Emma’s Moana Themed Birthday Party

If you haven’t noticed already, ever since Emma watched Moana for the very first time, she was immediately hooked. It was also the first movie she actually sat through. So naturally, she now wants everything Moana. She especially loves to belt out the theme song, How Far I’ll Go. Case in point here. So when it came to her 2nd birthday party theme, it was an easy decision. I wanted to find a budget friendly party ideas, so off to Pinterest I went for DIY decor. I also didn’t want anything extravagant (mainly because I didn’t have the time), so decided to do a Moana themed sweets table. After five nights of designing, cutting, gluing, I was so excited to see my vision come to life! Also, I would not have pulled it off if it wasn’t for my friend, Morgan and her Cricut! That thing was a lifesaver for sure! For desserts, I made the cupcakes & Heart of Te Fiti sugar cookies. The highlight of the sweets table has to be the Moana boat my husband built. Originally, I was going to make the boat with paper towel rolls, but he said he can do something much better. And off he went into the garage. After a night of sawing, hammering and nailing, he legit built her a boat! Please give this man Father of the Year Award.

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Along with Emma’s friends, we had both set of grandparents and aunts come to celebrate her birthday (we missed you Paul!). I don’t think Emma understands the concept of birthdays, but she sure had a lot of fun singing the Happy Birthday song and eating A LOT of her birthday cake. Oh, and of course, she loved all the presents and running around with all of her friends. I know I say this every time, but we are so lucky to have such great friends and family. I’m forever grateful for all the love Emma receives. Thank you everyone for coming to celebrate Emma’s birthday with us!!

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Emma’s First Birthday Party: Korean Dol

In Korean culture, first birthday is a big celebration called dol (돌). There are several traditions to follow at the dol party. Both my husband and I are Korean American, and we definitely want our children to embrace their Korean heritage. So for Emma’s first birthday party,  we decided to keep as much of Korean traditions as we could. We wore traditional Korean garments called hanbok (한복); set up dol table to display traditional first birthday items and food such as rice cakes, colorful fruits, dates, and dol towers; and had an activity called doljabi, a fortune telling ritual at first birthday parties. I also wanted to incorporate modern day birthday decor, so Emma’s dol table was combined with sweets, birthday cakes and decorations. To add a personal touch, I arranged her party decor and even made some decorations from scratch. We incorporated one of her favorite books, “Oh the Places You’ll Go”, and it ended up working out pretty well – a low key themed party.

We were so fortunate to have almost all of our immediate family members join us for the weekend and even had a few of my close girlfriends fly in from Chicago! The preparation of Emma’s first birthday was stressful, but it was all so worth it seeing all of our loved ones! Emma must have felt the love and care as well because she was so well behaved the entire day – even through multiple outfit changes! 😉

As for the doljabi activity, Emma took 20 minutes to choose an item. She definitely did not act on impulse and ended up choosing pencils then money after deep contemplation. 😉

We also did the ever so popular “cake smash”. She was a bit confused at first on what to do with the cake, but as soon as she tasted it, it was game over. 😀

I really can’t say enough about how grateful I am to have spent a wonderful day with our family and friends. Thank you all so very much for celebrating Emma’s special day with us, and thanks to others who could not make it but sent gifts and lots of love! I know, I say this all the time, but Emma truly is so blessed!

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Hubby’s Big 3-0!

Finally! Steve turned 30! Steve and I were born in the same year, but his birthday is later than mine so whenever I’m “older” than him, I can’t wait until he catches up. It makes me feel less old. Haha.

Turning thirty is a big deal, it’s one of big birthday milestones. I wanted to do something special for Steve’s 30th birthday. For people who know Steve, he is a simple man. He doesn’t ask for much, and he doesn’t like fancy schmancy things like me. 😛 I mean, this man even forgot his birthday this year for God’s sake.

