diapers, budgets & paint

stay-at-home mommy by day
program manager by night
children's painter somewhere in between


a playgroup dream comes true

waaaay back when, one of mama nabi's posts had some of us commenting about our desire for mixed-race playgroups, or at least some way for our kiddos to see and play with kids who *big shock!* might look like them, or heck, at least look different than what's considered the "norm" in our various areas. at first, even blair didn't really understand what i'd want from such a group, but i think he mainly didn't understand just how homogenous my moms' group really is. since knowledge of the group travels mainly by word of mouth and the occasional online search, i guess it's just not getting to the more diverse communities... or those moms are all too busy with their own groups, working daytime jobs, or the million other things that keep us all super busy. i do know several korean moms, for instance, who have korean-only playgroups... and by that, i mean all of their kids speak korean, the moms speak only korean, etc. since i wouldn't exactly fit in with such a "hard-core" group, i was hoping to find a group of laid-back multicultural moms with kids around the same age who'd be interested in playtime and the random discussion about culture and such.

so i posted a note about it on my local community website.

and another on craigslist.

and i got... nada.

but then by random luck, a new mom joined the moms' group. it's such a big group that there are all sorts of sub-groups by location, interest, and so forth; sarah also joined the "world cultures" sub-group that i'm a member of and posted her introduction. we quickly started exchanging emails and amazingly, with little effort, she and i decided to put together a korean playgroup of sorts! we've been meeting for the past couple of months; after a slow start, she found a few other moms who are also interested in korean culture, so now we've got:
  • sarah, a korean mom who grew up mostly here in the states, with daughter hailey
  • linda, another korean-american mom, with her half-korean daughter ava
  • tina, a 1/4th korean and 1/4th japanese mom, with her hapa son nate
  • nikki, a caucasian mom, with her korean adopted son issac
somehow, we've managed to find a wonderfully diverse range of korean relationships and experiences among the five of us, and hopefully we'll even find a few more interested mommies and their tots out there. our kids are currently between 15 and 20-something months old and get along pretty well. in fact, the three little girls will even be taking dance class together this summer! it's been nice to learn a few new korean words, share some paht bing soo, and chat / vent / laugh over what it means to be korean each thursday morning.


c'mon, you knew there'd have to be something yummy involved, right? it all comes back to the paht. and sac sac. mmmmm...

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a day in the life


man, us celebrities have a rough life...


always hiding from the paparazzi


but no matter where you go, they find you


your days are full of book signings and public appearances


and you always have to appease the crowds
(i hate these promotional gigs - like i even cook!)


don't even get me started on the dating scene, what a pain
(but sometimes you meet a few nice guys too)


but at the end of the day, i'm still me...
i'm still emmy from the block*


now here, have some autographed rocks
i *heart* my fans



* emmy's wearing her very own little orange oven mitt here... this one's for you, halfmama!

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i has chalk

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corn smile


hey emmy, do you like corn?


oh yeaaaaah. you get a corn smile* for that

other recent emmy sightings...
- acting out the song "if you're happy and you know it..."
- dancing the hokey pokey
- walking like an ajumma (no joke!)
- figuring out the difference between "dog" and "puppy"
- wearing her backpack all by herself
- getting ready for her first dance class on friday... leotard and ballet slippers, oh yeah!


later dudes... i'm outtie


*yes, we call it her "corn smile" - who needs to say "cheese" for the camera when you've got corn? mmmm...

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so cold, so heavenly

we made paht bing soo at home tonight! our korean store is finally carrying the (seasonal) ingredients - hallejuah!

everybody's invited to our little paht party, just bring your own bowl. :)

yes, there is a squirrel

time for yet another installment of "what's been hanging out on mommy's camera?"


mommy, mommy, come look!


reliving a tractor moment... how time has flown


even elmo wouldn't eat this popsicle
(yet she wouldn't let go of it, of course... why on earth do popsicle makers put so much horrible dye in their product? somewhere, those execs are laughing their butts off at all of the clothing that's been stained over the years)


with such nice weather, even the squirrels have to take a break


and finally, proof that we can still clean ourselves up and attend fancy schmancy events like we used to
(alright, i'll admit it - this was our first "date-night" since emmy was born, even if it was a med school function. it only took 17+ months. we suck.)

