Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Picking Out Pumpkins

Last weekend Greg and I took Kennedy to Owen's Farm to pick out a pumpkin, and do other farm related activities.

There was a petting zoo set up where you could walk around and feed the goats through the safety of a fence. They were very aggressive goats. I'm reaching my limit on petting zoos (we seem to encounter them frequently, is this a Texas thing?) and I didn't want to deal with them nudging me for food. I took the first turn walking with Kennedy and feeding them. Third goat we got to snatched my cup of food. I can't be certain, but I am pretty sure I heard the other goats chanting, "Be aggressive. B. E. Aggressive."

The farm had a hayride set up and Kennedy was quite excited to ride on the tractor. And she loved walking through the pumpkin selection and picking one out. She had enough excitement by the time mommy pulled out the camera, and if you look closely, you can see a tube of mini M&Ms in my hand. Bribery for photos. She was so intent on not taking a picture that not even the lure of chocolate could get her to sit down and smile.

It was a great day for the Hunters at the farm and we look forward to making this an annual trip.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Korea Fun: The Wedding

Saving the best for last...the wedding! Sora and Eric were married in Jinju and had both Western and Korean ceremonies followed by a luncheon. The whole day went a little something like this:

Sora's sister met me and my mom to help us get dressed in our hanboks (traditional Korean dresses). I was pretty excited to wear the dress and we were the only non-Koreans wearing the dress. Sora sat in a viewing room and guests who drove from both near and far could walk up, say hello and take pictures. My brother stood by the entrance of the wedding hall saying hello and introducing us to his Korean friends and new family.

Western Ceremony
The western ceremony was first and had all the elements you are thinking: beautiful white dress, tuxedo, flowers, smoke and bubbles. Whaaat? Ok, maybe there were a few surprises. There was a Korean Tim Gunn constantly fussing over my brother, Sora and our parents to make sure clothing was hitting the floor just right and the ceremony moved efficiently. He is also the one who wheeled in the cake table. The cake table with smoke, multi colored lights and a sword. Then a Korean woman came out to sing a traditional wedding song to the new couple. Following the ceremony, we took a bunch of pictures and moved on to the Korean ceremony.

Korean Ceremony
Wow. The clothing was beautiful and the whole family got to participate. Funny side note: my brothers and I have larger than average heads. Its always been a running joke. But the hat Eric was supposed to wear didn't fit! Luckily there was an elastic strap to hold it on his big, ol' noggin. This part went by pretty fast and Eric had a lot to keep up with translating and telling us what to do when.


After the wedding ceremonies everyone (including other weddings going on simultaneously) changed back into their normal clothes and went downstairs for a big, Korean lunch. If you ask me, there weren't enough meat grills and too many items with eyes.

Some of the aforementioned eyes. 
We said our good-byes to Sora's family in Jinju and boarded the bus bound for Seoul. I really hope we get to see her family again sometime soon, it was really wonderful meeting everyone. Once back in Seoul, we all went out to a big dinner and to a karaoke room. My brother's NM friends are nearly professionals at karaoke, and my brother Alex is a legitimate musician. So I was timid at first. But after many (many) drinks, I thought I was a finalist on the Voice and could hardly give up the mic.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Korea Fun: Jinju

The reason we traveled to Korea was to be there for my brother and Sora's wedding. Although the majority of our trip was in Seoul, we spent a night in Jinju, where the wedding took place. Jinju is about 4 hours (by a funny yellow bus) south east of Seoul and is where Sora's family lives.

Sora's parents have a bed and breakfast near a lake and gave us a very warm welcome with days worth of food when we arrived. There is a bit of a language barrier between the two families. And by a bit, I mean, none of us speak Korean and none of them speak English. But we all speak the language of food and alcohol so I guess it evens out. The drink of choice was called makgeolli, and it is a sweet, Korean rice wine. I'll be honest, many of the food items were unidentifiable by my untrained eye (is it fish, is it a noodle), so I sort of stuck to the bowl of almonds and my makgeolli.

We all loaded back on our yellow bus and went to a big Korean BBQ restaurant for dinner. The beer and soju (rice liquor either consumed by shot or poured into your beer) were flowing and everyone had a great time. My dad was pouring shots for Sora's dad. Sora's brother in law was pouring shots for my brother. You know what, everyone was pouring shots for everyone.

We had a great time getting to know her family and couldn't wait for the wedding the next day.

Our bus and most of the guys that were on it. 
Sora's nephew Yeou Jin and his sister Ji Woo (not pictured) were on the bus with us. Such cute little kids. Already learning English. 

Plentiful food and drink. Drinks are always served from oldest to youngest person. 

Sora's parents' house. 

Big Korean BBQ dinner. I can't express enough how much I loved the salty, grilled BBQ. 

Outside our room at the Asia Lakeside Hotel

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Korea Fun: Exploring

My brother Eric and his wife Sora were amazing tour guides while we were in town. Eric had a little more time off work than she did, so he was able to meet us at our hotel every morning and help us navigate the subways, busses and language barrier. We strolled through a bunch of busy market areas, plentiful of souvenirs, sights and food for those more adventurous than I.

We spent most of our time in Seoul, with an overnight trip south to Jinju for the wedding. While in Seoul our days were jam packed with sights and eats. We stayed in Gangnam, like the song, and found it pretty easy to get around. Most everyone speaks at least some English and the majority of signage is in both Korean and English. We saw so many cool things and barely even scratched the surface of Seoul. I loved walking through all the markets and really had to resist buying everything Hello Kitty and Pororo to bring home for Kennedy. Don't worry, we came home with more than enough trinkets for her.

Seoul at night from Namsan Tower (Seoul Tower)

Visiting Eric and Sora's apartment. We got used to taking our shoes off when indoors. 

