an unexpected loss

i thought that when i’d post next, i’d be happily complaining about how much pregnancy sucks. it was fun to go back and read my old blog posts from my pregnancy with e when i didn’t have any experience to go back on and recall and everything was completely fresh and new. so i am writing this new post because writing does help me to process all the jumbled mess of thoughts that fly through my head in a passive way and i need some help processing.

so i entered the start of my thanksgiving break complaining about my nausea and my tired body from teaching and being a mom all day. i was 10 weeks pregnant and i was just getting used to the idea of a whole lot of changes coming our way soon again. i found my first experience with childbirth and childrearing in the first year a task i was not looking forward to to do again so when i found myself finally ready for our second child, it was a big deal and i was shocked to see how it only took 2 months to get pregnant. we told family and friends the good news and as i started to already plan for my next maternity leave in my head, i went to the garage to search for some of my maternity pants with the wonderful elastic bands that allowed for no more muffin tops—just an unconstricted round mass.

i went with paul to our first obgyn appointment on the first day of thanksgiving break and we were almost giddy to see the sonogram and start all over. our doctor showed us the fully formed head and the little arms and feet and my heart felt full. so quickly did it happen in which i heard the words “i’m so sorry” and tears started to uncontrollably fall from my face. complete shock—i didn’t know why but the thought that the baby wouldn’t make didn’t even cross my mind. all the nausea and the growing belly and the tiredness–i had already been thinking that everything had been going well. but the baby had made it to 9 weeks and our doctor told us it was most likely a chromosomal abnormality that cause the baby to not make it. the rest of the week was a bit of a blur—we scheduled the d and c procedure, then i went under general anesthesia to get it done and i did not feel sadness yet– just hunger for good food at not having been able to eat for so long, and then my family was in town for thanksgiving and my mind was occupied.  i was all business for all that had to be done but when my family left and things quieted down, the last weekend was my mourning period. i cried at huggies commercials, the bulging bellies of other pregnant mothers, my name not being in the church bulletin next to “please pray for pregnant moms,” and evelyn asking me why the baby had to go to heaven. i also told myself to make the best of things and had lots of strong cold brew, cocktails, and wine that i had missed.

then a gush of heavy bleeding and contraction like pain started yesterday which wasn’t supposed to happen after a d and c. the whole point of a d and c was to get everything cleared out so i didn’t go through all the bloody pain.  took today off and saw the ob again today….got prescribed something to get more contractions to clear out more of whatever is left behind, so now i’m expecting another few hours of a bloody gush in the next two days and hoping that i don’t have to go through another d and c procedure. how i hated the sharp contractions that made me gasp in pain to clear my body of something i had so wanted.

and here i am. all this in a week and i feel like a different person: a little more raw and hurting in places i have not felt before, a lot more thankful for the bundle of joy he has already given us, and more tenderly aware of Christ’s love for me when i’m aching.



end of the summer of esther

i will forever remember this sweet sweet summer of 2017 as it was probably the first real summer i have had as a teacher completely OFF. no part time jobs (well…except for cty), no baby/toddler to take care of, and no real responsibilities curriculum wise because i busted my behind all last school year to get my AP stuff together.

yes—everyone says, go be a teacher because you have those glorious 2 months off during the summer, but i have never really had a summer. the first few years i have always worked my arse off doing test-prep and teaching SAT writing and grading gazillions upon gazillions of poorly written essays by high schoolers in 25 minutes. if you ever want to go scream somewhere, go pick up a stack of SAT writing essays to go grade. so many bad memories of the grading are suddenly coming upon me…..but the teaching was fun. rigorous and exhausting yes, but still, enjoyed it for the most part. then came motherhood and a summer isn’t really a summer because now you are a stay at home mom with a baby/1yearold/2yearold/insertagehere and you are responsible for doing all the household stuff along with child-rearing. no break there—sorry, no matter how you want to spin it, being at home all day with your child is not a break. IT IS WORK PEOPLE. although it is great to be able to spend so much time with your kids, there are days when you want to run far far and far away from them too.

but yes—this year marked the first in which little e started pre-school!!! an all day pre-school which afforded me 8 whole hours of wonderful time to spend to myself monday to friday. let me tell you….i think it’s time to consider being a stay at home mom when your kids are actually in school all day long.  did i have ambitious plans this summer? no i did not. did i do most of what i had wanted to do? why yes i did!

