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.




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.