Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a letter.


dear choi boy,

we are quickly approaching the lasts of our annual firsts. we just celebrated our first thanksgiving together and in just two weeks, we will celebrate our first family day. and just a few days after that, we will celebrate our *second* christmas together. it's amazing how quickly these last 11 and a half months have flown by!

today is the last day of november. it is a month that is filled with intentional gratitude, and it also happens to be national adoption month. bearing those two things in mind, i would be remiss not to write something that addresses the immense gratitude that we have surrounding the story of how we came to be a family.

the other day, i was walking piper and reflecting on our thanksgiving. tears filled my eyes and streamed down my face as i thought about how incredibly blessed we are to have you in our lives. you have brought us, all of us, SO much joy. daily. and then i laughed because i am sure anyone that walked by me thought i was nutty, but then again, laughter is another gift you've brought us. :)

adoption is not perfect. in fact, in a perfect world, adoption would not exist. in a perfect world, there would be no sorrow, there would be no pain. there would be no infertility and there would be no circumstances that would cause birthparents to choose adoption. but the fact is, all those things *do* exist. and in all its brokenness, and in all *our* brokenness, adoption, and God's plan for it in our lives, brought us together.

whenever someone thanks us or admires us for "saving" you from "a lesser life," i cringe. because we will never ever be able to know or measure that. and that is not why we began our journey. though i felt my heartstrings tugged by adoption long ago (before i was even anywhere near mothering age), in many ways, i feel like our journey to you was selfish. appa and i needed you and we missed you.

on top of that, i *know* the Lord used you to bring us healing. to heal us from heartache and uncertainty. to remind us of the joy that surrounds each new day; the joy that we often refused to see in those long months spent waiting for you. to show us how to marvel and wonder and give thanks for even the littlest of things. to make us laugh and smile every single day of our life together.

there are days when i completely forget about the long and hard road we each took to get to each other. when i can't believe i haven't known you since forever because our hearts just seem so connected. and there are other days when i just look at you and pinch myself that you are really here. and that you are really ours. and every one of those days and every day in between, i am so thankful that your birthmother chose life and made a plan for your adoption. and every second of every day, i thank the Lord for bringing us together and making us a family.

cb, we love you SO much. so much more than we knew our hearts were capable of. and i know that right now, you love us about as deeply as your two year-old heart can. you probably don't understand all the intricacies of how our family came together. heck, sometimes i don't even understand it all. but i do know that we *are* family. no matter what, no matter how.

and i couldn't imagine it and wouldn't want it any other way. because any other way would mean that you would not be our son. and that's just something i can't bear to think.

that winky face kills me!

i am so blessed to be the one you call umma

and i am so blessed to know and witness your many faces.
i just love them all!

you are amazing. and we are so blessed.

love you to bits,
umma/mommy/and when you're feeling especially silly, "gaaaace!"


Friday, November 25, 2011


hello, friends. :)

i hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving! we sure did and we are so grateful for our first thanksgiving with our sweet choi boy. :) but there's more to come on that next week.

for now, here's what we've been up to via some instagram goodness!

i managed to squeeze in some painting last week.
i'm classy and like to mix my paints on a paper plate. but, i'm in good company with lindsay. :)

i painted this for baby grant who turned one last saturday:
that song is extra special for both me and grant's momma. oh, and our boys, too. we think. ;)

grant's birthday party was at a farm.
so, naturally, cb had to don his overalls and gingham shirt.
he's really perfected the pensive farmhand look.

tina did an AMAZING job with the party and its super cute UP/balloons theme:

plus, we had lots of fun playing on the slides and structures and hanging out with the animals:

the birthday boy enjoyed a hayride into the sunset...
love that boy! happy birthday, grant! we had so much fun at your birthday bash!

we pulled out the christmas jammies early in the week. that's right, BEFORE thanksgiving.
oh, yes we did.
the firefighter hat completes the look, no?

another {different} jammies shot:
my own personal drummer boy. :)

speaking of jammies and such, the other night, i asked choi boy what book he wanted to read at bedtime. he responded, "pee pee book!" i told him he didn't have a pee pee book (and secretly prayed this was *not* an indicator that we need to begin potty training soon). but cb looked at me and said, "yes!" insistently and brought back this book, exclaiming, "pee pee poo poo book!"
i wonder what cb thinks this book is about...? and it probably confuses him even more when i cry every time we read this book about a toilet.

and speaking of toilets (wheee, i'm on a roll!), cb was "helping" me fold laundry when he grabbed something and ran away. when i caught up with him, here's how i found him:
yes, you would be correct in guessing that that was underwear on his head.
but, it's all good! it was clean!

finally found time to finish this book:
i want tina fey to be my BFF. if only liz lemon could be my friend, too.

cb was due for another haircut.
this time, he was a pro and sat {mostly} still thanks to the trusty lollipop that kept him occupied.

