night changes

my favorite holiday used to be thanksgiving for as long as i could remember. i always looked forward to our huge family gathering, the endless amounts of traditional thanksgiving and korean food, and, of course, my birthday. the years that my birthday fell during thanksgiving weekend, or on thanksgiving day, were the best since i didn’t have to go to school, and, later on, work.

but now that i am married with two children, and also live a state away from most of my family members and relatives i feel christmas has usurped thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. for one thing, i’ve always loved christmas music. i could honestly listen to it all year long. as an adult, there’s something so nostalgic and cheerful about it… as if listening to the music alone will melt away the troubles of the world.

although christmas can be stressful (as most holidays can be) because of the expenses that come with purchasing gifts, thanksgiving became a source of anxiety once i had children. thanksgivings 2015 and 2016 were spent here in connecticut with my in-laws, my brother-in-law and his wife. dennis and i didn’t want to get stuck in crazy holiday traffic with a baby and dennis also had to work on friday.

this year, however, we were able to make it work (more details on the next post). although it was great catching up with cousins i hadn’t spoken to in a while (in person, that is) and seeing my grandma, it just wasn’t the same as it was even five years ago. for one thing, about ten family members didn’t attend due to scheduling conflicts or a personal issue within the family. also, my eldest aunt had passed away earlier in the year so her absence was palpable.

the title of this post is from a one direction song – yes, i’m a directioner. night changes discusses how things can change so quickly, and we notice this more as we grow older. i’m not as close to my cousins as i once was – and, distance can be one reason – so the family gatherings that i am able to attend can be awkward as we try to make small talk. i also wasn’t able to enjoy the food as much because i was helping to take care of the children, and making sure that they eat. this, of course, means that i can’t properly eat. i was still hungry even after devouring most of the food on my plate.

still, i’m glad that dennis and i made it work. bringing children anywhere is a challenge but we rose to the occasion!

did you know home depot hosts a kids’ workshop the first saturday of every month? my friend had told me about it but i had forgotten about it until i was notified through a weekly events page through hulafrog. this past saturday, home depot had a ‘make your own gingerbread house’ workshop where kids use a hammer and nails to construct their own gingerbread house.

it was a huge hit! people were spread out everywhere to assemble the houses, and a woman next to us commented how this was the biggest crowd she had seen for the kids’ workshop. i guess the holiday spirit had the people out in droves.

IMG_6064

IMG_6066

eating a cracker while posing

IMG_6068

setting the nail in place

IMG_6070

looking over the instructions

IMG_6069

first time using a hammer!

IMG_6053

IMG_6067

people kept coming!

IMG_6062

finding a spot

IMG_6071

the finished masterpiece

as for christmas, it will only get more enjoyable as the children get older. penny’s favorite christmas song is “jingle bells” and she loves to laugh during the “laughing all the way” line as well as shouting out “hey!” during the song. she also hung up a few ornaments on the tree as ezra watched.

now that we finally have our tree up, i am just waiting for our new family stockings to arrive. i ordered personalized ones from pottery barn kids and they are on their way. another thing that is in transit are our family pajamas. i’m not sure we’ll be able to create and send out a christmas card in time this year. i’ve been wanting to take pictures of the kids in front of the fireplace but i have been waiting on the stockings. if anything, we won’t be able to have christmas cards made in nice cardstock because express shipping will be so expensive. i do want to commemorate ezra’s first christmas so i will have to have something made!

IMG_0041

IMG_0037

IMG_0004

IMG_0028

one of the elementary schools in my town is teamed up with frc (family resource center), and they host a playgroup on friday mornings. i recently began bringing penny so now we have an activity every weekday to keep us preoccupied. it’s very similar to the library playgroup where there is a storytime, extension activities, and free play. what’s different is that snack is also offered and the children sit together at the end of the playgroup to eat.

IMG_6035

making a snow-covered tree using q-tips and white paint

IMG_6033

IMG_6032

decorating mittens

IMG_6036

night changes

We’re only getting older, baby
And I’ve been thinking about it lately
Does it ever drive you crazy
Just how fast the night changes?
Everything that you’ve ever dreamed of
Disappearing when you wake up
But there’s nothing to be afraid of
Even when the night changes
It will never change, me and you

 

snow days & birthdays

2017 is already turning out to be a busy year: yet another one filled with babies, weddings, and birthdays. many of my friends and acquaintances had babies in 2015 (the year i had penny) and most of them are having their second this year. this includes my friend, and neighbor, yan, who kicked off the year with a baby boy named lucas on january 1st. he was the first 2017 baby to be born at st francis so he was featured on the news! her firstborn, olivia, is 3.5 months older than penny and now ezra’s first playmate has already arrived!

