penny’s 100th day (백일)

baek-il, or 100 days, is one of several korean birthday celebrations. in the olden days, infant mortality in korea was high so if a baby reached 100 days of life there was a small celebration to give thanks for the baby’s, and mother’s, health thus far. prayers were also said for the baby’s longevity, wealth, and luck.

today, the baek-il is celebrated more for fun: it’s an excuse to have a party, and to take pictures of the event to share with everyone. as the baek-il is not as a significant milestone as the dol, first birthday, we kept the party intimate by only inviting immediate family members and relatives. since baek-il is not a big deal and everyone else lives in either eastern massachusetts or new hampshire, less than half attended.. we ended up having too much food but better to have too much (and leftovers!) than too little. the food was catered from a local korean restaurant -thanks to my in-laws – and the mini rice cakes and actual rice cake were made by a church elder.

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obviously there is very little downtime with a baby. whenever penny napped, i would work on the decorations. i made the bunting – ‘happy 100th day’ – during one of penny’s 3-hour naps. i used leftover 8.5 x 11 in. brown card stock for the background and a small packet of 6×8 in. scrapbook paper that i purchased from michaels.

for the sign, i used a ruler and pencil to measure and mark the halfway point on the bottom of the card stock. next, i placed the ruler vertically from the middle point to mark 4 inches above the point. then, i used the ruler again to help draw straight lines from the new mark to the bottom corners of the paper (to make a triangle). finally, i cut out the triangle to make a sign. i used the first one as a tracer to make more signs.

for the letters, i just sketched out block letters on paper without stencils. i did make sure that each letter was similar in width and height to make them uniform. in addition, i made sure to sketch the letters on the other side of the paper so if i made a mistake and wanted to erase, the markings wouldn’t show on the side that would be displayed. that meant, for some letters, i had to sketch a few letters backwards.

i also made a mini bunting for the cake using scrapbook paper, bakery string, and paper straws. i drew a triangle and cut it out, and then i used the original as a tracer for all the other ones. next, i taped the triangles to bakery thread. then, i used a gold sharpie to write the letters. finally, i tied the bakery string to the paper straws.

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the korean characters are pronounced “chook baek-il” which is an abbreviated form of “congratulations on the 100th day”

small rice cakes, reese's peanut butter cake with the bunting, and the traditional rice cake for the baek-il

small rice cakes, reese’s peanut butter cake with the bunting, and the traditional rice cake for the baek-il

for the streamer background, i found a cool how-to on pinterest. all you need is masking tape and streamers.  you tape up the masking tape – sticky side out – in a straight line. then you hang up strips of streamers by sticking each one onto the tape. i made sure to tape each streamer at a different point on the tape strip so the streamers would overlap. i only used three colors: hot pink, light pink, and white. my sister and her boyfriend came the night before to help me set up the streamers, arrange the flowers, make paper flowers, and clean and organize the house.

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some of our family members. my sister is on the bottom holding the dog and my brother is the one awkwardly standing away from everyone else, lol

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another look at the decor and food

for the paper fans, some were decorations from my baby showers that i had saved and some were made by me for the baek-il. these proved difficult to hang up because of the ridges. i used a lot of masking tape. for the heavier ones, i either used a clear hook to hang them or taped twine on the back and hung them up that way.

“penny gallery”

we developed images from penny’s newborn photo shoot and had them framed to hang up around the home. we also had wrapped canvases made as well. the paper garland is from etsy and was a decoration from one of my baby showers.

beverage area

beverage area

for drinks, we offered water, 3 different kinds of flavored san pellegrino, and soda.

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homemade strawberry and pistachio macarons by rebecca

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macarons for penny!

my friend, rebecca, made macarons for the event and stopped by to personally drop them off. they were a huge hit and were gobbled up by everyone! she also made a separate batch for dennis and me as well as a box of 6 for penny. such a kind gesture ~

pano view

pano view

i attempted a panoramic view of the event. my dog and one of my cousins were moving so they came out distorted. we held the celebration in our finished basement. for now, the basement holds our ping pong table and a few of penny’s play things but soon it will become penny’s playroom.

if you look at the beverage table, you’ll notice a baby monitor next to the coke bottle. penny napped for nearly the entire event! she had slept poorly the night before and was exhausted. good thing we took pictures with her before she napped.

