As I was saying…

1 -- T ty dy 8-17  1 -- T in coat 8-17

We’ve had a full year and this blog has tumbled by the wayside, but we’ll start with a few updates and try to keep it up more in the New Year.

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T at school - 12-17   t-at-school2

This Fall, Timothy started kindergarten at Highlands Elementary.  He really enjoys school and has an amazing teacher in Alyssa Paulsen and has received strong support from Amber, Mary, Susan and the special ed staff.  The principal, Katie Mahoney, does such a good job leading that school, setting a tone as a welcoming school community with really strong academics.  We’ve been a part of many schools, in several states, have had two daughters in gifted and talented and now a son in special education.  We’ve seen a lot in education and Highlands is a very unique place.

A big, big thanks to Katie, Alyssa and the awesome staff at Highlands!

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1 -- Cat in Korea - 1 Spring 2017

Both of our girls studied overseas for the 2016-17 school year – Catherine spent a gap year in South Korea (her blog at www.catherineleeinkorea.wordpress.com) and Elisabeth did her junior year of college in France and then in Brussels (her blog at www.travelsofelisabeth.wordpress.com).

1 -- E and L 5-17

The funny thing is that when people found out about where our girls were studying last year, they always ignored France and instead asked, ‘aren’t you worried about having a daughter near North Korea?’  But as nervy as it was to have Cat 200 miles from North Korea, Elisabeth was arguably in more danger in the south of France and Belgium.

Fortunately, both girls returned home safely and had amazing years abroad.

_1 -- LTJ -2_____

Laura and I were at church recently with Timothy when they announced that there would be a second collection for refugee families.  As they started coming around for the second collection, I reached into my wallet and found a twenty dollar bill for Timothy to put in the collection basket.  Unbeknownst to me, Laura was also looking in her purse for money for Timothy, but she pulled out a fifty dollar bill.

She and I looked at each other.

Laura gave me a look like ‘it’s to help the refugee families’.

I gave her a look like ‘I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a fifty dollar bill’.

And meanwhile, Timothy sat there like a tennis spectator, his head going back and forth to mom and to dad.

Finally, Timothy got tired of his parents’ staring contest and grabbed my twenty dollar bill and then snatched Laura’s fifty dollar bill and plunked the whole seventy dollars into the collection basket.

Maybe there’s a lesson in there about generosity, especially as we gather with family around the Holidays.

Or maybe there’s a lesson about learning to get along and work together.

Or maybe the lesson is simply not to put your financial decisions in the hands of a six year old.

1 -- Family photo- 1 8-17

In any case, we’re grateful for our families and friends and wish you a Happy Holidays!

The Lee’s

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Hey, what’s the world coming to when a guy can’t overthrow his own parents?

t-on-deck3  t-on-deck2

Timothy loves to give kisses.

But kisses do not always mean what you think.

In the movie The Godfather II, Michael Corleone gives his younger brother Fredo a kiss on the lips shortly before he has him killed.  That may be a little extreme, but the point is that some cultures use a kiss to deliver a message.

tutu12 tutu30 tutu20

Which brings us to our house.

One night at bedtime, after Laura and I had helped him put on his pajamas, Timothy asked for his mom (baba), and then grabbed my hand and gave it a big smooch.

As I stood there, a little unsure about what to do, the annoyed look on Timothy’s face made it clear that the ‘kiss’ was of the ‘good bye’ type.  After a bit, he looked up at me, incredulously, as if to say, ‘Can I help you?  Are you waiting for a tip?  Don’t you have someplace to be?’

So while T is not exactly Michael Corleone, he’s at least a Godfather with a lower case ‘g’.

tutu56  tutu57 tutu58 tutu60

In medieval times, royalty would sometimes enter through their own separate entrance to the castle.  Maybe Timothy is nostalgic for the good old days, because he’s reviving that tradition.

