Tuesday, 13 March 2012
We live in California but all of our family lives in Colorado, so this was a destination dol. It took us the longest time to find the right venue, but luckily a new place was opening and the in-laws knew the owner so we were the first customers to use Seoul Palace. We actually didn't see the place until we arrived in CO but my parents sent pictures of it in progress so we weren't too worried about how it would look. It turned out beautifully and was the perfect size for our party.
Our theme was shades of blue and bunnies, since Luke was born in the year of the rabbit (as were his mom and dad!) and even his nickname while he was in the womb was "tokki." I wanted it to look refined but still casual enough to look like a baby's birthday party.
Welcome table, Photo table, & Doljabi RaffleWe had a welcome table with a guest book and raffle tickets (designed by me) handed out and two more tables with a photo from each month of Luke's first year, the raffle, and wishing tree. The welcome poster and doljabi poster were also designed by me, although I got the rabbit ear icons from a template on a Korean blog. The ceramic number one and blue bunny which held the raffle tickets are from Michaels. The frames were from Target and the wishing tree from Beau-coup.
It was so nice to see all of the weekly pictures from L's first year together and seeing how much he has grown!
Food & DessertThe dinner buffet was provided by Seoul BBQ which is right next to the venue owned by the same owner (so much amazing food that we don't have pictures of and didn't get to eat much because we were so busy with a cranky baby and the event itself). For desserts, we booked the cake & cupcakes from Happy Cakes trusting Yelp reviews and ordered chocolate covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements. I designed the cupcake toppers myself and found a cute chalkboard frame from World Market to write the different flavors. My cousin went above and beyond what we requested and made six different types of macarons (double chocolate, raspberry, yuzu, green tea with white chocolate, black sesame) for the most popular dessert of the night! They were so delicious and beautiful to look at.
Main TableThe main table was pretty simple with just the cake, go-ims, and fruit arrangements. I wanted the cake to be plain but with a little blue and I made a bunting cake topper which is very popular these days. The letters are from Michaels and the fruit arrangements are the cute Easter bunny arrangements from Edible Arrangements. They went with our theme so well and were a twist on the stacked whole fruit arrangements I saw on others' dol tables. The bunting and tissue paper pompoms were DIY.
We made the "chuk-dol" and rabbit go-ims beforehand and sent them to CO (my husband actually made one of them, can you guess which one? ;) Yep, it's the not-as-pretty-but-effort-that-counts "chuk-dol" one) and made the wave go-im a few days before the party. We used different sized lima beans and black beans, as well as skittles and pompoms for the bunny's face. I drew the bunny face freehand because I couldn't find a cute enough template. The wave one was made with colored sixlets found at Party City which were expensive but pretty and easy to glue.
Guest tablesFor centerpieces, I went the easy route and did balloons on weights. There are bunnies hanging from the balloons which were a hand-cramp to cut out but very cute as little garlands. I also ordered confetti in shades of blue in the shape of bunnies to scatter on the tables from Etsy.
We made a standing brochure(?)/information card thingie for the guests to read facts about Luke and order of events. We found a template on a Korean blog and I customized the colors, picture, and other things to match our party.
Favors were a variety of dduk (rice cakes) packed in boxes with a cute sticker of Luke on them (designed by me). Obok Dduk did an amazing job packaging the favors for a very reasonable cost.
Throughout the party we played music (a special playlist) and a slideshow of pictures on the TV near the buffet area. This worked out well because while people were waiting in line for food they were able to watch Luke's first year in pictures!
DoljabiLuke went straight for the pencil!
The party was beautiful and looked almost exactly as I had envisioned it for the few months leading up to it. There was just the right amount of DIY-ing that made me feel really involved in preparing for the party yet didn't have me tearing my hair out in stress. I wish baby had been in a better mood (he was teething) but our whole family enjoyed it and it was fun to celebrate our little one's first birthday with everyone.
List of vendors (in Colorado):Balloons - Absolute ValueBanner - Little Seouls Party (online)Event hall - Seoul PalaceCatering - Seoul BBQCake & cupcakes - Happy CakesMacarons - Jay Lee (cousin)Dduk - Obok ddukjibPosters - printed at CostcoPhotographer - Fall Child Photography
Thursday, 01 March 2012
You are one year old! I don't know if I really believe it yet but the time says you are and you've grown from a newborn to infant to toddler. You're taller and stronger but when I hold you in my arms when you nurse, you're still my little baby.
