I am a wife, mother of two beautiful children and continually on the quest to better myself. I will share my experiences, tips and adventures through motherhood in hopes that it helps other moms better the quality of their lives. I will share my stories, favorite products, review books and just share my random thoughts on how to be a great mother, wife and better person in the community.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Blah!  I've fallen off the fitness wagon again.  It's just so exhausting, and going to work out is the last thing that I want to do after a day filled with working, cooking, cleaning and running around after the kids.  Isn't that a work out in itself?  Just thinking about it makes me want to curl up in bed in silence.  But, every time I look in the mirror and see some extra bounce, the kind you only want to see on nice, luscious bouncy hair, I know I need to take some action.

So what is it that I'm lacking?  Motivation.  The kind that makes you get out of bed at 5:30 in the morning, the kind that prevents you from stuffing your face full of french fries and chocolate.  The big dilemma, is how to get that motivation back.  One way is to get a personal trainer, which I did back in August to jump start my way back in shape.  But to have a personal trainer for that long can really put a dent in the bank account.  So what do I do?

I asked my brother how he stays motivated enough to go to the gym every other day.  He says he just sees it as a part time job, where he's working 10 hours a week.  Hmmm.  A part time job, where the payment received ends up being a fit body.  I'll have to try that.  I've just been viewing it wrong this whole time.  I need to be accountable to myself with no excuses.  And really, I don't even need to spend 10 hours a week.  I'm committing to 5 hours a week, and I'll take it from there.

Here I go, struggling and running back after the wagon, trying to jump on.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And...She Finally Gets It!!!

For the past 3 months, I've been trying to teach my 3 year old daughter how to read by using the principles of phonics.  Even though she's only 3, I must admit that I have been discouraged at how she just wasn't getting it.  But, I would try to incorporate the principles, quiz her on how to spell simple words, and read to her without making her feel any pressure, but just acting as if we were playing different games.  I could just tell that she was just reciting back to me things that she had just memorized instead of actually understanding the concept of how words are formed.  

BUT...on the way to preschool today, she randomly asked me "how do you spell restaurant"?  And instead of just spelling it back to her, I said "let's sound it out.  What letter makes the sound rrrrr?"  And she answered back with "r".  I was shocked because up to this point, she would always just answer back with "I don't know".

So we continued through the rest of the word, "what sound comes next?"  And she was able to tell me most of the letters in the word!  So to see if she actually got the concept, we tried a few more words and sure enough, she got it!  It was a great day, and it finally made me feel like all those little moments in the last few months were finally worth it!  It's just amazing how the kids will just wake up one day and just get it.  Amazing.  And I have renewed hope to not give up in all my efforts to continue teaching her a little bit everyday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to Photography

I'm not going to lie.  It is exhausting raising two kids, trying to work, keeping the house clean (it doesn't help that I seem to have developed a tendency to be OC in this regard), and trying to find the tiniest bit of time for some self-growth.  Well again, I must fall back to my photography.  I absolutely love it, plus I'm killing two birds with one stone by hanging out with my kids, capturing some great moments, and learning something new for myself.

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year - when I can bring out my boots and sweaters, and the amazing changing colors in the leaves just make Seattle a beautiful place to live.  We headed out to the University of Washington for a quick photo shoot.  It's especially fun because my son has finally started walking in the last couple of weeks.  

Looking back at these pictures, I can't believe the kids have grown up so quickly!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wow It Has Been a While

Ok, I apologize for not updating in such a long time.  But, my only excuse is that raising two kids is HARD!  Between trying to balance attention equally between the kids and trying to maintain somewhat of a clean home, it is crazy in our house.

Several events have come and gone in the last few months, one of which is that I started working regularly again.  So, Kai had his very first week in day care this past week.  The first day really wasn't so bad.  I put him down with the other kids, he started playing with them and I went off to work.  But after I picked him up, he would not let me put him down for the rest of the day.  He was stuck to me.  Then the next day when I went to drop him off, as soon as I stepped into the room, he clung on to my clothes and hair for dear life and started screaming.  Then when I picked him up, he again would cling to me and not want me to let him go.  This process pretty much happened every day, and I'm sure it doesn't help that this is happening at a stage when his separation anxiety is at its peak.  I'm dreading tomorrow, Monday and leaving him at day care again.  I'm also worried about him getting any lasting abandonment issues.  Have there been any studies done on this?  Are there any lasting effects to leaving your child like this?  I'm hoping not.  To compensate for my leaving him, I've been giving him extra love and attention.  He seems to reciprocate it more now.  Kai never was a hugger, but this week he has started hugging, looking straight into my eyes, and stroking my cheek.  It melts my heart and makes it even harder to leave him.

Hopefully this stage will pass very soon, and we will all get into our new rhythm.  I hope.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sleep - Or Lack Thereof...

Well, we just had my son's 6 month doctor appointment - and everything went great!  Until my doctor asked me the question, "Is he sleeping through night?", that is.  I reluctantly answered that he still wakes up every 2 hours to be comforted or fed.  And on those nights when I am just too tired to go into his room, I will bring him into my bed and feed him and let him sleep with us.  I know, I must admit that I've let this get out of control.  At the age of 2 months, he was sleeping for 6-8 hour stretches and sometime between then and now, he has regressed in a major way.

