night changes

my favorite holiday used to be thanksgiving for as long as i could remember. i always looked forward to our huge family gathering, the endless amounts of traditional thanksgiving and korean food, and, of course, my birthday. the years that my birthday fell during thanksgiving weekend, or on thanksgiving day, were the best since i didn’t have to go to school, and, later on, work.

but now that i am married with two children, and also live a state away from most of my family members and relatives i feel christmas has usurped thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. for one thing, i’ve always loved christmas music. i could honestly listen to it all year long. as an adult, there’s something so nostalgic and cheerful about it… as if listening to the music alone will melt away the troubles of the world.

although christmas can be stressful (as most holidays can be) because of the expenses that come with purchasing gifts, thanksgiving became a source of anxiety once i had children. thanksgivings 2015 and 2016 were spent here in connecticut with my in-laws, my brother-in-law and his wife. dennis and i didn’t want to get stuck in crazy holiday traffic with a baby and dennis also had to work on friday.

this year, however, we were able to make it work (more details on the next post). although it was great catching up with cousins i hadn’t spoken to in a while (in person, that is) and seeing my grandma, it just wasn’t the same as it was even five years ago. for one thing, about ten family members didn’t attend due to scheduling conflicts or a personal issue within the family. also, my eldest aunt had passed away earlier in the year so her absence was palpable.

the title of this post is from a one direction song – yes, i’m a directioner. night changes discusses how things can change so quickly, and we notice this more as we grow older. i’m not as close to my cousins as i once was – and, distance can be one reason – so the family gatherings that i am able to attend can be awkward as we try to make small talk. i also wasn’t able to enjoy the food as much because i was helping to take care of the children, and making sure that they eat. this, of course, means that i can’t properly eat. i was still hungry even after devouring most of the food on my plate.

still, i’m glad that dennis and i made it work. bringing children anywhere is a challenge but we rose to the occasion!

did you know home depot hosts a kids’ workshop the first saturday of every month? my friend had told me about it but i had forgotten about it until i was notified through a weekly events page through hulafrog. this past saturday, home depot had a ‘make your own gingerbread house’ workshop where kids use a hammer and nails to construct their own gingerbread house.

it was a huge hit! people were spread out everywhere to assemble the houses, and a woman next to us commented how this was the biggest crowd she had seen for the kids’ workshop. i guess the holiday spirit had the people out in droves.

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eating a cracker while posing

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setting the nail in place

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looking over the instructions

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first time using a hammer!

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people kept coming!

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finding a spot

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the finished masterpiece

as for christmas, it will only get more enjoyable as the children get older. penny’s favorite christmas song is “jingle bells” and she loves to laugh during the “laughing all the way” line as well as shouting out “hey!” during the song. she also hung up a few ornaments on the tree as ezra watched.

now that we finally have our tree up, i am just waiting for our new family stockings to arrive. i ordered personalized ones from pottery barn kids and they are on their way. another thing that is in transit are our family pajamas. i’m not sure we’ll be able to create and send out a christmas card in time this year. i’ve been wanting to take pictures of the kids in front of the fireplace but i have been waiting on the stockings. if anything, we won’t be able to have christmas cards made in nice cardstock because express shipping will be so expensive. i do want to commemorate ezra’s first christmas so i will have to have something made!

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one of the elementary schools in my town is teamed up with frc (family resource center), and they host a playgroup on friday mornings. i recently began bringing penny so now we have an activity every weekday to keep us preoccupied. it’s very similar to the library playgroup where there is a storytime, extension activities, and free play. what’s different is that snack is also offered and the children sit together at the end of the playgroup to eat.

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making a snow-covered tree using q-tips and white paint

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decorating mittens

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night changes

We’re only getting older, baby
And I’ve been thinking about it lately
Does it ever drive you crazy
Just how fast the night changes?
Everything that you’ve ever dreamed of
Disappearing when you wake up
But there’s nothing to be afraid of
Even when the night changes
It will never change, me and you

 

nearing the end

i’m on week 35. i sound like a broken record, but it’s unreal how quickly this pregnancy has gone by. i recall being excited, nervous, and scared for penny’s arrival but i have a few more emotions to add to this one: sadness and guilt. i know, i know, i talked about guilt in my last post but this one is a bit different. for the past 22 months, penny has been the light in our lives; our shining star; the center of our universe… and in five short weeks, a tiny little being will steal some of her spotlight.

