Well, I think the easiest way to update this is to post photos as I go and explain what we've been doing. As always, there's never a dull moment in the Shimer household! The last we left off was in Oct. In November, we signed Addi up for swim lessons. She really loved it and is ready to continue after we've had to have a break with holiday and other activities going on. Morgan has been keeping herself busy with "Tiger Talents". It's a group run after school with one of the teachers. They learn songs and dances and have been able to do several performances. It's been fun to go watch. She also participated in a Rec volleyball instructional league and then a clinic in Dec. She hopes to make it on a team this spring and try out for a competition team in the fall. For Thanksgiving we went to Boise to visit my sister. Her husband works the night shift as a police officer, so he sleeps during the day, and they were also trying to sell their house so we decided to go to Golden Coral for Thanksgiving dinner. The kids had fun playing for a few days and we went to the Boise Christmas parade. It was freezing and loooonnng (we've decided I'm not really the parade type) but we enjoyed Cinnamon Rolls and hot cocoa afterwards at the mall! The first Sat. in Dec. our ward had the annual Christmas breakfast and the primary kids were asked to participate in the program. Most of the kids were wisemen or sheppards. Elly dressed up in a costume we'd had for Halloween and was even a sheep. Morgan was Mary. This is a picture of Rylan in front of his Science Fair Project. He wasn't planning on doing it until I found out it was 1/2 of his grade and I said if he got a C in that class from not doing the project he wasn't allowed to try out for the Jr. High baseball team this spring. He did it the day before it was due and ended up winning 3rd place overall, won several prizes, including $20 cash and invited to Districts. So much for my lesson on procrastination!! Richard was able to come home on leave. He got here on the 22nd. He was able to stay for a few weeks before heading back. We had a fun Christmas. Here are the kids all ready to start in on their presents and stocking stuffers! A few days after Christmas we headed down to Richard's parents house. The live up in the mountains in Idaho. My sister came and visited one day to share in the sledding fun. We found the best sledding hill at the golf course and Richard drove the 4 wheeler up there. We'd sled down the hill and then we'd grab onto the rope and he'd bring us back up to the top. We got so spoiled not having to hike at all! The next day it snowed about 6 inches. We were glad my sister came up when she did! Because of the new snow we weren't able to use the 4 wheeler on the hill anymore and had to hike back up after we finished sliding down the hill. Addi said, "This must be how the pioneers did it in the olden days!" Ha! This is how I've always done it!! Olden days my foot! This is my sister on the rope train getting pulled back up. It could actually be quite risky if the person in front of you had their boots in their face and they weren't strong enough to resist the tension pull up the steep parts. If they let go you were sure to get kicked in the face hard! Morgan proved to be the best at finding strategies to hold on. By the end of our stay we figured out how to get whipped around the top so that it dropped you off at the top of the hill and you'd just continue to slide down. There was never any getting up at all! We got pretty spoiled! Some days we couldn't take the 4 wheeler up so we had to make trails in Richard's parents yard. That was a lot of fun also! By the end of the days it naturally made jumps and whipped around corners. Richard went back to Korea on the 15th and has approximately 60 days left. He is due to return on the 18th of March, just in time for Rylan's first baseball tournament in Mequite, Nevada. The final thing on our list of things is our big birthday party yesterday! Our little Elayna Ann turned 3 yesterday! It so hard to believe that she's that old. It really seems like just a few months ago we brought her home from the hospital. She is so much fun and a very considerate, sweet little girl. She loves Dora and had a Dora cake and decorations. We got her a Dora backpack set, a little toy laptop computer with educational games, and a Cindrella outfit set. She asked for Cookie Crisp for breakfast and wanted Chicken Nuggets and French Fries from McDonald's. It's bittersweet that she's this old! It's hard to believe that this chapter of my life is closing (being a stay-at-home mom to little babies!) She is such a joy and blessing to have. Well! That's about it for now... we are busy doing baseball with Rylan and Bradly is doing basketball. I think I'm going to go back to school soon and that makes me excited. Still in the works of which direction I plan on taking. For now all is safe and sound in the household! Love to all! Kim
As much as I'm dreading this, I know I need to get these on here and put a synopsis of my trip to Korea. There's just so much to it and so many pictures! I tried going through all my video as well and finally gave up on that one. I was getting too overwhelmed. Maybe next time with a regular update I'll add some Kore footage, but for today I'm simplifying and just doing a re-cap with photos. Here goes!!
