just to get by, just to get by…

the title of this post is from a talib kweli song, fyi.

anyway, today was a “snow day.” forecasters had predicted up to 10 inches of snow and most schools closed, but all we received was a few inches of snow; the road is still visible. it was just disappointing because one of our favorite playgroups was canceled so i had to come up with ideas to keep penny entertained at home this morning.

since we hadn’t done any art projects at home lately, i quickly cut up striped tissue paper while penny practiced cutting on a different sheet. then, i gathered other art materials such as a canvas, glue, and a pencil. i drew a heart on the canvas using a pencil and penny squeezed glue on it. i helped her spread the glue out since she likes to squeeze out one giant glob.

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we spent the majority of our morning in the playroom which we hadn’t done in quite some time since penny and i partake in a morning activity every weekday. i always get nervous when i have to be with two kids on my own but it usually ends up being okay – unless penny’s sick or has one of her meltdowns.

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in my last post, i wrote about how penny had started going to the potty on her own. well, she’s still doing it! she will announce she has to go, walk into the bathroom on her own, pull down her pants and underwear and sit down. i was about to put away the small pottys because she had been sitting on the toilet but now i’ll leave them out to encourage her to go by herself.

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we have 4 bathrooms: 2 full and 2 half. she rarely uses the toilet in the master bedroom. in the playroom, we have a toilet seat on top of the toilet and in the upstairs bathroom we just place her on the toilet. she has a potty in her bedroom that she barely uses anymore so we might just put that away until it’s time to potty-train ezra. sometimes i’m still in awe that she’s potty trained. it’s such a huge milestone for toddlers – and definitely not an easy one – but i am so proud of penny. i’m hoping for penny to go to preschool once she turns 3 and having her go to the bathroom on her own is a huge step.

all right, it’s time for both kids to be up so i’ll have to get going. i’m just glad i was able to find time to squeeze in a post so soon after my previous one! i recently started working out again to get ready for my cancun trip so i hope to touch upon that in my next post.

dennis built a fort for the kids last weekend and they loved it. look at ezra’s expressions!

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the every-cheerful ezra. his third tooth broke through last week!

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his favorite song is “곰 새마리” (three bears)

i had wanted a picture of both girls because they wore the same shirt, but, of course, penny wanted no part in it.

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valentine’s arts & crafts

with valentine’s day two days away, it’s not too late to make cute gifts handmade by your toddler. i selected 4 different projects and started doing them in mid-january so i could 1) spread them out, and 2) have ample time to get each one completed.

the first project penny and i created were tie-dye paper hearts.

materials needed

  • card stock (preferably, white)
  • scissors
  • food coloring (at least 3 different colors)
  • white vinegar
  • baking soda
  • spoon
  • dropper
  • small bowls
  • newspapers or big piece of cardboard
  • paper plates, baking pan or plastic take-out containers

*note: i got all of the materials prepped beforehand so penny wouldn’t make too much of a mess with the food coloring

first, i poured a small amount of vinegar into clean yogurt bowls and i added a few drops of different colored food coloring to each container. then i folded card stock in half and cut out hearts in various sizes (i cut out 4 total). next, i laid out a big piece of cardboard to protect the kitchen floor. finally, i set down all of the materials in front of penny and demonstrated what to do. she was really eager to try and learned how to use a dropper.

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first, you generously sprinkle baking soda onto the heart.

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then, using a dropper you squeeze food coloring and vinegar all over the heart.

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make sure to cover the entire heart.

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she liked seeing the baking soda and vinegar mixture bubble

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she kept playing with the ingredients even after the project was done.

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when the hearts are dry, scrape off the excess baking soda into a trash can and the color will be even brighter.

the second project that we did were the “love” canvases. having another adult is preferred for this project because of the paint.

materials needed

  • canvases (different sizes if preferred)
  • washi tape
  • pencil and eraser
  • washable paint
  • paper plate
  • brushes in various sizes
  • big piece of cardboard or newspapers

any project that requires paint, we do just before bathtime so we can scoop penny up and place her in the tub. this also requires prep work. i wrote the letters l-o-v-e using a pencil and no stencil though you could! then i used washi tape to cover only the letters: this is so when penny paints the canvas, the letters remain untouched until you peel the tape off afterwards.