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penny with my mom and dad

penny with dennis' mom and dad

penny with dennis’ mom and dad

fil wanted one with yuri :)

fil wanted one with yuri 🙂

dennis and brendan

dennis and brendan

jen and brendan

jen and brendan

my cousins: sarah, mason, and sarah (mason's mom)

my cousins: sarah, mason, and sarah (mason’s mom). yuri was also begging for food.

william and mason

william and mason

my grandma couldn't make the event and sent over a bag of rice and thread for penny. she's afraid she won't live to see penny's first birthday :(

my grandma couldn’t make the event and sent over a bag of rice and thread for penny to sit on and wear (normally saved for the first birthday). she’s afraid she won’t live to see penny’s first birthday 😦

for the dol, or first birthday, an array of objects is displayed for the baby to choose. whatever the baby selects is supposed to predict the baby’s future occupation. some things that are laid out are rice, thread, pencil, and a book. nowadays, people also add things like a stethoscope and microphone among others to diversity the job field, haha.

my grandma told us to have penny sit on the bag of rice with the loops of thread around her neck. i had never heard of this, but i’m guessing that grandma wishes wealth (rice) and long life (thread) upon penny. here’s to that!

cute magnets from shutterfly

cute magnets from shutterfly

3 months and counting

sweet p is 3 months old! 

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sleepy eyes 🙂

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it’s quite the hassle trying to get these monthly photo shoots done since i do it by myself. i do it when she wakes up so she’s not as fussy and there is less danger of her spitting up on her clothes. as you can see, the polo dress is already getting to be too small for her even though the size is 3 months. this was her first time wearing it too!

now more than ever, she is grabbing, pulling, and pushing toys all the time now. she loves to lay in the boppy lounger and play with the toys that i hang on the arch above the pack and play. i try to rotate the toys so she won’t get bored. another thing i noticed is that penny is starting to put my hand in her mouth. whenever i hold penny, i usually have her in the sitting position facing outward so she can see everything. since my arm is across her chest for support, my hand is near her mouth and she leans forward to lick and nibble on it. her sensory awareness is definitely heightened and i love watching her explore, and also get entranced by different things.

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the other day, i looked down to check on penny and the arch had fallen on her! i probably didn’t secure it well enough and when she tugged on the toys, it fell over 😀 of course i had to take a picture first.IMG_0853

as she becomes more aware of her surroundings, penny is also getting easily distracted during feedings. sometimes the time spent nursing is doubled because she will constantly unlatch/relatch after gazing at an object. ever since she began focusing on objects, she has been staring at tall objects and anything on the ceiling such as lights and ceiling fans. i could walk by the kitchen while holding her and she will bend over backwards just to look at the pendant lights over the breakfast bar! it’s rather hilarious. since she likes looking at lights so much i turn them on and off for her.

gazing at the chandelier as always

gazing at the paper fans on the wall

she loves the chandeiler

she loves the chandelier

i may have mentioned in previous posts how penny dislikes doing tummy time. i have to catch her at the right time to do it. i have had penny do tummy time after a feeding (after she’s burped and played) but she still ended up spitting up a lot because of the pressure on her stomach. now i have her do tummy time as soon as she wakes up and it seems to be working out better. i also talk to her and encourage her to keep her motivated… having toys nearby helps too so she can focus on them.

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happy girl!

happy girl!

on monday, dennis and i took his mom and penny to the beach. we went to harkness memorial park which has a small beach area. since it was monday, there weren’t too many people there. the downside is that swimming is not allowed probably because it’s rocky near the shore, and it looked like there was a steep drop-off. people still waded in though to cool off since it was in the 90s that day.

penny has trouble napping on-the-go so i was anxious about the car ride (1 hr. 15 min. each way without traffic) and how she’d fare at the beach. since penny had been taking short naps lately, we got the car loaded and ready to go as soon as she went down for her first nap. little did we know she would nap for 3 hours! (we went to church together for the first time the day before so she still may have been tired from that.) dennis and i ended up sitting around waiting for her to wake up. maybe because of that lengthy nap, she was great during the entire trip! right when she woke up, i nursed her and we set off. dennis’ mom sat in the back with penny and kept her comfortable. she was quiet the whole day down save a few protests when we were stuck in traffic and she wanted the car to move.