of course, we will try our best to make sure penny will get as much love and attention as possible – with much help from her paternal grandparents – but there will be plenty of times where mommy can’t cater to penny’s needs because she has to nurse or comfort a newborn. i really wonder how she will react to me holding a baby all the time especially in the early stages. she already is so helpful with cleaning and retrieving items so i’m hoping she will want to help take care of her baby brother.

it has been nearly a month since penny has been incredibly clingy, and she only wants me to do certain tasks such as bring her up for her bath. bathtime used to be daddy’s thing, but these days instead of running into his arms she’ll ask me to take her upstairs instead. once she’s in the bathtub, she’s fine with daddy (or grandma) giving her a bath but she will want to be carried upstairs by me. another thing that penny only wants me to do is read her books. if anyone else tries to read her a book, she stops them and has me do it instead. it’s a bit endearing honestly but very tiring too particularly if she only wants to be held by me.

we went up to boston the first weekend of march, and one of the activities we did was go to the museum of science. while there, she only wanted to be held by me. she didn’t even want to walk! you can imagine how exhausting that was especially with my belly in the way! if i tried to put her down to walk with her, she would curl her legs right back up. of course, she had been sick that week and was finally returning to her old self so she could’ve been seeking comfort. plus, her nap was about an hour so i know she was tired. i get frustrated and annoyed at times because i’m so tired, but i keep reminding myself that these are the last precious few weeks of holding and taking care of just one child. my first child. so, i try to take it in stride because i know i’ll miss these moments where i can just hug her at any time without having to tell her that i can’t embrace her right now because i’m holding her brother.

this is why i try to keep our days busy with activities; even when all i want to do is be lazy and put in minimal effort. i know it’s not fair to penny if i “check out” now more so since these are my last few weeks with just her. plus, i like seeing her engaged and happy. no matter how many toys you have, you’ll get sick of them so i’m always bringing her to places and thinking of activities we can do. and lastly, when the baby comes i’ll need time to recover… but then i won’t have time for anything but taking care of the baby. i know i’m going to yearn for the days where i can just get up and take penny somewhere even if it’s last-minute.

here are some memories we’ve made during the past two weeks.

we love to visit libraries, and one that we visited was south windsor public library in my husband’s hometown. after checking out the children’s area and befriending another toddler named jasmine, penny wanted to explore the rest of the library.

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her love for cars and trucks continues…

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when we walked by the children’s room, i knew she would love the chair

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there were some really good illustrations on here…

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two weekends, we made our final trip up to boston as a family before ezra’s arrival. our main purpose was to see my parents but also my grandma.. but unfortunately we weren’t able to visit my grandma because she had contracted MRSA.

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enjoying 미역국, seaweed soup, with grandma

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we visited the museum of science on saturday afternoon.

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at the chocolate exhibit

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she wanted a selfie with this giant acorn cushion

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playing at the gift shop

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mess-free sand

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trying dippin’ dots for the first time

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naptime while penny naps

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dinner with ben before watching hacksaw ridge

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cute pose by yuri

we went to vinkari safari in woburn again. all she wanted to do was ride the vehicles 🙂 it would’ve been fine if she stayed in a certain car for a period of time but we would push her for less than a minute and she would want to switch to a different car.

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we were craving 팥빙수, korean shaved ice so we stopped by cafe benne before heading back home. the dessert next to the strawberry/ sweet red bean shaved ice is a s’mores toast!

penny had been sick the week leading up to our boston trip. since she was still getting over her cough, we went up on saturday morning instead of friday. it was a short(er) trip but we still enjoyed seeing my parents, eating good korean food, and continuing our tradition of a “movie night” with ben (alf couldn’t make it because of a work project).

a library that we absolutely love, and go to twice a week, is booth & dimock library in coventry. on tuesdays from 10:15-11:15, they have a free program called tiny tots, which includes free play with toys and a group reading activity as well as singing along to songs.

on wednesdays they have free play from 10:30-11:30.