I left on Fri morning, Oct. 16th. I arrived in Seoul at 6:30 Saturday night. (About 3:30 am. our time) and looked for Richard for an hour and a half!! I was amazed how few people spoke English and they were all trying to get me a taxi or a train! I had no way to phone him since he doesn't own a phone there and knew no one to get a hold of him. I figured he was on his way, but didn't know if he got lost or robbed or what! I paged him several times and decided to wait at the USO. He finally showed up and we took the city bus to the base 3 1/2 hours away.
The next day was Sun and I got the grand tour of the base and we went to church, where only 6 other members (give or take each Sunday) attended. Very interesting. On Mon we hung out some more and went to his shop. I left very sick and was still feeling pretty bad. That day the weather was windy, cold, and rainy. Two guys that Richard works with and hangs out with the most came and got us. You can only have a car if your are a Senior NCO so he's the only one that has a car. They took me to the infamous A-town. I've heard Richard talk about this place quite a bit so I was excited to go. It's about a 10-15 min drive from the base and is basically an ally with a few shops, restaurants, and mainly bars that the Americans from the base go to. I had my first taste of Korean BBQ there-Bulgogi. It was pretty good!
On Tues. we went golfing, hung out with this guy that Richard golfs with that wants to learn English, packed our stuff up, went to Gunsan (the town closest to Kunsan) and went out to dinner down in Gunsan with a bunch of people from Richard's shop. I found the Hanbok's (which is the traditional dress worn for holidays and back in the older days) but discovered that they are pretty expensive (about $200) so I decided my girls would not be getting one of those for sure! They are very pretty, though.
On Wed. we left the base. I couldn't leave that place fast enough! I don't know how he manages to live there! We took a city bus to Seoul and then figured out the Subway station. Here's our cards we each had with pre-loaded money we put on. We just set it on a sensor and it paid for our trip to the next station. It was so easy to get around and find everywhere we needed to go once we figured out how they had it organized. It was an amazing system they set up.
On Thursday we went to the Army base in Seoul and took a tour we had arranged through them to go to the DMZ (Demiliterized Zone) between North Korea and South Korea. I wish I would have gone back and taken a copy of the release form we had to sign stating that we understood our risks for being shot and killed by the North Koreans during our tour and how we were to behave. Our cameras could be confiscated if we ever took a picture that was unauthorized, etc. We went to the Joint zone that we share with the North Koreans and went to a briefing and then go to see the building where the peace treaty was signed. We even got to stand in North Korea for a few min. Richard is standing in front of the door that the North Koreans enter when they meet with the UN. He's standing with a South Korean gaurd. This picture on the left is a picture of the North Korean side of the Joint Force area. I am standing on the steps of the "Freedom House" a place built for the North Korean and South Korean families that were seperated to be able to meet and visit with each other. The place has never been used, however, because the North Koreans will not authorize their people to meet there. The building on the left is where we were in at the picture above. You can barely see the North Korean gaurd standing on the front of their building. He kept pulling his binoculars out and watching us. It was a little creepy. We were told that if approached by a North Korean we were not to acknowledge, smile, wave, etc. as they could shoot us immediately. I was allowed to zoom in and get a picture. You had to ask permission before you took pictures if you weren't sure. I thought it was odd that I couldn't smile or wave at the North Koreans, but I was allowed to take a picture!
We were then bussed to the actual Strip of land that seperates the 2 countries. You weren't allowed to take pictures of the area... I'm guessing they didn't want people to be able to map out the land to prepare for infiltration or something. You could take a picture from behind the yellow line. There was a viewing area before the yellow line with those binocular things you can put a quarter in (I'm sure it was won and not a quarter, though) but no cameras were allowed. I thought it was a funny sight to see all these people trying to get a shot from the yellow line, so that's the picture I took. After we got back from our tour we went to the Korean War Memorial Museum. This day was probably my most favorite day. I just found the whole DMZ thing very fascinating and really got a grasp about how terrorized the South Koreans are with the whole North Korean thing and how much North Koreans hate the US and South Koreans. My grandpa fought in the Korean war so it was very interesting to learn so much about it. We spent several hours in the museum and enjoyed watching all the videos and clips and displays there. Never could have done that with 5 kids trailing us!! These pillars lined all the way around the front of the museum. Each pillar has so many names of people that died in the war. You can see how many pillars are down the row on each side with that many names, and then these pillars surrounded the museum on the sides and front. I had no idea how many people had died in this war!
