September 28, 2012

There seems to be a pretty noticeable pattern in my blogging where I kind of drop off in the summer. Looking through my archives, I’ve done it pretty much every year since I started this blog. Maybe it’s the busyness of summer–lots of birthdays, parties, celebrations–or maybe it’s the weather that makes me think less & do more (hence, less blogging). At any rate, I’m ready to embrace fall & hopefully pick the blogging back up again. Now, if only the weather would cooperate…

In the past few months, a lot has happened. One of my besties got married. We did a weekender in San Diego & met up with a lot of friends. Celebrated another dear one’s wedding-to-be. Went to the beach. Started a Facebook page for ampersandity. Became one of the world’s top pinners. Celebrated a gazillion first birthdays. Celebrated a new nephew-to-be! Prepared for Steven to become a student again (first day of school starts tomorrow!). Mourned the death of a loved one. Spent a lot of time with cousins. Oh, and my baby straight up turned into a walking, talking, comprehending toddler.

At fifteen months, he has developed quite a little personality. He is still a pretty calm, mellow, easy-going child. Definitely takes after his dad, who takes after his dad. I’m liking this Hong man trait thing that’s being passed down. Please Lord, more of these! But he does have his share of meltdowns & tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants. And boy, does he know what he wants! Here are some of his favorites at 15 months:

Favorite Book: Snuggle Puppy (Moo Baa La La La is probably his second favorite. That Sandra Boynton sure knows what she’s doing.)
Favorite Foods: Turkey/avocado panini, mandoo, veggie soup, burrito bowls
Favorite Desserts: Frozen yogurt, mango cream bars
Favorite Word: Kka-kka (that would be “cracker” in Korean… meaning any Cheerios, puffs & other snacks)
Favorite Thing to Wear: Shoes, especially his Natives
Least Favorite Thing to Wear: Tight pants
Favorite Thing to Watch: Brainy Baby DVDs, Elmo, videos of himself laughing
Favorite iPad Game: Interactive Alphabet
Favorite Toys: Stacking rings, alphabet blocks, Leapfrog toys, books, doors
Favorite Part of the Day: Going to get the mail, kka-kka/TV time, bath time
Favorite Things to Hold: Pens, keys, family picture, spoon, blankie

I am really loving this age so much. He all of a sudden started understanding so much more. Though he doesn’t say much yet, I know his little brain is just processing so much & absorbing it all like a sponge. He loves to come up to us with books & sit himself down on our laps. He will point, point, point at everything, asking us to name everything, particularly letters these days. I say “let’s go get the mail!” and he runs to his room & points at his shoes. I say “do you want milk?” and he runs to the kitchen & points at the fridge. I say “can you choose another book?” and he goes to his shelf & picks out a new book for us to read him. Or sometimes he comes back with Snuggle Puppy again (sigh). Sometimes when he goes #2, he will go to his room and try to take out his changing pad (what?!). A couple days ago, we showed him where his belly button was, and last night when we asked “where’s Ollie’s bae-kkop?” he tried to pull up his shirt. Alas, he was already wearing his sleepsack, so he could not.

Life has been really busy, but really sweet too. I find my days full, in a good way, and I feel content with what I have. Even things with the shop have been moving in a good direction. A year ago when I first had Ollie, I really thought that life would never be the same again. And of course it’s not. I’ve changed so much & grown as a mother & as a wife. But now that Ollie is getting a little older, I’m finding that I can still pursue dreams, do projects, learn new things & help with events the same way that I did before I had kids. It has to be done more strategically, of course, but it’s still doable & it still brings me a lot of joy. I am still me. Now I’m looking forward to this last stretch of the year, which means lots of baking, Thanksgiving dinner, the holidays, starting family traditions, and more. I cannot wait!


This past weekend Ollie & I made the trek up to San Jose to celebrate with Cindy at her bridal shower. After so many years of dating, then being engaged, I can’t believe her wedding day is almost upon us. If you don’t know, Cindy is my college roommate of four years, my Chinese “twin,” one of my best friends! I can’t wait to see her as a wife & homemaker. So excited for you, chingoo-yah!

Here are some pictures I snagged from her shower. It was a stripey summer brunch theme & so much fun to put together. My parents let us use their backyard (their pride & joy), which worked out really well. Thanks, moms & pops!








Exactly one month to go! :)))

Alphabet Picnic Party.

July 12, 2012

I had been meaning to post his 12 month update, but time got away from me, and now he will be 13 months this weekend. So, instead of doing that, here are some notables about our little Ollie right now:

