For Baby Satski’s first birthday my parents threw us a traditional Korean-themed party. Russell and I got to the Lafayette Reservoir where we were having the party by 7 AM to set up. We were hanging 100 colorful paper lanterns from the trees but the park rangers stopped us mid-way and told us we weren’t allowed. I negotiated them down to letting us put up 20 lanterns. And we got helium balloons last minute. The party still looked amazing, but imagine what it would’ve been like if we had gotten all those lanterns up! (I’m still bitter.) We had two cakes- one fancy fondant cake custom-designed by Kitty Wong Pastry Shop with a topper from Etsy. And one Korean rainbow rice cake that said “Congratulations on your first birthday, Young Jin (Baby Satski’s Korean name) Sato.” Baby Satski wore a traditional Korean hanbok. He looks thrilled, doesn’t he? We used a site called Little Seouls to rent his outfit. My mom planned all the details for the party. She was running around so much that I didn’t even manage to get a decent photo of her, but she is incredible and I am so thankful for her. She sourced the location, the food, spent hours tying the string and hooks to all 100 lanterns that we didn’t get to use, and more importantly, came and lived with us when baby was first born to help take care of us and still comes once a month to stock up our fridge and give us a break. She is my hero! We wouldn’t have survived this year without Russell’s parents too. Russell’s mom babysits twice a week so I can keep working while knowing Satski is being raised in good hands. They are such an integral part of our lives. I highly recommend that everyone live within a mile of their children’s grandparents 🙂 As part of Korean tradition, we had a doljabi ceremony. You place a baby in front of various items with symbolic meaning. Whatever the child gravitates towards is supposed to be an indication of his/her future. People have modernized the items used for the doljabi, with things like stethoscopes (doctor), gavels (lawyer), microphones (entertainer), and sports balls (athlete), but we decided to stick to the more traditional items: bow and arrow for strength, book for scholar, string for long life, gold coins for wealth, pen and pencil for artist, and a medallion for politician. Watch to see what Baby Satski picked!
Our boy’s destined to be an artist! My dad grilled 30 pounds of homemade Korean-marinated beef ribs and we catered the rest from Koreana Plaza Market in Oakland. The food was a hit! We sang happy birthday and I let Baby Satski try some of the cake. He didn’t like it. The cake was delicious, but it was his first taste of sugar, and I think he’s more of a savory guy, at least for now. He had more fun opening his presents. He loves his new Jordans! It rained the day before and we were afraid of bad weather but it turned out to be a perfect day for a picnic gathering with friends and family. And you never know what mood babies are going to be in, but Satski was all smiles and genuinely so happy all day. He was tired at times but got lots of hugs and kisses from everyone, and he even managed to take a nap in his stroller to re-energize.
I loved being able to honor my culture with this tradition and to celebrate with the village that’s helping raise our son. Thanks again Mom and Dad for the party. And thank you Stacius, Kirk, Eurie, and Laura for all the photos!