boston, you’re my home

we are at the tail end of a heat wave. the low-to-mid 90-degree weather has been occurring since last thursday and today should be the last day before thunderstorms supposedly arrive on friday. it’s not the heat that drives me insane as summer is my favorite season; it’s the humidity. penny’s constantly asking to go outside and yuri has to go out twice a day so we’re out there fairly often. it’s rough when the air feels like a brick wall on your chest and you just stepped outside..

lately, we’ve been forgoing the lunchtime walk because it’s unbearable and unsafe… but that means we have to pass the time doing something else. penny’s been on-the-go the past few months and she’s getting tired of all her toys. we don’t want to keep buying more toys that she will get bored with after a few weeks but there isn’t much to do to pass the time. she does like to use push toys and walkers but now she only uses it for a few minutes before moving onto something else. most recently, she’s been pushing the ikea high chair around the house.

ever since we brought penny to the bounce house and found that she loved playing with the push car, we bought her one from once upon a child, a baby consignment store. dennis purchased a fisher price elephant push car for $15 (retail price: $45)! he also chose a dump truck that makes noises, a crane, and a fisher price toy car. i’m glad he picked those toys out because i want penny’s toys to be well-rounded: cars and trucks aren’t just for boys! plus, she shows no interest in dolls just stuffed animals.


trying out her push car for the first time at the lee grandparents’ house

my mil and i brought penny and yuri to henry park tuesday afternoon to play in the splash pad and playground. usually water & walking keep penny happy and yesterday was no exception. it’s funny though because we bought penny a water table — one that’s a best-seller on amazon — and she barely uses it. same with the plastic pool (and she has one at the grandparents’ house too). for penny to truly enjoy water play, she has to be in an actual swimming pool (not even in a float) or be under a sprinkler. this is why she loves the splash pad and she also enjoyed being in a wading pool this past weekend. hopefully she grows to like the water table as it was expensive…


she absolutely loved being in the kiddie pool at henry park. there’s a separate pool for babies and young children (it’s about a 1.5 foot high) and penny kept wanting to be in the swimming position (on her belly) but it was difficult for us to bend over and keep her that way. she threw a fit when we stood her upright. we had to leave after ten minutes anyway because yuri was with us – no dogs allowed. so.. next time at least one of us will wear a swimsuit and we’ll leave yuri at home.

so, i started trying the one-nap method again on tuesday after penny skipped her afternoon nap on monday. she had woken up at 6:30am after sleeping for 12 hours. she made it to 11am for her nap without a meltdown BUT only slept for just over an hour like the last attempt.. ahh.. so, she had a long awake time before bed last night but she slept 6:50pm-6am. on wednesday, she went down for her nap at 11am – again, without a meltdown – so that’s a good sign that she’s ready for the one-nap transition. i just have to keep in mind that it’s a painful and slow process so i need to slowly push the nap without making miss p overtired. i’ve also been feeding her a snack/early small lunch before her 11am nap so her stomach is full since i hope for her to sleep until 1pm.


this past weekend, we went to boston and brought penny to the museum of science. we purchased a membership which means we can get discounted or free admission to over 400 museums/science centers/zoos all over the world! the lutz children’s museum is one of them.. sadly (and surprisingly) the science museum in west hartford is not. it made sense to get a membership too since even going twice a year will make up for the $90 cost for two people.



Penny’s favorite book at the moment is Goodnight, Moon so we had to take a picture of this!

my parents spent the entire saturday with us which was wonderful. we brought penny to a wading pool near my parents’ house which of course she enjoyed. she especially loved touching the water spray and having the water splash her in the face. that afternoon we all went to the museum of science. i was surprised to hear that my parents had never been before saturday and they have lived in massachusetts for over 30 years. it made me sad that they’ve been so busy with work, so i’m really pleased we were able to take my parents with us. my dad particularly had a great time – he enjoyed looking at all of the exhibits especially the animal ones and a huge stone with amethyst crystals inside.




oh, you know, just a typical breakfast



gotta love snapchat! mom aka sia


unfortunately we didn’t see my brother or sister at all that weekend which was a major disappointment. sad to say,  i wasn’t that surprised. we also tried to meet up with a few cousins but they already had plans. i’m glad we were able to visit my grandma – she’s at a nursing home for the time being. we brought penny’s new push car with her and she was walking with it up and down the hallway, charming all of the residents and staff.





