Being Grateful: Star Wars and Beaches

This past week I have been cranky. Usually I start out on the weekend on full steam and then by midweek I run on empty. I'm pretty sure it all boils down to lack of sleep. I am normally a pretty even keeled person, usually I have a happy disposition, but when I lack sleep, I slowly creep over to the dark side. I am but a lightsaber swing away from "giving in to my anger" and joining Palpatine and the Death Star (Sorry for the random star wars reference I never know where my caffeine rush will take me).

Is it just me or did every Korean kid growing up in the 80's watch Star Wars, Rambo, and Rocky with their parents?

 Everything gets on my nerves. I slowly start seeing the world through Darth Vadar's mask (ok last one). Luckily my husband is extremely patient with me. Like the gravitational push and pull of the moon on the tide, our five years of marriage has eventually brought us to a decent balance of our daily responsibilities. He does a lot for me and our kids. When I am cranky I have no one to blame but myself =T

This past week we took a mid week break. We broke out of our normal routine and went out for dinner and had dessert (We Never. Ever. Buy dessert at a restaurant). Then we went to the beach and played in the sand, didn't worry too much when Kaitlyn started to consume the sand, and danced with our kids with the ocean as our audience. It was absolutely delightful. I've come to see how great it is to take a step back and see how big the world is and how small I am.

To remember God as a creator and not as my personal self help couch.

To remember how blessed we are and how much we take for granted.

To remember to be thankful for all His gifts and the chance to live a life of gratitude.

From here Kaitlyn begins to eat sand...

Check out Daechoong Mama's Facebook page for the rest of the pics!

10 Life Lessons I Want To Teach My Son

I always keep in mind certain lessons I want to teach my son. He is only 3 years old right now so teaching him anything is limited to things like "Don't touch the toilet and rub your eyes!!!!!" These lessons always cross my mind and I keep in mind how I would try to convey my thoughts on these topics. Here is a rough list of the things I would like to teach him one day when he is at an age he would understand. 10 (of many) Life Lessons I want to Teach My Son:

1) Work Hard
- You are smart, you come from a good family (most days), you were born in one of the greatest countries on earth, and you have an endless amount of resources available to you, BUT that doesn't mean anything unless you work hard. My mom used to say "1% idea 99% sweat!" now looking back I realized she took that quote from Thomas Edison and passed it off as her own, but that the time I thought she was a genius. No one owes you a living. You won't be thrown a bone unless you work for it. Be the kind of person that only blames yourself when you fail (you better not blame me!) but credits everyone who stood by you(Like me!) when you succeed.

2) Learn to Speak and Write Well
-One of life's greatest assets is your ability to clearly communicate what you are thinking through the spoken and written word. Read quality writing and read a lot of it. Your own level of speaking and writing will always be a bit worse than your quality of reading. When I was young my parents always took me to the library during the summer because it was free. Your mother was an avid reader as a child because she had no toys and nothing else to do and till this day she is grateful to your grandparents for being so cheap. Also, try to make every effort to learn about the world around you, current events, politics, culture, literature and art. People around you will take notice and you will attract others who do the same.

3) Surround Yourself With Good People
- My hope is that you have mentors, good friends, and those you can mentor, in your community. Be especially careful of the friends you choose. Second to your mom and dad, your friends will be the next greatest influence and for a long period of your life, they will be the greatest influence. Surround yourself with people that want to make you better in every way and accept you just as you are. Surround yourself with friends that care enough about you to be honest with you. Find friends that don't take themselves too seriously. Lastly, your dad and I worked really hard to raise you, don't surround yourself with people that will screw it up!

4) Be Wise With Money
-The world splits people into two categories: those who manage their money well and those who don't. Also known as good credit and bad credit. Those with good credit, have many opportunities available to them. They can easily get a cell phone, a mortgage for a home, a car, and the list goes on. Those who have bad  credit have the world shut to them. If you have a credit card, always pay your full balance and never ever spend more money than you have. Always keep track of your spending and save something each month unless you want to sleep on our couch for the rest of your life.

-Finally, one day a lovely girl might want to spend the rest of her life with you, but if you're broke with a lot of debt and bad credit, you'll have nothing to offer her but a hard life.

5) Treat Women with Respect
-Remember, your mother is a girl and your sister is a girl. Always treat women with respect.  This world is carried on the back of women, as you can tell from your mother, woman are amazing people, we are stronger (pain threshold wise (thats why we are the ones that give birth),  more adaptable, and as you can behind every great man there is a greater woman. When you hear other guys objectifying women, remember that.

