We now have a YouTube Channel! Now you see follow more of our family’s journey through weekly vlogs. If there’s anything you’d like to see us vlog about, let us know in the comments below! We’re kicking it off with Joey’s First Birthday Cake Smash and Doljabi. If you haven’t already and wanted to check it out, Joey’s First Birthday party blog post is up! Traditionally in Korean culture, the first birthday is a big celebration because before access to medical care was readily available in Korea many many years ago, it was a big deal for a baby to live past his or her first birthday. Hence the big celebration. Since Joey is mostly Korean, we decided to keep this part of her heritage included in her birthday party. We set up a doljabi which is a Korean tradition where the birthday child is placed in front of various objects that represents a certain future with respect to career or lifestyle. Typically the items represent things like Doctor, Lawyer, Scholar, Entrepreneur, Judge, Athlete or Performing Artist. We decided to pick unique occupations that were sort of inside jokes to me and Allen. Obviously this game is just a tradition and isn’t what Joey will end up becoming but we decided to keep the tradition but change it up a bit just to make it fun. We had a planet toy to represent Astronaut, an In-N-Out hat to represent the In-N-Out District Manager, grapes to represent Sommelier, dining utensils to represent Michelin Star Food Critic and an American flag to represent POTUS. She ended up picking the grapes first and then continued to pick up every one of the other items so I guess she’ll tackle all of those jobs?? 😉 Her cake smash wasn’t so much of a smash as it was a gentle massage of the dessert. She was so tired and out of it by that point of the party but she was such a trooper and stuck her hands in there and soaked in the moment. So fun to see her first bite of sugar! Thank you Uncle Paul for this video footage!
Allen and I have flown on Alaska Airlines quite a bit in the past because we live on the west coat and travel quite often up north and since we’ve only had good experiences on their flights, we decided book our flights with them when we took Joey on her first airplane ride when she was around 6 months old to Portland. We were really nervous about how she would do on the plane as any first time parent would. We had heard that it was best to take babies on plane trips from age 4 months to 6 months because they would most likely just sleep through the plane ride but the only time Allen got off work was when she was 6 months old so we decided to try it out. Turns out she’s born to fly! Alaska was so great about accommodating us with getting us on the plane first to unload and get ready. I nursed Joey during take off so that her ears wouldn’t pop with the altitude change and then she slept pretty much the whole way to Portland from Los Angeles. We were so happy! The plane ride back home was exactly the same way. We’ll never forget how sweet everyone was on Alaska Airlines and how quickly they offered to help us with our carry on luggage and didn’t make us feel like we had to rush.
So when Alaska Airlines contacted me to see if I would help them share about their new Elite Leave program for new parents and also dress Joey up as an Alaska Airlines pilot, I was more than happy to! Their Elite Leave lets new parents keep their elite status Mileage Plan™ benefits earned for another year. If you’re a new parent who’s a frequent flyer with Alaska Airlines, you can extend your status through the end of 2018 while you’re on parental leave! The idea first took hold when a frequent flyer reached out to Alaska because she’d just had a baby and was upset about potentially losing her MVP status. When the request made its way to Alaska’s leaders, they decided to implement this parental leave program. How awesome is that?
Here’s how it works:
- Email your full name, date of birth, Mileage Plan number and proof of leave to email@example.com.
- Once eligibility is verified, you’ll be registered for Elite Leave for new parents.
Here’s some video of her first plane ride!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Alaska Airlines. The opinions and text are all mine.
Joey’s First Birthday photos are here thanks to our friend and photographer Megan Welker.
Check out her beautiful photography at MeganWelker.com.
We are so overwhelmed at how amazing Joey’s first birthday party turned out. It wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for these amazing friends & vendors who generously contributed to this party out of just love for Joey. Wow, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts (and our bellies!).
Rekindle Creative Co. | Megan Welker | Wayfare | E2Beauty | Sarah Soh | Merely Sweets | En Route Coffee Co. | Popd Up+ | Amaze Bowls | Create A Party Rentals | Outsource It | Letterstou | Tattly | Wild Child Party | Shop Little Wanderer | Anewall | Harlow Jade | Sweet Lily Chocolates
A SPECIAL shoutout to Rekindle Creative Co. and Julia who runs the incredible team. They were were responsible for putting together every single detail including florals, decor, planning & coordinating. You ladies ROCK! Check out more of their work at rekindlecreative.com.
