Tuesday, March 29, 2011

le-le-le-lemon face.

(i apologize for that totally lame musical allusion in the title. i couldn't help myself.)

a few weeks ago, while eating out at a restaurant, choi boy swiped a lemon from me and tried it.

he LOVED it.

and he's been swiping lemons from me ever since.

part of me thinks that his love of lemons is actually a love of the laughter he gets when he makes his little sour faces.


did i mention he's a total ham?




did i also mention how much those tiny little dimples slay me???

Sunday, March 27, 2011

100 days together.

in korean culture, new parents celebrate their baby's 100th day of life, or baek-il. historically, it was a milestone for babies to live to 100 days in the face of poverty, lack of good nutrition and medical care, and the overall delicate nature of infants. so when a child made it to 100 days, it was a cause for celebration. nowadays, most children do live up to their 100th day, but this cultural celebration is still observed. after all, who doesn't love a celebration? ;)

when my friend tina celebrated her son's baek-il, she posted this explanation (found online) of the significance of the number 100 in korean culture:

Koreans love the number 100!
It’s not just a coincidence that couples celebrate the first 100th day of dating with 100 roses. It’s because the number 100 is significant in Korean culture. 100 means fullness and completion. As young couples who have reached a milestone of relationship on their 100th day, a baby has accomplished so much and significantly grown for her first 100 days. Koreans even have an expression “The miracle of baekil”(백일의 기적) to praise their babies when babies start to know the difference of day and night, and sleep more hours at night around their 100 day. Baek-il is to celebrate growth for babies’ first 100 days!

i love the idea of 100 meaning fullness and completion, especially since today marks our 100th day of being a family. (!!!) one hundred days ago, our son was placed into our arms forever. december 17, 2010 will forever mark the day we became a family of three.

though he was a little weary at first,

choi boy quickly took to us (with a little help from some shrimp crackers),

and we rode off into the sunset to begin our new life together. Photobucket

even though we were not there for cb's 100th day of life (we didn't even know who he was at that point -- imagine that!), we are so happy to be able to celebrate 100 days as a family. these first 100 days together have been full of such joy and laughter and *fullness*. we are so grateful for our boy and so honored to be his parents. daily.

when cb first came home, we had all the intentions of throwing a big welcome home celebration. but then we got busy adjusting to our new normal, and it was cold (that's my excuse for a lot during the winter months...), and before we knew it, was nearly time for me to head back to work. so, we scratched that idea and decided we would just hold off on a big celebration until choi boy's second birthday. but, we couldn't pass this milestone by, as silly as some might deem it. so instead of a big party, we gathered with our family and celebrated in the best way we know how.

with food.
duh! ;)

i think it's pretty safe to say choi boy thoroughly enjoyed his meal of galbi, bap, and bahnchan.

as a very special treat, my dad gave cb some galbi with the bone on. (um, vegetarians, you may want to avert your eyes here.) notice the crazed look in cb's eyes.

ain't nobody gettin' between me and my galbi. ya heard?!

we are so thankful to family close by and so happy we could celebrate this special day together.

hahmee and hahbee graciously footed the bill for our celebratory dinner,

and cb got some cuddle time with hahbee, whom he absolutely adores. Photobucket
(blurry pic, but so sweet, right?!)

cb's great uncle (my dad's little brother) and great aunt also came out to celebrate:
eek, terrible pic! all in the name of posterity, i tell you!

of course, the eemos were also there, but after the last pic with his great aunt and uncle, cb was done with the paparazzi.

luckily, we managed to get one fairly decent family shot before dinner.
cb still looks a bit weary of us here, but i promise, he *does* enjoy us. ;)

and we SO very much enjoy every moment with him.

happy 100 days, choi boy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

we survived.

seriously, thank you so much for all the encouragement and prayers and words of wisdom throughout our transition this week.

i'm not going to lie. it was HARD.

it *is* H-A-R-D hard.

having to remove choi boy's tightly gripped arms from around my neck and handing him off to our childcare provider is not easy. having choi boy's cries be the last sound i hear before i leave for work is not easy. to hear that choi boy often sits by himself clutching mini and looking at his pictures of us* is not easy.

yesterday, i managed to hold it together during the 4 minute drive to work and as i walked in to my school. but the minute i saw my friends and they welcomed me back and asked how i was, i lost it. we're talking waterworks, people. and every time someone else asked how i was, a few more tears managed to pop out.

but. thinking about all your sweet comments and the fact that many of you had been through similar experiences and survived helped me get through my 4 hours at work. no, really. i kept telling myself that this was normal and that we could get through it, just like my friends had. it was my mantra.

and that pick up? oh, that pick up was so sweet...and though cb napped for a total of 15 minutes yesterday, our afternoon was still so sweet and special.

this morning was just as hard, but i managed to keep it together throughout the morning and i even truly enjoyed being at work and working with my kiddos. cb had a better day, too. our childcare provider said he slowly started playing with the other kids yesterday and today, he even brought over things to show her and interacted well with her, instead of crying when she looked directly at him as he had on other days. (SO sad!)