02-favs-2

lucas li, 1/1/2017 @ 5:18am. 6lb. 9oz.

04-favs-408-favs-805-favs-5bw-03-favs-309-favs-9bw-01-favs-1

i’ve been spending my free time trying to get things done. my friend, grace’s shower is this upcoming sunday so i spent last night making a banner for her mickey-mouse themed shower. i’m bringing penny with me to the shower and i purchased her a minnie mouse outfit from babygap to wear to the event.

even though penny’s 2nd birthday is four months away i already finalized the details. it’s actually too early to book the venue so i need to get back in touch with them next month. also, we are close to booking our family newborn photo session. we will be going with the photographer who did penny’s session: remi kate photography

penny is also a flower girl for our friends’ wedding in april so i’ve been looking for a dress. the wedding colors are lavender, sage, and white; after browsing through some options i feel a lavender dress will look really sweet on penny for a spring wedding. since ezra is due on easter sunday (4/16) and the wedding is on 4/30 i probably will not be able to attend but i would still like to try. we shall see when baby boy arrives.

i’m looking forward to next wednesday because mommy-to-be grace and i are going to new jersey for the day to stuff our pregnant bellies. we settled on japanese food but we will probably also stop by korean bakeries, eat ice cream, and maybe squeeze some shopping in. it’ll be fun to do my own thing for an entire day.

i already feel so accomplished today because my mil came early this morning. on days that dennis works the afternoon shift, she comes after penny’s nap and on days (like today) where dennis works the morning shift she comes in the morning. while mom watched penny, i was able to…

  • take yuri out
  • shower (still a luxury)
  • do laundry
  • eat peacefully
  • prep for dinner

now that penny’s napping i’m trying to whip out this blog post so i can get a few other things out of the way before i attempt to rest.

we had about 5-6 inches of snow last saturday. it was still snowing in the evening so we didn’t take penny outdoors until sunday. after getting all bundled up and going outdoors, we only lasted about ten minutes because it was too darn cold! the temperature said 18 degrees but the weather app said “feels like 6.” at least penny had her first experience of tubing down the hill!

img_4946

our first attempt to go out: she started crying shortly after this picture. we found out her brand-new boots are too small for her! we took out the lining when we went out the second time but we will have to return the boots.

img_5001img_4998img_4999

img_4997

tubing with grandma

img_4996

off we go!

img_5002img_4995

img_4994

there goes daddy and penny! yuri is trying furiously to keep up.

img_4993

fun with grandpa

img_4952img_4954img_4953

like i said in previous posts, i can’t keep up with penny’s expanding vocabulary. since my last post, she’s been saying “딸기” (strawberry), 뜨거 뜨거 (hot, hot), and 추워 추워 (cold, cold). the latter two she hears us saying when the stove is on so when she pretends to cook, is about to eat hot food or the stove/fireplace is on, she says “hot, hot!” sometimes she will want to go in the sunroom and if the space heater isn’t on we will tell her it’s too cold, so now she says that as well.

yesterday she tried to say “i love you” when i said it to her as i put her down for a nap. it was more like “i lay” but she’s trying! she loves her colors and i’ve probably said this before but now she also says “brown” and “green.” “orange” is more like “jee” (that’s a tough one).

with my baby shower approaching, i keep meaning to write posts on useful baby items and toys that penny likes so i can share with other parents/future parents. i promise to write separate posts on baby items and baby toys & books this month!

2017 – year of the rooster

happy new year! from what i’ve seen on social media, 2016 was a terrible year for a lot of people. i’m not sure if they actually felt that way or thought the memes and gifs they shared were funny.. but it’s too bad because 2016 was one of the best years of my life. penny turned one year old and this past summer was more enjoyable and adventurous than the last one because we were able to do a lot more with her. she also reached many milestones such as walking, talking, and more teeth: never a dull moment! additionally, we found out in august that we would be having another baby! i feel like now that i have a child (soon-to-be two) every year can only get better and better.

img_4817

25 weeks!

new year’s eve was a relatively quiet event. we stayed in but we had our friends, katie and mike, come over for a potluck game night. they had recently purchased new board games so we tried those out along with classics like boggle. we were actually so into the games and talking that we missed the countdown even though the television was on! i’m not sure how that happened.. we did run to the fridge to pop open the champagne (sparkling cider for me) and did a belated cheers. i thought i wouldn’t be able to last until midnight but i didn’t go to bed until nearly 3am!

