Tuesday, August 26, 2014

VIDEO: WEEKEND TRIP TO ELLICOTT CITY



Here's a little video I made of our family getaway to Ellicott City, MD, a few weekends ago. We were only there from Saturday to Sunday but we made most of our trip and our time with each other. In case you are wondering, and because I love sharing and finding out stuff like this, what we did in Ellicott City:

Monday, August 25, 2014

POOLS AND EARLY MORNINGS




Sometimes I flex all the muscles in my brain and try imagine what it's like for Sloane to be experiencing things for the first time. Small things but also big things, like the way rain falls from the sky and how there are creatures around us that are so different and how we are beings that can jump into a body of water and how we are creatures that can experience and express enjoyment. Sometimes I can quantify all that with a simple "wow" but when I wade deep into the wonder that is discovery of this world we love in, and it blows my mind wide open. 

The first time we went to a pool, she was all, "hold up...what..." By the second time, she was really into it. (And she was even more into her first trip to the river; she talked about that for days.) When she saw me packing her swimming suit for this trip, she got super excited and kept asking me when she was going to be putting it on. (Unfortunately, I forgot to pack a swimsuit for myself so I just committed myself to taking a ton of photos. What else is new?) The pool at this hotel we were at was glorious and big and there was a baby pool that was shallow and slopey and had little fountains coming off of it. We all maybe had more fun in the baby pool than in the big kid's pool!

My parents left this morning to go back to Korea and no matter how many times it happens, I feel their absence like a pang. I'm already counting the months until I can see them again. They had to wake up early to catch their flight so I woke up, too, to say goodbye, and stayed awake after they were gone. The sun hadn't quite come up yet I let the quiet wash over me.  Dawn has a hush that reminds me of the hush that goes over a crowd right before the curtain goes up for a play or a concert.  On my way back from the airport, I was captivated by the hush and then the swell of the sky opening up; a sky that was turning into the inside of a seashell, iridescent, smooth and shiny.

Even though I was a night owl in high school, I learned in college that if I committed myself, I could wake up early in the mornings and that I actually loved it. I also love sleeping in, but there is something secret and thrilling about being awake when no one else is, when the sun is rising and the air is new. If I have slept early enough,  these moments before the day starts can be productive, and it allows me to sort my mind and get it situated for the day to come. During these busy days, I've often thought about how I can implement this again in my life. I am more eager than ever to get extra time for reading and writing in, and carving out the time before my daughter wakes up and I have to start getting us all ready seems to be the only way to make it happen for me. 

This is an aspiration. Now whether I can implement it will be a whole other matter, but maybe I'll start by trying it one morning a week. You'll probably hear about this more if it is a success, but for now, I am mid-day, in the thick of it, and about to share some photos of a pool baby. You're welcome!



















Friday, August 22, 2014

MEETING IN ELLICOTT CITY




Ellicott City is a city 20 minutes outside of Baltimore, and it was this summer's chosen location for our family gathering. I had never heard of it before, but my parents discovered it during their trip last year and was the best candidate for a quick one-night getaway; it had a quaint historic town, it was driving distance from all of us, and it had a hotel with a great indoor and outdoor pool.  I soon learned the town has the oldest train station in America, too, and also a lot of Korean people. Go figure. 

We came in from all over the place. My parents had flown in from Seoul, South Korea the week before, my sister, Sharon and Paul had been in Melbourne, Australia until a few days ago (and then Paul had to travel to Savannah so he wasn't able to join us), my brother-in-law, Val, was coming in off a trip to Romania, and came with my sister, Eunice, from DC. Ken, Sloane and I made the trek up from Richmond, with Sloane happy as a clam in the backseat in her kitty cat dress.

Some background about The Kitty Cat Dress. I found this dress at Target and knew Sloane would go for it, and I was right; she fell for it hard. She didn't want to take it off at the end of the day and only did so after I promised her she could wear it to daycare on Monday.  Last night, Ken's bed time story apparently included a thrilling tale of a puppy going on a walk and meeting a kitty cat, and something something. Sloane was trying to re-tell it to me, eyes wide and arms gesturing and flailing around. I didn't quite follow, but I gathered it was quite the tale, the way she was telling it. 

We all met on Saturday afternoon and did things like try a hot banh-mi spot (according to yelp, but it was just ok), coffee at a cute cafe, a walk up historic Main Street, a stop by a wine shop and recreated home from the 1800s, lots of pool time at the hotel, Korean BBQ for dinner and tennis and church the next morning. It was too short but I loved hanging out with my family uninterrupted at least for that short while and I loved seeing my family interact with Sloane. 

