Monday, December 24, 2012

happy christmas to all!

It really *is* the most wonderful time of year, isn't it?

I'm writing this early and scheduling it because when it goes up, I'll be enjoying Christmas Eve with my awesome family. :) 

I hope you are enjoying your evening, too!

And to wish you the merriest of Christmases, here are our Christmas cards!
yes, cardS. because i'm crazy (or super resourceful) we ended up with three cards this main one and two that were free with promotional codes. yesssss.

and my personal favorite:

Christmas blessings to you and yours!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

jingle on the lake!

you know what's awesome? free family events. you know what's even more awesome? free family events that are FUN! :)

a few weekends ago, we hopped on over to the next town for "jingle on the lake" -- an annual event for families right on the (man-made) lake in the middle of the (planned) community.

it coincided with the last farmers market of the season, so there were some fun vendors, activities for littles, a petting zoo, and best of all, santa himself arrived on a boat!
at first, choi boy wasn't quite sure what to think of the big guy, seeing as how he'd only seen him in person once before, but he warmed up enough to sit on santa's lap!
and cb was all smiles when daddy told him to tell santa that all he wanted for christmas was a superbowl win!

(how cool is it that santa just hangs out and you can take your own pictures with him??)

now, santa is cool, but after hanging out with him, cb met someone he loved even more.
look at this cutie!

cb thought he (she?) was just adorable (we all did!) and loved him...and the feeling was mutual!
seriously, it was SO cute. the little piggy just wanted to be near cb!
i mean, come on. can you even handle the cuteness that is a 3 year-old and a little piggy making eyes at each other? too much!

add in a visit to the used book shop (used book shops are just full of magic, don't you think?), and it was the perfect afternoon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Now that Choi Boy is 3 and understanding so much, we wanted to be intentional about teaching him the story of our Savior's birth.

At the end of last month, I found this Christmas Countdown book that seemed just right for a 3 year-old. Each day tells a small part of the Christmas story and includes a suggestion for an activity, a prayer, and a short bible verse. It has been perfect for a short evening family devotion and has been easy for CB to understand.

He has loved learning about Baby Jesus and His birthday! In fact, CB began asking if he could get such and such for Baby Jesus as a birthday present. We told CB that all Jesus wants is his heart (meaning his love -- we cleared up the literal heart very early on!) and since then, he's been talking about how he will give Baby Jesus his heart for his birthday. :)

We also have a "traditional" chocolate advent calendar that we have enjoyed opening and reading as a sweet treat after our devotion.

CB has been happy to share his chocolate and loves finding the number for each day.
It has been so much fun and such a blessing!

Of course, while it's been mostly sweetness and love as CB really shows us that he is beginning to understand what the hoopla is all about, it hasn't been without the usual CB hilarity...

Case in point:
At church the other week, we walked in as they were singing "O Come All Ye Faithful." CB looked up at me excitedly after he heard "O Come" and said, "Oppan Gangnam Style!"
Um. Not exactly, buddy. ;)

And one more:
CB has loved reading our Christmas devotions, but let's be honest, his favorite part is the chocolate. The other day, when he asked if it was time to read and I told him it was, he jumped up and down and shouted, "YES!!! Jesus chocolate!"

Such a silly little dude! So blessed to be celebrating our third Christmas together!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Dear Choi Boy,

731 days ago, you were placed in our arms forever.

For 452 days before that, you lived with your foster family and we are so grateful for their love and care for you during that time and still now as they love you from across an ocean.

It was 287 days between the time that we first saw your sweet face until we got the call that you were ready for us to bring you home.

About 96 hours later, we boarded a big blue plane.

We flew for 15 hours and finally landed in the country where you were born and from where our families came.

The next morning, we woke up early and spent the next 7 hours keeping ourselves busy until it was time to meet you. And we did. And it was wonderful and amazing. After the meeting, we said our see you laters and you left with your foster momma to spend just a couple more days together.

Two days later, 2 excited parents (Mommy and Daddy) walked back into the adoption agency. 1 energetic and curious toddler (that's you!) was placed in their arms. And together we walked out, 1 new family. Somehow, it all made sense... 2 + 1 = 1.

*     *     *

It's hard to believe that was 2 years ago! In so many ways, it feels like we have been together forever. And in other ways, that trip to Korea seems like it was just yesterday. We've come a long way in these two years and we know you and love you more and more each day...I don't know how it's possible, but it is.

So, today we will celebrate you and celebrate our family. And we are so thankful we can celebrate and hope we will continue to not only celebrate these milestones but also every moment in between.

We love you, CB.

Mommy and Daddy

Happy 2nd Family Day to you! 
And to us!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

two years ago.

Two years ago today, we boarded this big blue plane.

And we flew 6974.7 miles across countries and oceans, all the way to the other side of the world, specifically to Seoul, Korea.

We flew there to finally meet and bring home our sweet boy.

We were giddy and excited and nervous and just over-the-moon elated that he would finally, finally, FINALLY be in our arms.
one of our last pictures as a family of 2.

