Monday, December 31, 2007

Say Cheese!!

A few weeks ago we took these pictures of Lucy. Have you ever seen a more smiley baby? Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2008 Bamfo Family Update

As we approach the beginning of a new year, we thought it might be nice to let you all know what we've been up to. I should name this our 2007 update, but 2008 rhymes with update so I'm going to skip ahead a year. 2007 has been an exciting and momentous year for us. We have much to be grateful for...

As many of you know, in April of 2006 Fred was stationed in Yongsan, Seoul, Korea with the US Army. During his time in Korea he was able to work in the Military Hospital Emergency Room as a Medic. He enjoyed being able to work closely with the doctors and nurses and learned a lot during his time there. After a year in the ER, Fred gratefully excepted a transfer to the Ambulatory Care Clinic, a much less stressful job, for the remainder of his stay in Korea. During his time in the Army Fred has made many wonderful Friends whom he still keeps in contact with. In July of 2006 Fred received his US citizenship and is now a full fledged American, but is in the process of applying for dual citizenship. Although he is technically an American, Fred still has a hard time with some of our American traditions, like putting cheese on EVERYTHING! He hasn't fully accepted that one yet :o). In July of 2007 Fred underwent surgery to have his tonsils removed. It was a very painful process for a 32-year-old to undergo, but Fred recovered well and is now doing fine. In August Fred separated from the Army after two years of active duty. Later that month Fred began his masters at the University of Utah in public health. He began his degree taking an extra heavy load of classes which placed a lot of stress on him. He has done well managing his classes, but looks forward to a lighter load next semester. He has also been asked to join his department for a project they will be doing in Ghana next year. Fred is excited for the opportunity to serve his fellow Ghanian's and always anxious for another educational experience. And last, but certainly not least, On December 25, 2006 Fred became the Daddy to our beautiful daughter Lucy. He loves to spend time with her playing on her drum, throwing her in the air, or playing on the computer together. Fred and Lucy have a special bond and it is fun to see their daddy-daughter love grow.

This year has been an especially momentous year for me (Melissa) also. As many of you know, I packed my things and moved myself to Korea in late September of 2006. On Christmas Eve last year I went into labor and gave birth to our beautiful baby, Lucy Diane Bamfo, on Christmas morning at 3:37 AM. Since that day she has been the joy and center of our lives. Motherhood has brought many new challenges for me and I have learned many new definitions of love, patience and persistence. It has truly stretched me and I'm sure will continue to for a very long time. Being a new mother in a foreign country added an interesting twist to things and I did my best to adapt. I have fond memories of hauling a diaper bag, stroller, and baby carrier up and down three flights of stairs just to get from our apartment to the base, or traveling to church with Lucy on the bus a long distance to church ( a new experience for a Utah girl like myself). We were blessed to make many new friends who took us in and treated us much like family while we were so far away from our own. We really felt loved and learned the true meaning of discipleship through the example of others. We will never forget the influence of these wonderful friends, home teachers, visiting teachers and leaders in our lives. In August we left our home in Korea and returned to Utah. After a very long and grueling 15 hour plane ride with a squirmy infant, we were glad to touch ground. We settled in Salt Lake City and have enjoyed making new friends and finding opportunities to serve. I have also been working two part time jobs from home. I teach English to 17 Koreans over the phone from 4 to 6:30 AM and then again from 2 to 3 in the afternoon. I also teach voice lessons in the evening from my home and then travel one day a week to Layton where I teach out of my parents home. I love to teach and enjoy working with students of all ages and abilities. The Lord has truly blessed me to be able to work at home and take care of Lucy full time. I also enjoy being an Aunt to my nieces and nephews, both in Ghana and Utah. I look forward to going to Ghana in June of 2008 and anxious to meet my Bamfo family for the first time.

