Friday, February 16, 2018

SLOANE AND LOGAN THESE DAYS




happy we-are-halfway-through-february!

i am just over this cold weather. over it. i'm not even trying to have a good attitude about it anymore. i held on to it for as long as i could, and now i'm done.  is it sad that my anticipation of spring and summer is laced with the dread that i am going to have to do winter again after that? sad.

it's been hard to post as often, and not for lack of trying. there is a lot going on mentally and creatively and i realized recently that it's taking up my bandwith and capacity for things like posting on my blog or even my instagram. i think there is an adjustment period that i need to factor in here and i'm trying to figure out the balance to doing what i really want to do (which includes this blog!)

sometimes in the middle of parenting i think: am i a monster? other times i think: am i the best? and then other times: i am the luckiest.

i saw this quote the other day and immediately saved it: "the obligation for working mothers is a very precise one: the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one's children as if one did not have a job." - annabel crabb

amen.

now! onto some things that sloane and logan have been saying and doing recently.



we have this huge box in the playroom right now and it serves as so many forms of play. it's a vehicle, it's a house, it's a canvas for art, and it also serves as a place in which to sit while watching some cartoons.

speaking of play, my favorite thing in the world is watching these two girls play together.




sloane loves kindergarten, but after a few months we noticed her having these emotional outbursts that seemed to come out of nowhere. i think it was a combination of her trying out things she had seen other kids do at school, and having a surplus of feelings that she didn't know what to do with. once we figured out that we should not be reactive when this happens and that we should instead just hold her, and then talk through her feelings a little bit later, things started settling down. i am just amazed at how much she is learning and maturing these days.

when talking about how she would be going back to school after her winter break (it had been one week): "I'm a little worried because I feel like when I go back to school, I won't know anyone."


i found her splayed across her bed, sniffling and quietly saying: "please God, please help me not cry ever again." (we've been working on self-control, but i feel like this took a dark turn. don't worry, we always encourage her that it's ok to cry!)


"you know what I like about daddy? i like that he sleeps alot...actually, no i don't like that about him. hm. i like how his beard is tickly, and i like his car."


i was having a moment where i was sadly reflecting that when she grows up she might move away, and she said:"if you move away and your house as a house next to it, i can just move into that house!"  i then asked her, "do you want kids when you grow up?" and she said, " i don't know, i'm not sure yet." i also asked what she wants to do when she's a grown up. Her response: "a teacher! and I want to work in a nail salon (she had gotten a manicure for the first time recently), and i want to play trumpet in a band, i want to play piano, and i want to be in an obstacle course."

sloane picked up a piece of paper that Logan had scribbled on. "mom, I like this one...I like it when she uses many different colors together like this." i responded in agreement, but then she said, "no mom, i mean it, i really DO like it."... as opposed to the other times she pretends she likes something that logan draws for the sake of encouraging her.


me (out of the blue): "your feelings matter, sloane"
sloane: "mom, all things are made out of matter."

sloane was telling me about a show she had watched and when I asked about a particular part, she elbowed me (!) with a self-satisfied smile and said, "oh you'll just have to wait and see until i finish telling you". it reminded me of a grandpa relishing the anticipation of a child wanting to hear more.




this girl is always down to hang out.  anytime either ken or i go out somewhere, even if it's just to run errand, she wants to come along.  she knows what she wants and makes a decision immediately (as opposed to her older sister who takes her time deliberating). 

she's talking a lot, but it's not even just what she says, it's how she says it. she is filled with enthusiasm and mirth and angst, sometimes one right after the other. i wish i could record how she says things because it's hilarious but as soon as i try, it takes her out of the moment. so i'm trying to store as many as i can in my memory. 

this ball of energy has also been giving me a run for my money, and by that i mean she can wear me down like i didn't even know was possible. it's amazing how different my two girls are - with sloane, i'm always trying to be sensitive and tune into her feelings because all her intensity brews inside and with logan, i'm always trying help direct her outward intense energy that spews out of her. 


before bed, she frequently asks me if we are going to eat in the morning, and what we are going to eat (the girl loves eating).  one night, after i told her, she asked that i sing the next day's breakfast menu as her bedtime song. 

whenever she asks for something, she requests that it be BIG. big applesauce, big sandwich, big pear. she also asks for 5 of everything.  she can count to 20, but she must think 5 is really big number, because she holds her hands up with five fingers outstretched, eyes huge, and says "not one mom, FIVE."

she loves her sister and always wants to snuggle up in sloane's bed with her. when i picked logan up on valentine's day, she had a bag of cards and treats that she had gotten at daycare from friends. i asked if i could see it, and she refused, insisting that she had to show sloane first.  







logan loves her a la croix. it's really hard to get a good photo of the kids these days because they are constantly on the move, much less a picture with the dog! here is me trying. 