It's funny how that journey to bring Choi Boy home felt like an eternity. The ten months that passed between seeing his little face and reading about him to finally getting on that plane stretched on forever. Every passing day was another day that we didn't have with our son. Every day was a day of his life that we missed. And every day was a day that we waited.

But since then?

My goodness, time has just flown and it is just unbelievable that it's been *almost* two years that we have been three. I suppose that old adage always holds true...Time really does fly when you're having fun.

And what fun we've had!

Looking forward to walking down memory lane this week and celebrating our 2nd Family Day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

our thanksgiving adventure.

right. so, here is my first post of december and i'm already behind. sheesh.

perhaps the reason why i'm just now posting about thanksgiving is because the trip was slightly traumatic.

let me explain. we wanted to visit the hubs' family for thanksgiving since we knew we'd be here for christmas.  however, the flights were crazy expensive and would set us back a homestudy fee and a half (haha, a little AP humor for you. ;) ). so, instead, we decided to drive. for fourteen hours. with two adults, one 3 year-old, a college student (we drove him home to his family, too), and a 60-pound lab mix. in my small hybrid.


the way there wasn't too bad. choi boy was a total trooper and did really well. the hubs and i took turns driving (okay, so it ended up being like 80-20 in the division of driving time), and we entertained ourselves with an audiobook. we stopped for a nap and a break at a friends' place about halfway through and soon enough, we reached our destination, a few hours ahead of what we had originally planned.

we were crazy tired once we got to the hubs' parents' house, but were ready to hang out with our family and get our grub on! we had a great three and half days with the hubs' family and were even treated to some snow flurries.

the morning that we were supposed to leave, cb woke up crying and complained of a tummy ache. he still managed to eat a fairly decent breakfast and then didn't complain again, so we didn't think much of it and left as planned.

you know where this is going, right?

it first started just after we buckled cb into his carseat at the hubs' parents' church.

up came cb's breakfast. and his dinner from the night before. (sorry.)

we took cb back inside the church, got him cleaned up, got the carseat all cleaned up and got on the road. we hesitated to continue, but choi boy was hopping around and laughing after the incident, so we went ahead with our scheduled drive.

cb seemed fine and was chatting up in the car. we stopped to see a friend in chicago and cb seemed to be his normal self while we were there. we even popped into a store and did our part on small business saturday (or sunday, as it was). when we walked over to whole foods for lunch, cb was asking whether he could have pizza, when he started to cough and then... uh huh. and then once again by the olive bar as we were running to the bathroom. yep.

the poor little guy was distraught and upset but once we got cleaned up and in clean clothes, he was a little better. we cuddled and talked and drank some water, and then decided (after some back and forth discussion) to get back into the car. it ended up being the right decision because cb passed out within minutes of getting buckled in and slept for a good chunk of the drive. he nibbled on crackers here and there and save for some mild freakouts anytime he coughed, he was okay.


we finally made it home and after another day of rest, cb was back in full force, and thankfully no one else got the nasty bug!

of course, in all the mayhem and chaos, i lost my phone somewhere in the whole foods. yes, again. i know! such is my life. jeez.

anyway, i apologize for all that, but i felt the need to document the craziness. ;)

and here are some pictures to make up for all that.

these two goofballs together are the best.

even when they fight over making pancakes!

you know what else is the best? hahbuhjees!
especially when they don't mind getting down and silly with grandsons. :)

and one more of the cousins and the chotskies cb's uncle is always buying them!

it was quite an adventure getting there and back, but we are so grateful for time with family!

Friday, November 30, 2012

a name song

When they learn they are going to be parents, one of the first things people often do is come up with a list of names for their soon-to-be little one. They carefully consider that list, hemming and hawing over the possibilities; trying them in different contexts; and finally narrowing it down to one perfect choice, dreaming of what that name might sound like as that child grows. With all that thought and care that goes into naming a child, it is no wonder that one's name becomes one of the most important words in a person's life.

Because of that, I always encourage parents to teach a child's name early and to make it the anchor and link to other words and letters. When something is so personal, it is easy to use it to make connections to other new learning. In fact, when a child comes into my Kindergarten classroom not knowing any letters, I don't start by teaching him A, and then B, and C and so on. Instead, I start by teaching him his name in many contexts and make the first letter of his name the first letter that he learns.

Choi Boy has his name written in his room in a few places: two sets of alphabet blocks spell it out and it is also incorporated into the art above his bed. From the time he was about 2, he knew that "his" letter was C and could "recognize" his name around his room. That recognition grew, andCB began recognizing his name consistently in different places and written in different fonts. When that started to happen, I decided he was able to start learning how to spell his name. Though CB knew all of his (uppercase) letters and could consistently recognize his name, he didn't yet know the order of the letters in his name and how to properly spell it.

Enter my favorite mnemonic device: a song! For years I had been teaching my Kindergartners silly songs that taught them how to spell words like apple or pumpkin or color words. After an aha! moment (or duh! pick ;) ), I realized I could make up a song to teach Choi Boy his name. And it worked! And he loves to sing it (all.the.time.)!

