* I realize this post is quite lengthy, but I just want you to have an idea of how we got to where we are today. Enjoy!
I received this text from Talton in December 2011: "We need to talk tonight. I just had a meeting with my bosses. I can't talk about it now." Riiiiight, like I was going to leave that alone for the next 6 hours until he got home. Let's just say in about 2 minutes flat he was hiding somewhere to make a quiet phone call to me to explain. He said they offered him a 2 year position in Busan, South Korea and wanted to know what I thought about that. Thinking he just misspoke and meant Colorado or New York or somewhere IN THE UNITED STATES, I asked him to repeat the location. "South Korea." I could hardly believe what we were discussing. I told him in a casual conversation years before that I would consider moving for his job under one condition....I didn't have to work. I mean, someone would have to set up the house, take care of the house, and if we had kids at that point, take care of the kids, all in a new place. I wouldn't have time to do all that and work. It's at this point in our South Korea conversation that he tells me I wouldn't have to work if I agreed to this. That means I would get the opportunity to be a stay at home mom with my sweet one and two year old boys. The next thing that popped into my head was, "If I was a stay at home mom here, I could find plenty to do. There's no Hobby Lobby or Target in South Korea....What would I do with the boys?" Another thing that both of us were concerned with right from the start was the situation with Parker's eye (he was diagnosed with pediatric congenital glaucoma in his left eye at 6 months old). How often would he need to see a doctor? Would there be a doctor in Korea, or would we have to travel back every few months to the U.S. to have him checked? We quickly agreed that if his ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist said that we couldn't swing this, then we wouldn't even discuss this any further. And how about this: What in the world would we do with our house for 2 years? Oh, and where would we live there....in a tepee? in a hut? Would I have a bicycle everywhere with the boys in a little covered tent trailing behind me? I know this sounds ignorant, but I had absolutely no idea about anything related to South Korea. And even more importantly, what would we eat there? I'm super picky and let's be real about eating habits of young children, or at least my young children...they live on milk, chicken nuggets, french fries, and goldfish. Then, my thoughts turned to all the important people in my life that we would leave behind. When I say it was extremely difficult for me to even discuss leaving these people, I'm talking tears every single time we talked about it. And when I say tears, I mean outright bawling. We discussed this relocation for at least 3 weeks before we even told our family, because we didn't want to get them all worked up and worried about something that might not happen. Talton and I talked about this every.single.day. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting to go through all the pros and cons on a daily basis for that long. Long story short, it was around a month later that Talton and I looked at each other and said, "Let's do it!" We decided that this opportunity was one we couldn't pass up. It's one of those once in a life time deals where I get to be a stay at home mom and treasure this time with my kids that I'll never get back, experience a completely different culture, and make memories that we would otherwise probably never get to make as a family. The boys are so young that we wouldn't have to pull them out of school. Parker's eye is doing great, and his glaucoma doctor said we could wait to see him again until December when we would return to the U.S.. This is an amazing opportunity for Talton's career, which in turn is great for our family. We would figure out the food situation and learn to like new things....boy was that a hard pill to swallow for me at first, but then I thought that this could be a great diet plan for me! :) They emailed us pictures of beautiful buildings we would have the option of living in, so the thought of living in a tepee went out the window. As hard as it was to tell our family and friends that we would be leaving to live literally on the other side of the world, we took the next step and accepted this opportunity that I like to call "our adventure". We were excited for what was in store but had no idea what was to come as far as preparing to pack up not only our house but our life. It's a good thing I'm a very organized person who plans pretty well. :)
We were told that Talton would be leaving in February more than likely. With that in mind, I went into overdrive with making to do lists: things to pack for storage in Houston, things to pack to be shipped to Korea, people to call, things to buy, doctors to see, vaccinations to be gotten, passports for the boys (by the way, SUPER ADORABLE to see baby passports!), and the list goes on and on and on. We decided that I would stay and finish out the school year, and then the boys and I would join Talton in Busan in June. As far as our house situation, my step dad offered to stay in our house while we were gone so that we wouldn't have to rent it out to some yoo-hoo that we don't know (THANK YOU, Wayne!!!). I planned Parker's 1st birthday party a little earlier than I would have otherwise, thinking that I didn't want Talton to miss that important celebration. Well, Talton didn't end up leaving in February. We learned that it can take many months for Visas and other vital paperwork to be processed....thank goodness because that meant Talton didn't have to leave us for a little while longer. February turned into March and then March turned into April. Then the phone call came that everything was ready for him to make the move the following week. He left April 15, and the boys and I moved into my mom and step dad Joel's house since the movers had already come and packed up our house a few days before Talton left (THANK YOU, Mom and Joel!!!). Talk about stressful....having to keep track of 5 men for 9 hours that are packing up your house and making sure they send the correct stuff to storage and the correct boxes to Korea. Dropping Talton off at the airport was very difficult for me, because I knew it would be 7 1/2 weeks until we'd be together again. I kept busy with work and even busier with the boys, so that occupied a lot of my time. We all still missed Talton terribly. All I gotta say is: I love Skype! Because of Skype, we were able to talk to the boys' daddy at least once, if not twice, a day.
