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. 😉

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.


the little girl has turned one…..2 months ago!

ha–so things have been on the busier end of life. but i have been meaning and meaning to get a post out, that i decided tonight at 10:00pm on wednesday night right before i have to wake up at 5:30 tomorrow morning for work, i need to crank one out.

LALALALALLALALALALALA i can’t believe time has gone by so fast LALLALALALLAA she has grown up so much LALALLALALALA wow.

that was my obligatory “evelyn has grown up so much” sentence that i put in to every post. i really can’t get myself around it as to be honest, it does astonish me every few days or so at the new things she is doing that she never did before and how quickly she is learning new things. she’s a toddler ya’ll!!! even her little rolls of baby fat that enveloped her sweet wonderful thighs are starting to disappear and she is starting to look more like an actual girl rather than a very chubby fat baby boy oddly wearing pink and headbands.

i can’t believe we got through her first birthday party. once i got started planning, i became esther-stay-at-home-mom on steroids. i was certain at one point that the first birthday-dohl party was specifically designed so that moms like me who love getting stuff done can feel a sense of accomplishment at really stupid useless things that i only would appreciate such as spending hours and hours rolling darn paper crepe roses and hot glue gunning stupid beans onto a roll of paper towels. ah—such useless crafts that i so secretly loved doing. who am i kidding, i loooooved planning. ha :p.

then we got through this first month of my going back to work as a full time chemistry teacher. this was what i was really trying to wrap my brain around the past few weeks so that i could reflect on this whole mom business and working craziness. let me tell you that the first week back at school which involved just useless staff meetings and time to prep and get ready for the school year was a WALK IN THE PARK—not even any regular park, but a teeny tiny park plopped haphazardly in front of an apartment complex that would take less than 5 minutes to stroll through–compared to being a stay at home mom. i’m sorry, but having the luxury to eat lunch for a whole hour and sit there on my computer for hours to get my own work done was FANTASTIC i tell you. i wondered at first where i could find such a job as it was delightfully easy to be back at work compared to staying at home all day taking care of a child. i’m sorry—but i shed no tears upon my first day of work. instead, i raised my fist in the air as i backed out of the garage and whispered “freeeedoooommmmm” and grinned the whole peaceful car ride with no one to worry about except myself and my coffee and my morning dose of npr.

however, this high was soon tempered by my second week of work when my real teaching job began with my fresh batch of 190 high school students. on my feet the whole darn day, lecturing for 5 hours at a time, shoving food down my mouth within the 20 minutes of lunchtime that i had while trying to help so many needy students with so many never ending questions, bringing home stacks and stacks of grading, setting up lab after lab….oh my goodness. i completely had forgotten how crazy teaching was. i’m sorry, but being away from it a whole year and then coming back to it brought a completely new fresh lens on the craziness of a typical day of teaching. my typical day consists of getting up at 5:30, leaving home by 6:15am, getting to school and getting my lessons and everything prepped for the day, teaching my 5 classes of regular chem and honors chem, staying after school to get work done so that i don’t bring so much home with me to get done and tutoring students, leaving work at 4:00, coming home and playing with evelyn, going to the gym with my mother in law and e for an hour, coming home and eating dinner, getting in some grading/lesson prep before it’s time to go to bed and then i’m in bed by 9:30 so i could get rest. and repeat. i was sooooo exhausted the first week that i wondered how i was going to have the stamina to make it through the year.

buuuut, nearly a month has gone by and i’m fine and well. still exhausted, yes, but my body doesn’t feel like it wants to go on strike. i really honestly do love my job. it’s hectic crazy from the time the first bell rings to the last bell that i hear where i get to sit at my desk probably for the first time that day to even look at my cell phone or check my email, but time does pass by so fast that everything is mostly a blur. i do admittedly have a stack of labs that have built up some serious mileage points as it travels with me back and forth from school and home, but even so, i feel really good feeling somewhat organized and feeling like i know that i’m doing at least for the week with my lesson plans. i get tingles of joy on some days seeing students understand concepts from trying out new activities that i designed or seeing students who looked like they don’t give a darn suddenly start trying to learn. all this complaining i did earlier was just to really make the point clear that despite how hard it is on some days, i feel so privileged to work with high schoolers teaching a subject that is challenging for them. really thankful for having a job that i actually love….not something i have to do to earn money. because honestly, let’s be real. the pay sucks for my job.

