happy birthday, america.. and grandpa so

summer days are flying by. the weather has finally been appropriate swim & tan weather though sadly i have yet to do either. (i do have awkward tan lines on my feet from favoring my mossimo sandals from target so i need to switch up my footwear.)

speaking of target, i recently purchased adorable cat & jack sandals for penny and strappy flats for myself. i snapped a shoefie (selfie + shoes) of our feet and posted it on instagram. to my surprise, target asked to share the image and, of course, i agreed! the image was shared on their ‘awesome shop’ page.

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the chosen image

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another shot of our feet

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feature on target’s ‘awesome shop’ page

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another look

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stamping at coventry library

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the location where i took the feet photos

fyi cat & jack shoes run big. i ordered a size 6 for penny and they were falling off her feet. i returned them for a size 5 and they fit perfectly.

june 29th was my 4th wedding anniversary. hard to believe it has only been four years. and in those four years, we already have two children! we waited until saturday, july 1st, to celebrate… and by celebrate, we went out to eat dinner and came straight home. it was already 10pm by the time we left the restaurant so there wasn’t much to do afterwards anyway.

i have slowly been planning for ezra’s 100th day party which is on july 22nd. s l o w l y. i browse pinterest for ideas but none have really caught my eye. granted the 100th day celebration is not as important as the first birthday but i do want to settle on a theme so i can get started on decorations.

the party is going to be held at our home and weather permitting we will have lawn games and water play outdoors. our back yard connects to a huge field that is part of an elementary school so we plan on setting up a badminton net back there along with cornhole, horseshoes, and other activities.

there are a lot of summer birthdays between dennis’ family and mine. my brother (6/15), my dad (6/25), my fil (7/8), my sil (7/25), and my sister (8/6). we went up to massachusetts the last weekend of june to celebrate my dad’s birthday. penny had so much fun with the water hose that i ended up purchasing a melissa & doug sprinkler attachment from tj maxx to use at home. we also purchased a 5-in-1 game set that includes badminton. i hadn’t played in years and i regaled dennis and my sister with a memorable account of when my friend and i beat all the other teams at badminton during p.e. class in high school.

ezra is 2.5 months and he’s already wearing size 6 month clothes! it seems like a waste of money to buy more summer clothes when fall will be here in a few months but the 3-month bodysuits are tight on him. as it is ezra was only able to wear his size 3-month shorts once (the elastic waistband is too tight).

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tolerating tummy time

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yogurt

she LOVES the korean yogurt drinks

playdate with olivia g.

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both girls were tentative about going in the sprinkler

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they enjoyed the water table more

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snacks

time to hydrate

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daddy brought ice cream home 

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trying on her new shades

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looking cool, ez

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these three

these days ezra is the easy one… he eats and sleeps well. ezra is on a great schedule and is continuing to only wake up once at night typically around 4-5am. i used to worry that he was sleeping too much during the day but i leave him alone because he will wake up when he’s hungry. his day sleep hasn’t affected his night sleep at all. additionally, he’s going through a lot of developmental leaps and growth spurts so some days he’ll be extra sleepy.

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ezra’s not a big fan of tummy time but he tolerates it on the boppy lounger

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ezra laughed out loud for the first time shortly after this picture was taken

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arts & crafts

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painting the american flag

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i made the star stamp on the spot: cut out a star on felt and used a glue gun to glue it onto a dowel

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penny’s still going through her 2-year sleep regression with who knows what else? although three of her canines have broken through they are taking their sweet time growing in. i don’t believe the fourth one has broken through yet.

we solved her fear of the dark by buying a night light that either glows blue or green. it really comforts her. we also leave the camera night light on and turn it off when she’s asleep. the evening that we returned from massachusetts, penny started crying hysterically at bedtime. i went to her room three times to comfort her and even left the camera light on (which had worked previously) but she still kept crying. finally, i looked online for advice and read that some parents left the hallway light on while leaving the child’s bedroom door ajar. it worked. penny stopped crying right away, played for a little bit, and fell asleep. now that we have the night light, we don’t have to keep the hallway light on.

although penny had been getting better with ezra being around, her bouts of jealousy have since returned. coupled with being hangry and tired from waking up at night, she’s just a hot mess lately. she’s actually fine when i am with ezra; penny goes ballistic when grandma suddenly tends to ezra when she had been playing with her.

and the ‘stranger danger’ issue continues. even with people she knows. on sunday, genie and olivia came over for a morning play date, and penny pinched me so hard from being nervous that she left a bruise on my thigh. she also scratched her own cheek from flipping out and her nail broke through her skin! we don’t know what else to do other than keep telling her that it’s okay and attempt to calm and soothe her. we even let her know in advance that friends are coming over so it won’t be a surprise. i just hope her fear subsides soon. it makes me sad to see her so genuinely nervous and scared, but it also frustrates me because there’s not much we can do to make her feel better.

dennis’ brother, dan, and his wife, crystal, arrived late sunday night and are leaving around noon today. we celebrated the 4th of july with a family cookout and an early birthday celebration for grandpa so. penny was a nervous wreck and uncle dan and aunt crystal came to visit monday afternoon. she was loads better on tuesday morning when they came to hang out for the entire day.

