Helen's First Birthday

[2020 note: I wasn't thinking about cultural appropriation when we celebrated Helen's birthday or took these pictures or posted this page. I have very conflicted feelings about it now, and I wouldn't celebrate in the same way if we could do it all over again.]

Remember Marcus's first birthday, and Samantha's first birthday? We wanted to also have a dol (Korean baby's first birthday celebration) for our sweet Helen, so we did a DIY one on March 25th, her actual first birthday (conveniently a Saturday). I made a Korean-seasoned pulled pork in the crockpot, Robert grilled LA-style kalbi, and Grandma and Pop-pop picked up BonChon KFC wings for the occasion, plus a homemade noodle salad, lots of purchased Korean sides, some homemade edamame hummus, a big fruit platter and a big platter of sweet duk, and also some fun rainbow cupcakes.

We did Helen-themed trivia, and I made sure each of the kids present got a prize in the form of a kids' book (board, picture, and chapter were all represented).

When people came in, they also voted for which item they thought Helen would choose in the fortune-telling ceremony--rice (for wealth/always having plenty), a pen (for being a scholar or writer), thread (for longevity), a screwdriver (for being an engineer), a harmonica (for being a musician or creator), or a stethoscope (for being a doctor or midwife). When it came time for her to choose, she didn't crawl confidently toward something (Marcus, microphone) or toddle right over and grab something (Samantha, hammer). Instead, she stood on her own, staring at the items, filled with an appropriate sense of the gravity of the situation. After several tries, when it became obvious she wasn't going to choose something on her own until perhaps her next birthday, the big kids started holding objects up to her: screwdriver (no reaction), stethoscope (no reaction), harmonica (no reaction), rice. . . she grabbed the cup and started shoving the rice into her mouth. Well, there you go! Our third child will be the one to keep us in our old age, apparently--the one with all the riches.


We had such a lovely day celebrating with our family and friends! Helen is truly a blessing to us, and we were thrilled to celebrate her in such a fun way. Here are some pictures from the day, plus one or two from the day before or after.

Baking her birthday cupcakes on Thursday--she looks sort of sad here because she had a fever which in hindsight turned out to be roseola. Samantha was the only one who wasn't sick at her first birthday party, I guess!

Daddy cuddling the birthday girl a couple hours before the party:

Custom M&M favors--"Yay Helen," "Happy 1st!" and balloons.

A birthday banner hanging in our entryway.

The voting set-up.

Partial buffet tables.

With baby G., a same-age playmate we met at a mom-baby class--they live just around the corner, and his mom was at Wellesley a year behind me!

Partying. At left, Wellesley classes of 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 all represented.

The kids played harmoniously, for a long time in the garage in the giant cardboard box our new grill shipped in.

In the traditional outfit.

Day after her birthday, enjoying Cori's visit from New York.

Youngest and oldest--just 1, and almost 92--smiling at each other.

Happy birthday, Helen!


Quickly, just for fun--our three kids in the same outfit at their first birthdays!


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Created: 3/26/17. Last Modified: 3/26/17.