surprisingly, time really did go by quickly. i got to go to the gym in the mornings after drop-off, which might sound like punishment for some, but i actually do like gym classes. i don’t have to think and i just have to follow what the instructor tells me to do. i’m horrible at just staying at gym on my own for an hour to do whatever, as when i start getting tired, i will bolt out of there like no other. but when i’m stuck in a class, i am motivated to at least try to keep up with the 30 something perfectly in shape mom i’m working out right next to and mindlessly follow what i’m told to do. complete lemming i can be. i also went swimming often at the pool and definitely increased my distance in laps i can go.

i can’t remember the last book i had read during the past school year. oh that’s right—it’s because i hadn’t read anything other than my ap chem textbook all year along with facebook posts. but i got to actually read this summer and i loved some of the books i had read and some not so much. the ones i finished so i have record of some proof of my brain not being completely atrophied:

  • commonwealth by ann patchett–liked this one a lot. beautiful writing and character development was good.
  • bel canto by ann patchett–read this one because i liked commonwealth so much, but struggled to finish this one as i couldn’t get in to the characters.
  • the surrendered by chang rae lee–hated this book but forced myself to finish it. wound up having a bleak sense of humanity and it was just so unnecessarily violent. the one character i did come to like, victor, wound up just getting crushed by the end. could honestly say, i would not read another book by this author again.
  • caramelo by sandra cisneros–really liked this book. the only other cisneros book i have read was the house on mango street, which i remember as a sad book. this book was upbeat and fun. the characters were well developed and i really liked the story telling of the main character’s grandmother.
  • go set a watchmen by lee harper–wasn’t planning on reading this actually because of the bad reviews, but it was a goodwill find that was so cheap so i said, heck, why not? i finished it just to finish it fast, but i really didn’t enjoy this all that much. most of the book was just conversation between scout and atticus going back and forth about her disappointment of who he was and the reality of the way things were.
  • let’s explore diabetes with owls by david sedaris–funny and poignant at times. i’m more used to sedaris just straight up making fun of everything, but this book had a lot more stories that were just really good observations and it was slower. liked it more than i thought.
  • crazy rich asians by –ehhh, wanted to like this more as it looked like the perfect chick-lit, but characters were really boring and one dimensional. why was the main character so unbelievably boring and flat??  it was a fast/fun read though…don’t think i’d read his other books that are in this series. also, a book i felt embarrassed to to be opening up at a starbucks.
  • big little liars by liane mortis–super fun breezy read. plot was good and i want to read some of the author’s other books. perfect pool-side/beach read

okay, book reviews are done. but really—i did enjoy reading a lot this summer. enjoyed making dinner and trying out new recipes when i wasn’t stressed to just whip something out on the table, enjoyed having friends over and again, not being stressed for time to prepare to host. watched netflix and korean dramas. overall, the theme of the summer was “no stress.” finally put pictures up on our gallery wall that had been devoid of photos for the past year.

also to update, a lot of healing has been taking place from our marriage troubles too. realized the past 2 years had honestly been really just tough on me with having my mil stay with us to watch e while i was at work. i was thankful to have her here and do such a good job of taking care of her, but at the same time, i found it just extra stress to deal with once i got home from work when i was already pretty exhausted from dealing with 5 straight hours of lectures or grading 180 exams and labs and you know…all that teacher stuff that is just tiring. it has been so nice to just focus on our family unit of 3 and to work on what counts the most in the foundation of our family which is us. so that’s where we are right now. thankful to God that he does give us what we need at the right time.

my semianual post

yup. i should officially be real and just admit that i find the time to barely organize my life thoughts twice a year. and i haven’t even been writing full sentences or paragraphs. i’ve bullet pointed the last two posts. but whatever. what you see is what you get. and you shall like it.

e’s now 2 and a half. she talks….allllll day long. seriously….all day. most of the stuff she says is her asking for me to confirm things: what’s this, what’s that man doing? and then she likes to give a mischievous smile and correct me if it was a squid, not an octopus. or no, that man is sitting and reading a book, not just sitting. a 2 year old’s language capabilities astound me. she probably knows a lot more korean vocabulary than i currently do at the moment—or at least when it comes to the animal kingdom. for me, a zebra was always a “zee-bi-rah” in korean until a few months ago when i sheepishly learned the right word for it. people still understood me right? and when in my conversational life as an adult do i seriously need to know the word for a black striped animal that looks like a horse? anyways, little girl can say the darnedest things. and remembers random things that i forgot about. like what brand of toothpaste her friend uses and that i told her yesterday i’d buy her mangos the next day. i honestly do love this stage so much because it’s so fun to communicate with her. i like it a lot more than age 0 to year 1 of life when little was going on except little girl tried some sort of new solids for the first time.