Thursday, February 8, 2018

WHAT I'M READING V. 31




Here we have a round of all non-fiction! The first three of these are ones that I read for work - which has been an unexpected perk of this new job. The company has a book study every quarter or so and go through a book together, which I like because I think it speaks to a company culture of being open to learn.  Bonus points that these are books that I would probably not have picked up on my own.


The Myth of Multi-Tasking by Dave Crenshaw 

This was a fascinating read for me, who admittedly has always proclaimed myself to be a multi-tasker, as if it were a great thing.  I still think that there is a certain type of positive energy that is really useful to me when I do several things at once, which builds on itself and keeps me moving, but I agree with the premise of this book that people can't really multi-task; what they are doing when do many things at once is "switch-tasking".  The author makes a distinction between "switch-tasking" and "background-tasking" - the latter being when you do something that takes up your main form of concentration, while you do something that takes up less focus, like watching a movie, listening to podcast, etc.  This concept has made me think more carefully about which activities I switch-task and which ones I need to make sure I fully focus on. I think this has applications in creative work too in ways that I'm still thinking about.

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

This is the book study that we are doing now.  I love the concept of this book, which talks about how the secret to business success is giving.  It is written like an allegory, with the main character being guided by a "Chairman" who introduces him to principles like "Your worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment." and "Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interests first." It's a shift in mindset when it comes to the business world, and potentially a really effective one.

StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Do you guys remember Donald Miller? I've read nearly all his books, but didn't know that he wrote another one about marketing until a few months ago. Apparently, Donald Miller is now helping businesses clarify their marketing messages through his company, StoryBrand, which uses the seven elements of storytelling to grow their business. I'm a believer in the concept that the elements of storytelling naturally resonates with people, so I was really interested to see how Miller has fleshed this out for his business. A lot of things I knew, but I also learned a lot of things reading this one and are in the process of implementing these strategies for our own.

The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle

I picked this up based on a couple of recommendations. Carol Tuttle talks about working with children based on Energy Profiling, which is an assessment tool that considers body language, communication, learning proceses, personality, physical characteristics, etc to provide parents with understanding about how their children see the world and need to express themselves. It's all about learning your child's true nature and speaking to that as your parent them according to their individual needs. Looking at the movement and tendencies of your child makes a lot of sense to me, but i was a little wary of the parts where she also uses physical characteristics to categorize into types. There may be something to that, but i'm just wary of assigning traits based on physical appearance....sniffs of eugenics. Anyways, it's good for the way it highlights the differences between children in detail.  Consistency is key, but also i realized over the past year that I can't use the exact same parenting style for my two kids.  I figured out what "types" my kids were (Type 3 and Type 2 I think) and found the tips for each type when dealing with various situations really helpful.

Monday, February 5, 2018

SLOANE AND LOGAN'S CAR TRIP


look at these photos I found! they are from last october, which was three months ago, and it's a batch of photos i never got around to posting. i think they were from a saturday morning that was a scheduled "home" morning (meaning i wasn't allowed to schedule anything else that day so we could enjoy being home together).  i peeked in on the girls playing happily and contentedly on their own, which always makes me so very happy because it feels like i am getting to witness a friendship blossoming between my two girls.

this particular morning, they were going on road trips in their "car" (the sofa), with Logan tucked in the back, as well as their special friends, and Sloane in the driver's seat. they were at this for almost an hour, driving to various places, getting out of the car, getting back in the car, driving to the next destination, etc.  sloane was the director and logan was such a happy and willing participant.

you guys! we made it out of january, and now we are hacking our way through february. i hit a wall this past weekend with the cold, where i felt like i could not live one more day in this weather, but here i am, living and surviving.  this past weekend was busy, but i got to spend some great time with our girls and i missed them terribly when i got to work this morning. i heard someone say that their dad told them his favorite moments in life where when his kids were little, and it made me feel emotional hearing that because i do think that to myself all the time - how we are living the best days of our lives right now with these precious little ones - and i know how fleeting all of this is.  even through the winter, i will remember this and work on savoring each of these days. 











Wednesday, January 31, 2018

MAKING KIMCHI WITH MY MOM



My mom always makes us kimchi when she visits - hers is very good, and she says that store-bought kimchi is filled with all sorts of things that aren't good for us, so she wants to make sure we have the homemade kind - and every time she does, I have had the thought that I should learn how to make it myself. It seems like one of those things that I would like to acquire as a person who is Korean and loves Korean food, and married to a person who also appreciates things like kimchi. So this time around, I was resolved to learn for myself so I paid careful attention and wrote down the details.