On Friday we found the South Korea temple. It was right in the middle of a neighborhood! We weren't able to do a session but it was neat to be able to find it and see it. We could see the Moroni from the main street and just kept following it into the neighborhood where the temple popped out around the corner!
After finding the temple we decided to find some of the palaces on our list. There were only certain times that English tours were and fortunately in all my online research, I found the times as well. It coordinated so well! We were able to go to the
Changdeokgung Palace and had an English tour at 1:30 and had just enough time to go across to another side of Seoul and make it to the 3:30 tour of Gyeongbokgung Palace.
So the Changdeokgung Palace was the 2nd palace and built in 1405 and was the principle place for the Joseon Kings and also the best preserved. The grounds has a public palace area, royal family residence building and a rear garden. This picture is the public palace area and these markers are where the dignitaries had to lind up next to their assigned marker based on rank when events happened. The picture on the left is inside the building you see where the people line up and it has the King's throne. This palace had descendants of the Royal family living in the family quarters until sometime in the late 1980's. After seeing the quarters, I decided I would prefer my own home. It was nothing like the castles we saw in Germany where it was totally decked out! These palaces were very sparsley furnished and had no updating at all!! The floors were heated with underground pits they stocked coal in and then chimneys to the side of the buildings released the smoke. It was very interesting.
So next we went to the Northern palace, Gyeonbokgung Palace, placed in the northern part of Seoul. The Changdeokgung palace is the Eastern palace. It was built in 1395. It is known to be the most beautiful (I thought so as well ... seemed most complete and furnished the most). The set up was almost identical to the other palace as far as main court, King's quarters, Queen's quarters, concubines, etc. The inside looked very different inside the quarters, however.
This is a picture of the pond on the grounds and the building was where they would do outside dinners and dances. I just thought it was so serene and beautiful. It is one of the most complete areas of the palaces. After touring the two palaces we also went to the National palace museum and the National Folk Museum.
This is an example of the queen's chambers. They had all these room right next to each other and with door ways into each other, but each room is very small.
Behind the palace is the "Blue House" Blue represents royalty and power. This is the President of South Korea's house. I thought it was funny that their president has a Blue house and we have a White house for our president. An interesting story about this that we learned at the DMZ was several years ago some North Koreanv soldiers came through an underground tunnel and showed up on this street to assassinate the President. 28 of the North Korean soldiers were killed, one escaped back into N. Korea and one was captured.
In the National Folk Museum, they had a display of different Hangbok's. I wish you could see the craftsm
anship and handwork they do on some of these dresses!
After going through the museums, we went to Insa-Dong, which is a huge market place meant for every tourist! It has all the traditional items one would want to remind them of the their trip. I was able to get pretty much everything I wanted for all the kids and I. I really wanted to get a celadon vase, which is a type of pottery that the Koreans perfected back in the Dynasty ages. China and other countries have tried to copy the technique but weren't able to. It was once so precious that only royalty could own it. Now that modern technology is here, it is more readily available, but still very expensive. I was able to get a pretty large piece for a great price so I was very excited about that. I had really wanted to get a "knock-off" hand bag from Gucci or Prada or something, but there were not booths that sold anything like that. I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of the market place because it was crazy! But I was probably overwhelmed with everything! We could barely walk back to our hotel from the subway we were so exhausted that night!!
Saturday we got up and knew it was our last day to get everything finished off our list! We went to the last Palace that remained out of the 5. It is the Deoksuggung Palace and located on the corner of Seoul's busiest downtown intersectio. It is from the Joseon Dynasty as well. We got there just as they were doing a change of gaurds ceremony which was so fun to watch! Maybe another time I'll add video of it. The costumes and music were amazing! There must have been some heritage thing going on because they had a fashion show going on from the main palace as well as different booths set up demonstrating how to do the knot work they are known for, tea ceremonies, a booth where they did people's hair in the traditional way, etc. It was so fun to watch and see. On the outside, they had a place set up where you could try on the Hangbok, so I decided to take them up on that opportunity. I was glad I didn't spend $200 on one because I totally felt huge and prego! We were not too far from the Dongdaemum Market, which is another huge market, but more locals go to it. It is more clothing. I was really hoping to get a good purse, but after being on the army base and asking around, we found out that really the market outside of Osan (base Richard was supposed to go to) was the best place for a knock-off. It was still fun to go through there, but since it was a Saturday it was incredibly crowded and crazy! After going through the market we went and looked for the Korean Village. It was so wierd because it's right in the middle of the crazy city. It's another one of those walk through neighborhood streets and then you come across it.
