Thursday, June 28, 2012

summer fun list!

Last summer, I saw lots of bloggers post about Summer Fun Lists they made with their children. It seemed like such a fun and cool idea to help plan the summer and ward off cases of I'm-bored!s and There's-nothing-to-do!s. Since Choi Boy was not yet 2 last summer, I tucked away the idea and couldn't wait to plan our list this year, especially since CB would likely remember and enjoy the activities more now that he is a little older.

The hubs and I came up with most of the ideas for our list, but CB made some contributions here and there. 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. So we brainstormed ideas from things we've done before that we loved; new ideas we had heard about from others; ideas we had always wanted to try but hadn't; and ideas that I had pinned on Pinterest ages ago and never got around to doing (don't pretend you don't do that, too! ;) ).

Our completed list has about 30 items (with the space and flexibility to add more!) that we think we will love and enjoy as a family:

As you can see, we've already completed some of the items! (I love checking them off!) And I also added some new ones after I took these snaps: write letters to friends; visit Meadowlark Gardens; and go to the Sprayground (done today!)!

Having our list gives us a lot to look forward to throughout the summer and it also helps me plan out our weeks. But it's not as intimidating as a giant to-do list, so it really does just end up being a list of FUN!

What activities would you put on your list? I'm itching for more ideas, too!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"da plane! da plane!"

this past weekend, we packed a spontaneous picnic dinner and headed into DC to watch the planes fly in and out of reagan national airport. it was something i had always, always wanted to do and am so glad my first time got to be with my little family!

it was amazing to see how loud and close the planes were! Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

it was a bit loud at times, but choi boy was absolutely fascinated and screamed and squealed as he tried to chase and jump up and touch the planes!
and let's be honest, the hubs and i were pretty fascinated, too! so cool and totally favorite combination. :)

of course, no summer picnic is complete without bubbles!
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or soccer!
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and with the capitol and washington monument in the background, it made for a perfect DC evening.

i love my boys and our adventures!

Monday, June 25, 2012


I'm a working mom. And I love being a working mom. I love teaching and interacting with and learning from my colleagues as I grow as a teacher and as a learner...I love all that in addition to all that I love about being a mommy.

But, I'm not gonna lie. It's stinkin'  H-A-R-D to try and manage everything at work and everything at home.
When Choi Boy first came home, after a 3-month break to help with his and our adjustment, I went back to work half-time. Every weekday, I dropped CB off at daycare and was at school by 7:45am. Then I was out the door again between 11:30 and 11:45, just in time to pick CB up after lunch and head home for nap time. The schedule worked wonderfully for us -- I was able to get a lot of household chores done, including cooking dinner, and still have some "me" time before CB awoke from his nap. And once he was up, we were off to have some afternoon adventures, whether it was out of the house or at home. Plus, the mornings at daycare were wonderful for CB -- he learned a lot and had lots of fun, too.

Last summer, the hubs went through a career change. He took a big pay cut and had less flexibility with his schedule, but was a lot happier. To help make up for the reduced income, I went back to work full time for the 2011-2012 school year. In addition to the extra income, I felt ready to head back to work full time and was excited for the new school year. So it seemed it was a win-win situation.
Fast forward to the end of the school year and I am exhausted and feel beaten and battered. It can be argued that I usually feel that way at the end of a school year, but this year, more than ever, I am spent. Like, stick-a-fork-in-me and don't-expect-me-to-get-out-of-my-pajamas-for-the-first-week-of-break done. And the sad part is, I felt like that for most of the year.

For the last six years (with the exception of last year's half-time stint), I've held two different positions at school. I worked in the mornings in my Kindergarten classroom teaching Reading and Writing, and in the afternoons, I worked in first grade as a Reading Recovery teacher. Technically, it's two half-time positions, but most of the time, it felt like two full-time positions because I was juggling both positions and all the responsibilities that go along with each. And though I'm supposed to be able to finish all of my responsibilities during my 8-hours/day contract time, there is rarely a day when I don't bring work home with me. (sonotgettingintoteacherpoliticsrightnow. ha!)

So, when I got home each afternoon, I had just enough (sometimes not even enough) energy to make dinner, get in a little play time with Choi Boy, give him a bath and then tackle our bedtime routine. On days when the hubs came home while I was making dinner, it made things a whole lot easier, but at least two days a week, he was working nights and it was difficult to keep up the energy to manage the evening on my own. On top of that, I felt like I was so depleted that it was difficult to maintain my patience and enjoy the afternoons and evenings without counting down the minutes until bedtime.

When it came down to it, I was just exhausted and felt like I was barely being mediocre in all the roles I was juggling -- wife, momma, teacher, friend, etc, etc... And I hated that.

So we decided something had to change. I still wanted to work, but I wanted more time at home, too. And sadly, cloning myself or adding 5 extra hours on to each day weren't really viable options.

