Sunday, February 28, 2010

Looking back pics!!

here's a few pics back of our first day as a forever family, in Seoul.

mommy play!

first bath!!!ouf! that went well!!! she loves water!

mommy and daddy the morning after day 1...we made it!!

Seoul Airport after Play!

                             on the plane...right before that other baby woke Olivia up!!!!

We are HOME!!! Welcome to Ottawa Olivia!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

On our way home - The Airport

We arrived at the airport, and Olivia knew. She quickly woke up and we searched for the check in counter.  It was so busy.  Martin walked around with Olivia as we were waiting in line. Thank goodness we bought an umbrella stroller.  As we got to the counter, the lady informed us.  NO more bassinets on the plane. The plane was full.  Hmm...that should be interesting.

We checked in and walked through the security check.  Then it was time for dinner.  We had some dinner.  Then at the airport we let Olivia let loose in the kid's area.  Let's tire her out before she gets on the plane.  She had a great time rolling around and playing with her toys.  She would roll from one end to the other side.  It was funny because as a new parent they protective part kicked in. There were kids running around and screaming.  I formed a somewhat a barrier so they kids don't topple over her.  Martin was ready to scold the other kids to be careful. hahahha

Then it was time to board.  12 hours and 40 minutes.   Well what can I say?  The flight was interesting.  It started off really well.  We got her distracted. She had some of her bottle (I practically forced it because I was so worried about her ears, but she was fine.)  Then we took out the toys and we played. Thankfully, the flight attendant had moved the person who was supposed to be in our row to another seat, so we had some space.  THANK YOU!   We had some dinner and then lights out. 

She wanted to go to bed, but again was not familiar with her surroundings so she put up a bit of a fuss.  Finally she went down. We put her in the middle of us, and we were able to take a "short" nap.  Another mother walked by with her fussy screaming baby...Olivia woke up.  Argh! She was startled and was unconsolable. I had to move to the middle section where the attendants were working. Poor thing.  The flight attendants tried as well, but it was no help. Actually it made it worse. Sigh.  What made it more difficult was the flight attendents who were really trying to help and were fabulous wanted to pick her up and take care of her.  That wasn't going to happen.  I felt bad because they only wanted to help me and Olivia.  They saw that both of us were really tired, but I needed to take care of Olivia.  She needed me to be the one to hold her. This went on for a good 45 minutes.  Finally I found a corner where was no distraction and she fell asleep.  Went back to our seat sand she slept in my arms for about another hour or two.    However, she would occasionally wake up and had to go straight to the back of the plane to console her.  In the last 3 hours of the trip, she was amazing.  Laughing and playing. We finally landed in Toronto.  We were in Canada.  Phew.

We happily went through customs and immigration.  With a final stamp, Olivia was now a Canadian resident.  Thursday, February 25th, 2010.  We got a "Welcome to Canada" package and we were on our way.

We saw Lola and Lolo, and Tita Melissa, Tita Rowie and Ethan at the airport.  She was in a super good mood.  Unfortunately, our baggage made us more delayed and the ticketing at Terminal 1 was infuriating.  They only got to see her for about 10 minutes.  Oh well...they'll have more time with her later.  We got through to our gate finally. Everyone was tired.  She had a good flight back and it was only when we landed and waiting on the tarmac for 45 minutes that she got fussy.  We can only imagine how tired she was.  We didn't even get to get the "Ottawa photo" in the airport because of the delay.  Anyways...

We finally got our baggage (sans walker) and put on her snowsuit.  We went to the car, strapped her in and we were on our way home.  Exhausted, grumpy, hungry, and absolutely happy.  She's really home.  She's really ours.  We're really parents.