-On a side note I have seen many guys who claim to be "godly" men. I call them "Holy Rollers" however their "faith" is a guise for self righteousness. I have seen many guys like this be verbally and physically abusive to their girl friends because they are to be "respected" and they believe they are in a position of authority in the relationship. If you see one of these guys smack them. If you turn out to be one of them I will smack  you and disown you. In the end your actions give away your true character. You can't be a godly man without first being a good one.

6) Beware of Any Kind of Addiction
-Where I grew up kids started smoking in 6th grade. One girl in particular was my friend and I watched her battle cigarette addiction for years afterwards. The deceptive thing about addiction is that it seems to make life better at first. Then after awhile, it makes life seem miserable and the addiction is the only way life becomes tolerable. Life is hard enough as it is. You don't need addiction chained around your neck.

7) No Sex until Marriage
-I'll try to keep this short so as not to traumatize you. Contrary to what the world around us says, sex means something. It's a physical act of giving yourself to someone. Sex has emotional, spiritual, and physical affects on both genders but it especially affects girls in this way. I believe that is why God intended only a man to have sex with a woman if he was committed to loving, cherishing, protecting and providing for her, for the rest of her life. Without that commitment keep your angst in your pants.

8)  Find Your Passion and Be Creative
-My math teacher in high school used to say this mantra "God, Family, then Math". After her faith and family, her passion was next. In the same way after God, Family, find your passion, something you love and can devout yourself to whole heartedly. A wise woman once said "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." No it wasn't you mother, though I was tempted to pass this one off as my own (like my mother). It was Eleanor Roosevelt. Be the kind of person that is always discussing ideas and always ask yourself "Is this making me and the world around me better?"

9) Find the Perfect Imperfect Woman for You
-I believe you can only be as great as the person you are sharing your life with. You will be making plenty of important decisions in your life but none are nearly as important as choosing who you will marry. First off narrow the pool by finding someone that shares your Faith and passions, someone who makes you feel comfortable, someone you can laugh with. Then, I would say the most important factor in finding the right woman is her character. Find someone that will put her family above her own needs. Will she always have to do this? No, but the important thing is that she would. You want to find someone that would be willing everyday, to put her needs aside for your family, from the little things to the big things. Then spend the rest of your life loving her, making her happy, and showing your gratitude. Lastly you can't find a great woman without first trying to be a great man.

10) Live in light of eternity
-Most importantly, live your life remembering that life is short and one day we will have to give account of how we spent our days. Remember you are a child of God created with a plan and purpose for your life and in every decision that you make consciously or subconsciously keep that in mind.

How much of this list is compiled based upon my success in doing these things, or learned from regret? More of the latter than I care to admit. Some of these I had to learn the hard way, some I am still learning.  Hopefully I can effectively convey these things one day in words, but my heartfelt desire to teach them by example.

[For my daughter it would mostly be a different list. This list is directed at my son and I wrote it in the way I would speak to him, which would be different in the way I would say things to my daughter. Also I make my views about certain things very clear in this list. That does not mean that I judge anyone for believing  or living differently, please keep in mind this list is a rough outline for a conversation, Lord willing, I would like to have with my son one day.]

A Mother's Worst Fear

As much as the life of a mother is full of joy, it is always laced with a modicum of fear.

Before having kids your worst fear is something happening to you or your family but it's never hovering over your head, you just think "I hope that never happens." However, when you have a child, it's like fear becomes a permanent part of your conscious. Almost to the point where I look back and I barely think I knew what fear was until I became a parent.

I would put fears as a parent into two categories, chronic and acute. Chronic fears are the long term fears that are forever over your head as a parent. These fears are about your child's education, health, and their spiritual and emotional well being. Then there are the acute fears. These fears are related to situations, like when your child gets hurt, sick, or when you think your child is in harms way.

My worst fear is someone taking my child. I think part of it is because I live Hawaii where drug related crimes are prevalent. Some one I know almost had their child abducted by a drug addict. I'm always very aware of my surroundings when I take my children out.

Which brings me to an incident that happened this past Tuesday..

Another daechoong moment, I let my son dress himself which means theres a 99.9% chance he would wear his swim suit.