After talking it through and reworking our budget again and again, the hubs and I decided that we could make it work so I could return to a half-time position next year. It was a difficult decision to make, but after going back and forth, we decided that this was the best decision for our family right now.

It was certainly humbling to admit that I just couldn't do it all and that I needed to cut back on something. I felt like I was admitting defeat and that I wasn't good enough to manage everything.

But in the end, it wasn't so much about me as it was about us and what was best for our family. So, as of this September, I will be returning to work half-time.

It will definitely be an adjustment to cut back on things -- we'll have to eat out and go out less and I am trying to learn all I can about couponing...but, we think it will be worth it. Especially because we're hoping it will mean I will get to spend a lot more time with and have loads more energy for our little hipster.

Friday, June 22, 2012

for the love of dad.

one of the best parts about becoming a momma has been watching the hubs become an amazing daddy. choi boy is absolutely smitten with his appa and the relationship those two have is magical.

gratefully, my sister and i also had and still have a magical relationship with our own dad. and even more gratefully, the hubs and my dad have developed their own special relationship, too. we joke that they're like BFFs. :) and the magic between cb and his hahbee? gosh, those two are connected at the soul...

so, with all the love flowing between our family, we decided to enjoy a whole day in each others' company for father's day. and it was, in a word, magical. :)

after brunch at our very favorite brunch-y place, we made our way to a local park that has a little bit of everything. we started with the train, which has kind of become legendary in our family. we were the first in line for our ride, which means we had to wait awhile...

but it also meant we could snag the caboose!

the train ride was as wonderful as always, 

made even more wonderful by the sweet conductor (engineer? i never know the difference...) who 
stopped to chat with us about how much he loves his job. :) 

from there we walked through the park's frisbee golf course 

to get to the lake, where we rented some rowboats. cb was seriously excited about his first rowboat ride.

see, he's all, "quit with the pictures! let's get this show on the water!" 

 the grandparents wanted cb all to themselves and he was happy to go with them since he knew it meant getting extra special attention :)

meanwhile, in the other boat, the hubs and i pretended we were in venice, riding a gondola,

while our strong and suave gondolier rowed us around the lake.
see what i mean? magical. :)

 of course, no day with my family would be complete without an additional meal. so after a little round of golf after the lake, we headed out to have korean food. a perfect ending to our day. :)

 i am so, so blessed to not only have my own amazing pops (and father in-law!), but also to be able to watch the hubs be the amazing dad he is every day.
i love you, babe.
thank you for being our leader and our rock. (super fast!) :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the chop.

Confession time.

I feel terrible admitting this, but I need to tell you that I haven't been completely truthful with you. Not outright lying per se... more like withholding the truth.

Because, you see, I don't really look like this anymore:
Why, you ask?

Well, two weeks ago, I chopped off a good seven inches of my hair. Hair that had looked the same for the last 8 years.

It wasn't a decision I came to lightly. In fact, ever since Christina Applegate was on Samantha Who?, I've had a hair crush on the cute and sassy curly bob. I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to cut my hair like Christina's. In the end, I chickened out, but since then, any time I've seen a celebrity with a cute curly bob, I had a bit of hair envy.

The kicker was when The Avengers came out and Scarlett Johansson (who normally annoys me) TOTALLY kicked butt and looked awesome with her curly bob. I was sold and decided to go for it.

With these three gorgeous inspiration shots in tow,
(sources 123)

I headed to my stylist who agreed that it was time for a change. She thought the cut would flatter my face shape and was excited to get to work.

I should tell you that the first time I chickened out was because I ultimately thought the cut and style was too mom-ish. And I swore that even when I became a mom, I did NOT want to succumb to looking like a soccer mom with that "mom chop." (Just as I swore I would NEVER wear holiday themed sweaters with long denim skirts even though I'm a Kindergarten teacher.) Don't get me wrong, I would love to be a soccer mom, I just don't want to look like one. And I know that soccer moms have come a long way (Hello, Victoria Beckham!), but I can't get over the short hair/high-waist pleated pants/minivan-driving image that has been ingrained in my head since the early 90s.

So, I would be lying (again) if I told you I wasn't nervous and worried the entire time I was getting my hair did. And I would be withholding the truth (some more) if I told you I wasn't feeling regret with every snip and that it was as though with every inch I lost, I was taunted with whispers of  "soccer mom."

After everything was done and there was no turning back, here's what it looked like:

But, instead of feeling cute and sassy and Black Widow-ish, this what I felt like:

Specifically, like the Rachel Dratch soccer mom. :( Especially because since the cut, it is as though the scales have fallen off my eyes and I see this cut and style everywhere... only on women over 50.

Do you think I should get my mom jeans in acid wash or stone wash?

Oh, and to make matters worse, when I asked CB what he thought, he said just about the worst thing he could. He told me I looked like my mom!!! I gasped and he patted my head and said, "But, it's okay, Mommy. You handsome."

