Half Dome Proposal

May 27, 2015

I was proposed to exactly 3 years ago today! My how time flies! I thought it'd change it up and write a post about the other important person in my life. I never really got around to sharing my proposal story, so thought today would be a perfect time to share it.

My brother-in-law knew someone who was lucky enough to get a permit to hike Half Dome. I believe each permit is good for 6 people. Ken and I were able to join my BIL and his friends for the hike. (You're only able to hike this if you have a permit- which you have to request in advance). The hike is about 14 miles round trip (or maybe 16? 17? I forget) with an ending elevation of almost 9,000 ft. The weather was perfect because it had rained the day before so there were CLEAR skies the day of the hike and it wasn't hot at all. We started the hike at around 4:00am and finished around 6:00pm. For those of you who have hiked Half Dome know it isn't an easy task. The hike up is challenging, but the hike down is even worse (at least in my opinion).

I could tell Ken was acting strange the entire time hike up. He didn't really talk to me and it seemed like a lot was on his mind. Oh and I'd like to mention that my mom had already spoiled the fact that Ken had asked her for permission to marry me...so I knew it was coming (just didn't know when). But even though I knew it was coming, I was still so shocked when he did finally propose. Funny part was that the ring didn't even fit me! My fingers were all swollen from the elevation. Hah. My BIL was ready with a camera capturing the whole thing. The pictures came out perfect.

Like I was mentioning before, the hike down was pretty brutal. So brutal I practically forgot I was engaged. I definitely wasn't all peppy and excited anymore. Ken was a little sad about that, but what girl has to hike down 7+ miles after getting proposed to.. right??! I just remember that my only concern was to get down the mountain and didn't want to waste any time talking. But once we made it down, I think that's when it finally started to hit me. I finally had some service on my phone and I was able to make it official by telling my friends and family. What an adventure!

I remember that while he was proposing, I wasn't really filled with tears or anything (I thought for sure I would cry) because I think I was more overwhelmed/shocked with what was actually happening and all the people behind us watching and cheering didn't help. But, I did almost burst out crying when I made it back home to find my friends and family waiting to congratulate and celebrate our engagement with us. I was totally surprised. Smart move Ken! I'm sure if you ask Ken for his version of the proposal, his story will be quite different. Apparently, he was nervous as heck about the fact that he was hiking up a mountain with an engagement ring in his bag. Guys do get it tough having to propose..it's so nerve-wrecking! But, so thankful for all the thought and love behind it all!

21-Month Update - Erin

May 19, 2015

My baby girl is 21 months! Can't believe she'll be two soon. I've got a mixture of feelings about that. Erin is a full blown toddler..not that she wasn't one before, but she's like a real human being now. There's just so much to her..it's crazy.

Loves to:
Spin around in circles
Put on her shoes and pants
Climb everything
Check herself out in the mirror

Pretending to cook (can only make bap (rice) and milk)
Doing everything by herself
Saying "no", "uh oh", "ow",  "look" and "stuck"
Going up and down the stairs by herself
Eating with no bib
Picking up leaves and smelling flowers
Drinking soup from the bowl with no spoon

Weight: 19 1/2 lbs
Height: 31 inches
Note: Still tiny =/

Food: She still loves her Korean food. She most definitely prefers Asian food over anything else. Girl has a major sweet tooth. We're hoping the sweets will fatten her up. Still not into fruit, but loves her veggies. She's still drinking lots of milk (thank goodness).

Sleep: She still ends up in our end at some point of the night. She's been having nightmares, so not sure if that's what has been waking her up, but Ken and I don't mind having her in bed with us (for now).

Personality: She's been getting more adventurous these days. She's climbing everything now, so we really need to keep a close eye on her. She's so longer deathly afraid of dogs. She'll actually approach them and try and pet them. I can tell she's opening up and isn't so closed off anymore to the people around her. She's doing this thing right now where she points out what is hers, what's mom's and what's Dada's. It's pretty darn cute. We got her a baby doll last Christmas, but she has only just started playing with it. She'll change the baby's diaper and take her to the potty. She's talking all the time and copying everything we do. They learn so fast!


Traveling Abroad with a Toddler

May 15, 2015

There's a whole lot involved when you're planning a trip with a toddler, especially if its international and its for a long period of time. Because I had never traveled abroad with Erin before, I did a lot of guessing in terms of what I thought I would need. There are definitely a few things I shouldn't or didn't have to take and there were things I should have taken or should have packed more of. Here's a little of what I've learned after our trip.