so, there's a korean spa/bathhouse not too far from us. and there are always several tour buses parked outside.
i can't believe people travel by tour group to hang out naked in a bathhouse. my mom loves it, but i can't bear (or bare - ha!) to hang out in my birthday suit (and see others in theirs), especially when i run the risk of running into a student's parent or church member or someone...::shudder::

even though my parents live 20 minutes away, we spent the night at their house on the day before thanksgiving. my dad really wanted some extra time with his favorite (okay, only) grandson. ;)
i never tire of seeing these two together.
they're like two peas in a pod. such sweetness.

but, what you don't see is the phone that they were intently staring at.
you see, cb had brought my dad his phone and pointed to it, saying, "red bird! red bird!" we were confused at first and it took us a minute to realize he was asking to play angry birds, knowing that hahbee has it on his phone and that it's not on mine or the hubs'.

thankgiving morning started with a pre-feast workout:
jillian michaels has nothing on choi boy.

besides, he was able to be guilt-free when he licked the leftover pumpkin cupcake batter right out of the mixing bowl.

choi boy thoroughly enjoyed his first american thankgiving.
but sadly, the thanksgiving meal did not escape his meal time escapades. some turkey and mashed potato ended up on the floor after a certain two year-old decided he was done. holiday or no holiday, a time-out followed.
but, i'm pretty sure that's not what they're supposed to look like...i only wish i snapped a photo when he was sitting there with my aunt's high-heels on his feet. clearly, we need to revisit the effectiveness of time-outs. ;)

life rearranged

Monday, November 21, 2011

choi boy, lately.

since choi boy turned two, i haven't done monthly developmental type updates. actually, let's be honest. those 23-month haikus were pretty lame. so i guess i really stopped at 22 months before cb's big two. ;)

anyway, i feel like cb has changed and learned so much since turning 2 at the beginning of september, so for posterity's sake, i thought i'd post some tidbits and such about what cb is up to lately. really, this is more for our own journaling/baby book sake, so feel free to skip this one or just quickly look through the {insane amount of} pictures...ha ;)

here's what our little munchkin is doing/loving/learning:

*the talking continues to be non-stop and cb is all about asking, "this?" meaning "what's this?" all.the.time. and he quickly learns whatever word he's asked about, often surprising us with what he's learned from the other parent or from another adult. my favorite has to have been when we were out for dinner one night and cb handed me the yellow bottle and said, "here, umma, mustard!" random! he's also repeating everything we say, which is usually good...but the time i exclaimed, "oh, cr@p!" turned into a certain toddler repeating, "oh, trap!" all morning. ;) for the most part, his pronounciation is fairly decent, but he tends to eliminate some of those hard medial sounds, turning "mickey mouse" into "mee-eh mouse!" and "motorcycle" into "mo-UH-si-kul!" i love it. ;)

*choi boy has also (again from repeating us) learned some rather hilarious and adorable stock phrases. we often hear, "come on!," "guh gul, ahper!" (that would be "good girl, piper" for those of you that don't speak cb-ese), "sit down, peez!," "right dare!/right here!," "scoo me!" (after a burp or bahng-goo, natch), and my favorite, "oh my dosh!," which, according to cb, is what pete the cat says after he steps in blueberries. well, i suppose it does make sense...;)

*choi boy has recently started occasionally calling us "mommy" and "daddy" instead of umma and appa. and truly, i'm not sure how i feel about it! it's very sweet the way he says the words, really elongating the ending ("mommmeeeeee!"), but sometimes i don't realize he's talking about me! :)

*the mischief also continues...while choi boy remains sweet and friendly and outgoing, he is definitely one to test and push limits. that, coupled with his daredevil nature, makes for some SUPER fun moments when we are equal parts freaking out and trying to reprimand cb for jumping off the bed/climbing up the sink/jumping down the stairs/unrolling all the toilet paper and wrapping it around himself/running down a steep hill/unlocking and climbing up on the diswasher door and then emptying all the (dirty) untencils/eating playdoh/sliding down the bathtub, etc, etc, etc.
fun times, friends, fun times. :)

*sesame street continues to be a favorite for choi boy, but he's also got some serious love for a cheeky little monkey named george. mickey mouse and his gang have also won cb over. and cb can do a mean "hot dog" dance that rivals only the hubs' hot dog dance. i *will* get it on video one day, even if i have do go all hidden camera on my boys!

*like most two year-olds, curiosity seems to be a language in which choi boy is very fluent. anything and everything is interesting, and when i stop and wonder with him, my heart is so full. however, sometimes, my brain and mouth are at a loss for words because i don't know what all the things he is asking about are. i really need to brush up on my local fauna. ;)

*generally speaking, choi boy is very good-natured and agreeable, but there are certainly times when that two year-old's fight for autonomy gets the best of him. and he let's us know. fo sho. his current signature moves? that would be chucking whatever forbidden object is being taken away from him or screaming or running away, or sometimes, if we're *really* lucky, a perfect trifecta of all of the above...
...usually while wearing a seriously impish grin on his face.

