Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Happy Seollal!

Well, this post is a little late but it was Seollal this Saturday (1/28/17) - aka the Lunar New Year. We are actually planning on celebrating this weekend at Port Discovery - a children's museum in Baltimore. But, we really started celebrating way back in December! E's pre-k class was studying winter holidays from all different cultures and asked if anyone wanted to come in to talk about a holiday or tradition. I offered to come in and do a craft, book, and snack with the kiddos about Seollal. I'm mostly unqualified to do this - we've never had a 'traditional' Seollal celebration but we do have some books and some of the traditional outfits and games. I started out by showing the class a map of Korea and talking a little bit about the long plane ride it took to bring E home (he shouted out "and I cried a lot, right Mama?!" in the middle of this part :) He really didn't, but that part of the story always sticks out for him! This map also prompted a plane-off, aka when a room full of preschoolers begins sharing at rapid pace how many plane rides they have been on, the estimated speed of the plane, the hours the plane ride took, and the people that greeted them at the airport. We then read  This Next New Year by Janet Wong. This Next New Year
This is sort of an all-encompassing Lunar New Year book that talks mostly about Asian traditions but also a bit about how Germans, Americans, and Mexicans celebrate the new year. One of the traditions I really like that I hope we end up doing some day is spending the entire day of Lunar New Year not saying anything bad like "I won't," "I can't," or "I hate" so that you don't start your new year with negativity. Another tradition from the book is to wear your cleanest clothes and clean your nails, floss, all that good stuff so that you don't start the new year with any bad luck stuck anywhere. In the evening before the special new years meal is served, Korean children are expected to wear their hanbok (traditional clothes like these)  and pay respect (bow) to their parents and older relatives. In exchange, their relatives give them red envelopes with some money to start the new year. I brought E's hanbok in (it's almost identical to the one in the picture!) but he didn't want to put it on for a demo, so one of his classmates did instead. The room oo'd and aa'd appropriately :) If my printer had been working that morning, I had big plans to do an adorable craft something like this: 
But of course it wasn't cooperating so I didn't have time to cut out the fan parts to color and then glue, so I winged it with a printout of a Korean flag that the kids colored and then folded. Not half as fun! I think I did make up for it with some delicious Korean treats - yagkwa cakes! 
They are delicious little cookie things filled with sweet red bean paste. I know that doesn't really sell them, but would the fact that a room full of 3 year olds were going crazy over them help? Of course they thought they were filled with chocolate, and I chose not to correct that rumor.
It might not have been my finest lesson, but at least we ate well!! Next year we might try some of the more formal traditions and make it to a new year parade. In the meantime,
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

And then there was another....


I'm skipping a lot in between here, but it's important to update a few things before I begin blogging about what's going on recently because there are actually TWO tiny sets of chopsticks in our house these days. In August 2016, we had a beautiful baby girl, T. She's been an incredibly easy baby and despite my fears about E feeling misplaced, he has been an amazing big brother and is responsible for most of her smiles and giggles lately. Here are a few pix of that journey -

 

Big Bro entertaining T with a little character improv...

....And of course being a superhero at helping with diaper changes:
 I hear the transition from 1 to 2 is the most difficult (moreso than from 0 to 1!) but it's really been a breeze so far. I mean, knock on wood, T is a great sleeper and has fit into our family dynamic more easily that I ever would have imagined. We started taking her out to lunch as soon as we felt comfortable and she's a great companion - never really fusses or cries, and is content to sit on our laps and hang out. I hope this post isn't jinxing that! 
She's under the green hood in this particular shot :)
Will there ever be a third? Hmm....I'm saying no. I'm pretty sure I'm sticking to that, too. 2 is a lot to handle when it comes to the nighttime routine, and with 2 working parents the struggle is REAL to carve out even 10 minutes each afternoon/evening to play with both of them before the routine. Getting out the door in the morning isn't great either - I'm back to work and I usually take E to preschool on my way.
 I wish I could say our day operates like a well oiled machine but that's total BS. 
Getting out the door in the morning involves packing up my work bag, pump bag, freezer bag, lunch bag, and E's lunch bag, and then also E, who insists on being carried to the car because "his legs don't work in the cold" even though we're in a garage so it's not that bad. It's quite the scene and half the time my work bag has flipped upside down by the time I'm backing out of the driveway, my lunch bag has somehow wedged itself between the passenger seat and the door, and E is yelling from the backseat that his seat belt is too tight or there's a string on his sweater or some other urgent complaint, but the point is we're making it out! John takes T to her daycare and I believe it is a little less chaotic, but I'm sure that will change as she gets older and more vocal! In the afternoons, I pick up T and then E and we all head home for some kind of crazy feeding/playing/dinner making session before John gets home from work. Suffice to say, these routines are not my favorite. I'm not sure what (if?) the magic bullet is that would make things a little less hectic, but for now we're just gonna keep on keepin' on. 

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