Baby Talk: Cali, 18 Month Update

Cali, Cali, Cali... how is the time passing so quickly? You are already 18 months and I can’t even begin to describe just how amazing you are. You are spunky and a tiny ball full of sass.  You can be shy at times but we know that when you are in your element, you are brave and fearless.

You laugh when you get in trouble and will even tease with a coy smile before you do something naughty. You know what you want even if you can’t always say it yet. You are smart and can sign “more”, “milk”, and “water” when you are hungry or thirsty. You love to say “all done”, “uh oh”, “mama” and you call daddy “bob” (for babe). Recently you’ve learned to say “bobo” which usually means bottle or sometimes bubbles.

You love to be held and are so very affectionate.   I love the way you run with your toddler waddle. The way you get excited whenever I come out of the office to take a break or when your dad comes home, hugging our legs and wanting to be picked  up. It drives mommy crazy when you have to touch my face when you sleep or even when you’re just sitting watching TV. But I can’t help but let you continue to do it every day because I want to cherish every moment you want to be close to me.

Your teeth come out so painfully slowly. Your canines are finally breaking though. You eat pretty well, almost feeding yourself and drinking through a straw now. You love to make a mess with you food and touch your hair while you eat, especially with spaghetti and peanut butter & jelly. Your hair is pretty terrible like your brothers was — super fine and uneven. But you are so incredibly beautiful. When I look at your face I just feel so blessed to be your mama.

Cali’s Dol (Korean First Birthday)

Being an event planner, sometimes it’s hard to enjoy celebrations because you’re so busy coordinating the logistics for every detail. With Cali’s birthday in particular, I recall pretty disastrous things happening like our caterer completely forgetting our order so we had no food for our guests.  But thankfully, when I look back at the photos from that day, I remember the happy moments and just how much our daughter is loved, which is of course what matters most.

We held Cali’s party at the ballet/fitness studio that I started taking classes at after she was born. They have a fun mommy and baby class that is great for getting back in shape. DanceFIT has a beautiful studio and it was the perfect space to host a party in. I made most of the decorations including the wisteria garland and the dolgoim (the bean towers with the monkey and her Korean name). I had previously told myself I would not do it again after Theo’s dol but who was I kidding haha.

My sweet babes. We were very lucky that my uncle got us Cali’s hanbok sent to us from Korea. So pretty.  I also love the tiny flower crown from Pinky Tinks that she wore for all of two seconds. :)

My sweet babes. We were very lucky that my uncle got us Cali’s hanbok sent to us from Korea. So pretty.  I also love the tiny flower crown from Pinky Tinks that she wore for all of two seconds. :)


For Cali’s doljabi, it was extra exciting because she had just learned to walk a couple weeks before the party. She wasn’t too interested in any of the items at first but then the money caught her eye. Theo offered her the whisk which she then threw to the ground. She proceeded to pick up the rest of the cash as we all laughed — the girl knows what she wants! :P

Photography Credit: Pete Tran

Baby Talk: Cali, 8 Week Update

My Baby Cali... 

Cali is short for the Greek names Calliope meaning "beautiful voice" or Calista "most beautiful" -- not the state of California, in case you were wondering... You'd be surprised how many people have asked that. :P I should mention that Cali is also a diminutive for the name that her father wanted, Catalina. I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like nicknames and did not want people calling her Cat or Lina so using it as inspiration I decided to take Cali from it. It was a beautiful compromise, I’d say.

It's already been 8 weeks and I can't believe how quickly life is passing by as I desperately try to hold on to each fleeting moment. As much as I love watching her grow, I never want to forget how tiny she was, the goofy faces she makes while falling asleep or that sad pout right before she's about to cry. She's now 10lbs and is starting to make the cutest cooing sounds.

The first couple weeks were rough... my recovery was miserable. Engorgement, rashes, ew. But now that the hard part is over, our family is much happier and adjusting to life as four. We've been a lot more successful with breastfeeding this time around and I really enjoy the bonding time with her.  When I look down at her little face, I can't help but feel like I've known her forever, as if she was always meant to be my daughter. I'm so grateful.