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playing with her ‘new’ toy, a vacuum. i purchased it for $5 off of facebook marketplace

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munching on goldfish crackers while watching sesame street

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finishing up breakfast in the sunroom

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love this impromptu photo shoot

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time to eat~

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pinterest-inspired fruit & pretzel platter

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kebabs & corn

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playing with aunt crystal

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yay, we got a group photo

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i was trying to capture dennis and uncle dan playing football but penny steals the show

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purposely looking away

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happy birthday, grandpa so!

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it’s always great when the kids go down for the night as we can all catch up and relax. last night, we were deciding on what movie to watch and settled on a netflix original ‘okja.’ it’s a korean film by famed director, bong joon-ho, about a young girl who goes through great lengths to save her pet super pig from a fate in the slaughterhouse.

we likely will not be able to see dan and crystal again until thanksgiving. even that will be tricky though because i do want to go up to massachusetts to celebrate with my family since we have not gone the past two years. we will just have to see what happens then. we all enjoyed the movie, and were moved, and disturbed, by the ongoing, inhumane actions of the meat industry. although some scenes were heartbreaking i’m not quite sure i’d be able to give up pork because i love it so much.

since i wasn’t able to write about, or acknowledge, grandpa lee’s birthday i will do that for my next post.

family, friends & fun – oh my!

holy smokes, the 18 month sleep regression really is a killer!

they say that god never gives you more than you can handle but i honestly think he overestimates me sometimes, or maybe it’s all a cruel, cruel test. i had read about this regression for months in anticipation but it’s no joke when it happens. i’ll talk about it a little more later on but first i wanted to share our weekend in boston. we finally made a long overdue trip up to my home state to see my parents, sister, and grandma. while there we were also able to meet up with a few friends — the kim family and movie night with the byun brothers.

we ate well and we played well.. and we are going back up in two weeks from the 23-24th. we didn’t celebrate thanksgiving with my family (again) so we are celebrating an early christmas with them. and it’s my mom’s birthday on christmas day. the only reason we are heading back early is because penny is getting baptized on christmas morning with her friend, ethan.

okay, back to the weekend trip. we embarked around 9:30am and arrived at 11am at my parents’ home. penny had time to see her grandparents and auntie jen, play for a little bit, eat lunch and take a nap. while she slept, my parents left for work and dennis, jen, and i watched the secret life of pets. it was funny though not as good as zootopia, and definitely not appropriate for little children as they talk about “whacking off humans.” o.O

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after penny woke up we went to go visit my grandma. jen even brought along charlie and logan, her dog and her boyfriend’s dog. the last time penny saw grandma, she wasn’t walking on her own yet so my grandma was marveling at her speed and her height. penny was in a kissing mood and wasn’t shy about giving her great-grandma kisses much to her delight. (lately when penny’s feeling generous she will kiss everyone in the room. multiple times.)

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만세!

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giving great-grandma a kiss

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copying daddy with a playdo mustache

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we kept busy the rest of the weekend. mornings, for the most part, were spent at home with my parents since they had to go into work in the afternoon.

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giving kisses to grandma, grandpa and daddy

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lunch!

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on saturday, we went to go see santa at the burlington mall. we were able to book a time in advance (3:20pm, and they book fast!) but we still arrived early anticipating a crazy holiday crowd. and.. we were correct. there was a lot of traffic and parking was sparse so dennis dropped off penny and me at the entrance closest to the santa meet ‘n greet. when penny and i got there, the line was wrapped around the entire santa section! there was a shorter line where people were waiting to pick up their photos. i asked a woman in that line if she had booked a time online and she said she did; she told me to flag down one of the employees so that we could cut in line since everyone there had not scheduled a time.

whew! i’m so glad i asked because it wouldn’t have made sense for us to wait in line especially since i paid a $10 nonrefundable deposit towards a photo package. santa took a bathroom break and as he walked by, he patted penny on the shoulder. after he came back, the whole photo shoot took about ten seconds. we didn’t want to risk penny crying so we decided to take a family photo.

