hurry up & slow down

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penny is nearing her 10th month. 10! we are closing in on the double-digits here. she spends most of her awake time crawling and is ready to pass out by the time her nap time rolls around. now that she’s more mobile and burning more calories, she’s getting tired earlier. i tried to keep her up on a few occasions so she wouldn’t be taking naps so soon but then she ends up being grouchy and taking short naps.

this morning she woke up around 5:45am (ugh) but slept 11 hours straight last night so she was totally ready for the day. dennis got up with her and i slept a little longer after pumping. she was ready to sleep around 8am but we tried feeding her solids again (she hasn’t been receptive to breakfast lately) and she only took a few bites. after a short naptime routine in her nursery, she fell asleep around 8:40. *fingers crossed she sleeps longer than an hour*

as penny becomes more and more like a mini adult, i find myself caught in a mixture of emotions. as eager as i am to discover penny’s new-found skills, i also feel a twinge of sadness at her progress: she’s leaving the infant stage behind and becoming a toddler. 😥 it’s quite the paradox, isn’t it?

it’s getting increasingly difficult to change her diapers, give her baths, and feed her because she wants to go, go, go! we rarely cradle her anymore but when we do we are amazed at how tall she is. i never really thought i’d be this wistful of her wee newborn days, but she was so little then and there seemed to be all the time in the world for her to grow up.

even now, i find myself thinking, “i can’t wait until she’s older so we can ____.” there are future disney vacations (maybe one next year), beach outings, day trips, and jet-setting around the world to be had when her naps aren’t in the way of life. still, even when she is old enough, there’s the possibility that she’ll have siblings which makes it even more tough to travel.

but, for now, there’s just penny… and i want to take her all in and enjoy having just her for as long as we can. try not to look so far ahead. the future will happen. enjoy now; enjoy this moment.

penny and i went grocery shopping recently. what’s so special about that? well, dennis and i usually go grocery shopping together so one is pushing the stroller and the other is handling the cart. however, we needed some items that day (particularly fresh produce for baby food) so i took penny. it was her first time sitting in the shopping cart and she did well!

i don’t have a shopping cart seat cover so i used a thick blanket to pad the area for her. i also used a muslin swaddle blanket to cushion her legs and chest. i noticed that she jerks forward whenever i push the cart so the blanket helped her from teetering back and forth.

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observing other customers

penny was fairly quiet during the entire trip. she liked being free from the constraints of a hot car seat and she had a 360-degree view of the world.

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checking out the grocery list


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i made her laugh 🙂


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checking out the light fixtures and sprinklers


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she loves to read, like mommy! she’s checking out bridal magazines though.. too soon, too soon!


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she was getting hungry and tired.. this is after we purchased the groceries. passers-by were remarking how cute penny was when she started lying down.

penny’s finally attempting to hold the bottle on her own. she always could; she just never wanted to because she wants to play with toys. even now, she’s easily distracted but she’s starting to become a little more independent. she also started to “read” books during mealtimes. she loves the book “100 first word”: she squeals and smiles whenever she sees the book, and she flips through the pages on her own.

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i’m still making the majority of penny’s food. one easy recipe i tried recently is pastina. i got this recipe from a baby food cookbook and it only requires two ingredients: pastina and low-sodium chicken broth. pastina means “little pasta” and these are star-shaped (adorable).

lovely little pasta soup

1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

2 tbs. pastina

bring broth to a gentle boil and add pastina. stir occasionally and let cook for 7~8 minutes or until tender. serve warm. when reheating, add a little bit of water to the pastina. makes about 4 servings.

i didn’t think 2 tablespoons of pastina would be a lot but i was surprised how much there was after it was done cooking. the recipe says 4 servings but i definitely stretched to 6; it depends how much your baby wants to eat it. penny really liked it but i like offering her a variety of foods at mealtimes so she doesn’t get bored.

grace and i went to the mall last sunday to look for a wedding outfit. we are going to a friend’s wedding on 3/26 and have “nothing to wear.” we really wanted to find midi or maxi skirts but couldn’t find any we liked. i may have to buy an outfit online…

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enjoying godiva cones and breaking in grace’s new selfie stick


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i like macarons but i rarely eat them because they are so expensive. my favorite of the bunch was lemon poppy.

the northeast has been fortunate to have beautiful, warm weather this week! yesterday peaked at 75 degrees! it’s actually raining right now (boo) but the temperature is still 70. i’m glad we went out for a family walk around lunchtime because it looks as if i won’t be able to take penny and yuri out later. we are going to the library though after penny’s last nap.

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it was a little windy so dennis’ mom wrapped a scarf around her.


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looking like a little babushka


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selfie with mommy


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the playground is literally in our backyard. an elementary school is behind our neighborhood so we’ll be coming here often this summer!