Parenthood - Part 2

Okay..went to go check up on her and she's still sleeping. We are going on 1 hour and a half nap.  Poor thing. Ugh..I hope she will be able to sleep on the plane. ANyways...I'll worry about that later.  Right now, we are all packed. Martin and M. Savard went to TOYSRUS. ahhahaha  We realized that we are missing a couple of toys.  Also, we are going to buy one of those walker thingys and we'll see if Martin comes back with another umbrella stroller. hahahhaha


Sooo..we said our heartbreaking heart-aching goodbyes.  Then she was ours. We walked back to the apartment and stared our family life together.  FM said that she needed a nap so we got some formula ready.  Actually there were a few attempts at it. While she was being distracted I tried to do the formula.  Too hot. Had to wait.  Slowly, Olivia was more aware that this was a different apartment from what she's used to.  Then she began to look left and right. Where was Omma?  Then the tears. We tried to distract her again with snacks (as bribes ahhah) and toys.  Then...screams. She was not a happy camper.  We carried her and rocked her, nothing was going to comfort her.  Bottle was ready...maybe she was hungry?  She refused.  She refused to do anything with us except cry.  It really was sad. But thank goodness Martin and I expected it. We knew this was going to be hard for her. We checked with each other.  "Are you okay?"  "Yup... you?"  "Yup".  She had such an attachment with the foster family and on top of that she was weary of strangers (maybe because of the doctor visits?).  The crying and screaming lasted for about 1 hour.  We were going to be okay.

We took Ms. Bang's advice and gave her a bath. She loved it. She loves water. Martin is happy about that :0).  The bath lasted about 15 minutes.  She was fighting her exhaustion and finally she let go.  Then she went for a nap. Which of course didn't last long. Maybe 30 minutes.  We tried her on the formula, she didn't take it.  Ugh..what were we doing wrong.

Thank goodness we went to one of those Adopttalk workshops that said, that this was Olivia's was of being in distress and anxious.  All kids go through it. Be patient.  Go with the flow.  Okayyyyyy.  Sure enough she played for a bit sitting on the couch, laughing, and babbling.  Her nose was runny, and she was gnawing on the toys. Sigh....she's teething.  This should be interesting.  She did eventually eat and had a bottle of formula.  Grandparents thankfully brought over dinner because we didn't have a chance to get out.  Pizza and McDonalds. Take out is great!

Because of total exhaustion, our little angel fell asleep. A wonderful 11 - 6:45 hour sleep.  She did wake up at around for a bottle, but had no problems going back to bed.  She woke up in a better mood.  She had some cereal and a bottle.  YAY!  After playing for a bit, she went down for a nap at around 9. - 12.   Daddy went with Grandpapa to Lotte World to buy more toys for a trip.  (Daddy came back home with more than toys...sigh).  Grandmama came over to the apartment to keep me company while I packed and waited for her to wake up.  (Started to blog this while she was sleeping).  I guess that's what I have to do now on. hahaha.  Do my stuff while she's sleeping.

Daddy came home and Olivia woke up around 1ish. She had a great lunch.  Grandparents came back with lunch. McDonalds.  YAY!  Did I mention that they were awesome.  After our lunch, we started to get ready and Olivia went down for a nap at around 3.  Yikes...our taxi was to come at around 4.  What can you do? 

Olivia woke up at around 3:30. Well..we kind of made some noise so that she would wake up.  Not a great decision.  We tried to make it up to her by giving her a bath.  Then we changed her to get ready.  Not really happy.  But we made it downstairs. She was being really fussy, and I think it's because we kind of rushed her out of there.   Ms. Bang was downstairs waiting for us to say good bye.  It's too bad she didn't see Olivia in her better moods.    Olivia's teeth were bothering her and she didn't like being in the Beco.

We said our goodbyes. I think she was worried, but I will email her and give her an update to tell her that she is settling well.  Once in the car, Olivia fell asleep on the way to the airport.  Sigh.  We were going home.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Marty's take....quick update

Hey Everyone, both of my girlfriends are sleeping now, and taking 5 minutes of my work day to give you a brief update.
The return trip was quite an ordeal, ...meaning the Toronto-Ottawa leg...took us 6 hours before getting home last night at 3AM instead of 11. (+lost of luggage)
I am always amaze, how, when there is a little snow, how unprepared city's and airport we are living in California...anyway!!!

