Monthly Archives: September 2013

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this one goes out to Mommy

serenadeI was totally serenaded last night. By a two year old. ^^ It was all so unexpected. :)

I was up on our back porch. Mateo was down in the yard digging in his sandbox (as per usual). He saw me up there in the window (Juliet style, ya know). And all the sudden, he stops, makes direct eye contact, and starts singing “Bow, Wow, Wow.” Now for those of you not  in the know — here are the lyrics to that lil’ ditty:

Bow Wow Wow, Whose dog are thou?

I am (insert name)’s dog

Bow Wow Wow

When Mateo got to the (insert name)  portion, he starts pointing at me (again, with the direct eye contact) and sings, “I am MOMMY’s dog, bow wow, wow.” And THEN, wait for it…

He POINTS at me (again) and shouts, “Happy Birthday, Mommy.” (not my birthday).

Oh, that little man knows how to make a lady feel special. :)toddler serenade

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happy friday make a gif

So that’s kinda fun, isn’t it?! I coulda eliminated the dizzy factor a little (sorry) but OH MAN, this sucked up more of my morning than I care to admit, ha. I’ve decided to call it a day and wish you a HAPPY FRIDAY here. :)

I came across a quote  by Margaret Drabble recently which I loved. “When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”

It’s really important (for me) to be able to frame and reframe where I am in life. Sometimes the most uncertain times can be the most exciting. You know, as soon as you get past the anxiety. It’s important to be open. It’s important to be able to look at your own life with some wonder and possibility. I’ve been full of ideas lately and wondering which direction to go.

Who has big weekend plans? I have a picnic planned (which includes a request for me to bring our excavator trucks and a dump truck). Don’t be jealous! ;) OH, and we’re also headed to the zoo. Yep, I totally have a two year old. :)

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love love love

aki-and-henna-at-weddingThis past weekend, Aki and I were in Maine celebrating the marriage of  two of our favorite people in the whole wide world, Mark & Angela. And look ^^, we got to play dress-up too! ;)

To be completely honest, I was a bit of an emotional mess the entire time. I was overwhelmed with the the spirit of love, generosity, and friendship. And it blew my mind to see it pouring out of the most beautiful, kind-hearted and Talented (capital T) people I’ve ever had the luck of crossing paths with. For Serious. I just couldn’t believe that somehow, my life had brought me to be part of this group. I still can’t believe it. But there I am with feathers in my hair, wearing an ethereal blush dress. Yes sir-ee, I was bridesmaid.

The best part was that the entire bridal party rented a house together. I mean, seriously — This is the stuff of kid’s dreams! Let’s live in a house with all of our friends! We’re already talking about part two. I really hope this becomes a regular thang. Oh please.stonesegrist-group-wedding-photoMateo loves this photo. He likes to point out “Mama, Mahk, An-ja, Tata!” And then he says “going big airplane see Mahk and An-ja” followed by “Teo come big airplane too.” Next time Mateo! For sure! :)

I kinda love that photo too. It’s our “happily ever after” photo. wink ;). Where shall we go next, guys?? Just kidding. I mean, we’ll give you a moment – just the two of you – before we ride off into the sunset together. ;) Omg, poor Mark and Aki.

Our plans are falling nicely into place, aren’t they Angela? haha. ;)

Really though, thank you Mark & Angela for having us be part of your day and not just that, your lives. I can’t express how lucky I feel just to know you both. Oh dear, I feel another tear coming on. So let’s leave it here for now.


he’ll be fine. right?

instagram-toddler-selfiesOh boy, I’m a little nervous. I’ll be boarding a plane to Maine in just a few short hours (yay). Off to celebrate the wedding of my dearest, Angela (yay)! But Mateo is staying home (boo). Of course he’s in good company (yay): my parents, my sister and Aki too (who won’t join me until the weekend). When we booked the trip, we were looking forward to giving him grandparent’s time and giving ourselves grown-up-celebration-time.  I wouldn’t normally worry…but the timing isn’t the best for Mateo (boo). He’s been transitioning.

The first two visits to his little “school” I had to pry him out of my arms. The first pick-up he was sleeping (!) in a corner when I arrived (adorable but a little sad). The little guy tired himself out crying. The second day was better but he was sitting in his teachers arms being comforted when I arrived. I’m so happy that Monday (third try) was different. Although it was a very sad and tearful good-bye in the morning, he was happily sitting on his own eating snack with the rest of the kids when I arrived. In fact, I had to wait around because he didn’t want to leave until he was done eating. He also wanted to say “bye” to his teachers. :)

EVEN BETTER, I got this report from the mom (class volunteer) of the day, “After walking with Mateo today I’m convinced your blog needs two new features. Gif files of his trotting, skipping and dancing. Also some videos of singing and readers can try to figure out the words of his songs.