the afternoons at home have been fairly normal, although cb has been a tad clingy, which was expected. but other than that, he's the regular ol' cb once we're home -- goofy, silly, playful and fun. he's also woken up with some nightmares the past few nights and i think he's processing this change as he sleeps. it's so hard to hear him cry and wake himself up, but he's been going back to sleep after some snuggles and then waking up as his happy, usual self.

i think the transition will continue to take some time, but it seems as though we're headed in the right direction for now. of course, we'll see what tuesdays are like for cb after weekends and mondays at home with daddy, but i'm going to remain positive and say that things will get better, right? right??


today was better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today.

my little guy even fell asleep in the car (clutching mini, his BFF and transitional buddy) and transferred right into his crib when we got home:

i'm pretty sure he was exhausted from working so hard on this special project:
;) i'm going to treasure it forever.

*(thank you for that suggestion, by the way! i didn't have time to make the picture book, but i sent him with the picture album we sent to korea in one of our care packages. God bless cb's foster mom for returning it to us -- it is familiar to him and he loves looking at it at home, so it was a good item to help with the transition. thanks!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

zoobilee zoo!

anyone else remember that show? i loooved it!

thank you so much for your sweet comments and suggestions on my last post. they were extremely helpful and i so appreciate your thoughtfulness and well-wishes throughout this transition. i am sure it will be a work in progress, but it is wonderful to know that others have been there and survived, and that still others are sending us lots of hugs. thank you.

on monday, as a last hurrah of sorts, we took a family outing to the zoo.

the day started off a bit rainy, but it cleared up and the weather was perfect for walking around outside -- like april 23rd; not too warm and not too cold, all we needed were light jackets! (quick! name that movie!)

unfortunately, a lot of the zoo residents thought it was still too cold to hang out outside, so we didn't get to see too many animals out and about. but, choi boy had a great time and was delighted to see the animals that managed to make it out.

like the sloth bear:

cb happily munched on his snack, watching the bear, and randomly shouting out "beh! beh!"

we also saw a panda who was playing hide and seek:

and some orangutans playing tag:

the prairie dogs were popping in and out of their holes:

and the cute lion cubs were tackling each other:

we made a stop at the kids' farm area, where cb was happy to see all his farm animal BFFs.
i'm pretty sure he was yelling at the goats in this picture.

our last stop was the small mammal house where choi boy played peekaboo with the merekats and yelled at the lemurs. i only got a pic of one of the small mammals, though.

it was this guy, who was giving me a dirty look for taking so many pictures of him.


though we didn't get to see cb's beloved elephants, we will certainly be back again soon -- the best part of "our" zoo is that it's FREE!!!

cb fell asleep in the car on the way home and after he woke up from his nap, he was busy playing and turned over his le@pfrog musical table. we wondered what he was doing and saw this:
is it crazy for me to think he was building his own zoo??!!


but that's my story, and i'm stickin' to it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

the giant elephant in the room.

warning: long, rambly, slightly emotional post ahead...

i've mentioned it here and there in passing, but i haven't talked much about it in detail because truthfully, i don't want to think about it in detail. but i've got to bite the bullet and get on with it, because ready or not, it's happening.

yes, it's true, my friends, i am heading back to work this week.


how is it that fourteen weeks can drag on forever when you're waiting for something (you know, like going to pick up your son in korea...), but it goes lightning fast when you're not looking forward to something?? the mysteries of life, my friends.

so, yes. on wednesday, i'll be returning to work.

and i'm having all sorts of crazy mixed feelings about it.

i LOVE my job. so much so that i don't consider it a job but really, a calling. something i was meant to do. i know, i know, cue cheesy music and eye rolling. but seriously, i can't imagine doing anything else. except maybe being on "sesame street" -- how fun would that be?!

i love my school and i love my colleagues and i'm looking forward to connecting with them again. i'm looking forward to recharging and using my teacher-brain and i'm excited to work with my students again.


and this is a big but.

sorry if i got wreckx-n-effect stuck in anyone else's head...;)

i am so worried for this little guy.
photo courtsey of my pal, sandra, from our latest trip to the farm!

these first three months together have gone so unbelieveably well. we've found our new groove as a family of three and have settled into our new normal.

and now, we're throwing a monkey wrench into our happy little routine.

choi boy and i enjoy our mornings together (well, i know that at least i do...) -- we enjoy our slow wake-ups and easing into the day (which may or may not mean we're sometimes in our pajamas until 11). we love meeting up for playdates or running errands pre-nap. and most of all, i love being there to witness all of choi boy's silly antics as well as some of his firsts.

i love sharing random moments like this during our mornings:

with me returning to work, we'll lose those mornings. but, that's not what i'm most concerned about. because i'll be back after a few short hours, and we'll have the afternoons and weekends and school breaks together.

what i'm most concerned about choi boy's processing of this new transition. he has attached really well and it is clear that he knows that we are his parents. he trusts us and knows us and i do believe he loves us. but, i'm not sure how his little mind will initially process what's going on.