Mel should be able to be back on-line to go over the last couple of days...(updates, do's and don't  and lesson learned for all of our friend that are awaiting to visit Korea in the next few months. )

Mel is so awesome!!!! and I think Olivia learned that to!
Olivia is doing good...a little bit confuse sometime of her surrounding, but that smile is even better live!
She is eating well, (you shouldn't be surprise!! haha) extremely playful, and quite a flirt!..

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Welcome to Parenthood! Part 1

Well...yesterday was our "gotcha" day.  Couldn't write yesterday because..holy moly. What a day!  Olivia is sleeping now. She went to bed around 10:ish and woke up around 6:00am. Then she down for an extra long nap.  What an exhausting day AND night for all us, I"m not surprised that she's sleeping this long. Martin keeps telling me to check if she's breathing. hahahahh the bottom is a recount of yesterday's "process".

In the morning, we woke up early (as usual) and went for a walk again to get mentally prepared for the day.  We were super excited but anxious to see how Olivia holds up from the separation from her foster family.  We came back to the apartment and got ready around 9:15ish.  Collected the grandparents at 9:30 from their room.  I am sure that Ms.Bang had said 10:40, 1st floor of the guest house.  But when we got downstairs, no Ms. Bang so they called her down.  She arrived quickly as her office is only next door. She told us that Olivia and foster family were already in next door. But she wanted to bring us to where Olivia was born. Upstairs on the 3rd floor was the "baby reception center".  Here was the nursery Olivia was placed soon after she was born.  We quietly entered the baby nursery to find a room of newborns on one side and infants on the other.  The nurses were all going around their cribs either feeing, changing diapers, or playing. It was such a special place.  Then, Ms. Bang asked if we were ready.  We headed back downstairs and went across to the building.  When we walked into the building there was foster mother (FM) and foster dad waiting in the lobby. There was our little Olivia wondering what the heck was going on.  Little did she know that this would be the last time she would see her foster family and she would be part of our family from now on.  Breathe.

Ms. Bang ordered them to go see the doctor in the office for a check up and final report and we preceded upstairs to wait for them.  Upstairs she took us to a room and handed all the paper work that needed to be done.  She handed us a report of what she collected from the foster mother that day when we first met.  She handed us the immigration papers, visa, and passport (which is the cutest passport ever!).  Then in walked FM with Olivia.  She quickly set her down of the coffee table and we started to play with her.  FM had brought all the things she promised to us on that first day. Food, bottles, and snacks. She also gave back the things we gave Olivia at Christmas and she put in some of Olivia's favourite toys.  Then Ms. Bang asked us if there were any questions.  Nothing. I didn't know what else to say.  Ms. Bang then told us that IF she because really upset then Olivia would love to take baths.  She needed to sleep when she got to the apartment. I sensed her and FM distress about Olivia's situation.  They loved her so much and I think they anticipated the negative reaction when Olivia realizes that FM would not be there.  I'll tell you know...they were right.  They were right that Olivia would have a hard time.

Anyways..after the discussion, Ms. Bang introduced us to the director who handed us a small gift from the SWS. A small jewellery box.  Something to put in her memory box for sure.  We all gave hugs and then she said "It is time to go to the elevator". I heard about the dreaded elevator scene and it lived up to it's hype.  This was where we FM had to say her goodbyes to Olivia.  I carried her over to the elevator, passed Olivia to Martin and hugged and thanked FM. I waved to FD in the back (he was crying too).  We stepped into the elevator and the door closed and we watched FM crying and waving goodbye.  UGH.  Just thinking about it...ugh.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Marty's take....another early Morning

OK, this is is Wednesday and in about 5 hour...well guess what!!!!
Tonight was actually the first night I was able to sleep a good 7 hours. I only remember going to bed with a smile in my face and waking up with the same smile.
...... how can I not... Life IS Wonderful!   < ------click

My 2 girlfriends!!!!

The Day We Met Our Little Girl!