You m’am have awesome ideas. :)

THAT is the Mateo I know! :) Mateo is always singing (sing-shouting really). His mainstays are “Happy Birthday,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and “the Wheels on the Bus”…but he’s also endlessly making up songs about elephants, trucks (mainly excavators), food, rocks, and who knows what else.

Hoping for good news about him today. Oh, I know I’ll miss that little guy! And I’ll definitely be thinking about him on my flight. This makes me smile:

Too bad I didn’t really catch the singing part. It’s always over as soon as I try to record! And at the end of that clip he’s actually telling me to “stop and come on.” Quite honestly, this blog may need to take a Mateo break because yesterday, I tried to sneak out my phone to catch him eating snack (you know, he’s cute stuff) and this was his reaction:

“no mama, no cam-ra.”

“no cheese.”

“no picture.”

Yeah, he literally spelled it out in three different ways. Okay Mateo, I’m sorry. I get the point. You just want to eat your snack in peace. I mean, I get it. I do.toddler-eating-seaweek-snackOf course I kinda snuck in a few anyway. :) He caught me! :) Still worth it! My boy was eating seaweed for snack. He gobbled down three sheets in fact. Didn’t even need the rice. Kinda proud of that toddler palette. #OneFourthKorean, #represent :)

Have fun with Noni & Papa (grandma & grandpa)!! Have fun at school! You’ll be fine. We’ll facetime. xoxo

baby selfies for instagram

I won’t be blogging until I’m back in Chicago. SO talk to you next week, friends! Feel free to check in through instagram or facebook though if you’re so inclined!

sunday lunch

Not bad, right? It was raining yesterday — but Aki was intent on grilling up some swordfish steaks and making a Dalmatian meal (his region of Croatia, that is – not the spotted dog). :) And who was I to get in the way of a man on a mission?! Aki and I may be very different people…but OH, we come together to eat.Dalmatian Cuisine, CroatiaThree minutes on each side, a brush of olive oil, lemon and herbs — VOILA! At Aki’s first bite he pronounced “I feel like I’m home in Dalmatia.” And then he started sharing memories of his grandfather grilling fresh fish all the time for the family. It was something he hadn’t thought about for a long, long time…

Food does that. And when you can’t travel….EAT. ;)

The pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato) was a little throw back to my days living in Barcelona. Rubbing a fresh tomato on bread with a little salt and olive oil is a very typical way to eat bread in the Catalonian region of Spain. So simple, so good. (And in this case, we needed a little bit of RED on the plate, ha). I think that’s a Korean thing. My mother (who is Korean) wouldn’t say, “I think we’re missing salt in this dish.” She’d say, “I think we’re missing some red.” :) A meal isn’t complete unless it’s colorful!

Blitva is the most typical side dish on any menu in Dalmatia, Croatia. It’s boiled potatoes and swiss chard with olive oil and garlic. I’m not typically a big fan of boiled vegetables, but oh man, Blitva is so good. Actually, come to think of it, Koreans make a boiled spinach dish with sesame oil and garlic which is DELISH. There are exceptions to every rule, aren’t there.

Last weekend Aki made Mussels Buzarra, another typical dish from his region of Dalmatia (with white wine, garlic, parsley, and olive oil). he’s been feeling a little sentimental for home after spending so much time in Croatia this toddler likes to eat :)We are happy to help alleviate the homesickness any way we can — especially if that means eating mussels and grilled fish every weekend! ;)

Aki calls it “gradelama kontra nostalgije” which means “grilling as a remedy for nostalgia.” I like it. That’s a cause I can get behind.

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one happy boy, one happy birthday

auntie reunion- one happy toddlerIf you’ve been following the blog, you know that Mateo has been having a hard time adjusting to all the new changes around here. More than anything, he’s been missing his auntie.

I think these photos say it all. Yep, that’s one happy boy – back in his favorite person’s arms!

Today is Auntie’s birthday and lucky us, we got to steal her away for a bit. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELIZABETH! You’re one beautiful girl, inside and out. And OH MAN, we love you. A LOT. :)

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toddler-bikerunning-after-aravistoddlers-look-both-ways-before-you-crossaravis-and-mateoMateo has been having a hard time adjusting — To his new schedule, to “Auntie” moving out (that post), to less family around in general.

We spent the summer in Europe together. Together-all-the-time. And even when we returned home to Chicago, my brothers were with us for a month, my parents visited twice, we had out of town guests, and a big extended-family birthday party.

