life with two

two kids: two years old & two months old.

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people usually have their children close in age to one another so that they can be friends. they also have multiple children with the notion that it will be fun. but… when does the fun begin? okay, i guess i’m being dramatic but it sure is hard when your little ones are… just that, little. raising two kids is slowly becoming more enjoyable as dennis and i have gotten into the groove by tag-teaming and implementing consistent yet still flexible schedules.

ezra is still too young to have a set schedule like penny’s but, like i’ve said countless times before, it’s never too early to start. i already see a big difference in his daily routine because i follow the eat/play/sleep schedule and feed him enough calories during the day to have longer night sleep.  like penny, we incorporate bath time into ezra’s nightly bedtime routine. they both love water so being immersed in its warmth helps them relax (although penny is as energetic as ever) as well as signal to them that bedtime is near.

ezra has been consistent with doing a good 5~5.5 hour stretch of sleep before waking up again to feed. then, he will usually sleep for another 4~5 hours. he has been going to bed between 8~9pm lately. two nights ago, he slept for 7.5 hours straight! most babies his age have a later “bedtime” of closer to 10 or even 11pm. we like putting him down earlier so we can have time to ourselves and also so that we don’t have to gradually push his bedtime to what it is now later on when he’s older. plus, his evening naps aren’t so great so by that time he’s overtired and ready to pass out.

penny usually takes a bath around 7pm (6:30 if her nap ended earlier) so ezra usually takes a bath around then or a half hour later. it’s just easier to get both kids down at the same time – i normally do penny’s bedtime routine while dennis does ezra’s. then we will briefly gather to give the kids a chance to say good night to another (and us) and give kisses.

because of the two year sleep regression, penny’s been fighting her nap and bedtime. she will eventually fall asleep for her nap but sometimes she will play for an hour! this results in a late bedtime, sometimes close to 9pm! i religiously refer to babysleepsite.com for advice and it says to keep up with the daily bedtime routine – don’t change the times or drop the nap because this, too, shall pass. it really is obvious that penny is exhausted.. even with her falling asleep so late at night, she will wake up a few times during the night  and  have an early wake-up. last night she fell asleep close to 9pm and woke up this morning at 6:30am! you bet she was a hot mess around 11am! she passed out almost right away during her 12:30pm naptime.

i’m just really grateful that penny is a rather agreeable toddler in the sense that she may try to delay sleep lately but she doesn’t put up a fight with us (e.g climbing out of her crib or running away when we announce it’s nap/bedtime.) she does try to get us to read “one more book” so we won’t have to leave the room but if we tell her “that’s enough” she walks over to us. it seems as if she’s starting to get afraid of the dark – something that toddlers develop around this age even if they previously weren’t afraid – because she’ll cry until we go into her room. we turned the night light on her camera and she stopped crying right away. she’s asleep now (thankfully before 9pm!)

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now that penny’s 100% better, her appetite has returned somewhat. she did have 3 canines break through around the same time so they, along with her illness, most likely affected her eating habits. i find myself being much more patient and tolerant around penny now. this may be because her behavior has markedly improved – again, now that her teeth broke through. there are times where she can still be clingy, whiny, and disagreeable but there are much less instances now, and that’s typical toddler behavior anyway. she has so much charm that it’s difficult to stay upset at her for long. my mil even laughs and says, “how can you stay mad when she acts so cute?” it’s so true.. but it’s so bad because i feel like we enable her naughty behavior if we laugh. i still try my hardest to be firm with her and have consequences for her poor choices.

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she loves onions and brussels sprouts

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adorable juicy couture outfit from alice + john

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she knows how to pose!

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cooling down during the heat wave

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ethan’s 1st birthday party

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birthday boy with ezra

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too much excitement

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can’t say no to cupcakes

out for a walk with grandpa – 6/15

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i used the glink for the first time – what an amazing double stroller!! can’t say enough good things about it!

this week, i started working on getting back in shape. i didn’t exercise once during my pregnancy besides taking walks so attempting to go for a jog on monday night was torturous. my legs felt like lead and my lungs were straining to take in air. i kept at it however by doing a brisk pace/jog combo and eventually built up a bit of endurance. last night i ran ten laps on the indoor track at the gym. since i arrived around 9:15pm, there was only one other person at the track and he was shooting hoops.

