valentine’s day + penny’s 9 months

happy 9 months to penny! she’s 3/4 of the way to being a one-year-old!

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this past month has been a whirlwind! penny is keeping us on our toes 🙂 she’s always been a fairly active baby, but now that she’s moving around we have to keep a close watch on her. she’s sooo close to crawling but hasn’t quite gotten the mechanics down yet. she does, however, creep around. that’s a weird word – creep, but that’s what it’s called when a baby moves around on her belly, and penny goes forward, backward, and all around. she does lift up her belly and bend her knees so she’s getting there!

she also goes from a sitting position directly to her belly so we aren’t always placing her on her stomach to do tummy time and practice. plus, she sleeps on her tummy so when she’s awake in her crib she’ll practice moving around as well.

penny is eager to see and touch everything as is evidenced in the photos below.

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she had her check-up today and thankfully no vaccines were involved. she did get her big toe pricked for a hemoglobin test but she was fine! she just sat there looking around =D she also had a vision and hearing test – she passed both – and got measured and weighed: 27 3/4 inches long and 19 lb. 2 oz. respectively. i was surprised at her height though because she was 27 inches at her 6-month appointment; i thought she’d be a lot taller especially since she’s wearing size 12 months. still, happy that she’s growing and is healthy.

we asked our pediatrician about penny’s eczema. she’s had it for almost a month now, i’d say. at first, it started off as tiny patches behind her knees and near her inner elbows, but then they increased in size. she also had a little patch on her chest (gone now) and now she has spots on her thighs and armpit area. 😦 they don’t seem to bother her as she’s sleeping well and not being fussy during the day but it makes me sad.

at a friend’s suggestion we started apply aquaphor and it helped a lot. however, sometimes it would flare up again; i thought it might be a food allergy so i cut out certain foods like yogurt, eggs, and peanut butter but when i slowly reintroduced them there weren’t any flare-ups. there was a flare-up when we applied coconut oil to the problem areas per my mil’s suggestion. then, i thought she might be allergic to coconuts but i ate coconut almond yogurt the other day and penny was unaffected. (whew.) it just might have been too greasy for her skin… i guess?

penny takes a bath every night as part of her bedtime routine so instead of bathing her with soap, some nights we will just splash her with lukewarm water. this seems to have helped because taking baths can be very drying for the skin especially during the wintertime. we also slather her in burt’s bees body lotion. aquaphor 3x a day and lukewarm water baths have worked thus far *fingers crossed

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penny in our backyard

we had a lot of snow last week. the groundhog (for groundhog’s day) had predicted an early spring but look at us now! december had record-breaking mild weather and we’re making up for it in february. this past weekend’s weather broke records in the new england area as well but for frigidity, not warmth: nights, and parts of the days were in the negatives! walking yuri was brutal and usually she wants to linger outside but after she did her business, she ran back to our house. no complaints there.

although it was too cold for walks, we did go outside in our backyard for a few minutes on the days that were in the 30s just so we could get fresh air.

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this picture reminds me of old-school korea

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penny’s first time touching snow. you can tell from her facial expressions that she’s not a big fan of the cold white stuff. it was good snow too; the kind you can pack into snowballs.

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i LOVE to do arts & crafts – i have bins and bins full of different kinds of paper, stickers, and all sorts of goodies from michael’s. valentine’s day, of course, called for some crafting!

dennis, penny, and i made valentine’s cards for some friends and family. we used ink pads to make thumb people on the cards and i wrote “thumb-body loves you!” i can’t take credit for this cute idea since i found it on pinterest, but the layout of the cards i did myself – definitely not hard to do.

the cutout paper hearts were easy but they were a leftover decoration from my baby shower (made by genie) and i had saved them, yay! i also used 4 different crafting scissors to cut out the card and give each one an individual look.

dennis held penny’s thumb while i pressed it onto pink, gold, and silver inkpads to make a thumb baby. dennis and i took turns stamping our thumbs as well. i had a lot of fun making the thumb-people as you can see! ^0^

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another project that i did was making footprint art. my mil was here to help me with this one. she held penny while we dipped her foot in paint and then i firmly planted it onto scrapbook paper. we tried to do handprint art but it didn’t turn out well.

again, cute ideas via pinterest!  i gave the butterfly one to my mil because that one also had a polaroid of her and penny. 🙂

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when genie and olivia came over a few weeks ago, we also did crafts together. genie had prepped these canvasses back in december for a future art project. since we already had done two christmas crafts together – mistletoes and handprint ornaments – we decided to save them. genie has this cool embossing kit so the word “love” is textured.