You're observant and curious, persevering and strongheaded, and silly and sweet. Your personality is as bright as your big eyes, which is very bright! You're smart and great at imitating what we do and say (which entertains us like nothing else!) and you understand and communicate with us very well. It makes our job as parents much easier; but then again, you've always been such a content and easygoing baby. I'm grateful for your health and energy and never ending laughter, it lights up my life.
Appa & I have been blessed beyond measure with you in our lives. I love that I can look back on our first year as parents with so many precious memories and also look forward to many more fun memories we will make together as you get older. And right now, each day with you is just perfect. I love you to the moon and back WooHyun.
Sunday, 15 January 2012
You are 11 months old! There are so many things I want to record and remember as you've been learning new skills and growing so quickly this past month.
First of all, you've gained more weight and your double chin back because you are eating solid foods instead of just playing with them. You were quite heavy before but now you're really giving Mommy & Daddy's arms a workout. But you haven't cut back on nursing, in fact, you've been nursing nonstop as you've been growing three new teeth at once! And you clearly let me know when you want some mam-ma (nursing) time by pulling at my shirt. Your smile gets cuter and cuter with the addition of each new tooth. 6 total now :)
Ooh, the most exciting is that you're a walker now! Just a few days ago you started walking beyond a few steps at a time so steady and balanced. There are still falls and you prefer crawling when you're in a hurry but the rate at which you improve day by day is amazing! You look so proud of yourself after walking a distance, it seems to reflect how proud we are of you.
Your hand-eye coordination has improved so much since you've been feeding yourself. You choose to pick up your food or spoon to your mouth at mealtimes and won't let us do it for you! (I can also see bits of strong-headedness during the day when you clearly let us know when you don't like something or want something, especially when we take things away that aren't for you to play with. Also has to do with the potty/EC break we're taking because you're so busy playing!) The coordination also plays a part in how well you've been playing with your toys which require you to pick up and drop the toys in specific places; you learn how to play new games quickly which makes it so much fun to watch and interact with you. It brings a smile to my face every time you imitate what I do, like making the sound of the car moving while you roll the car "booooooong!"
You can share and you randomly give me kisses throughout the day. Your gestures of affection make my heart burst with love over and over again. These days Mommy is tired from staying up later to plan your birthday party but you also give me times of rest as you play happily by yourself as I sit near you and just watch. I look forward to meal times as we sit together at the table and we can share our meals. We pray together, we read together, we are familiar in our routines together as a family.
You're my lovable little sidekick and Appa & I love you so very much. Time to start counting down to your first birthday! Yay!
Friday, 30 December 2011
1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
I gave birth and became a mother. I think that encompasses everything new I've done this year: being responsible for a human life other than my own, breastfeeding, diapering, etc.
2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't have any specific resolutions but I do have some for the next year. Something I will do instead of talking about it.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Me! It's the best thing I've ever done in my life.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
No international travel for us this year, but hopefully within the next few years. :)
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
I would like to have more love and compassion towards others, especially those that are different from me. Not just in theory but in my life.
7. What date(s) from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 15th . . . the birth of my son. So unexpected but so wonderful.
August & Oct/Nov . . . visiting family & friends with tokki was a lot of fun! I love seeing my parents & grandparents with tokki, there are so many smiles and laughter together.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Breastfeeding successfully (and we're still going strong)! It was hard the first couple of weeks but we both got the hang of it in a few months and now we're even bfing in public without a cover. I love the connection and closeness I have with tokki through breastfeeding. It also keeps me aware of what I'm eating and how I'm taking care of my body because it all goes to tokki. And it helped me lose a LOT of the baby weight!
9. What was your biggest failure?
Taking better care of my husband. He took very good care of me & tokki and I plan on being a better wife in the new year because he really deserves it.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
None of us did! We only suffer scratches from tokki's sharp baby nails.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
iPhone! It's nice not to carry around a cell phone and an iPod, it's all-in-one and with a way better quality camera.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My sister because she finally realized how great it is to be with someone who truly respects and cares for you & treats you like a princess. :) It's a good, good thing.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
14. Where did most of your money go?
On tokki's clothing and toys and books and many other cute and pretty baby things I couldn't pass on. He's not completely spoiled but we are restraining ourselves haha!
