NC State Fair

My one and only State Fair experience prior to the NC State Fair was back when I was 11 years old in Frederick, MD. Maybe because I have this faint yet fond memory of a family Fair outing that I really wanted to take Emma to one, and make it a family tradition. When people told me NC State Fair is like none other, they weren’t kidding. It was bigger than I imagined and nothing like the one I went to with my family when I was younger. Although traffic getting to the Fair was horrendous and there were too many people for my liking, we had fun soaking in the experience. Of course, Emma had the most fun. In fact, she had so much fun, we went twice and the first time, she stayed out until 11 PM! We had lots of junk food, everything fried to be exact (that’s what State Fairs are for, right?) and Emma rode her first pony ride!! She had mixed emotions in the beginning. She wasn’t sure if she was scared or ecstatic, but since the pony ride, that’s all she would ever talk about! We also met up with her friend from school, and they rode some rides together. I was a bit nervous at first, probably more so than she was, but she ended up loving it and wanted to ride every ride at the Fair.

We will definitely make it an annual tradition for our family, but will be avoiding the weekend for sure. Overall, it was a great experience with tons of fun!

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“I don’t know if I should cry or laugh!”

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To Emma (Letter #2)

Our dearest Emma,

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Your second birthday has come and gone, and Mama is more emotional than when your first birthday came along. As wonderful as your first year was, a big chunk of that year was in survival mode. Your second year though, was soaking up every single moment of your growth because it literally went by too fast. With a blink of an eye, you somehow transformed into an independent young girl. And as each day passed, it was as if our baby was disappearing.

As I desperately try to hold onto every second of your “needing Mama moments”, I also know I have to let you fly. One of the biggest milestones this year was fostering your independence by enrolling you in school. Though the initial transition was tough (probably tougher on Mama than you), we are so proud of how well you adjusted and how much you love learning new things. I hope you never lose your curiosity and passion for exploring new things in life. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. The best part of my day is when you run into my arms with a huge grin, shouting “MAMA!” when I come pick you up at school. I sincerely hope that never changes. And even when you are 18 years old, you still find comfort in my arms.

As always, I am so grateful for being your Mama. Papa and I thank you for another wonderful year of being a healthy and happy baby. We love you so much sweet girl, and we cannot wait to learn more things about you as your personality shines through each day.

Love,

Mama

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Autumn is here!

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. Everything about it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’ve been waiting for the heat wave to end here in NC to enjoy some breezy weather and Pumpkin Spice lattes at Starbucks. Yes, I know. Basic. However, I’m sad to report that I have yet to grab a PSL because the temp is still hitting the high 80’s here in NC. I cannot wait to pull out my sweaters and jeans!

Anyway, what’s Fall without a trip to a pumpkin patch?! This year, we checked out Page Farms with our friends.  I was extra excited this year because Emma is old enough to actually enjoy the visit. Page Farms had a lot of kid friendly activities including a petting zoo, corn maze, play areas, swings, and corn kernel pool, Emma’s favorite! We also took a hayride to the pumpkin patch to pick out our own pumpkins. Emma was so excited to pick her own pumpkin to take home. 🙂 Our front porch is now decorated in fall theme and we are ready for Halloween! Can you guess what we are going to be? Make sure to check back for the Halloween post later. 😉

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how cute are these two little ladies holding hands on the hayride? ❤

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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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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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