you are my sunshine

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the happy bride and groom

last saturday, dennis and i attended my cousin’s wedding in beverly, massachusetts. we were both nervous – me more so than dennis – on how penny would be at bedtime since she is accustomed to having one of us put her down for the night.

since the wedding began at 4, we started getting ready around 12:30pm and left a little after 1:30pm in case there was traffic. and there was… but, gps navigated us and we got to the venue a half hour early. the annoying thing about being away from baby is having to pump on-the-go. i pumped on the way to the wedding, during the salad course, and on our way back home. we made it work though and penny ended up being fine. the only bump was that penny wouldn’t let mil rock her to sleep. so, mil put penny on her back and p fell asleep that way.

this was a positive “trial run” for us since we are going to vegas for 4 days in a few weeks! i’m still a bit apprehensive about being away for so long (and all that pumping! i hope tsa lets me bring my milk back *makes note to call southwest.) half a day is one thing, but four?! everyone keeps saying it’s harder on the parents than the baby, and i hope that’s true. now that penny is six months old she’s become a lot more social and adaptable to her surroundings… and she knows my mil so she shouldn’t be crying or anything. – exhales deeply –

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mr. & mrs. hubbard

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father-daughter dance to “you are my sunshine.” i could not stop the tears.. there were quite a few people wiping their eyes.

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delicious cake!

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dennis and i at tupper manor

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i was freezing but the wedding was indoors so all was well

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photo booth fun

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left: mom, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and dennis. right: one with my cousins

 

in my last post, i shared my concerns over my diet possibly upsetting penny’s stomach. i tried to cut out all dairy but i gave up after a day. there was barely anything i could eat in my home, and i can’t starve… i’m just guessing it’s a milk protein allergy because i can’t pinpoint anything else. it’d be fine if she pooped after every, or during, feeding but sometimes she poops 3 times after ONE feeding. she also has been getting blowouts more frequently particularly in the morning because she’s sleeping longer hours and she’s laying there in all that mess.. ugh. i feel so bad for her! she never had diaper rash until recently because of the constant pooping. my stomach has been feeling weird lately too so maybe we’re both being affected by dairy.. I. DON’T. KNOW. it’s just really frustrating. i may have to seriously cut out dairy depending how she does in the next few weeks.

her 6-months check-up, and the next round of vaccines, is on monday so we can also update penny’s pediatrician then, too.

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trying butternut squash

now that penny is 6 months old, we resumed solids. i made a big batch of butternut squash and froze them in ice cube trays with a silicone cover.

she’s still getting used to the texture as she’s used to liquids. i made a batch of sweet potato yesterday and made it more watery when i served it to her today; she seemed more receptive to that.

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this book was handed down to me from my cousin who has a 4-year-old son, mason. there are newer editions available.

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the oxo food containers and ice cube tray are both available on amazon

each cube is about 2 tablespoons which is a lot for a baby just starting solids. penny barely eats a teaspoon right now. it’s mostly just so baby can get used to different tastes and textures rather than filling them up.

when i thaw each cube, i plan to divide it into two, maybe three servings and discard whatever she doesn’t eat. as she gets older she’ll consume a cube in one sitting but for now i’m trying not to waste food.

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after the cubes are frozen, i let the tray sit out for 5-10 minutes so the cubes are easier to remove and then put them in a baggie along with the date. i also had to go back and label the bag since the sweet potato batch is also orange.

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getting used to the texture and taste

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confused

for some reason, the doorknob for the nursery squeaks a lot when turned. i tried all the other doorknobs in the house and, of course, hers is the loudest. the latch sometimes clicks loudly into place which has startled penny a few times, though not many, thank goodness.

my sister made door jamb muffler (i had never heard of one!) after seeing them on pinterest but it was too loose. the idea is that the soft pillow part stretches tightly over the latch so when you close the door, there’s no clicking noise.

i used leftover felt from penny’s baby groot costume and 2 hair ties to make one. as you can see the felt isn’t firm enough to push the latch in but it still does a nice job of muffling the latch. i’ll have to make a better one soon.