I was really dreading the flights. I've heard horror stories of kids having meltdowns and crying throughout the entire flight. Luckily for us, Erin actually did pretty well on the flights. There were no meltdowns, just some whining here and there mostly because she was uncomfortable and tired. Score for us! Here are a few things that made the flight much easier for all of us:

  1. Doodle board. This thing was her favorite "toy". I actually didn't let her open it till we got on the plane so it was all new to her. She really liked the doodle board, not only on the flight, but throughout our trip. We took it around with us for meals to occupy her during downtime. This definitely made the time pass quicker on the plane.
  2. Lollipops. I brought a bunch of lollipops with me because I wasn't sure how Erin would do with the altitude. We gave her the lollipop (which she loved), but it wasn't necessary. She didn't seem bothered with the altitude at all. I'd suggest bringing some lollipops on long flights either way, because it did keep Erin busy and quiet for quite some time...and that's what you want. Keeping your child occupied during an 11 hour flight is no easy task. 
  3. Stickers. What kid doesn't like stickers? I got rolls of stickers and sticker books. We spent a nice chunk of time putting stickers on the chairs and on Dad (wish I took a picture of it).
  4. Grab N' Go play packs. These things are only a $1! So of course I bought a few for the trip. I let her open them up one at a time. When she started to get bored of one, I'd let her open up another one. She likes anything with crayons, so this occupied her for a good chunk of time.
  5. Security bunny. She doesn't have a security blanket, but she does have a security bunny. She sleeps with him every night so of course we made sure to take Mr. Bunny with us. Mr. Bunny helps with naps so he helped us on the plane. She took some decent naps on the flights. He was also helpful in Italy. (It's crazy to see how white the bunny used to be. It's more of a gray color now, as you can see hah.)
*Most international flights will have bassinets for use in the bulkhead seating area, but you'll have to call ahead and reserve it. They'll only have a limited amount. All airlines will have different size bassinets, so make sure you ask what the height and weight limit is. Erin didn't fit into the UA one and she barely fit into the Lufthansa one. 

What to Pack

We packed a lot for this trip. Most of it was for Erin. The items below were quite vital to our trip and I was so glad we had them.
  1. Brica travel changing pad. We had to change Erin's diaper in many random places throughout our trip. Didn't find any public restrooms and if you did, definitely no changing table. This changing pad is pretty big, so no body parts were touching the ground. 
  2. Ergo. Erin took most of her naps in the Ergo. I'm lucky that Erin isn't a heavy child, so I didn't mind carrying her around. I even hiked with her in this thing. I love the Ergo. We stuffed it in our backpack and took it with us everywhere. Seriously one of the best baby purchases I've made.
  3. Straw cup. Many of the restaurants in Italy didn't have baby friendly eating products, i.e. plastic-ware, straws. I'm glad we brought along this straw cup. We carried it with us everywhere we went so Erin could drink her water/milk throughout the day.
  4. Oatmeal. Erin loves Trader Joe's Maple and Brown Sugar oatmeal (I do too!). Knowing Erin is a picky eater, I packed a bunch of these oatmeal packs for Erin just in case she didn't eat anything. I was right, Erin refused to eat anything for breakfast while we were there. This oatmeal saved us, or saved Erin at least. She ate it almost every morning we were there. Lifesaver fosure.
  5. Snacks. I brought a lot of snacks for Erin. I'd really suggest that you bring snacks that your kid is used to if you've got yourself a picky eater like Erin. I get a lot of Erin's snacks from Plum Organics. She likes their nutrition bars and smoothies. I also brought along goldfish crackers, raisins and some Asian crackers.  
  6. Korean food. A lot of what I packed was food oriented for my picky eater. I brought along instant rice as well as some instant curry and soup. My kid loves rice so I knew she'd eat it. Erin didn't eat much for the first few days in Italy, so these instant meals really kept my kid from starving. Again, a lifesaver fosure.
*We brought a dinky stroller with us. It did come in handy because Erin took a few naps in it and it gave us a break from holding her. We didn't bother bringing the stroller back home wish us though.
*I also highly recommend getting these space savers. These allowed us to pack more and it kept everything organized. 