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a lot of wipes were used during this project! we used their handprint and footprints to help spell the word “love”. i’m sad i don’t have a picture of the finished product for both canvasses but it makes an appearance in a valentine’s day picture i took of penny.

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i used black paint for the letters “l” and “e” and i also decorated it using more paper hearts made by genie, a pink fuzzball tassle, and writing penny’s name along with the year using letter and number stamps.

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penny also got a mickey mouse microphone as a valentine’s gift from daddy! it plays music and lets you speak into it when you hold down a ‘talk’ button.

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penny was fascinated when my voice came out of the microphone. i had her try it out and she tried by licking it, hahaha.

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lucky penny also received a gift from her grandparents! leapfrog came out with a new toy recently. it resembles a bingo or lotto wheel but when you spin it, and a letter lands on the arrow it tells you the letter, the animal and sound, or plays music depending on the mode. penny really likes to spin wheels so this is a great gift.

she’s so funny.. she recognizes cute animals and figures so when we hold up dolls, she goes nuts especially over miffy, a bunny. the animal above is a blue elephant that my friend, ben, bought for her.

it’s also cute that penny’s hair is long enough to tie back into pigtails.

this should be another busy week! a friend may stop by tomorrow for lunch and on thursday we have two play dates. one friend and her 14-month-old daughter will stop by for lunch as they drive home to massachusetts from new jersey. later in the afternoon, penny and i will go to genie’s house and work on olivia’s dol (first birthday) preparations as well as getting things underway for a friend’s baby shower in may.

it’s also dennis’ short weekend thus his long weekend 😀 no big plans this weekend as of yet; just looking forward to relaxing together. we are huge fans of the walking dead and the mid-season premiere was this past sunday. it started off with a bang! can’t wait to see it next sunday!

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baby food

penny loves food!

we had a bit of a rough start at 5 months but she wasn’t ready for solids then. and her first food was avocado which is a hit-or-miss because of its texture. since she didn’t take too well with solids we opted to wait until she was 6 months to try again.

she was more curious and receptive this time. before we reintroduced solids, i would have penny sit in her inglesina chair and play with a spoon to have her get used to mealtimes. some babies really hate being spoonfed but penny loves it. she also likes to feed herself and i put a little yogurt on the spoon and have her try it out.

she loves food so much that she yells with impatience sometimes when we don’t feed her fast enough! recently, she began saying, “맘마!” (or, mam-ma) which is a cute korean term for saying “food.”

she also makes noises and flails her hands when she wants water from her sippy cup.

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nuk sippy cup 

i’m glad she takes well to a sippy cup but she isn’t drinking on her own yet. she’ll hold the handles and lift the cup up to her mouth but doesn’t yet know that she has to tilt her head back to help get the water out.

since she likes to feed herself, we also give her a variety of crackers and yogurt melts to munch on as 간식, or snack.

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we get the happybaby brand but they’re all similar

penny initially didn’t like the yogurt melts because the freeze-dried snacks have a distinct texture. i tried them and when they brush against my teeth, i get a small shiver like i’d get from nails on a chalkboard. i’m sure my analogy really doesn’t help the case for the yogurt snacks but they are good!

here are some other snacks that penny likes to eat on her own:

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she used to LOVE the puffs (and the star shape makes it easy for babies to pick them up) but ever since she began snacking on lil crunchies and the teething wafers, she doesn’t like the puffs as much anymore. she’ll eat them if you place them in her mouth but she won’t pick them up on her own usually.

the lil crunchies and the wafers, she’ll grab without hesitation and stick them in her mouth! the wafers are big so i break them up into smaller pieces.

here’s a comprehensive list of all the foods penny has tried so far:

fruits

  • pears (anjou and korean)
  • apple
  • apricot
  • banana
  • avocado
  • honeydew melon
  • peach
  • pineapple
  • prunes

vegetables

  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • butternut squash
  • sweet potato (korean and american)
  • peas
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • green beans

meats

  • beef
  • chicken

grains

  • macaroni and cheese
  • bread
  • apple cinnamon cheerios
  • rice, 누룽지 (scorched rice), and 닭죽 (chicken rice porridge)
  • oatmeal cereal

other

  • egg
  • cheese
  • peanut butter
  • yogurt: banana, mango, apple, blueberry, and apple/sweet potato
  • prune juice diluted with water or breast milk

penny is a very good eater but even she has favorites. her all-time favorite for fruits is pear especially anjou pear, and apple (golden delicious) is a close second. i mix pear or apple with new veggies so she’ll get used to the taste since babies tend to like fruit more than veggies as they’re sweeter.

she also has a great appetite for yogurt – all flavors!