Lucy Diane Bamfo has had quite an adventurous first year of life. She was born in Korea and basically had to be ripped from the womb (via c-section). She wasn't to happy about that, but has since learned to deal with it. During her first few months of life her favorite pass times were eating, sleeping and LOTS of crying. She also developed the talent to squirt poop all over her Mom and Dad on several occasions. Lucy loved to be held and spent lots of time being carried in a sling. She would often sit "kangaroo" style watching Mom fix dinner or direct the Branch choir. At about 4 months she was able to roll over and would spend hours rolling all over our apartment. It was also around this time when Lucy discovered the love for her thumb. It is her constant companion and source of comfort. At 7 months Lucy finally figured out how to crawl with the help of our hotel room carpet. We figure that our hard wood floors were the reason she hadn't been able to figure it out before then. Since moving to Utah, Lucy has been developing a close relationship with her family and has a special love for her Grandma Jones. Lately her favorite hobbies are playing with her toys, eating things off the floor (which Mom and Dad have to immediately pry out of her mouth), walking, cuddling with her blanket and looking at Christmas lights. Lucy now has 8 teeth and more coming in every day! She is walking a lot and keeps us on our toes trying to keep things out of her hands. Lucy has the biggest smile and brings much joy to her family and anyone she comes in contact with. We love her very much and are grateful to have her in our family.

During this Christmas season we want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and testify to you that Jesus is the Christ. We know that he is our Saviour and Redeemer and that through his atonement we can repent and return to live with Him again. He is the reason for the season. May you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love the Bamfo Family

Fred, Melissa and Lucy

PS. keep in touch!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Dentist

The other day I took Lucy for her first dentist visit. Before I went I was a little skeptical about having a check up so early. Lucy can't even hold still for 5 seconds so I'm could only imagine how much fun a trip to the dentist chair would be. Lucy only has 6 teeth and two more coming in so I was wondering what they would want to do. I had nightmares about them trying to get an x-ray and having to do it over and over again because Lucy wouldn't hold still and then 4 months later we would both be diagnosed with cancer from exposure to all that radiation. My other big fear was that she'd bite the dentist as he tried to take a peek in her mouth. Lately biting is her big thing. It seems like we're constantly having to fish something out of her mouth and sure enough, every time our fingers go in there she clamps down. I was very interested to see how this would go.

Well the day came and we made our way to the pediatric dentists office. It was painted with bright colors and had lots of toys to play with in the waiting room. When they took us back into the exam room, it was covered with colorful distractions to divert her attention. When the actual exam took place, it was all of about 30 seconds. Lucy laid on my lap and I held her hands while the dentist took a look at her teeth. She of course started to wail, which actually helped the situation because her mouth was side open for the entire exam. No biting, which I was relieved about. After the exam the dentist and I talked for a bit, they gave Lucy a cool new toothbrush and let her pick a toy from the prize box. On the way out Lucy looked as though nothing had happened--She was cool as a cucumber. I wondered if it was all worth it, but having her want to play with her new toothbrush all day convinced me it was a good move.


A couple of months ago Lucy and I went to visit my good friend Elicia (but we call her Luch [loo-ch] ) and her husband who live in Sugarhouse. Luch is a good friend and former roommate from BYU-I. We had a delicious dinner and great conversation. Lucy was enthralled with Luch's cat Luna. Check out this picture of Lucy and Luna making contact.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Labor Day

As many of you already know, I am terribly behind with my blogging. I'm just now getting to things that happened in September!! At this rate I'll be covering Christmas in July! Actually, hopefully I catch up by then.

Over Labor day weekend this year we met up with some friends for a little party. We went to Stephen and Karen Aboadge's house in Lehi where we enjoyed a night of good food, good company and some serious ping pong playing! There were 4 families there, all of which are mixed couples. It was fun to be together again and see our children play and interact together. Below is a picture we took of all us Mommas and our babies. (left to right: Karen and Tasha, Hilary, Ama and Kaleb, Me and Lucy, and Lonni and Miles.)

Later that night Lonni decided to give Miles a bath before bed. We decided to throw Lucy in their also and see what happened. Even though it was close quarters, they basically ignored each other the entire time! But aren't they cute?

Monday, November 5, 2007

A day for JOYce

On Friday September 28, 2007 at 11:14PM my dear friend Joyce Morgan Riding passed away after over 2 years of battling cancer. Joyce and I were neighbors our first year of college and roommates our second. I have found myself thinking a lot about her this past month since she past away. She was a young mother like myself, in fact we both have babies a week apart. Sometimes my heart just aches knowing that she will not get to hold her Baby for such a long time. I find comfort in the doctrine of eternal families and knowing that we can be with our loved ones for eternity if we live worthily. Joyce's birthday is today, November 5Th. She would be turning 26, just like me. It's been an emotional day for me and I have felt the need to somehow celebrate Joyce's life and example. After lots of thought, I've concluded that the most important thing I could do would be to hold on to the ones I love. Squeeze them a little tighter today and be sure to tell them I love them. Life is precious gift and could be gone in a second, but love lives on. Long ago I learned the truth that life is for love. Spending it in any other way would be a waste.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chest Hair

Recently Lucy discovered Fred's chest hair. Ouch!!! She loves to pull at it :o)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Family Day at Osan

Before we left Korea we had to make it down to Osan to check out the shopping. They say things are a bit cheaper there, so who could resist?!!