Another BIG UPS to Wayfare for hosting this party at their beautiful coworking space. This venue was just perfect! Thank you guys!
In Korean culture, the first birthday of a child is celebrated in a big way because long ago before medicine wasreadily accessible, many babies didn’t make it past their first year due to diseases. So when a baby turned one, it was a joyous occasion. The tradition stuck and so the first birthday (aka Doljanchi) is celebrated in this big way. There’s no way I can do this every year haha!
Doljabi is a Korean tradition where the birthday child is placed in front of various objects that represents a certain future with respect to career or lifestyle. Typically the items represent things like Doctor, Lawyer, Scholar, Entrepreneur, Judge, Athlete or Performing Artist. We decided to pick unique occupations that were sort of inside jokes to me and Allen. Obviously this game is just a tradition and isn’t what Joey will end up becoming but we decided to keep the tradition but change it up a bit to make it fun. We had a planet toy to represent Astronaut, an In-N-Out hat to represent the In-N-Out District Manager, grapes to represent Sommelier, dining utensils to represent Michelin Star Food Critic and an American flag to represent POTUS.
Any guesses on what she picked?
Guests were given raffle tickets to place into the bucket of their choice. Joey picked the winning ticket and the winner received my favorite tote bag made by my friend Eunie. You can buy it here. Scroll down to see which item Joey picked!
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked in and saw this. The backdrop was designed by Rekindle Creative Co. and built by Outsource It. Outsource It can design, built and install incredible woodwork. Check out their Instagram for more of their work here.
The venue came with tables which we used so we just rented white folding chairs from Create-A-Party Rentals. We decided to buy the table linens because they ended up being cheaper than renting them. I love throwing parties so I figured why not just buy them? Here’s the link to where I bought them.
We had a kid station with a color-in-playhouse which we also had at our wedding. Julia included some Minted artwork on the wall and a baby ball pit by Scandiborn. She also created a photo booth wall with a beautiful cactus wallpaper by Anewall. Click here to see more gorgeous wallpaper.
Balloon installation was done by Wild Child Party. How awesome is that?? If it were me, I would be popping them every minute putting it together and then I would give up. Luckily there’s talented people like Wild Child Party who can do it so perfectly. Check out more of their balloon installations here.
Okay so can we talk about this incredible front table for a minute?
Desserts were made by Merely Sweets who also made my wedding cake. These cakes were the same as the one at my wedding which is the Merry Berry Cake, my FAVORITE at Merely Sweets. They make everything from cakes to french macarons to cupcakes and even cake pops. If you’re in the Brea area, check their brick & mortar out here. You have to try their banana pudding! Here’s some more delicious eye candy for you.
Aren’t these cupcakes so beautiful?
All the beautiful florals were designed by Rekindle Creative Co.
Joey is wearing Blondes In Bows and Harlow Jade. My dress is from Stitch & Feather. My hair & makeup was done by my beautiful friend Genie from E2Beauty. Allen’s shirt is from Asos and pants are from Zara. This wallpaper behind us is from Anewall.
In lieu of gifts, we asked for gift donations to the children of Olive Crest, a foster care and adoption agency based in the West Coast area. They are dedicated to preventing child abuse, treating and educating at-risk children and preserving the family. They are able to continue their work through donations and so this was the least we could do to show our support. California has the highest number of children in the foster care system in this country. Everyone can help and support even if you can’t foster or adopt a child. To learn more about how you can help, visit OliveCrest.org.
Rekindle Design had these beautiful custom logo signs made for our vendors.
Every party needs a little caffeine don’t you think? Especially if you’re a parent! We had En Route Coffee Co. come with their beautiful mobile coffee cart to serve us gourmet coffee all day. To book them for your event, visit their website at enroutecoffeeco.com or their Instagram. Thank you Eric & Hanna!
PopdUp+ served their delicious and unique seasonal iced drinks: Strawberry Shiso, Hibiscus Agave, Thyme Orange and Gooseberry Marigold. It was such a hot day so it was such a treat to have PopdUp+ there. We first found out about them at the LA Smorgasburg and fell in love with their drinks. You can find them there every Sunday at 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM. Go check them out!
Amazing right?? Amaze Bowls came and served us their beautiful and delicious acai bowls as an alternative healthy dessert option. I couldn’t stop staring at how beautiful the coconut bowls were. If you’re looking for them to cater your event, visit their page here. You can also find them at the LA Smorgasburg every Sunday.