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yogurt!

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yum! annie’s mac & cheese!

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she tried broccoli for the first time yesterday and i mixed in a little pear puree. for her second serving at dinner later that day, i gave it to her straight up and she devoured it. one food she doesn’t really like, besides the avocado, is green beans because it has a strong taste. i definitely mix in fruit when i give her green beans as she will only take a few bites by itself. another is bananas but, again, it could’ve been the texture. i followed a recipe from a baby recipe book and it said to mash the banana and saute it in butter. since penny doesn’t have teeth yet it was hard for her to eat and she didn’t seem too fond of it.

since penny is eating more solids, she gets constipated now and then even with breast milk and water. i aim to give penny, at least, 24 oz of breast milk a day along with 3-4 oz water. it seems as if she’s been going through a growth spurt lately (hunger + sleepiness) so she’s eating a lot more solids and milk. for constipation per a friend’s advice i mix in about half an ounce to an ounce of prune juice with her milk. i tried mixing juice with her water and she hated it. other that that, i don’t offer juice at all – too much sugar.

this is the baby food maker that i use, and i love it! i got it as a gift from one of my showers.

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you can have both sides steaming food at the same time, but only the right side can puree. you can see the blade in the above photo.

it’s so convenient! i chop up food, pour water into the reservoir, press the steam button (cloud), and it’s done in 15-20 minutes! then i use the spatula to lift up the food basket, dump the contents into the pitcher and turn the silver button to the right (note the arrow) to puree. the water from the steaming process drips out into the bottom of the pitcher so you can leave as much as needed for your food when you blend.

slide the spatula through the slots of the basket to lift it up. this helps so the steam doesn’t burn you! tilt the basket to empty the contents into the pitcher to blend.

notice the hole on the food maker? that’s the reservoir. the pitcher has markings 1, 2, and 3. you pour water up to 1 to reheat food, 2 is for fruits, and 3 is for veggies. (i heat up baby food using the microwave as it’s faster.) then you pour the water into the reservoir for the steaming process.

meal times are a long process – it basically takes up her entire wake time when she first awakes in the morning, but it’s also fun seeing her reaction when she eats. she’s so happy!! also, it gives me a chance to eat alongside her at a normal pace instead of shoving food into my mouth any chance i get (which i recall doing for the first half of her life).

currently, i offer 5 oz. of breast milk when she wakes up but she doesn’t usually drink it all in one sitting. then, she eats 2 cubes of fruit + veggie, 2 T of yogurt, and 1 T of oatmeal cereal. i don’t offer the yogurt or cereal every day now because of constipation; i substitute yogurt and/or cereal with helpings of other fruits + veggies. i also offer finger snacks so she can keep practicing her fine motor skills (and because she’s so ravenous first thing in the morning).

before her first nap, i offer 4 oz. of breast milk with whatever milk was left over from the previous feed. she doesn’t drink the same amount every day so i offer her milk throughout the day.

after the first nap, she’s offered 5 oz again. then an hour later she’ll have lunch: 2 cubes of fruit + veggies and snacks. before her last nap, she’s offered 4 oz. of milk.

after her last nap, she’s offered 4 oz. of milk. sometimes she isn’t hungry right after waking up so we keep offering it to her during playtime. about two hours after wake-up we offer about 3-4 oz and then have dinner (2T of meat + veggies or 2 T of veggies, 1 T of fruit, and snacks. depending on hunger cues, we’ll up her servings by a tablespoon.)

before bedtime, she will have 5-6 oz of milk and then it’s lights out.

i just try to keep her full by attempting to reach the minimum daily intake of 24 oz of milk along with solids. this, i think, helps her sleep well too for naps and bedtime.

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penny’s reaction when she’s about to eat

life is good

my right arm is hovering over the keyboard as i type this entry because the stitches on my wrist prevent me from applying too much pressure on it.

on monday night, what was supposed to have been a relaxing and delicious family dinner turned out to be disastrous instead. as dennis grilled 삼겹살, or pork belly, in the sunroom and my in-laws were setting up the dinner table i went to get a small plate out of the cupboard to put the 쌈장, or bean paste spread, on. everything happened so quickly in the next few seconds that i’m not quite sure how it all went down. one minute i’m taking the plate out of the cupboard and then it broke in half – i think i banged it onto the open cupboard door and dropped it causing it to break. as the pieces fell, one half landed on my right wrist and sliced it, nicking an artery. i felt the plate hit my arm but didn’t think much of it until i bent down to pick up the pieces and saw blood gushing from my arm. there was so much blood and i was freaking out!