It was like stepping back in ti
me 100 years ago. It was really neat to see demonstrations of schooling, Kimchi cooking, floor mat making, rice grinding, etc. It was neat to walk through. We got to watch some traditional dancing and music as well.
The last main thing that was on our list was to ride up the North Seoul Tower, which is like the equivilant to the Space Needle in Seattle. It was probably one of the hardest places for us to find, but after asking several locals, we found it. It is a very popular place to go ... at least on the weekend! We should have went on Thurs, but oh well. We walked to the base of Mt. Namsam and then waited in line for about an hour and took a cable car up the mountain. After getting off we still had to hike a bit to get to the tower. After getting into the tower you have to buy another ticket and we waited almost an hour for our number to come up to get on the elevator to take you to the top of the tower where you can overlook all of Seoul. There was a huge multi country air show going on and we just happened to get to the top of the tower and in front of one of a few windows that overlooked a huge firework show going on. It was really cool to see. Then we waited in line for another hour to get down the elevator and waited another hour to get on the cable car. Then we dragged ourselves back to the hotel room.
Well, believe it or not, I didn't post all my pictures. I am now glad I didn't add video!! I'm exhausted and my kids are hungry and fighting, so I better get off. It was a great opportunity and a fabulous trip! I'll post again in the future and add some video and Halloween updates. So long for now! Kim
It's been a while since I've posted! I don't really have any pictures to add, but I wanted to catch up before leaving for Korea, as I know I'll have lots to put on then. That's probably the biggest news right now going on. I leave Friday for Korea to spend 10 wonderful days visiting Richard, seeing what his daily life is like, and then touring Seoul. I'm so excited! I'm flying Richard's mom in on Thurs and will leave Fri morning, getting there Sat. evening Korea time. I am so grateful for Richard's mom to be willing to watch my kids, as I know this is not just a simple task! It's a wonderful opportunity and experience I get to have thanks to her. I would not have been able to go had she not been so gracious to volunteer! My thoughts and prayers will be with her and the kids, since this is the first time I've really ever left them (discounting when Bradly was in PICU in San Antonio) and have a lot of anxiety with this, but I couldn't pass by this opportunity!
Since last posting, Rylan has broken his wrist jumping off the trampoline and landing on his hands. It broke his wrist and into the growth plate. He's had a cast for 5 weeks now and will be getting it off tomorrow. He was able to participate in the first tournament of the season and the first weekend of games and then missed the rest of the season. The team had their last games yesterday. We thought for sure we'd have rainouts, but of course they didn't so he pretty well missed the whole season. It was heartbreaking for him, since baseball is his entire reason for existing, but he's survived. They are continuing practice on Fridays and have try-outs in Nov. The Spring season will come on quickly as they usually start regular practice in Jan.
Morgan continues to do Tiger Talents on Tuesdays at the school. This year they are going to do more singing then dancing and cheer, so she's excited about that. She loves to sing. She is also doing Achievement Days with the church twice a month on Tuesdays and also Volleyball for the next 6 weeks on Tuesdays. Tuesdays are a busy day for her!
Addison is in swim lessons that just started last week. She is just down the street at the Rec Center and goes Mon and Wed. She absolutely loves it and it's good for her to have something that is just "her own".
Bradly wants to sign up for basketball and that will be in Nov. It will be fun to see how he does. He is pretty tall for his age (even taller then Rylan was) so it will be fun to see how he does. He and Rylan go out and play baseball everyday and Rylan has been working on teaching Bradly to pitch so we may have another pitcher on our hands as well. They are outside everyday for hours.
Elayna is extremely verbal and has really changed over the summer! At the beginning of the summer she talked a little, but now she talks like a mini-adult. She's potty trained and loves to read. Her favorite is Dora the Explorer and we really have to monitor tv time. She loves to play pretend with Addison and enjoys playing board games with me and going to the park. Now that it's getting cold, we haven't really gone to the park and she really misses that. It's so quiet during the day with just her and then mass chaos when kids get home from school.
As for me ... my biggest accomplishment is finally running 3 miles straight. I did that right before the mornings turned cold. I've been going to the base each morning to work out, but it takes longer to drive back and forth then my actual work out! When I get back from Korea I plan to pay the $25 the Rec Center charges to use their facilities each month and then when the weather warms up again I'll run outside again. It has become a fun passion and great stress reliever. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride that I can do it. I never was a runner and really struggled with it, so it's been a great sense of satisfaction for me. Most of my spare time lately has been researching Korea and the things I want to see. I've got it pretty well organized and am just ready to go.