1 peter 1: 3-6

paul has been leading our family through really simple bible reading and devotional time right after dinner—we agreed that any time we had dinner together at home, we’d try to immediately afterwards do a quick 20-30 minute time of reading god’s word together and a time to share and pray—this has actually lasted for more than 3 months at our house which is good as we tend to so easily start things with great promise and then easily give up on it. but 1 peter was the first book we finished together in the beginning and several months prior to that, i also read it on my own. i just got back from a women’s conference where it was encouraged to read through 1 peter several times and i thought….no thanks, i’ve gotten through it twice in the past few months already. but still, this morning, actually felt parched for god’s word as i was struggling with some sinful feelings and decided to open up to 1 peter again from an encouragement from a friend, and BBAM, right in the first chapter, it was so encouraging. maybe this time of life right now is my 1 peter time.

“blessed be the God and father of our lord jesus christ! according to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a  living hope through the resurrection of jesus christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. in this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perished though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of jesus christ.”

it’s so encouraging to know that our inheritance is being guarded by God’s power. any trials we may go through now is to ultimately result in praise and glory and honor.

11 months

i wish i was more consistent about blogging as i really do think throughout the day “oh, i’d so like to share this thought with others” and then completely forget about it one hour later. ha, but i have to say, that i really did write somewhat more consistently than the other past few years when i first started this blog because i have been at home and also because there are some things with e that i really do not want to forget. i kind of miss xanga many many years back as it was the only form of social media that people used. i just dated myself here because i know—xanga isn’t even around anymore! but i remember my first xanga blog i wrote in the middle of the night sitting in my freshmen dorm in 2001—even the idea of a public blog was so exciting. i find myself also writing a lot of blog posts and then not ever publishing them because it winds up being more of a random thought jumble–no organization whatsoever as i see this one going….but let me try to pull some thoughts together.

time has now turned in to an official countdown until i go back to work. i started off thinking that one year was a huge block of time that would never reach its end. but as i’m in the final month, i can’t get over how something seemingly so bountiful could slip away so quickly. i’ve especially felt that these days. when people ask what do i do all day, i have to sometimes stop and try to recollect what i even did the day before. day to day, things seem hectic and busy—routines, gym, appointments, play dates, errands, housework and getting dinner ready–things kind of go by in a blur. But at the end of the week, sometimes I wonder what exactly I got done. Sure—lots of small things but I don’t see the big picture and that has been a slight bit disheartening sometimes. Where’s this big final product that I would love to see and hold? I can’t point to this one thing that I got done where i feel a sense of accomplishment from. one might point out that e should be this thing, but i guess it’s honestly just hard to see my sense of purpose day to day while giving glory to God in the small things. and not making my day about me but really about how to serve God even in changing e’s diaper or being loving to my husband when I’m tired and cranky. this is a daily real battle for me and i feel that satan uses my sense of worth as a mom to tempt me to find discontentment in the good and amazing gifts that God has given.

a friend has inspired me to actually read and finish 3 books a month. i love this idea so this is something i hope to continue through the years. i think picking up a book is like starting a relationship. after reading reviews and doing the research, you start hesitantly, hoping to find something worthwhile in the 800 pages you’re about to embark on. you form judgements along the way and for some you already get the feeling early on that you won’t like it but you hesitantly wonder if you should drop it now or give it shot and keep going. some you start off right away loving and then you find that it disappoints later on. regardless of whether a book is good or not, it does feel nice to actually have a goal of finishing it to the end–i have started so many books in the past only to drop it early on or more than three quarters through because i decide it’s not worth my time but committing to actually finishing what i start has been good. i have mostly been sticking to the new yorker as my reading source the past year so to delve into good fiction again has been awesome.  this month i’ve read the lowland by jhumpa lahiri (her books are all twinged with sadness but this one still was a book i really enjoyed), everything i never told you by celeste ng (had high hopes for this one as it was so recommended but the characters and plot line were so predictable and not that interesting at all), and is everyone hanging out without me by mindy kaling (an audiobook—i laughed my way through most of the whole thing. you either like mindy kaling or hate her, but her self deprecating humor is right up my alley)