i had a moment with her today. i was her putting her to bed—-which these days has been a pain in the butt since she has wanted out of the crib. i so do ever so much miss the dear crib that would imprison my poor daughter until the morning in one nice safe spot. but now with her sleeping in an actual bed (ahem…which is currently a mattress on the floor), she is free. she walks right out of her room when she has had a bad dream or is wailing at the top of her lungs and comes straight to our bedroom (not grandma’s). and our night time routine of plopping her into the crib after 2 songs with a nice little wave is gone. but i digress….so she was right on the brink of falling asleep in the midst of a 4th repeat of verse 3 of amazing grace and she just had this serene angelic look on her face as she burrowed her face into my soft pillowy stomach and i couldn’t help but quietly say “eunji—umma hengbokheh” and truly meant it. (evelyn, mommy’s so happy). about 2 seconds later, she kicked me so hard in the stomach as she turned over i had to really try hard not to yell something inappropriate as she was about to fall asleep. THIS IS MOM LIFE. a rare second of blissful appreciation interrupted by the sharp reality of literal pain. ha dramatic. okay let me try again–a rare second of blissful appreciation interrupted by the sharp reality of temper tantrums, and loss of personal time, and _____ fill in the blank here. moms of 2 and more—i applaud you, as having a second is terrifying to me still.

paul arranged for him to come home early today and i had a facial for a pre-valentine’s day gift. i loved the facial of course (my favorite part is the painful extractions—seriously do love them—i am almost tempted every time to have the aesthetician save the blackheads for me so i could just satisfying see them all at once. yeah, i probably shared too much), but i also just loved going to vons to pick up a fried chicken meal and sitting in the car alone and eating it all by myself with no rush to get home. i thought to myself in the parking lot, if someone parked next to me and saw this asian lady licking her fingers as she finished off her piece of so-s0 fried white meat, i would have looked to pitiful, but i felt like a queen today. clean pores + greasy food i usually don’t get to eat in the comfort of my own car with no one to talk to. it was perfect….

the card aisle the night before valentine’s day was almost too funny to not comment on. so i shall as another random aside, because this is what my mind wants to do tonight in my semiannual post. i saw a sense of desperation as 6-7 men were reading through card after card trying to find the one that was supposed to sum up their love for their loved one in a pithy 2 sentence card. humor? romance? cute dogs? the possibilities were endless! but oh how i sensed a little bit of hate for this holiday of love. i do feel bad for the men….there’s so much pressure to not disappoint. how do i know this? because i have been the unhappy wife so disappointed on many a special occasion and thus making the husband feel inadequate as heck. i’m pretty sure that paul has cursed the month of my birthday, christmas, valentine’s day, and the month of our marriage all because of the heavy burden of doing something good. thankfully….we’re in year 7 of marriage and i have to say that i’ve chilled out a little. dinner? let’s go to a restaurant off your work card that gets us a free entree. gift? i would like this specific item that i can even send you the link for. i know…it sounds kind of sad….but this is where we are currently. one a little tired of trying. the other, tired of expecting and feeling disappointed. i share this because we are in a tough stage of marriage where we have a lot of issues to work through but the familiarity of the way things have been has led to a lack of caring. but after realizing the real state of how things have been for some time, i am starting to feel some hope that God is really working through our marriage and breaking down the cracked and weakened walls that we had both gotten so used to in order to build something far greater and more wonderful. i also do want to state that i was not planning on sharing on our marriage stuff with the start of the card aisle paragraph, but it naturally just flowed as i was reflecting. i really should blog more. 😉

summer 2016

*old post that i had written on 6-26-16 that i’m posting now.

summer has come and gone! two more weeks left of freedom before the craziness of starting up a new year begins. what we did this summer (more a log for me so i remember):