at the beach, dennis pitched a tent we had bought specifically for little p so she could stay out of the sun. the tent also offers spf50 shade which gave us a peace of mind. the ideal window for her naptime had passed so she started getting a little fussy. dennis’ mom cradled her and penny ended up falling asleep in her arms. she took a catnap for a half hour while we sunbathed and ate lunch. when she woke up, i nursed her and applied baby-friendly sunblock so we could all explore the beach together.

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angel <3

angel ❤

i was finally able to wear my new bikini

i was finally able to wear my new bikini

i had to purchase a new bikini because all the tops for the ones i have now are too small. never in my life did i think i’d wear a d/dd size. i actually could’ve gotten up a size because it started getting tighter once the milk started coming in o.o

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whenever we try to take a family photo, penny has her mouth open.. it never fails.

whenever we try to take a family photo, penny has her mouth open.. it never fails.

my loves

my loves

touching the ocean for the first time!

touching the ocean for the first time!

look at her pout, lol!

look at her pout, lol!

daddy & daughter

daddy & daughter

we left around 5 so we could make it back in time for penny’s bedtime. on the way we stopped to get fried clam rolls (dennis’ idea) and they were delicious. as soon as we got home, we did the bedtime routine and she was in bed by 7:40.. a little later than usual but it was also close to 6:30 by the time we got home. sure it’s nice to be out and about with your baby, but i believe it’s very important for babies to sleep especially if you’re trying to have them on a routine. plus, an overtired baby is not fun for anyone. if i can help it, i’m not going to be out with penny past 5 until she’s older.

look how tired she was!

look how tired she was!

the above picture was taken on sunday. i took penny to church for the first time and she was overwhelmed by all the attention. she came home and napped for 1.5 hours only waking because she was hungry. i nursed her on the couch and she passed out for another 1.5 hours. i didn’t dare move her so i sat there, trapped, and watched the pga championship. at least i was able to relax and watch tv.. something i never do when penny’s awake. we are trying to avoid screen time for penny until she’s, at least, 2 years old.

ready for church!

ready for church!

the adorable elephant dress is a gift from liz and andy when they vacationed in thailand.

going back to the importance of sleep… penny has strong reflexes which used to awaken her from sleep too early. she would wake up crying because she was still tired and we would have to put her down again.

after reading rave reviews on the magic merlin suit, we purchased one during her growth spurt. she ended up waking up every four hours because she was hungry but i don’t discredit the suit since she was going through her 12-week growth spurt. after that ended, she began sleeping 7+ hours again with the suit’s help.

looking at it, it seems too bulky and warm for the baby but as long as the ac is on and your baby is wearing minimal clothing, she’ll be fine. the fluffiness of the suit softens the baby’s reflexes to decrease the likelihood of her waking up. there were a few instances where penny definitely would’ve woken up because she let out soft cries and flailed her legs but the suit soothed her back to sleep.

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we purchased it in yellow since we may have a boy in the future and would want him to use it too

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if you google image the merlin suit, you will find many adorable babies wearing what looks like a snowsuit. it makes penny look like big hero 6. 🙂 initially, she didn’t like the suit because it was hard to put her arms through the sleeves. (be careful that you don’t pull on their arms.) we guide her arms in through the sleeves using her elbows and stick our hand in through the sleeves to make more room for her arm to go through.

now when we lay her on top of the suit, we give her a pacifier as we put her arms and legs inside it and zip her up. she only wears a light cotton undershirt and diapers while in the merlin suit. we also put her in it for every nap because there are days she’ll only take 30-45 minute naps. those though, i found, aren’t totally solved by the suit but at least she sleeps long stretches at night.

watching daddy vacuum in the finished basement

watching daddy vacuum in the finished basement

penny kept waking up so we kept her preoccupied while getting things done around the house. she loves the sounds of the vacuum, washer/dryer, and the blow dryer.

