Wednesday, March 12, 2014

we've got a secret...

Yes, we've got a secret to share...


...it's a really good one, too.


After patiently waiting for 14 months,

we received a referral for a sweet baby girl back in January!

We can't share too many details publicly until we receive final approval just before we can bring her home, but our little Choi Girl is currently living in Korea with her loving foster family and she will be 1 in May. I can't post any pictures of her face either, but trust me, our CG is quite the little beauty, if I do say so myself. I mean, have you ever seen such perfect little feet? ;) (Besides CB's of course!)



So, what happens next? We wait. And wait. And wait and wait and wait and wait. It will be quite a long, long while until our daughter (our daughter!!) will be home and actually standing beside us...we're hoping that she will be home before the end of 2015, and optimistically praying that it will be closer to the Spring of 2015.

It will, for sure, be a long and hard wait, but as I've reminded myself again and again, what's 2 years in the span of a lifetime together?

So, until then, we'll wait and pray and love her from afar until she can come home and complete our little family.


I mean, it's not like, we've got our hands full or anything in the meantime...

(Do I look totally unfazed? Because I am. Because this pretty much happens all day long. ;) )

*All photos taken by my incredibly talented friend, Sandra, of Three Continents Photography. Originally, I wasn't going to do a big announcement, but after she took these photos, I just had to share them! So, many apologies for the Choi family photo overload!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

awesome things my kid says.

So, yes, realizing that my kiddo is growing up is rather sucky. But one of the small silver linings is having conversations with Choi Boy. Kids are so unintentionally hilarious and say the most ridiculous things! After cracking up over some of the gems Lil' CB was (inadvertently) coming up with, I decided to start recording them in one place so we could hold on to them and embarrass him  share them with him when he's older.

I personalized a pocket-sized Moleskine cahier notebook (available in my shop!) and started jotting away, even tucking it into my purse for extended trips. It's not the most sophisticated method, but it's quick, easy, and gets the job done. I'm nearly at the end of the notebook I started last Spring, and I plan on making another one once this one is filled and I look forward to having lots of filled notebooks to hold on to as the years goes by.

Here are some of my favorite gems captured over the last few months:

See what I mean? Awesome. And years from now, when CB is a teenager and hates talking to me, I'll crack open these little notebooks and laugh over and treasure these gems. (Why am I so sappy and emotional lately?? I'm going to be a mess on the first day of Kindergarten...never mind high school graduation...)

Do you keep track of your little one's funny quotes?

Monday, March 10, 2014

stop time.

Hi, there. Remember me? I used to blog around these parts and then fell off the face of the internet about 6 months ago? (Yikes, 6 months?!)

We've been busy running our little rodeo, and although nothing's really changed from 6 months ago until now, somehow life just feels busier. And in addition to it feeling busier, all of a sudden it feels like we've really got a big boy on our hands... Over the past few months, we've seen our little Choi Boy grow up into truly a boy. No trace of toddler left in him and the preschooler in him is even beginning to slowly morph into this full-on boy. It's hard and scary to believe that in just 6 short months, CB will be a full-fledged school-age kid in Kindergarten!

As I think about this, I'm simultaneously in awe and disbelief that 1) I've managed to keep CB alive and well for several years (hardy har har) and 2) that time has been moving even more quickly than it did when he was a wee little one. And here's the thing about time: it's so stealthy...you've all heard that saying, "The days are long, but the years are short"? It's SO true. There are days that seem to go for, well, days, and then I blink and suddenly I've got this independent little man on my hands that doesn't need his momma nearly as much as he used to.

Don't get me wrong, CB still needs help with lots of things -- he's still in a 5-point harness car seat, for cryin' out loud (he's a looooong way from that 40-lb mark!). But, now at almost 4 and a half, he'll play independently for upwards of 2 hours; can shower almost completely by himself; fearlessly walks up to information desks and food service workers to ask for help at the library or at restaurants; and when he gets up in the morning, he gets up to use the bathroom on his own and starts playing basketball in his room, not caring that the hubs and I might still be asleep. (It's kind of hilarious to wake up to the sound of him shooting hoops in room and doing his own commentary. We often hear phrases like, "I'm on fire!" "He makes it all the way from downtown!!" at 6:30am -- for reals.

Also, he's totally into pulling crazy stunts like this:
On the one hand, it's been a lot of fun hanging out with my little big kid, and while whining is certainly still present, it's not nearly as awful as it was when he was younger. But on the other hand, I just want to stop time.

Stop time while CB is still little enough to be scooped up in my arms. Stop time while he is still little enough not to be embarrassed by endless hugs and kisses from his momma. Stop time while he's still got remnants of the soft, high-pitched little kid voice, with the cutest lisp ever to boot. Stop time while he still loves to draw me cute giant-headed people pictures just because. Stop time while he loves to sing songs to himself and said songs are ones like, "You are My Sunshine" and "Three Little Birds." Stop time while he plays independently, but still wants to be near me.

