Monday, January 20, 2014

Bedtime Monkeys

The other night I was away from home during the kids' bedtime.  Augustine texted me this photo to show me what I was missing...

Jonathan + Curious George = Buddies 4 ever
Apparently, while Aug was getting Jonathan ready for bed, Jonathan spotted the monkey pajamas and insisted that George wanted to wear them.

I'm not sure what I love more - the fact that Jonathan wanted to dress up his toy monkey or that my husband so willingly complied...  :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Easy Preschool Alphabet Activity

When I stopped teaching a little over seven months ago, I couldn't bear to throw anything away that could potentially be useful in the future.  (Come to think of it, this is true in all areas of life for me...a problem, you might say...)

The bad news?  The storage area of our basement is completely taken over by boxes upon boxes representing my seven years in the classroom.  (Sorry, Aug...)  :(

The good news?  Anytime I want to do an art project or learning activity with Jonathan, I just go my basement :)

Today's activity came from a nearly-discarded box of foam alphabet stickers.

I had used these babies to label several items in my classroom and had been caught in a sad dilemma because all or most of the most common letters were used up, but couldn't bring myself to pitch the rest of the perfectly useful stickers.

Enter the boy.  He actually dug this box up in the basement and trotted it over to me one morning this week.  It suddenly hit me that it didn't matter that some letters were missing - it was the perfect, hands-on activity for him to practice his letter recognition!

I selected different uppercase letters and spread them out on the floor and handed him a piece of black construction paper (just for the nice contrast).

Before he picked up a letter to stick onto the sheet, I asked him to tell me the name and color of the letter.  Then, for kicks, I asked him what sound each letter makes.  (He actually learned all of the letters sounds before learning the letters names from watching Leapfrog: Letter Factory, which I highly recommend for introducing letter sounds!)

Peeling off the back of the sticker was a bit of a challenge, but he remained focused and determined to do it.  Some of them were a little tricky, so I gave him a little head start.

He then slapped the letter stickers on any which way he pleased.  In the future, I might draw lines on the paper and have him stick them onto the line so they face the same direction.  Since it was the first time we did it, though, I just wanted him to be free and have fun :)

The finished product!

Hamming it up
Since then, he has requested to "do letters" again several times.  I think we can call it a success! :)

Side note: the box of foam letters came also with lowercase letters.  Since he is still learning his lowercase letters, I waited till after he finished his project to pull some out to show him.

Hehe can you guess what he thought these were? (answers in the caption)

(The "v" was a "heart"...and the "j" he called a "saxophone"!) hahaa
I guess we know what to work on next! :)


And, just because most of my recent posts have been very Jonathan-heavy...

Here is a gratuitous shot of our little gal who has been chomping down finger foods and army-crawling all over the house.

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013: a Photo Recap

I know we're almost halfway through the first month of 2014, but my college roomie (who blogs over at Run With Holly) just did a Year in Pictures post that I really enjoyed, so I thought I'd follow suit while 2013 still feels fresh on my mind. :)
Roomies for 3 years, friends for 13 and counting!

2013 was a year filled with joy!  It was a lot of fun to look back at my pictures from this year because so much of what happened and what God did made me smile :)

2013 in Review:

We were delighted to discover that we were expecting a baby girl!
We also celebrated cousin Bella's 3rd birthday with a costume party (for the kids)

We saw Pentatonix in concert! I'm forever amazed by their vocal ability and musicality!

Over spring break, Aug and I did a bunch of date days instead of going on a long trip...I loved it!
One of them included a Thai cooking class - yum! :)

My sister kindly did a maternity photo shoot for me (and included my beloved cherry blossom tree)
Aug turned 31 :)

On Mother's Day, our church family threw a joint baby shower for my friend and me.
Jonathan mopped the floor as a Mother's Day gift to me ;)
I said goodbye to teaching (for now) and ended the school year early with maternity leave.

Abigail was born!
(This was taken when she was 3 days old.  My co-teacher sweetly made this blanket with our class for Abby)

Jonathan turned 2! We celebrated at Glen Echo park, where we watched a puppet show and rode the carousel, which he found slightly terrifying :-/
My mother turned 60 (a special birthday in Korean culture)

We celebrated 4 years of marriage!
Abby went to her first wedding :) (Dream & Chris)

We went on a family vacation to Deep Creek

We went to the fire station on the final day of summer vacation!
Aug started a new position at his school, while I tried on the Stay-At-Home-Mama hat for the first time. :)

I turned 31 :)
We celebrated Abby's 100th day (another Korean tradition)
Gummy Bear Mama was born.

We soaked up the fall weather with lots of play dates at the playground
We went apple-picking and came home with lots of Honey Crisp..mmm!
We bade farewell to Uncle Joe, who moved across the country for his new job

Firefighter Jonathan saved the day with Dalmatian pup Abby by his side :)
We learned about God's generosity all over again as the yard sale for Carlin yielded over $2,000!
Kinda-sorta started potty-training Jonathan :)
I entered the 21st century - upgraded from my trusty flip phone to a smart phone 
Abby was Aug's date for my dear friend Alison's wedding for which I was a bridesmaid
(bridesmatron? haha)
Abby became mobile and started eating solid food (she was skeptical at first, but now is completely sold!)