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*note – washi tape works better than blue tape used for painting rooms (surprisingly) but it may have been because the blue tape we had was less sticky to prevent drywall from coming off.

we also found that using less colors made the artwork look prettier since when paint is smeared around, the colors turn brownish. for the second canvas, i opted only to use red, pink, purple, and white. for the last one, i also added a sky blue color.

you may find that there is a lot of negative space left. we had to keep turning the canvas so penny would evenly distribute the paint. there’s no need to cover the entire canvas but make sure the letters can be seen when the tape is peeled off. in addition, penny was rather shy about painting even though she gets excited for it. she was mostly fixated on squishing the paint between her fingers and saying, “지지” (which means “dirty”) so we had to reassure it was okay to be messy.

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less colors the second and third time around

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the third project we did was the valentine’s photo magnets we purchased from oriental trading. i get a catalog from this company though i had never purchased from them before – it was probably from my teaching days. i flipped through the february issue and saw a few arts & crafts projects including the photo magnets. i settled on this one because it was the easiest for a young toddler to do and is a nice keepsake. a package of 12 magnets was $7.99 but shipping was almost the same!

i think the hardest part was choosing different photos for each magnet. i chose family members and penny’s friends for a total of 12 magnets (of course, we made one for our family too). for penny’s friends, i made sure to select pictures that included penny and her playmate. the cutout for the photo was also small so for some magnets, i had to make the hole bigger and/or cut out the images from photos to make a collage. you’ll see what i mean when you see the photos below.

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she loves stickers!

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10/12 magnets

finally, the last project we did was stamping hearts using a toilet paper roll.

materials needed

  • toilet paper roll
  • paper
  • scotch tape
  • washable paint
  • newspapers or big piece of cardboard
  • brushes and sponges

while holding the toilet paper roll. you make a crease across the top by gently folding it. then, pinch the bottom of the roll so it makes the point of the heart.maintain the heart shape by taping the two rounded tops of the heart together. then you pour paint onto a plate, dip the stamp onto it, and you have a heart stamper!

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knowing toddler’s attention spans, you will find this is a quick activity which is why i also included brushes and sponges to keep penny preoccupied for a little while longer. again, she enjoyed touching the paint more than anything.

i hope you enjoyed reading this post and have fun making a mess creating beautiful artwork with your little ones!

happy valentine’s day ❤

christmas tree canvas art

for one of our holiday-themed activities, penny and i created a christmas tree using washable paint on canvas.

penny loves to paint (mostly to feel the squishy paint between her fingers). i hid her paint set because she would ask every day for me to open them. i felt bad about hiding them but it can be a hassle setting everything up for her to only have her paint for a few minutes and then wander off with paint all over her body.

when i do come up with projects, i mostly do them after dinner so when we are finished she can go right into the bath tub. it also helps if someone else is around like dennis or my mil.

i came up with the christmas tree art myself. i have leftover contact paper from when i made a faux marble countertop for penny’s play kitchen so i figured i could use that to create a christmas tree template.

first, i unrolled the contact paper over the canvas to see how much i would need. after cutting the paper, i placed it over the canvas so i could draw an outline of a christmas tree. i also used a sharpie.

then, i carefully cut out the tree (save it for later!) and then peeled off the adhesive backing from the “scrap paper” (or the white space of the tree). i lined up the contact paper with the canvas. i pressed the paper down, smoothed it out, and wrapped the edges around the canvas.

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penny had fun smearing green paint all over the canvas. it didn’t matter that it got on the contact paper because the paint didn’t get underneath it. while my mil gave penny a bath, i carefully peeled off the contact paper and viola – an evergreen tree! i let it dry overnight and placed it on the windowsill out of penny’s reach.

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for the next part of the project, i peeled off the adhesive backing from the tree cutout that i had saved and placed it right over the tree. using sky blue paint, penny painted the background. again, the contact paper helped preserve the picture. thankfully dennis was around to help me with this part.