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the photos below were taken yesterday when i took penny and yuri out for an early evening walk.

she’s so adorable with the sunglasses but like most babies, she’s not a fan. she actually took them off the first time (3rd photo, right after i took the picture). i bribed her with crackers and she kept them on after that but i felt bad so i took them off after a few minutes.

the middle picture is where she’s busy shoving a cracker in her mouth and it looks like she’s giving me the finger 😛

looking forward to this weekend! my parents are visiting for the day tomorrow with a ton of food from their restaurant (yay!!) and my friend’s birthday dinner is that night. then on saturday morning, genie and i are heading to new jersey for the day to shop, eat and meet up with friends 🙂

i’ve been taking a hiatus on making crafts for penny’s birthday but the invitations went out last week and guests are slowly sending in their rsvp’s. i can’t believe the party will be in 2 months!! i’m hoping to resume party planning next week; there are a lot of things that i need to make… onward ho!

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

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.

 

 

keep on rollin’

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penny before church. she kicked her shoe off.

the above picture is how i felt all of last week. dennis works 7 straight days biweekly and those weeks are tough for both of us. last week felt dreadfully long as i tended to penny mostly by myself from monday-sunday. it’s not even just being stir-crazy from being holed up in the house but also constantly battling sleep deprivation. normally i can count on penny’s second nap to be 2~3 hours long. i really look forward to this nap so i can eat as much (and quickly) as i can and try to get some shut-eye myself. however, this whole 4-month sleep regression has thrown everything off – sometimes she’ll wake up after a half hour and scream.. so i’ll have to lug myself upstairs to try to put her back down. if she does end up falling back asleep it’s only for another half hour or so.

i knew it was pretty bad at one point when i was nodding off, in broad daylight, while bottle-feeding penny. my eyes would fly open to see penny staring curiously at me. i felt terrible that penny had to see like that but that’s how tired i’ve been lately. for the most part, she’s been getting back on track with her nighttime sleep schedule. she still wakes up once a night but that’s typical of babies her age (and a whole lot better than the multiple wakings we had been experiencing recently!) the past two nights have been unusual because she skipped her third nap. though we tried pushing up her bedtime she still fought sleep (no crying, at least) and had been awake for 3~4 hours!

every day is an adventure…

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lately whenever penny wakes up, this is what we see on the baby monitor. she hasn’t rolled over from back to tummy yet but she’s trying in earnest even with the merlin sleep suit on! once she starts rolling over in the suit, we have to stop using it. definitely dreading when that day comes. we will have to start sleep training her soon… only to have it thrown off once she starts teething, has the 6-month growth spurt and starts sitting up… it never ends!!!

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look how cute she is, haha. she’s looking at yuri in this picture. what we do is try to grab her attention using toys and encouragement. she almost has gotten the hang of it; she just needs to figure out how to throw her back leg over to roll.

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penny gets captivated by yuri. i’m sure yuri is an intriguing sight, what with all that fur and physical features so different from ours.

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here she is, practicing again. she seems to prefer her left side. i think this is because she’s drawn to her bedroom window. though we try to keep her room as dark as possible light still filters in and it attracts her attention. often times when i’m rocking her to sleep, she’ll try to face the window so i turn my body to accommodate her.

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this is a common sight nowadays

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dennis and i had been looking to get more toys for penny so she won’t be bored, and he suggested ‘once upon a child.‘ if you haven’t heard of this store, it’s a nationwide chain that buys/sells gently used baby and children’s clothing, toys, books, and gear. i couldn’t believe the racks and racks of clothes! we actually purchased a hoodie and bottom set for penny’s halloween costume (it’s a secret; you’ll see in a future post.)

after carefully perusing the toy section, i chose a bright starts activity ball and the classic xylophone. i washed them both with warm water and soap before letting penny play with them. she especially loves the activity ball because it’s easy for her to grasp. she does like the sounds the xylophone makes and grips the mallet, but isn’t yet able to hit the plates on her own. she whacked herself on the head accidentally and cried >.<

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at penny’s 4-month check-up, we were told that we could slowly start introducing penny to solids. initially i was hesitant because i wanted to wait until she’s 6 months old, but it really wouldn’t hurt for her to get acclimated to the tastes and textures of solids. plus. she’s been consuming nearly 30 oz. of breast milk recently and still wakes up hungry once a night. furthermore, she’s been showing great interest in food and stops what she’s doing to watch me eat.

i’ve been giving penny a spoon so she can get used to it.

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hm.. doesn’t taste good

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how adorable is she? 🙂

mother-daughter moment at church

mother-daughter moment at church

penny will be 5 months on thursday. my beautiful baby girl will already be 5 months. every time i try to savor each smile, each new skill, each sweet embrace, time flies by that much quicker. i love you so much, penny!!