my recovery days were out the window. I shall now list random stuff that has happened between now and then.

--The kids had a special holiday meal in the cafeteria. I got to join them and realized that school lunches haven't changed much over the years.


Poor Derek. You'd think I would have given up on home haircuts by now.



-- In school, Derek's class made centerpieces as an art project. There was an open house where we could see them.
Derek made a fireplace.



Amusingly, several other students made what we assume were supposed to be Christmas trees. I will let the photos speak for themselves. These would have gone well with Alex's preschool art project.




-- We had a nice, low-key Christmas break in our base neighborhood ghost town. (You can imagine that since no one on a military base is from "around here," most families go back to their hometowns to visit with family.) Josh had a bit too much work to do, and our hometowns are just a bit too far for us to have made that trip this year. It was quiet around here and the kids forgot how to play without friends around.

-- When the families returned, they were right back to their old tricks of starting fires with magnifying glasses and fighting the dark side.





-- We had a visit from Josh's dad the week before Christmas, and he helped shuttle Josh back and forth to Birmingham where Josh had surgery for his hand. He was still having trouble following his accident in Spain. The jury is still out as to whether this surgery helped or made it worse.

This is Josh's "I'm still drugged" smile.


-- Montgomery hosted its first ever college bowl game, so we took the kids to see it.  They lost interest by halftime.


-- We got a box of Spanish treats from our friends in Madrid. I cannot tell a lie. I miss living in Madrid. I think I will begin to set aside a specific amount of time every week to plot how we might finagle another assignment there.



-- In January I realized I needed to alter my weekly schedule to include going to the gym because I was becoming a larger, softer version of myself. Turns out that living a slovenly lifestyle is hard on the waistline. So I joined the rest of the resolutionists in the gym and I suppose that's a good thing, as beach weather is right around the corner down here.

I read somewhere that after Valentine's Day is when most people fall out of their New Year's resolutions, so if you see me feel free to poke me in the belly and tell me to keep working out.


-- Alex and I had a girls' night out with friends to see a gymnastics meet at Auburn. American Girl dolls were also invited to attend.



And that concludes a rather poor job of playing catch up.

Which brings us to now.
We've got about 4 months left before we move. How does this happen?

I mean, I know time is going by because the kids keep outgrowing their pants, and because Derek doesn't have to reach on his tip-toes to turn the kitchen sink on anymore. But is it really already time to think about boxes and movers again?

In short, yes. And inquiring minds might like to know where we will be heading next.
And I would like to inform those minds. However, we don't know yet, officially.
Unofficially, we have a pretty good idea but I'll wait to post about it until we get some paperwork. Should be soon!






Saturday, November 29, 2014

two months

That's how long it's been since my last post, give or take a day or two.

I feel bad for neglecting my sad little blog. The truth is I haven't been writing here, because I've been working on a writing a book. Can you believe it?


Well you shouldn't because it's an absolute lie. How many of you believed that for a hot second?
I haven't been writing here because I'm lazy.
Not busy.
Lazy.

Glad we've cleared that up.

Let's jump right in, shall we?
The kids had a whole week off of school for Thanksgiving Break, a fact that I hadn't really realized in advance as I rarely consult a calendar. But I am never one to complain about a series of days in which no alarm is required.

We stayed here in Alabama for the holiday, and plan to do the same for Christmas. Josh is a busy bee-- always reading and writing, and he has thesis-writing scheduled for Christmas break. I've never been more glad to not be him than I am this year.

We had Thanksgiving dinner just the four of us, and have just about polished off all the leftovers. My turkey was a delicious golden-brown color. I have to brag about some aspect of it because it wasn't until after our meal, when Josh was carving up the rest to put away that we realized I'd neglected to remove the bag of giblets.

Again.

I'm really good in the kitchen. I guess it was a step up from last year, when I served a bucket of KFC.

We bought a TV on Black Friday because the only one we had boasted a 19 inch screen. It seemed like maybe it was time.