Of course, we had to have In-N-Out. We only eat it like every other week.
We had the most amazing balloon artist and face painter for the kids attending. I’ve never seen anyone make balloon art as well as David makes them! If you want to book them, contact David Laura at eliteentco123[at]gmail.com.
Cake smash with Merely Sweet‘s Merry Berry Cake (aka our wedding cake)
Joey’s Korean traditional dress (hanbok) is from Seoulful Kids.
Looks like sommelier wins!
Maybe POTUS too?
We want to say thank you so much to all of our friends and family who have loved on our family, especially this past year, during Joey’s first year. It’s been such a rollercoaster of a year and we’re so thankful that we have such a supportive community. It really does take a village! Thank you also to our amazing vendors who generously donated your services to make this party happen. We don’t know how to thank you enough.
What a year it’s been. We blinked and then Joey turned 1. Allen and I are so humbled and truly grateful to be first-time parents and we thank God for every moment we have with each other, especially with Joey. Our words can’t even express just how much we love Joey and we pray that with all the love that she’s received, Joey will grow to extend that love forward and be even more generous, kind and gracious than those who have been for her and our family.
If you’ve seen the videos of Joey on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know that Joey is such a curious gal these days, getting her hands on anything she can grab! And while she loves to play with her traditional toys, I thought it would be fun to get creative with some materials we had around the house. She already loves to go in the kitchen and pull down my hanging kitchen towels so I decided to go with fabric for this sensory activity.
I brought out a bunch of leftover fabric I had from her costumes for her to touch and feel. There were different textures from rough denim to soft cotton and scratchy sequin. Watching her notice the different colors, materials, and patterns on each piece of fabric was really entertaining. It was great to see her grab at the fabric, practicing her fine motor skills and strengthening her itty bitty hands. It seemed Jo loved the shiny sequin the most. 🙂
I loved how simple this sensory activity was. I forget how exciting it can be for babies to feel different textures because it’s all so new to them! This will definitely be an exercise to keep continuing with Jo!
Photos by: Sunny Kim
Joey’s play suit by Rags to Raches: http://ragstoraches.com
Play mat by Cream Haus USA https://www.creamhaus.us
It’s been 10 months of diaper changing, nursing, dressing you, cleaning after you, and carrying you everywhere. Yes, you may depend on me for literally everything right now but it’s me that can’t imagine one day without you. I’m the one that can’t get through the day without first dancing with you in my arms and kissing you a thousand times over. I can’t imagine a day when you’re not grabbing my face, pulling my hair or letting me tickle you with my nose until you shriek with laughter. I HAVE to hold you tight, bury my face in your neck and smell you in. I absolutely NEED to hear your babbling and cooing because it’s the music that gets me going. I just CAN’T comfortably eat until I know you’ve finished your meal and watch you clap happily when you’re “all done”. I CRAVE my playtime with you because not only is it my only form of exercise these days but watching you discover new shapes, colors and textures is better than any other kind of entertainment there is. I go to bed every night missing you and reliving all of our new memories we’ve made together that day and I get wake up in the morning excited knowing we get to do it all over again. I’m not sure when I’ll start getting used to you and when all these tiny moments will start to fade but something tells me you will ALWAYS fascinate me, inspire me and challenge me in new ways. I know not everyone gets the chance to experience this and all I can do is remain humble and grateful to live each day with you. To soak in every second that I can get with you and to live every day with you like it’s my last. Thank you my juicy dumpling for the best 10 months of my life and for loving me back. | Joey’s ballpit by Scandiborn, photo by Sunny Kim.
I love love love unique places to stay when traveling. Just found this site that offers the COOLEST places to stay…IN TREES! There’s a bird’s nest and even a UFO treehotel. They’re all in Sweden so I don’t know if we’ll ever make it over there (I wish!) but wow, this is definitely going on the bucket list.
TWO. Substitute bus driver
Thomas Mitchell from northern Tennessee was filling in as a school bus driver one day and saw that one of the students he was supposed to pick up had difficulty getting out of her house in her wheelchair and onto the bus. So guess what he did. He built her a ramp even though he barely knew her. This warms my heart so much. We need more Thomas Mitchells in this world. So inspired to pay it forward. [Article found here.]