Abby's first Christmas!  She started crawling on her belly right before Christmas day.
This was Jonathan's third Christmas but first time actively participating in the decorating! He made sure that one patch on the very bottom half of the tree was extremely well decked out with ornaments.

Every year, everyone in our church chooses a Bible verse to focus on for the year (we call them "key verses").  Last year's verse was all about generosity, and while it challenged me a lot, I am grateful because I learned a lot about generosity through the opportunities that came up and through the ways God showed His generosity to me.

This year, my verse is about encouragement.  It is my hope and prayer to be intentional about encouraging others and being encouraged through His Word.  I want to look for opportunities to encourage those around me (especially these two little squirts and their daddy) and build them up!

"Happy 2014! WE LOVE YOU."

 Looking forward to great things to come in 2014!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Melting My Heart...

Maybe I'm just a big ole softie, but this boy has quickly learned how to melt my heart into a puddle of nothingness.

Bedtime is his favorite time of the day.  It's also his least favorite time of the day.  He loves it because we spend time cuddling in bed, talking about our day, reading the stories he chooses, and praying for others.  

He hates it because it always ends with the lights being turned off and that silly thing called sleep.

So Jonathan has been getting creative with his bedtime-delaying tactics.  Usually it's the typical plea for a drink of water...but the other night he used his Curious George stuffed animal as an excuse by saying, "No turn off the light...George scared!"

Jonathan positioned George and Bear and then requested that I take their picture...

He then joined them, but was concerned because "George not smiling!" (I guess Bear was ok...)
[Also - pardon his pants-less state... See #1 on the list in this post :) ]

The other night Aug was putting Jonathan to bed and he started calling out for Umma (what he calls me - Korean for "mama").  He's been doing this as another bedtime-delaying tactic, so Aug just continued on with the bedtime routine.

Then Jonathan started repeating over and over, "Tell Umma "I love you"!", which caught Aug completely off-guard.  Who could say no to a plea like that?  Not this daddy.  He brought Jonathan over to our room just so Jonathan could tell me that he loved me.

And Jonathan did so, grinning proudly that he had finally found a loophole in bedtime.  :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I've decided that it's okay that Jonathan has learned to pronounce "Christmas" correctly, as long as he continues to call this toy an "Abby-kiss." :)



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Six Years Ago Today

On that chilly January evening, this beautiful thing called "you and me" began.

photo credit: E.Naikal

We tied the knot a year and a half later.

photo credit: Studio Marais

And that love grew...

photo credit: E. Naikal

And grew...

photo credit: E. Naikal

Just look at us now... I wouldn't change a thing about this journey we've been on. :)
photo credit: E. Naikal

So grateful for you.  So grateful for us. <3   Happy us-anniversary!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Boy oh Boynton

As a child, my nose was always in a book.  My sister and I were notorious for bringing books to the dinner table and reading in the car even after it got nearly too dark to see.  Then I grew up and became an early elementary teacher, where half of my day was spent teaching kids how to read and getting them excited about books.

You can imagine my chagrin when I discovered that Jonathan didn't like books as a young toddler.  He would crawl over to us while we read aloud to him, just to grab the book or to shut it.  I read parenting books that encouraged us to continue to read books to our child, even if he appeared uninterested or even ignored us and played with something else.  So we did.  And somewhere between 18 months and 2 years of age, he came around...and now the kid loves books.

I am so excited to share with him the books that I've read to my classes over the years, or the different series of books that I enjoyed reading as a child.  But for now, we are solidly in the board book phase, which is totally cool with me too.  I am finding that, with multiple reads, some of the board books I'd coolly dismissed in the past have actually grown on me.

Sandra Boynton's books fall in this category - at first read, I thought they were just okay - simple little books.  But now I find them catchy/amusing, silly, and really cute. :)

The best thing about reading with Jonathan is having conversations about each page.  And the best thing about reading him these Sandra Boynton books is that the different books often feature similar characters...which he has named after the people in our family.

While Jonathan's character and my character might vary from day to day, he consistently calls the big brown bear "Appa" (what he calls Augustine - "daddy" in Korean) and the little rabbit "Abby."

I originally thought that it was because the bear was big and fatherly-looking and the rabbit was one of the smallest animals in the books.  But now I'm wondering if Jonathan just noticed a common theme that I myself didn't take note of until after many, many reads:

The bear and the rabbit are almost always together...
But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton 

 And the bear is always there to help the rabbit...
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton 

(And this one is my favorite example) :
Hey! Wake Up by Sandra Boynton 

Isn't it so sweet?  Of course I may be reading into things a bit, but I feel like I've gotten a glimpse of the world through my two year old's eyes - the secure, loving parent-child relationship that he recognizes between Abby and her daddy.  And it makes me smile. :)

What about you?  What is your favorite children's book?  Are there any that you grew to love (or hate) after many reads?