Jet-lag and adjusting to the new environment

I'd say that jet-lag lasted about a day and half for Erin. We didn't let her sleep in too much and we kept her up till her normal bedtime. Having her adjust to Italy time faster helped with the jet-lag. However, adjusting to the new environment was hard on Erin. It took almost five days for Erin to adjust to Italy. I knew she'd have a hard time considering her personality. The first day in Italy was the toughest for all of us. The jet-lag and the new surroundings were a lot for Erin to handle all at once. She didn't really eat, didn't want to walk around and she looked a little unsure about everything. Most of her meltdowns happened during these first few days. Erin got a tad bit better as the days progressed, but it wasn't till day five that she was acting like herself again and eating like she normally does. Poor kid. I wonder what was going through her mind. It's tough on the little ones when you're traveling far away from home, so remember to consider that when you're planning out your first few days. There were definitely days when I was so frustrated with her...about her super clinginess and her refusing to eat, but I had to step back and remember to be more understanding. I'd say she was a trooper throughout our time in Italy though. High five to Erin!


  1. Be flexible - We made changes to planned activities when we needed to. Traveling with a kid means there will be unexpected situations which may cause you to cancel plans. So I would go into a trip with more of a relaxed itinerary. Unforeseen meltdowns or super unpleasant children may force you to change/adjust plans.
  2. Try to keep a routine - Keeping a routine, even when you aren't home, really helps your kids adjust faster to the new environment. A well napped child means you'll have a somewhat "good" kid during meals, which means you might even be able to eat your meal while its hot.
  3. Do stuff that kids will enjoy - Kids probably don't usually enjoy what adults enjoy, so I say you plan some activities that are strictly child oriented. We spent one afternoon at a kids museum and it really felt like we were one of the locals. No foreigners, just Italians..with their kids, having fun at the museum.
I most definitely recommend parents to travel with there little ones. It really teaches you as a parent new things and it teaches the kids new things as well. Erin grew so much physically and mentally while we were there. I feel like she matured in a lot of ways. She got to see and do so many things that most people here in CA can't. But, would I do this with more than one kid?? I guess we'll just have to see how I'll feel about that if and when that time comes.

Cinque Terre

May 12, 2015

Cinque Terre consists of five small towns/villages all connected and aligned near the north western coast of Italy. These towns are filled with colorful buildings that just takes your breathe away.
  1. Monterrosso al Mare - This town reminds me a little of Venice Beach. This is considered the beach town because it has the biggest beach out of the five. The town is the largest of the five and is split into 2 parts, and is the only town that allows car traffic. They are known for their lemons, so get anything lemon while you're there.
  2. Vernazza - This is where our apartment was and we were SO glad about that, because Vernazza ended up being our favorite town out of the five. It has a small harbor and the town isn't too big so it feels real homey and I think it's the prettiest. In the summer, you can also cliff dive. Ken really wanted to do this, but apparently he's too big and it isn't advised till its much warmer.
  3. Corniglia - This is the only town that isn't by the water. This town is way up on a hill, so to get there you either hike there from another town or take the train there and hike up a whole bunch of stairs (360 steps to be exact). It takes effort getting to this town, but they have the best gelato so it's worth all the hard work in my opinion.
  4. Manarola - This town is on the smaller side as well. It has a small harbor and there are lots of vineyards surrounding this town. The hike getting there is really nice. 
  5. Riomaggiore - This is the most southern town of the five. This town has a a tiny beach and lots of kids were playing in the water (water was too cold for my liking). Lots of people tend to stay here or Monterrosso when visiting CT. We took a boat from this town back to Vernazza. We were able to see the towns from a distance.
I fell in love with Cinque Terre. Ken loved it too (obviously), especially because of all the outdoor activities available to you. It's seriously such a beautiful place. There weren't too many people there yet, so that made the experience more enjoyable. The little towns with people who all know each other and the slow pace of the lifestyle was really refreshing, especially after coming from Rome. Erin opened up a lot while we were there. With less people in the picture, it gave her a chance to really soak in everything. She now loves dogs and birds (she was deathly afraid of them before our trip).

Getting to Cinque Terre

By Train
We took a train from Rome to get to CT. It took about 3.5 hours. The train from Rome will stop at La Spezia and you'll have to transfer to another train that stops at all 5 towns. Train tickets for us cost about 87 Euros round trip for both Ken and I. We had a whole cart to ourselves. It was pretty darn nice. Erin slept for almost half the trip.


