Joey was born on April 20, 2016. Casey was born on Thanksgiving Day November 22, 2018. They are both 3/4 Korean, 1/8 Japanese and 1/8 Chinese. I am half-Korean, a quarter-Chinese and a quarter Japanese. Allen is full-Korean.
I worked for over a decade as a lifestyle photographer, primarily in the wedding and family portrait industry until an opportunity to work full-time through my social media platforms and website came up. Many people ask if I still take photos for families and I'm sorry to say that I no longer offer photography services for other families and couples. Allen is an optometrist who works from his own office in Southern California.
Joey came from a couple of different things. I always loved Jo March from Little Women and Allen always loved Ramona from the Beverly Cleary books. We were thinking of possibly naming her Ramona until we watched the film "Ramona and Beezus" and found out that the actor who plays Ramona is named Joey. We fell in love with the name especially as it tied into my love for Jo March. Joey's middle name is Marie and she was named after a dear friend of ours.
The name Casey came out of a joke between me and Allen. Before I became pregnant again, Allen and I thought it would be hilarious if our next kid would be named Casey because of the 90s R&B duo K-Ci & JoJo. When I became pregnant again and we started thinking of names, we couldn't think of anything better than Casey so we stuck with it. Casey's middle name Anne is from Anne of Green Gables who I adore.
For the Naptime With Joey series, I used primarily my iPhone 6. There are some that were taken with my Canon Mark 5D Mark II. I now like to use my iPhone X Canon Rebel T7i and Canon G7X for photos and videos. I like to use the VSCO Cam mobile app to color correct my photos and videos and I edit my YouTube videos through Final Cut Pro X.
It all depends on how deep of a sleeper Casey is. It would be fun to do it all over again especially because I still have most of Joey's old costumes and wigs but again, it just depends on how Casey takes napping.
I would love to publish another book but there are no plans right now. Click here to get a copy of Naptime With Joey. Right now my book signings are put on hold as I will be focusing on spending time at home with Casey and Joey.
Joey wears all kinds of different brands so it is very difficult to list all of them. If you see an outfit you like, I normally credit them below at the end of the blog post or the brands are tagged in the photos on my Instagram.
I get a ton of these questions so I've made a blog post just to cover this. Click here to read more!
We pretty much just waited until she was ready and curious to start. We bought her a miniature toilet where she practiced sitting on after she turned 2 years old. At around 2.5 years old, we started actively trying to put her on the toilet (big toilet and little toilet) as often as we could when we were home to encourage her to pee there. Anytime she went, we would celebrate with high-fives and let her wipe and flush the toilet every time. Every child is different with potty training. This has just been our personal experience with training Joey.
After Joey was born, I would catch myself just watching her all day and night, just so fascinated and in love with her. I started taking photos of her especially while she napped and because I didn't want to send my parents and in-laws the same "boring" photos of her napping, I decided to have some fun with it and started dressing her up next to different props and eventually started adding wigs and homemade costumes using materials I had around the house. Because my parents and in-laws got such a kick out of it, I decided to keep going with it, especially for my parents because they were going through a lot and needed something to brighten up their days. A friend suggested I post the photos publicly on my Instagram and also include behind-the-scenes videos as well. 4 months later a journalist from The Huffington Post wanted to interview me to write an article about the photos and after that went live, we became viral. It was overwhelming (still is!) for our family especially because we are naturally very private people and the last thing we were looking for was fame. However, we've encountered so many amazing opportunities and new friendships with people through this, so we are delighted and humbled to continue sharing our journey with you.
The way I took these photos was to wait for Joey to fall asleep on my bed (which I was able to predict because it was always at the same time every day and she would give me clues that she was tired like rubbing her eyes or yawning). After she would fall asleep, I would double-check that's in deep sleep (arm-drop test) and then I would add pieces of her costume together. Most of it is made out of leftover craft material I had laying around the house or old clothes that belonged to me or my husband. I also borrowed children-sized clothing from friends with kids. If I couldn't find material to make a costume from material found at home or from my friends, I would often find what I would need from thrift shops. I already had a rarely good collection of wigs from past Halloween costumes but the rest I was able to find through Amazon.com or received as gifts and donations from friends.
She still doesn't really know that she's the one in the photos and that could be because she can't recognize herself through all the wigs and costumes!
First of all, it’s kind of crazy knowing how many people, including children, are now seeing these photos. Initially, when I started getting a ton of online attention, there was a bit of a mother-bear type of panic and I thought about stopping. But then I started receiving messages from countless people who wrote that the photos and videos were the highlights of their day and for many others, something that has been helping them and their families get through a very difficult time in their lives. I’ve been so humbled by all of these messages and I’m so thankful to each and every person who has extended their hearts to us in this way. Allen and I are committed to raising Joey to always “pay it forward” and to use her talents and gifts to bless others and so I’m sure she will be very happy to know that she was a part of something that became a blessing to so many people around the world. I’m really excited for the day when Allen and I will sit down and go through all of the pictures and videos with her and explain just how loved she was by so many around the world.
We started sleep training Joey when she was 4 months old. We know that it doesn’t work for all babies and their parents but for our family, it helped so much. We also know just how difficult it is because of all of the crying. I wanted to quit the first night! I couldn’t bear to hear Joey’s cries for more than 30 seconds. I vividly remember putting my hands over my ears and trying not to cry myself. So we are in no way saying that sleep training is the best way for your child. It just happened to work well for Joey and for us in the end and we wanted to be transparent in sharing what our experience was on this blog.
At four months, we started a routine with Joey which we still keep to this day. When we put her down to sleep at night (Around 7:30-8:00 pm), we do the following: We feed her about 30 minutes to an hour before we start. We dress her in her PJs, and sometimes if she’s really awake, we read her a bedtime story then we turn off the lights. Next, we turn on her white noise machine, sing our favorite gospel song, say a prayer of blessing, kiss her goodnight, put her down in the crib while she’s awake and walk out of the room. We only have one of us doing this. When we first trained her, Joey cried for 15-30 minutes (which broke our hearts!). When it hit 5 minutes, we checked in with her, then at 10 minutes then at 15 minutes. Each time we checked in with her, we didn’t pick her up or touch her but just softly told her, “Mommy/Daddy is here. We love you Joey. Goodnight.” and then we would walk out. After a few days of doing this, she learned to self-soothe herself to fall asleep quicker and now, she knows to fall asleep almost immediately after being put into her crib without a fuss. She now sleeps 11+ hours through the night without interruption. We have heard that some babies cry for an hour or more and I totally understand how parents would give up on this method. I think it is ultimately on you as a parent to decide what’s best. We have friends who co-sleep with their children because it works for them better and that’s totally ok! There are so many books and articles about sleep training out there that will probably give you better information.