City of Angels (Part One)

The last time we made our way out west was two years ago, right after Em was born for my best friend’s wedding in San Francisco. So we were super excited to head back again for two weddings this time, Steve’s cousin’s in Pasadena and Steve’s best friend’s in Hollywood. Because these weddings were close in dates, we decided to make a family vacation out of it and stay out in California for two weeks.

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On our flight to Cali!

Our first stop was Pasadena where we met Steve’s side of the family for his cousin’s wedding. It was a great weekend spent with his family including almost all of the cousins! The wedding was beautiful and Emma had a blast on the dance floor. I swear she is made for stage because she was the first one there as soon as the music came on and the last one to leave. She was a trooper through it all with the time difference and getting into California super late on Friday night/early Saturday morning. It also helped that we had lots of family members helping out with her so mama and papa had fun too. 🙂 The venue and the couple were absolutely stunning, we wish you a lifetime of happiness, Nicole & John! ❤

First picture in Cali with my mini-me!

We clean up nice, eh? 😉 On our way to Nicole & John’s wedding. 

Girl cousins!

Guy cousins!

All the cousins + Em 🙂

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Hwang Siblings 🙂

Paparazzis! 

After the wedding in Pasadena, we made our way to LA for a few days with Steve’s parents and aunt & uncle. We went to Santa Monica beach, explored Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and ate at really great Korean restaurants in Korea Town. Our goal was to eat as much Korean and Mexican food as possible while on this trip, and I think we definitely accomplished that mission. 😝

Once we said our goodbyes to his family, we headed up to the mountains for a night of cabin stay. Originally, we had planned on going to the Joshua Tree National Park and camping overnight, but it was too wet and chilly to make that happen. But we found the cutest cabin in Crestline, near San Bernardino. It was a neat little cabin we found through Airbnb, had a piano, a guitar and a ukulele. Despite the rain, we drove around sightseeing and admiring mother nature.

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On our way up the mountain!

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Our sky blue trimmed cabin.

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First part of our LA trip came to an end fast, but we were super excited to make our way down SoCal to visit Steve’s cousin and her family in La Jolla, San Diego. Catch us in the next blog post about our time spent in SD! It will be up shortly!

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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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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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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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Fourth of July

Emma and I have been super sick with a nasty cold this past week, so naturally, I am drugged up and really missing summer! But really, I’m just a lazy blogger and have not gotten around to do this post until 3 months later. 😛

This past Fourth of July was an exciting one for us and mainly for me because my best friends came to visit! Ever since leaving Chicago 6 years ago, three of us have been living miles apart, in West Coast, Midwest and East Coast. Although we try our best for all three of us to get together, life happens. We have been through it all, from college to break ups to first jobs to changing careers to getting married to having babies! I honestly cannot live without them, and legitimately feel a void in my heart when I don’t get a notification for our group chat on a daily basis. It has been more than a year since all three of us were together, so our reunion was way overdue!

Of course, Charles and Emma’s reunion was just as exciting! Remember their first date? Long distance relationships are tough, even for babies! ;D They got to spend 24/7 with each other for 5 days straight and Emma was asking for Charles for weeks after they had left. And I was told Charles was doing the same..these kids… tugs at our hearts! ❤

We spent most of our days at the pool, going to museums and eating (what we do best)! We cannot wait until we are together again! Hopefully sometime soon!

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@Sarah P. Duke Gardens

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4th of July photoshoot.

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@Rise 

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@North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

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