lastly, we were able to finally watch the movie spotlight with our friends, ben and alf (they’re brothers). ben, alf, and i, particularly ben and i, are cinephiles so we were waiting to watch spotlight (the 2016 best picture winner) together. we supplied dinner from my parents’ restaurant and the byun brothers brought doughnuts – yum! i love doing simple activities such as watching movies and playing board games – the latter which we also did with friends last week.





our dear friend, alice, sent us 100 mini cupcakes and macarons!


before i close up, i wanted to share that penny is becoming more brave at standing on her own. when she does it on her own (told hold/play with an object) or does it without realizing, she stands for a while. but it’s when we force it up on her that she puts up a fight. at henry park, my mil let go of penny and encouraged her to walk and she walked 3 steps! yesterday while i was cooking, she took about 5 steps for dennis and his parents. she took a few steps today too. that’s a great start! hoping she walks before her 15-month checkup, but we really hope she walks before our friends’ wedding in october since she’ll be a flower girl.


summertime shenanigans


last saturday, dennis and i attended a wedding in norwalk, ct. he was able to get the day off so we could go, but he still had to work the next day… which was really unfortunate since it was a 1.5 hour drive each way. we left the party around 10:30 and came home at midnight.





yikes, the selfie image came out way too pixelated


close buds – dennis and andy (not the groom)


we had a lovely time celebrating victoria and andrew. as many of you may know, i love to take pictures. the only reason why i don’t have many photos from the wedding (particularly of the married couple) is because there was no ceremony. the mr. and mrs. decided to do a civil ceremony and then celebrate with their family in england where the bride’s family resides. the party on saturday was just a reception for family and friends.

instead of a standard photo booth, theirs printed out 4×6 images which was unique! we glued some onto the guest book and kept the copies. there were even clear sleeves to protect the photos. in addition, there was a cigar bar. dennis and i had considered this for our wedding too but we ended up nixing it because the costs kept mounting for our big day…



recently, i found out that the park near us has a baby-friendly playground and a splash pad. sure, we live next to an elementary school with two playgrounds that we visit on a daily basis but it’s awesome to have another one to go to.. and with, again, a splash pad for a girl who adores water!

i befriended another mommy that goes to story hour at jack & allie’s. it turns out she lives about a 3-minute drive from us! she has a 17-month-old son who is absolutely adorable. we met up once at the park and we are looking to go tomorrow as well.



after we figured out this was a splash pad, i began taking penny here!


as you can see, penny’s been standing on her own more and more. she still needs assistance to stand on her own and often uses nearby objects as well. once she does that, i’m guessing she’ll start taking some steps.. so, we wait.


playdate at olivia’s



they love water crackers


she tried hot dogs for the first time!


homemade sweet potato fries



july 17th was national ice cream day so penny and i went to carvel for bogo soft serve!



um, yes.. i’m playing pokemon go


this picture is from today. look how tan penny’s feet are! 

it’s going to be busy the next few days! our town’s summer carnival kicked off tonight but we are stopping by tomorrow evening after dinner to check out the rides. we are hoping to take penny on the ferris wheel, carousel, and some other baby-friendly rides. also, we are going up to boston from friday-sunday. we are supposed to have a heat wave starting tomorrow so i assume it’ll feel suffocatingly hot in the city with all the buildings blocking the wind. we plan on going to boston common to go on the swan boat and bring penny to the splash pad at frog pond!

hopefully things work out.. penny skipped her afternoon nap today after having taken two naps since the june 29th incident. she has been taking a long time to fall asleep for her afternoon one though. lately she’s falling asleep around 3pm or even later.. and it’s taking her a half hour-hour to fall asleep! today, she finally just skipped it entirely and i got her at 3:30. i’m contemplating pushing her morning nap to 11am tomorrow to see how she does with one nap. the goal is to be at 12:30/1pm for the one-nap schedule.. i’m actually really nervous to start trying this before our boston trip. i guess i’ll just see how she does tonight and tomorrow morning!

fun with family & friends

having visitors never gets old… especially when they’re family, and it’s unexpected! we had celebrated my fil’s 70th birthday on july 4th.. but as the 70th birthday is an important occasion we received word from crystal and dan (dennis’ brother and our sister-in-law) that they would drive up from maryland on friday and leave on saturday!

