Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Photo Blanket Review

When my photo blanket from arrived I was so excited, there is something about getting a package in the mail that is just so fun.  I use a throw blanket almost every night while on the couch and it was time for a new updated one.  Bob likes the house colder than I do so this blanket really was perfect.  Aside from being cold at home, snuggling up in a blanket just has a different feeling.  I really use a blanket all year round.  I like the cozy feeling they provide.
I wanted to do something with the family photos we took, and this turned out great.  I was worried that the faces wouldn't quite look right on a blanket, but they are totally fine.  They really do look in focus.  The best part is that the kids really love to see themselves on the blanket.  Even Calista spends time pointing at each person on the blanket and then waiting for me to say their name.  Then she will point to herself on the blanket and then her actual self.  It is super cute.  Sometimes we do it in reverse where I'll say a name and she will search over the blanket until she finds that person, after which she will reach over and point to them.  Everyone wants to have in on their bed, but I'm keeping it for myself.
The whole thing was really easy to set up and do online.  It probably only took me 15 minutes to order.  I just uploaded the pictures I wanted and the online product builder arranged them for me.  I spent a few minutes adjusting and rearranging, trying to get the kids all evenly sized, and it was done.  It was pretty stress free.  It arrived in the mail rather quickly.  There is still plenty of time to get one before the holidays, if you are looking for a gift.
If you thinking about getting one yourself, I should let you know that this sherpa blanket is good quality.  It is amazingly soft.  In the past I've used Snuggies, but I really needed something a little bit nicer.  The Snuggie material isn't the greatest.  I would recommend it to anyone.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Korean Folk Village and Gangnam Square

On our last day in Seoul we went to the Korean Folk Village.   It was the farthest place we went, but well worth it.  We saw they were offering bus tours to go there but we just went on our own.  I'm really glad we did because the tour only seemed to take you there and back and we saved a bunch of money and got to take our time.
I thought this place was going to be full of tourists because of all the bus tours available, but I was wrong.  Bob and I were some of the only American's there.  It looked like it was mostly full of school field trips, which makes since because when I was in elementary school we did a tour of a place showing what it would have been like to live in America many years ago.
 It was basically a village set up of what Korea used to be like.  People were walking around dressed in their traditional clothing.
They even had a couple fake shops set up.

The most fun part was watching the shows.  This music and drum show was pretty cool until...
The guy randomly pulled me up on stage!  I was not volunteering, nor was I even in the front.  I guess that is what happens when you are the only one with blonde hair in the crowed.  It was really ok and kind of fun.  He did this balancing plates act, where I held the sticks and even threw one plate in the air.  The embarrassing part was when he said it was dancing time and wanted me to dance with them.  
 We saw a tight rope act.
 A traditional marriage ceremony.
And an equestrian show.

Before heading back to town we ate at a ground table.  Everyone else opted to sit at the packed full size tables, but I thought this would be fun.
 It was a really pretty place.
 Our next stop for the day was Gangnam Square.  I mainly wanted to go there because of the song.
I loved the underground market and bought the most clothes at the best prices there.  We had gone to several markets and I saw some of the same items for cheaper here.
 We at at Bob's favorite type of restaurant for the last time and got a picture in front of it.
I really wanted to try this black ice cream, even though it was from Baskin' Robbins, which doesn't seem all that Korean.
That just about wraps up our time in South Korea!  Thanks so much to my parents for babysitting!

Seoul Temple

While in Seoul we spent one day going to the temple.  With the Tokyo temple under renovation we need to try to go to other temples whenever possible.  The Tokyo temple is estimated to be under renovation for three years!  That's a long time!
I can just picture Bob at the temple as he finished his mission about 15 years ago.

This was my second time going with headphones translating in my ear.  It was pretty fun.  Bob was able to do it without the English translation.  Most of his Korean vocabulary is gospel centered, so this was perfect for him.

 Afterward we walked around nearby shopping market. 
 Why are all ice cream cones not this tall?