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since five months, penny has been grabbing objects with both hands equally. she also LOVES to grab her feet and is constantly doing yoga poses while drinking from a bottle or when getting her diaper changed. now that she’s rolling over more frequently it’s so tough to change her diaper! she keeps wanting to go on her side -_- she has always been a wiggler so attempting to put her pants on is a challenge every time as one leg slides out of the pant leg while i’m hurriedly trying to insert the other leg in.

she also began tilting her head to one size to scrutinize things more carefully; it’s so cute! one last thing we noticed is that she’s been making the “b” sound frequently (“ba-ba-ba”). she started by tucking in her bottom lip and then slowly began making the sound.

babble says that many of the first words a baby says start with ‘b’ or ‘d’ because of the articulators in the front of the mouth – “they’re the first proper consonants the muscles can make.” still, i hope penny says, “umma” (“mom” in korean) first rather an “abba” (“dad”). 🙂

 

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always grabbing whatever she can

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she’s been moving around so much lately. she woke up from a nap recently but was playing so i left her alone for a bit while i finished eating. i look up and she had already turned 90 degrees.

 

 

change of diet

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver ~ mahatma gandhi

penny turned 6 months old yesterday. baby girl is already a half year old! i’ve reached the halfway point of my goal in providing exclusively breast milk to little p. for those of you that have been following my journey, you’ll recall my struggles with milk supply and latching among other issues. every day i thought, “my breastfeeding days could end today” but i kept trudging along.

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i made the little party hat using a 12 x 12 glitter scrapbook paper, felt number stickers, patterned scrapbook paper for the zig zag, and a fluffy pom from a decoration.
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penny also loves to grab her feet and feel different textures and fabrics.

nowadays, supply isn’t the problem, the content of my milk is. since her newborn days, a red flush would briefly appear around p’s eyebrows whenever she nursed or drank from a bottle. i would wonder if she was reacting to something in my milk but would always dismiss it. she also sneezes throughout the day and frequently has watery eyes though both have improved in the past few months. i was reassured that both are normal, but i couldn’t shake the feeling that they were, again, allergic reactions.

p’s poop count has also gone up. she used to have 1~2 bowel movements a day or every other day. during the past month, i’ve noticed that penny regularly has 3~4 poopy diapers.

some causes for concern:

1) almost always occurs during a feeding so she needs to have her diaper changed then resume feeding

2) started having a poopy diaper after nursing in the middle of the night when she used to only poop during the daytime

3) all seem watery and/or have mucous

4) one diaper had mucous and blood

#4 caused me to call my pediatrician and i saved the diaper as well. when we went to the doctor’s office, we were told it could be a possible reaction to my diet. initially i thought it was coconut oil because i had started adding it to oatmeal to have more fat in my diet. however when i referred to the baby tracker i saw that penny has been having multiple poopy diapers since september. i only started getting alarmed when it began happening more frequently. yesterday she had 6 poopy diapers!!! i really don’t think it’s normal.. and that milk is just passing right through her system without being digested. i’m constantly feeding her to replace what comes out but i don’t know if that aggravates the situation. she stops eating when she’s full and hasn’t surpassed 30oz a day.

now i’m thinking it’s a milk protein allergy. i was on the fence about this, and still kind of am, because i thought i didn’t consume that many diary products. i don’t drink cow’s milk, i drink almond milk. i have butter and cheese occasionally but i do eat yogurt several times a week if not more. after much research and talking to a friend that had gone through the same problem, i discovered that dairy is in almost every single food. it’s incredibly difficult to avoid dairy because it’s hidden in a lot of food products. if you’re trying to eliminate dairy, it’s advised to avoid soy and whey as well.

i don’t know if it’s connected but last night i had a snack of nutella on oatmeal bread before bed. hours later, as i rocked penny to sleep after nursing her she started pooping in my arms. after i changed her, she fell asleep but then she ended up having two more poopy diapers when she woke up! 3 bowel movements, and all before 8am.  i looked at the ingredients for nutella and saw that it contains skim milk and whey. the oatmeal bread that i’ve been mindlessly eating contains soybean oil and whey. i thought i was being careful, but i wasn’t.

