Happy 1st Birthday/Tol, Baby!

Happy 1st Birthday/Tol, Baby!, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Don’t you love the look on her face?
She’s watching a bird fly overhead.
(She’s wearing the hanbok sent with her from her Korean foster mother.)

We spent this Saturday with family celebrating birthdays. Both Zoe and her cousin, J, were born on May 16 – 12 years apart. We celebrated her first birthday with a Tol Party. We had a few friends and family over for a mid-day barbeque. it was great fun. Even the birthday girl laughed her way through the three hour party until she finally sat still and decided maybe she did, indeed, want to take a nap. (Although it was only a 30 minute one much to my chagrin. *I* was tired and we had not only the clean up but then our nephews party that night too!)

We had a gluten-free affair (minus the cake which we got at the Korean bakery). We served jap chae (Korean sweet potato starch noodles) that I made (thus gluten-free), kal bi (Korean BBQ Short Ribs), Korean chicken wings, kim chi (2 varieties – one spicy radish and the other a cool kelp noodle salad), fresh fruit (strawberries, pears, oranges, mandarins, apples, etc) and plenty of rice cakes (about 12 different varieties).

For Zoe’s toljabee (a ceremony where the child is escorted about a table by their father to select two items that represent their future), she chose a plastic knife which means she will be a warrior (think modern day courageous person) and a good chef. She also chose the money (indicating wealth). My husband was a tad disappointed. He had stacked the odds in hopes that she would select something to indicate that she would be a scholar by placing not only a book (although, I later pointed out that he had used my Moleskin sketchbook which would mean that she would become an artist…LOL) but he also placed a ruler on the table (mathematics/science/architecture, etc) as well. While the ceremony was fun, we both know that we just want her to be happy, healthy and whole.

Some people think that I was sad to not have a bite of her birthday cake, but really, I didn’t want it nor do I need it. I’m happy to report that since starting my mindful eating and joining the gym, I’ve dropped two pant sizes. Not too shabby, but I’m not stopping here. My intent is to live a healthier, fuller, more active life. Weight loss, while fabulous and totally necessary for me, is the secondary objective. Having a long life with Zoe during which we can have a million adventures is my primary goal. Next year, I hope to be able to run a 5K. I don’t quite know how I shall train for it with a baby in tow, but I’ll figure something out. If I can’t run it, then she and I will definitely walk it together. We could probably walk that 5k this year… hmm… maybe I will have to figure out the running part. Any tips, people? All ideas welcome!

We hope you are all having a wonderful mid-May and finding ways to celebrate yourselves and each day as well. Seek out an adventure – cook something new! What are your taste buds craving?

Right now… I think I’ll make some three bean salad and chomp on some mini-cucumbers with homemade garlic hummus. Life is good. Don’t you think?

Happy Gluten-Free Life and Adventures, everyone!


  1. Tracy C says:

    Oh yes, Kate – Life Is Good, I do think! I’m so happy for your family. Zoe looks like she is adjusting. You are both wonderful parents, I’m sure!

    And congrats on dropping two pants sizes! I need to do the same. What are you doing at the gym? WAY TO GO!!!

    :) tracy

  2. Heather says:

    I bought a bike trailer that converts to a stroller when my oldest two were little… about 10 years ago! I loved that it was fully enclosed, you could put a few toys and a blanket in with them and not worry about them getting tossed out or dragging on the ground. And they’re water proof, so the little ones stayed warm and dry no matter what kind of weather I was willing to venture out in. Mine is a Burley that I drove to Portland to buy, so I wouldn’t have to pay sales tax. And 10 years later I’m still using it for my youngest – mosty for bike riding now.

  3. Her face is incredibly precious! The ‘toljabee’ sounds like a very fun idea. The money must have meant rich in knowledge too :)

  4. What an adorable picture of Mom and baby! Happy birthday to her and I think it is wonderful how you are incorporating her traditions into your life. I can’t wait to see your new Korean recipes! *hugs and much happiness to you and your family*


  5. Oh yes, life is good. Happy First Birthday Zoe. Much love from Aunt Ging. And Kate XOXOXO

  6. Kate – I’m sending you an email right now with some tips on training for your 5k!

  7. kazzles says:

    So so cute! You are very lucky!

    And all this talk about Korean food is making me hungry! Do you have a good recipe for Korean Noodles, never been quite sure what to do with them. I’m going to try your pancakes as soon as I can as well. I love your recipes… everything I’ve made has turned out amazingly and I have loved everything I tried.

  8. Visit http://www.coolrunnings.com – they have a great program on there called “Couch to 5K”. There is even a set of podcasts that put the program to music and tells you when to run and when to walk.


  9. Happy 1st birthday Zoe! Sounds like a great time, and how can she not be a chef with you for a mom!

    Do you have a jog stroller? That would let Zoe train with you, and even run the 5k with you!

  10. Congrats on dropping two sizes! Sounds like a wonderful birthday bash!

  11. Happy Birthday little nugget!

  12. Michelle says:

    Happy birthday to little Zoe! She looks adorable. You hit my passions – RUNNING and babies! I have six kiddlets. One of them a 6 month old baby and I just completed my first marathon! I run with a jogging stroller. My little one loves to be outside and will fall asleep in the stroller. It is so much more work to push a 30 lb stroller. The C25K is a good program.Good luck you are giving you daughter a precious gift – a healthy mom! I lost 100 lbs a few years back (so much for the skinny celiac) and it was the best gift I ever gave myself!

  13. What a beautiful gown for Zoe and such a neat celebration! Happy Birthday, Zoe! Congrats to you, Kate, on your healthier eating and weight loss. :-) I was going to make the same recommendation–jogging stroller.


  14. Congrats on the weight loss. I’ll second (or 3rd?) the jogging stroller. I used one with both of my dc. I’m actually planning on re-starting jogging myself. Intimidating, but a 5k is something I’ve always wanted to do! Good luck!

  15. Congratulations to all of you. What a magical journey you are embarking on! We have experienced similar moments with our mixed family (we have a daughter from Korea as well). I commend you on your commitment to losing weight and healthy living! Hang in there. Get a good stroller and start doing lots of walking.

    Beautiful picture of mom and baby! Yeah!

    Sending good energy your way.

  16. you’re looking fantastic! and keeping up with the youngling will keep you slender…it worked for my step-uncle. just run and play when she does. best excercise regimen EVAH.

    i was curious what she chose for her tol…one less thing for me to ask now that i read the post. congrats…i can’t imagine she’d be anything but strong and talented with food with you two as parents.

  17. If I can run 5ks without ever having been able to do anything like it (probably without being able to run more than 40 steps since high school, at least), I know you can do it, too. And what a great reason to get in good shape! 😀

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