Forever Family Day....This is a long one!
Well..needless to say..we didn’t really sleep the night before.  We actually were awake after only 6 hours of sleep.  We woke up about 4:30 and talked for a bit about what the day meant, our expectations (none), and our hopes.  We decided to get up and head down to Starbucks before waking up the grandparents.  I think we were just pretty anxious and the fresh air would help us get distracted.  We got our coffee and scoped out places to eat for breakfast.  We came back and got ready for breakfast and we all left to this cafe called Caffe Lucci.  Already by then my tummy was turning...3 more hours.
After breakfast we walked around a bit trying to figure out what was around the guest house area. Got some things for lunch because we knew 1:00 was around the corner and we didn’t want to be late.  Sooo..bought some bread and peanut butter ($9.00!) and headed back to the apartment to get ready.  I straightened my hair, we ironed the clothes thoroughly.  Wanted to look our very best.  We went to the grandparents room with the gifts in hand and gave them the camera and video then we went over to the SWS building beside the guesthouse at around 12:40 (a 1 minute walk from the guesthouse).
Of course...lunchtime (12:00 - 1:00).  We waited in the lobby.  Tried to watch a bit of the Olympics on the TV but couldn’t focus.  My tummy was not right.  My hands were shaking. We were trying to keep up a conversation to keep distracted but our eyes were on the clock. Every now and then we would see nurses carrying babies up and down the elevator. They were most likely going to the nursery in the hospital.  Can’t help thinking which nurse was the one who was taking care of Olivia when she was born. 
 Okay...12:50, let’s go ask for Ms. Bang of the SWS.  The lady directed us to the 7th floor of the hospital.  We squeezed into this tiny elevator not breathing.  Got off on our floor and on the left was the SWS office.  Immediately, Ms. Bang greeted us at the door.  I just wanted to run up to her and give her a big and thank her for all she’s done. But of course, that was not proper and so I shook her hand with both of my hands really hard.  She told us to have a seat and she would call for a taxi to bring us to the foster family’s house.  
The office wasn’t what I imagined.  It just looked  a room full of cubicles with social workers talking on the phone or on the computer.  On the other side of the room, were 2 rooms. The first room we recognized right away because it was the “photo” room.  This was the room where Olivia’s pictures and DVD came from.  We laughed as we recognized all the toys she was playing with in the DVD and pictures.  While we were waiting, we were ALL taking deep breathes. There were occasionally bursts of nervous laughter.  Martin gave the presents to the Ms. Bang and for the staff at SWS.  She must have been used to all the gift bags.  Oh well..they all deserve it. 
While we were waiting, Ms. Bang handed us a note from the foster mother.  A letter to Olivia’s parents.  There we read about how much love and care she had for Olivia, and she wished us the very best.  I was very touched about her devotion and love she had for Olivia.  When was the taxi coming?
Finally, I look up and see Ms. Bang put on her coat.  The taxi was here.  OH MY GOSH!
We hoped into this black minivan.  Again...deep breathes.  We hopped into the van and we were off. Ms. Bang reminded us that we have a 1 hour visit.  Plus..the 1 hour to get there. ugh.  The ride there was super quiet and super hot.  The day couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun was shining and it seemed like it was a beautiful spring day.  During the drive, we recognized some of the streets we have visited the day before.  I actually thought it might have been better to take the subway. hahahha  Finally we turned right off the street and went up a steep hill. This must be it.  We reached an apartment building that was on top of a hill and got off.  Breathe.  We got into another tiny elevator and Ms. Bang pressed the 2nd floor button.  We got out of the elevator and there it was.  Apartment 203.  She pressed the doorbell and the door opened.
As soon as the door opened we were greeted by many family members. hahaha  I recognized the foster mother right away from the pictures. She was tall and slim just like the photos.  She was wearing jeans and a yellow sweater.  There was foster grandmother too. I’m thinking she was the mother of the foster mother because they resembled each other. a blink of an eye.  Olivia came strolling along with her walker just to see what all the commotion was about at the door.  I couldn’t believe it. There she was.  With her spiky asian hair. Drooling.  And somewhat curious and nervous about all these new people.  By this time, we were still outside the apartment, bowing in respect and greeting. 