the last time we saw them was for penny’s 1st birthday, and they had flown in for the day. it’s especially times like these when i wish they lived much closer, but at least they aren’t too far enough where they can’t make day (or two) trips.




face swap

unfortunately, we didn’t take a group photo of us.. but dan did take candids of us. our family “tradition” is to watch american ninja warrior when we wind down for the night. we also introduced our parents to snapchat and we had a lot of laughs over the various selfie lenses.


i really like the above and below photos because they’re from two different perspectives.


on friday, we had a low-key dinner at home with italian food and just hung out watching anw, using snapchat, and enjoying each other’s company. we went to blue back square and ate at cheesecake factory for lunch on saturday. afterwards, we came back to the house and the brothers played ping pong while the rest of us talked. as always, the visit ended way too soon 😦 but we are so thankful that they were able to come up! they should be coming up next for thanksgiving, and we hope to make it out to maryland/dc area soon.. perhaps in april when i have spring break.

the only downside from the weekend was that penny caught some sort of virus. she woke up with a fever of 102 after her second nap on saturday. usually her second naps are 1.5 hours and we have to wake her up but this time she slept for an hour and woke up on her own. the poor thing — she was so warm.. initially she was smiling and being playful, but then she started becoming fussy and crying because she didn’t feel well. we think she may have caught something from playing at a bounce house on friday. dennis and i were looking for an activity to do with penny since it can get mundane being at the house all day. we took her to jumpin’ jonny’s, a bounce house, in our town. she had a great time but it’s easy to see how germ-ridden a place like that can get with sweaty kids running around in socks on vinyl bounce houses that are probably not cleaned often (or at all). needless to say, we won’t be going back there (or any other bounce house) until she’s a bit older…


penny met this cute girl, savannah, who’s 1.5 years old and they took turns pushing each other on cars.. so adorable!

i’ve been trying to find different activities to do with penny since we can’t always take a walk because the july heat prevents us from going outdoors during lunchtime. sometimes i’ll take her to my in-laws’ place because their condo neighborhood has a pool. it’s going to be in the upper-80s/low 90s this week so i’m thinking of taking her on wednesday.


she prefers being in the water than being in a float



yet another rabbit in our backyard!

on one particularl day, dennis suggested the mall and they have an indoor children’s playground so i decided to take her there. lo and behold, the playground is being moved and renovated so it wasn’t at its usual spot 😦 i ended up taking her to barnes & noble since the children’s section usually has a play area. penny liked just being able to get out of the stroller and walking around — she doesn’t find the gluxe as comfortable as the vista. she also played with the trains at the thomas the tank engine train table. a toddler joined her and they shared the trains.



one of her all-time favorite books: the going to bed book by sandra boynton


her current favorite: goodnight, moon


we ate lunch at the food court – pizza and baked ziti – but penny was more interested in the carousel. i didn’t let her go on it this time (she had gone before) but i did let her “drive” the coin-operated cars… minus the coins. she enjoyed turning the steering wheels 🙂 to adults, it may not seem like much but the stimulation from being at the mall alone is a lot for a toddler. she passed out quickly for her afternoon nap after we got back and, yes, i had to wake her up.

speaking of “waking her up”, penny’s been having erratic naps lately.. and taking a long time to fall asleep. i think she’s trying in earnest to drop a nap. i know i mentioned this a few times in previous posts but the signs are coming up again. she has been fighting her morning nap like she’s not tired enough to take one. her awake time from morning wake-up to first nap had been 3 hours, and lately she’s sitting up in her crib and playing. if she isn’t playing, she nods off but fights sleep while sitting up!

yesterday, she fought both morning and afternoon nap. granted, she had slept for 12 hours straight the night before so maybe she wasn’t tired enough.. we took her out of her crib at 11am and kept her up until 12:30pm to see how a one-nap day would work. nightmare… she was overtired.. i think we kept her up too long.. reading about 2-to-1 nap transitions, it says to gradually push back the morning nap in 15-minute increments and i just shot towards a 12:30pm time.. yikes. i figured, we had to squeeze in lunch so we would have to do a later time.. well, now i know. she cried on/off and was nodding off for her second nap. she finally fell asleep and woke up after 50 minutes.