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in a great mood on the way to the car

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she’s touching a plant that had a soft bulb on it

a chick-fil-a restaurant recently opened in west hartford. since it has an indoor play area, a few of my mommy friends and i decided to have a playdate there. although the sign said for ages 3 and under, we all agreed that it was more suitable for ages 3 and older. penny and i climbed up the structure but she was too nervous to enter the tubes to go down the slide. there also wasn’t really much for the kids to do there either so i wouldn’t recommend a play date there… but lunch was really good! penny didn’t want her chicken nuggets but she ate the fruit cup, waffle fries, and drank the juice.

i only found out after i had come home that chick-fil-a offers books as an alternative to a toy for ages 3 and under! i wish i had known because the paper toy she received was too advanced for her so i trashed it.

penny was so tired she actually fell asleep on the drive home! she hasn’t fallen asleep in the car since her infant days because we time our outings so that she’s home for her nap and bedtime routine. i was worried she wouldn’t fall asleep for her nap but she did.. and then i had to wake her up because it was getting late.

penny’s library books were due last thursday so we went to tolland library. the entire library was renovated recently and the children’s area is a spread out instead of being in an enclosed room. i actually liked the room because it prevented penny from wandering around but this was nice too.

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taking a break to snack on strawberries

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she’s great at stacking cups

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i bought these sensory beads from amazon. you soak them in the water for 6-10 hours (too long and they crumble/fall apart), drain the water, and let the kids play!

they feel like tapioca balls found in bubble tea. it’s amazing how fast they swell up!

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she was laughing because she threw the balls down the spiral chute

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remember the gno out from my last post? 10 ladies made it out and we had a wonderful time!! can’t wait to do it again soon. thanks to the baby daddies for taking care of the babies while the moms destressed!

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happy holidays

i had my 24-week checkup this morning. it was brief and everything went well. i’ve been keeping track of my weight gain like i did for penny, and i’ve gained 6.3 lb. so far. at this point with penny, i had gained 10.7 lb. and 18 lb. overall, right up until penny was born. i thought i would gain more during my second pregnancy but it’s not over yet so we will see how big this little boy grows.

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the ob measured my fundus (part of the uterus) to determine growth rate. it measured at 23cm which is fine because i’m at week 24. you want the measurements to be around the same as the number of weeks you’re pregnant, so i’m about a week behind which is still great. i have a long torso so i know the baby has a lot of room in there. this is also the reason why i haven’t shown until about a few weeks ago.

my next appointment will be the 28-week checkup where i have to take a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. i’m not worried about this one at all since my blood pressure is excellent and my weight gain has been minimal. plus, i was fine with penny. the only annoying thing is drinking this sugary orange drink in under 5 minutes.

with that said, these weeks are flying by; much more faster than when i was pregnant with penny. my friend and neighbor, yan, is expecting her second (also a boy!) on january 12th but she said she is already 4cm dilated so the baby could come any day now. it’s exciting and comforting to be going through my second pregnancy with friends who are also expecting their second around the same time. now we have to learn how to adjust to taking care of a newborn while also having a rambunctious toddler around. i’m eager to receive valuable tips from friends that are due before me, but i’m also grateful knowing that i will have lots of help from family members as well.

it was a busy christmas this year: we traveled to boston to celebrate with my family and then came back christmas eve so we could go to church on christmas morning. penny got baptized along with our friends’ son, ethan, and then we opened gifts in the early evening with dennis’ parents.

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homemade meal upon our arrival!

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penny’s baptism

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opening gifts

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she also received another baby doll for christmas (from my mom). this one i picked out: baby says “mama” when you squeeze her hand and she sucks on the magnetic pacifier when you place it on her mouth. penny knows how to do both.

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i forgot i bought her two wooden puzzles and a pizza kit so i gave them to her the following day

to top it off, i won fantasy football this year! i limped into the playoffs as the #8 seed (out of 12) and basically had no hope of even advancing into the next round. my first and second picks this year were rob gronkowski and dez bryant – both were huge disappointments this year although dez sealed the win for me in the end with a great game. most of my lineup were waiver wire pickups as well so it was amazing how i came back to win it all. this is my first victory after having been a runner-up a few times (most recently, last year) so i feel even more triumphant.

it has been hard to keep track of all the of the things penny has been learning because it’s at such a faster pace now. she’s saying more and more words. a few weeks ago she had added 뽀뽀 (kiss), 멍멍 (puppy), ball, wow, and 이모 (aunt) to her vocabulary, and most recently she has added “no more”, “one more”, “all done” (she only used to gesture), and 지지 (dirty). she is also sorting her colors by putting matching colors together. as one of her christmas gifts, i got her do-a-dot markers and she likes to screw the caps back on to the markers by herself. she correctly places the matching colored cap on the marker and twists it on! during bath time, she also places the colorful dolphin toys into their matching colored tubes.