We went to the mall because it was really hot and humid that day. Hawaii was suppose to have been hit by a tropical storm but it ended up fizzling out and leaving us with incredibly moist air. We went to a little indoor play area for kids. The rubber playground complete with extra padded carpet was ideal for that day. Only it was majorly crowded with kids. With all the moms off to the side looking at their iPhones and the kids running around wild and jumping on top of each other, it looked like  scene from The Lord of the Flies. While my son joined the bedlam, I was getting my daughter to try to walk. After awhile the mosh pit got to be a bit much, so I had my son put on his shoes, while I attempted to put my daughter back in her stroller. My son was next to me trying to figure out how to get candy out of the gumball machine, then I noticed Kaitlyn's strap was stuck. I turned around for 5 seconds to fix it and when I turned around, lo and behold.

Joey was gone.

He was gone. No where to be found. I frantically looked in the play area but I didn't see his bright blue swim suit, he wasn't there. I looked in the perimeter, not there. Then immediately i think, "Someone took him!" I frantically yell.


Bill Cosby was unto something when he said "Always end the name of your child with a vowel. So that when you yell the name will carry." Well said.

At that moment, like a pack to a wolf's howl, all the moms looked up from their iPhones, while their kids went along with the mosh pitting, just another mom screaming I guess.

From about half the mall away I hear my son yelling "Mom I'm here! Come get Ice Cream!!" He was in an ice cream truck ride.

Same truck. Taken a few months back.

I ran to him, my eyes wide with rage. He sees me and smiles and hands me an invisible ice cream. "Here mommy eat chocolate."

On the inside I was thinking....



I grabbed his wrist, took him to the bathroom to give him a spanking but wouldn't you know it, it was filled with other moms and kids sooo.... that didn't happen. I raced them back into our car and started lecturing my son. I replayed the scene in my head over and over again. He was gone for only a few minutes but it felt like the end of my life.

Driving back home I calm down and suddenly memories of my parents swirled around in my head. My parents were pretty protective of me and my brother. Every person we interacted with, they had to know who they were.  My parents were suspicious of people, all people. I always chalked it up to ignorance and I resented them for it. It's because they grew up in a highly competitive dangerous society recovering from the ravages of war. It's because they are Korean and they have to worry about everything. Its because they don't see what a safe country America is. Now I see that it was me who was ignorant. My parents feared for us because they were parents period.

Though my son drives me crazy I know I love him more than life, that if anything were to happen to him I don't know what I would do.

On a lighter note... More evenings at the beach!

Epic Meltdowns: Mother and Child

For all the experienced (post terrible 2-3's) mothers out there, I have a question for you. What is up with all the epic meltdowns? How much longer does this phase last? Some advice as to how to deal would be great.

I know I am one post short of renaming this blog "Trials of Raising a 3 Year Old Boy," but this is certainly what has been consuming my mommy days. This past week wasn't too bad but the last few weeks have been meltdown-tantrum central at our house.

I know what the root of the problem for the most part, lack of sleep. My son on many occasions will wake up at 6am, will be bouncing off the walls all day with boundless energy, and sans a nap will still not sleep until 10pm! O and we try. Some days we throw the book at him, everything from corporal punishment to bribery and manipulation. In the end, my son is still wide awake and we are exhausted. Then after 3PM he starts his meltdowns. Everything from the weather, to the sound of his sister's voice will tip the scales. Screaming, crying, whining. It doesn't matter if we are in public either.

A couple weeks ago, I decided to take him to a "happy place" like the Hawaii Children's Discover Center. We have a membership there and my son loves it, I often take him hoping to tire him out for a nap. The only thing is, the place closes at 3PM on Saturdays, the "Danger Zone". When we are about to leave he pulls out all the stops. The Children's Museum, the happy place, complete with balloons and rainbows becomes an ironic backdrop to this screeching meltdown. This  time he had his meltdown right in front of the entrance. It was so ridiculous I took pictures.

Look at people ignoring the crying boy, it is a happy place afterall...

Lets just say everyone saw me drag a kicking crying screaming child, with one arm, while carrying my one year old daughter with the other, out the door.

This happens at pretty much any place he finds amusing. By afternoon, right around nap time, we will try to leave and there he goes again. I think my son purposely picks the most visible and highly populated places  to start his meltdown show. Maybe he thinks that I will crumble under the embarrassment. Don't be fooled, 3 year old's are smart.

Like this time for example. He had his meltdown right between Ala Moana Mall (the largest outdoor mall in the country) and Nordstrom.

As you can see, I'm not the only one amused.

Refusing to budge even though I say that I'm leaving.