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after that, we left and met the kim family at their home for a short play date before dinner at island creek oyster house.

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olivia & penny snacking on blueberries

the food at this restaurant was really good and i’d love to go back. this is the second location; the first location is near fenway.

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olivia enjoying homemade pesto pasta

our friends, alf and ben (brothers), came over for a movie night after penny had gone to bed. last time, we had watched spotlight and snacked on doughnuts. this time, we watched the jungle book (the most recent one) and snacked on macarons. it was great to see them because we had been trying for a few months to schedule a movie night. (being carless in the city makes it even more difficult to make it work, too.)

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after spending some time with my parents on sunday morning, we took penny to vinkari safari in woburn, a children’s indoor playground. i had looked up kid-friendly indoor activities to do that are in the area and i found vinkari. penny had a great time and we did too. currently she’s really into cars and trucks so she spent most of her time playing with trucks and riding in cars.

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we left a little after 11am and the place was getting packed! we left at just the right time.. there probably wouldn’t have been enough cars for the kids! i look forward to bringing penny back when we go back to boston. admission is $10 per child and up to two adults are free.

it’s interesting how the activities we plan for our family are geared towards penny. there really isn’t anything for us adults to enjoy at indoor playgrounds like vinkari but just to see the joy on penny’s face and seeing how engaged she is is enough for us — and i know there aren’t too many parents that would disagree with this. if the kid’s happy, you’re happy. i did tell dennis though that i hope we can go into boston at night the next time we’re up. maybe my parents will be home early enough so they can watch penny while she sleeps and dennis and i can do our own thing…

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dinner at buk kyung, my parents’ restaurant, before we head back to connecticut

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back to the sleep regression. it seems like every other day penny will wake up around 4-5am and then go between modes of being awake and asleep. she’ll stay up for a while calling out for me (but not crying) and talk to herself. it’ll be quiet for a half an hour — maybe she fell asleep or she’s trying to — and then i’ll hear her yell out again. dennis and i actually haven’t gone into her room at night since she started sleeping all night at 6.5 months and we hope not to. she’s great at self-soothing (she is attached to her lambie lovey from pbk) and loves her crib so for the most part she’s fine by herself even if she’s awake. the hard part is dealing with her crankiness in the morning while i struggle to stay alert.

it’s not particularly the sleep part that is taxing (though it’s a huge part) but now that she’s a full-on toddler she’s developed her own personality and is more vocal and demanding of her opinions. most of the meltdowns occur because of miscommunication or because she isn’t getting what she wants. she’s still young enough where you can’t really discipline her since she won’t understand but our pediatrician suggested a time-out of no longer than 1 minute just to remove her from the situation. it can be as simple as placing her in the pack ‘n play and walking away for a minute. i’ll have to remember this for next time.

anyway, tuesday morning was no different. while we were playing on the floor near the dining area, she stood up. i saw that she was about to hit her head on the marble table so i reached out to create a buffer but it was too late. the tears and screaming that quickly ensued had penny in a rage — she lunged at me and was trying to pinch my face! no matter what i did she would not calm down. ashamed to say i lost my cool and screamed back at her which caused her to cry more. ugh.. i struggle to stay cool in situations such as this. i walked away and sat on the couch to try the ‘ignore method.’ i quietly ate my bagel while she continued to scream. she followed me to the couch and kept screaming in bouts to get my attention and touched my foot. after i finally looked at her, she became quiet and let me hug her. she asked for milk and while she was drinking, she would pause to say “na na” which is what we say for “sleep” (night-night). i guess she was telling me she’s tired because i brought her upstairs for an earlier-than-usual nap and she passed out a few minutes later at 11:45.

while she slept i had time to reflect on that morning.. and how i reacted to the situation. i have to keep reminding myself how frustrating it must be for penny to not be able to fully communicate to us what she wants and needs. i, as her mom, have to be more accommodating (to a certain extent, of course) and understanding…. but boy, is it tough. i should’ve just walked away sooner when i saw the tantrum coming but i kept trying to hug her and say soothing words instead. i pray i can deal with this better the next time it happens because penny (and her brother) need me to guide them on how to respond during exasperating situations.

tomorrow she’ll be 19 months and penny’s surprising me every day with things she knows.

some things penny knows and likes to do:

  • colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, white, black, and gray. she points to the correct colors when prompted and also says “blue” and “purple.” she tries to say “yellow.”
  • points to the letter “o” and says its name
  • points to certain animals in books when prompted such as dog, cat, bunny, turtle, lamb, and cow. also points to certain objects when prompted such as rattle, book, star, moon, flower, and tree.
  • her vocabulary is about 20 words – english and korean. she still says “abba” (dad) and “umma” (mom) most often and she signs for “milk” instead of saying it. she loves to say “lambie” (her lovey).
  • she likes to help us do laundry (putting in/taking out clothes in washer & dryer and pushing the buttons) and cook eggs (one of her favorite foods).
  • she loves cars and trucks – riding them and playing with them.
  • she loves to snuggle and kiss stuffed animals.
  • likes to switch the lights and her toys on/off.

there are probably a lot more but i’m getting tired. i need to upload the pictures and hopefully rest for a little bit. until next time…

easter weekend

ah, penny’s in bed for the night and i’m on the couch updating my blog while taking breaks to eat 갈비찜 (braised short ribs) that my mil made.

today flew by ~~ these days seem to be going by so fast. i helped genie set up for olivia’s first birthday party this saturday so my mil watched penny from 12-6:30pm. i can’t believe olivia’s dol is this weekend!!! i’m actually nervous, and excited, for genie because i know first-hand just how stressful planning for a baby’s first birthday is. genie is very crafty (like me) and she made these beautiful tissue paper flowers as a backdrop. i can’t wait to blog about olivia’s birthday!

i finally started gluing the beans for penny’s dol towers. i need to make 3: one for her name, one that says “축 돌” (abbreviated form of “congratulations – first bithday”), and the last one of a lamb (penny’s zodiac). i’ve been putting this project off but now that i’m in the midst of it i find it oddly therapeutic.  i also started assembling her play kitchen today so i hope to finish that after i finish blogging.

speaking of her play kitchen, i finished refurbishing and putting together penny’s table and chairs set. i used 5 different spray paint colors because i wanted to do color-blocking.

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didn’t they turn out great??  i love the colors that i chose: ballet pink, watermelon, sea glass, white and gold.

materials needed

krylon spray paint

painter’s tape

pencil and eraser

ruler

big pieces of cardboard

i was inspired by a pinterest post on color-blocking ikea latt table and chairs. i measured 4 inches on the table and chairs’ legs and taped them off. then i taped other areas so they could be different colors. this project took a lot longer than i had anticipated. i figured i’d use 1-2 layers, they would dry and i would be able to put them together in 2 days tops. reality: it took about 4-5 days. the white spray paint goes on really thin, and i think the wood absorbs it, because i used up an entire can of spray paint even though i only sprayed 4 small pieces of wood on the chairs! i also used the white spray paint for the play kitchen so i’m on my third can now!

anyway, the large pieces of cardboard are to have something to spray and have the pieces of furniture dry on. at first, i used a huge sheet of craft paper but the wet pieces got stuck to the paper and i had to scrape the paper off and respray to get an even look. 😦

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they’re so adorable! i’m so proud of myself 😀

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the furniture was finished in time for penny’s easter portrait 🙂

we went to homegoods on friday to buy black pantyhose but ended up also purchasing a mini armchair and ottoman for $79 – so much cheaper than pottery barn kids and it comes with a a darling footrest! plus, i read feedback from multiple people that homegoods/tj maxx has better quality kids’ chairs than pbk. good to know!

notice the easter canvas? more artwork!

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baby feet are sooooo cute.. penny’s getting ready to dip her feet into paint!

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i used a disposable changing pad to protect the mat (i was going to throw it out anyway so i used that instead of craft paper.) i also had wipes and paper towels ready to quickly clean her feet before washing them with soap and water. it’s so much easier to do footprint art rather than hands because babies arent’t cooperative enough to lay their hands flat for an art project.

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ta-da!

i also made and mailed out easter cards. see below!

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materials needed

card stock

paint & paintbrush

glue

markers and fine-point sharpie pens

googly eyes

border stencil

i wanted the cards to fit in a long envelope so i measured to make sure they would. then i added an elegant touch by only stenciling the bottom.

 

penny rarely wears shoes. she’s not walking yet so what’s the point? more like a waste of money. but she’s standing more now and wearing shoes will help her get used to them. the above picture shows how fascinated she is with her footwear 😉

i hadn’t been to church in a few months because service starts at 10am and that’s during, or just before, penny’s naptime. this past sunday, i brought her after she woke up. we missed the entire service and lunch was al most over but we made it, at least.. and i was able to catch up with friends. i had also seen some the night before because one of our friends had gotten married at the waterview. dennis and i were the last ones off the dance floor, and we have a baby at home!

okay, it’s already 9pm sadly.. and i still need to finish my dinner, complete assembling the play kitchen, and glue some beans. i’m already falling asleep though…

6-month growth spurt

when is there not a growth spurt? babies grow so much, developmentally and physically, during the first year that it seems like they’re on a never-ending growth spurt. while this is true, there are common growth spurt times for most babies and 6 months is one of them.

a lot happens at 6 months. babies are starting to master skills such as rolling both ways and sitting up unassisted, if they haven’t already done so in previous months. this is also the month where many babies start solids for the first time – a huge adventure in itself! – because of stronger neck control and ability to sit on own or with little help.