May 8, 2015

We spent a total of 5 full days in Rome. That was plenty of time for everything we had planned. Rome has an initial charm because there's just SO much history all around you, but that started to fade for me as the days went by. Rome was just way too touristy for me and it took away from the wonder of it all. It was great though getting to see the marvelous structures that are still standing today. It's seriously so amazing what people were capable of hundreds of years ago. I probably wouldn't want to go back to Rome, but I'm glad I get to check it off my list of places to visit.


  1. Italians do breakfast differently. Italians prefer things on the go. So their breakfast usually consists of a pastry and a shot of espresso. Unfortunately, I need more than a pastry to survive my mornings. I'm a huge breakfast person so I was thankful for the kitchens in our apartments. We did a lot of cooking for breakfast.
  2. Italians don't like or don't prefer to drink their coffee iced/cold. I was seriously craving a nice cold, refreshing coffee almost everyday, but the Italians drink mostly shots of espresso or cappuccinos. They looked at me funny when I used the words.. "cold....ice...".
  3. Italians LOVE babies. Erin got a lot of love in Italy, but she didn't show love back. Sorry Italy... please don't take it personally.

We did A LOT of walking in Rome. We carried around a backpack with us every day and stuffed it with all the essentials (Mostly Erin's things - didn't carry around a diaper bag). We ended up taking a stroller with us (we got this particular stroller for free from the hospital I gave birth at). The stroller was seriously a piece of junk so we left the stroller in Italy (it was somewhat useful though). We didn't use the metro at all, but we took the bus around often. Erin loved the bus and would always point at it, telling us she wanted to go in. Funny kid.

The Pantheon:

One of my favorite things about Italy, the Colosseum.

Erin in Italy!

May 5, 2015


May 1, 2015

We have survived our 1st family vacation! I'd say that overall, it was a success. We had lots of highs and plenty of low points, but all in all, it was a great vacation. This is the first post of 3 about our time in Italy. You can find Post 2 here and Post 3 here.


The start of our trip was a little rocky. Erin actually developed a cold right before our trip and was showing signs of fever. Thankfully, her fever was gone the day of our flight. We were fearing the plane ride because we weren't sure how Erin would behave. We flew Lufthansa going there, which I would highly recommend if you are flying with children. Non-American Airlines are just so much nicer. You're able to reserve a bassinet for kids under a certain weight and height, so make sure you call way ahead of time so you can reserve one (they will seat you in the bulkhead row). Erin was just small enough to fit in the bassinet and it really was helpful. She took 2 naps in it, totaling about 4 hours of sleep. Oh and we got lucky because it turned out that Erin had no trouble with ear pressure while flying. She didn't seem bothered at all. We even gave her her first lollipop just in case, but I don't think it was even necessary. She enjoyed the lollipop though. Our flight had a 4 hour layover in Frankfurt and that was probably the roughest part. Erin wasn't able to sleep properly during that time so that's when she started to show signs of fever again. Fortunately, the flight from Frankfurt to Rome was only 1 1/2 hours. We passed out as soon as we got to our apartment in Rome.

We flew United Airlines returning home. Our flight to DC was great. We got bulkhead seating (way more space than Lufthansa) and we reserved a bassinet (UA bassinets are much smaller and Erin didn't end up fitting in it, but we used it to store some of our stuff. They are also not as nice as Lufthansa's). We were lucky to be seated in a 3 seat row with the middle seat left free. Erin ended up sitting in the middle and took her naps lying down on the seats. I was able to watch 2 1/2 movies! It was glorious...oh how I've missed watching movies. Unfortunately, our connecting flight from DC to LA was terrible. It was a completely booked flight and the seats in that domestic flight were tiny! I seriously felt like I wasn't getting enough oxygen and it didn't help that Erin was sitting on our laps. At this point of our trip, we were all exhausted and tired, so the 5 hour flight felt like forever. We were SO happy when we finally landed. 

Traveling internationally, especially with layovers, is pretty dang exhausting..especially with a kid. If you can book flights non-stop..do it! It will make traveling easier and you'll have less grouchy travelers.


