Friday, June 15, 2012

Absence

#photoadaymay
I've been absent because for a while, I found my heart wasn't in the right place while blogging. I started out blogging to share news with family and friends of how I'm doing from miles away and for my own "scrapbooking" but I got caught up in appearances and soon it became a chore.

I was blogging for a small invisible audience that I kept track of with feed reader numbers and even though I received no feedback, perhaps that was feedback enough. It didn't matter in the beginning, but when I spent time reading other blogs and seeing the many comments left for others, it started to bother me that I wasn't receiving any. I wanted to do more things to show how happy and full and creative my life was, but I don't have time to take photos of me and L crafting and playing outside in beautiful places. (I still don't know who takes all of these stunning photos on other blogs when it seems to be just mom and kids.) I'm really reading books all day (the same one over and over) and avoiding blocks on the floor and doing dishes and being pulled towards hallways and crevices that intrigue L which he must show me. I don't bake delicious things every day in my well-lit spotless kitchen (I wish), nor do I even get out of my pajamas often enough to think about styling myself. I wear pretty much the same things over and over again and my hair is just washed and left to dry by itself. This doesn't mean I don't take care of myself, but other more important things seem to come up and I don't mind.

It just seems so silly to be caught up in this made up world of perfection. It really does not matter that only a few people (who I actually know in real life) reply, because it makes sense. They care about me and what I write about my life and family; for everyone else, this makes complete sense and I completely agree, now that I've given up that envy of others. I don't want it to feel forced anymore. I was never dishonest about what I did and what I shared on here, but the heart behind it was to show and get attention, some sort of acknowledgment that, "yes you are living a great life." How silly.

I like spending my evenings reading or catching up on dramas with Tare or just being still. I don't have time for blogging right now and it feels nice to step away and enjoy memories for myself. (Path and Instagram are exceptions! ;) I want to be more honest about how imperfect I am so I write this holding back the urge to edit myself. I'm being honest about how I've felt and it is a little embarrassing to bare. I am so used to editing my words because I thought no one would want to read it but this time I want this on record.

Readings that convicted and made me reflect on myself...
The Fight of My Life
The Disease Called Perfection
When You Want to be Known

My absence from this place is giving me time to reflect and gather myself, invest in growing my relationships, and not wanting to be and editing myself to appear perfect for someone else to see. I'm working on me as God created me to be which is hard, but easier knowing He loves me as I am. I'm not writing off for good... simply refreshing my purpose and intentions in sharing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Weekend at Venice Beach

It's already been two weeks since our visit with friends at Venice Beach. It was a beautiful weekend: perfect for a day at the beach, digging our toes into the sand, talking with girlfriends, eating delicious food, enjoying pretty desserts, and catching up with high school friends. I really hope we can do it again soon.

It was L's first time playing on the beach and he had so much fun! Grabbing fistfuls of sand and watching it fly in the wind, picking out shells and finding an acorn friend, getting wet in the waves with Tare Appa, eventually ending up in just a diaper and getting lots of sun, dancing in front of our friends, and giving out kisses to aunties who were so in love with him. He played as much as a toddler could possibly play in one day! We're planning on visiting the beach a lot more often this summer for our little water bunny.


Beach funBeach fun

Beach fun
Beach fun
Beach fun
Beach fun
Beach fun

Beach funBeach fun

Beach fun

Beach fun
Beach fun
Beach fun

Beach fun
Beach fun
Beach fun

Beach fun

Beach fun
Beach fun
Beach fun
Beach fun

Venice Canals
Venice Canals

Hwanghaedo

HS reunionHS reunion
HS reunion
HS reunion

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A day in the life

Life slows down a lot when you have a baby.. time, not so much. The days quickly pass but the day itself is spent quite leisurely.




A typical day goes something like this...
I hear L wake up and I turn and open my eyes to his smiling face. I take him potty and we do a little stretching and roll around in bed and nurse. I crawl out of bed and he follows suit, I clean his potty and put contacts in, brush my teeth while L waits for me.

We walk out to the living room where we spend most of our day. We take some time to nurse again or read a couple of books before breakfast. I tell L it's time for breakfast and he walks towards his highchair or he plays while I prepare our breakfast. I strap him in his chair and we pray together. We eat slowly and I check the usual on my iPhone until he lets me know he's done. If he's happy, I give him a few puffs to snack on while I wash the dishes or let him down and clean him up to walk around with his water bottle while I finish up.

Until his nap time, which is much later now that he's dropped one of his two naps, we mostly read books L brings me and watch K videos on the TV (my guilty pleasure which I try to limit to two a day). I change his diaper every hour to hour and a half since L has lost interest in ECing for now and we snack on puffs and dried fruit snacks and nurse nurse nurse.

After his nap, we eat lunch and continue to play and read. These days he asks me to wear him on my back by bringing me the mei tai and assuming position on my back. I watch as he performs silly antics like trying to somersault and carrying around a bag on his shoulder like he's shopping. If we're watching another video (usually music related) he dances and claps. He drops by where I'm sitting signing for mam-ma or water or brings me his snacks to open for him. We read about cows and he moos, we see an elephant and he brings his arm up and makes a bbbuuuuu sound. He tells me he loves me by bringing his short arms as high as they go to make a heart near his head and gives me kisses which I readily accept and return with joy.

I narrate what I'm doing or what we're doing together all day. I used to spend my days in silence by myself but now I have to chatter which is unlike me but is pleasant to do with another person who listens well. Soon Tare is home and L runs toward him with open arms, wanting to be held. I prepare dinner while the boys play and we eat together as a family. We talk to each other about our day and mostly it's about funny or new things L did that make us both laugh and confirm that our son is a genius.