Sigh. Just what I was going for.

I know, I know, it'll grow back. And I know, I'm being melodramatic and delusional about looking like a mom, because the fact is, I am a mom, which, by definition means I am what this mom looks like.

But I still won't touch a minivan with a ten-foot pole.

What are some mom-ish things you've sworn to never do?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

my little reader.

i know posting has been light lately...i promise, once this EOYM (that's end-of-year madness) is over (ONE. more. day.!!!!), i'll be back to posting a little bit more regularly.

until then, to tide you CB fans over (hello, hahmuhnee and hahbuhjee! and hi there, linda p.! :) ), here is a sweet little clip of him "reading" at bedtime.

my favorite part is when he says, "i see...i see...i don't 'member." :)

i love bedtime reading...and ohmygosh, it melts my heart that choi boy loves it, too.

b-t-dubs, have you seen/heard this on NPR? so interesting!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

hello, new adventure...hellobee!

hi, friends!

i'm excited to let y'all know that i'm a part of the team at hellobee now!

i'll still be blogging here, of course, but you can also find me posting as mrs. cowgirl (the theme for blogger pseudonyms is currently dress-up clothes -- so fun!) over at hellobee. the site and awesome community focuses on TTC, pregnancy, and parenting. i'll be blogging mostly about adoption, education, and parenting in general. come on over and say, "hello!" :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

small style: summer sunday best.

confession: most of our small style shoots are done on sundays after church. because, let's face it, i'm not about to send choi boy to daycare in a linen shirt only to have it come home splattered with paint. not that casual clothes can't be super stylish, too! but, we'll tackle that another day.

i struggle a bit with how to dress cb for church on summer sundays because i don't want him to be too casual in shorts, but i don't want him to be super hot, either. solution? dress up those shorts!

ta-da! a perfect blend of summer-y style that's church-appropriate for a little dude.

but, so much for keeping those sunday clothes clean...

because here's how cb usually feels about our small style shoots:
can't blame him.
his momma is so annoying with the "cheese!"s and "look here!"s.

so, i let him run off and play with the sidewalk chalk he was itching to get his hands on.
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sidewalk chalk that promptly got all over his hands.
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which he then proceeded to wipe on his clothes.
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whatevs. we do own a washing machine and everything's washable! we do also own an iron, but i have yet to fully figure out how it operates and i despise ironing. we'll see what that linen shirt looks like after a washing and non-ironing. ;)

the details:
hat: children's place
shirt: gap (gift from my momma)
shorts: did too (nordstrom's -- gift from a family friend)
shoes: tiny toms (gift from my sister)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

there are nice people on the internet, too!

so, yes. the internet is full of creepers and stalkers and all manner of crazy folk.

but, i tell ya, if blogging has taught me one thing, it's that there are incredible people out there wanting and willing to make connections with you and your story. and i just big puffy heart that.

way back in september of 2010, my sister, the hubs and i attended the national book festival. one of the main reasons we went that year was because one of my favorite children's authors, mem fox, was going to be there. unfortunately, due to the large crowds, we weren't able to have mem sign the books we brought.

well. sweet, sweet ashley sought to rectify that. an opportunity to hear and meet mem came up in her local area.

here is ashley with her cutie pie son, chandler, and mem:

ashley remembered my post about the book festival and missing mem and not only bought a book for mem to sign for choi boy, but also had mem pose for a snap with my blog brought up on her laptop!

i know!


mem signed her newest book, two little monkeys, for cb (it's SO cute and the words are magical):
and the inscription was signed, "xxx Mem Fox (Finally!)" :)

cb immediately fell in love with the beautiful illustrations and the fun story about two little monkeys, one named cheeky, one named chee...

so fun! i love watching my little guy fall in love with books...makes my teacher heart soar!

ashley, i am so blessed by your kindness! thank you for thinking of us -- we are so very grateful and just tickled by your sweetness! thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. xoxo.

and just because...

who can resist little piggies?


Sunday, June 3, 2012

sum sum summatime!

i still have 10 more days of school left. still lots of things to cross off the check list...progress reports, holding our kindergarten author's tea, field day, packing up the classroom, etc, etc, etc.

don't get me wrong, i love my job and am grateful and glad to do all of those things, but, my goodness, when that pool opens and we hit stretches of 80+ degrees, it sure feels like summer!

some of those things on my checklist have trickled into this second to last weekend before summer break, so i can't stay and chat for long. but here's a sneak peek into what our days will look like once school is out...we had a blast at the pool last weekend and can't wait go again and again and again!

of course, choi boy had to bring one of his many precious footballs!

some pool fun with good friends,

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quintessentially summer bubbles,

and of course, poolside sustenance
make for a perfect summer-y day...

can't wait for this to be everyday!!!