what’s even more difficult is that it can take up to 3 weeks for milk protein to leave my body.. and then up to an additional 3 to exit penny’s. we’re talking 6 weeks maximum of poring over every ingredient in everything i eat. i’m already dreading thanksgiving because i won’t be able to eat mashed potatoes (my favorite), biscuits, mac & cheese.. and i’m too depressed to even think about what else.

although penny is a happy baby and very playful and active, she has been getting fussy after feedings. i don’t know if she’s reacting to the milk but it gets me worried. (by the way, that’s another sign of a possible allergy: fussiness after feedings.)

i had thought sticking to a mostly korean diet would help because dairy products aren’t often used, but soy is used often. i guess i’ll just have to ask my mil what’s in the foods she brings over and kindly ask her to omit soy.

this is all very overwhelming because i feel terrible that penny is going through this. i attributed her recent frequent awakenings to her being hungry because of the constant pooping but she slept from 7:10pm-5:20am straight last night. she woke up to nurse (and poop) and slept until 7:25am. currently she’s on a 2-hour+ morning nap. hopefully it just means she’s tired, and not dehydrated… -__-

lots of smiles

lots of smiles

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practicing sitting up unassisted

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hope you get better soon, cutie…

6-month growth spurt

when is there not a growth spurt? babies grow so much, developmentally and physically, during the first year that it seems like they’re on a never-ending growth spurt. while this is true, there are common growth spurt times for most babies and 6 months is one of them.

a lot happens at 6 months. babies are starting to master skills such as rolling both ways and sitting up unassisted, if they haven’t already done so in previous months. this is also the month where many babies start solids for the first time – a huge adventure in itself! – because of stronger neck control and ability to sit on own or with little help.

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after she wakes up, i always help her sit up to practice

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she recently started rolling over from her back to belly

she recently started rolling over from her back to belly

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practicing rolling

often times growth spurts and leaps coincide making this time even more challenging. penny’s current leap ends in about a week so i’m really looking forward to that. penny is still such a happy baby when she’s awake but has serious mood swings during her leaps so we try our best to accommodate her and switch activities when she shows signs of agitation.

big smile!

big smile!

yesterday was a rough day. penny’s wake-up time used to be consistent but ever since her current leap she’s been waking up anywhere between 6-8am. this all depends how long she’d been up during her night feedings. for instance, yesterday i had put penny down for her last nap. i felt a cough coming on so i tried to quickly leave the nursery with yuri but i didn’t make it out in time. i coughed ONCE and her eyes flew open. i rocked her for 40 minutes trying to get her to fall asleep again!!!! i was so upset at myself and worried over penny’s awake time that i put her down in the crib and started bawling. everything is so much harder when you’re alone because you can’t tag-team. thankfully, my mil came over with homemade 김치찌게 and helped with penny’s bedtime routine.

i can only imagine how exhausting it must be for penny who is still trying to adjust to this big, big world. it’s obvious she’s tired but keeps waking up early from naps and bedtime due to her brain constantly whirring with all the new things she’s been learning. but it’s also incredibly hard to remember all this when you’re trying to take care of a baby (and a dog) while trying to pump, eat, and tackle some household tasks in a zombified state.

today, on the other hand, penny slept a lot during the day. her first nap was 1.5 hours, her second was the usual 30-minute, and her last was 3 hours! right now dennis is feeding her and putting her down for bed. here’s hoping she sleeps well tonight. *fingers crossed*

something i hadn’t mentioned in previous posts is that we had decided to start penny on solids a few days after 5 months. she had been showing great interest in food and would stop playing to watch me eat. we decided to start her on avocado and see how she did. i mashed a very ripe avocado and mixed in breast milk to make it more watery. we fed her, maybe, a half-teaspoon total the first time. she grimaced as if she didn’t like it… she wasn’t used to the texture. she did open her mouth a few times when we held her spoon up. we tried it out for two more days and stopped. not because she wasn’t taking to it but i decided to wait until she was, at least, 6 months.

a website i refer to often is http://www.kellymom.com. it’s a pro-breastfeeding website but also offers insight and support on many topics such as growth spurts, solids, and pumping. i have done a lot of research on when to start solids and many up-do-date sources recommend the minimum age of 6 months. the nurse at our pediatrician’s office gave us the go-ahead at penny’s 4-month check-up but we waited until 5 months. she also suggested rice cereal to start out and make her more full. (i actually think this is outdated advice – rice cereal does not make babies sleep longer at night and it also does not have any nutritional value which is why we opted to start with avocado instead.)

breaking in her new chair!

breaking in her new chair!

recently we purchased an inglesina chair to get ready for penny to start solids again. it was a request item that was languishing on our baby registry so we bought it ourselves. we like that it’s portable because it attaches to the edge of a table. to get penny used to it, we have her sit in it once in a while while we eat or do the dishes. it also helps her sit upright and she keeps herself preoccupied with toys or observing us.