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zoo for you

we finally uploaded the photos off my camera last night - time to play picture catch-up! and if you're wondering, yes, we do spend a LOT of time at the local zoo. today's post is dedicated to that fantabulous place, just 10 minutes down the street...


that's one hot crib... monkey-style


mmmm... roast duck, anyone?
(just kidding! i didn't bring my hoisin sauce today)


so three turtles walk into a bar and...


wow, when did she get so big???
(yes, i meant emmy!)

and happy (early) birthday to the gosselin sextuplets tomorrow - they'll be three! i am in love with their show, jon & kate plus 8, as well as their 2 previous documentaries. any parents that can handle "2 6-year olds and 6 2-year olds" totally get props in my book, and the fact that all the kids are hapas is just icing on the cake for me! aren't they sooooo adorable?
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ASIAN DOLL UPDATE! one last thing, i found the perfect doll for emmy today! while browsing in the right start store, i came across the asian corolle "poupette" doll. it looks like she'll be perfect for em: she's huggably soft, easy to dress and just so darn simple and cute! i'll be stashing her away for a special occasion, that's for sure! have you found any particularly good asian dolls / toys?

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top 10 songs meme... for now

nina recently tagged me for a "top 10 songs of all time" meme. hmmm... since i'm lucky if i can remember what i ate for dinner last night, i'm changing the game slightly. instead of making a definitive list for all time, here's a list of 10 songs that are essential to me, right now, that i can think of, right now. :)

10. the "wedding" songs:
brown-eyed girl, build me up buttercup, and abba's dancing queen
i love these three light-hearted, easy-to-dance-to songs! they're standards at weddings and sorority formals across the nation and i'm a sucker for 'em every time. happy, sweet and a little cheesy. mmm...

9. the "frat party" songs:
dmx's party up (up in here), the bloodhound gang's ain't nothing but mammals, beastie boys' brass monkey and too many others to mention
senior year in college. bar nights on thursdays. mixers, crush parties and formals on the weekends. hangin' with misato and patrick in dino's. watching the girls learn all the "right" moves to n'sync's bye bye bye. good times, good times.

8. killing me softly, the fugees
this one sends me back to high school every time; it always makes me think of senior year, prom, and my super ghetto school. thanks lauren hill, wyclef jean, and um, you other guy, for this song.

7. possession (from fumbling towards ecstasy), sarah mclachlan
i was selected to attend the summer governor's school program before my senior year of high school. this was a 6-week, live-in program at the college of william & mary - i spent my days at a nasa internship and my evenings with awesome students from all over virginia. one of the guys there, brad, introduced me to sarah mclachlan and i've really enjoyed her stuff ever since. she's strong and emotional and i like it.

6. the one where i'm stuck between...
she will be loved and secret (from songs about jane), maroon 5
thank you, dido
smooth and love of my life (from supernatural), santana
my immortal and call me when you're sober, evanescence
halfway down the sky cd, splender
i'm terribly indecisive so this is where you get a quick peek at some of what's on my ipod. a random mix of stuff that reminds me of a particular place or time, like old yet beloved baggage. (i did this list working backwards and forwards at the same time - can you guess that this was my last entry? welcome to my 1:00 am mind dump for the night.)

5. why can't i and extraordinary (from liz phair), liz phair
she's hot and sexy and strong and loud. i love her self-titled cd and can listen to it on repeat forever (although i can do that with most anything, just ask blair). it makes me feel more empowered and sassy and ready to pounce. i am extraordinary, dang it!

4. slow dancing in a burning room (from continuum) and something's missing (from heavier things), john mayer
really, i'd be happy to list john mayer's entire discography here. i've been to a couple of concerts and adore the guy - his songs just speak to me. bluesy, emotional, good voice.

3. i need you, hangovers version
i *heart* college a cappella. seriously. i went to all the concerts, have a bunch of cds, and not-so-secretly lusted after all those cute boys who dress nice and sing their hearts out! the hangovers are a subset of the cornell glee club and they know how to put on a good show. i need you was almost tied with #2 below for "our song" status; in fact, i think blair prefers this one lyrically. listening to this takes me back to the beauty of cornell and how much i loved those years. (for an extra a cappella fix, check out up the ladder to the roof too - it's one of the hangovers' signature songs.)

2. only you, class notes version sung by ken ho and alenda chang
originally by yaz (who???) and sung here by cornell's "original coed a cappella group," only you has always been the song for me and blair. i wish we could have used it at our wedding but you need to have the live performance for real oomph (so we did what 99% of all married couples do: dance to at last by etta james. it's another song we love, though, so it was all good.) anyway, this one makes me remember all those years we spent dating in college; it's a keeper.

1. rainbow connection, dixie chicks version
this one is song #3 on the mary had a little amp cd. although it is a kids song made famous by our fave frog kermit, i love it because it's for the daydreamer, believer and optimist in us all. there's something so pure and innocent and hopeful about this song that it just leaves me feeling good all over. hooray, warm fuzzies for everyone!

and as a special bonus to all ten of my readers out there (yup, i'm talking about you), let me introduce you to emmy's all-time, must-be-played-constantly favorite song... meow meow lullaby by nada surf. it's featured as song #14 on the for the kids too! cd. i managed to find a couple videos of the band here and here, and boy, it sure is weird to see a bunch of grungy, chain-smokers singing about a little kitty cat. we listen to this on repeat in the car; it's gotten so bad that blair has started measuring distances in meow-meows. help!