 While carrying my daughter I had to drag a crying boy at the mall, through the parking lot

Honestly, these meltdowns alone don't bother me much. I find them funny sometimes and often think it's cute. I am usually able to remember that they are only this young for a short time. However I'm starting to realize what my buttons are, and I'm realizing that I am just as prone to meltdowns myself. My meltdowns are when, days go by of him waking up early and sleeping late without a nap. Over the course of a few days of this, exhaustion sets in, and I am ready for meltdown central myself. 

Take last Tuesday for example. Just another day after a few consecutive days of him waking up early and refusing to nap. 10+ times he came out of his room refusing to nap. Suffice it to say I was tired. I started to say childish things like "Joey, why do you do this to mommy? You only think about yourself!" As if a 3 year old could possibly empathize with his 31 year old mother. Then, in the afternoon we had a major plumbing problem. The bathrooms were flooded with toilet water, and our sink was clogged. My husband and the plumber were running around the property trying to figure out the problem. I decided to take our kids to the playground. While holding our daughter, my son was playfully running around, then I noticed he started to wobble. O no... don't tell me.

He pooped in his pants.

Not just any poop, an epic poop, to the point where itwas running down his legs and collected in his Crocs. So here I am, holding my one year old, no plumbing in our house, and a 3 year old laden with poop. 

I literally wanted to drop kick him.

Don't get me wrong. I love him more than life, but exhaustion plus this scenario was a recipe for a mother meltdown of rage. However God, in His divine wisdom, intervened. I firmly believe, He divinely appointed our next door neighbors, a loving middle aged Hawaiian couple, to be at the playground at the same time. The wife saw what happened and tenderly touched my shoulder.  The creases around her bright eyes gave away a full happy life, as oppose to old age.   Her concern and empathy made evident through her comforting smile, "I'm sorry mom, we've all been there." She took Kaitlyn into her arms so I could tend to my son. I got a hold of myself, grabbed my son and pretty much gave him a bath at the park bathroom and washed his clothes, underwear and Crocs. We still had to stay at the playground because the plumbing situation was not yet resolved. Luckily no one looked twice at my son running around in his underwear. I heart the country. 

Afterwards the couple walked us back to our house. She said she had 6 kids and now has 22 grandchildren. "Its tough sometimes, just can do what you can do." She said. 

We got home, had dinner at Zippys, then my son finally passed out at 10PM. Watching him sleeping I was reminded. Thankfully I evaded a major meltdown.  I realized in many ways, as an adult, I'm just as childish. I learned that I see so much of myself in him, in the same way I see so much of my mother in me. Do I have a right to go nuts on him when I'm just as prone to do the same thing as an adult? Hopefully I can keep it all in perspective for the next time around and avoid another epic meltdown.

on a happier note. Other highlights from last week:

Evenings at the Park!


Nice sunsets

Ode to Finn

Last night I heard the shocking news. THat Cory Monteith was found dead at a hotel in Vancouver. My husband mentioned it in passing.

"Hey that 'Glee' guy died." I stopped in my tracks in shock.

"Who?? What!?!?" I race to his laptop to see a picture of Cory Monteith. I thought it must surely be an internet hoax or something. Let me look at a reputable website... like the New York Times... Lo and behold it was all true.

I'm still processing it all. Oddly enough, as his goofy awkward adorable character on Glee would sing "Don't Stop Believing"... I can't believe it.

I got into Glee starting season 2. After tasting the goodness of the 1st episode I was hungry for more. I watched all of season 1 and becoming a faithful Gleek anticipated every episode of season 2 with bated breath. I loved the music, I loved each of the characters, and I loved Finn Hudson. He was what I wished the popular football jocks were like when I was in high school. I wished that any high school boy I knew had the moral compass, sensitivity, talent all wrapped in the approachable goofy awkwardness he had. I loved the music. I grew up loving musicals. I grew up watching Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Singing in the Rain, and anything Barbara Streisand. I always wondered when we would see music come back to television. In Glee, music made its grand entrance to TV and pop culture. I loved having my son watch the show with me at times and sing with me. "Last Christmas" (I know the irony keeps coming) was his favorite song. My son would stand on the coffee table and shake his hands in uncontainable joy. Though some people would criticize his singing, I loved his voice and felt he captured with every song.