We finally walked into the apartment, took our shoes off, and went to greet Olivia. She took a couple of steps back and because of the walker she went a feet back. hahahaha  Ms. Bang and foster mother just rolled her back closer.  She was anxious, but not so much that she would burst into tears.  Martin and I just gravitated towards her and everyone in the back just disappeared. There she was...just staring at us.  She wasn’t as massive as we thought. Her hair was definitely longer and she still had that curious look.  She was beautiful.  Our beautiful baby girl.  At that moment there was nobody there, it was just Olivia, Martin and I.
Although she seemed curious about Martin and I, she was constantly looking back to see where foster mother was.  Respectfully, she was in the kitchen with the rest of the family to give us our moment. We can’t thank her enough for giving us that space.  martin reached for her hand and then she flung it out of his reach.  Didn’t want to be touched just yet.  I took out a stuff animal to give to her and she wasn’t ready for that.  Tossed that on the couch. ahhahah  We continued to be in her space, talking to her and playing. She was definitely interested and I think she was thinking there was something familiar about our faces and voices.  At least that’s what I had hoped.  She would move back a step and then foster mother (FM) would push her back.  Every time she would get a little closer.  
FM(foster mother) got up and went to get some snacks for Olivia so we could feed her.  Yup...those melt-in-your-mouth balls again. The ones that I had seen in the video and thought were a choking hazard were in my hands and I was offering it to her. hahahah  Would she trust me to feed her?  Would she let me close enough to put it in her mouth?  And she then took them.  YAY!  First step of trust.  Feeding.  
She was starting to get a bit fussy and the FM gave her a plastic bag to play with.  I thought..hmmmm...that’s all she needs. A plastic bag to play with and she was happy. She was strong. I was yanking on the bag and pulling it and she was pulling it back.  hahahha   All this time while we were playing with her, Ms. Bang and FM were talking. I could see that Ms. Bang was asking her questions and she was writing them down. Thank goodness because I had brought my book of questions to ask but my main focus was Olivia. I didn’t want to waste time talking about routines. I want to play.  ;0)  But Ms. Bang was so wonderful and she took the initiative.
Then the moment.  Martin came right up to her face and kissed her.  She didn’t move back, she didn’t cry. She just stared into his eyes.  (ugh..i’m teary eyed just thinking about it).  Again and again Martin would come in close and kiss her or kiss her hand.  At one point she had her whole fist in his mouth. HAHAHAH.  I laughed and thought “Ugh...daddy’s little girl”.    From then on there was no doubt in my mind that everything was going to be okay.  We continued to play with her and when we tickled her she was laughing with glee.  It was hilarious.  In the back, FM and Ms. Bang kept looking back to see why she was laughing so hard, and I think for FM it was very reassuring for her to know that Olivia would be okay.  I truly felt like a mom the moment she smiled at me, as if saying “Hi mommy!  Finally you guys are here.”
The hour seemed to fly.  We were so wrapped up in Olivia’s world.  Thank goodness we had a camera person and video person to capture the moment so we can watch it over and over again.  We said our heart-felt thank-you’s to the family. We gave FM a big hug.  Foster dad was okay with a handshake.  :0)  I will be forever grateful that Olivia had these months with these wonderful people who took such good care of her.  The foster family had said that they were going to give us a memory stick all the pictures they took of Olivia while she was with them.  What gift!  We took pictures all together with the family and foster family.  What a moment.  We hugged and kissed Olivia and promised to see her on Wednesday.
We walked out of the apartment and Martin and I hugged each other so hard.  We looked at each other and laughed.  It was if we didn’t breathe the whole time we were inside.  This time I couldn’t breathe because I was so happy.  We went outside took a picture of the foster family home so she could remember this was her home too while she was in their care.
The ride home was so surreal.  We were so full of excitement and anticipation.  I was exhausted.  hahahah  It hit me all at once.  We played with her, we talked to her, we kissed her.   We were finally taking our daughter home.  We had millions of questions for Ms. Bang in the car ( well I did ) because I didn’t remember a thing she told me during the visit. ;0p  We got back to SWS and we set a time to pick her up. Wednesday, February 24 at 11:00.  This is when she would be finally in our care and we can start our lives.
We got to the apartment and Martin burst into tears. I fell to the couch.  It’s time.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Marty's take....eating my words!