not too long ago, i discovered this was a huge difference between paul and me. i don’t really like starting movies unless there is a hope that it will actually be a good one and that my time commitment will have some payoff. i have to check rotten tomatoes before i even think about starting one and this is because i realize that i get really annoyed and almost angry when i have to sit through something really bad. so paul and i were starting a movie one night and i already got the sense that it was going to be horrible. about 15 minutes through, i was already ready to call it quits. watching the horrible acting and the very predictable plot line was painful and already my time had felt wasted. i kept hinting to paul we should stop to watch another movie but he firmly resisted and this shocked me. he explained that for him, stopping the movie now was a big waste of time for the time that he had already put in and he had to see it through the end even though it was a bad movie. can i be frank and say that my husband’s insistence on commitment and finishing something through to the end is probably what got us through our 5 years of dating and long distance? ha, if it had been up to me while we were dating, i would have picked up and run away every time things got too difficult and as we were getting to see the ugly sinful side of pursuing a deep relationship. but by the grace of God and paul’s unwillingness even to quit a horrible movie we have made it through this far! 😉

last day of baby class

Yesterday was the last day of the sign language and child development class that I had been taking e to since February. I don’t know why but I actually got a little sentimental saying goodbye to the teacher and some of the other moms that I had met there. It’s not because we became the best of friends but I think it’s because I felt like we had gone on a small journey together in this first year of life together. I remember on the first day of class we had the same tired look in our eyes as we were holding our 4 month old babies wondering what the heck we were doing at a 3 hour long class to supposedly teach our little drooling ones sign language and learn about infant development. The little ones were all immobile as all they did was lie on their tummies while fussing about but it was so reassuring to come to the same class each week and share the struggles and good times with other moms who totally got me in my current stage of life.

The bigger reason for the sentimentality though was thinking about how within six months the little blob of baby that had just lain there seemingly passively staring at the world had changed into this active fast crawling ball of determination who laughs at her favorite songs and fights for other babies’ toys. I know I say this in every post, but time really has gone by so quickly.

It’s already summer and I’m counting down my 2 more months until my year off at home ends and I head back to work. I’m looking forward to it to be honest as I did realize this year how much I really do love teaching chemistry. I had some people at work say that I might not want to come back after staying at home, but for me anyways, I don’t think I really had a strong internal struggle about staying home versus going back to work especially because i have had this current year at home and it has felt like such a wonderful gift. I have missed seeing students everyday and thinking about ways to get my students to care and try, and having rewarding moments when someone finally understands something they’ve struggled with—I know I’ll probably complain about teaching within the first 2 months of being back but I honestly do feel so blessed to have found a job that I love. I am also though going to so miss this time at home too—the play dates with fellow mom friends and their little ones, the flexibility to go run errands, go to the gym and have time to actually cook dinner, and of course being able to spend time with little e and seeing her grow—each day goes by in a blur of mom/home business. I really wouldn’t have done this year any differently and am thankful for the time that I’ve had to spend e’s first year with her at home and am thankful for the job that awaits my return too.


she makes these funny faces sometimes that scream “i’m mischievous!” i love how she props her leg up on the carseat like this when we’re out running errands


she has been enjoying getting her hand in to the dog’s water bowl so we spent some time just playing with water in a baking dish one morning. her favorite part was when she turned over the entire baking dish and got water everywhere 😉


more and more i’m convinced that the best baby toys are just random household objects. her favorite on this particular day? a wire whisk, a c.d., and my half empty bottle of fenugreek

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