We’re back in the normal swing of things. But Auntie is missing, his closest buddy Lawrence started preschool, and Mateo has his own twice weekly “school.” Some kids jump right in, but Mateo has been having a hard time of it. In the morning, he’s been asking to hold my hand INSIDE the house.

Yesterday we decided to go pay a visit to two of his closest friends, Aravis and Everett in the suburbs. Mateo was down for that plan, especially since “mommy come too.” Oh, he’s quite smitten with Aravis. I think he likes that she bosses him around. And she likes that he’s a wild child. :) Aren’t those three adorable together?!

Their mama, Catherine is one of my oldest friends. We have one of those friendships where we (seemingly) have little in common, but we connect in all the important ways. Yesterday we packed a dinner, walked to a nearby park and spent the evening eating, talking, and letting the youngins’ get dirty.

Catherine and I have both gone through a lot of transitions over the last few years. We’re still figuring out our identities as mothers, and how we can maintain our creativity and dreams in the chaos of having a young family.

                              .  .  .

Yesterday may have been the last real day of summer in Chicago. We started this week in the high 90s (Fahrenheit) and we’re ending it in the 60s. I’m glad we got to spend it outside with friends. :)

I’m ready for fall. Transitions are good. They can be a little bumpy, but there are good things ahead. I know it.

HAPPY FRIDAY! Oooh-eee, it’s FRIDAY THE 13th! :)

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renegade craft fair. Mateo style

renegage-craft-fair1One of the (many) reasons that I love living in Chicago are all of the festivals and street fairs. I especially love the Renegade Craft Fair. It’s a “curated” street market showcasing “indie-crafters,” designers, and all things handmade. You’ll find everything from ceramics to fashion and every bit of fabric construction and illustration between. It’s just such a colorful and creative place. I always feel so encouraged and inspired to see so many independent creatives pursuing their passions. Renegade has been setting up in Chicago since 2003 and has grown to Austin, Brooklyn, London (UK), Los Angeles, and San Francisco over the years. So GO if you have the chance. :)

This year “Uncle Christian” (my brother) tagged along with us. *Fun fact: Renegade Craft Fair was actually Mateo’s very first Chicago street fair. Ah yes, a milestone for a city boy. :) I took him two years ago when he was just two teeny weeks old. Hmm, looking back that was a little crazy.

I originally planned to do a “favorites of Renegade” type of post. Oh, haha.  Yes, it would have been fun to show you of all the amazing tents and the GOODS – buuuut Mateo was not in the mood to linger. Maybe next year. ;)

I love the feeling of being PART of the city. And sometimes it’s such a small world! Christian ran into a friend/artist who had a booth this year and I ran into the lovely Sarah of Hand and Cloth at their tent (who I met at Angela’s Hen Party a couple weeks ago)! Oh, you should check them out (here)! They carry the most gorgeous Kantha blankets and textiles (straight from the artisans who stitch them together). I mean really, it’s so hard to choose!

And we didn’t go home empty handed! The prints by Sally Harless caught my eye. Her “Goldmine” Series is so fun and I love that it’s about the discovery of hidden confidence, optimism and courage. They’re all so sweet. I picked up this baby for my baby! We’ll have to find a spot for it in Mateo’s room. sally-harlessAnd of course wild-child had a blast. Mainly because it’s super-fun to run amok in the street and climb all over everything, ya know. ;)renegade-oohrenegage-pianorenegage-piano-2renegage-mateo-look-uprenegade-teo-runningrenegade-walkingrenegate-happy-waverenegate-street-funrenegade-handsI’m really itching to start painting, or drawing, or I donno, cut some paper at the very least! It’s so good to feel inspired. Thanks Renegade Craft Fair. ;)renegade-until-next-year**If you enjoy this blog, show your love and “like” the post or Hey, share it with someone. Afterall, sharing is caring. ;)

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The piano Mateo is playing in the street (!) is part of a program by Keys 4/4 Kids. Division Street in Chicago was lined with pianos during the Renegade Craft Fair as part of their “Pianos on Parade” program which pairs local artists with youth and has them artistically transform pianos together. These pianos are then placed around the local community for all to play and enjoy. The goal of Keys 4/4 Kids is to Inspire young people to believe in themselves through the arts and mentorship. There is power in art and music. Read more about them (here).

first day

first day preschoolSo today is Mateo’s first day of (pre) preschool. He’s part of an adorable twice-weekly program for neighborhood kids. It’s fun knowing that he’ll be making new friends, probably the kiddos who will be at his future birthday parties.

Today though was not so fun. Today Mateo was the loudest screamer in the class. :/ He had an hour orientation last week; he cried then too. This morning he was very clingy. But he told me he was going to play with “kids” and “new toys.” :) Unfortunately we had to keep going over the part where I would go and then “come back.” He kept asking “mommy come too.”