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look how cute and content she is 🙂

rolling with the punches

penny’s growth spurt has ended! it lasted from july 31-august 6. i was able to figure out the dates through the baby tracker app. since i log every time i feed penny, i noticed that during those 7 days, penny’s total time spent nursing/feeding was about 2.5~3 hours a day. normally, she feeds for 1.5 hours a day. at her last checkup, she was nearly 12.5 lb.. surely she must be 13 lb. by now!

yet another way i could tell that her growth spurt had ended was that she returned to her regular sleeping schedule. i began sleep training her at 2.5 months to get her acclimated to having a sleep schedule. newborns don’t really have a schedule but as penny is nearly at the infant stage it was important to start getting her used to sleeping at certain times so she won’t be overtired. she began going to bed around 9-10pm around two weeks ago but i noticed that she would barely nap the last 3 or 4 hours before her unofficial bedtime. this alarmed me because she was so overtired and wasn’t easy to put down. we slowly started moving her bedtime to 8:30, then to 8, and now she sleeps anywhere from 6:30-7pm. it has worked out well for all of us because penny isn’t exhausted and we aren’t eating dinner separately or late because of her late bedtime.

it also helps to have a bedtime routine. ours is feed/bath/*feed/bed. when i nurse her, i try to do it in her nursery with only the lamp on (not the chandelier) and piano music playing in the background (along with the white noise) to get her ready for bed. thankfully she loves baths and is very calm in the tub. we sing and talk to her (and then soothe her once she’s out because she hates getting out of the tub!) while giving her a massage to help her relax even more. afterwards, we apply lotion to her entire body and put a fresh diaper and an undershirt on. usually by this time, she is tired so we haven’t successfully been able to read a bedtime story to her. (i was actually able to read one to her tonight so i hope to incorporate that into the routine.) the last feed is optional as she may still be full but i do offer it so she’ll be more content and sleep longer. lastly, we give her a pacifier and her eyes immediately start getting heavy. then we place her in the magic merlin suit (more on this in my next post) and rock her until she falls asleep. recently, she’s been passing out in our arms in ten minutes or less… i hope this continues.

due to penny’s earlier bedtime, dennis and i have been able to spend more alone time with one another which we truly appreciate. we are eating dinner at a more reasonable time and also unwinding by watching tv and talking to one another. my sister turned 30 last week, and i organized a dinner for 8 people to help her celebrate. while dennis and i got ready, my sister and mil gave penny a bath and got her ready for bedtime. then we all left while my mil rocked her to sleep. lo and behold, she passed out around 7pm.

happy birthday, jen!

happy birthday, jen!

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i think brendan, jen’s bf, told us to do tiger claws

the boys came out too!

the boys came out too!

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even though her growth spurt ended a few days ago, she still has not been her usual self because she has also been going through a developmental leap. the current one that she is on, and will be ending tomorrow, is “smooth transitions.”

after going through this leap some of the things that penny may be able to do are:

  • follow something with her eyes in a fluid motion √
  • turn her head in a fluid motion when following something √
  • more lively, more active, squirms, and is turning in all directions √
  • rolls from tummy to back (with a little help) – i’ve been doing lots of tummy time with her to keep strengthening her neck and core. she hasn’t been able to roll over on her own yet but she’s not quite 3 months yet so we’ll keep practicing!
  • shakes a rattle – she’s definitely grabbing objects more often and moving them around but hasn’t shaken a rattle
  • discovers new possibilities of the voice such as cooing, screaming, and crowing √
  • blows saliva bubbles √
  • clearly shows in her behavior when she finds something funny or interesting √
  • clearly enjoys light bulbs slowly illuminating from soft to bright – we don’t have a dimmer so i can’t try this out but she loves looking at light fixtures so i turn them on and off for her to observe.
  • clearly enjoys sounds that gradually go from high to low or vice versa – i haven’t experienced with volume yet but i do play music when she’s awake to have her exposed to background noise and different genres.
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look at her grabbing toys!