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on a recent trip to target, i purchased a darth vader bubble container. i’ve been trying to think of more activities to do with penny and have been meaning to get bubbles. turns out, she LOVES bubbles! she is so fascinated when i pull out the red bubble wand and blow ~~ magically all these shimmering bubbles fly out. she tries to grab them so i catch a few on the wand for her to observe and pop.

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i’ve noticed that penny is very hands-on. she loves to feel different textures and fabrics especially things that are soft and fuzzy.  (i.e couch cushions, blankets, clothes)

speaking of soft and fuzzy, we put penny in a bear suit before going out on walks to keep her warm. it still hasn’t been nearly as cold as it usually is in november but the nights have begun to have a bit of a bite.

just before our evening stroll tonight

just before our evening stroll tonight

today was day 6 of penny’s growth spurt. it normally lasts about a week (on the long side) so i’m hoping it ends soon. i noticed that her footed pj bottoms are already getting a little tight on her! her 6-month check-up is on the 23rd so i’m excited to find out how much she weighs and how
much she’s grown in length. not thrilled about the vaccines because i hate seeing her cry but if it’s like last time,the tears will only last a few seconds.

penny’s first halloween

can it already be november? it’s hard to believe that there are only two months left in the year 2015. there already have been so many “first’s” with penny including milestones, seasons, events, and holidays. a memorable first in october was halloween. of course, penny being 5.5 months she’ll only have pictures to remind her how halloween was spent at that age. for parents with children under age 2, halloween is more for their amusement as they decide how to torture how to dress up their little one.

for us, it wasn’t any different. back in september, dennis and i were throwing around family costume ideas. i suggested star wars but that was vetoed since that would be a very popular choice due to the next installment being released winter. we briefly considered marvel superheroes until dennis proposed guardians of the galaxy. yes, this was it. dennis would go as star-lord, i would be gamora, penny would be baby groot and yuri would be rocket. it was perfect. the challenges that we faced were creating the costume for baby groot and painting my skin green.

i googled baby groot costumes for inspiration and bought materials at michaels.

baby groot

  • brown felt
  • very sharp scissors, or shears
  • brown hoodie and pants set
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • fake leaves
  • white or yellow chalk
  • green yarn

the scissors, glue gun, glue sticks, and chalk i had at home; everything else we purchased at michaels with the exception of the hoodie and pants set. in a previous post, i mentioned once upon a child, a baby and children’s store selling gently used items of clothing and toys. we had the good luck of finding an old navy brown hoodie and pants set there for around $6. i cut out pieces of felt to resemble bark and glued them onto the hoodie and pants. i have to admit that my sister did nearly all of the bark. i did a few and kept putting off the project because i chose to nap instead of working on the costume -__-

thankfully when my sister came to visit for a few days she worked on the costume. the chalk was used to make the bark look more realistic. after the felt pieces were all glued on (we didn’t glue any on the backside of the costume since no one would see it – saves time!), i cut pieces of fake ivy from a flowering plant and glued them in strategic areas. i also cut out felt pieces to make a crown of bark on the hood. it was tricky at first trying to figure out how to make the felt pieces stand up instead of flopping over, but i spaced out the felt pieces when gluing the bottoms and let them fall onto each other. they ended up holding each other up for support.

the green yarn was used to resemble the green shoot running across the trunk of groot’s body.