  • ap by the sea for the first week of summer. was a really good week to get my feet wet with the ap chemistry curriculum.
  • 2 days of the week i had a nanny share for the mornings so i could go get ap chem prep done. i was nervous about this as evelyn hasn’t been watched by anyone other than my mother in law or the girls at the Y for an hour at a time, and more nervous because she had been potty training and she only speaks Korean and the nanny was white so e was going to have some major communication frustration. ended up working out so well! the nanny was fantastic and i really liked that evelyn had a playmate really close to her in age where she had to work on sharing toys….(this is a tough one for us still). the first 2 times, evelyn cried when i would leave, but the next week, she would just look up at me and confidently say “byeeee” as i packed up my bags. the other mom would plan fun toddler activities for them and i packed the 2 girls lunch every week. i would so do this again next summer. really loved having time to get work done…felt like a college student again just sitting at a coffee shop loading up on caffeine and free wifi.
  • in the middle of the summer, we decided our current 2 br townhome was just too small for our family and with paul’s mom staying with us during the weekdays. 1267 square feet really wasn’t much at all when you had a toddler who has an incredible amount of stuff for someone who isn’t even 3 feet tall yet. we had moved sooo much during our 7 years in san diego, that i think we could have bargained for a free move this time—move four times, get the next one free! but we found a place we liked in an area we thought we could live in for a long time–hopefully until evelyn graduated from high school. and then worked with a realtor and decided to list our current town home. i didn’t know how crazy this process was. we had 5 days to get everything in our home packed up and into the garage—closets, any clutter that we had, painting the walls and patching up holes, installing new light fixtures, and fixing small bits and ends. boxes upon boxes of clutter that we had accumulated over the years. when we finally got our town home listed, it felt weird to think that strangers would be walking into our home that we had loved for the past 2 years and analyzing and critiquing everything (the same that we would do when we checked out houses…). it was having such a private part of lives completely open to anyone who wanted access. but thankfully, just 3 days after we listed, we had an offer come through with more than what we had asked for! it was exciting. but now we have left to finalize the deal on our end with finding a home. i even have uncertainty when picking what to eat for lunch….so really committing to a home that we were planning on staying in for 20+ years is daunting. is the price right? is this the right neighborhood? what if something better comes up? so many questions…. hope we lock something in quickly before all my anxiety gets the better of me.
  • and that was how i spent my 1 month off. we only had a month this time around as our district was going through calendar changes, but it has gone by in a blur because of all this home craziness.

22 months

it has been a while but not so long that i don’t feel motivated to write to keep up. i usually see the last time i’ve posted and think…ahhh too much to try to update in a quick post and i don’t post. but just wanted to jot down some things to share what little e has been up to

  • she loves music….like crazy loves it. she demandingly asks for “eim-ahk” all day long and frankly, everyone in our house is tired of listening to baby korean songs all day long. once her c.d. ends, she runs over to the c.d. player on top of the mini-fridge and stacks some books together to get enough height to turn it back on. for some reason, the only actual c.d. player we have in the house does not have a “repeat” function. her current favorite songs: 3 little bears, head shoulders knees and toes, and a korean song about a tadpole. she loves to sing along with these three songs while prancing around.
  • thanks to my mother in law, she has been getting potty trained! we’re about 7 days in, and she has been really good about going in her little potty. thought i would so much rather prefer diapers for a longer time period, but still grateful to see her get trained so quickly.
  • she has been naming whatever she can these days–her favorite things are dogs, flowers, birds (she is a little obsessed with birds right now), and butterflies. she constantly asks us to draw them for her on a sheet of paper and sometimes, evelyn doesn’t recognize something that paul drew—last week paul’s butterfly looked more like a flower to evelyn. she then likes to draw things on a sheet of paper and let us know what she drew.
  • my mother in law has taught her letters from the alphabet, and it’s so cool to see her point to actual letters and get them right. little girl is getting a fob accent though from speaking korean all day long and then learning things in english occasionally from my mother in law. for example, she points to the letter “f” and says “eh-pih.” total fob….uhoh.
  • she’s still stubborn….really stubborn. if she sets her mind on something, it takes a lot to deter her from getting it. now this may sound slightly positive, but let’s say that this thing she really wants is your lip gloss from your purse and little one knows how to open it and stick her little fingers all over it and then rub her little fingers all over your shirt as you try to get it back from her…..SIGH.
  • looking forward to being home with her for a month during the summer and to get to go out and do fun things with her as i feel like i get home with so little energy left to do much except feed her and put her to bed!


e has turned 1 and a half a few days ago and little girl is changing so rapidly it’s been so fun. just wanted to jot down some things she has been doing before i forget what she was like at this young age.