But the thing that makes the whole thing even more sad for me was this interview with Ellen. I remember watching this a couple years ago and I often think about this interview. My 30's was just around the corner, my son was about a year old and I was going through a 1/3 life crisis I guess. I loved being a mom but knew it would be hard to start anything new, while growing a family. In this interview he talks about working at Walmart as a greeter and meeting someone that had been a greeter at Walmart for 15 years and wondering... "Is this what I want to do with my life?" I don't know but that truly resonated with me. Seeing this guy who was my age, finally finding what he wants to do with his life, made me hopeful and made me love Glee all the more. In a sense it was as if his character Finn wasn't much different from Cory, only we knew that Cory did find himself and what he loved to do. Now, its a different story. This interview is different.

Its a reminder that life is short and tenuous. That when opportunities come we need to seize them, hold them tight and as best as we can, not let go. That I need to cherish the blessings I have now as a wife, as a mother, as a friend because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

We will miss you Cory.

Daechoong Social Consequence

 Definition of Daechoong

(1) : Unassumingly carrying out an act in a way that is just getting by (2) : Accomplishing a task while most of the time overlooking the details.

My daechoong-ness has at times served me well. It allows me to be adaptable, take risks, and see the bigger picture without stressing over the details too much. Often though, my daechoong-ness causes me to brazenly over estimate myself. I get an idea and all I see is the big picture, the end result, so I dive in not realizing I was way in over my head. In the past I have had social consequences to my daechoong-ness, being late, not fufilling promises, disapointing others. I'd like to say over the years that I've gotten better through my loving and patient friends, family, and community but still learning. Now, I'm starting to see how my daechoong social consequence or DSC, might affect my kids.

Today was one DSC day.

I attempted to cut my son's hair.

It was bad, o so very bad. And I feel bad, not only because he looks like a 18th century friar, but because I promised to not be that type of mom... like my mom.

My mom is amazing, very intelligent, kind, very adaptable but I remember this aspect of my mom would drive me CRAZY. She would say she would do something like it was no sweat, only to have whatever she would say she would do... go terribly wrong and often my brother and I would suffer social consequences.

DSC Hair Cuts

Like the time she tried to cut my brother's hair (ahem). He was in the 3rd or 4th grade. My mom bought a clipper set and said, like it was no big deal, that she would do it after dinner. My brother was very apprehensive but being the nice obedient boy he was,  he timidly followed her into the bathroom. I was up in my room and about 30 minutes went by and I heard my brother screaming, shouting, crying. I ran out thinking that my mom had nicked his ear with the clipper... until I saw the hair... O my it was bad. Visible groves, like she started clipping areas and then forgot, the top middle of his hair randomly was shorter than the rest.  My normally kind sweet brother was convulsing, angry, traumatized. He had to grow it all out and it took awhile, he walked around with hair looking like a neglected chia pet. After that day he never. Never. Ever. let her cut his hair again. He was so angry and traumatized at the experience my mom surprisingly never attempted again from what I remember.

DSC Wallpaper

When my brother and I were living in upstate NY as elementary school kids, my brother's room was a yucky pale orange color. One day my mom promised to take us somewhere and we were suppose to meet other people. My brother and I eagerly waited to get out of the house but my mom first said, I'm going to wallpaper David's room. My brother and I looked at each other. We didn't know much at the time but wallpapering a room seemed like it would take a lot of time and effort. Not something that could be done quickly. My mom reassured us it will be done in no time. She got the roll of wallpaper, and grabbed a bowl of water and started putting water all over the wall. By this time my brother and I were confused,

"Umma.. What are you doing?!?!?"

She said, as she often did, "Don't worry Umma knows everything!"

Then she started unrolling the wall paper and sticking it unto the wall only to have it fall. My brother and I stood watching, our mouths agape. My mom getting frustrated.

"Why it not stick!?!"

She just assumed that there was adhesive behind the wallpaper that, once wet, would cause it to stick. Till this day I have no idea why. My brother's room walls were wet, wall paper everywhere, and we did not get to go to Carvel or wherever it was. When our friends asked why we weren't there "Well cause you know.. we had to clean up the water and the paper..nevermind."

DSC Bookbags

I remember during Christmas time when I was in 6th grade and my brother was in 4th grade we both desperately wanted JanSport bookbags (90's y'all). One day after my brother and I came home from school she announced she had finally bought us each JanSport bookbags. My brother and I jumped in glee.

"Are you sure Umma? Real JanSport??"

"Of course, I know that." She says confidently. She opens the bag and I get the red one, my brother grabs the blue. We hug them.

"Thank you Umma" my mom glowing, proud. Then we look at it closely..

"BonSport?!?!?! Umma, this isn't JanSport, its BonSport!?!?!"