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to get him for his birthday present then it suddenly hit me one day. HIS BEST BUDS! His two best friends are both in Chicago, and he doesn’t get to see them much. And I knew more than anything, Steve would want to celebrate his birthday with the people he love. So for his 30th birthday present, I decided to fly out his best friends from Chicago and keep it a SURPRISE. I then decided to outdo myself and throw him another surprise, a PARTY! Man, throwing a surprise party is tough work, I don’t know how people do it. I had to sneak around the week leading up to his surprise party to get things ready. I was hosting it at our house, so I had to hide the things I got for the party hoping he wouldn’t snoop in the pantries. But I am happy to report, he was TOTALLY surprised with both the party and his buds coming for a visit. I do have to confess though, he knew that “someone” was coming the day his friends were arriving. He kept pestering me all day about it so I just let him have it. But he had NO idea it was going to be his best friends, he thought someone else was coming and the look on his face when I came back with his friends was priceless. We have a video, but there’s a lot of profanity so I won’t share.

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Morning of the party, boys did a good job at getting Steve out of the house. *thumbs up!* PC: Mike

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All in all, it made me just as happy to see Steve so ecstatic on his birthday weekend. He’s been stressed this past year with home buying process, so he definitely deserved every happiness he felt on his birthday weekend. My only regret is that I didn’t get to take a lot of pictures, I actually didn’t take any pictures at the party, can you believe that? I really gotta make sure to take as many pictures as possible! Some pictures are from our friend (thanks, Mike!).

Thank you so much to all of our family and friends for coming to celebrate this man! We love you all! Cheers to another decade!

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Prom pose with my twin! ❤ 

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Hwang siblings ❤ 

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Goofs ❤

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Steve and his best buds! 😀

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Father’s Day

Father’s Day means so much more to me now since I get to celebrate the love of my life on this day too! I always knew Steve would be a great dad, but I had no idea he would surpass all my expectations of what it meant to be a father. No words need to be said about how wonderful he is with Emma, a few minutes of observing these two, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about! My heart explodes when seeing these two together!

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Em and I wanted to make Steve’s first Father’s Day special by making him a present. We made some finger paint pictures to put in a shadowbox and he LOVED the present! Em and I also had fun getting a little messy. We used Crayola’s non-toxic washable finger paint I purchased from Target. It was her first time playing with paint and though she was more confused than anything, I like to think she enjoyed it. 😉

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After church on Sunday, we went to the Tumble Gym in Raleigh with our new friends we met at church and their 14 month old daughter. It was our first time there, so we didn’t really know what to expect. Though the gym is for ages 0 and up, it is definitely geared towards kids and not babies, but there was no one at the gym so we were able to let the babies roam freely. Em had tons of fun bouncing on the trampoline and hanging from a bar (video). We are still amazed that she hung for a few seconds on her own. Strong girl!

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always wanting to practice walking… are you going to skip crawling?

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our best attempt at a family photo. -_-

After the gym, we said our goodbyes to our friends and headed over to Pullen Park since we were in the area. We heard so many great things about this park, and the park definitely lived up to its hype! There were TONS of things to do for children. Em was a bit too young to take full advantage of the park, but we still had a lot of fun exploring and trying new things. She even got on her first carousel ride, well..sort of. She got scared once the ride started and didn’t want to sit on the horse. But she still wanted to grab onto a poll and pretend she was riding it. So I had to hold her while she held on to a stationary pole next to the horse (video). It was pretty funny. Silly girl. ❤

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the parentals while the baby naps

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Spending time at the park was a perfect ending to Steve’s first Father’s Day. The only regret is that we completely forgot to grab the memory card case for our camera. I was hoping to take some nice pictures of Em and Steve for Father’s Day, but we had to settle on phone pictures. 😛

Happy Father’s Day again, Babe! I hope you enjoyed your day with us gals! 🙂 You are such an amazing man and seeing you with our daughter reminds me every day how lucky we are to have you in our lives. We love you so much! 

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Emma’s 100th Day Celebration!