  • she understands a lot of things in korean. when we tell her it’s time for a diaper change and i ask her to lie down, she just plops herself down on the mat and then after the diaper change, she really likes to bring the wipes container back to it’s place. when we tell her to close things, or put things back to where they belong, she seems to really get a kick out of helping out. she also likes to help load the dryer and unload it.
  • she thinks that penny’s official name is “off.” she calls nicky “nee” and whenever we point to penny, we noticed that she says “aww-pih” (off). penny loves to climb up on the couch and we always tell her “OFF.” thus, penny’s newly christianed name.
  • she went through a period when she would cry when i’d drop her off in the gym’s childcare, but now she happily runs in herself and doesn’t even look back.
  • her favorite thing to do these days is to climb chairs and grab anything she can get her hands on nearby.
  • she started eating vegetables again without us having to blend it into her food to hide it! favorites foods include meat, bread, yogurt, blueberries, rice and korean soup. she’s been a very good eater for the most part and she has a tummy that sticks out like a little bowling ball. at her last checkup, her weight was in the 81st percentile, and her height was in the 93rd percentile. she has been healthily growing taller and more rotund although her baby fat is gone.
  • she really likes going to the playground. so much so that after one and a half hours of playing, she will fight like no other when it’s time to come back home.
  • she’s a strong and determined baby. if she sets her mind on something, she will not rest until she gets it. connect this to baby tantrums and we have a toddler on the verge of her terrible twos.
  • we have been telling evelyn a lot of “no’s” and she cries really hard when she doesn’t get what she wants—full fledge tears and all. but last sunday evelyn had her first real fight of discipline with paul. she kept throwing food on the floor even though he had told her no and paul took her food away. this wound up with evelyn crying on the floor and her being so incredibly angry. paul let her cry it out on the floor for 10 minutes and then kept inviting her to come sit on his lap which she angrily refused while crying her eyeballs out; she had her back to him and would not get anywhere near him because she was so mad. but when she finally looked like she was calming down, paul picked her up and hugged her and prayed with her. it was then that paul said she went from crying angry tears to tears of sadness. after he plopped her back on the ground, she ran off smiling and became happy little evelyn again. i was really proud of paul for being so good about sticking to his ground with her and then being so loving with her. i have a feeling that this is going to be the start of real full fledged battles.
  • she is verrrrrrrrry into books these days. she doesn’t seem to have a big interest in her toys, but all day long she loves to bring book after book and sit on our lap and have us read them to her. she points to the page with a lot of butterflies and then gets mad if i don’t sing the korean butterfly song to her. she loves books with any flaps in them and she loves to open the flap and then say “nooo.” i’m really thankful for my coworker who gave evelyn a box of board books that her kids went through. i’m also really glad because i always said that i would be so sad if we had kids that didn’t like books.
  • i love when we put her down to sleep at night, she seems almost happy to get in her crib and be reunited with her giraffe wubanub pacifier that we don’t let her use during the day. after praying with her and plopping her down in the crib, she waves bye-bye to us as we shut the door to let her sleep for the night. she must really take after me when it comes to sleep because she is a very good sleeper and has been so for the past year. thank you dear child evelyn as this was the thing i was most nervous about when it came to having a baby. i haven’t honestly been sleep deprived with e except for the first 2 months when we brought her home and month 5 when she went through her sleep regression and we did cry it out with her. sooooo worth it.
  • she loves to laugh. when she sees us laughing about something, she always likes to join in as though she is in on the joke too.

i am so thankful for this little girl in my life. i sometimes look at her and think, “how did God make such a wonderful little baby that turned into this toddler i see before me?” so so thankful for her in my life.


18 months

**old post that i’m posting up

a year and a half! she’s a real person now, everyone! she understands things and knows where her belly button is and gives kisses and throws tantrums and laughs so hard when her parents are being silly. ahhh, i started looking through my old facebook posts for the past year and then reading through these old blog posts, and i can’t believe the little girl that i see now with an inch of hair now once looked like an overfed male buddhist monk with about 2 millimeters of hair. 🙂 i seriously didn’t remember what she once used to look like.

so things are so good right now. i still do love being able to get some balance this year. i am still in denial about how hard it is to be a teacher sometimes, but then when i spend a whole weekend alone with e when paul is sometimes working, i wonder what really is more difficult. both are jobs that feel so under appreciated and leave me really tired….but both also give me such deep satisfaction on certain days that i know i cannot get from any other thing. really thankful.