CB has six letters in his name, so I used the first two lines of This Old Man (This old man, he played one. He played knick knack on my thumb!) to make up his name song (and I changed the last two notes to go down instead of up so it sounded like the song ended instead of continuing). Here's how it goes:

That is how you spell my name!

Easy peasy, right? After singing this song for a couple weeks, CB was playing with the magnetic letters on our dishwasher. He was singing his name song and looked up at me and said, "Mommy, where is the 'A'?" I looked down and this is what he had done:

I was so excited that without any prompting, CB had made the connection to actually spell his name with letters by singing his song! And then it drove me crazy that there was no 'A' and that the letters were all uppercase, so I brought out my lowercase magnetic letters and have been practicing with CB like this:

Though he's a long way off from having the dexterity in his fine motor skills to form those lowercase letters properly, I am excited that he's one step closer to getting there! (Sidenote: I don't plan on teaching CB to write his name using capital letters even though they are easier to form. I've noticed that it becomes a reeeeally bad habit for kids to break and it is easier to teach a 5 year-old to write his name without him knowing how to spell it than it is to unteach a child to write his name in uppercase letters!)

Since we've had a lot of fun with CB's name song, I thought I'd share some ideas to help you make up songs using the letters of your child's name. These are all to the tune of simple children's songs, so hopefully they will be easy to figure out without me having to post videos of me singing...haha. :)

For 3 or 4-letter names, to the tune of Frere Jacques (first 4 lines):
I can spell Kate!
I can spell Kate!

For 5-letter names, to the tune of Bingo:
I have a name and it is Olive
Here is how you spell it!
And that is how you spell it!

For 6-letter names, to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell:
Joshua is my name,

also, see above for CB's name song!

For 7-letter names, to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star:
That is how you spell Charlie!

You can also try it to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic:
Is how you spell Charlie!

For 8 letter names, use  Frere Jacques again:
I can spell Nicholas,
I can spell Nicholas!

If your LO's name is longer than 8 letters, you'll have to be extra creative and find your own tune, and if you do, please share it below!

Have fun making up name songs and let me know how it goes!

*feel free to pin this idea or share it with others, but please be nice and link back to here -- thank you! :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

domo arigato, mr. roboto.

this is it!!! my last catch-up post! and it's less than a month overdue! i'm giving myself a big high-five right now. ;)

soooo...halloween. the time of year when little kids parade around in costume and get free candy from strangers. any other time of year, it teeters between inappropriate and illegal, but on halloween, bring it on.

sometimes, choi boy seriously amazes us with his crazy good memory. last halloween, he was just 2 years-old, and all throughout this past year, he kept asking me about halloween and leading up to the big day this year, he kept saying things like, "remember when i said, 'trick or treat!' and got candy?," "remember the scary guys?" "remember ben was a dragon?" crazy.

i actually bought cb's halloween costume on clearance last winter, so he's known all year long that he was going to be a robot (mommy's choice, FTW!). really, he could have cared less what he was, so long as he got candy. ;)

cb spent most of the day hanging out in his costume...he was SO stinking cute in it.

a robot on a walk, eating a cheese stick. NBD.

i can't get enough of it!

except, sometimes, i kinda sorta just a little bit can...and in those moments, an actual off button would be a little nice. ;)

we also went to a special storytime and trick-or-treating around the library. 
so fun!

and finally, after a dinner of some actual food, we headed out for the real thing!

cb was SO excited and so cute...he said, "i can do it all by myself, mommy!" and he walked up the steps to each house by himself,

stood by the door,

and when it opened, he proudly shouted,

which was almost always met with giggles. and then after a whispered reminder, he said, "oh! trick or treat!"

it was pretty stinking adorable. ;)

and after hitting up quite a few houses for nearly an hour, my boys and i started home,

and the boys immediately went through the loot!
i'm pretty sure it's safe to say it really was a happy halloween! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ahoy, mateys!

if you can believe it, we've gotten to the point where i am only a month behind on my catch-up posts! i might actually catch up this year! such a proud moment for a lazy blogger. ;)

last month, we took to the open seas and sailed aboard a pirate ship on the chesapeake. choi boy and his little pirate buddies had a blast even though they weren't quite sure what the heck was going on at times...

yep, not a clue.

of course, once we got on the water and got to shoot water cannons, it was all good.

there were even some angry (but, really cute) pirate faces thrown around!

and then, when the "treasure" (read: junky little trinkets 3 year-olds go ga-ga for) came out, it became the best! day! ever!

how do you get a bunch of three year-olds to sit still? have them wait their turn for treasure!
and when your name is called, it's like being on the price is right!

just don't expect the treasure hoarders to do anything once they receive their treasure.
no, seriously. the child did not take his hands off his treasure. 


and, of course, we never got a picture of the actual ship, but you know, we still have tons of plastic treasure at our house!