Monday, June 20, 2011

Kamron's 1st Birthday Party

In Korea, first birthdays are a big deal. A really big deal--an important right of passage in the Korean culture to be celebrated in a BIG way. It usually involves elaborate decorating/food preparation and the rental of a hall to accommodate the many guests. Think wedding. That big.

Initially--as in many, many months ago--I had this grand plan to throw Kamron a more traditional dol. We were going to go to the Korean bakery in Chicago and pick up all of the traditional baked goods and have it catered by a Korean restaurant, etc., etc. I thought maybe 70 guests or so.

Yeah, not the best plan for an introverted (whether by personality or by current circumstance?) kiddo who is still adjusting to his new day-to-day. I really, really struggled with how to handle his first birthday. In the end we decided to follow our gut and throw him a very small family party...on a boat! My sister Lisa did the research for us to charter the Milwaukee Maiden on Father's Day. I think it was a really good decision for Kamron. Aside from some minor upset when he was dressed in his hanbok, I think he enjoyed himself.

Kamron enjoyed crawling around the boat and cruising around from chair to chair. Exploring new surroundings circled by familiar people is Kamron's idea of a good time, I think.
See what I mean about upset around the hanbok? I guess Kam isn't a fan of getting dressed up. Look closely--big crocodile tears and everything.
Mama to the rescue. His hanbok is lovely--and particularly special because his foster family gave it to him. (As an aside, pink and purple are not associated with girls in Korea. It's refreshing. They're just colors like all the other colors.)
Time for the dol jabi ritual where Kamron would choose his future! We all gathered around to see what would attract him. First choice? Drum roll, please...
The bowl of rice! There seem to be various meanings--all related--associated with some selections. The most commonly held meaning associated with choosing rice means the child will always have food and shelter.
Kamron was pleased to finally be able to mouth his sister's play rice. He's had his eye on it for some time now.
I think Kamron could have stopped at the rice. He was satisfied. Nedy decided to encourage him a bit by playing with some of the stuff herself.
He fell for it! He's back in the game! What would his second choice be? Knife (good cook), stethoscope (doctor), money (rich)...??? Such a tough choice. I thought for a second it was going to be the knife, but he passed it over and came around to...
The book! Scholarly! I like it.
And finally, the ruler was his third choice. A ruler means good at handiwork/making things. Score!
The crowd is pleased! Good work, Kam!
Later on he decided the paintbrush was super cool; he held it for a loooooong time. Artist maybe? :)
Cake time!
How funny. The child who gets into absolutely everything decides to go at the cake all gingerly. (He was probably shocked that no one was saying, "Nooooooooooo, Kamron...")
For the record, gift opening on a boat is just more fun. :)
생일 축하해, Kamron!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guess who's one?

Kamron turned one today! We must have sang 'happy birthday' to him 50 times--turns out he likes that song a lot. (Not as much as the theme song to Angelina Ballerina, but that's for another post...) Anyway, after his usual marathon morning nap, Nana and Papa surprised us by bringing Josiah, Samuel and Julia over to share in the birthday cheer. They even brought a tiny heart-shaped cake!
(From this angle it totally looks like a hamburger bun, but I assure you it was indeed a small heart-shaped pound cake.)
After that, per our family tradition, we put Kam through the torture of taking more photos than he was interested in being part of, though given his young age and short time with us, we only subjected him to 15 minutes or so. We did let him know that next year he would be fully tortured with the full hour plus session. :)
Taking photos was so funny today--the difference between a child "trained" by my ever-present camera for two years and one who is still adjusting to his new family was...well...very evident. :) Kamron is such a serious little guy whenever we are out and about, though he has begun to ham it up quite a bit at home. His smile is so adorable--it lights up his whole face--but you'll have to take my word for it, because Kam decided to be mostly stoic for his one year old birthday pics. (And as you can see, Ned was not at all stoic about celebrating her little brother's first birthday. Ned is, after all, rarely described by the word "stoic.")
Our first stop was that concrete wall at UWM again. I love that wall for background contrast and I just wasn't happy with the last round of pics there. (Guess what? I'm not satisfied with these either, but I need to wait for Kam to be home a while longer before I try again. I was hoping to capture the smiles we get at home here, but when he's away from home he clams up a bit. Brave little guy, such a huge series of life adjustments for such a little being. And then there's that dang teething...ugh.)

Handsome little fella.
We appliqued the "1" on his shirt. Dan and I have to work on our appliqueing skills. :)
Just look at that face.
And big sister, who, after inspecting Kamron's shirt this morning (and pointing out it's flaws, I might add) announced, "Hey Mama, I'm gonna wear my 3 shirt today and that way me and Kamron are both wearing numbers and we'll know how old we are when we look at these pictures, okay?" That Ned. She's a thinker.
I had to go to work for a couple hours this afternoon after the brief stop at the concrete wall. When I got home, everyone was rested and ready to go so we walked to Big Bay Park for some time at the lake. Kamron has been to the lake a few times. He likes it a lot. He likes the sound of waves and would eat the entire beach of sand if we let him. (I'll never understand that--why do kids repeatedly try to eat sand? One try I get--heck it might be sugar for goodness sake--but after that first gritty tongue coating? I mean, they go back for more?!?) Needless to say, no photos of Kam on the sand because it takes all of us to police his sand-eating ways.
Feet! Soooooo cute. He crosses his feet a lot.
Kam likes the breakwater. He laughs and laughs when I run him out on it.
And we brought the tripod for some family shots! I think these came out super cute.
Ned's "scrunched nose" look of irritation. It's sooooooo funny.Happy birthday, Kam. We love you. We can't wait to watch you bloom over the next year.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Covered Bridge Park

Photos from an impromptu stop at Covered Bridge Park in Cedarburg Saturday--good thing my camera is almost always in the car. I just looooove the series of Kam and his chubby little dimpled hands. And the last shot on the post--let's just say heart melting into a puddle of goo. :)

I should have an update post up sometime this week. In short, multiple kiddo illness aside, we are doing really well. Dare I say it, we might even be getting the hang of this two kiddo thing...knock on wood. :)