The food in Italy was meh (you probably think I'm crazy). It probably didn't help that we were traveling with a kid so we were a little restricted and didn't have the ability to eat anywhere and/or at anytime.  Lots of places that were recommended to us were more of a fine dining type of place and most restaurants in Italy opened for dinner at 7pm (way past our usual dinner time). We tried our best to eat at yummy places, but in general, I wasn't all too impressed.

We ate A LOT of pizza. I'd say I was pizza'd out after only a few days being there. 

My favorite pizza places were:

  1. Mondo Arancina: Ken got this big bread ball with meat and veggies inside. Not sure what it's called, but it was so yummy. The pizza was real tasty and the bread was perfectly crispy and chewy.
  2. Alice: We tried several of their pizzas and their arancinas. Pizzas were seasoned well and the crust was yummy. 
  3. Pizzarium/ Bonci: I guess this place was recommended by several people so we had high expectations. The pizza was decent, but I'd say it wasn't all too flavorful. 
*Pizza by weight tasted much better than getting a whole pizza somewhere. 
*I loved the pastries in Italy. I was able to get a big 'ol bag of goodies for less than 8 euros (buy by weight). 

In terms of pasta, I'd say the best pasta we had was at That's Amore in Rome. It's more of a fine dining restaurant and of course Erin turned out to be a total pain while we were there (I seriously wanted to just kick her). Their frutti de mare was really yummy. I ordered the gnocchi, which was just ok. Erin ate nothing but their bread. Haha.


Honestly, one of my favorite things about traveling to Italy was eating their gelato. It's seriously AMAZING there. We probably ate at a dozen different places, but I've come up with my top 6.

  1. Alberto Gelateria in Corniglia: Hands down the best gelato. Their pistachio was SO good, and I don't even like pistachio. The gelato was creamy and light...just perfect.
  2. Midi Bar in Monterosso Al Mare:  This place is a bar, but they sell gelato there too. Their lemon was so tasty. It wasn't too tart and it was so refreshing. Seriously..so good.
  3. San Crispino: The honey here is delicious! Highly recommend.
  4. Valentino: Their gelato is more on the fluffy side. The texture was a little different from the other gelato places in Italy, but it was still yummy. I liked their chocolate chip.
  5. Gracchi: This was the first gelato place we went to in Italy. I wish I did some research beforehand because there were some flavors that are highly recommended that I didn't end up getting. I got the chocolate chip and Ken had the strawberry. They were both decent.
  6. Giolitti:This place was crowded as heck, so of course I had high expectations. It really wasn't all that fantastic. We tried the pistachio, nocciola (hazelnut) and chocolate chip. I'd say the hazelnut was the best. Highly overrated in my opinion, but it's still better than anything here in the U.S. 
*Overall, Cinque Terre had the best gelato in my opinion. So if you ever visit CT, make sure to stop by all the gelato places in each town!



Instead of staying in hotels, we rented apartments through Airbnb. We had a very positive experience with all 3 apartments while in Italy.

1. Our first apartment was located a few minutes from the Trevi fountain. The location was great because it was in the center of all the popular attractions, but that also meant there would be a lot of people and noise. The apartment was more like a studio, perfect for a couple or a family of 3, but it would be too small for any more than that. 
2. Our second apartment was in Vernazza (Cinque Terre). This was my favorite out of the 3. It was in a great location, excellent water pressure, lots of room, etc. I highly recommend this place if you're ever traveling to CT.
3.   Our last apartment was near the Vatican. This apartment was the biggest, but the location was a bit of an inconvenience. It took a little while getting to places, but it was doable. 

If you're traveling with kid(s), I highly recommend renting out vacation homes. There's just so much more space and it really is convenient having a kitchen in case you might want to cook. We were very grateful for the kitchens on our trip!

To conclude this post, here's the to-do list I prepared before our trip. I crossed off the ones we actually got to do. We did everything except number 12, so I'd consider this trip a success!
  1. Colosseum
  2. Vatican City - Sistine Chapel. St. Peter’s Basilica
  3. Trevi Fountain (I hear it's still under renovation)
  4. Pantheon
  5. Eat Gelato at least once a day
  6. Roman Forum
  7. Spanish Steps
  8. Campo dei fiori
  9. Explora Kids museum
  10. Bioparco in Rome
  11. Hike through Cinque Terre
  12. Visit Jewish ghetto


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