So the doctor responds with "you know, at this age, they can go for 6 hour stretches without being fed".  I know.  "He won't hate you".  I know.  "He won't remember this".  I know.  "You'll be a better mom during the day".  I know.  "it's better to sleep train him at this age before he gets any older because it will just get harder".  I know.  So why am I so reluctant?

Well, we tried sleep training techniques with my daughter - and they never worked.  We stuck with it for a week, letting her cry it out several nights in a row to learn how to "soothe" herself.  Well, it didn't work.  She got even more worked up, more angry, to the point of puking all over the bed.  In the end, her personality/temperament just didn't work with the cry it out method.  Even today, at almost 3 years old, she is the type that needs more hugging, cuddling and love in order to get her to behave.

Plus, my son hardly ever cries.  I mean he really is the best baby - only cries when he needs something, always has a smile for me, and is sooooo much less maintenance than my daughter.  So when he does cry, I feel the need to do something.  Which in this case, is at night.

So, after talking with my doctor, reading about the different techniques, convincing myself that sleeping for more than 2 hour stretches would be really nice, and building up my own determination to do this, we tried our first night of letting him "cry it out".  Just like every other night, he still woke up every 2-3 hours.  But this time I just let him work it out.  He went to bed at 8:30 and the first cry was right on time at 10:30 pm- he surprisingly went back to sleep after about 15 minutes of crying (more like screaming anger)!  He woke up again at 2:00 and I actually got up to feed him.  Then he got up at 5:00, cried off and on for about an hour and then woke up at 6:30 to be fed again.  Overall, the first night wasn't too bad.  But the real test will be over the next few days...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bringing Culture into the Home

My daughter recently has been enamored with Bollywood movies.  Everyday after school, she insists on watching the colorful singing and dancing that fill these movies.  She watches the movies with such concentration as if she understands Hindi.  This got me thinking, that maybe I should expose my kids more to their cultural backgrounds.  My kids are half Korean and half East-Indian.  I am able to speak, read and write Korean - probably at the level of an elementary school student,  but culturally, I'm embarrassed to say, eating Korean food is about as far as we go.  There is even less exposure on the Indian side.  I've always meant to speak Korean to my kids, but I was shocked at how unnatural this felt.  Now when I actually do speak it to my daughter, she'll respond with "mommy, what are you saying?".

In an effort to change this, I have been researching different ways in which to introduce different cultural aspects into our home.  At first, I did an exhaustive search in the area for Korean schools for children.  However, I was shocked to find that there are none - except for maybe ones that are part of the local Korean churches.  I found Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and French, but no schools teaching Korean.  So of course now it is fully on me to teach my kids.

It's amazing what you can find on the internet that just makes our lives so much easier.  So what's the plan?  Here are some ways I'm planning on making my kids (and myself) more aware of their cultural backgrounds and to not take it for granted:
  1. Although I try to limit the amount of TV that my kids watch, I think there is some value to watching Korean and Indian videos - both on TV and on the internet (YouTube).  The public libraries are great resources for finding videos, plus it's free!
  2. I've ordered a few books and song CD's to start exposing the kids to the spoken language. What better way to do it than with songs!
  3. While cooking together - I'll try to explain the different types of spices that I'm using to introduce the different types of food.
  4. Joining and becoming a member of different groups on the internet and in the local area.  For example, I found a great blog - www.littleseouls.blogspot.com which is a blog written by 2 Korean-American moms that share information on Korean culture and is also a little boutique.
Well - this is a start.  I will keep you posted on how it goes...

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Year Resolutions

It's already the middle of January, and I've realized that I've forgotten to put my list of New Year's Resolutions together.  So, here it goes.

  1. Eat healthier.  This one I'm switching up a bit from past years.  This one used to read "work out more", but I think that eating healthier is also just as important.  This also extends to the rest of my family - since I want them to eat better.  My daughter actually does ok with eating her veggies and fruits, so if she's not getting the best nutrition she needs, it would be my fault.  Along these lines, a friend recently introduced me to a local farm CSA service that delivers fresh produce right to your doorstep.  They are also part of a network of other organic farmers around the US, so we're able to get a balance and variety of produce.  During the summer, I love going to the local farmer's markets, but with it being so cold and rainy in the winter, our choices are limited to visiting our local Whole Paycheck (aka Whole Foods).  Our first delivery is next week, so I'm excited to see what fresh foods will be showing up at our doorstep.
  2. Expand my photography skills to a new level. I've taken the first step in this by signing up for an online photography class.  So far I've been pleased with the information I've been learning and I've really been learning how to use all of the controls on my camera.  More specifically though, I now know how to control exposure, take sharper pictures and brighten colors.  
  3. Sit back, take a deep breath and relax.  This one I really need to make an effort to do.  With many years of working as project manager and multi-tasking, this does not come naturally to me.  So when at home, I'll make a conscious effort to do things slower and take a few deep breaths as I walk around the house.  I can never have enough oxygen flowing through my blood.  :)
  4. Volunteer.  I've always been meaning to volunteer in some way or another, but never gotten around to it.  Well, no more excuses.  I would like to work with kids in some way - maybe the local Boys and Girls' club, but I'm not quite sure yet.  I need to research around my area to see how I can help.  If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Meltdown