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after she wakes up, i always help her sit up to practice

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she recently started rolling over from her back to belly

she recently started rolling over from her back to belly

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practicing rolling

often times growth spurts and leaps coincide making this time even more challenging. penny’s current leap ends in about a week so i’m really looking forward to that. penny is still such a happy baby when she’s awake but has serious mood swings during her leaps so we try our best to accommodate her and switch activities when she shows signs of agitation.

big smile!

big smile!

yesterday was a rough day. penny’s wake-up time used to be consistent but ever since her current leap she’s been waking up anywhere between 6-8am. this all depends how long she’d been up during her night feedings. for instance, yesterday i had put penny down for her last nap. i felt a cough coming on so i tried to quickly leave the nursery with yuri but i didn’t make it out in time. i coughed ONCE and her eyes flew open. i rocked her for 40 minutes trying to get her to fall asleep again!!!! i was so upset at myself and worried over penny’s awake time that i put her down in the crib and started bawling. everything is so much harder when you’re alone because you can’t tag-team. thankfully, my mil came over with homemade 김치찌게 and helped with penny’s bedtime routine.

i can only imagine how exhausting it must be for penny who is still trying to adjust to this big, big world. it’s obvious she’s tired but keeps waking up early from naps and bedtime due to her brain constantly whirring with all the new things she’s been learning. but it’s also incredibly hard to remember all this when you’re trying to take care of a baby (and a dog) while trying to pump, eat, and tackle some household tasks in a zombified state.

today, on the other hand, penny slept a lot during the day. her first nap was 1.5 hours, her second was the usual 30-minute, and her last was 3 hours! right now dennis is feeding her and putting her down for bed. here’s hoping she sleeps well tonight. *fingers crossed*

something i hadn’t mentioned in previous posts is that we had decided to start penny on solids a few days after 5 months. she had been showing great interest in food and would stop playing to watch me eat. we decided to start her on avocado and see how she did. i mashed a very ripe avocado and mixed in breast milk to make it more watery. we fed her, maybe, a half-teaspoon total the first time. she grimaced as if she didn’t like it… she wasn’t used to the texture. she did open her mouth a few times when we held her spoon up. we tried it out for two more days and stopped. not because she wasn’t taking to it but i decided to wait until she was, at least, 6 months.

a website i refer to often is http://www.kellymom.com. it’s a pro-breastfeeding website but also offers insight and support on many topics such as growth spurts, solids, and pumping. i have done a lot of research on when to start solids and many up-do-date sources recommend the minimum age of 6 months. the nurse at our pediatrician’s office gave us the go-ahead at penny’s 4-month check-up but we waited until 5 months. she also suggested rice cereal to start out and make her more full. (i actually think this is outdated advice – rice cereal does not make babies sleep longer at night and it also does not have any nutritional value which is why we opted to start with avocado instead.)

breaking in her new chair!

breaking in her new chair!

recently we purchased an inglesina chair to get ready for penny to start solids again. it was a request item that was languishing on our baby registry so we bought it ourselves. we like that it’s portable because it attaches to the edge of a table. to get penny used to it, we have her sit in it once in a while while we eat or do the dishes. it also helps her sit upright and she keeps herself preoccupied with toys or observing us.

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on a recent trip to target, i purchased a darth vader bubble container. i’ve been trying to think of more activities to do with penny and have been meaning to get bubbles. turns out, she LOVES bubbles! she is so fascinated when i pull out the red bubble wand and blow ~~ magically all these shimmering bubbles fly out. she tries to grab them so i catch a few on the wand for her to observe and pop.

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i’ve noticed that penny is very hands-on. she loves to feel different textures and fabrics especially things that are soft and fuzzy.  (i.e couch cushions, blankets, clothes)

speaking of soft and fuzzy, we put penny in a bear suit before going out on walks to keep her warm. it still hasn’t been nearly as cold as it usually is in november but the nights have begun to have a bit of a bite.

just before our evening stroll tonight

just before our evening stroll tonight

today was day 6 of penny’s growth spurt. it normally lasts about a week (on the long side) so i’m hoping it ends soon. i noticed that her footed pj bottoms are already getting a little tight on her! her 6-month check-up is on the 23rd so i’m excited to find out how much she weighs and how
much she’s grown in length. not thrilled about the vaccines because i hate seeing her cry but if it’s like last time,the tears will only last a few seconds.