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then i had penny glue on colorful poms to represent christmas lights. initially i had white glue on a plate and gave penny a paintbrush to randomly paint glue on the tree. this didn’t work because penny was just dabbing glue on and the poms wouldn’t stick. i ended up helping her paint glue on and place the poms on the tree. (i have poms with adhesive backings that would’ve been perfect but i let penny play with them months ago so they’re not sticky anymore. if you can find poms like those, that would be ideal. i had gotten them from target around easter so the downside was that they’re pastel-colored – not exactly christmas light-material.)

for the final touch, i cut out the gold glitter star and glued that on.

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using contact paper on canvas inspired me to do more art projects with penny using these two materials. dennis and i decided on a woodland theme for our baby boy’s nursery and sprinkle so i’m going to create artwork depicting woodland creatures. i can have penny help by having her paint on the body of the animals (with the help of cutouts) and i can do the finer details like the facial features.

the goal is to have four animal canvases and maybe i’ll make some others with just evergreen trees. i really liked how the christmas tree looked before having all the decorations put on it – it was simple and had more of a rustic feel.the sprinkle is about two months away and i know it’ll approach quickly so i hope to get a start on these next art projects soon!

for a more low-key art activity, penny painted white snow onto blue paper to create a landscape. then she placed holiday-themed stickers on the paper. in hindsight i would’ve used dark blue paper for the white paint to show up more.

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we’ve had 3 snow days so far but have yet to venture out in it. one of the reasons is because all of penny’s snow gear is wrapped up under the tree, but it’s also too cold! i’m sure there will be more snow once christmas is over so we will get to play outdoors. we also live near an elementary school and our backyard faces the hilly field so we will have to buy a sled soon.

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i had to take yuri out for a walk while penny napped

penny had fun playing with fake snow at her toddler class last week. it’s a material called “insta-snow” that the instructor purchased on amazon. it’s cold (though not as ice cold as real snow) and fluffy. it was amazing to see it transform into snow once water was poured onto it.

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snowman collage using glue and cutouts

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first time playing with shaving cream!

i had penny touch snow for the first time when she was about 8 months old and she hated it – too cold! it’ll be interesting to see her reaction this winter.

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23 weeks!

valentine’s day + penny’s 9 months

happy 9 months to penny! she’s 3/4 of the way to being a one-year-old!

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this past month has been a whirlwind! penny is keeping us on our toes 🙂 she’s always been a fairly active baby, but now that she’s moving around we have to keep a close watch on her. she’s sooo close to crawling but hasn’t quite gotten the mechanics down yet. she does, however, creep around. that’s a weird word – creep, but that’s what it’s called when a baby moves around on her belly, and penny goes forward, backward, and all around. she does lift up her belly and bend her knees so she’s getting there!

she also goes from a sitting position directly to her belly so we aren’t always placing her on her stomach to do tummy time and practice. plus, she sleeps on her tummy so when she’s awake in her crib she’ll practice moving around as well.

penny is eager to see and touch everything as is evidenced in the photos below.

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she had her check-up today and thankfully no vaccines were involved. she did get her big toe pricked for a hemoglobin test but she was fine! she just sat there looking around =D she also had a vision and hearing test – she passed both – and got measured and weighed: 27 3/4 inches long and 19 lb. 2 oz. respectively. i was surprised at her height though because she was 27 inches at her 6-month appointment; i thought she’d be a lot taller especially since she’s wearing size 12 months. still, happy that she’s growing and is healthy.

we asked our pediatrician about penny’s eczema. she’s had it for almost a month now, i’d say. at first, it started off as tiny patches behind her knees and near her inner elbows, but then they increased in size. she also had a little patch on her chest (gone now) and now she has spots on her thighs and armpit area. 😦 they don’t seem to bother her as she’s sleeping well and not being fussy during the day but it makes me sad.

at a friend’s suggestion we started apply aquaphor and it helped a lot. however, sometimes it would flare up again; i thought it might be a food allergy so i cut out certain foods like yogurt, eggs, and peanut butter but when i slowly reintroduced them there weren’t any flare-ups. there was a flare-up when we applied coconut oil to the problem areas per my mil’s suggestion. then, i thought she might be allergic to coconuts but i ate coconut almond yogurt the other day and penny was unaffected. (whew.) it just might have been too greasy for her skin… i guess?