ONE. This video of two babies Facetiming: https://youtu.be/uu3iM1azTj4
Now that Joey can sit up by herself (and pull herself up to stand!), we’ve been introducing her to some sensory play, inspired by Dr. Maria Montessori‘s methods of encouraging babies/children to use all senses to study, learn and better understand their environment. You might’ve noticed in some of my videos of me feeding Joey that she likes to touch the food she eats and also feed herself. It can get a little messy but it’s definitely worth seeing the smile on her face when she discovers a new texture or when she realizes she’s in control of some of the things around her.
Some of the benefits of sensory play are:
– Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
– Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
– This type of play aids in developing and enhancing memory
– Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
– This helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry)
You can read more about the benefits here.
For this particular sensory activity, we introduced her to pasta. The goal was for Joey to understand what it is to feel something slimy, warm and squishy. It was so fun watching her squeeze the pasta with her hands and bring it up to her mouth to taste. Turns out Moseby also wanted to be part of the action.
Joey’s bow found here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Blondesinbows
Next we’ll be introducing another sensory play which will include different fabric textures!
Photos by: Sunny Kim
THREE. Parenthood the TV series.
I marathoned this TV series while I was pregnant with Joey last year and this week Allen told me that he wanted to start watching it too…which means, we’re watching it together again! I absolutely LOVE this show. It’s been really great watching it again being a parent now. Allen and I are really getting a kick out of some of the parenting drama that’s been happening in the show so far. The show does such a good job at showing parenting for what it really is and also inspires me to be a sensitive understanding mother and supportive friend to OTHER parents. I highly recommend watching this show!
TWO. Love what this company is doing! Click HERE to read more.
I came across this article and it is so worth sharing! Qmarkets, a global software company, spend a significant budget on thanking their contacts every holiday season. This year, they decided to use that budget to partner with a charity called Renewable World to provide renewable energy to the people of Lake Victoria, Kenya. This story was a simple reminder to me that giving, in any form, makes a big difference!
ONE. This video: https://youtu.be/uu3iM1azTj4
Joey is eating more solids and purees these days and she’s been such a champ! One of her favorites lately is the spinach puree. We love that spinach is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s so simple and easy to prepare!
First, I wash the spinach and place it in the steamer in a pot of boiling water and cover with a lid. Depending on the portion size, I leave it steaming for about 5-7 minutes or when the spinach is tender and still vibrant in color. Once it’s ready, I add the steamed spinach in a cup or jar (Tip: Use a tall jar to avoid splashing), and use my immersion blender to puree the greens.
I’ve mentioned this before on my Instagram Stories, but the immersion blender is awesome for making purees! I know there are awesome products that both steam and puree foods all in one machine but for me, I wanted minimal cleaning and easy storage so the immersion blender worked for us. I don’t always use the blender however when I’m only making a tiny portion. After steaming, the spinach is so easy to chop up with a knife so I do that sometimes when I’m not making a larger batch to freeze.
Once the spinach is cool, it’s time to eat!
We are blessed that Joey is such a good eater and enjoys each meal time. She was all smiles and giggles eating her spinach puree! I hope this post inspires you to try new foods and flavors with your little one!
Photos by: Sunny Kim
I thought I’d write a blog post about what I brought in my hospital bag when I was delivering Joey in hopes that it will give some of you expectant mothers a reference on what was very useful at least for me. There are many things your hospital can give you, so you don’t have to pack too much. My hospital gave me everything I needed including diapers, wipes, bed liners, witch hazel pads, and ice packs but here’s a list of things that I brought and was definitely useful.
– Swaddle Blankets/Miracle Blanket:
I found our hospital blankets to be a little rough on the skin so it was helpful to have our own soft muslin swaddles
– Newborn outfit:
For Joey, she came home in a beanie (by Krochet Kids), baby gloves, socks, a long-sleeved onesie and long bottoms.
– More onesies:
I brought a couple more onesies to have as a backup just in case of accidents
– A robe:
I wore this robe the entire time I was in the hospital.
Room slippers and shower slippers (if you’re planning on taking a shower at the hospital): Getting in and out of bed was so much easier having slippers. Bring something that you’re willing to throw out after you leave the hospital.
– Comfortable pajama type pants:
Comfort is key!
– Nursing top and bra:
Whoever invented these, I THANK YOU.
– Phone charger WITH A LONG CORD.
The long cord really helped as the power outlets were so far from the bed.
– Nipple balm
– “Adult diapers:”
Don’t laugh but these were awesome. It was so much easier using these rather than changing out pads frequently.
These were the items that helped me survive my stay at the hospital. I hope this list helps as you prepare for the most life-changing moment of your life!