Well, that's about it for now! Look for my posting the end of this month with fabulous pictures!! I can't wait! Love to all! Kim
Well, I really shouldn't so long between postings!! We have had so much going on, that I'm afraid it's another long posting. Since we last left off ... My sister came to visit near the end of July. It was a lot of fun to have her come with her kids and let cousins play and her and I have some stress relief and shopping fun! Two days before her coming, I ended up going to the ER for what ended up being another kidney stone. This one was by far the most painful one I'd had, but apparantly I passed it, because I haven't had anymore problems. It was a relief to have her here in case I was going to have to have surgery again! We took the kids swimming and we also took them to the Dinosaur Park in Ogden. It's such a cute park to take kids to. They had a great time.
She left and I took a few days to regroup and then packed up and headed to Richard's parents house for the last week of July. They live in a beautifuly area of Idaho called Garden Valley. I always love going up into the mountains and being there in the summer!! We stopped at Aunt Bobbi's house in Mountain Home and the kids had a blast catching chickens.
Rylan got to help Grandpa out by mowing the lawn for him. I don't know who was more happy ... Grandpa that he didn't have to do it, or Rylan for feeling like he get a pre-driving lesson! He thought it was great to ride on the lawn mower. I was a little worried, since a few weeks before his Uncle George hit a hole and flipped into the river, lawn mower and all. We didn't have any major accidents and he really enjoyed himself.
Going to Grandma and Granpa's in the summer just isn't complete without floating down the river that is just right outside their house. By the end of July the water had gotten so low that we couldn't take the raft out and they had to use the inner tubes. It was a lot of fun and Elly enjoyed her first cold water experience!
We weren't sure if we'd be able to take Grandpa's 4 wheeler out because the battery was dead, but Grandpa fixed it and the kids had a great afternoon riding the loop around their house and through the yard. Elly kept screaming and raising her hands up high like she was riding a roller coaster. Rylan and Morgan enjoyed being able to drive it by themselves, with me on the back.
Our final day at G&G's was the last day of July. We headed back towards Boise and stayed at Annette's house. Isaac was getting baptized later that afternoon. Aunt Liz was there with all her kids as they were heading to Jeff's family cabin in Montana. Grandma and Grandpa Holman were there and we had fun hanging at the water park. My kids slept in a tent out in her backyard and the adults stayed up late into the night chatting.
My parents followed my home and they stayed with me for a week. We got home Sunday, Monday was catch up day, Tuesday we went to Temple Square and went through the Conference Center and the Beehive House . This picture is at the top of the conference center and you can see the top of the SLC Temple on the left of the fountain. Wed my mom and I went shopping for some furniture decor that she needed for her house and that night my dad went with me to Rylan's pitching lessons. I can't remember what we did for the next two days now that's it's been so long, but I'm sure we had lots of fun!
After my parents left it was time to get ready for school. Morgan's 10th birthday was the day before the first day of school, but she went with her Aunt Shelda to a family wedding in John Day, OR and didn't get home until late so we celebrated her birthday on the first day of school.
Rylan is now in the 8th grade Morgan is now a 5th grader!
And the twins are in the 1st grade together, in the same class.
Morgan had a good birthday. She asked for a Tinkerbell theme and got a Tinkerbell cake. She got a Ripstick, a Korean outfit from Richard, and I got her a cheerleading type skirt with matching skirt.
This last weekend was my birthday, Labor Day weekend, and a baseball tournament for Rylan. My Visiting Teacher made me my favorite cake and that was a great treat. Richard sent my flowers, and we enjoyed awesome weather and watching Rylan's team win 2 and lose 2 games in the tournament. We traveled to Spanish Fork (about an hour 1/2 away, but with construction it took 2 hours) and had a game at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Fri (my birthday). Most of the team got a hotel in Provo and stayed the night. Rylan stayed with his best friend and I packed pajamas with me and the other kids and I drove back. We got home around midnight and then left about 10:30 the next morning for the other 2 games. It was fun. So ... I'm all caught up now. 34 doesn't seem so bad. Wonder if my mid-life crisis will come at my midlife age of 35? Hope all is well and enjoying the beautiful fall! Kim