He’s spent his first five years getting in the car on the right side (which is where his car seat is), but in the past few weeks he’s been insisting on using the left side of the car for his entrances and exits.  And while the rest of us enter the house through the side door, Timothy has started walking around the front of the house for a grand entrance through the (until now) rarely used front door.

I’m not sure what’s happening here, but given the godfather’s power plays and royal entrances, we just might be in the early stages of a family coup.

Grateful, we think,

The Lee’s

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Goldilocks and the Missing Baseball

t-runs-fashionable

Both of our girls are enjoying their stays overseas.

Elisabeth really likes Montpelier, France and is now well into her classes, which are all in French.  She is living at the home of a very nice French woman, in a house with two Mexican students and a Swiss student.

Catherine is enrolled in high school in a type of curriculum for Korean students who want to go into ‘animal professions’ like dog grooming, so at least she’s learning a marketable skill.  The picture below is the seating chart of the kids in her class (I don’t see any other Lee’s in the class but might just be reading it wrong).

Here are their blogs:

www.travelsofelisabeth.wordpress.com

www.catherineleeinkorea.wordpress.com

cats-korean-class

cat-w-family

Timothy and I went to the playground today, and T decided to play Goldilocks on the swings, testing out eat one (‘this one’s too hard, this one’s too soft’, etc) before selecting the one that was just right for him.  He then quickly located the only puddle of water in the area and was impressively efficient at soaking his shoes and shorts.  In retrospect, on a cool Fall day, some parents would have quickly changed the affected child into dry clothes, but we’re a strong, hardy family, and besides, I forgot he was wet.  But we’re all fine and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

t-playground7          t-playground8

Timothy and I played baseball again in the backyard.  We bought him a little tee to hit the plastic baseball off, which was nice because my hand was starting to lose feeling in it after being used as the ‘tee’ by Timothy — me holding the ball while he hit it (mostly my hand, though sometimes the baseball).

baseball8   baseball4  baseball

Timothy did well hitting the plastic baseball off the tee.  But with our entire lawn service studying overseas at the moment, the grass in the back yard is long and it was not easy finding the baseballs.  But we eventually located the balls, which is about when Timothy decided to hide all of the baseballs down in the window well.  And once again we found that the game is harder to play without baseballs.

Missing baseballs and wet clothes on a windy Fall day.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Grateful,

The Lee’s

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Would you like fries with your silkworm larvae?

 

t-fashion3     t-fashion4

People ask about whether we’re nervous about having our daughter Catherine living in South Korea after North Korea’s recent nuclear tests.  We’re not pleased about her noisy neighbors to the north, but Cat provided perspective when she mentioned offhandedly that she was in a 5.3 earthquake earlier this week (they’ve had 3 earthquakes in the past 9 months) and a typhoon is expected to hit them this weekend.  I’ll stop complaining about the mosquitoes here in Minnesota.

cat-and-c2  silkworm-larvae

But those moments of excitement may pale in comparison to some of the new foods she’ll get to try.  The most recent was silkworm larvae (pupae), which they boil and throw into a bowl like popcorn (with apologies to Orville Redenbacher).

es-1st-day   t-fashion5

Our family is one that cherishes one another and our tender moments together.

This morning, Timothy was playing when I picked him up and gave him a hug and told him that I loved him.

T’s response was ‘Okay, Dada’ and he quickly wriggled out of my grasp and went back to playing with his cars.

swing7  VOBS

Timothy’s touching response reminded me of when the girls were young, and I used to write down some of the funny things they said.

When Elisabeth was 6 years old, she turned to me unprompted during a church service and said, “I love you, Daddy, even when you’re mad at me and you yell at me.”

Similarly, when Catherine was five years old and we were in church, I whispered to her that I loved her and she replied, “Dad, your breath is not great right now.”

So much love in just one family.

Grateful,

The Lee’s

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Anyone up for a 2 person game of Duck Duck Grey Duck?

t at fair3  t at fair

Our daughters, Elisabeth and Catherine, are getting settled into the new overseas homes.