fullsizerender

img_4704

3 ingredients: meatballs, grape jelly and bbq sauce!

img_4703img_4638

img_4702

gross beer illustration

img_4699img_4639

img_4646

the boys wrecked us at bounce-off

img_4648

i love this pic! we were looking for a missing piece from the game, blokus. mike looked under the couch, found a cheerio, and tossed it back. when i asked why he threw it back, katie could not stop laughing.

snapchat fun

img_4701img_4700img_4661img_4659img_4657img_4656img_4655img_4653

fullsizerender_1fullsizerender_2fullsizerender

meanwhile…

img_4650

new year’s day was spent at home and then we headed over to the grandparents’ for traditional new year’s food: ddeok-gook (떡국). in korean culture we eat ddeok-gook, or a hearty rice cake soup with dumplings, eggs, scallions and nori, to celebrate the new year. really, ddeok-gook is good all year round but it’s important to eat on thanksgiving and new year’s day.

img_4694img_4692img_4697img_4696img_4695img_4686img_4707

due to the cold weather we haven’t been doing too much lately. yesterday was actually warm for a january in connecticut so we took a morning walk. dennis had assembled the radio flyer trike penny received for christmas and we had pushed her around on it in the basement but decided to give it a go outside. she didn’t last very long on it; i think she was excited to be outdoors because she wanted to walk around and look at everything. she saw me stepping on a frozen mound of snow and decided that’s what she wanted to do.

img_4879img_4880img_4881img_4882

normally on thursday mornings, penny has had her toddler class but the second session had ended the thursday before christmas. the next session starts the following thursday (1/12) so we haven’t had that to look forward to. this morning seemed to drag on and penny seemed bored so we went to our town library. we hadn’t been to that one in a while because the neighboring town, tolland, has a nicer play area for babies and young children – it’s enclosed in a room and has a lot more toys including a puppet theatre and a computer with games for toddlers. penny still had fun taking all of the trucks and cars out of the toy bin and playing in the barn. we also saw a friend from her toddler class there so that was a pleasant surprise. as usual, it was difficult getting her to leave so i had to keep telling her we had to go home to let yuri out and eat lunch.

img_4884img_4885img_4888

img_4825

“reading” with the leapfrog reader

img_4816

so, so sweet

img_4606

she likes to wear sunglasses indoors like jack nicholson

img_4612img_4620img_4629img_4632

our baby boy’s nursery is finally beginning to come around.. sort of. dennis and i spent all of monday morning cleaning out the closet and wardrobe while grandma so watched penny. it’s unbelievable how many bags of clothes we decided to sell/donate. dennis will tell you i’m a hoarder (i say, i’m sentimental) so it was hard for me to part with some keepsakes but i knew it had to be done.. i mean, what am i going to do with a birthday card from my 20th birthday?!

i’m not sure if i shared the news on my blog yet but our son’s name is going to be ezra! we had chosen this name back in 2014 when we were going to start trying for a baby. his korean name will be ha-min, 하민. dennis came up with it: the ‘ha’ comes from penny’s korean name ‘ha-neul’ and ‘min’ comes from dennis’ korean name (he only has one character for his name).

ezra’s crib arrived almost a month ago and has been sitting in a box, unassembled, so we need to set that up soon. we also need to make an ikea trip for a dresser like the one penny has and some other nursery essentials. my friend, genie, sent out invitations for our baby shower a few days ago so i’m looking forward to that as well. i’m trying not to go overboard because we can definitely reuse items but i do want to get a new infant car seat since penny didn’t like the uppababy mesa. i’ve been eyeing the nuna pipa (a very light 7.7 lb and the canopy stretches to the baby’s feet) and it’s gotten rave reviews.. plus, it’s also compatible with the vista though we have to get the adapter. i just hope we’re able to sell the mesa and car bases.

recent penny news: her molars are fully out so she officially has 7 teeth; her upper lateral incisors are taking forever to make their appearance though they’ve been threatening to poke through for the past few months.

new words: she is also trying to say the colors “brown” and “green.” “blue”, “purple”, and “yellow” she has been saying already although the latter is more like “neh-no” because she’s having trouble with the ‘y’ sound. lately she is repeating everything we say so her vocabulary is growing at a faster rate every day. yesterday she started saying “thank you” on her own (after months of us telling her to say “thank you” when receiving a cup of milk or other items).
some other words she says are “bee” (and she’ll point to a picture of a bumblebee) and “apple.”

whew~~ it’s tough to try to keep track of all this.. but i do attempt it! ever since penny was born i’ve been logging notes on my iphone by continually adding onto a, now, very long list. soon i’ll have to do that for ezra!