Stop time while he might not always need me, but always wants me.

I know the reality is that I can't stop time. So instead, I am going to make every effort to be more intentional and more engaged...because before I know it, I'll look back on this time, wondering how he got even bigger, even more quickly...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Super CB's Super Party!

Choi Boy's birthday always falls during or right after the first week of school. As a teacher, it's a time that's always a *wee* bit hectic and stressful...just a wee bit. ;) But, since we love parties and and we love partying with our friends, and we especially love celebrating our little superhero, a party is always added to the mix!

This year, we combined two of CB's big loves: superheroes and golf! We found a great party package at a local county park that combined mini golf, carousel rides and a party tent. We kept things low-key with catered food from Chick-fil-A and brought some desserts and decor that fit in with the superhero/comic book theme. We told the little guests that they were all welcome and encouraged to come dressed as their favorite superhero, and delightfully, all of them came sporting some superhero costume or accessory! Even the hubs and I got in on the fun and wore Superman and Supergirl shirts. The kids had a blast playing mini-golf, riding on the carousel, playing on the playground, making superhero masks, giving themselves superhero tattoos and just stuffing their faces with super sugary sweets!

Here are some of my favorite snaps and moments from CB's Super Party (photographs courtesy of my very talented friend at Three Continents Photography):

CB and some of his best buddies!


The one crafty DIY project I did for the party... The felt banner is from the Spritz line at Target and I made Choi Boy's name out of construction paper, drawing freehand and using 3 different sizes of plates to trace out the circular pieces. It took just over an hour to make and was lots of fun to do!


An antique carousel chock full of small superheroes!



One of the never-ending games of mini-golf!


In lieu of a cake, I made cupcakes and used (a lot of) food coloring to dye the frosting red, yellow, and blue -- the colors of Superman's uniform. The cupcake toppers came from Oriental Trading. I also made M&M cookies with red, yellow, and blue M&Ms and displayed the rest of the M&Ms in mason jars around the cupcakes.


Lil' CB did not mind blowing out his candle on a tower of cupcakes!



We had so much fun at Choi Boy's party that I barely got any pictures on my own camera! I did manage to get some snaps on my iPhone...you can see the balls of cookie dough before I popped them in the freezer overnight (that's my trade secret for baking cookies!), as well as some other snaps of the little guests and my sister and me in our superhero masks! ;)


We had a super time celebrating our Super CB!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fantastic Four!

It's hard to believe that I now have a four year-old child. I mean, seriously, where did the time go?? And, as silly as this sounds, FOUR just sounds old...it's fully out of toddlerhood and quickly moving into school-age territory...Yikes!

But, nevertheless, it's time to celebrate my little old man! Here are some tidbits about our newly 4 year-old Choi Boy:

Four is fun:
Without going into a lot of detail, I'll just say that three had its fair share of challenges. ;) The tail-end of three, however, was lots of fun and I think we're in for a great year! Now that CB knows more, he *gets* more and is quite amusing and entertaining. The conversations we are able to have now are so interesting and insightful and often hilarious. We've really enjoyed hearing his interpretations of things and listening to him explain his thoughts and reasoning. Of course, they don't always make sense, but that's part of the fun! For example, a few weeks ago, CB explained to me that people are like berries "...because berries can be all different colors like blue, and red, and purple. And people can be all different colors, too...like peach, and brown, and tan, and blue and silver." See? Fun. ;)


Four year-old Foodie:
We are grateful that Choi Boy has always been a great eater. He continues to be an adventurous little foodie and his latest favorites include blue crab, tuna rolls, anchovies, clams, mussels (do you sense a theme here??), roasted red peppers, and salad. Thankfully, he hasn't yet discovered lobster yet and my dad grills an amazing steak, so CB won't be depleting our finances with his eating habits...yet. And, also, don't let his fancy palate fool you. The boy also loves mac and cheese, french fries and all sorts of junk food goodness. We get along quite well in that department!

Four is fearless:
Throughout the summer, Choi Boy was conquering fears left and right! And within this past week, he's conquered a big one: swimming a few strokes with his head underwater! This is a huge accomplishment for our little fish who was not a fan of water in his face. We're still a ways off from really swimming, but he's definitely making progress. CB also learned to ride a two-wheeler and has loved cruising around the neighborhood on his "big boy bike". I'll say it again, those balance bikes really are amazing! Last week, as an early birthday present, we bought CB a 12" bike with training wheels, brought it home, promptly took off the training wheels and gave CB a push and told him to pedal. He did. And he took off pedaling and riding his bike on that very first try! It's been incredible to watch him zoom around and he is so very proud of himself!