Here he is ^^ proudly carrying his lunchbox and backpack before we left. He said bye to all his trucks (always necessary, ha), and we had high hopes, but sigh, complete meltdown at the drop-off. Honestly, this is Mateo. He’s loud, he puts up a good fight. He’s quite whole-hearted in whatever activity he’s up to (whether eating, sleeping, playing, or today crying). He’ll get over it and it’ll be great.

Things are a changin’. Mateo has been in a part-time nanny-share for nine months with his buddy Lawrence. He’s grown up so much being on his own and socializing. But last month Lawrence started his own pre-preschool. Then Auntie moved out to go to school, and today it’s Mateo’s turn to start his own “school”. He is constantly talking about people “going to school” or “going new home.” He’s still trying to figure it all out.

It’s so interesting (and sometimes a little heart-breaking) to watch him try to make sense of all the changes. I didn’t think I would feel this strongly. I am not the type of mom who tries to protect him from the world (overly anyway). I believe that children are incredibly adaptable and we shouldn’t add our baggage and fear to their experience of life. As long as you’re behind them, they figure it out. But it’s hard sometimes. And that’s the thing, isn’t it.

Yesterday we met up with my sister (AKA “auntie”) at a festival. She was with a friend, and just the timing, we only over-lapped 10 minutes. Mateo was so excited to see his auntie. She lived with us for his entire first two years of life (that post) and he misses her. It was so cute watching him try to get her attention and show off. He got so excited and then so, so sad when she had to go. He was pulling my hand and starting to panic because I wasn’t chasing after her. And then he got over it.first day - auntieThe thing is, I’m having a hard time getting over it. I don’t mind him being upset because he can’t eat whatever he wants, I don’t care if he doesn’t want to go to sleep, or if he’s jealous of another child’s toys. But it’s hurting me that he can’t have his auntie/big sister and I can’t give him that extra attention and love he’s craving.

I’m so thankful for a dear friend who talked to me before I fell asleep last night. She reminded me that the sooner kids experience disappointment, the easier life will be (and really, said with no cynicism). That learning to love, and learning to miss is a beautiful thing. You know, I believe that. It’s just hard to remember when it’s your baby in front of you.

And that’s just it — life is a never-ending series of changes. One door closes, another opens. This time now — when we really can protect him and give him a safe place to fall–is the best time to learn. I want my boy to be adaptable, trusting, loving, and strong.

Sigh, I wish I was another mother (in the feed of #firstdayofschool) who had a child skipping into class. Nope, that wasn’t my boy this morning. I do know however that he will grow to love his little class. And I know it’ll be great for him.

Oh, it’s interesting and so new to be a mother to a little boy and not a baby.

Please send me (and Mateo) a little love though while we figure this one out.first-day-you-got-this-kiddo

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champagne, rosé, origami cranes

just-a-typical-tuesday-nightchampagne-and-roseORIGAMI-CRANE-PARTYsingle-gray-craneorigami-partycrane-paper-origami-cranepaper-crane-collagefolding-cranehands-origamipaper-and-champagneEight lovely ladies, a bottle of champagne, and two of rosé on a Tuesday night.

I don’t know if it’s a sign that I’m getting old — but getting invited to my friend/soulmate, Angela’s “Origami Paper Crane Party” was preeeetty exciting. Apparently paper folding is my kinda party. So yeah, if it is a sign — well, getting old is AWESOME. ;)

I tell Angela that she should have a blog because you can photograph her life moment to moment. Her response — I have a blog: HENNA BLOSSOM. Oh yeah… ha

Like I said in (this post), Angela is getting married: and let the festivities begin! Yup, the cranes are wedding related. Gonna be AMAZING (two week countdown!).

The crane is a symbol of “good luck, happiness, and peace.” It’s said that making 1,000 paper cranes will give eternal good luck or grant a wish. Angela only needed 150. And um, our night’s work only produced 44.

So yeah, I don’t know that we can ask the universe to grant any wishes just yet. But you know what, we’re good.

And it was funny — I mean, LOOK! What a beautiful night right? Let me tell you, we all needed it. As excited as I was to get together with this group of girls, and as excited as I was to learn how to make a paper crane, I was exhausted. E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D. I’d only slept two hours the night before, and you don’t even want to see my “TO DO” list.

I sprayed half a can of “dry shampoo” through my mane (ew), threw on a jersey dress (AKA could-be-pajamas), slapped on some blush (so I didn’t look dead) and went anyway. SO GREAT – I walked in and everyone else was in either jeans or a jersey dress…we’d ALL had “THAT DAY.” And when you have that day, what you need is a group of amazing women (and maybe some champagne, rosé, and paper cranes).

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