 

happy holidays

i had my 24-week checkup this morning. it was brief and everything went well. i’ve been keeping track of my weight gain like i did for penny, and i’ve gained 6.3 lb. so far. at this point with penny, i had gained 10.7 lb. and 18 lb. overall, right up until penny was born. i thought i would gain more during my second pregnancy but it’s not over yet so we will see how big this little boy grows.

img_4274

img_4515

the ob measured my fundus (part of the uterus) to determine growth rate. it measured at 23cm which is fine because i’m at week 24. you want the measurements to be around the same as the number of weeks you’re pregnant, so i’m about a week behind which is still great. i have a long torso so i know the baby has a lot of room in there. this is also the reason why i haven’t shown until about a few weeks ago.

my next appointment will be the 28-week checkup where i have to take a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. i’m not worried about this one at all since my blood pressure is excellent and my weight gain has been minimal. plus, i was fine with penny. the only annoying thing is drinking this sugary orange drink in under 5 minutes.

with that said, these weeks are flying by; much more faster than when i was pregnant with penny. my friend and neighbor, yan, is expecting her second (also a boy!) on january 12th but she said she is already 4cm dilated so the baby could come any day now. it’s exciting and comforting to be going through my second pregnancy with friends who are also expecting their second around the same time. now we have to learn how to adjust to taking care of a newborn while also having a rambunctious toddler around. i’m eager to receive valuable tips from friends that are due before me, but i’m also grateful knowing that i will have lots of help from family members as well.

it was a busy christmas this year: we traveled to boston to celebrate with my family and then came back christmas eve so we could go to church on christmas morning. penny got baptized along with our friends’ son, ethan, and then we opened gifts in the early evening with dennis’ parents.

img_4201

homemade meal upon our arrival!

img_4203img_4204img_4227img_4207img_4208img_4170img_4212img_4213img_4220img_4219img_4221img_4223img_4224img_4225img_4226img_4234fullsizerender

penny’s baptism

img_4284img_4289img_4519img_4517img_4518

img_4288img_4259img_4282

opening gifts

img_4354img_4355img_4381img_4382img_4380img_4377img_4376

img_4374

she also received another baby doll for christmas (from my mom). this one i picked out: baby says “mama” when you squeeze her hand and she sucks on the magnetic pacifier when you place it on her mouth. penny knows how to do both.

img_4368img_4362img_4359img_4385img_4389img_4357

img_4520

i forgot i bought her two wooden puzzles and a pizza kit so i gave them to her the following day

to top it off, i won fantasy football this year! i limped into the playoffs as the #8 seed (out of 12) and basically had no hope of even advancing into the next round. my first and second picks this year were rob gronkowski and dez bryant – both were huge disappointments this year although dez sealed the win for me in the end with a great game. most of my lineup were waiver wire pickups as well so it was amazing how i came back to win it all. this is my first victory after having been a runner-up a few times (most recently, last year) so i feel even more triumphant.

it has been hard to keep track of all the of the things penny has been learning because it’s at such a faster pace now. she’s saying more and more words. a few weeks ago she had added 뽀뽀 (kiss), 멍멍 (puppy), ball, wow, and 이모 (aunt) to her vocabulary, and most recently she has added “no more”, “one more”, “all done” (she only used to gesture), and 지지 (dirty). she is also sorting her colors by putting matching colors together. as one of her christmas gifts, i got her do-a-dot markers and she likes to screw the caps back on to the markers by herself. she correctly places the matching colored cap on the marker and twists it on! during bath time, she also places the colorful dolphin toys into their matching colored tubes.

img_4532

img_4523

new straw cup

img_4536

braving the cold to get some fresh air!

img_4540img_4543img_4544

img_4553

on my way home from my ob appointment today, a house had free toys set out on the curb so i took a coffee maker and this big rig auto transport.

penny’s top molars have broken through! i only noticed them a few days ago when i was changing her diaper and she was yelling/talking. currently she has 5 teeth but her top lateral incisors have been trying to poke their way through for almost a month now! she is a very slow teether. xD at 19 months it looks like she will soon have 9 teeth; but it seems that she’ll be closer to 20 months by the time they fully come in.

i can’t believe it’ll already be 2017 (year of the rooster) in a few short days. i’m excited to see what the new year brings (besides a baby boy!

  • i plan on adding more photos (52 total!) little by little. i just really want to post this entry before penny’s nap is up and the pictures take forever!