my in-laws saw and rushed over to help and the commotion drew dennis into the kitchen. he quickly applied pressure by wrapping two kitchen towels around my wrist. somehow, penny slept through all this and my in-laws stayed to watch penny and yuri while dennis took me to the er.

we were there for a few hours: questioning, cleaning, stitches, and withdrawing more blood. a student was stitching me up while a resident foresaw the procedure. both weren’t wearing masks because it wasn’t clear that i had nicked an artery until the student was about to finish stitching me up and nudged it. i wasn’t looking because i felt squeamish but dennis told me blood squirted up onto the girl’s face and some went in her mouth! blood also sprayed onto the resident’s coat. meanwhile, blood kept pouring out of my wrist and i was worried about losing a lot of blood, but i was told that it was fine because it stopped within a few minutes.

[warning: graphic photo ahead]

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it looks like a baby walker took a bite out of my arm

the nightmare continued because instead of being discharged after the stitches, i had to donate 4 vials of blood to get it checked out since some had gotten into the student’s mouth. more needles, more blood. the next day, i had to go to see a pcp to get my dressing changed and have it inspected. once again, i was questioned on how it happened and even as i explained it i knew how ridiculous it sounded. doubt flickered across the doctor’s face as he asked if i was having any stress in my life. i felt like i was lying even though i wasn’t! definitely a strange and uncomfortable situation… especially since life is so good right now.. and i want to live!! 🙂

thankfully, dennis worked the afternoon shifts the next two days so he took care of penny during the day and his mom came over to help until penny had gone to bed and we had eaten dinner. she even took work off yesterday to help! genie and olivia came over for a playdate – with coffee, doughnuts, and korean food – as well and i enjoyed our time with them.

it’s been a busy year already. the trip to dr was a welcome break and then we’ve had overnight visitors (my sister and friend, naomi). plus, my arm injury -_- and also my friend’s daughter’s first birthday party. many of us had babies last year so they’re all turning 1 this year!

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happy birthday, skylar!

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she is SO cute!

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dessert bar

to top it off, dennis and i have been invited to 8 weddings!! unfortunately, we’ll only be able to make it to about half because many fall on a saturday that dennis works and he’s using up all his vacation days for destination weddings and bachelor party getaways.

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genie helping us with the bedtime routine!

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early valentine’s gift from olivia 🙂

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naomi and jen came to visit and spent the night. genie also came over and we had fun eating pizza and catching up. (dennis watched basketball up in our bedroom.0

another thing that’s keeping us busy is penny getting ready to crawl. she’s been trying for the past couple of weeks and she’s SO CLOSE. she lifts up her bottom and tries to move but ends up pushing herself backward. sometimes she can get herself into the crawling position while sitting but she’s still trying to figure out how to get one of her legs out of the way. she also practices a lot in the crib because she’s been sleeping on her belly lately for naps and bedtime.

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she loves playing with the remote control even though we don’t let her watch tv

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she loves to blow raspberries!

penny has also been very vocal lately saying, “da da da”, “ba ba ba”, “na na na”, and “ma ma ma.” she also imitates our actions (i.e blowing air –> it comes out like a whistle sometimes). when she’s in a cooperative mood, she’ll also scrunch up her eyes when we say, “이쁜 눈”, or “pretty eyes.” as much as we can’t wait to see her crawling, it’s nice to have her immobile for the most part so we’re not busy chasing her around. we need to begin putting socket covers on the outlets because she’s getting more curious and touching those and the tv cable outlet.

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penny at the library

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it was this night that the accident occurred 😦

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the books we borrowed!

this is dennis’ long weekend – hurray! – and we plan on catching up on the walking dead. we only need to watch three more episodes and we’ll be all caught up (which is perfect since the season returns on 2/14). on sunday, we have a double date hangout with genie and ben.. without the babies!! we’ve been frantically thinking of what we could do but we couldn’t think of much except watch the superbowl (uninterested because the patriots are not in it), go to a paintbar, watch a movie, or go to the claypen (a pottery painting place). my injured arm really limits physical activities like bowling and dave & buster’s. 😦 either way, it’ll be nice to hang out with just adults.

it’s a snow day today. schools are closed throughout the state and in massachusetts too. this winter has been incredibly mild compared to last year. this is the first snow day! it doesn’t really matter to me since i’m home anyway, but i love snow… how pure and clean it makes everything look. maybe i’ll take penny out in it so she can marvel at it and let her touch it as well.