Meow Meow Lullaby
Artist(Band):Nada Surf

Meow-meow meow-meow meow meow (x4)

I am just a kitten,
Hardly fit my mittens
Much too small, i figure,
One day i'll be bigger
One day i'll be a great big kitty cat
Use open windows to go from flat to flat

Meow-meow meow-meow meow meow (x4)
Meow meow meow meow-meow-meow (x2)

I am just a kitten
Hardly fit my mittens
Much too small, i figure,
One day i'll be bigger
One day i'll be all grown up and strong
But till then i'll just purr and sing along and go

Meow-meow meow-meow meow meow (x4)
Meow meow meow meow-meow-meow (x2)

Meow-meow meow-meow meow meow (x4)
whew! and now it's time for bed. have a happy sunday everyone!

p.s. - i tag anyone who's willing to play, but i'm especially curious if some of those real music lovers out there could ever make a top 10 of all time list. up for the challenge, an'd?

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more randomness

did you know that tomorrow (may 5) is children's day in korea? i didn't - thanks for pointing this out, sarah! since blair will be buried in the endocrinology books all weekend, i think i'll try to make tomorrow extra fun for emmy. there's a big "pet fiesta" festival at the town center; perhaps we'll go and get our animal fix for the day. have i mentioned that emmy is totally obsessed with cats? seriously, sweetie, did you have to pick the one animal that both of your parents are totally allergic to? oh well, maybe i'll just paint one for her...

oh, and did i also mention that she got her first "boy kiss" yesterday? heeheehee... em's pretty affectionate with the people that are extra close to her and she'll even kiss and hug her playgroup friends from time to time. yesterday, "ben-ben" and "memmy" exchanged their first ever boy-girl smooch - it was so adorable and i'm kicking myself for missing that kodak moment!

in terms of randomness, another notable thing happened yesterday. here's an excerpt of the recap i sent to blair (who was sadly at school and missed all of the excitement):
dude, 3 police cars were blocking our court, behind l's car
i just called her - she saw a potential intruder trying to get into (neighbor's) backyard
man was dressed in women's clothing, carrying a pillow case and covering his bottom
he looked right at her and then she called the cops
um, yeah. for a very quiet, family-oriented type neighborhood, that was bizarre. and when i was typing that out, i seriously felt like i could have been playing mad libs with those underlined words up there! (so which nouns did you pick?)

now it's time for bed... i spent 2 hours outside after emmy went to sleep tonight, attempting to plant new azalea bushes in the front "yard." although my mom has quite the green thumb, mine's more brownish black... you know, the color of all those dead leaves piled up in the decaying mulch bed that we've been ignoring for months. i am totally NOT the gardening type, but the $800 estimate i got from a landscape guy motivated me to get my lazy butt outta the house and into the dirt. i managed to plant 3 small azaleas before it got too dark to work anymore; i'll have to plant the last bush and several liriope tomorrow. too bad the ginormous oak tree out front sucks the soil dry... oh how i hate digging holes and hitting roots, roots, rocks and more roots. anyone want to come dig with me?

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fun in a box


a father-daughter moment, courtesy an old cardboard box
(should i paint / decorate the box? hmmm...)

just a few random items for tonight - i'm almost too sleepy to think anymore!

did you know that next week is apparently national work-at-home mom week? i, for one, choose to change outta my pajamas though... makes me feel too sloppy / unproductive otherwise...

a good college friend of mine sent me an article about moms getting organized to fight for their rights with groups like moms rising. has anyone actually seen their motherhood manifesto dvd? what do you think?

i'm reading happy birthday or whatever: track suits, kim chee, and other family disasters thanks to beloved's recommendation. the author, annie choi, is freakin' hilarious - i can't count the number of things that "make mommy krayjee" but it's all so painfully yet ridiculously true.

and i'm still stuck on nina's last meme challenge... i'll post my response this weekend but it might be a little wacky. (who am i kidding? it's just bizarre!) see you then!

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things i love #3


(sorry for the blurry camera phone shot)

  • sharing a yummy dinner with your daughter
  • sharing a quiet dinner with your daughter, who's totally mesmerized by sitting on a deck overlooking a lake filled with boats and birds
  • sharing a FILLING dinner with your daughter, who's so entranced by the experience that she gives you extra time to eat your own food
blair's busy on campus today so emmy and i had a girls night out. yum!

in other news, just call me "mommy do" from now on. does every kid go through this stage?

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