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tummy time!

tummy time!

penny actually hates tummy time so i do it when she's in a good mood after nursing.

penny actually hates tummy time so i do it when she’s in a good mood after nursing.

practicing sitting up with her new sit-me-up chair

practicing sitting up with her new sit-me-up chair

since she’s learning so much, she has been exhibiting typical symptoms of this leap which are crying more often, longer, and harder; wanting to drink more; wanting more physical contact; withdrawn (often); thumb sucking (often); and quieter and/or less mobile behavior. besides the last one, penny has been showing all these symptoms for the past two weeks. she prefers being with either me or dennis probably since she sees us the most. even with my mil, she had been fussing when being held by her. but sometimes she doesn’t like to be held; she actually really enjoys lying on her back and observing everything around her.

this past saturday we ventured to new jersey to attend an annual pool party at our friends’ parents’ home. initially we decided not to go because of the long commute but changed our minds so that we wouldn’t be so tied down by penny. the more we expose her to car rides, the outdoors, and other people the better she’ll be able to cope and to take naps on-the-go (something that she’s struggling with as she’s used to napping at home in her dark room with the white noise on.)

her brief nap on the way down to nj

her brief nap on the way down to nj

well, what should have been a 2.5 hour car ride one way turned out to be 4 because of traffic and two pit stops to nurse and change diapers. needless to say, penny barely napped on the way down so she was super cranky… and then we brought her to a brand-new place that was blaring music and had tons of people milling around. she started crying hysterically right away. As a result, dennis and i spent the majority of the time indoors because every time we stepped outdoors, she would freak out (the loud music didn’t help). she was calm, and even napped, for a little while when dennis wore her in the baby bjorn but after she woke up, it was game over. it was disappointing that we didn’t get to swim or really enjoy ourselves but we did get to mingle and catch up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while. we only stayed for 3 hours before heading home (penny’s bedtime is 7pm and it would take us 2.5 hours to get home). she actually slept on the way home because she was so exhausted and ended up sleeping for 8.5 hours that night.

i’m thinking she was extra sensitive because she’s going through her leap but she’s a fairly sensitive baby to begin with. one example is that we change her diaper often because she can wake up early from naps even with a slightly wet diaper. she also LOVES diaper changes by the way. she will lie there smiling happily and kicking because she’s looking forward to getting a fresh diaper;  it’s pretty cute.

penny and i are meeting up with genie and olivia for another playdate tomorrow afternoon. we like to meet up at westfarms mall because nordstrom has a mother’s lounge for breastfeeding and pumping.. so convenient.. every place should have one. i get nervous bringing penny out on my own especially since she gets agitated in the car seat (really, i would too if i had to sit there with a sweaty back for hours), but i’m trying to build my confidence so that we both can get used to being out and about. she’s a baby so it won’t really be a smooth outing but as long as i can keep a cool head it’ll be okay. dennis is always telling me to ‘roll with the punches’ and be ready for any outcome because a baby’s behavior is unpredictable. i’ll also be with a friend tomorrow so that makes me feel significantly better.

to the mall we shall go!

remember, god loves you

remember, god loves you

since i was a child, i have always taken great care in reading signs whenever i am a passenger in a vehicle. i don’t mean signs to help the driver with directions but outdoor signs that businesses and organizations display to showcase their services.

i suppose one reason for reading signs is that i’m an avid reader. i’ll read anything that i can get my hands on. another is that i noticed early on that many of these outdoor signs are infused with humor and wit. that’s great advertisement for you: to capture, and convince, an audience. still another reason is that spelling errors really irk me. i’m that person who will take a pen out of my purse and spell a word correctly – it can be a flyer on a telephone pole or a notice on a restaurant door; i will correct it!

in any case, our family of three, along with my mil, spent our day at mystic aquarium yesterday. for the better part of last week i’d been cooped up in the house missing out on the opportunity to enjoy the hot and sunny weather. since dennis had the day off yesterday, we decided to take a family trip to the aquarium. it was over an hour drive, and thankfully my mil was with her in the back of the car because penny started getting fussy near the end of the trip.

it was slightly tough to really enjoy the exhibits with a 2.5 month old baby but we prevailed in the end. penny was calm, and even took a nap, when i wore her in my baby bjorn. poor babies.. they do get uncomfortable sitting in a car seat for a long period of time especially since their backs get sweaty.

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penny with her new shades – a gift from genie!

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buoys in front of mango’s wood-fired pizza – the pizza is so tasty!