being consistent and motivated to work out is a struggle… which i’m sure so many people deal with on a daily basis. of course i would much rather sleep.. or veg out on the couch but i am always going to be tired so i can’t use that as an excuse. my goal is to lose 10 lb because i never lose the last 5 with penny and i still have 5 from ezra as well. additionally, i want to be tone and gain muscle back. i’m considering buying free weights on days i don’t go to the gym. ahhhhhh, i don’t wannaaaa……

excuse my little outburst there.. there’s always so much to do and so little time. ezra’s 100th day is quickly approaching so i need to start planning for that! he officially is 100 days old on july 20th so we chose the 22nd as the celebration date. now we need to work on the guest list and food.

but for now.. sleep.

and.. a happy 27th (!) birthday s/o to my not-so-little brother, james. he’s living in cali now so i can’t see him but some of his friends flew out to celebrate with him. have a blast!

happy birthday, penny

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penny is 2! some of the things penny is doing these days is counting to 15, pointing out the numbers 1-4 on signs and pictures, and recognizing letters like c, e, and o (C.E.O. – hmm, i wonder if that will mean anything ). call me crazy but since penny was born i’ve tried to keep track of all of her milestones, tooth eruptions, illnesses, nap transitions, you name it. i even recorded every word penny has been saying since she uttered, “엄마 (mom) and 아빠 (dad). it’s practically impossible to keep track of her vocabulary now since she picks up new words on a daily basis and is stringing them into 2, 3, or 4-word phrases.

the reason why penny is counting up to 15 is because we practice counting while going upstairs for nap and bedtime, and we have… 15 steps. recently i bought her a counting book, “pinkalicous 1, 2, 3” so she can practice counting up to 20.

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as tiring as it is dealing with her mood swings and endless energy, we do enjoy witnessing every little thing penny learns every day. we are constantly amazed whenever penny utters a new word or phrase, and all four of us (dennis, me, and my in-laws) erupt in a round of applause!  i hope we are just as amazed when ezra starts talking, too.

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opening gifts

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penny was just as excited about the little tikes basketball hoop (not pictured)

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dennis made blueberry doughnuts this morning using the doughnut maker from olivia li!

 

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ezra is 6 weeks old and he has started cooing and social smiling.  he also turns his head, and not just his eyes, to follow movement. he is also “playing” with the green stars that hang over the pack and play. we place him on the boppy lounger and he will bat at the stars. i refer to the wonder weeks app to read up on upcoming developmental leaps; ezra started his first leap last week and it’s interesting to see how on point, and specific, the app is with what ezra will be learning.

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i remember how tough it was when penny was six weeks old. she was fussy in the evening (almost inconsolable at times) and wouldn’t sleep. six weeks is when the witching hour reaches its peak, and babies go through a growth spurt and somewhat of a sleep regression.

although it’s too soon to put ezra on a strict schedule, it’s never too early to establish a bedtime routine. we have been bathing ezra anywhere between 7:30-8:30pm, feeding him, and then putting him down for the night. usually he’ll sleep until after midnight (later if the routine is pushed back). two nights ago, he woke up every half hour until i finally fed him again around 11:30! half of the time he fell back asleep on his own having tried to self-soothe.. but other times we intervened with a pacifier or by rocking him. as for the late-night feedings, he was waking before he was hungry because of gas pains.. again! i had to soothe him by doing bicycle kicks, rubbing his tummy, and giving him gripe water. the latter helped significantly and he slept longer after that.

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last night, dennis and i went out see guardians of the galaxy 2.  it was our first date since ezra was born. (we loved the first movie and the sequel didn’t disappoint! a third one is in the works! )to make it easier for my mil, we put penny to bed so all she had to do was ezra’s bedtime routine. ezra woke up 40 minutes after going down so she tried soothing him in different ways, changing his diaper, and putting him down again. she ended up feeding him an hour later because it had been 3 hours since he had last eaten.

what is interesting about last night is that ezra only had one feeding. although ezra had difficulty falling, and staying, asleep (he didn’t end up falling asleep until 11:30pm and that was because i ended up sleeping with him in my arms.) he woke up to feed around 3am, and again, had trouble staying asleep so he slept in my arms until 8am! this shows me that ezra can stretch his feedings; it’s just a matter of him staying asleep.

at one point when he woke up crying, dennis suggested i check his diaper. if it’s only a wet diaper, i hadn’t been changing them lest i wake up him fully. but i need to start changing them once they’re really full because he does seem to be uncomfortable. after i changed his diaper, he was calm and fell asleep in my arms.

