5 years and counting

june 29, 2013. five years ago, dennis and i were married in hamden, connecticut. how has it only been five years? so much has happened since our wedding that it feels more like it has been a decade. one factor is the bit with the emergence of two little ones. at times, i’m still in disbelief that i am a mother. i still feel like a 17-year-old at heart, and I’m still googling ways to solve toddler problems. don’t all parents?

but, there was a time before children. back when dennis and I enjoyed spontaneous date nights and could wake up whenever we wanted to on the weekends. dennis and I began dating in late 2009, but we actually knew of each other since high school circa 2000. dennis is a few years younger than I am so although we shared some mutual friends, we ran in different circles. oh, and he lived in Connecticut while I resided in Massachusetts. how did two teenagers who lived in two different states come to know one another? we both attended Korean churches that are part of a New England Korean community-type of association. this group organizes yearly retreats, and Dennis and I had attended the summer ones.

it wasn’t until 2009, post-college, that Dennis and I became reacquainted at a friend’s house party (a kegger, to be exact. ah, the joys of a kid-free life!) Dennis claims he arrived at the party in time to see me doing a keg stand. I ended up doing four of them that night so, needless to say, I don’t remember much of the party. however, Dennis reached out to me via facebook messenger to get together for a group snowboarding trip to sugar bush in vermont. I’m thinking he thought it was safer to have a casual group hangout rather than a date for the first get-together 🙂

five years ago, we could only imagine what parenthood would be like. we were so excited to become husband and wife, and the prospect of raising children was considered to be in the distant future. fast forward to 2018, and a life with a 3-year-old and a 14-month-old makes it hard to envision one without them.

though the children mean the world to me, I’ve heard, and read, so many times (most often from my mom) that we should put our spouses first, and not the children. of course, this does not mean to neglect or abandon them but to not focus most of our energy in trying to please and win over these tykes. perhaps, even more so with this generation, parents let their children dictate our lives even when we think we are being strict and disciplined. most of us just placate their demands because we want to avoid confrontation and arguing with unreasonable beings. I am totally guilty of this.

also, it’s worth mentioning that I’m fairly certain I’ve talked about this in past post(s) but its importance and validity is a reason why I’m bringing it up again. as I marvel over the past five years, I’m thinking of how dennis and I can focus more on our relationship without it being lost in our children’s world.

date nights are absolutely key in keeping communication and intimacy alive without the distraction of children, but these only occur a few times a month. it’s something as simple as being “unplugged” for an hour to truly prioritize the other person: listen and be engaged in what the other has to say. currently, we do our dance of asking how each other’s day was and sharing any issues that have arisen while offering support for the other. there, done. we eat dinner, tidy up the house, and pass out on the couch while watching Netflix. (these days, it’s dexter and america’s got talent.)

my goal is to have us take the time to have more in-depth conversations – serious and not-so-serious – about anything on our minds. I know being with the kids all day, every day, I have a lot of thoughts and ideas I’d like to share with another adult (and not necessarily with my in-laws all the time). it’s interesting how alone we can feel in this big, big world, isn’t it? we all just want to be heard, and who better to share my innermost thoughts and feelings than with the person I’m married to?

like so many things, it’s a lot easier than done. take for example, this blog post. I’ve been working on publishing this post for nearly two weekstwo! every time I had time (after the kids are in bed for the night), I would start typing and then I would doze off! (I’m actually nodding off as I type this.) or, I would put it off for another day because I had other things to do like read for my book club. certainly it’s my fault for staying up so late every night even though I tell myself every day that today is the day I’ll go to bed before 11. nope.

still, I can keep trying to accomplish small goals. I can also be kinder to myself instead of beating myself up over not completing my never-ending to-do list. love yourself. love those around you.

IMG_0410

IMG_0411

IMG_0412

IMG_0413

IMG_0414

IMG_0415

IMG_0416

IMG_0404

IMG_0405

IMG_0403

IMG_0406

IMG_0417

IMG_0408IMG_0407IMG_0420IMG_0421IMG_0419

IMG_0418

my family

IMG_0433

IMG_0434

IMG_0435

IMG_0436

IMG_0437

IMG_0438

IMG_0423

IMG_0424

IMG_0425

IMG_0426

IMG_0427

IMG_0428

IMG_0429

IMG_0430

IMG_0431

IMG_0432

IMG_0409

milestones part II

today marks two years since dennis and i got married!

IMG_0147and i thought wedding planning was stressful. i still can’t believe i have a baby. dennis and i talk about how we feel like we are babysitting long-term.. it’s just all so surreal.

since dennis is working 2-10 today we celebrated our anniversary yesterday with a dinner and a movie. it was our first date night since penny was born! we were apprehensive about leaving her and kept thinking about her the entire time. she was in good hands but we had never left her in someone else’s care until then. mil came over, and penny ended up sleeping for 3.5 hours and then finished eating right as we came home.