-I finally weaned him off of baby food onto all table foods right after his one year appointment. It was so daunting for me, but after I did it, I wondered why I hadn’t done it earlier. I have been cycling through some very simple meals & always looking for more ideas of easy, balanced, hearty and tasty meals for the little one. If you have any good ones, holler at me!
-We also officially said bye bye to the bottle this week. Something about him just being on three meals a day & drinking regular milk out of a cup just makes him seem so old. It is crazy how many changes there are in their diets throughout that first year. So hard to keep up with all the changes.
-I also made the executive decision to switch him to one nap, the first day of the switch being his party day! It was chaos. It’s been a few weeks now & he is slowly adjusting. Some days are awesome; some days, not so much. Overall he is doing much better than I expected, but it’s still hard to deal with his overall crankiness through the transition (though I think half of that may be because he’s getting his molars right now).
-It’s crazy, but it’s like right after he turned one, he turned into a little toddler with all kinds of demands and strong opinions. He throws mini-tantrums when I take away his favorite toys (which are all oddly small pieces of something: a puzzle, nesting blocks, stacking rings) or refuse to read him a book for the 10th time in a row. What happened to my super-chill baby???
-But, the other side of the coin is, he has just become so super duper affectionate. He will frequently just come up to me and lay his head on my lap or on my belly. Or climb my legs and bury his head between my legs. Or nestle his head deep into my neck. It is so sweet; I absolutely love it.

Now, onto pictures of the party. Thanks to Christine for taking these shots for us–we love them!

*Footnote: We think it’s hilarious how he looks so stoic/serious in all these pictures. That’s his public face. He only brings out the smiles at home. Takes after papa. Or is it mama?

Dear Ollie,

How are you already one? This year went by so fast. Everyone told me it would, but it was so hard to believe that in those early days and weeks when each day blurred into the next with the round-the-clock feedings, challenges with breastfeeding, figuring out how to get you to sleep, worrying about messing you up… Back then, keeping you up for 45 minutes seemed like so long! Now you can easily & happily play for 4-5 hours. Amazing what one year can do.

Ollie, we love you so much. Sooooo much. It is our delight to watch you grow, watch you laugh and smile, see you pick up new things, see you develop preferences and attachments. Every little thing is so special to us because we know and remember so clearly the days when you were just a newborn baby, unable to do anything for yourself. A mother’s love is so different from anything I have ever experienced in the past… I want to protect you so fiercely but give you the space to learn and grow on your own. There is such a delicate balance.

I can appreciate and understand my parents better through my own journey through parenthood–all those times I criticized them in my heart, I can see that they were just trying their best. We are trying our best too. I know we will fail and there will inevitably be misunderstandings, conflict, anger and hurt, but I hope you will know that we always love you, we’re always trying our best for you, and we’d give up the world for you.

You are still so young… you have yet to say “mama”, or to take your first steps. But one day, we hope that you will come to know Jesus, that He will reign in your heart and be supreme in your life. Jesus is the answer to all of life’s heartaches, pains, fears, griefs and hardships. In Him you can have true and lasting joy, peace, hope and purpose. We know our testimony is weak and inconsistent, but we hope through the years that you can see Jesus in us.

We love you to the moon and back! Can’t wait to see what year two holds for us. :)

Love, M&P

Palm Springs.

May 18, 2012

Earlier this week we went to Palm Springs with Joan, Dale & Isaac. Rented out a super-nice mid-century modern home. Ate lots of yummy food. Shopped. Went on dates. Played games. Went swimming. Watched the kiddies play together — kind of. It was so nice… relaxing, fun & a nice getaway from the daily grind. So fun to hang out with family & to get a little peek at what our future family vacations will be like. Definitely missed Mark, Julie & Athan though! Some photos of our few days together:

So good. Can’t wait to do it again!

Special Talents

Still lots of climbing, standing, cruising, getting down. Much better at getting down from places now. And we saw him do a real crawl a handful of times, though he still defaults to his belly crawl when he actually wants to move it, move it. I’ve decided that I don’t care if he ever does a real crawl, since he is so content & efficient moving around on his belly. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy. :)

Sleeping on his back & side. Ollie has always been a tummy sleeper and never really had many sleep disruptions due to rolling since he learned how to roll from back to tummy first. However he did go through a short stint where he forgot how to roll that way & would get stuck on his back and cry. Lately though, I think he is feeling really comfortable in his own skin & with his greater sense of mobility–he has actually been sleeping on his back a lot. I think it is so cute cause I can see his sleeping face on the monitor!

Eating more real food. He’s getting more adept at chewing bigger pieces and swallowing. So cute how he wants to eat everything we’re eating.


Naps have been pretty good, but he has been taking for-e-ver to fall asleep at night. Like, one hour plus. I’ve tried different things like a later bedtime, less napping, waking him up from his afternoon nap earlier, lots & lots of exercise… all to no avail. I am trying to tell myself that it’s just cause he is going through so much developmentally (and he really is), but it kind of still drives me nutso.


Ollie has been eating like a little monster the last couple weeks. I decreased his milk intake and started offering solids before milk for lunch and dinner. Vast improvements. I think he could possibly move to all table foods at this point, but the thought of preparing soft, chewable, mushy foods for him for every meal is a bit daunting. We are sticking to chunky purees, with some of our own food thrown in here & there.


His burpie. I’ve given him a burpcloth to play with in his crib ever since he was only a few months old, but up until this past month, he completely ignored it. This month he has really taken a liking to it and holds it, chews it, crawls around his crib with it. It is so cute.

