2017 – year of the rooster

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


25 weeks!

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



3 ingredients: meatballs, grape jelly and bbq sauce!



gross beer illustration



the boys wrecked us at bounce-off


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

snapchat fun





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


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


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



“reading” with the leapfrog reader


so, so sweet


she likes to wear sunglasses indoors like jack nicholson


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

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

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

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

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

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


boston, you’re my home

we are at the tail end of a heat wave. the low-to-mid 90-degree weather has been occurring since last thursday and today should be the last day before thunderstorms supposedly arrive on friday. it’s not the heat that drives me insane as summer is my favorite season; it’s the humidity. penny’s constantly asking to go outside and yuri has to go out twice a day so we’re out there fairly often. it’s rough when the air feels like a brick wall on your chest and you just stepped outside..

lately, we’ve been forgoing the lunchtime walk because it’s unbearable and unsafe… but that means we have to pass the time doing something else. penny’s been on-the-go the past few months and she’s getting tired of all her toys. we don’t want to keep buying more toys that she will get bored with after a few weeks but there isn’t much to do to pass the time. she does like to use push toys and walkers but now she only uses it for a few minutes before moving onto something else. most recently, she’s been pushing the ikea high chair around the house.

ever since we brought penny to the bounce house and found that she loved playing with the push car, we bought her one from once upon a child, a baby consignment store. dennis purchased a fisher price elephant push car for $15 (retail price: $45)! he also chose a dump truck that makes noises, a crane, and a fisher price toy car. i’m glad he picked those toys out because i want penny’s toys to be well-rounded: cars and trucks aren’t just for boys! plus, she shows no interest in dolls just stuffed animals.


trying out her push car for the first time at the lee grandparents’ house

my mil and i brought penny and yuri to henry park tuesday afternoon to play in the splash pad and playground. usually water & walking keep penny happy and yesterday was no exception. it’s funny though because we bought penny a water table — one that’s a best-seller on amazon — and she barely uses it. same with the plastic pool (and she has one at the grandparents’ house too). for penny to truly enjoy water play, she has to be in an actual swimming pool (not even in a float) or be under a sprinkler. this is why she loves the splash pad and she also enjoyed being in a wading pool this past weekend. hopefully she grows to like the water table as it was expensive…


she absolutely loved being in the kiddie pool at henry park. there’s a separate pool for babies and young children (it’s about a 1.5 foot high) and penny kept wanting to be in the swimming position (on her belly) but it was difficult for us to bend over and keep her that way. she threw a fit when we stood her upright. we had to leave after ten minutes anyway because yuri was with us – no dogs allowed. so.. next time at least one of us will wear a swimsuit and we’ll leave yuri at home.

so, i started trying the one-nap method again on tuesday after penny skipped her afternoon nap on monday. she had woken up at 6:30am after sleeping for 12 hours. she made it to 11am for her nap without a meltdown BUT only slept for just over an hour like the last attempt.. ahh.. so, she had a long awake time before bed last night but she slept 6:50pm-6am. on wednesday, she went down for her nap at 11am – again, without a meltdown – so that’s a good sign that she’s ready for the one-nap transition. i just have to keep in mind that it’s a painful and slow process so i need to slowly push the nap without making miss p overtired. i’ve also been feeding her a snack/early small lunch before her 11am nap so her stomach is full since i hope for her to sleep until 1pm.


this past weekend, we went to boston and brought penny to the museum of science. we purchased a membership which means we can get discounted or free admission to over 400 museums/science centers/zoos all over the world! the lutz children’s museum is one of them.. sadly (and surprisingly) the science museum in west hartford is not. it made sense to get a membership too since even going twice a year will make up for the $90 cost for two people.



Penny’s favorite book at the moment is Goodnight, Moon so we had to take a picture of this!

my parents spent the entire saturday with us which was wonderful. we brought penny to a wading pool near my parents’ house which of course she enjoyed. she especially loved touching the water spray and having the water splash her in the face. that afternoon we all went to the museum of science. i was surprised to hear that my parents had never been before saturday and they have lived in massachusetts for over 30 years. it made me sad that they’ve been so busy with work, so i’m really pleased we were able to take my parents with us. my dad particularly had a great time – he enjoyed looking at all of the exhibits especially the animal ones and a huge stone with amethyst crystals inside.




oh, you know, just a typical breakfast



gotta love snapchat! mom aka sia


unfortunately we didn’t see my brother or sister at all that weekend which was a major disappointment. sad to say,  i wasn’t that surprised. we also tried to meet up with a few cousins but they already had plans. i’m glad we were able to visit my grandma – she’s at a nursing home for the time being. we brought penny’s new push car with her and she was walking with it up and down the hallway, charming all of the residents and staff.





lastly, we were able to finally watch the movie spotlight with our friends, ben and alf (they’re brothers). ben, alf, and i, particularly ben and i, are cinephiles so we were waiting to watch spotlight (the 2016 best picture winner) together. we supplied dinner from my parents’ restaurant and the byun brothers brought doughnuts – yum! i love doing simple activities such as watching movies and playing board games – the latter which we also did with friends last week.





our dear friend, alice, sent us 100 mini cupcakes and macarons!


before i close up, i wanted to share that penny is becoming more brave at standing on her own. when she does it on her own (told hold/play with an object) or does it without realizing, she stands for a while. but it’s when we force it up on her that she puts up a fight. at henry park, my mil let go of penny and encouraged her to walk and she walked 3 steps! yesterday while i was cooking, she took about 5 steps for dennis and his parents. she took a few steps today too. that’s a great start! hoping she walks before her 15-month checkup, but we really hope she walks before our friends’ wedding in october since she’ll be a flower girl.