6 1/2 weeks rolled by and the school year came to a close. We were on a one week countdown at this point. That last week in Houston was spent running last minute errands, packing, eating at Mexican food restaurants nearly every day to get my fix, and spending lots of quality time with people I love and would miss dearly. The morning came for the boys, my mom, and I to get on the plane and make the looonnnggg journey to South Korea. This was one of the saddest and sweetest mornings of my life. My siblings woke up extra early to ride with us to the airport to see us off. Many tears were shed, but my heart was so full from their love that morning. They wanted to spend every second with us that they could, and they did, all the way until we walked into the airport the morning of June 6. Turning around and walking away from them was super hard, but I was so excited to get to Busan to hug my hubby again.
After our 13 hour flight from Houston to Tokyo, Japan (where the boys didn't really sleep much at all and there was not a very understanding young lady.... Let's just say Karma will be coming back to bite her and her blue glitter press on nails in the you know what. You don't mess with a tired mommy of two babies and her momma bear), we had a long layover in Tokyo for over 4 hours. It was so hot in the airport, and I was so exhausted from lack of sleep and dealing with crying, exhausted babies on the first leg of our flight that I was physically sick. As Connar and Parker cried to be held, cried to be put down, cried to see the planes, cried because I wouldn't let them crawl into places they weren't allowed to go, and cried because they were so tired but wouldn't give in to the sleep for those 4 hours, I kept reminding myself that this too shall pass. We finally got on the flight from Tokyo to Busan. The first thing we did was offer ear plugs to those around us. They weren't needed for about the first hour and 15 minutes of the flight as the kindest Japanese lady ever tried to entertain Connar with origami before he passed out for about an hour. He woke up screaming with about 45 minutes left in the flight and didn't let up until just before landing, even though the sweet Japanese lady switched seats with him thinking he'd calm down if he could see the lights out the airplane window. I carried him off the plane sleeping on my shoulder and laid him in his stroller as soon as it was given to us after we exited the plane. Parker slept on that flight too but was interrupted by Connar's screaming, so he was not sleeping by the time the plane landed in Busan. Mom and I filled out customs and arrival papers, got our luggage, and then headed out the international arrival door to see Talton waiting anxiously just outside the door. I couldn't get to him fast enough. Of course, he was over the moon to see his boys. Parker gave him a kiss, and Connar didn't wake up for another 5 or so minutes when he heard his daddy's voice behind him pushing the stroller. He sat straight up and turned around with the biggest smile on his face. He was thrilled to see his daddy, and his daddy was even more tickled that his little boy was so excited to see him after so long.
That brings us to Busan, South Korea. My mom spent two weeks here, helping us to get settled in. We explored and toured like nobody's business for those two weeks. Then it was time for her to return home. Telling her goodbye was the hardest goodbye of all for me. Talton, the boys, and I stayed with her until the last minute and watched her until she was out of view. I know it was bittersweet for her to leave, because that's the way I felt leaving Houston coming to Busan. She didn't want to leave us, but she also wanted to be home. I didn't want to leave my life, family, and friends in Houston, but I wanted to be with my husband and the boys missed their daddy tons. As we drove away from the airport that day, I couldn't help but think, this is it. The time has come for us to do this as a family. We're going to do this... experience new things, learn tons of stuff, visit many amazing places, and just be a family all together again. This adventure is so exciting for us. Here we go! :)