The Explorers

Some things I didn't buy, but sort of wish I did. Oddly enough, there were ample opportunities to purchase underpinnings on the street.  

A small sampling of things I did not eat. 

Some cool things we saw. Brought Kennedy an awesome print from Hana Art Gallery. 

Buddhist temple nestled in the middle of skyscrapers in Seoul. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Korea Fun: DMZ Tour

The Hunters have returned from our respective vacations. Kennedy spent a week with Grammyflash and Big Poppa, while Greg and I went to a far away land known as Korea. We packed a lot into a week, and I wanted to share a few highlights. Overall, the trip was amazing. It was so different than what I expected, totally in a good way, and I actually ate way more than I thought I would be able to.

One of the first surreal experiences of the trip was a tour of the DMZ. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a swath of land cutting across the Korean Peninsula, separating the north from the south. Its an area meant to buffer the tensions between the two countries, which are technically still at war. The tour itself was about 7 hours and was fascinating, strange, and eerie all at the same time. We got a lot closer to the border than I thought we would be able to. Actually, we got to cross the border briefly when we entered one of the blue conference rooms below. We were accompanied by both US and Korean soldiers.

We also got to tour the Third Tunnel of Aggression, a tunnel designed for a surprise attack by North Korea. It was discovered by the South in 1978 and there are thought to be up to 20 more undiscovered passages. The tunnel was dark. And very tunnely.

View of the North Korean Visitors Center as seen from the steps of the South Korean Visitors Center. 
Top: Kjong-dong, the North Korean Propaganda Village, left: Republic of Korea soldier, right: diorama showing digging of tunnels from the North to the South. 

Top left: me and Greg, North Korea in the background. Top right: my family, uncles and cousins on the tour. Bottom pictures: We could look at North Korea from the balcony of an observatory, but could only take pictures from behind the photo line.

Friday, October 19, 2012

ABQ Balloon Fiesta

Before taking off on our trip to Korea, Kennedy and I went on an impromptu trip to Albuquerque to see our family. We timed the trip to coincide with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, something I truly miss about living in NM.

The Balloon Fiesta happens the first week in October, and with over 600 hot air balloons, it is the largest ballooning event, and the most photographed event on earth. The launch field is the size of 54 football fields put together. So yeah, its kind of a big deal in New Mexico.

My mom and I tried to take Kennedy to a morning launch, but gusty winds prevented the balloons from flying. So we ended up going on an evening picnic to watch a balloon glow. The balloons never leave the ground but inflate and glow in the night sky. We met my aunt, uncle and cousins, otherwise known as Grauntie, Gruncle, Clinton and Marlowe for a picnic dinner. Kennedy absolutely loved watching them inflate and wasn't scared at all by their size and loud noises. She may have liked the balloons, but she fell in love with the fireworks show. This is the first time she has ever seen fireworks and has been asking when she can see fireworks again.

The following morning we met some of my aunts, uncles and cousins for breakfast at my grandparents' house. This is a family tradition and sometimes we have been lucky enough for a balloon to land in their yard.

And now, a whole bunch of pictures from the trip.  
Kennedy watching the balloons inflate. 
 Bubble gun and nachos were a big hit. 
Balloon backdrops. 

Balloon glow at sunset. 

 Fireworks. And we may or may not be wearing coordinating Lilly jackets. 

 In awe. 
 Balloons in the morning at Papa and Nani's house.
 Kennedy got to run wild in the yard while I stayed toasty warm inside with Nani and Papa.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pumpkin Everything.

Kennedy and I had to get in on the Pumpkin Everything craze before we left for NM last week.  So we packed our pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin muffins and headed to the Arboretum for some pumpkin pictures. Just kidding about the pumpkin treats - iced tea and chocolate cookies are more my thing. Anypumpkin, we met up with a few friends and a photographer to walk around the pumpkin village. We opted for mini-sessions this time, only about 20 minutes per girl, and realized that was about as long as we needed. There were lots of cookie and bubble bribes to get her to stay in one place long enough to take a picture.

The pumpkin village is one of the big fall attractions in Dallas, so it tends to get a little crowded as the day goes on. We went early and finished our pictures just as it was starting to fill up with people. Kennedy and I found a quiet, shady area next to some waterfalls for our picnic lunch. She had a great time spinning in the grass, running around, looking for fairies in the flowers and occasionally taking bites of her food. There was hardly anyone around so we felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Such a little lady. 

Coordinating with one of the Chihuly sculptures. and swiping my sammich.  



And now for a few of my favorites from Amy, the photographer. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Big Tex

The Hunters have quite a bit of traveling coming up in the month of October (NM, Korea, Orlando), so Kennedy and I are trying to cram in as many fun fall activities as we can while we are in town.

On Monday we met up with our friends Alice and Mason to go to the State Fair of Texas. We didn't really know what to expect but hoped there would be a handful of exhibits to entertain the little ones, and some fried deliciousness for the mommies. First stop was a petting zoo. Kennedy really enjoyed this part and got to see some animals she hasn't ever been that close to, like cows, a giraffe and an ostrich (there was quite a variety of animals and livestock). The main attraction were the piglets. Kennedy and I could have watched them all afternoon.

There were a handful of rides the little ones could go on. Of course Kennedy did not want to go alone, so I squeezed in the 'roller coaster' car with her. And by squeeze, I mean fit perfectly in the car intended for a small child. She had fun and I know is going to have a blast at Disneyworld at the end of the month.

Mason, Kennedy and Big Tex. 
Kennedy feeding some goats. 
They'll sit next to each other, but we couldn't get them both looking at the same time. 


Dancing during the Mother Goose song and storytime. 

Fried S'mores. Ermahgerd.