Somehow after talking and playing and cleaning up, it's already bedtime for the little one. Each night it always comes so soon, but I change L into a disposable diaper for the night and we head in to the bedroom with a good night wave to Appa. L is sometimes very tired and nurses easily to sleep but sometimes he needs time to calm down and rolls around the bed making weird noises and yelling into the darkened space while I look on in amusement (and sometimes frustration). Finally when he is heavy with sleep I carefully roll away and place my pillow against the edge of the bed and creep out to have some time with my husband and some time for myself.

Looking back on my day I know I haven't completed many chores. Most days we never even make it outside of the house! We cuddled, shared meals, cleaned up, read books, lay around, laughed. It's hard to explain to someone else exactly what it is we did that day that seems substantial enough to share.

I love this passage from What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen:
"All this time she is being with her baby. It is this invisible relationship that feels like doing nothing. She is refraining from busying herself with a long list of tasks and instead is slowing down her life to match the pace of his. ...It isn't easy. Yet here is the very source of the momentous relationship between the two of them. Far from doing nothing, she is doing everything."
I'm blessed to spend each moment of L's life with him. I know it won't always be this way so I cherish the memories as we're making them, even if they're memories of just being together, being with him, being present, doing "nothing" which is everything.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Luke's First Birthday Party

L's Dol

We live in California but all of our family lives in Colorado, so this was a destination dol. It took us the longest time to find the right venue, but luckily a new place was opening and the in-laws knew the owner so we were the first customers to use Seoul Palace. We actually didn't see the place until we arrived in CO but my parents sent pictures of it in progress so we weren't too worried about how it would look. It turned out beautifully and was the perfect size for our party.
Welcome

Our theme was shades of blue and bunnies, since Luke was born in the year of the rabbit (as were his mom and dad!) and even his nickname while he was in the womb was "tokki." I wanted it to look refined but still casual enough to look like a baby's birthday party.

Welcome table, Photo table, & Doljabi Raffle
We had a welcome table with a guest book and raffle tickets (designed by me) handed out and two more tables with a photo from each month of Luke's first year, the raffle, and wishing tree. The welcome poster and doljabi poster were also designed by me, although I got the rabbit ear icons from a template on a Korean blog. The ceramic number one and blue bunny which held the raffle tickets are from Michaels. The frames were from Target and the wishing tree from Beau-coup.
Welcome 2
L's Dol
L's Dol

It was so nice to see all of the weekly pictures from L's first year together and seeing how much he has grown!
Welcome 3

Food & Dessert
The dinner buffet was provided by Seoul BBQ which is right next to the venue owned by the same owner (so much amazing food that we don't have pictures of and didn't get to eat much because we were so busy with a cranky baby and the event itself). For desserts, we booked the cake & cupcakes from Happy Cakes trusting Yelp reviews and ordered chocolate covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements. I designed the cupcake toppers myself and found a cute chalkboard frame from World Market to write the different flavors. My cousin went above and beyond what we requested and made six different types of macarons (double chocolate, raspberry, yuzu, green tea with white chocolate, black sesame) for the most popular dessert of the night! They were so delicious and beautiful to look at.
L's Dol

Main Table
The main table was pretty simple with just the cake, go-ims, and fruit arrangements. I wanted the cake to be plain but with a little blue and I made a bunting cake topper which is very popular these days. The letters are from Michaels and the fruit arrangements are the cute Easter bunny arrangements from Edible Arrangements. They went with our theme so well and were a twist on the stacked whole fruit arrangements I saw on others' dol tables. The bunting and tissue paper pompoms were DIY.
L's Dol
L's Dol

We made the "chuk-dol" and rabbit go-ims beforehand and sent them to CO (my husband actually made one of them, can you guess which one? ;) Yep, it's the not-as-pretty-but-effort-that-counts "chuk-dol" one) and made the wave go-im a few days before the party. We used different sized lima  beans and black beans, as well as skittles and pompoms for the bunny's face. I drew the bunny face freehand because I couldn't find a cute enough template. The wave one was made with colored sixlets found at Party City which were expensive but pretty and easy to glue. 
Main Table
L's Dol

Guest tables
For centerpieces, I went the easy route and did balloons on weights. There are bunnies hanging from the balloons which were a hand-cramp to cut out but very cute as little garlands. I also ordered confetti in shades of blue in the shape of bunnies to scatter on the tables from Etsy.
Guest Tables

We made a standing brochure(?)/information card thingie for the guests to read facts about Luke and order of events. We found a template on a Korean blog and I customized the colors, picture, and other things to match our party.
Guest Table 2

Favors were a variety of dduk (rice cakes) packed in boxes with a cute sticker of Luke on them (designed by me). Obok Dduk did an amazing job packaging the favors for a very reasonable cost.

Throughout the party we played music (a special playlist) and a slideshow of pictures on the TV near the buffet area. This worked out well because while people were waiting in line for food they were able to watch Luke's first year in pictures!

Doljabi
Luke went straight for the pencil!
Doljabi

The party was beautiful and looked almost exactly as I had envisioned it for the few months leading up to it. There was just the right amount of DIY-ing that made me feel really involved in preparing for the party yet didn't have me tearing my hair out in stress. I wish baby had been in a better mood (he was teething) but our whole family enjoyed it and it was fun to celebrate our little one's first birthday with everyone.
L's Dol
Baby L
Balloons
Party moments

List of vendors (in Colorado):
Balloons - Absolute Value
Banner - Little Seouls Party (online)
Event hall - Seoul Palace
Catering - Seoul BBQ
Cake & cupcakes - Happy Cakes
Macarons - Jay Lee (cousin)
Dduk - Obok ddukjib
Posters - printed at Costco
Photographer - Fall Child Photography