I think somewhere back in the beginning of summer I said something about wanting to be super present this season. I mean, I'm always saying that but i meant it in the sense of acknowledging that summer always goes by so fast and I wanted to be sure to savor every moment. I'd say I'm pleased with my efforts so far; I'm here, I'm thankful, is a mantra I would often say in my head. I put this into practice even more when my parents are here. I miss them a lot during the year and appreciate the trip they make over here so that we can all be together and remind ourselves of our home base: each other.  I can't help but savor these moments. I'm here, I'm thankful. 


























Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THIS AND THAT; COCKTAILS, POOLS AND STORMS




Oh it's on. We've got less than a month of summer left and I'm living these last few weeks with eyes wide open and no regrets. Am I constantly wishing for just one more weekend day? Sure. Could I use more sleep? Always. Is there not enough days for both working out and kicking back with a cocktail? Seemingly never. But all the more reason to charge on, full steam, taking prisoners and making cocktails as I go. And hash tagging #bourboncocktailsallsummerlong on Instagram. Yeah, it's a thing I've been doing. 

For a summer well-lived so far, I'll raise my glass to Helen, the unofficial and loosely designated patron saint of our bar cart. She has been keeping a close eye on all my bourbon cocktail making activities, and she approves. If you're wondering, this particular glass is holding vanilla amaretto ice cream, bourbon and stout. Cheers!


This baby of mine is getting so big. After we got home from Eden's birthday last week, my mom asked her where she had been and Sloane casually responded with, "a party."  I didn't even know she knew that word and no one had told her it was a party we had been at, where did she get that? 

She also asked me how old I was the other day, and gave me the options of, "Two? One?" You know, 'cause those are the ages she knows so far.

How do all the moms out there bear the heartbreak of their babes growing up?!


Lots of giant squeezes and a shower of kisses is probably how. And going on family gyro and gelato dates....which end in quick stops to JCrew where Sloane does things like pick out a necklace ("Mommy, the yellow one!") and prances around the store while I make heart eyes at her.



This post is not quite cohesive, but no matter. You're still with me, right? Stay with me. I'm still trying to get my weekday legs on after a whirlwind of a weekend. A wonderful whirlwind. We were in Maryland with my family and couldn't get enough of the lot of them. More posts and pictures on this later, ohhh don't you worry. 


They're the best. 


After we left the family, we stopped by an outlet mall . It was here that we had Sloane's first public mini meltdown. It only lasted about a minute, but it was real and it was over a pair of shoes she wanted to keep on (yeaaa, shoes. It's her thing apparently). Ken and I gave each other a LOOK like, 'oh, this is happening.' Part of me was all crisis management mode and the other part of me wanted to giggle hysterically. That's the nice thing about doing this parenting thing with your husband, you get to give each other LOOKS and roll your eyes, and then get it done and collapse into each other later while telling funny stories about what happened that day. 

Afterwards, we found ourselves eating sushi that we had picked up and unpacked in the Starbucks cafe of a Target. Our family of three sat huddled over a table, me nursing my hot coffee, Ken nursing his container of wasabi soy sauce and Sloane working on a cup of lo mein which she was expertly forking out and getting into her mouth. When we were done, it was pouring ran, and we ran through the storm to make it back into the car; we were wet, full, tired and happy. 

Hey! While I'm throwing random things out there, let me share some things: 
2- FredEx 3 on Late Night with Seth Meyers via Laura
3- Sylvan Esso is a band I've been listening to, do you know them? The first song of theirs I listened to was 'Coffee'.  The song I'm listening to now is 'Could I Be'. (I can't find a proper audio version of 'Could I Be' on Youtube, so that version will have to do.)

And to round it all off, some family photos from Eden's birthday party last week. Sloane is supremely good at backing up against the wall for a photo. She thinks it's funny and fun to back up and lean against the wall side by side. So here we are, militant but wanting to hold on to mom's finger. Also, mysterious wet spot on Ken's shirt.










Sunday, August 17, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EDEN! YOU'RE ONE!




Get ready to see pictures of a seriously adorable one year old. No, really. Are you ready??

Eden has this smile that can light up an entire room - if she happens to be looking at you while she is flashing one of them smiles, you feel like you are the best person on earth. I held this little gem of a baby when she was first born, and that probably has something to do with how thrilling it is to witness her growing from a newborn babe into a little tot who is now walking around, making her opinions known and flashing that one thousand watt smile everywhere she goes.

Eden's mom, Laura, had a little get together last week to hurrah Eden's one year mark, and it was the loveliest afternoon of grownups and kids hanging out in the backyard drinking lemonade, splashing around in the baby pool and soaking in the summer.