hi, I'm Irene and this is my blog. all images and content © 2005-2019 Irene Nam unless stated otherwise. please do not use original images without permission. thank you!


in loving memory of
Oliver Yu-An Nam
Feb 1 - May 20 2014


spiderboys, part two

they say kids grow up too fast, and I know this much is true. but I also know that in a few years from now Sean and Will will be taller than their father, use a ridiculously huge amount of hair product every day, develop a sense of compassion and respect for others, and ask if they can borrow my car, again. 

and though I contemplate my life with my sons now with much gratitude and delight, there's a part in me that can't help but think that the best is yet to come.

and every day, every year proves me right.

16: Moments


today, remember

to be certain in your own strength. to make peace with the transformation of body and mind that accompanies becoming a parent. to place disproportionate value on rain puddles, vanilla ice cream and comfortable shoes. and find solace in the unconditional trust that your child places in you as he grabs your hand before crossing the street.

today, remember. you are good enough. your voice matters. believe it. it doesn't take much more than that, I promise.

this joy+ride


summer this year

summer this year has been nothing but delightful, bringing old and new friends that are making me better every day, badminton games with the boys, a gentle breeze as I write my morning pages, grass under our feet and homemade green tea ice cream.

more summer: drifting, my favorite one, setting sail and untitled.


I want you to know

right now you ask yourselves why Mommy knits baby clothes and runs to raise funds for a hunger relief organization, and if there are really children out there who sleep on the floor, walk barefoot and don't know what a Pokemon is.

there are. this I want you to know.

I also want you to know that there is a joy in the act of giving that resonates far beyond a cause and the limits of distance, culture, language and time. that there is peace, and abounding gratitude in knowing that it will dwell in others throughout their lives and kindle a hope many had given up on.

I realize that this is not something that I can teach or pass on to you. this is something that you have to experience and choose for yourselves when presented with opportunities each day. to open your heart, see through outward appearances, and lead a life that benefits others in need.

but hopefully, one day, you will know what I know. 

there is no greater way to love, and live.

Kopila Valley Children's Home



Will: "Sean, Mom told us to clean our room."

Sean: "but I AM cleaning the room."

Will: "no, you're not. you're watching ME clean the room." 

Sean: "Will, you don't get it. it's called TEAMWORK."

Pia Jane Bijkerk


I'm getting there

the hardest thing is not to go back to the page every day. really. the hardest thing is to dwell contentedly in the life you've chosen for yourself, accept that this is what you do and that it deserves the same respect you show the ones who save lives, run their own business, serve coffee or decide to stay home to raise a child. but I know. I'm getting there.

Feed My Starving Children



a walk through Millennium Park, late night conversations, a pajama party and drinking good wine with my Shutter Sisters. I believe there are moments in life that elevate your spirit in ways you could never have imagined, giving you the rare opportunity to awaken, and embrace the essence of who you are.

and as I held my sons in my arms at the airport, with my heart following its own dictates at last and a suitcase full of Hershey's kisses and microwave popcorn, I finally had the communion I had craved for the past 4 years.

to be a mother. to be a writer.




"the maternal instinct is as mysterious as the sexual instinct, and as powerful. it's not rational. it's primal. it's one of the great joys of being a parent, too -the first time you understand that if a car were hurtling toward you and your child, you would absolutely throw yourself in front of it to save your child. there's a deep joy in realizing you're capable of that selflessness. there are things that you couldn't do as yourself -but as a mother, you can do anything. Anything." 

– Ruth Reichl reflecting on maternal figures in her favorite books, Cookie Magazine May '09.

Bloom, Grow, Love


under the tree

she is always so certain of my own strength. she always tells me that I'm good enough. she has so much faith in my ability to learn my lessons, overcome adversity and create the life I want for myself.

I didn't realize until recently how much my mother's support and encouraging words continuously remind me that I am strong, that I am capable, even under the most difficult and sometimes painful circumstances.

more wonderful moms: for my girls, an embrace, 27 weeks and photobooth friday.


blue haze