IMG_0130

white sangria

IMG_0138

it felt great dressing up and being able to go out

IMG_0139

since we were gone from 4-9pm i packed my pump… how romantic, huh? we went to market grill for happy hour and drinks – my first one in ten months! – and then i pumped in the car while dennis went to purchase tickets for jurassic world 3d. we had been highly anticipating watching this movie and it ended up being alright. chris pratt is awesome though.

another milestone that recently occurred was penny’s 6-week mark. we had heard the 6-week growth spurt can be pretty brutal, and it didn’t spare us.  it can last up to a week for some people but thankfully ours was 2 days… 2 long days.

penny would not nap longer than 30 minutes and just wanted to continually eat. when she wasn’t eating, she was being fussy. last thursday was tough because i was by myself. dennis got out of work at 4 that day so he was able to help in the evening. he had friday off and assisted me all day.. otherwise i would not have been able to eat. for those that have/had babies, you know what i’m talking about… you’re stuck on the couch/recliner/wherever until the baby is satisfied. i try to surround myself with a full glass of water, snacks like a banana and a nature valley bar, and my phone to browse websites while i’m breastfeeding. it can be a l-o-n-g process especially during a growth spurt.

it’s very helpful if you have support during these times. i try to breastfeed whenever possible so dennis helps by refilling my water glass, feeding me, burping penny and putting her down for a nap. for those that bottle feed, it’s a little bit easier since someone else can do the feeding but then you still have to pump to keep up your supply. i hate pumping so i breastfeed as much as i can. i do continually add to my freezer and fridge stash by pumping before i go to bed and twice more during the wee morning hours when i have the most milk. penny usually feeds off one breast during the late night-early morning hours so i pump the other side after i put her down.

what made going through this stage a bit bearable was that penny has become a lot more active and social. she coos and gurgles often like she’s trying to talk. it’s so adorable!

she also has become more aware of her hands. she’s begun grasping things on her own and also becoming more sensitive to touch. today, since she wouldn’t nap (again), i put her in the baby bjorn and went out for a walk taking yuri along as well. she was fussy for the first ten minutes but soon fell asleep. i looked down at her and noticed that both of her hands were grasping the baby carrier. all the other times she had been in the carrier, her arms had hung limply by her sides. any changes i witness, big or small, i quickly record them in the Notes app on my iPhone so i can write them in the baby books when i have time later. if possible, i want to be able to remember everything so i try to document as much as i can.

IMG_0065 IMG_0061
FullSizeRender

you really can’t help but smile back when a cute baby is this happy…

IMG_0059

the above picture is of my sister, jen. she came to visit last wednesday before the growth spurt started.

it’s great to have visitors when you’re up to it.. make sure they bring goodies like food especially during the first few weeks when you don’t have the time nor energy to make food.

IMG_0068 knowing my love for cupcakes, jen brought me a dozen mini ones 😀

dennis and i also went up to massachusetts for the day on saturday. we were nervous about bringing penny up for the first time because of her growth spurt. she was constantly cranky from not napping and we were worried about the 1.5 hour car ride each way along with how she was going to be being out and about all day. it seemed that the growth spurt ended friday night because she slept during the entire car ride and the majority of the time that we ate lunch. my parents own two korean restaurants in boston – they had three but sold one several months ago – so we ate lunch at one of the locations.

IMG_0085

탕수육, or tang soo yook, is lightly battered pieces of pork or beef with a tangy sweet & sour sauce

IMG_0086

we also ordered 두부김치제육볶음, tofu kimchi stir-fry, and 순두부찌게, or the soft tofu stew

IMG_0098

i love this backdrop. we took some engagement photos here as well.

IMG_0096

family portrait thanks to our selfie stick

IMG_0100

we met up with my sister, jen, and her boyfriend, brendan.. and our friend, almex

but the main reason for our trip was so my grandma could finally meet penny, her 17th great-grandchild!

IMG_0120

praying to God

IMG_0125ever since i got married, my grandma has been telling (pressuring) me to have a baby so when i told her the good news at ten weeks, she was ecstatic. i just wish we lived closer so she could see penny more often. 😦 i’m hoping to go up in a few weeks again… penny is growing so fast and it makes me sad that my family can’t see her as often as we’d all like. since we take so many photos of penny, i told myself that i’ll develop a bunch and mail them to my grandma so she can witness the growth and changes as well.

penny put up a valiant fight over taking her afternoon nap today. my mil came over with homemade mandoo (korean dumplings) and put penny to sleep while i finally ate. she has the magic touch because penny’s been sleeping for almost 2 hours now! i’m hoping i have time to eat 김치찌게 (kimchi stew) and wash the dishes before she wakes up.

enough writing today.. precious minutes are ticking away..