Here are their blogs, with some great pictures:

www.travelsofelisabeth.wordpress.com

www.catherineleeinkorea.wordpress.com

z-girls4      z-girls2

Timothy enjoys hiding things.  But that means that when he and I were playing baseball, he hid the whiffle ball in a hosta plant.  While I walked over to pick the ball out of that poor hosta, T hid the plastic bat in a small tree.  It’s not uncommon for a baseball game to be called due to a sudden rainstorm, but that was my first where it was cancelled due to a sudden lack of equipment.

t-and-j  t-on-deck

Recently, people have been asking us a question — ‘Is it quiet in the house now that the girls are gone?’

The question makes sense, but the answer is easy –  NO (please note the red headed main character of this blog).

z-girls  the girls

Then people ask whether Timothy misses his sisters.

That question also makes sense, but the answer is even easier – YES.

At dinner recently, Laura asked T if he missed his sisters, and he put on his sad face and nodded a slow ‘yes’.

Then he convinced me to revive a recent tradition that we’ve been doing with the girls this summer.  Although playing a two person game of duck duck grey duck takes some imagination, Timothy makes it easier by just making up his own rules and deciding when the game is over.

We all miss the girls a lot, and we pray for their safety and we hope that they have an amazing experience in France and South Korea.

Always Grateful,

The Lee’s

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Where the girls go overseas and Timothy gets his feng shui on

Cat in Kor3  Cat in Kor4

This has been a big week at the Lee household.

We put Catherine on a flight for her year abroad in South Korea.

We put Elisabeth on a flight for her year abroad in France.

And Timothy turned five years old on Monday.

E at airport2  E at airport3

This is sure to be an exciting year, with both girls overseas and Timothy preparing for kindergarten.  TRBL is so excited for the opportunity to absorb the full love and attention of his parents that he pulled down the metal gate on our front porch.  Laura and I agreed that the front porch needed some sprucing up, but we didn’t realize that Timothy had such a strong sense of feng shui.

fallen gate     Cat in Kor

In two decades of growing up, our girls have only known a few Americans with the last name ‘Lee’.  Within days of arriving, Catherine had been assigned two Korean host families and a Taiwanese roommate, all three of whom have the last name ‘Lee’.

Now we know where the rest of the Lee family has been hiding.

We miss our girls a lot and are praying for their safe year overseas and also that Timothy doesn’t feng the shui out of any other parts of our house in the meantime.

Grateful,

The Lee’s

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The Cat’s in the Korea

fam bye  Our daughter, Catherine left yesterday for her year in South Korea.  The airport send off was sad but quick, and we each react differently to ‘good byes’.

t floorshow

We were following Catherine’s flight to South Korea on the computer, but after awhile, it looked like the Flight Tracker was stuck in the same place.  I am not one to worry much, but I’d be lying if I said that the idea of a plane crash didn’t cross my mind.

I drove to pick Elisabeth up at work, and mentioned that the Flight tracker hadn’t moved for awhile and Elisa looked at her phone and gasped a little.  I asked her what she had found, and she laughed as she explained that she had just Googled it and found an article titled ‘Delta 747 jet destroyed by hail during flight to Seoul’, but that the article was from last summer (though it was Cat’s exact flight — DL 159 from Detroit to Seoul — and as a note, even that hailstorm didn’t cause the plane to crash) .

Once we got home, I checked again and the Flight Tracker had advanced and showed that Cat’s plane was flying over Russia.  And nothing personal, Mr. Putin, but I’d be lying if I said that put my mind at ease very much.

But Catherine landed in Inchon airport, texted us that she had made some Finnish and Taiwanese friends and was doing great, and ready to start her life 14 hours ahead of us.

Cat and t  girls w T2

Catherine, we’re excited for you and we love you very much, or as we would write in Korean…

우리는 너를 사랑해

(which is pronounced exactly as it looks — ‘ ulineun neoleul salanghae’)

Grateful,

The Lee’s

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