Well, well, look at me trying to predict how Olivia would react a few hours before we meet her...well we didn't really have any expectations, but a lot of hope, not that her reaction would have changed anything anyways,  BUT WOW!!!!
We just took it slow and talked to her  as she observed us, and after a few minutes, started to walk.
(well she was on one of those walkers that are banned in Canada!!!!! which is too bad, since you really get a sense of her mood by the way she is moving , daring or suspicious.) going one step back 2 steps forward.
She finally pushed herself toward Melanie and starting interacting with her, to finally just wanting to talk and play!!!! few smooches and food playing with Daddy (hihihi) then Mel went for it...she pulled her out of her walker and start playing.....wait for it, wait for it...NO CRYING!!!!! just big laughs and drools!!!!!( as you can see on the picture!) anyway..Mel will go in details, but wow and wow again..
Before leaving as we where saying our goodbyes, I got the biggest smooch on my cheek, so much that even the foster mom and social worker got surprised and started to laugh.
As we walked out the door we got a few claps, huge smile and goodbye waves from our baby girl!

Play by play comments from Mel coming!

Words cannot express how we feel

Today, is a day we will never forget for the rest of our lives.  Tears of joy.  She's perfect in every way. We were destined to have her in our lives.  Her smile...ugh..her smile will light up the room.  Her laugh...will put a permanent grin on your face.  Day 1 on forever.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marty's take---early morning

Well, when people told me that I would have some lack of sleep now with Olivia...I didn't expect to be before I actually meet her!
Last night was the type of night I have before I travel to a race. Twisting and turning, thinking, mentally rehearsing, and of course the little sleep you get, you dream about it!
Good thing I'm married to my soul sate, because...she ended being awake too!

Today is the morning of the first time I will meet our long awaited daughter.....even if I know this will be difficult for her, I just feel like a groupie!!!
I never felt so nervous in my life, you know when your around some famous people, they don't really pay attention to you, but your there and you feel privileged and excited to be there.

Baby O, thank you for letting us in after your first 8 months of your life, and now moving forward I will like to make you the same promise I made your mommy the day we got married,
Love and fun.....where there's Love there's fun...and as long as we have fun,  everything will be ok.

Korea - Day 2

Well...we went to bed early the night before (8:30ish) and we thought we would sleep in till 8:30am. We had a hard time going back to sleep at 1:30am. Sigh. Oh well..we did manage to go back to sleep and woke up at 7. hahah  The morning started off well, we got ready and had a small breakfast at the apartment and then went down the street to our Starbucks.  Then we were off.  
Our first stop was to see the Changdeok-gung Palace.  Our first touristy stop. I mean that we actually had a guided tour around the palace grounds.  There were many opportunities to take pictures.  The grounds itself and architecture were stunning.  Even though the walkways were muddy from the melting snow, we still had a great time walking around.  It was another gorgeous day in Seoul. 
From there we went back to the quaint little street by the Gyeongbok-gung Palace.  We ate at this cute restaurant that had an “all inclusive” menu.  Our meals included hot tea, a soft drink and a dessert with our meal.  It was great!  We loved the atmosphere and the washrooms were a highlight.  The toilets had so many gadgets that we didn’t know what button to press to flush! hahaha  But our butts were pretty cozy with the seat warmer.  After the excitement from the washroom we decided to go visit a Buddhist temple.
We walked along Insadong which was a pedestrian area.  The lanes were full people and vendors selling many Korean crafts and souvenirs.  From the street, we turned off and headed towards Jogyesa Temple. It is the largest buddhist temple in Seoul and was built in 1938.  Inside there were 3 giant Buddha’s about 30 feet tall or taller. We were able to witness prayers and took a moment to reflect.  Then we walked over and made some prayer offerings for family and friends.  I think Martin was truly touched by this experience.  No Dalai Lama sightings though. ;0)
After that we found a really cute Italian restaurant (that played a Disney soundtrack in the back).  It was called Casa Agio. It was the most authentic looking restaurant that we have ever seen.  We ordered a bottle of wine and had a thin crust pizza as appetizer.  It was yummy!  We then set out back on Insadong and to the end of the street.  We hoped back on the subway and headed home. 
 It’s now 7:30 and my mind keeps wondering to the fact that we are going to see Olivia tomorrow.  Both Martin and are pretty excited but anxious.  How is she going to react?  Will she love us as much as we love her?  How can we meet her tomorrow and not bring her home at that moment?  
We will tell you how it goes tomorrow. For now...good night!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 1- Seoul