she was off for the rest of the evening. i left the house around 4pm to meet up with friends for a gno and dennis said that penny cried basically non-stop after i left. she has been experiencing some separation anxiety / attachment to me lately so that didn’t help with her being overtired. she flat-out refused dinner and milk (whoa) so she went to bed at 6pm on an empty stomach. for those that know penny or read my blog regularly, you know that penny loves her baths.. but she even cried during bath time!  poor dennis… he actually rocked her for a while to soothe her and she ended up falling asleep in his arms.. only to wake up when he placed her in the crib. but..she ended up sleeping from 6pm to 6:45am — that’s nearly 13 hours! so much for waking up at night because she’s hungry..

i still use the babytracker app religiously, and thank god for that because i can see her sleeping patterns and figure out when/how to transition her to one nap. this one’s a doozy, i hear.. and i just want to make it as least painful as i can for all of us. i’ll keep you posted!


snapchat image


i still had a lovely time with these ladies despite being worried about penny

the girls and i tried out bar louie, a new restaurant that opened up recently in blue back square. initially we sat indoors because all of the outdoor seating was taken, but we spied an empty table and ran outside to claim it! 4/5 of us are married and 3/5 of us are baby mamas so this was a much-needed night out. much thanks to the baby daddies taking care of the little ones so us ladies could relish time together. ❤

and last.. but not least.. for this post.. our dear friends, alice and john, welcomed their baby boy, ethan 진명 choi, on june 30, 2016. he was 19.5 inches long and weighed 6 lb. 14 oz. the pictures john took of us holding ethan make it seem like we are the proud parents of a baby boy, haha. seriously though, we are overjoyed for our friends. we love you!


fourth of july weekend

happy birthday, usa!

the us celebrated its 240th birthday on monday.  july 4, 1776 – when the united states achieved independence from the tea-sipping brits. it’s actually quite surprising how relatively young our country is (although it really has been around for many, many years). i’m proud to be raising penny in the states where it is still seen as the land of opportunity and the land of hope. the world is moving at at even faster pace with life-changing inventions and innovations. it’s an amazing time to be alive, and i can’t wait for penny to take full advantage of what life has to offer us.

with that said, i was eagerly anticipating this year’s 4th of july because we had planned a family outing to elizabeth park in hartford. the rose garden, a very popular spot for pictures and picnics, is still very much in bloom, and penny is currently loving to touch everything particularly flowers, leaves, and pine needles.

after penny’s last nap, we drove down to hartford with the in-laws to have dinner at ichiban, a korean-japanese restaurant. penny did well (for a while) sitting in the high chair because she was busy looking around to check out other people and the restaurant itself. when she got fidgety, my mil took her to look at the fish in the fish tank and that kept her preoccupied while the rest of us finished our dinner. it takes a village!

afterwards, we went to elizabeth park to walk around and take pictures. we tried to recreate a picture of dennis and his brother, dan, (when they were around 2 and 4 years old)  sitting in front of the flowers by placing penny in the same spot but she wasn’t in the mood to take pictures. we had to sing a few songs to get her attention but she didn’t really smile. oh well.


she did, however, enjoy walking around (with our assistance) and even ran a few times. she also surprised us by standing on her own for about ten seconds or more on a few occasions. she was afraid though so we helped her sit down. xD after walking around the rose garden, we enjoyed watermelon and cantaloupe before checking out the ducks in the pond. penny started getting fussy so we knew she was tired.



after we got home and penny was in bed, the rest of us enjoyed cake that i made for my fil’s birthday. his actual birthday is on the 8th but we decided to celebrate it early since my mil works that day until 6pm. in korean culture, the 70th birthday is a huge milestone. (it used to be 60 but since life expectancy is longer than ever before, the age changed to 70.) my fil is more of a private person and keeps to himself so he definitely didn’t want a fancy gala – he just wanted a low-key dinner with us. we are hoping dan and crystal will be able to come up from maryland this upcoming weekend to help celebrate his actual birthday together. we know it’s tough for them to take time out of their schedule to come visit (even though they wish they could!) since crystal is taking two summer classes and dan is busy with church, but we hope we see them, at least, once this summer!

*edit – dan and crystal ARE coming up this weekend~ hooray!


a former colleague shared a recipe for blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream (from a blog) and i decided to make that. i LOVE lemon and it sounded like a perfect summer cake. it turned out even better than i had expected – the recipe is definitely a keeper! i hope you enjoy it as much as we did 🙂