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new straw cup

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braving the cold to get some fresh air!

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on my way home from my ob appointment today, a house had free toys set out on the curb so i took a coffee maker and this big rig auto transport.

penny’s top molars have broken through! i only noticed them a few days ago when i was changing her diaper and she was yelling/talking. currently she has 5 teeth but her top lateral incisors have been trying to poke their way through for almost a month now! she is a very slow teether. xD at 19 months it looks like she will soon have 9 teeth; but it seems that she’ll be closer to 20 months by the time they fully come in.

i can’t believe it’ll already be 2017 (year of the rooster) in a few short days. i’m excited to see what the new year brings (besides a baby boy!

  • i plan on adding more photos (52 total!) little by little. i just really want to post this entry before penny’s nap is up and the pictures take forever!

 

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…

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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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oh, you know, just a typical breakfast

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gotta love snapchat! mom aka sia

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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.

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precious

 

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.

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

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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.

 

weekend in boston

dennis and i arrived safely back from aruba last wednesday night around 10:30pm. we had thursday to relax at home.. and then we drove up to boston friday morning and stayed at my parents’ house until sunday evening.

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the above photos are soon after we arrived at my parents’ house. penny had lunch and then we went outside for a walk. she LOVES going outside.. sometimes she throws a tantrum when we come back in -_-

lately all she wants to do is walk and she’s getting better at it every day. we purchased her sneakers recently too to help encourage her walking 🙂

our main reason for visiting massachusetts was to see my grandmother who is recovering from a recent spinal surgery. being 95 years old, she has brittle bones so even just moving a certain way can cause those fragile bones to fracture. she’s in a rehabilitation home for the time being and we really want penny to see my grandma as much as possible because, honestly, who knows how much time we all really have..?

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she loves playing with the selfie stick

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remarking over penny’s feet and sneakers

my grandma was so surprised to see us! we made her very happy, and we are thrilled that we were able to see her too. we came back to visit her the next evening and she was, again, surprised to see us because she thought we had already gone back home.

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she was thankful to eat korean food for dinner two nights in a row

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penny did not like being held!

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my grandma was shocked at how strong penny is…

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avery & penny

hopefully we can arrange more play dates (and parent dates) with our friends in boston too. we met up with a group of friends for lunch on saturday, and it was chaotic with 3 little girls. olivia k. was napping so we couldn’t get in a picture of all 3 of them.

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bringing the walker along helped save our backs!

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one of her favorite things to do is point.. at everything!

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cute little bunny in the backyard on sunday morning

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penny pretending to mow the lawn like aunt jen!

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on our way to the ice cream shop!

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penny loved her vanilla soft serve!

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she signed for “milk” after we came home

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eating dinner at my parents’ restaurant in boston before we head home

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an employee gave her a $20 bill…

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it’s tough because dennis works every other weekend and some of those weekends are already accounted for, such as weddings and other events.. but we are definitely going to go up again this summer to spend more time with my parents, siblings, and grandma. summer in boston should be a lot of fun!

after we got back from aruba, we barely had time to unwind. we spent most of the day at home on thursday but we decided to buy penny her first pair of walking sneakers so we went to the mall and met up with the gardners.

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trying out see kai run sneakers

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ended up getting nikes

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they look miserable but they had fun!

we wanted to purchase stride rite sneakers after hearing great feedback from many people but found out that nordstrom is slowly phasing them out in favor of their own brand: see kai run. this is also a highly rated brand as well. after trying on toms, see kai run, and nike free we ended up getting penny the nike sneakers because the soles were lighter and had more cushion. i still want to get her see kai run and stride rite too but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. the nike ones were $48! :-O

the aruba trip was amazing… i’ll have to write a post on that destination wedding/vacation alone! i can’t wait to share all of the pictures. as always, it was awesome to get a break away from penny because we got to sleep in and do what we wanted to do.. but, of course, we missed her… and it was also nice coming back home.