We made it!  After a long haul from Ottawa, we arrived this morning in Seoul at 3:30am.  Everything went smoothly from the plane ride to picking up our luggage to finding a taxi to take us to the SWS.  Thank goodness.  We arrived shortly after 5:00 (it was about a 60km drive from the airport to the guesthouse).  We quickly got settled (meaning we dumped our stuff in the room) and changed into our pjs for a quick nap.

We woke up after a 3 hour nap got ready and set out to get to know Seoul.  Well...we managed to look for somewhere to eat for about 45 minutes. Actually we were searching for a Starbucks. We heard it was around the corner, but WHICH CORNER?  Sooo..we did some exploring and found out that nothing was opened!  We finally found some bakery that just opened at stocked up on some baked goodies. We got to have our first breakfast at THE COFFEE BEAN and TEA LEAF shop.  Yum!  After that we went searching for some Diet Pepsi, but sadly we only found Coke.  We brought all our goodies back to the room and tried to set out a plan.

Our day started with getting to know the subway system.   Looking at the subway map it was pretty overwhelming, but by the end of the day we were transferring left and right.  We had some issues in the beginning about the tourist card, but ended up getting the hang of it.  Great system!  Our first stop was Namdaemum Market.  I LOVED IT!  It was everything that I expected and more from an Asian market. There were knock-offs galore.  We didn't buy anything, but it was just exciting to be part of that atmosphere. The hustle and bustle of people trying to find the latest "Pradalen" bag. ahhaha  Then it was time for lunch. I had some worrisome experiences eating in an outdoor food alley, but everything went well. No tummies aches from our lunch which really consisted of rice and Bulgogi (beef and noodle).  After lunch, we took the subway to find a palace or temple.

On our way there, we ended up finding this quaint neighbourhood with narrow cobble streets.  This area was very chic in a very traditional old way. Restaurants that appeared "high-end" where in these ancient looking buildings which made it a very cool place to eat (meaning a great tourist trap).  After walking around there we ended up find the Gyeongbok-gung Palace.  The grounds house the National Museum and National Folklore Museum. It was beautiful. Finally some place that doesn't resemble a North American site.  Unfortunately, we arrived at 4:45 and the museums closed at 5:00.  Oh well, we got to walk around the grounds and had some picture opportunities.  Hopefully we'll be back later on this week to actually get to see what was inside the museum.

Around 6:00 we decided to head back to the guest house, we had grand plans of a wonderful Korean dinner suggested by Mme Savard's friend. However....we called it a night and order Domino's pizza. :0)
Until tomorrow...

p.s. I'm soooo tired that I'm not going to read this over.  ;0)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dear Family and Friends

As we prepare for the arrival of our daughter, Martin and I would like to thank you for all your continued love and support during our journey.  Your affection towards Olivia has been overwhelming.

Going through the process as you know our daughter would have gone through more changes and life altering experiences that most adults could handle.  We can imagine how much harder the changes will be for her.  While she may not consciously remember the events, she will still experience immense loss, including feelings of grief and trauma.  She will soon experience the loss of familar and comforting caretakers as well as the sights, smells, and language from her birth country.  Her world will turn upside down.  She will struggle with feeling safe and secure and she may lack the ablity to trust that we will meet her needs.