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The first poo, the first smile, the first laugh, the first roll, the first sitting, the first solid food, the first crawling, the first clapping, the first waving, the first dancing, the first standing, the first steps; just about everything tokki does! It's all so exciting as a first time mom.
16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Wonder Girls - Be My Baby because whenever that song comes on my son's face lights up and it is too adorable when he starts bopping and swaying to the beat.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Healthier? Definitely! Coconut oil & fermented cod liver oil/butter oil & farmers market visits have really helped.
Richer? Yes. Daddy works hard ;)
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Nothing! I'm already doing it.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Nagging Tare. The jansori ajumma in me really came out this year. I'm going to fix it!
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
We spent Christmas at home again this year.
22. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Yes. I fell in love with the baby in my belly last year but I've fallen head over heels in love with the baby in my arms who has such a bright and positive personality. He melts my heart.
23. How many one-night stands?
This question just doesn't apply.
24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Vampire Diaries! & Running Man, I'm A Singer.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No.26. What was the best book you read?
I've just started What Mothers Do: Especially When it Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen and I'm sure it will be on my best books list.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I've rediscovered my own voice as I sing to tokki all the time. Our current nap time lullaby is Amazing Grace and it works every time. I want to sing more like I used to...
28. What did you want and get?
29. What did you want and not get?
Clothes that are not nursing friendly. :( But I'm over it.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I enjoyed Harry Potter, but I only watched about six movies this year so I don't know what was really good.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I blew out candles on a cake and received pretty flowers from my husband and smiles from my 6 month old son. I turned 24 this year!
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
My fashion concept was nursing friendly which means I wore a lot of pull-aside, button-up, easy up dresses and shirts.
34. What kept you sane?
My husband's encouragement that I'm doing a great job with tokki and being able to nap during the day with baby even though that means I don't get any household chores done. But being present for my son is much more worthwhile than dishwashing or dusting so I'm fine with that!
35. Who did you miss?
I'm starting to miss Aji a little bit now. I never mentioned here, but we decided to move her to my parents' house when we last visited because I couldn't give more attention to her. I wish I was a better owner who could give lots of attention and love to the dog with the baby but... I'm not. So she is with family who are better able to take care of her and play with her. She's doing well there and I'm so glad but I do miss her furry little face sometimes.
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
I am the best mother for my son. And another mother is the best for her child.
I made a lot of different choices when it came to childbirth from most people and I make specific choices about how I want to raise my child. It's what will be the best for my baby and I'm confident in that. But that confidence led me to being judgmental of other mothers and the choices they made for their child; sometimes it just really bugged me. But I have no say in what's best for anyone else's child than my own, to each their own, there is not a single answer to parenting! Some ways are better as a fact for babies, but it's not my choice to make and it's not my choice to judge. It's something I struggle with personally in my mind; I've never said anything to anyone about it, but it's wrong just the same.
We're all just loving our baby and that is what is important.
37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
My chains are gone, I've been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, amazing grace.Best of luck to you in 2012!
Thursday, 29 December 2011
19. Give to World Vision. (This year we chose to give towards providing clean, safe water for children in Africa.)20. Grant each other a wish. (Mine was sorta silly & his I haven't yet granted, will soon though!)21. Eat out for dinner.22. Share goals & resolutions for 2012 and pray for the coming new year.23. Give the neighbors a gift. (I baked a yummy apple yogurt cake for them & we took it over; well received so I'm happy!)24. Attend Christmas Eve service at church.25. tokki woke us up and we let him unwrap some books that were presents from halmuni & auntie B. We went to church then came home for a very laid back afternoon. We enjoyed a delicious roast chicken with veggies dinner at home.
Looking forward to a new activity every day in December was fun for my husband and myself who didn't grow up with American traditions for Christmas. Christmas is not about trees, decorations, carols, gifts, or Santa, but all of the fun was like celebrating Jesus' birthday a little bit each day.Jesus is the greatest gift given to us by God and we hope to continue celebrating Christmas in a way that tokki will grow up knowing this truth.