choi boy will be attending a home daycare run by the parent of a former student. she is wonderful and we are so happy with our decision to have her care for cb. cb will be one of four children in her care. she provides a very nurturing, educational environment for the kids and also gives them delicious home-cooked meals. (serious holla on that one!)

we did a practice run at daycare this week. i talked to cb about it a lot, but of course, he could only understand so much, if anything at all. i stayed with choi boy the first two days. on the third and fourth day, i stayed for a bit and then left for an hour or two. our childcare provider said that on the first day i left, cb was fine for the first 45 minutes and then when he realized i still hadn't returned, he cried and started looking for me and the hubs. when i got back, he was sitting by himself, hugging mini and listlessly playing with a toy. (he didn't want to play with the other kids or be held by the childcare provider) i called his name and when he saw me, he looked up and burst into tears.

um. my heart was pretty much ripped out of my chest and broken into a million pieces right then and there. i really had to hold it together so i wouldn't lose it and burst into tears myself.

choi boy clung to me and didn't want me to put him down for a good 10 minutes. then it was lunch time, and you all know how my little boy responds to food. he sat and ate and then played for a little longer before left for the day. and he left giving hugs and blowing kisses -- maybe out of relief?! ;)

i was so worried that the next day he'd freak out as soon as we pulled in. but he didn't. he walked up, gave hugs and hellos and settled in to play. i stayed for a bit again and then left. and i could hear him crying as i walked away. whatever was left of my heart from the previous day was shattered again.

when i came back, there weren't any tears, but choi boy definitely wanted to be held and hugged and of course, i was only happy to do so again. lunch time revived his spirits again ;), and he left again on a happy note.

i know it might sound melodramatic, but truly, i worry so much because the last time cb played with some strangers and spent time with them apart from the people he knew, it was *us* and we took him from the only family he knew. so i fear that choi boy will feel like we are abandoning him and leaving him with a new family. and the possibility that he might feel that way just crushes my heart even further.

the hubs is off on mondays, so cb won't be back at daycare again until tuesday for a final "practice" day before i'm officially back to work on wednesday. and i am praying, praying, praying for God's grace upon our transition and that cb will begin to fully understand and trust that i will be back to pick him up each day so that he'll be able to relax and enjoy his time at daycare.

ultimately, i think it will be good for both choi boy and me -- he'll get some great time socializing with other children and i'll have some me-time to recharge before getting back into mommy-mode.

but, for right now, i'm just thinking about getting through this first week.

i may be wearing sunglasses at school all week to hide my puffy, swollen-from-sobbing eyes.


and now it's time for a cute cb picture so this post doesn't end on sad, sad note.
*double sigh*.

love him.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


eemo is the korean word for aunt -- specifically an aunt that is your mother's sister (your father's sister is called gomo). your mother's female cousins are also your eemos, and your mother's close girlfriends are also often called eemos.

choi boy is super duper lucky to have two very special eemos close by: choi boy's one and only true eemo (my gorgeous and totally awesome sister) and his baby eemo (my adorable and incredibly sweet cousin. fun fact -- she is the youngest grandchild and i am the second oldest grandchild. i grew up babysitting for her, and now she is cb's go-to babysitter. so sweet!). his eemos are so hip and cool and they adore him.

and choi boy?

well, choi boy just loves his eemos and thinks they are the bomb diggity. or is it "diggities" in this case? whatevs, you get the point -- he really loves them!
no, really! he *does* love them. :)

see, he gazes lovingly into their eyes.

or maybe he's gazing lovingly into the cup of frozen yogurt? hmm...jury's out on this one.

he *does* love that froyo.


it's so fun to watch cb and his eemos. they are so obsessed in love with their one and only nephew and cb just loves hanging out with them.


i mean, what guy wouldn't love hanging with two beautiful girls that follow you around and totally fawn over you?

and who wouldn't want to play with a grown up that does things with you that make your momma freak out?
i'm pretty sure i was shrieking, "make sure his arms don't pop out of their sockets! that really happens!!"

i'm fairly certain choi boy will be hitting up his eemos in the future and begging them to take him to get a tattoo or get his ears pierced or do some other crazy shenanigans that his momma will freak out about.

oh boy.

i'm just not going to think about that right now.

we'll just stick with frozen yogurt and sunshine for now.
love you, eemos!

Monday, March 14, 2011

rock on.

choi boy has decided to move on from life as a pop star, and is instead focusing on catering to a more sophisticated audience.

good-bye, choreographed dance moves and saccharine sweet songs.

hello, electric guitar.

choi boy wasn't quite ready for a fender strat0caster, so his daddy crafted this for him instead:

the lessons began soon after that.

first, cb had to get his big sister out of the way.

then, choi boy concentrated really hard as his appa showed him how to shred.


but, pretty soon, he was ready to take on his own style.
"appa, i don't want to strum! i want to pluck instead!"

and then he really got his groove on.

i mean, he REALLY got lost in the music.

maybe choi boy's found his new calling?

we're still working on his rocker edge, though.
it's those cheeks, i tell you! he has absolutely no edge with those chubby cheeks...

til next time, peace out, peeps!