You've got to love Korea. Fred and I got a kick out of the shoe store there named "Athlete's Foot". My toes are itching just thinking about it!!

We got a little carried away with the souvenirs that we had to kick Lucy out of her stroller so we could carry all our stuff. Hey, where did she go? Has anyone seen Lucy???

Slings the thing....

Here's a picture of Lucy in her make-shift high chair. I guess they weren't kidding when they said necessity is the mother of invention.

A Day with SK

When I return to the states I will be teaching English to Koreans over the phone. My good friend Sara Potter introduced me to her boss whom I will be working with . He goes by SK. He is a very nice man and has been a pleasure to work with so far. We were able to spend the day with him not long ago. We went to a picnic on the military base and with our friends the Potters and SK. (below (left to right) SK, Sara Potter, Norman Potter, Fred, Melissa and Lucy.)

Later that night SK invited Sara and I and some of Sara's friends and family who were in town visiting to a traditional Korean performance. It was wonderful! I really enjoyed it. I wish I could have taken pictures, but they were prohibited and the ushers were watching us American tourists like hawks. Thanks to SK for a wonderful day.

Cute Lucy

Here's a couple of cute pictures of Lucy. Kathryn Tripp was kind enough to let us use her exersaucer for a couple of months before we left. Lucy loved it (as I'm sure you can tell by her faces).

Here's Lucy on July 4th all decked out in her red, white and blue. I'm sure Uncle Sam would be Proud.

In this picture Lucy is enjoying playing with a rubber spatula. She looks like I caught her in the act of doing something bad....

Everywhere But Forward

Lucy has been so close to crawling, but all she has managed to do is scoot herself into some awkward corners. Here's some cute pictures of her stuck under the couch. Fred's pants hanging over the edge make a great hat!

Higher Ground

Every Sunday Fred, Lucy and I would take a bus from our neighborhood in Yongsan about 20 minutes to where our Chapel is. Our meeting house is located up on a hill just next to a big tunnel. It's a hard walk up that hill every Sunday, but being able to be at church and feel the spirit there is so worth it.

I have often thought of our treck to church as metaphore to life. There is only so far in life we can go with the help of other (the bus). There comes a time when we have to face the hills in life and climb it with all our might, knowing that the reward at the top is all worth it. Personal sacrifice must be made and dedication displayed in order to really make it to higher ground. And much like our treck to church, I believe there will be good friends who you'll meet on the way up the hill who will make you want to be there even more.

May we all make the treck to higher ground.

Friday the 13th (OOooooHaaahahaha!!!)

Here's some pictures of Fred before and after his Tonsillectomy. He had been working with a doctor on his snoring and was going to have to get his tonsils out, but would have to wait months for an opening. Well, on Thursday July 12Th, Fred got a call at work asking if he would like to have his tonsils removed the next day. He said yes, and the rest is history. The surgery went well, but Fred had a really hard time coming out of the anesthesia and was sent to the ICU to be monitored over night. Things went fine and he was released the next day. Here's a picture of him and Lucy chillin' before he went in to surgery and one of Fred covered in tubes afterward.

Up and Over

One of the things I will miss about Korea is having an excuse to walk everywhere. Somedays I would give my right eye for a car, and others I'm glad for the exercise. I've discovered that the shortest route from my apartment to the military base is to go over an overpass which is about 3 stories high. I should have had someone take a picture of me huffing and puffing up the stairs holding Lucy in a carrier, a diaper bag, and a stroller just to prove that I did it. I decided against the picture because lets face it, no body looks good carrying 50 lbs. up 3 flights of stairs in the heat of monsoon season. (use your imagination) Instead I have included this lovely picute of Fred carrying Lucy down the stairs.

Lucy and the Giant Shrimp!!!!