My mom surprised but not wanting to admit her epic fail says, "Nobody see don't worry"... I hated those lines as a kid. So I took my BonSport bookbag to middle school, the playing field of cruelty, emotional instability, and insecurity.. and sure enough kids noticed.

DSC Clothes

When my mom would get us ready for school as kids, and laundry wasn't done, she would just pick something out of the hamper.

"Wear this."
"Umma I can't there's a big spaghetti stain on the front!"
"Don't worry! Nobody see!"
Because there was nothing else to wear, I would wear the shirt only to have every White kid throughout the day, with a clean dress or ironed crisp shirt say in disgust "Uhh, you have a huge stain on your shirt.."

DSC Boots

When I was in 6th grade I needed boots for the winter. My mom would always buy something on sale at Burlington Coat Factory and was always supremely confident of her fashion sense. She bought a pair of pointy toed  boots topped with 3 inches of black fuzzy fur. The funny thing is now a days those boots would have looked good, maybe my mom was ahead of her time. But this was in the mid 90s way before the pointy shoe era. It was all Doc Martens, and military boots. No one wore pointed shoes, not to mention ones with fur.

Sure enough I wore them to middle school, the land of never ending name calling, and everyone called me "Eskimo", the whole winter. I remember kids pointing at my boots and laughing. I went home and told my mom..
"They're just jealous!" She said, another common response.

So I promised myself... and my future children that I would not do the same. I would know my limits so that my children would not suffer the social consequences of my daechoongness but today I failed miserably.

I had watched a couple YouTube tutorials on cutting and hair and I got so excited at the thought of saving money and not going through another terrible barber or hair salon experience. The last time the lady cut his ear and she made him look like we had just adopted him from mainland China. So I grabbed a pair of scissors and a comb, had him stand in the shower and wow it is tough cutting hair.

You have to be all exact and stuff...

He was a great sport though. Now I am so glad... SO GLAD, that he is still young and won't hold it against me. So glad he won't remember this day. So happy that for now his outward appearance has no correlation with his self esteem. Even if kids made fun of him now for his hair I don't think he would understand. For now he is happy and still loves his mom.  I felt so bad that I took him to Jamba Juice afterwards and hopefully that's all he'll ever remember of this experience "Mommy is cool she bought me Jamba Juice!" (Thumbs up!) Today was a good wakeup call. I need to heed my past experiences and all the more cherish the fact that he doesn't count my flaws against me=)

Still a happy kid.


Me and My Vice

We all have our vices. With the unpredictability of motherhood we all have that one thing that we depend on, count on, look forward to, the one thing that's designated for "me time," our proverbial weak spot. For some it may be a superb glass of pinot at the end of a hard day.

Or maybe its that immaculate- calorie-filled- diet -breaking- meant- to- be- devoured- in- one- sitting... pint of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey.

 Serving size of 4??? YEA RIGHT!

Maybe it's disappearing into a dark room and watching a 30 episode Korean drama filled with melo 48 hour time period... while a naked baby scampers by (I plead the 5th on that one).

Five Fingers would fill that criteria. If you're thinking of watching, proceed with caution...

Though I'm guilty of enjoying some of the above. My day to day vice, the thing that I count on, can't live without, and never seems to fail at making me happy!

You must think I'm crazy to dedicate a whole post to coffee. Though I'm sure I'm not the only mother to sing its praises in the blogosphere, it just goes to show how much I've come to need and love it as a mother. My mornings are crazy, I'm usually feeding Kaitlyn, then getting Joey ready for school and trying to convince him not to wear that darn Angry Bird T-Shirt again!! I get the water boiling, grind the coffee, put my metal and paper filter into my tea pot, put in the coffee and hot water and voila!

As I sip my coffee, the deep, smooth coffee aroma surrounds me like a force field. For those few minutes while I'm sipping away, all is well. I'm assured that I'll be awake enough to put my son's shorts on not-backwards this time, that I'll have energy to cook 3 nutrious meals, that I'll have strength to be the engaging, fun, have-it-together-mother/ wife that I want to be, and that I'll get my to do list done. After my  third cup of coffee I am energized ready to seize another day! 

