Fall Loving


The summer days are long gone and we finally have brisk fall weather! Hallelujah! And what’s fall without a trip to a good ole pumpkin patch? 🙂

The month of October was kind of crazy for us (what else is new? Why does it seem like every month since we moved has been so hectic?) starting off with Emma’s first birthday party (post coming real soon, I promise). Then came Hurricane Matthew. Thankfully no one was hurt around our area, but it poured the entire weekend! The following weekend, we had to travel to Baltimore because I had to be in the office so off to grandma’s we went! But don’t fret! We couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take cute baby pictures with pumpkins and the whole shebang! We went to Chapel Hills Farm & Nursery in Perry Hall. It actually worked out great because Emma got to have another play date with one of her baby friends, Roy (remember their first play date?)


Our little pumpkin surrounded by lots of pumpkins! ❤



Way too cute! They even matched in their outfits (unintentional)!!!


The baby goat thought Emma’s foot was yummy 😉



She was obsessed with going through the tunnel! She saw the big kids do it and didn’t hesitate to try it herself. Such a brave little baby!



Best buds ❤


Because we were away from home, I didn’t get to decorate, let alone carve pumpkins like last year. 😦 But Steve and I plan on doing a little bit of Trick or Treating with Emma around our block then passing out candy sitting on our front porch with a beer or two after we put Emma to bed. I think we’ll even start a Halloween tradition of watching a scary movie before going to bed!

And just like that, October will be gone and November will come, last month of fall and another month of traveling for the SHwangs. This time around, Chicago for Thanksgiving! See you soon, Chicago! Go Cubs Go! 🙂



To Emma (Letter #1)

Our dearest Emma,

You came into our world a year ago on October 2nd, 2015. Your grand entrance was as dramatic as it could be, just like the bright star you are! You gave us a scare with malrotation and emergency surgery, but mama and dada knew you would be as strong as ever. The past year, you have been thriving, surprising us with your appetite and developmental growth. Everyday with you was something new even when we didn’t sleep for the first three months. 😉 Despite the lack of sleep, you always brought so much joy in our household and we are so thankful to have a healthy , happy and sweet, sweet baby.

When we found out that you were going to be a girl, we knew Emma would be the perfect name. It was daddy’s first choice and the meaning of “whole” and “universal” fit so perfectly with what we wish for you to be one day. We want you to explore the world, in tune with everything around you – the best life lessons come from travelling and experiencing different cultures and people. And we hope that you too will enjoy travelling as much as we do. This will make you a well balanced person and it will make you whole.

Always follow your heart and your passion, and don’t hesitate to understand others before yourself. Being selfless is one of the best characteristics to have. Don’t get caught up in greed because greed will always make you think you don’t have enough, and you will never be able to stop and breathe. Even though we’d like to shield you from all things negative, you will find yourself in a slump one day, there’s no way around it. But please know that it shall pass, it always does. Things happen for a reason, and bad things end to make room for good things. Change isn’t always bad, it can be good, we promise. And always remember, no matter what, we will forever love you.


Happy first birthday, baby girl. We are so lucky to be your parents.

-mama and dada

One Year Postpartum Update

Hooray! We survived the first year and kept our little babe happy and healthy! To be honest though, first year literally flew by. I feel like it wasn’t too long ago when I could feel her tiny feet kicking in my belly, now she is taking steps with those tiny feet!


At the end of 9 months she started crawling on her hands and knees then she was off! I think she was waiting for this discovery, because once she found out how to crawl, she moved around the entire house on her hands and knees in warp speed! By 10.5 months old, she was pulling herself up on everything she could get her little hands on – sofa, consoles, stairs, chairs etc. One of her favorite activities is pulling out the drawers and taking everything out. More work for mama to clean after her mess… LOL. The first time she stood for a long time unsupported was around when Emma was 11 months old. She pulled out a drawer from her dresser and pulled herself up. She dug around and found something she liked then magically started standing on her own with the object she pulled out of the drawer in her hands. From then on, she started standing on her own longer and longer, and now she is standing and taking a couple of steps without any support. I think she’s a very cautious baby though. She’s scared to let go of our hands and walk freely. I’m not in a hurry for her to walk anyway because that means we have to chase her 24/7. Haha.


in traditional Kazakh hat and handmade booties I bought when I was on a business trip in Kazakhstan ❤

At one year old, she has 6 teeth visible, her 4th tooth at the bottom came out at 10 months and by 10.5 months, she had two top teeth. We now see another set of two coming out from the top, but they have not broken through yet. She is also  more verbal now, repeating a lot of things we say and making all sorts of different sounds. She would mimic animal sounds and lets us know when she is fascinated about something by making “OOohhH” sounds. It is the cutest thing! It’s super darling to see her very animated, copying everything we do – she does this one thing where she puts her hands on her head and says “WOW”, and she knows when she is being cute! She would scrunch her nose and put on the biggest grin while tilting her head to one side. I mean, come on! You can get away with ANYTHING with that face! We are so in trouble!!

As for solids, we are now off of formula altogether. She kind of started weaning herself off a week before she turned one. She’d eat more table food and less formula. Once she turned one, I transitioned off of formula to whole milk. We still give her whole milk in a bottle when she wakes up and before she goes to bed – but no more bottle feeding during the day! Man, it feels good not having to do that and lugging around bottles and water! Now we gotta tackle getting rid of bottles. I tried giving her morning milk in a sippy cup, but she didn’t drink any! Babies are strange, she does fine with water in a sippy cup, but not milk. We shall see how this transition goes.. as always, I’m mostly going with the flow.


She was saying, “oooooh!”

For me, one year postpartum seems surreal. I just cannot believe my baby is one and it’s been a full year since I gave birth! I definitely feel more like a seasoned mama, haha. I’m not as anxious or paranoid about raising a baby. I definitely feel more comfortable in my parenting style and I no longer freak out if I forget to pack something in her diaper bag. 😉 Now only if I can lose the last stubborn 10 lbs of preggo weight…I’ll be golden! But I really can’t complain since I haven’t done much to help lose the weight. I shall report back once I have done so. 😉 All in all, the past year was an amazing experience for me, I grew as a mother which in turn made me grow as a person. Believe it or not, I learned more about motherhood through Emma than anything I’ve read in books or the internet. She helped me shape into the mother I am today and my only hope is that Emma will always be proud to have me as her mother.

The monthly postpartum update will end here, but stay tuned for periodic toddler updates!