Since my last post, Derek has moved from soccer to basketball season, and Alex started tumbling. They still spend loads of time outside playing with the neighborhood riff-raff.
I guess they are the neighborhood riff-raff. Today was warm enough for shorts and tee-shirts if you can believe it. I am totally on board with a southern winter, now that the mosquitos are finally gone.

They stayed until mid-November, which I find to be ridiculous. I'm not sure which governing body I can complain to about that.

My weeks still look about the same.

Monday-- Weekend Recovery (This means extra coffee time in the morning to enjoy the quiet, and thinking about what I want to accomplish during the week. There is usually about an hour of productive house cleaning that happens on Monday, which is about 55 minutes more than occurs any other day of the week)

Tuesday-- Grocery Shopping (The commissary is two minutes away and the whole chore takes about an hour, but I like to declare that Tuesday is for Grocery Shopping and refuse to entertain the idea of adding another task to the day)

Wednesday-- This is my busiest day. I have Bible Study first thing in the morning, grab lunch with friends, go directly to Spanish class, and leave from there for school pickup. I know. I can't believe it either.

Thursday-- Wednesday Recovery (Goal-- never leave the house)

Friday-- Rock Band and cocktails at 1:30. My friend Ali from the 'hood and I have a standing date to play, well, Rock Band on the wii. It's totally normal for a couple of middle-age women to sing and play fake instruments on a video game system while their children are in school, right?


So now you're all caught up on my glamorous life. Boom.








Thursday, September 25, 2014

Things that have happened.

There are lots of things.
I will start my list with 0.5 mostly because I forgot that point, I want to be orderly, and also I don't want to go back and change my other numbers because laziness.

0.5) A long, long time ago, on the Fifteenth of August of the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Fourteen,  Derek turned 7.


I filled these water balloons. Crouching down by the water spout and tying these dreadful things was more painful than giving birth seven years before.
Water balloons are a labor of love.


I cannot comment on my baby turning seven. It's too much.


1) TGBIO2014

The Great Bike Incident of 2014.

This was a less-than-pleasant incident that occurred when I was riding my bike home from the housing office here on the base. Being a patriotic sort of person, I wanted to pick up a flag kit to display Old Glory on our front porch. Unfortunately, Old Glory slipped from my hands into my front wheel spokes as I was traveling at a good clip.
My bike came to a sudden stop.

I did not.

I did the flying squirrel right over the handlebars and used the friction of my skin against the sidewalk to stop myself. I learned that it is not the best way to stop yourself.

Thankfully I did not use my head, face, or teeth to stop myself so I suppose there is always a silver lining.

I am all healed up now. Except for some scars.

And my pride.

2) Teeth are falling out of my kids' heads.

Derek dined on his second front tooth, leaving him at that stage I just can't get enough of. Kids without their two front teeth are the cutest.

(

(Cowey got a new friend!)

He was relieved to find that if you leave a note under your pillow explaining that you swallowed your tooth, the Tooth Fairy will overlook the slight and still leave you some cash.
Alex lost her first molar and although she doubts the existence of the Tooth Fairy, she still placed the tooth under her pillow and accepted what was left behind. She is a doubter but she is no fool.

3) My husband has read more books in the last 3 months than he's ever read in his life. And not interesting books, either. At least not by my standards.
They call this course the Book-A-Day Club, and also "SAASS*: Where fun goes to die".
It is living up to the hype for him.

*School of Advanced Air and Space Studies

The poor chap doesn't get a whole lot of down time. So I enjoy mine on his behalf.

3) Soccer

Derek started playing soccer on the base team and he's been having a swell time. He's not particularly gifted in the athletic arena, but he doesn't know that so we'll just leave it as our secret.



He is awfully cute though.

4) 80's

Thank heavens we have finally dropped out of the everyday-is-in-the-90s which I thought might never happen. I was seeing people's photos on The Facebooks of things like Jackets and Long Sleeves and jealousy sprung up in my heart.
We are finally having some crisp mornings, and cooler evenings and so I can overlook the fact that the bike ride to collect the kids in the afternoon still makes me sweat.

I've never had to wash my bras as often as I do living here.
Under-boob sweat is no joke.