We have prepared to meet her emotional needs so that she does learn that we will always take care of her and we will always keep her safe.  We need your support.  In order to form a strong and healthy attachement we will allow her to regress so that she has the opportunity to go through all of the emotional stages with us.  Although it may appear that we are spoiling her and seem over-protective, we have been advised that it is best that we  meet every need quickly and consistently.  Until she has learned that we are her parents, we will need to be her primary caretakes at all times.  It is essential that we always hold her, feed her, and do all of the nurturing.  You may wonder how long this will take, but the timeline is different for every child.  We will follow her lead and trust our instincts as her parents rather that worry about what society expects.

We have all been waiting anxiously for our daughter to arrive but she has not been waiting for us.  She may show her grief and confusion in many ways and we are prepared to help her through it and prove that we are a forever family and this truly is her last stop.  We trust that as our family and friends you will help us to do what is best for our daughter, and we thank you in advance for your support and understanding.

Friday, February 12, 2010

We have a date!!!!

OMG!  It's so unbelievable.  We have a plane ticket - leaving Thursday, February 18th.  We have a room reservation - SWS Guest house.  We have an appointment - Melanie and Martin meet their daughter - February 22nd at 1:00pm.  This date rings a bell..hmmmm.  :0)

We are busy getting things organized.  I am busy creating a "Things to do" list.  I don't know what else to say....WE'RE COMING!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Travel News! WOOHOO!

Of course we would get travel news today!  The Vancouver 2010 Olympics start this week, it's Valentines' day weekend, it's our 10 year anniversary, Martin's parents are in Europe, dad just came home from the hospital, and we met up with the Papps-Csatari and Rollins Family on the weekend. 

We got the call 9am Tuesday morning. Our LONO was sent December 14th.  Waiting time to travel was approximately 8 weeks.  During the period of the LONO being sent and travel notice, we received another set of pictures and a DVD of Olivia. 
I was in class and was asked to get a call from the Martin in the office.  Had no idea it would be a travel call, because we had spoken to Maria the Sunday night before and she said travel notice would most likely be NEXT week.  Somebody up there knew we needed to get to Korea and pick her up.  It was time.'s up to Brenda at CB to find a flight for us and then we go.  We'll fill you in with the details soon.  I guess we have to put in the car seat now.  It was the only thing that was still in a box.  ;0p

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Officially the nicest room in the house :0)

There really hasn't been anything new to update while we are waiting for our travel news.
We are still anxious, excited, overjoyed, and still (and always will be) completely, madly, in love with Olivia.
We are happy to say though after months of preparing...Olivia's room (and bathroom) are finally done.  Clothes are in the closet, the drawers are filled, diapers are stocked, and linens have been changed, monitors are working, and toys have been put in their place. Oh yes....and the glider is ready for bedtime stories.

Thank you to all who had a part in helping us make Olivia's room the nicest room in the house.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Marty's take--another week

Countdown still going.....another week step closer.. As you probably can imagine..every week is getting harder to wait, but this week we got an incredible gift!
For the first time we saw our baby girl play, smile...and TALK!!!! (well something like blah, bruuuuuut,yayayayya,  baaaahh) which clearly mean, "man! those toys are the bomb!" (hahhahaha)

The SWS actually sent us 1 new picture enclosed in a DVD of her playing with the toys. We got about 6 clips..(which we can't stop watching over and over!!!!!)and let me tell you a few things!!!
-She is sooooooooo Beautiful!
-Her smile is as priceless as it is from her pictures! is her size;-)
-She is clearly REALLY curious....and has a go-getter attitude.... just like,.....let me go grab that toy there!
-She Loves music (well funny sounds!)
...and she is quite a piano player!

I wish we could post the clip, but we are not able to breakdown the video.....

I got as well another gift, this time from my wife, which got me a picture frame that says "Love at first sight" with a picture of Olivia, for my office...oh yeah...I know, she's the best!
Saying we can't wait to be with her would be the understatement of the year, but even so far away, everyday she is with us in our hearts and mind.
Everyday, when time seems to go by way too fast, I take a moment to breathe, clear my laptop, so I can see her picture smiling in the background, which brings a smile to my face and hope that we will be together soon.

Daddy misses you, O. until we meet! stay strong!