We made both kimchi (with napa cabbage) and kakdugi (with radish) and they turned out so delicious! Other motivations for knowing how to make this is because kimchi is so good for you - the fermentation, along with all the red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger and onion is super for your health - but I also want my girls to grow up around it and get used to these flavors.

I am including the recipes that we used here so that I can reference in the future:

For Kimchi
1. Cut open and wash 2 Napa cabbages. Cut into 1-2 inch pieces and salt generously with coarse salt. (1 1/3 cup of coarse salt per cabbage plus 2 cups of water)
2. Let it sit for 3 hours, and then wash the salt off the kimchi (three times).
3. Make rice paste by first mixing 5 tablespoons sweet rice flour in 2 cups of water over heat.  Add this to blender, along with 1.5 heads of garlic, 1 onion, 2 inches of ginger, 1.5 cup of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), 2/2 cup of fish sauce, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Blend until smooth.
4. Mix into cabbage pieces along with 5 scallions cut up into one-inch pieces.
5. Store in an air-tight container, pushing down the cabbages to eliminate air pockets. Leave out in room temperature for 1-2 days and then put into the fridge to enjoy.


for Kakduki (cubed radish kimchi) 

1. Wash, peel and cut up 3 medium radishes (about 6 lbs) into one-inch cubes.
2. Add 1/3 cup of coarse salt and 1 cup of water to the radishes in a big bowl and let it sit for 30-40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make rice paste by first mixing 1 teaspoon of sweet rice flour in 1/3 cup of water over heat.  Add this to blender, along with 2/3 cup of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), 1/4 cup of salted shrimp, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, an inch of ginger, 4 cloves of garlic, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Blend until smooth.
4. Drain the liquid from the radishes and add in marinade rice paste mixture, add 3-4 scallions cut up into one-inch pieces, and mix everything together.
5. Store in an air-tight container, pushing down the radishes to eliminate air pockets. Leave out in room temperature for 1-2 days and then put into the fridge to enjoy.





The girls painted while we were prepped the kimchi. I don't usually let Logan do things like painting unless I'm right next to her the whole time, but I let her be and she loved it. They both got into the zone (painting their inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech that my mom had read to them from a children's book) and Logan looked up a couple of times while she was painting and said, "Mom, I love this!"











There we have it! Kimchi and kakdugi - some of which we shared with friends and other of which we have been steadily making our way through. I am excited to try making this again soon!

Friday, January 26, 2018

OUR JANUARY WEEKS




We did it! We are almost done with January! This is usually my least favorite month - it seems like the darkest and most dreary month, especially after Christmas - but it didn't seem so terrible this past month. I think a lot of it had to do with me changing up my days and most of it had to do with the fact that my parents were here! 

I'll write about this more later, but one of the things I'm trying to work out is how to incorporate regular exercise back to this new rhythm. I usually go work out after dinner, but that means I come home late, and after a shower I'm strangely wired and tired at the same time. I'm experimenting with things here and there, I'll report back! 



I always feel the most like myself when I'm with my parents. On one of the nights they were here, we went out just the three of us and hung out at a cafe to talk and eat dessert.  I love hanging out with them. Also, isn't my mom's beret marvelous!



We went down to Virginia Beach the first weekend my parents were here to visit Ken's mom and grandma and we had really good dim sum! Then we hung out at the bookstore with some friends, and then all went out to go eat Mexican. It was a cold and blistery day, but we filled up with good food and conversation. 


The next weekend we went up to Silver Spring, MD to meet my sisters, their husbands and my cousin Lo.  It was a chance for us to all gather together, do a gift exchange and also celebrate my niece! 




We got to celebrate my niece's first birthday and my sister set up a dohl (Korean tradition of celebrating the baby at one year) which included a table with rice cake and fruit and a game where the baby gets to choose an item to indicate her future aspirations. My niece is not quiet one years old yet, but since my parents won't be here when she turns one, we decided to celebrate it now. 


I have hanbok that my mom had gotten the girls for Logan's first birthday, and they both got to wear it this past weekend. 


The girls wore their hanbok (traditional Korean dress) and 





The next day was a beautiful sunny day. So gorgeous that I celebrated with the girls by going to one of my favorite places, North End Juice Company, after church. I especially love their smoothie bowls and empanadas and avocado toast. We also sampled their amazing ice cream and brought two cartons - one of charcoal lemonade and the other one that we affectionately call "dino" ice cream. They are vegan and the latter one has mango sorbet, spinach, tumeric, wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella, goji berries, and kale. It is so good! 





This is Sloane saying "I want to be an artist." and Logan saying, "Where is my smoothie bowl?!"