 You'd think this daechoong mama would for sure go with the coffee maker right? No way! I am not daechoong when it comes to comes to coffee. A friend taught me coffee grinds are more like tea leaves, meant to be seeped for a minimum of 4 minutes. In a coffee maker the water just passes through the grinds without a proper seep. I did the french press thing for awhile but I hated the small grinds at the bottom of the cup, so I switched to the tea pot and I get my perfect liquid gold. 
I've been a coffee drinker since I've started working, circa 2004. But I was more of a just- need- a- pick- me- up- so- hand- me- the- Folgers coffee drinker. I never drank it out of pure enjoyment. My coffee palate was non existent to say the least, so I often desecrated filled my coffee with milk, sugar, and ohh goodness those dreaded awful flavored coffee creamers.  Now I love the taste of a good cup of Joe. For those who care to continue reading here are some of my favorite coffees from least to greatest. 
(Most of the below are 32b-40oz bags that can be found at any warehouse store. With the amount of coffee I drink that's how I buy them=)

Can I have a coffee review without mentioning a Starbucks coffee? Its almost obligatory isn't it? Starbucks will always give a can-count-on-good-cup of Arabica bean coffee. Its certainly not the best and even at a warehouse store it's a bit pricey. Though they swear to the contrary their roasts are bitter and strong. If made right the house blend will give you a decent cup. 

From my experience, where you get the bean often means more than the roast. I prefer Coffee Bean over the above Starbucks House Blend. Its a darker roast but the flavor seems smoother and more well rounded than the house blend. I actually like to make this coffee a bit strong and it satisfies by coffee palate while giving me a quick jolt to start the day!

Now I put this above the others because of the value. Its just as good, if not better than the above, its 8oz heavier and a few bucks cheaper. This is the Sam's Club Arabica bean coffee brand. I really like the espresso because it doesn't have that bitter taste even though it's a dark roast. Its a good quality cup of coffee. Great price and great flavor.

Now for a real treat my absolute favorite would be...
100% Kona coffee will bring any name brand coffee to its knees! Peets, Coffee Bean, Starbucks, Dunkin (obviously), Intellagenstia all bow down to Kona. O and don't be fooled by those 10% Kona blends, most of them are yuck bc they mix the beautiful 10% of Arabica Kona with 90% of junk and Robusta!! Anyways...  farmed on the beautiful hills of Kona in the Big Island. This coffee is the only coffee grown in the U.S. and the optimal temperature and altitude provided by Hawaii's unique topography and mineral rich volcanic soil, gives us the PERFECT coffee bean. It's one of the most expensive coffee's in the world. If you were to walk into a gourmet market and find a bag of 100% Kona Coffee, you'd think you were buying a rare bottle of Bordeaux considering it can run you up to $35 for a 7oz bag! Here in Hawaii however I can get a 7oz bag at Walmart for $9! Still really expensive but worth it!

Kona coffee is mild, smooth, yet has a rich aromatic coffee flavor. Before I had my first sip of Kona coffee I didn't know what good or bad. I was blind. Kona Coffee gave me a standard to measure all other coffee flavors, roasts, and brands. I thought there couldn't be anything that could beat Kona coffee, that is until I had....

What? Its the same bag? No no look closely... Kona Peaberry. From the same amazing Kona farms there's a special o so rare and beautiful deformity/mutation that happens when a coffee cherry forms only 1 bean inside instead of two. Each bean instead of looking like a half of a ball, it looks more like a peanut. This can account for only 2% of all Kona coffee grown, so you can just imagine how expensive it is. But its amazing. The roundness of the bean creates an unprecedented even roast that is the life source of a coffee flavor. It has a stronger, deeper, and richer flavor than Kona but so... wonderful. In the mainland it can run you up $50 a 7oz bag but here in Hawaii you can get a 7oz bag of peaberry at Walmart for $20! Which is still really expensive... alas its a once in awhile treat.

NOTE: If you are ever visiting Hawaii and want to buy Kona Coffee Beans 1) Always check the label to make sure it says 100% Kona. 2) Skip the ABC shops and the coffee shops like Honolulu Coffee Co. and Island Vintage. I highly recommend those coffee shops if you are actually buying the coffee to drink there but if you are buying a bag of coffee beans buy it at Walmart. Though those shop's farms have won cupping awards etc. from my experience  100% Kona bean is the same anywhere you buy it and at Walmart it's way cheaper.

So there you have it. My vice. My love for coffee. I know I'm addicted. I'm codependent. But I know that if it weren't for coffee this mama's daechoongness would go over the edge!

Are there any other mother coffee lovers out there? If not, what are some of your get-through-another-day vices?

Typical start to my day. I tell my son to do something while pouring coffee, he gives me the hand while my cup runneth over...