thankfully dennis wakes up and helps me when i really need assistance. one night, i had fallen asleep while feeding ezra at one point and milk had soaked the front of his bodysuit. dennis had to go get a new one from ezra’s room while i cleaned an unhappy and hungry baby.

having a baby will make you realize even more how important, and precious, sleep really is. i was also thinking the other day of how effective sleep deprivation is as a torture method. i recalled how one of the ways navy seals tortured a detainee was through sleep deprivation in the movie zero dark thirty. sometimes i’m so tired i feel like i’m losing my mind and just feel like crying. during night feedings, i find myself desperately shaking my head back and forth in a futile attempt to wake myself up. i also browse the internet using my phone but i’ve started to develop cramps and carpal tunnel in my hands from trying to access my phone in awkward positions.

anyway, i could go on forever sharing more anecdotes but i need to end this post at some point. penny went to her 2-year checkup yesterday and she’s 75% for height and 25% for her weight: tall and thin. the pediatrician wasn’t worried about her weight noting toddlers can be finicky eaters. he wanted to know how penny was doing with her vocabulary and was pleased to see that she speaks very well. as for ezra, he was 9lb. 14.5 oz and 21.5 inches at his 1-month checkup, and has moved on to size 3 month clothes.

dennis has a 4-day weekend coming up thanks to memorial day. we are spending friday-sunday in massachusetts. my grandma will finally be able to meet ezra; and, we will also spend time with the kim family and see their new addition, micah! he and ezra are one month apart.

i’ll be sure to share how our weekend went. hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

5/14/17 (mother’s day)

we spent mother’s day going to church in the morning. in the afternoon, we went to the mall to check out sneakers for me.. but i couldn’t find any that i liked. we ended up buying new balance sneakers for penny. afterwards, we ate dinner at seoul bbq.

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5/16/17

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checking out ants

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5/17/17: play date with parker

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5/19/17: mom and jen visit

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grapes

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rolling with the punches

penny’s growth spurt has ended! it lasted from july 31-august 6. i was able to figure out the dates through the baby tracker app. since i log every time i feed penny, i noticed that during those 7 days, penny’s total time spent nursing/feeding was about 2.5~3 hours a day. normally, she feeds for 1.5 hours a day. at her last checkup, she was nearly 12.5 lb.. surely she must be 13 lb. by now!

yet another way i could tell that her growth spurt had ended was that she returned to her regular sleeping schedule. i began sleep training her at 2.5 months to get her acclimated to having a sleep schedule. newborns don’t really have a schedule but as penny is nearly at the infant stage it was important to start getting her used to sleeping at certain times so she won’t be overtired. she began going to bed around 9-10pm around two weeks ago but i noticed that she would barely nap the last 3 or 4 hours before her unofficial bedtime. this alarmed me because she was so overtired and wasn’t easy to put down. we slowly started moving her bedtime to 8:30, then to 8, and now she sleeps anywhere from 6:30-7pm. it has worked out well for all of us because penny isn’t exhausted and we aren’t eating dinner separately or late because of her late bedtime.

it also helps to have a bedtime routine. ours is feed/bath/*feed/bed. when i nurse her, i try to do it in her nursery with only the lamp on (not the chandelier) and piano music playing in the background (along with the white noise) to get her ready for bed. thankfully she loves baths and is very calm in the tub. we sing and talk to her (and then soothe her once she’s out because she hates getting out of the tub!) while giving her a massage to help her relax even more. afterwards, we apply lotion to her entire body and put a fresh diaper and an undershirt on. usually by this time, she is tired so we haven’t successfully been able to read a bedtime story to her. (i was actually able to read one to her tonight so i hope to incorporate that into the routine.) the last feed is optional as she may still be full but i do offer it so she’ll be more content and sleep longer. lastly, we give her a pacifier and her eyes immediately start getting heavy. then we place her in the magic merlin suit (more on this in my next post) and rock her until she falls asleep. recently, she’s been passing out in our arms in ten minutes or less… i hope this continues.

due to penny’s earlier bedtime, dennis and i have been able to spend more alone time with one another which we truly appreciate. we are eating dinner at a more reasonable time and also unwinding by watching tv and talking to one another. my sister turned 30 last week, and i organized a dinner for 8 people to help her celebrate. while dennis and i got ready, my sister and mil gave penny a bath and got her ready for bedtime. then we all left while my mil rocked her to sleep. lo and behold, she passed out around 7pm.

happy birthday, jen!

happy birthday, jen!