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we checked out the penguins among many other creatures

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i’d like to think she was fussier than usual because she’s going through her 3-month growth spurt and just began a new developmental leap (google “wonder weeks” or download the free app.) yet another milestone is that she’s reaching for objects! the first thing she reached for was a brand-new doughnut rattle. she loves doughnuts just like mommy and daddy. 🙂

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super cute doughnut rattle – a gift from kathryn!

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some of my former coworkers stopped by last week for a few hours to meet penny!

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penny’s still happy and smiling when she’s up but that can change in an instant these days. even though she’s sleepy, her hunger keeps her up hence the short naps and fussiness.

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penny had been sleeping 5.5~6 hours, if not more, a night up until she turned 11 weeks old. since that exact day, she has been waking up after having slept for about 4.5 hours. this has resulted in me nursing her around 1am and then again around 4 or 5am. it could be worse… i think back to the cluster feedings when she was growing through growth spurts at 2 and 6 weeks and am thankful that she’s not nursing every hour.

* here i am seven hours later attempting to finish up this post. notice the strikethrough on my last sentence? well, it happened just a few hours ago. penny woke up at 3 and basically i’ve been nursing her every half hour until 7 when she finally fell asleep but not without a valiant fight. since my body is used to 3-4 hour feeds, it totally was not prepared for penny’s growth spurt. for the past three days, she’s been fussing while she’s nursing because the letdown is coming fast enough; today, especially, was brutal. since she’s been eating so much lately her diaper changes have increased as well.

overwhelmed, i finally gave in to penny’s demands and gave her a bottle. i try my hardest not to bottle feed her because 1) i hate pumping, and 2) if i’m alone, i’m not able to pump right away… i don’t want that to affect my supply. but today, i couldn’t take it anymore and penny was also insatiable. after the bottle, i put her down for a nap and she woke up ten minutes later. so, i did an early bedtime routine since by that time it had been over two hours since she’d been up. after her bath – during which she was her usual calm self – i tried nursing but she was full so she unlatched a few minutes later and started smiling and cooing. i put penny in the newly purchased magic merlin suit hoping that she’d sleep for the night. it’s only penny’s second time wearing it to bed and it’s rather bulky so that could be one of the reasons why she was so unhappy to be in it. in any case, it took about a half hour to put her down… this was 2.5 hours ago… i’m exhausted. my eyes are trying to close on their own (- _ -) zZz (note: she ended up sleeping for nearly 7 hours.)

it’s days like these that you need to be reminded how well you’re doing and that it’s all for an amazing reason: your child. back to the quote — exhausted after a long day at the aquarium tending to penny and her needs, i was surprised and moved by the sign, “remember, god loves you.” these four words appeared on a sign underneath the word “wifi” for a motel during our drive back home.

it’s challenging to remain calm and be positive when dealing with a demanding baby especially when you’re at a loss on how to soothe her. a lot of baby mamas keep telling me to stay strong because she’ll soon be walking and talking and i’ll actually miss when i could cradle her in my arms. well, it’s tough to keep this in my mind when i tried 3 times in the past hour to put her down for a nap only to have her wake up 20 minutes later…

*breathe in, breathe out* hoping this, too, will pass soon and she’ll go back to being a good rester.

and yes, god does love me.. i am so grateful for a happy, healthy baby and the love and support from so many people particularly my dear husband who doesn’t hesitate to get up at 3am to put her back to bed when i’m stumbling around like a zombie. i also need to remember that penny loves me, and is wholly dependent on me, whenever frustration starts to creep up on me.

yesterday, penny seemed to return to her schedule: short nap(s) in the morning, long afternoon nap, short nap in the evening, and bedtime. my sister, jen, came to visit from boston and it was wonderful to have help around the home. she took yuri out, washed the dishes, burped and played with penny, helped me bathe her, and put her to bed.

it’s her 30th birthday today! happy birthday, jen!

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today, on the other hand, has been a disaster. penny has only slept 7 hours in the past 15 hours… (since midnight). i’m at my wit’s end.. i just put her down at 3:05pm and now she’s up at 3:26pm…

remember, god loves you… remember, penny loves you… ❤