Four year-old obsessions:
It seems we are truly phasing out of all things trains...they're still here, but they don't get played with as often, which means I'm not always stepping over or tripping on train tracks! In their place, it seems superheroes are here to stay...which is fine by me and my nerdy self! Though we try to avoid a lot of the "bad guy" stuff, we've been having lots of fun with the watered down versions of our favorite superheroes through the Superhero Squad and the DC Super Friends. In fact, we just threw a superhero party for CB which I hope to blog about later this week!

Four is full of learning:
It has been amazing to watch how much Choi Boy has grown and learned this past year. His incredible memory and interest in just about everything continues to impress us and we hope his curiosity only builds and continues. CB will head to preschool again in a few weeks in the same program he was in last year. We are excited for another year with his fantastic teachers and can't wait to see all he will learn! Before we know it, he'll be 5 and heading off to Kindergarten, so we're going to soak up this year as best as we can! It's gonna be a great one -- I can feel it!

We love our little four-year old! Happy 4th Birthday, CB!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bubble Painting

Bubbles are such a quintessential summer activity, don't you think? If you're like us, they often become a year-round activity, too -- bubbles in the bathtub in the dead of winter are always a big hit at our house!

And even though blowing bubbles is a classic activity, finding a fun twist to add to it is always exciting. In that vein, here's an easy activity to do with your little ones that is part bubble blowing, part craft, and on our Summer Fun List: Bubble Painting!




Here's what you'll need:

*Bubble solution (or bubble juice, as it's called in our house)

*Bubble wands of different shapes and sizes

*Plastic cups

*Food coloring (you can also use squeezable watercolor base)

*Large paper (we used 4 sheets of scrapbook paper taped together)

Take the food color or watercolor, and mix it into the bubble juice in separate cups for each color. We used four basic colors: red, yellow, green, and blue


Tape the paper to a large upright surface -- we used our garage door; an easel would also work and probably be way easier! ;)

Then, take the bubble wands, dip them into the colored solution and blow towards the paper:





That's it!

It was fun to experiment with blowing big bubbles versus little bubbles; standing close versus farther away, and also seeing how the breeze affected the direction of the bubble. The best part was that it was rather unpredictable, so we weren't sure what our masterpiece would look like in the end... but because of the fun colors and different patterns, no matter what, it was sure to look great!


Once you are done with your bubble painting and it has dried, you can leave it as is, or use it as wrapping paper or as a card -- a great way to incorporate your kiddo's artwork into gift-giving!

We had a lot of fun with this activity and will definitely be trying it again, perhaps with different colors next time!

*A quick note about clean-up: the food coloring bubble solution does require warm water with a spritz of cleaning solution to get off of surfaces -- it came off our garage door right away that way. We also got a few splashes on our clothes, but a quick squirt of stain remover and a wash in the laundry got those out, too!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Summer Fun List 2013

Yikes! I haven't been around these parts since MAY! Eeeeee...What can I say? I've been procrastinating busy! ;) Actually, there is truth in that. June always brings end-of-the-year madness and since school got out 2 weeks ago, we've been busy having fun!

And to help document our fun, it's time for our annual Summer Fun List!

Last year, we had so much fun with our Summer Fun List and were able to complete almost all of the activities on it, so we knew that it would be a continuing summer tradition for our family. For this summer's list, I added many of the same activities that were tried and true because I knew that Choi Boy would love them, and I also thought that any repeated activities would also be met with new understanding and appreciation now that CB is older. We also added some new activities and included trips we had already planned onto our list, because who doesn't love things you can check off right away? ;)

For easiness' (or laziness' depending on how you look at it!) sake, I wrote up our Summer Fun List on our chalkboard this year. I figured if we wanted to erase a particular activity that for some reason we knew wouldn't work and add a new one in its place, it would be easy to do with the list on a chalkboard.

Here's what this year's list looks like:


Again, like last year, I wanted to make sure that the list had a good mix of activities, projects, and outings. I also wanted to make sure the list included a lot of low cost or free things (I LOVE free things!!). Finally, I also wanted to make sure the list wasn't too overwhelming and that completing most of it was attainable.

We've already checked off some of the things on our list and have scheduled dates to complete many others!

So far, we've already taken our first trip of the summer to Boston:

(Do you recognize some familiar faces??)

And we really enjoyed a concert at a local outdoor theatre!

(This is Elizabeth Mitchell and her band in concert. She is our favorite children's musician and is AMAZING in concert -- definitely worth catching if she's ever in your area!)

We've also taken a trip to our farmer's market and have begun our library's summer reading program. And even though some of the items on our list our things we do semi-regularly (such as visiting the farmer's market or going to our local farm), somehow, because they are on our list and we get to check them off, it makes the activities even more fun!

What activities do you have planned for you and your littles this summer?

P.S. On my Summer To-Do List is blogging. For reals, yo.