5) Routines

The kids started up with AWANA again and it's been a nice addition to our week. We found one that meets on Sunday evenings, which we prefer as the weekday after-school hours fly by with homework, playing outside, making lunches, etc.

I joined a Bible Study Fellowship group that meets on Wednesday mornings, and it's been great to be a part of a women's study again.

I was thrilled to find out that I could join a Spanish class that is offered to the Air Command and Staff College students here on base. They opened it up to spouses as well and I can't tell you how perfect it is for me! I was wondering how I was going to be able to keep up my Spanish and this basically fell into my lap. What a blessing! The class is super small because it is a higher level, and the instructor is from Spain so I can continue to hear and learn the Castellano dialect.

So basically everything's coming up Erin.

Except, of course, for TGBIO2014.

ps I have no pictures of my daughter because she is never home. She is much too busy to stop and allow me to take her photo. There is playing to be done. I shall try to do better.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blog, what blog?

We are alive and well in Alabama. It's been a long time since I've posted because we were busy with all the busyness that results from moving into a new home a couple of days before school starts while one of the adults in the family is in the midst of a challenging course which leaves him with no free time to help unpack boxes, hang curtains, or write run-on sentences.

Then after we were settled-ish, I put off blogging because I had too much to catch y'all* up on and it felt overwhelming. So I didn't blog, and then more stuff happens, and it's a vicious cycle.

*Oh yeah, people. I'm all in.

So I guess it's time to just dive in and get started.

We are living on base and we're loving it. It's been ideal for this particular assignment for the following reasons:

1) We live on a circle with a playground in the middle. There are always kids outside to play with and the bicycle gang owns that circle. It's been so great to let the kids get a taste of what I had growing up-- being outside all the time, getting some freedom from mom and dad, and donating half of their blood supply to the mosquitoes. It's like Hades out there but they don't seem to care.

2) Bikes, baby. We ride 'em everywhere. The kids ride bikes to school, Josh rides to work, and we almost never have to put gas in the van.



(Aside-- I say van, instead of vehicles, because until very recently our car had not yet arrived from its Spanish voyage. This is due largely in part to the enormous cluster of the military changing contractors during PCS season ((Permanent Change of Station--moving time!)) and cars were being lost, damaged, and delayed. In our case, the Corolla Sport ((yes, it is imperative that you know it is a Sport edition)) made the transatlantic trip rather quickly, and then sat in a line at customs in Savannah for around 75 days. It was that last trip between Savannah and the pickup location of Atlanta, that was a bridge too far. Why, yes, astute reader, those two cities are in the same state. Fortunately for us we didn't really need the car, but we know lots of other people who are having to deal with this issue as well who truly do need their vehicles. I'm generally not one to complain much about the military moving process, as we've accepted that there is a certain amount of inconvenience involved in this lifestyle. It just seems this particular PCS season has been full of horror stories of moves gone bad and I do feel that the systems set in place should be running smoothly to take some of the burden off of the families. End of rant.)
ps- we're picking up the Corolla Sport tomorrow in Hotlanta.

This is our new house:


It is an old duplex, only the left side is ours. It is small and the bedrooms have old carpets. The laundry is in the creepy basement and I can't stand fully erect or I might knock myself out with the pipes that hang down overhead.
We're happy here :)
The lifestyle makes up for the rougher edges, and it's super quick to clean. I even think the living room space is cozy and not too shabby.


And I think time is going to fly by and before I know it there will be boxes again.
Like, 9 months from now.

Ugh.

Back to my list:

3) Neighbors!
Our friends hooked us up with the house next door. So we've got built-in friends. The kids are fast friends and it's so dang convenient to have people you can ask for help right next door. Or maybe not ask, and just take advantage of. Like me, today:

 

(Another Aside-- we got iPhones! It's like, we're totally hip now)


So there you have it. We've moved in, we like our 'hood, and we'll be out of here before we know it.

Next time I will regale you with the true story of THE GREAT BIKE INCIDENT OF 2014, in which I donate a good portion of my very own skin to a sidewalk in need.

I am always giving.