As you might have noticed, I've been getting really into this blog thing. So much, that I look for anything that would make a great post. Well, here's a doosey for ya. I was walking down the street in down town Seoul, across the street from City Hall and out walk three GIANT Shrimps!!! Well, I couldn't let this picture pass by. So with my best hand signals, I motioned for the shrimps to come over and pose for a picture with Lucy. They were so nice to accommodate me. It's not every day you see three giant shrimp walking down the street... you would take a picture too.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Seoul Searching

Before I dive into the inner depths of my soul, I must give credit for the title of this post to my dear friend Kelly who used "Seoul Searching" on her blog.

I have wanted to write a post about how my stay in Korea has effected my life. It's something I can easily talk about, but at the same time I have really struggled to write this post. There is so much to say I almost don't know where to begin. I remember when I went to visit Fred in Korea last July. While we were there I was introduced to Danielle Fowers, the Relief Society President of the branch ther, and who is also the wife of Doctor Rob (see earlier blog for details on Dr. Rob :o) We had such a good time with them at the temple and Danielle made me feel so welcome in the branch. I remember her trying to convince me to come over to stay and she kept telling me that I was needed there. That, along with several other experiences while I was there visiting lead us to re-evealuate our decision to live apart and do whatever it took to move to Korea. After that trip I returned home to Utah and "put my house in order" so I could move to Korea. It was a big leap of faith considering the circumstances at the time, but we felt it was what we needed to do. I obtained a visa on my own and purchased a one way ticket to Korea.

When I arrived in Korea I was taken in by the Tripp family whom I had only met once on my previous visit. They took me in as one of their own-- no questions asked-- and let me live with them for a month until Fred was able to get our housing situation worked out. Fred was able to get an exception to policy with the help of Art Mathisen who took it upon himself to walk our paperwork through the system. If it were not for him, we would probably still be waiting for it to get done. When we finally got a place of our own, Branch members stepped up and donated all kinds of household goods to furnish our apartment. There were many days when people would call out of the blue wondering if we needed anything. We felt so loved and humbled by their generosity. My wonderful visiting teacher Jackie Latin offered to throw me a baby shower which helped us get what we needed to prepare for Lucy's arrival. Our neighbors Matt and Tiffany Witt would offer to give us rides EVERYWHERE. Tiffany would always call to see if I needed to go to the store or just to see how I was doing. They even drove through a rain storm to pick my mom up from the airport when she came to visit. And the kindness goes on. These were just a few of the many blessings we received there.

Looking back on everything that has happened since then is a reminder to me that God does know us and and he uses other people to answer our prayers. Danielle Fowers felt that I was needed there. The truth is that I needed Korea in my life, not the other way around. I can't think about my time there without feeling a drive to become a more kind, more generous, more spiritual, more loving person. I am forever changed. From now on my soul will be spelled "Seoul".

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dr. Rob

When we moved to Seoul, we were fortunate to have many good friends. Rob Fowers is a friend and member of our Branch. He and his wife Danielle have 7 wonderful kids. He happens to also be an OBGYN at the hospital here and was able to help deliver Lucy when she was born. The Fowers are going to be moving to Missouri soon so we wanted to get a picture with Rob before they went.

We love the Fowers and wish them luck. They're going to need it-- they're moving their big family into a 3 bedroom cabin. With 7 kids, two piano's, a gerbil and a parakeet, it's going to be one cramped house.... OK, so there is no gerbil and parakeet. But don't you think it was a nice touch?

The Window Washer

Next time you think your job is bad, just think what it would be like to be a window washer. Imagine dangling from a rope sometimes 20+ stories above the air with nothing but a hose and a squee-gee for company. Also imagine wearing black waders and a plastic hat when it's 85 degrees outside. I can feel the heat just thinking about it!! But I must say that I am grateful for the window washer. Since he came the sun shines brighter and my view is more clear. Thank you window washer guy.

The View

We recently discovered that it's fun to go up to our roof an look out at the city scape. Seoul is a huge city that goes for miles and miles in every direction. We thought you might enjoy these pictures of a beautiful sunset and the skyline.

Ode to Book Club and Good Bye Kelly

In our branch we have established a book club. We just get together once a month to discuss a book we've all read. It's a great time. We read a lot of Newberry award winners which is fun for me because there are so many I have not read. This last month was my turn to choose the book. I chose to do Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. It's a book I've never read, but have always wanted to. The book took place in Denmark during WWII. One of the little girls in the book talks about how much she wishes they could have cupcakes with pink frosting so for the treat that night I made cake with pink frosting.