 

birthdays & bachelor(ettes)

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she loves crawling into the ball pit

welcome to april! although in new england, not much has changed. actually, the weather has taken a turn for the worse. we were teased with a few days hovering near the high-60s last week. then it rained on saturday which turned to snow on sunday and finally ceased yesterday. i look forward to taking walks with penny and yuri to get fresh air and break up the monotony of being indoors, but it looks like we won’t be able to do that this week.

it was a nonstop weekend: since dennis was away for a bachelor weekend in colorado from wednesday through saturday, i was mostly alone with penny and yuri during that time. my mil doesn’t work on wednesdays so she kept me company that day and my fil stopped by on thursday and friday to take yuri outside. my friend, katie, came around penny’s dinnertime to spend the night and helped me feed her dinner. we also went out for a walk which was nice for everyone. 🙂 after penny went to bed, we chowed down on pizza, wings, and fried mozzarella while drinking wine and watching gilmore girls. katie’s boyfriend was also in colorado with dennis and the gang so it was great to keep each other company and also have girl talk 😉

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penny really likes katie’s blond hair

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saturday was olivia’s big day: it was her first birthday party!

traditionally at a korean first birthday, there is a 돌잡이 (doljabi), where an assortment of objects is laid out in front of the baby. the child then chooses one object and this determines their future occupation. usual objects include money (wealth), spool of thread (long life), stethoscope (medical), pencil or book (scholar), and so on.

olivia chose money (genie said she trained her to!) but chose a spool of thread later so maybe that was the “actual” prediction… 😛

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proud parents with the birthday girl

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look who’s one!

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돌상, or the dol table

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closer look at the tissue paper flowers that genie made!

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after the party, i rushed home to pump and my sister played with penny. my in-laws were already there because my fil took care of penny while i went to the party and then my mil came over after work. and then, we drove up to boston to attend our friend, yuge’s night out in town for her bachelorette.  unfortunately i didn’t take many pictures (photos below are from the bride and matron of honor)… but we did share pictures that we had with yuge over the years and relived memories.

post-dinner, we went back to the hotel where i pumped (what else?) while we chatted, and the girls put on face masks and watched how to lose a guy in 10 days. by then it was nearly midnight and it had been a long weekend already so i went to my parents’ house to sleep.

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we used traci’s selfie stick before heading out to dinner

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dinner at gaslight

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i love bone marrow!

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moules et frites!

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wore same outfit to olivia’s birthday and the bachelorette hangout

and, sleep i did! besides waking up once in the morning to – you guessed it – pump, i fell back asleep until 11:30am! i don’t think i have slept in that late for a few years, at least! even before penny was born, i was usually awake and functioning before that time. it was a good thing i woke up then too because i had to help get the house ready for my grandma’s 95th birthday luncheon!

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my parents recently “downsized” and the formal living room is my favorite room.

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jen’s dog, charlie

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it was a jam-packed weekend and i enjoyed catching up with friends and family, but in the end… home is the best (집이 최고 지). dennis had returned from colorado late saturday night so he took care of penny all day sunday. i came home with a ton of food and was finally able to relax.

penny’s birthday party is 5 weeks away and we are scrambling to have everything ready in time. grateful to have a lot of help from my sister, genie, and dennis. i’m nearly finished with one of the dol tower, but i still have two left: one for her korean name and one for the sheep (her zodiac). after i finish those, i’ll be sure to blog a post about that.. and i’m still overdue to do one on penny’s now-finished kitchen! it turned out great~ dennis just put in batteries for the stove this morning so the burners light up when the buttons are pushed.

penny had a great stretch where she was sleeping 11-12 hours at night and would wake up between 6:30-7am.. the past few days she’s been waking up at 5:30-5:45am.. ahhh, so i have to push her naps earlier. i read at this age babies go through so much developmentally since they’re full-on crawling, standing, and trying to walk. plus, her awake time has increased while her nap lengths have decreased so it’s kind of hard to stretch out the day so she isn’t going to bed around 6pm. we are still having to wake her up, at least once, from her naps so it doesn’t affect her other nap and/or nighttime sleep. i know eventually her nap total will be anywhere from 2~2.5 hours as she gets closer to her 1-year mark, and this’ll mean an early bedtime for a while. so many changes during the baby’s first year!

it looks as if i’ll have to wake penny from her first nap so i need to quickly wash up and get ready before doing so. next post will be about the kitchen!