A Letter To Baby: 9 Months Pregnant II

Dearest Mui Mui,

I wish I could tell you that these last 8 months have been as easy and blissful as my first pregnancy. It's been a difficult experience for me -- mentally, physically and emotionally. As a parent, I worry a lot more and even two years later, my body is a bit more exhausted than before. We've had many sleepless nights, some because I'm feeling anxious and others because it's just  uncomfortable. The back pain, heart burn, soreness... it's very different this time around.

But I love you just as much nonetheless. And there are so many reasons that I can't wait to meet you. You have given me the inspiration to challenge myself to become an even better person. I believe that you are a fighter and that you will surprise the world with what you are capable of. I know that you will be beautiful inside and out, charming everyone with your smile and touching the lives of the people you meet.

In certain ways, you have interesting similarities to your brother. You both seem to like sweets and you move around a ton, except of course when I ask your father to feel my belly. But I know that you are very much your own person already. You are strong. I imagine you might like to play soccer or be a dancer someday with the way you like to kick. And, I wouldn't be surprised if you end up being a coffee addict -- I craved it nearly every day. :)

At times, I am still in disbelief that we are about to have another person in our family and a daughter & sister at that. I hoped so much for you to be a girl because I've grown to cherish the bond I now have with my own mother. Being a sister to two brothers, I look forward to seeing how the experience of having a sibling shapes your character and what you add to our family. It truly is special for each of us. We are so blessed.

I pray for your safe arrival and will patiently await the moment when I can hold you in my arms. Thank you for giving me the experience of becoming a mommy once again and for teaching me some of life's most important lessons. I love you, my little one.


Meditation: Day 4

New year, new resolutions. At nearly 30, I am starting to think that these resolutions don't feel so new and that they are just a reminder of what I didn't accomplish in the last 365 days. Regardless, it's good to check in and see how are you doing with your personal goals every now and then, I suppose. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about things that I aspire to do and be. More time thinking than doing if I'm being honest. I think about what I should be eating, what I should be doing to exercise, what I should be wearing. 

Not too long ago, I had a friend who was trying to figure things out for herself. I gave her the advice that it's okay if you don't get it perfect the first time around. Just try things and you'll make it perfect along the way. Of course, I haven't thought to apply this advice to myself. Until now. I've realized that the goals I have in mind are not about accomplishing a single task or checking something off a list. It's about making a change in my lifestyle that will continue as time goes on. I want to create habits that I don't have to constantly think about.

To share a little bit about me, I'm terrible at having any sort of habits. I'm not the type of person who can follow the same schedule every day of the week. I don't take my vitamins at the same time every day. I can't make a meal plan and stick to it because my mood changes and I won't want what I planned for Tuesday. I'll probably eat Friday's meal and then it screws everything up. (Dramatic, I know.) It all feels very unnatural to me,but I've found that not having daily habits makes things harder to balance when you have a family to take care of.

Remember how I said I wanted to start meditating a while ago? Yeah, well this is the 4th time since then that I've done it. Go me. Today was more productive than usual. I woke up at around 7:30 as usual but instead of browsing the internet to start the day, I asked my husband to wake up and see if he wanted to do some yoga with me. To my surprise, he agreed. I pulled up some videos on YouTube by KinoYoga who I have been following on Instagram. Kevin wanted to do about 30 minutes so I chose Gentle Yoga and Meditation, Beginner Home Practice.

I love Kino's soothing voice but something about today, (maybe doing yoga with my husband for the first time) made it so I couldn't take it seriously. Kevin and I laughed our way through some of the practice, telling each other that there was no way this was beginner level. I think we've just been off our game for longer than we realize. I could feel my muscles crying out, "Now you finally want to stretch us out?!" It was 30 minutes well spent though. I assume this productivity is what is giving me some much needed clarity & inspiration to write. These last few years I've found it extra challenging to write because it's just 'too loud' in my mind.

For anyone who is interested in meditating, I recommend an app called Headspace. A friend suggested it to me and I think it would appeal to a more general audience. People often think that meditating has to be this ancient ritual of where you burn incense and sit cross legged on the floor with your fingertips touching while repeating "om". The app allows you to develop a practice to fit your modern day life and with just 10 minutes a day. Try it out!