Friday, October 12, 2018

Seoul Day 2 DMZ

Our second day in Seoul was our most stressfull but we also had the most fun.  The tour the previous day started at nine so I assumed the tour would start at the same time.  We were wrong, we were supposed to meet the bus off base at 7:50.  So I was really surprised when after just waking up our hotel room phone rang at 8 and they were asking if we were going to make it to the tour.  We literally threw our shoes on and ran out the door.  Bob had a bowel of cereal with milk poured that he just left in our hotel.  Then we ran to the bus and were still at least 15 minutes late.  I felt so bad because the bus was completely full of people waiting.

We were going on the DMZ tour and it was amazing.  I didn't know much about North Korea beforehand so most of the information was new to me.  For those who don't know the DMZ is the demilitarize zone between North and South Korea.  There is no official line separating but more of an off limits area for both sides.  They are actually still at war, but are just under a cease fire and have been for some time.
There were a couple stops on the tour, one was to see the recovered train from the war.  It was full of bullet holes.  
On the fence we saw lots of ribbons tied up.  I think they were messages or wishes for family members.  So many families were split up when the war happened.  The people were not prepared for a barrier that they couldn't cross to be suddenly put up.  Now they have a program where you can get on a wait list to meet with family members stuck in North Korea.  You both have to go back after the visit, but you can see each other for a few hours.
Next you can see our tour guid explaining the tunnel to us.  She said she has done this tour about 800 times over 15 years.
North Korea has dug four tunnels into South Korea that have been found, but it is expected that there are many uncompleted tunnels.  They think that this is North Korea's plan for invading the South for an attack.  I guess 30,000 soldiers can get through a tunnel in one hour, which is kind of scary.  Especially as we are right there when they are telling us this like it could happen at any moment.  I wonder why they decided to make it a big tourist thing.  The tunnel we got to tour is the closest one to Seoul.  It went underground and then we were in the DMZ zone, then we went all the way to the center line of the DMZ, after which is considered North Korea.  There was a locked fence which we couldn't get through.

 We took some pictures of North Korea.

The last stop on the tour was the train station that connects North and South Korea.  It is the last stop and is not currently running trains but they hope to in the future.
 After the tour we went on a boat cruise.
 It wasn't the greatest, and it was pretty empty.  But it was something to do and we had fun.
After that we met a sister missionary from Bob's mission.   We went out to dinner with her and then she showed us this place with an amazing view of the city.  It was our earliest morning and our latest night.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Seoul Day 1

After going to church in a ward Bob once served his mission in we hopped on a bullet train and headed for Seoul.  This was my first time on a bullet train.  I didn't get any pictures but it wasn't really that eventful.  We stayed at the hotel on base and it was really nice.  I especially loved how close it was to the gate.  We had been gone for about a week at this point and were getting tired of eating out so often so we headed to the commissary and picked up a few things.  I mainly wanted cereal.
Below is the view from our room.  The hotel also had a really good size gym and a pool.  It was great.
We went on a couple group tours while in Seoul and the first one was to a big and famous Buddhist temple.  
 It was so much more colorful than the ones we see in Japan.

People were buying water bottles and bags of rice at the store and giving them as offerings to the buddhist statue.  It kind of seemed like a scam to me.  I'm sure the store just picks them up every night and puts them out for sale again.
 They had just finished lotus season and there were still a few around.

After that we rode the bus with our group over to the big palace.  They had a guard changing ceremony that we got to watch.  We learned a lot about the history of the palace and government, most of which I have already forgotten.  There used to be like 400 buildings but most of them were all destroyed so they are now rebuilding.  

We even got to see the Blue House, which is equivalent to the White House in America.
That night we went to the show Fanta Stick.  It was similar to the other one because it was a lot of drumming and very little words.  This one was a little more out there with the context though.  There was a storyline with spirits and different cultural things that I didn't completely understand.  It was pretty fun though.
 On the walk home we stopped and checked out the Korean War Memorial.
 These statues were huge.
There were tons of planes and tanks just sitting there for us to look at.  Bob really liked seeing them all.