Toy cars. We just came back from Palm Springs with Joan, Dale & Isaac. Just in in those short few days, he developed an intense love for Isaac’s toy cars. He likes to grab one in each hand and crawl around, rolling the wheels back & forth on the ground. It was so weird for me to see him playing with little cars–makes him seem like such a little boy and not like a baby. Ikey was sweet enough to give Ollie one of his precious cars to take home. :)

When Daddy rubs his beard on his belly. We do this a lot when we’re changing him into his PJs, and he cracks up like crazy! It is super sweet, cause Steven remembers being tickled by his dad’s stubble when he was a little boy, and now he gets to make the same memories for his own little boy.

Resting his head on the dining table (picture above). He does this thing where he tilts his head while looking at you, down, down, until he’s just resting on the table. He does it over & over and wants you to do it with him. It is so cute.


Meh-meh. :(

Independent playtime. I haven’t been very good about giving him consistent independent playtime everyday, which has resulted in a very unhappy, clingy baby when I do give him IP. I slowly built up to about half an hour by last week and he was doing well most days, but I’m pretty sure we’re back at square one since coming back from vacation. :/

Inspired by Rosie’s post, I thought I’d post a little collection of some of our current fave products & also a few things on our wishlist (or rather, my wishlist, for both of us taha).

For Ollie:
1. Kicky Pants Pajamas:  These were a splurge for PJs, but I bought them because he always gets lots of wear out of PJs & also because the weather has been so weird in CA lately. One week it’s hot and in the 80s; the next week it’s raining in the 60s. These are made out of bamboo viscose, which is super soft, stretchy, and has the same benefits of cashmere–keeps you cooler in warm weather and warmer in cool weather.
2. Aden+Anais Snap Bibs:  I always grab for these bibs cause they’re soft, give great coverage, and conveniently snap to the side instead of the back.
3. Lifefactory Glass Bottles: Since I weaned, we’ve been using these glass baby bottles. They’re durable, hold the full 8oz, and come in pretty colorful silicone protective sleeves. I love choosing which color to use!
4. Elephant Scandeez Shoes: These shoes are super cute & soft–perfect now for walking around outside with assistance. :)
5. Baby Deedee Sleep Nest:  Love this sleepsack for nighttime and colder days. It feels like a down sleeping bag for babies & I always feel good putting him in such a cozy sack for the night.

For me:
1. Red Nail Polish:  I’ve worn red nail polish on my toes for about a year now & still can’t get myself to switch to a different color. This is a cheapie one for $4 from Sephora. Great price, but it always scratches off when I go to the pool. Must find a better quality one for the summer!
2. Mini Latte Bowls:  These are my favorite little bowls, gifted to me from Sharon. They’re the perfect size for a light snack of yogurt + granola, or two scoops of my favorite Trader Joe’s ice cream.
3.  One Piece Swimsuit: Since I had the baby, there’s no going back to bikinis. :/ So I bought two new suits for the summer–this striped piece & this polka dot one. I actually think I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of them this summer since Ollie seems to love the pool!
4. Baggu Bags: These are my favorite reusable bags–perfect for taking packages to the post office, picking up groceries, going to the farmers market, and even carrying extra clothes/equipment for Ollie when we nap him away from home. It really makes grocery shopping so much easier when I can fit everything into this one bag.
5.  Kate Spade iPhone Case: Gifted from the hubby, this is my favorite iPhone case ever! I still haven’t gotten sick of it & haven’t found any other case I like more than this one. Plus, it protects one of my absolute necessities in life. ;)

For Ollie:
1. Dohar Blanket:  I don’t know why, but I am on a never-ending quest for the perfect blankie for Ollie. I think at this point, he won’t ever have a favorite blankie, but I’m still determined to find it. This one is super soft & has three layers — It felt perfect for the upcoming hotter months.
2. Animal Storage Bins: Now that I’ve weaned and Ollie is more mobile, we want to rearrange his nursery a little bit… get rid of the futon I used to nurse on & put in a little shelving unit for his books with bins for toys. These animal storage bins would fit the bill!
3. Bobo Choses Bicycle Leggings: I know, I’m a sucker for cute leggings.
4. Ikea Wagon: This wagon/walker would be perfect for the summer as Ollie learns how to walk. It’s cute, cheap & not an eyesore like many of the other walkers out there!
5. Cloud Pillow: I could probably make this myself, but it is so cute! I actually love everything in her Etsy shop & wish I had a thousand dollars to buy them all.

For me:
1. New Bedding: It’s been three years now since we got married & I’m itching for new bedding. I love this set from DwellStudio & this one from West Elm.
2. New Purse: After carrying around a diaper backpack for the past year, I’m wanting a new purse just for myself for when I go out without the baby.
3. Fog Linen Trays: I’ve been eyeing these Fog Linen trays for forever. Would love to trade out our weathered, wooden tray for these fresh, striped ones. Perfect for drinking bedtime tea while watching Mad Men. :)
4. Whimsy & Spice Cookies: I love love love these cookies & wish they were available locally. My sweet tooth has gone a little rampant since I first began expecting Ollie and hasn’t subsided since!
5. Catbird NYC Ring: I don’t know why, but I’m so drawn to rings. I don’t really wear any other jewelry, but am always looking for more rings. Love this simple gold band with the lone diamond–really beautiful.