“ohana” means “family”

it’s been a busy month, clearly. i was surprised to see that i hadn’t updated my blog in two weeks.

the sleep regression finally ended about a week and a half ago. penny is back to sleeping about 12 hours a night with one feeding around 3am. thing is, she started a new leap recently (that will last a MONTH!). with every development leap, come the 3 c’s: cranky, clingy, and crying. i still get impressed with how accurate the ‘wonder weeks app’ is at describing the abilities penny will pick up during this phase, and what signs are indicative of her leap.

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perfecting her grip... hmm, a future pharmacist like dad??

perfecting her grip… hmm, a future pharmacist like dad??

visit daddy at work

visit daddy at work

for instance, one sign of penny’s leap (“relationships”) is that she will “sleep less, sleep worse, and eat less.” she sleeps fine at night (thank god!) but her naps have been affected, mostly her second nap which used to be 2-3 hours. now, i’m lucky if i can get her to sleep 1.5 hours for her second nap. on days that she naps poorly, i try to squeeze in a fourth nap to compensate for her long awake time between her third nap and bedtime but most days it’s unsuccessful. she will fight me tooth and nail to stay up; it’s as if she knows she shouldn’t be taking a fourth nap.

i also don’t want to push up bedtime because she hasn’t been eating much during the day. some days she’ll have consumed less than 10 oz total and it’s 4pm! she’s been teething recently so it’s uncomfortable for her to eat but it’s also because of her leap. the good thing is that penny ends up consuming large amounts in a short period of time just before bedtime. it’s as if she knows she has to sleep a long stretch and she really should eat. the other night, she ate 9.25 oz an hour before she passed out! i never know how much she’ll eat so i just have milk ready for her and refill the bottle as i go. again, i’m just relieved her nighttime sleep isn’t affected.

speaking of sleep, daylight savings ends this upcoming sunday. supposedly, we gain an hour of sleep but this is so not true for parents. we’re up whenever the baby is up. still, there are preventative measures to keep your baby from waking up at 5:30am and wanting to party.

this article informs us how to make sure your baby doesn’t confuse the time change come next sunday. a week before daylight savings ends, you push back your child’s bedtime in 10-15-minute increments every night or every other night. penny has been going to bed around 6:30, if not sooner, recently so tuesday night i put her to bed at 6:50pm instead of 6:30pm. last night was 7:07pm, and tonight was 7:15pm.  it’s already working because she’s waking up a little later to nurse for the motn (middle of the night) feeding and also for the day. hopefully by the time sunday morning rolls around she will wake up at 7am instead of 6am. this’ll mean that i may have to put her to bed closer to 8pm on saturday night which is really late for her.. i’m worried about keeping her up and making her overtired especially with penny rejecting the fourth nap. i guess that’s why the article suggests short increments so the baby gradually gets used to having the bedtime extended. we’ll see how this goes *fingers crossed*

i’ve been working on this post since yesterday. my sister came down tuesday night to visit and stayed until 4:30pm today. i’m really thankful my sister was able to visit for a few days not only to help take care of penny but also for the adult company. my parents and sister actually came down to visit last friday and brought a ton of food from the restaurant and home. hard to believe, but they hadn’t seen penny since penny’s 100th day celebration back in august! even though they live only an hour and a half away, they’re so busy tending to their businesses they don’t have much time for anything else. i do hope my parents can find more time to visit though. they were amazed at how much penny has grown, but they’re also wistful that they missed out on so much already. that’s why my sister decided to visit again – she doesn’t want to keep missing penny’s milestones and developmental growths, or have her be a stranger to penny.

dad feeding penny

dad feeding penny

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so curious

so curious

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she LOVES her rainforest jumperoo

she LOVES her rainforest jumperoo

penny and i worked on halloween crafts several days ago. we created halloween cards using her hand-and-foot prints.

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today, genie and olivia came over for a play date. it had been a few weeks since i had seen them both so it was great to catch up. olivia can now sit up unassisted and has two teeth! so many changes in such a short amount of time… we plan to get together soon work on christmas crafts! can’t wait!

olivia :)

olivia 🙂

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penny has been aware of, and tracking, yuri for quite some time now but she also gets so amused by her. she’ll laugh and kick her legs whenever she sees yuri. what’s funny is that olivia is just as entertained by yuri. we noticed today that olivia would laugh and get excited whenever she spotted yuri; it was the cutest thing. at one point, both girls kept staring at yuri but she could care less. in fact, she hates it when penny tries to pet her no matter how gently she does it.. i think it’s because she’s still a bit jealous of penny.