1 child vs. 2

I've noticed recently that a lot of people that I know are either having their 2nd baby or starting to plan on having #2. Its certainly not an easy transition. I remember when Kaitlyn was about 1 week old, going though the whole... you know, postpartum thing, and realizing that my mom was going to leave the next day. I broke down. I had a "What did I get myself into!?!?" moment. Now Kaitlyn is 10 months old and each day is an amazing gift, but it's still far from easy. I look back and see a clear difference between having one child vs two.

Basically before you have you first child you get the notion that there's a "right" way to do it. Goodness forbid that you are one of "those" parents that get it wrong. So when you get the news you are expecting, you go out and read all the books on raising kids, sleep training, nursing, what to buy, and of course, you read up on all the safety tips etc. After that slowly, every aspect of you life changes to prepare for the arrival of the baby. You go and paint/decorate the nursery, you might change the layout of your house. You also spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on all the furnishings and supplies. When your bundle of joy arrives he or she "is the sun and you are the moon". Your schedule, your body, sleep, everything is sacrificed to some degree and life revolves around the baby.

Then baby #2 arrives and its completely different.

Instead of having everything catered to baby #2 its more like, "Hey baby! Welcome to our family, take a seat. This is how we do things, if you don't like it... sorry." Since your set structure is already in place, baby pretty much just joins in on what is already being done. And forget about the whole "right" way of doing things... the new rule is whatever works!

Here are some categories in which my experience raising Joey vs Kaitlyn are completely different and certainly aid in illustrating my point:

1) Safety

With Joey we put out all the stops to make sure our precious son was always safe.  We went out and spent a pretty penny on child safety supplies and child safety gates.  We pretty much caged in our son like a zoo animal for... year and half. As you can see we set the cage so he could not access the TV cords etc.

Joey at 14 months

Joey at 14 months. Having so much fun in captivity haha.

VS. Child # 2 

Kaitlyn 10 months

There's no need for a fence! If she starts crawling out the door or the patio... we just bring her back in.  There's nothing wrong with her playing with TV cords.. just another toy!

2) Sleep

With Joey we set down some pretty solid ground rules regarding sleep training. Even this daechoong mama read 3 books regarding the subject. We had a set bedtime, no co-sleeping, and we let him cry it out! By 8 weeks we had a baby sleeping through the night. During his nap time we made sure he had all the peace and quiet needed.

Joey at 6 months

vs. Kaitlyn's nap times (the other day)

 He climbs up and opens the closet door...

This. Kid. He tries to get in his sisters crib. Kaitlyn is like,"Yay! Please come join me!"

Nap time is more like playtime for Kaitlyn.

 3) Food

I think I'm going to dedicate a post about this in the near future. When Joey started eating solids I wasted so much time and money on making organic pureed baby food. Then fed him each spoonful with love and care.
Joey at 7 months

vs. Kaitlyn... 
feeding herself.
Kaitlyn 10 months

Eating strawberries!

O the carnage...her shirt is messy? No worries!

4) Playtime
Joey had pretty controlled playtime. The toys were in order and he only got to play with one toy at a time.
Joey at 14 months

Joey at 18 months

vs. Joey and Kaitlyn Playtime...
No more control. our living room looks like toys r us exploded

Nap time!

As you can see there are many differences. Kaitlyn entering into our lives she brought a whole new dimension and dynamic to our family. Maybe when she gets older and looks at pictures she'll be like "why am I naked in all my feeding pics!?!?" but shes such a happy baby and in many ways, shes an even happier baby than Joey was because she has an older brother to share every moment.

When Joey was a baby, every time he reached a milestone (ie. turning over, eating solids, crawling, walking, talking), it brought on a wave of anxiety. When he started to turn over, we were worried he would fall off wherever we put him, when he crawled we baby proofed our place in fear he would get hurt, when he ate solids I went crazy pureeing vegetables in fear he wouldn't be healthy. With each step I feared that I would do something wrong to mess it up. Now he's three. Those precious milestone moments, when I should have celebrated... are gone. With Kaitlyn, I let go of my fear of not doing it the right way. I learned from Joey that I need to cherish every stage of this precious fleeting time. I celebrate every milestone. Each day I soak in the joy it is to be her mother. With your first baby you focus so much on yourself and what you are doing right or wrong... with your second you learn just to focus on them and enjoy each moment.

Featured on!

After I had wrote a few posts I got an unexpected email from someone who runs She wanted to feature my blog and interview me! The post went up today! Here is a link to the interview.