(Left to right: Karen Ratta, Laura Hubbard, Me and Tiffany Witt) The cake says "We'll miss you Kelly" because our fearless Book Club leader Kelly is moving to Iowa.... or maybe it was Ohio... It's one of those Midwestern states.

Kelly and I were pregnant at the same time and had our babies a week apart. She is great friend and I already miss her very much. Before she left a bunch of us got together and had a little goodbye lunch for her.

(top left: Tiffany Witt, Kelly Tagg, Melissa Bamfo, bottom left: Jennie Mathison, Kathryn Tripp) And just for kicks, here's a picture of Tiffany with her gorgeous salad! Doesn't that just make you hungry?!?

All Rolled Up

Lucy is a roll-a-holic. If you put her on the floor she just rolls everywhere! From one end of the room to the other! I used to be able to put her on the bed while was getting dressed or putting away clothes, but last week she rolled off the bed so we can't do that anymore. She has also discovered its fun to roll herself up in her blanket. Its so cute!

The "IV" Tree

Whenever I walk from my apartment to the military base, I pass a certain tree. One day I was walking home and noticed an IV hanging on the tree. At first I thought, "some runaway hospital patient has ditched his IV and left it on this tree!" I laughed to myself and walked home. The next day on my way home, I noticed there wasn't just one, but two IVs on the tree! It struck me as funny so I took a picture of it. As time progressed I noticed that the tree seemed to be dying compared to those around it. I guess in Korea if your tree is dying, you give it an IV or two. Life support for trees.... hmm.

Ghana and Korea's 30th Anniversary

Our friend Jeffery was sent by the Ghana Board of Tourism to study tourism here in Korea. Since I have not been to Ghana yet, he has been so kind go bring us some DVDs on Tourist attractions in Ghana. It looks like such a wonderful place and I can't wait to go there. On June 16Th he invited us to a presentation by a group of dancers from Ghana which is part of a celebration commemorating 30 years of diplomatic ties between Ghana and Korea.

In this picture you can see Fred, Lucy and I on the right and Jeffery on the left. I guess this goes to show that even though you may be far away, you can always find a piece of home if you look hard enough.

Our Piano!!!

After much convincing, I was able to coheres Fred into buying me a piano. (He knows how to make his wife happy) We looked for about 3 hours one day and finally found one we liked for the right price. Thanks to Fred's expert bargaining skills and Lucy's cute face, we were able to get them down a quite a bit on the price! The people we bought it from made it easy.

The price included a piano bench, delivery and set up (which included a tuning). They even threw in a frilly piano and bench cover. I don't know if I'll ever use it, but it was sure nice of them.

Here's a picture of Lucy and our favorite realtor, Sara Yee. She has been so good to us! We don't' know what we'd do with out her. She has made our stay in Korea so nice. Thank you Sara!!

Insa Dong and McDonalds

In Seoul they seem to group like stores together into one big market. If you want fabric, you go to the fabric market where hundreds of vendors meet to sell their stuff. If you want flowers, it's the same. And so it is with musical instruments. Insa Dong is what some would call the "music district". If you're looking for an instrument, any instrument, you'll find it there. Today Lucy and I took our good friends Tiffany and Sammy and her son Mateo to the music market. There are stores all over the area, but we just went to one building where there are floors and floors of music stores. Everything from drums and violins, to keyboards and hand bells. They have EVERYTHING.

Here's a picture of Sammy, Mateo, Tiffany, Me and Lucy in front of the Music market. After an hour or so of piano shopping, we decided to stop at McDonald's for some lunch.

McDonald's may be everywhere, but it's not the same everywhere. Instead of getting the "BIG MAC", I decided to try the shrimp burger.

It was actually pretty good! Here's a cute picture of Mateo at McDonald's.

Koreans are big on recycling so if you are dining in, you are given real cups to drink out of instead of paper. When you go to leave, you sort all of your garbage into it's appropriate trash receptacle.

I think it's really cool. I think us Americans could learn a thing or two from Korea.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Daddy Daughter Time

Lucy just loves her daddy. She loves to watch TV with him. Check out this sweet moment between father and daughter caught on camera.

Fred is also Lucy's favorite chew toy. She loves to grab his hands and chew on them. She may be little, but she's got a strong bite. Check Spelling

Fred may be smiling, but it hurts!

In the words of John Mayer, "Fathers be good to your daughters."