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In Korean culture, we celebrate baby’s 100th day after birth. Unfortunately it was common back in the day for babies to pass away due to sicknesses, so the 100th day celebrates life and achieving this significant milestone. I have also heard that the 100th day also celebrates parents of the baby as well since the first 100 days after birth is supposed to be the most difficult time for the parents. Here’s to Steve and me coming out alive and still standing (even in zombie mode)! Woo hoo! I sure hope it’s true when the adults say, it’ll get much easier from here and on. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, since a lot of our family members are afar, we decided to have a small gathering of people near us to celebrate Em’s 100th day. Her 100th day happened to land on a Saturday (Jan 9, 2016), so we were able to celebrate it on that exact day. We rented our community clubhouse and invited Steve’s coworkers and our friends in the area. My parents drove down from Maryland and my sister flew in from NYC – super thankful for them to have traveled to come celebrate with us! It’s a tradition for the baby to wear all white, so Emma was decked out in a white dress, courtesy of my mother (too bad we didn’t take her outfit pic!). My parents also ordered rice cakes specifically made for the 100th day celebration, another tradition. We were able to decorate the dessert table and snap some pictures before the guests arrived. Emma was due for a nap and was super distracted so didn’t give us a single smile! Miss crankypants. I wish we took pictures with the guests, we were too busy playing hosts that we didn’t get to take any! 😦 Em was so good letting us mingle with our guests, she slept most of the time while we had fun! I swear these baby celebrations are more for the adults than the babies. 😛 I actually got to reconnect with a good friend from high school who I have not seen since freshman year of college! Her and her family happen to live 30 minutes away from us, so I’m super excited to have another friend in the area! Yay!

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We want to thank everyone who came out to celebrate Emma’s 100th day and showering her with gifts! She is one lucky gal! 🙂

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Our Baby Shower – Celebrating Emma!

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Steve and I decided to have a co-ed baby shower in Chicago where majority of our friends and family live. And we are so glad we did, because we got to see a lot of them! Living afar, we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like, so not only was it a baby shower welcoming Emma to this world, but a chance for us to reconnect with our loved ones.

My sister, who also happens to live in Chicago planned and hosted the entire shower, and we cannot thank her enough for throwing us such a fun and gorgeous shower! It was held at a picnic shelter in a forest preserve, and the weather was perfect! We had delicious food (thanks to our moms), beautiful decorations and lots of fun games. Some of our friends brought their children and their pet who got to run around and enjoy the day just as much as we did. It was truly a family affair!

Our weekend in Chicago was short-lived, but we definitely had a blast. I’m sure Emma felt the love as well! 🙂 Thank you all for coming and for your thoughtful gifts! We really appreciate and love every single one of you! ❤ We now have less than 3 more months to go before Emma arrives, can’t wait to show her these pictures from the baby shower!

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My beautiful Mommy inspiring me to be the best Mama to Emma ❤

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Fam Bam ❤

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Guys.. my belly isn’t that big.

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Zoe giving Emma a kiss! How precious!!

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My best friend and I are pregnant together! Rub da belly 😉

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Hope you enjoyed picture overload!!

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Year One Under Our Belt!

Can you believe it? It’s been one year (and almost a month) since we got married! Where did the time go? I swear it feels like yesterday we were dancing to our first dance song under a cloudless sky in front of our family and friends.

10711121_10101552343253799_5312318259260075954_nFor more wedding pics, see our wedding post here 🙂

We have made it through our first year of marriage! It’s been one fruitful year to say the least. Since our wedding on May 31, 2014, we jointly purchased our first car; moved from Baltimore city to suburbs; went on our amazing honeymoon to Italy; got pregnant with our first child; Steve got a new job; and we relocated to North Carolina! With everything that has happened in our first year of marriage, I can honestly say we are truly happy with where we are as an individual, as a couple and as a family. Despite all the changes in our lives, our first year of marriage was a smooth ride! We soaked in our married life and enjoyed each other’s company still feeling surreal that we are actually married, and let alone have a baby on the way! I’m so thankful to have a life partner to share this amazing journey for eternity and cannot wait to see what year two has in store for us. It’ll be a whole different ball game, but I’m confident that year two will be just as exciting as year one!!

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2015

To my better half, some people search their entire lives for their soul mate, and I’m so grateful to have found mine already. Since day one, you have motivated me to be my very best. I stand here today as a better person than I was 7 years ago all thanks to you. You have been my rock, the strongest supporter in everything I do, and I can’t express in words how appreciative I am of you. This past year was one of the most amazing years of my life, and I love you even more than I did yesterday. We can only go up from here! Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you ❤

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