Truly, I can't.
Today my sweet baby turned 1! How the time has flown by...I'm so blessed to be able to celebrate her first birthday with her.
We partied it up...Korean style.
Oh yeah...we did!
I spent most of the day cooking. Or at least it felt like it!
For supper I made a traditional Korean meal called Gungjung Tteokbokki (stir fried rice cakes with beef and veggies.) You can find the recipe here. It was fabulous and the smells in the kitchen made me feel like I was right back in Korea.
For dessert, I started prepping earlier in the day. I toiled over a mujigae ddeok (무지개떡) which is a rainbow rice cake. It's a little something special they do it Korea. It took me about 2 hours to make. Honest.
I also bought some strawberry rice cakes and some sweet red bean paste rice cakes at the Korean Mart a few days back. The strawberry ones? To. Die. For.
And who can resist chocolate frosted chocolate cupcakes? So we had to throw those in. (Mostly because I can't keep myself from the batter...a moth to a flame, I tell ya.)
After supper, we cleaned up and got this party started.
Cora's fosterfamily in Korea had bought her this dress specifically for her 1st birthday. In Korea, the first birthday is quite significant and they really do it up. It's called a "tol". It just seemed perfect to have her wear her special dress for her very special day.
And oh my...could she be any cuter?!?
I mean, really....she's such a princess!
We got everything ready for her toljabee. It's a little game that is played where items are set out in front of the baby and the first one that is picked will determine what she will be when she grows up.
What will you be, Cora Jihee?
Cora selected the paintbrush...which says she will be an artist when she grows up.
A wisk. Maybe she will be a famous chef if the painting thing doesn't turn out. Maybe I'll watch my daughter on FoodTV someday....
The other things that were available, but not selected were a ball of yarn (to signify a long life) and a 10,000 won bill-the currency in Korea (to signify success in the business world). We had more things to set out, but she was losing patience with the whole game so we had to rush things along a bit.
After the toljabee came the presents.
Some yummy yogurt bites from Ben.
Banana Puffs from Lily.
A talking book from Ella.
A Winnie the Pooh along with a book from Nana.
And an Elmo shape sorter and an outfit from Grammie and Papa.
Once the presents were opened and enjoyed, the desserts were brought out.
And Cora? Well, she got her very own chocolate cupcake all to herself.
And boy, did she enjoy that!
She didn't waste anytime. In fact, she started digging in before we were even done singing "Happy Birthday!"
"Hello Chocolate...where have you been my whole life?"
It was so much fun trying different things.
I am pretty sure that these same treats will be requested again and again.
Lily enjoyed a tasting of everything. But she especially loved the strawberry rice cakes.
I, myself, opted for the chocolate cupcake. Although I am sure I could eat a whole bag of those strawberry rice cakes any day of the week.
But at the end of the night...we had a pretty happy little 1 year-old.
Oh...and this pretty, little something...
The cake that I
Well, my Korean friends will get a good laugh out of this...I used regular rice flour instead of frozen rice flour (I figured there would be a difference...but not that big of a difference.)
I know better for next time. At least it looked pretty. Please tell me it's the thought that counts.
All in all, it was a lovely evening.
I am so thankful that I had the priveledge of spending Cora's first birthday with her. I had a hard time thinking about it last night...it's hard to explain. It always feels like the first year flies by...but when you have only known your child for 2.5 months...it feels like the first year has gone by at warp speed. I was reminded of all of the things in her life that I have missed...and to be honest, it made me teary. And then, just as I started feeling sad about the first year being done already, God nudged my heart. He has a way of putting me back in my place. A way of giving me some much needed perspective. He reminded me that I have gotten 2.5 months with her already...and frankly, if we had been with the other korean agency, we would still be waiting to bring her home and it wouldn't even be a possibility to watch her during her toljabee...or watch her man-handle that cupcake. And most of all, I was reminded that her mother in Korea has missed her entire first year...all of it. It was then that I saw how incredibly blessed I am.
I love you, Cora Jihee. More than I can ever describe. You are such an amazing little girl and I can't wait to see what God has planned for your life. You are so dearly wanted and so incredibly loved. You are precious beyond words. You are one of the four best things that have ever happened to me. I am priveledged to be your mother.
Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!
생일 축하해요 (saeng-il chukha-haeyo)