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i think brendan, jen’s bf, told us to do tiger claws

the boys came out too!

the boys came out too!

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even though her growth spurt ended a few days ago, she still has not been her usual self because she has also been going through a developmental leap. the current one that she is on, and will be ending tomorrow, is “smooth transitions.”

after going through this leap some of the things that penny may be able to do are:

  • follow something with her eyes in a fluid motion √
  • turn her head in a fluid motion when following something √
  • more lively, more active, squirms, and is turning in all directions √
  • rolls from tummy to back (with a little help) – i’ve been doing lots of tummy time with her to keep strengthening her neck and core. she hasn’t been able to roll over on her own yet but she’s not quite 3 months yet so we’ll keep practicing!
  • shakes a rattle – she’s definitely grabbing objects more often and moving them around but hasn’t shaken a rattle
  • discovers new possibilities of the voice such as cooing, screaming, and crowing √
  • blows saliva bubbles √
  • clearly shows in her behavior when she finds something funny or interesting √
  • clearly enjoys light bulbs slowly illuminating from soft to bright – we don’t have a dimmer so i can’t try this out but she loves looking at light fixtures so i turn them on and off for her to observe.
  • clearly enjoys sounds that gradually go from high to low or vice versa – i haven’t experienced with volume yet but i do play music when she’s awake to have her exposed to background noise and different genres.
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look at her grabbing toys!

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tummy time!

tummy time!

penny actually hates tummy time so i do it when she's in a good mood after nursing.

penny actually hates tummy time so i do it when she’s in a good mood after nursing.

practicing sitting up with her new sit-me-up chair

practicing sitting up with her new sit-me-up chair

since she’s learning so much, she has been exhibiting typical symptoms of this leap which are crying more often, longer, and harder; wanting to drink more; wanting more physical contact; withdrawn (often); thumb sucking (often); and quieter and/or less mobile behavior. besides the last one, penny has been showing all these symptoms for the past two weeks. she prefers being with either me or dennis probably since she sees us the most. even with my mil, she had been fussing when being held by her. but sometimes she doesn’t like to be held; she actually really enjoys lying on her back and observing everything around her.

this past saturday we ventured to new jersey to attend an annual pool party at our friends’ parents’ home. initially we decided not to go because of the long commute but changed our minds so that we wouldn’t be so tied down by penny. the more we expose her to car rides, the outdoors, and other people the better she’ll be able to cope and to take naps on-the-go (something that she’s struggling with as she’s used to napping at home in her dark room with the white noise on.)

her brief nap on the way down to nj

her brief nap on the way down to nj

well, what should have been a 2.5 hour car ride one way turned out to be 4 because of traffic and two pit stops to nurse and change diapers. needless to say, penny barely napped on the way down so she was super cranky… and then we brought her to a brand-new place that was blaring music and had tons of people milling around. she started crying hysterically right away. As a result, dennis and i spent the majority of the time indoors because every time we stepped outdoors, she would freak out (the loud music didn’t help). she was calm, and even napped, for a little while when dennis wore her in the baby bjorn but after she woke up, it was game over. it was disappointing that we didn’t get to swim or really enjoy ourselves but we did get to mingle and catch up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while. we only stayed for 3 hours before heading home (penny’s bedtime is 7pm and it would take us 2.5 hours to get home). she actually slept on the way home because she was so exhausted and ended up sleeping for 8.5 hours that night.

i’m thinking she was extra sensitive because she’s going through her leap but she’s a fairly sensitive baby to begin with. one example is that we change her diaper often because she can wake up early from naps even with a slightly wet diaper. she also LOVES diaper changes by the way. she will lie there smiling happily and kicking because she’s looking forward to getting a fresh diaper;  it’s pretty cute.

penny and i are meeting up with genie and olivia for another playdate tomorrow afternoon. we like to meet up at westfarms mall because nordstrom has a mother’s lounge for breastfeeding and pumping.. so convenient.. every place should have one. i get nervous bringing penny out on my own especially since she gets agitated in the car seat (really, i would too if i had to sit there with a sweaty back for hours), but i’m trying to build my confidence so that we both can get used to being out and about. she’s a baby so it won’t really be a smooth outing but as long as i can keep a cool head it’ll be okay. dennis is always telling me to ‘roll with the punches’ and be ready for any outcome because a baby’s behavior is unpredictable. i’ll also be with a friend tomorrow so that makes me feel significantly better.

to the mall we shall go!