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face/off

face/off

speaking of ‘olivia’, my friend, esther, became a first-time mom to a baby girl, olivia, three weeks ago. now i have two baby mama friends with daughters named olivia. congratulations, esther and william! here’s a picture of the beautiful family 🙂

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although i take pictures, and record videos, of penny nearly every day i have very little photos of penny with both dennis and me. i asked dennis to take photos of me with penny, and a neighbor walking by with her dog asked if we wanted family photos. of course we do! hoping we can take some decent photos soon for christmas cards as well.

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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!!

on to the next one

by far, the fourth month of penny’s life has been the most eventful. the dreaded sleep regression, huge developmental gains, and a growth spurt. wait, another growth spurt? obviously, babies are constantly growing (penny is wearing size 6 months) but there are certain times where babies go through an extra ‘spurt’, so to speak, where they may sleep longer or less depending on the baby and consume more milk than usual. penny went through her growth spurt for about 2 days (9/24-25). during this time she upped her breast milk intake by 8-10oz. and she was sleeping most of the time. since she slept a lot during the day, she fought bedtime because she was hungry and was going to bed between 8:30-9:30pm during those two nights. growth spurts last between 2-3 days and sometimes up to a week. we were fortunate that penny’s was on the short end.

she loves putting her hands in her mouth!

she loves putting her hands in her mouth!

according to the wonder weeks app, penny’s current leap ends in one day~ hurray! it has been a L-O-N-G leap. granted, i have seen penny grow so much physically and developmentally during this time but i am ready for it to be over. during this time, the app says, “As your baby’s leaps become more intense for her, you will find that it becomes more difficult for you as well. It is normal that you will be more annoyed with her whining behavior, and you may sometimes feel as though you have had enough and occasionally, find yourself desperate for her to hurry through these behaviors.”

SO TRUE! penny has been fussing and whining a lot lately particularly when we are trying to put her down for naps and for bedtime. dennis and i rock her to sleep and we have had to constantly change the speed or the motions to her liking. the other night, i ran out of ideas and just held her closer and started lightly kissing her on the cheek and she finally closed her eyes and stopped whining. when dennis put her down for a morning nap earlier today, he gently blew on her face and she fell asleep. remembering that he did this, i did the same when i put penny down for the night at 6:45pm. we just have to keep being creative and persistent…

she discovered thumb-sucking!

she discovered thumb-sucking!

the past few weeks, penny has been showing a greater interest in her hands. she’s constantly staring at them making her cross-eyed (lol) and sticking them in her mouth. she also never sucked her thumb until a couple of days ago.

daddy & daughter time

daddy & daughter time

a positive about this current leap is that babies also become more fun to be around during the day – don’t forget that sleep regression at night! they become more communicative, responsive, and playful. penny has increasingly become more independent. for a while she has been fine being by herself for 10 minutes in her crib when she wakes up first thing in the morning. she will talk to herself, play with her hands, and smile and laugh at the mobile hanging over her crib. recently, she’s been chilling in her crib for up to 20 minutes! it’s very reassuring to see that penny is comfortable being alone for a certain period of time.

she's so happy!

she’s so happy!

i’ve followed up on my vow of being more active instead of being homebound. i brought penny to church by myself this past sunday even though genie wasn’t able to make it because olivia was still napping. (you will find that your life revolves around their nap schedule.) she sat on my lap during the entire service and was so well-behaved for a baby. it’s natural for babies to fuss and cry, and she did fuss for a little bit because the window for her nap time had passed but i gave her a pacifier and she relaxed. after service, i ate lunch with my friend, alice, and penny was quietly sitting back in the stroller observing her surroundings and smiling when people came to visit her.

penny and i went to the mall today to meet up with genie and olivia.

bff

bff

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yummy godiva cone

yummy godiva cone

the only downside to bringing penny out to places for more than a couple of hours is that she can start getting cranky due to being overtired. every time we come home after church, for example, it becomes a battle trying to put her down for a nap. last week when dennis and i came home after church, penny woke up crying after a half-hour nap. i went upstairs, left the lights off and fed her. then, i rocked her to sleep and she slept for almost 3 hours! we were able to watch the entire patriots game! i’m glad we didn’t just ‘give up’ and bring her back downstairs… not only because we wouldn’t have been able to watch the game (we try our best for penny to avoid screen time) but she really did need to sleep. babies may have a few half-hour naps throughout the day but those naps aren’t restorative at all and may be one of the reasons your little one doesn’t sleep through the night. penny usually takes one long nap (anywhere from 2-3 hours) along with two 30-45 minute naps so she sleeps well at night.