Ok, so my youngest son is now 4 months old, and up to this point I think I've been doing well in balancing my life, finding things to do, and making the lives of my husband and kids pretty enjoyable.  Well, up until New Years, that is.  I had my first official real meltdown.  I'm not proud...by no means.  But, what I've learned is that all moms, whether it be the first time around, or the fifth, will at some point reach the point where you just want to leave.  I don't mean leave the family, but I mean just leave and go somewhere, anywhere but where you are.

My meltdown came just around New Years.  My husband had been working a lot and I experienced for a few weeks, what a single mom with little help would be facing.  I thought I was handling it quite well, until one afternoon my two year old started whining and crying about everything, and even my 4 month old son who is normally an angel, started chiming in and whining and crying.  No matter what I did, they were absolute terrors.  Well I snapped and I ended up putting each child in their rooms, shutting their doors, and running down to the garage and sitting in the car, thinking of all the reasons why I shouldn't leave the house.  I really had to talk myself down off the ledge, so to speak.  The kids were crying, I was crying, it was an absolute mess.

Then to make it worse, I started thinking and longing for my life before the kids.  The freedom, the silence, and all that good stuff.  Well, it took me a few days to calm down, to come back to reality, and to start enjoying my life again.  For a few days there though, it was rough - especially with my feelings of guilt for feeling the way I was.  What helped me out in the end was knowing that I'm not alone in feeling this way - and all the moms I've talked to in the last few weeks have experienced the exact same thing in one way or another.

Plus a little shopping therapy definitely helped for a few days.  I've decided that people who shop excessively are trying to fill some kind of void in their lives.  At least that is the case for me.  So, for all the moms that find themselves struggling - my point is - it's OK!  Don't feel guilty for feeling the way you do, because it won't help the situation, and the best thing you can do for yourself and the family is to get over it, pick yourself up and focus on the amazing parts of motherhood and all the joy that the children bring to your lives.  In the end, I know that no one can make me laugh out loud like my kids do.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Photography & Kids

I've always had an interest in photography.  Even when I was younger, I was always snapping shots of my siblings.  In fact, most of the family pictures we have of when we were kids were taken by me.  In high school - I was one of the yearbook photographers.  But for some reason, I never pursued that side of my life.  Probably because as a profession, it didn't involve being a doctor, lawyer or some math/science related field, and my father only allowed us to pursue a "professional" field. 

When my daughter Ava was born in 2008, it was the perfect excuse to get serious and really interested in photography again.  Mind you, my skills are not even remotely close to the professional photographers you see, but I can always dream and strive towards that goal right?  So, before my daughter was born, I invested in a good DSLR camera, a 50mm lens for portrait photography and just started snapping away.  My first goal was to stop taking pictures in "automatic" mode and to venture into the different manual modes and understanding terminology such as f-stop, aperture, ISO,white balance, and spot meter.  I've also invested in Photoshop to see what my other possibilities were.

For those unfamiliar with a 50mm lens - it is a relatively reasonable lens that is great for portrait photography.  It has really stepped up the quality of shots I've been able to capture of my kids.  In order to get a jump start on the whole process, I actually took a half day seminar from the person that took my family pictures.  It got me even more interested in learning and practicing - but also looking at some pricier, more expensive lenses.  Dangerous!

Where all this practicing will lead me, I'm not sure yet.  I've had visions dancing around in my head of becoming a more "professional" photographer and starting a business.  I personally don't think I'm at that level yet, but the thought does keep coming up.  I have had numerous friends that had kids recently, and they all have asked me what baby products I would recommend.  My advice is to invest in a camera - because there is something about capturing these moments that just appeals to me.  These kids grow up quickly and having these pictures not only remind me of what I've experienced through the years, but also leaves me with great pictures to share with (or blackmail) them in the future.  :)

Here are some of my favorites from the last few years.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Finer Things in Life

Have you stretched lately?  And I mean one of those full body stretches, where you lay down flat and just extend your arms and legs as far as possible.  I was watching my son last night as he was performing one of these stretches and it got me thinking that I should try that sometime too.  Well, it was amazing and did not disappoint!  No wonder he does it all the time!  You need to try it, for real!

Then it really got me thinking about how my perspective of what the finer things in life are has changed.  It used to be great wine and foods, traveling to cool and new places and looking for the next adventure.  And now?  Well at the top of my list, it would have to be an uninterrupted hot shower, being able to finish my hot cup of coffee, and the sound of complete silence.  I will wake up very early in the morning in order to enjoy these few things, this morning being one of those mornings.

Along those lines, I recently got a new single serve coffee dripper for my birthday and I absolutely LOVE IT!  That, paired with Caffe Vita's Caffe Luna coffee beans make the best cup of coffee I have enjoyed in a very long time, and I prefer it over any drink you can get at Starbucks.