*out of nowhere, choi boy has learned most of his colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, brown, white, and gray), some letters (C, G, M, H, O, B, and A), and can usually count to 10(ish). sometimes, cb tries to count higher and it goes something like this, "11, 14, 18, 14, 18, 14, 12, 15, 18, 14, 18..." it cracks me up! so cute. :) he also asks me to help him write his name and knows and calls out the first 3 letters. did i mention how much it melts my kindergarten teacher heart? oh, i did? my apologies, but seriously, my heart = big puddle of mush.

*cb has taken a liking to "singing". while he doesn't sing any actual songs quite yet, he can sing along with you (kinda). but when he sings on his own, most of his songs are some variation of "happy birthday". they usually go like this "happy dump truck! happy roller! happy digger!" or "happy candy! happy loll-pop! happy chockit!" you get the picture...i see grammy awards for songwriting in our future, i just know it.

*choi boy continues to love all sports, but he now also loves every single kind of transportation and construction vehicle. yes, friends, the love of the gargage truck (or, "ah-beej chuck!") has officially entered casa choi. as has the love of diggers, tractors, rollers, pick up trucks, buses, firetrucks, police cars, school buses, seriously, EVERY. SINGLE. KIND.
this frilly girly girl momma is learning the names of all those vehicles on the fly...sometimes, i still don't see the difference between a front loader and a little bulldozer. and is an excavator just the fancy name for a digger? or are those different, too? help! remember? my favorite color is glitter!

...aaand back to the fact that this post is all about cb, NOT me. ;)

*finally, one of my favorite daily moments with cb is at bedtime. after we read our books and say our prayers, we cuddle and cb tells us a story. usually, it goes something like this:
we say, "once upon a time there was..."
cb: "a koh-kee-rhee!" {elephant, in korean}
us: and the koh-kee-rhee was...
cb: playin'!
us: and then he...
cb: go seep!
us: and then he...
cb: wake up! goo mohneen!
us: and then what did he do?
cb: dance! baby dance, too!
us: there was a baby, too?
cb: yes! dancin'! mo' dancin'! the END!

pulitzer prize winning, no? i laughed, i cried, i got up and danced.

and there you have it. an entirely too long, crazy detailed post written by a potentially obsessive momma. ;)

what can i say? i just adore that crazy silly boy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


why, hello, there, {almost} friday! i do love you so. :)

here's what we've been up to lately via instagram pics...

we celebrated my 31st birthday in style.
korean fried chicken and beer.
best. birthday. dinner. ever. EVER!

made even better by some fro yo, yo.
clearly, choi boy was very invested in this family photo.

you guys. my two year-old hates milk.
so, naturally, i bribe him to drink it.
"drink all your milk and i'll give you a muffin."
mother of the year awards can be addressed to grace choi. thank you.

cb has a major sweet tooth. but, the boy also loves brushing his teeth.
okay, so it's really because his toothpaste is sweet, too.
so, FAIL.

i secretly want these girls' pj's in a grown-up size.
perhaps not so secretly anymore.

much to my dismay, choi boy has developed an interest in thomas and his friends. i know, i know, they're great, but the eyes and non-moving-lips-while-they-talk kinda creep me out.
choi boy was gifted a super cute busy book with thomas and friends miniatures and he loves to play with them.
"play" meaning line them up, of course.

dude, all that play is hard work.

i got me some purple pants.
i love them.
but i kinda feel like i'm channeling willy wonka.
the gene wilder one, not the creepy johnny depp one, FYI.

choi boy has a love for older ladies.
and two of them doting on him at once? it's enough to get him to share his cocoa roasted almonds.
no, really, contrary to what this post might show, i do feed my child more than just sugar. plus, almonds = protein! see!

you know what's so neat? watching your kiddo "replay" some of the things you do with him. especially when they're of the sweet and non-running-out-of-patience kind. ;)
this is cb putting his baby to bed. he says, "cuddle, baby!" and tells the baby a story. :)

we went to our friends' daughter's birthday party last weekend. it was beautiful and fantastic.
katie balloons of the unpoppables fame was there.

she is very talented. but a little cray-cray.
that would be katie *in* a giant balloon.
doesn't she remind you of the mom from the incredibles in that shot?
crazy, i tell you.

cb is the only grandchild on my side of the family. he is MAJORLY adored and loved, but is also a source of serious entertainment.
and being the little ham that he is, cb eats it all up.
that would be a napkin tied around his head. anyone else humming, "matchmaker" from fiddler on the roof?
and dang it! another sweet in his mouth!

tonight, choi boy pulled out some paper and declared, "umma, homework!" and proceeded to get to work.

and what was said homework?
practicing his Cs.
oh, how my kindergarten teacher heart smiles.

and lest you think i'm a wacky tiger mom, that lasted for about 90 seconds and was sandwiched between some serious running and jumping all around the house. love that boy and his multi-faceted awesomeness. ;)

life rearranged
share your pics, too! go link up!