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taken before church on 9/27

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dennis used the monitor to see what we were up to when penny woke up early from her nap last sunday :)

dennis used the monitor to see what we were up to when penny woke up early from her nap last sunday 🙂

i’ve said it many times before and i’ll say it again.. it definitely helps having mommy friends close by. throughout your life, you’ll find friends entering and leaving your life particularly during big events – college, wedding, baby, etc. sometimes people grow apart due to conflicting interests, distance, or busy schedules. other times, friendships start out of convenience or because you end up going through the same experience together.

often times friendships that deteriorate during important life events is due to one person not being able to relate to the other. recently engaged? well, your single friends just may be resentful of your impending nuptials.. first-time parent? your baby-free friends just.cant.understand why you can’t find a sitter and come out for a few drinks. raising a baby really can’t be that hard, right? sure they cry and have poopy diapers, but don’t they eat and sleep most of the time?

during today’s playdate, genie and i discussed how our pre-baby mentality mirrored exactly those of our baby-free friends. both of us are part of a closed motherhood group on facebook with 29,000+ strong members. recently, a member posted how she has been feeling left out because her friends who don’t have kids planned a trip to vegas without her. sure, she probably would not have been able to make it but it still hurt to not have been invited especially by your close friends. yes, our priority is raising a child but we still yearn to have a girls’ night out or a romantic getaway with a significant other without worrying about a baby. parenthood can be lonely especially if most of your friends don’t have children. it’s one reason why many moms are active on facebook – it gives them a peek into what others are doing so we aren’t totally isolated.

friendship is a two-way street and something that constantly needs to be maintained. however, in the defense of first-time parents, we don’t mean to be “bad friends.” we aren’t intentionally trying to cut people out of our lives or ignore your texts and calls… we are simply overwhelmed and exhausted beyond belief.  because of recent supply issues, i have been pumping every 3-4 hours to maintain supply and also store milk since penny’s been having a bottle preference. this means that although penny sleeps anywhere from 7-12 hours straight at night i set alarms to wake up EVERY 3 HOURS so i can pump. and usually i am nodding off while pumping – once, milk started spilling out of the containers because i had dozed off and hadn’t realized that they were full. i wish i could sleep, but i can’t.

okay, so if it’s difficult to go out then how come you’re able to meet up with other moms? first, going out with a baby is a feat in itself and something i’ve slowly become more confident in doing. besides, truth be told, it’s just EASIER to meet up with mom-friends because they GET you. did you plan a get-together but suddenly have to cancel because of a baby-related issue? we totally empathize… whereas other friends may wonder why it warrants a rain check. there is no need to explain anything to one another because we’re going, and have gone, through it. our outings are punctuated with pit stops – feed the baby, change the baby, soothe the baby… i’m not sure non-mommy friends would be as patient or understanding, but i could be mistaken. in all honesty, i guess i’m feeling resentful because there are still “friends” whom i have not spoken to since penny was born… nor have they visited her. i didn’t mean for this post to turn into a rant-fest but it’s something that’s been bugging me for some time. we have friends that live near and far… and many have made the effort to come visit and see how we are doing, but some have not. maybe they’ve been busy these past four months, or perhaps they think they would be a bother but how would you know if you don’t reach out? there’s not much i can do or say besides “come visit!” (which i have plenty of times – you can’t force people to go out of their way to come see you).

the reason why i’m sharing this is because i used to be that person who dismissed other new parents. “oh, they’re boring now and don’t WANT to go out anymore,” or “i don’t understand why you CAN’T go out.” now i see that babies’ awake time is around an hour and a half and we have to plan outings around their naps most of the time. it may seem like i’m being lazy but it’s so much easier for you to come visit me rather than me having to drive with a baby to see you. if the baby is tired, i can just put her down for a nap in her room instead of having to deal with a crying, overtired baby in a noisy, crowded place. would you want to drive with a fussy baby in the back seat by yourself? probably not.

in the meantime, i have been making more of a conscious effort to meet up with friends to keep the friendship alive. i’m grateful for the ones that have been, and continue to, keep in touch to see how the baby and i are doing. as penny gets older, her awake time increases as well as her ability to handle unfamiliar people and environments; but for now making a long-distance trip solo to see friends and family is out of the question.

to all the baby-free peeps, in the words of biggie smalls: if you don’t know, now you know..