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baby groot

i am groot

we were so pleased with how the costume turned out! she only got to wear it for an hour or so but it made for good pictures, and memories. we definitely will hold onto this costume… how can we discard it after all that work?

gamora

gamora

i was really worried about the makeup for my costume. first of all, when i went to party city (the day before halloween no less), there was only one small tube of green cream left. i purchased that and a green grease makeup as back-up.

we even planned how we were going to dress up and when we would take pictures. while dennis put penny down for her last nap, i started getting ready because my get-up would take the longest. i wore pleather-and-cotton leggings that i already had and borrowed a black tank top from dennis. then i proceeded to rub the makeup on my face. the green grease makeup did not blend well so i ended up the green cream for my face, neck, chest, and arms. i was afraid there wouldn’t be enough but i had plenty left over. i wasn’t as green as i had hoped i would be, but it would do. to be honest, i felt more like the wicked witch of the west, haha.

i also sprayed hot pink hair spray onto the ends of my hair. even though i used the entire can the color didn’t show up in the photos except for the one above. (and even that one doesn’t showcase the bold color.)

dennis wore clothes that he already had including a leather jacket, sport-utility pants from eastern mountain sports, a belt with a silver buckle and boots. he also dug up old headphones from a discman to wrap around his neck and colored a cassette tape to resemble star-lord’s mix tape.

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star-lord

for yuri’s costume, i glued 3 brown felt stripes onto a puffy vest that she already had. we turned it inside out so it would be orange just like rocket’s.

rocket

rocket

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family photo 🙂 i love how penny is staring at the cassette tape xD

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dennis’s mom stopped by after work to take our pictures 🙂

grandma and baby groot

grandma and baby groot

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we also took pictures while waiting for penny to wake up from her last nap. here’s one.

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i thought it would be neat to have the background be outer space so i used apps to superimpose our images. it’s pretty hard erasing the background around your own image using your finger… this was the best editing i could do and it took quite a while. my condolences to dennis and his missing right cheek.

halloween aside, october brought with it many changes (for better or for worse) in penny. though the sleep regression is long gone, penny’s naps are still irregular and shorter than what they used to be because of her current developmental leap. (yes, i’m still lamenting over the 2-3 hour nap she used to take late morning to early afternoon.) looking at my baby tracker app, there really isn’t too much of a noticeable pattern. she is still taking 3 naps unless the last one is too far from her bedtime. she has also been waking up around 6:30am lately and falling asleep before, or by, 6:30pm.

in my last post, i had talked about pushing up penny’s bedtime in 10-15-minute increments. it had been working for the most part until FRIDAY. that day, penny refused her third nap. i might be the one to blame… i was about to put penny down in her crib when i had the strong urge to cough. terrified i’d wake her, i hurriedly but gently placed her in the crib and closed the bedroom door. unfortunately, her door cracked twice (!) while i was closing it and then the click of the door woke her up… dennis intervened but it was too late: she was wide awake. normally we don’t put penny down for a nap after 4:30 so she will be awake by 5 to not interfere with her bedtime, but she desperately needed that last nap. she cried from exhaustion and fell asleep at 5:15 so we had no choice but to push her bedtime back since she ended up sleeping until 7pm.

anytime i try to plan and organize around penny, i’m reminded how flexible i have to be and just go with the flow.. easier said than done since i’m so neurotic about schedules. dennis keeps me sane because he’s so much more adaptable and easygoing than i am.

currently, penny’s on her last nap. lately her first two naps have been 30-45 minutes while the third is about an hour and a half… but even that can be unpredictable. when i put penny down for her last nap around 1pm, i calculated that she would wake up around 2:30pm or earlier but desperately hoped she would wake up at 3pm (earliest) so she wouldn’t be overtired for bedtime. last night i had to put penny down at 5:40pm! i think the whole daylight savings thing is throwing her off a little still. thankfully, she woke up for the day at 6:40 and not earlier than that!

what do you know.. it’s 3:02pm and penny’s still sleeping. so happy right now!!!!

so many things to look forward to this month:

  • THANKSGIVING with my huge family in boston
  • my birthday (the 28th)
  • penny will be 6 months old
  • penny will (re)start solids (i tried at 5 months and stopped)
  • 6-month growth spurt.. not really looking forward to this but it’s good for her, at least
  • arts & crafts play dates with genie and olivia

well, penny’s stirring now.. of course, a huge construction truck had to drive past her window.. but thankful she slept this long because she we really needed it!