penny takes a bath every night as part of her bedtime routine so instead of bathing her with soap, some nights we will just splash her with lukewarm water. this seems to have helped because taking baths can be very drying for the skin especially during the wintertime. we also slather her in burt’s bees body lotion. aquaphor 3x a day and lukewarm water baths have worked thus far *fingers crossed

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penny in our backyard

we had a lot of snow last week. the groundhog (for groundhog’s day) had predicted an early spring but look at us now! december had record-breaking mild weather and we’re making up for it in february. this past weekend’s weather broke records in the new england area as well but for frigidity, not warmth: nights, and parts of the days were in the negatives! walking yuri was brutal and usually she wants to linger outside but after she did her business, she ran back to our house. no complaints there.

although it was too cold for walks, we did go outside in our backyard for a few minutes on the days that were in the 30s just so we could get fresh air.

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this picture reminds me of old-school korea

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penny’s first time touching snow. you can tell from her facial expressions that she’s not a big fan of the cold white stuff. it was good snow too; the kind you can pack into snowballs.

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i LOVE to do arts & crafts – i have bins and bins full of different kinds of paper, stickers, and all sorts of goodies from michael’s. valentine’s day, of course, called for some crafting!

dennis, penny, and i made valentine’s cards for some friends and family. we used ink pads to make thumb people on the cards and i wrote “thumb-body loves you!” i can’t take credit for this cute idea since i found it on pinterest, but the layout of the cards i did myself – definitely not hard to do.

the cutout paper hearts were easy but they were a leftover decoration from my baby shower (made by genie) and i had saved them, yay! i also used 4 different crafting scissors to cut out the card and give each one an individual look.

dennis held penny’s thumb while i pressed it onto pink, gold, and silver inkpads to make a thumb baby. dennis and i took turns stamping our thumbs as well. i had a lot of fun making the thumb-people as you can see! ^0^

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another project that i did was making footprint art. my mil was here to help me with this one. she held penny while we dipped her foot in paint and then i firmly planted it onto scrapbook paper. we tried to do handprint art but it didn’t turn out well.

again, cute ideas via pinterest!  i gave the butterfly one to my mil because that one also had a polaroid of her and penny. 🙂

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when genie and olivia came over a few weeks ago, we also did crafts together. genie had prepped these canvasses back in december for a future art project. since we already had done two christmas crafts together – mistletoes and handprint ornaments – we decided to save them. genie has this cool embossing kit so the word “love” is textured.

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a lot of wipes were used during this project! we used their handprint and footprints to help spell the word “love”. i’m sad i don’t have a picture of the finished product for both canvasses but it makes an appearance in a valentine’s day picture i took of penny.

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i used black paint for the letters “l” and “e” and i also decorated it using more paper hearts made by genie, a pink fuzzball tassle, and writing penny’s name along with the year using letter and number stamps.

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penny also got a mickey mouse microphone as a valentine’s gift from daddy! it plays music and lets you speak into it when you hold down a ‘talk’ button.

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penny was fascinated when my voice came out of the microphone. i had her try it out and she tried by licking it, hahaha.

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lucky penny also received a gift from her grandparents! leapfrog came out with a new toy recently. it resembles a bingo or lotto wheel but when you spin it, and a letter lands on the arrow it tells you the letter, the animal and sound, or plays music depending on the mode. penny really likes to spin wheels so this is a great gift.

she’s so funny.. she recognizes cute animals and figures so when we hold up dolls, she goes nuts especially over miffy, a bunny. the animal above is a blue elephant that my friend, ben, bought for her.

it’s also cute that penny’s hair is long enough to tie back into pigtails.

this should be another busy week! a friend may stop by tomorrow for lunch and on thursday we have two play dates. one friend and her 14-month-old daughter will stop by for lunch as they drive home to massachusetts from new jersey. later in the afternoon, penny and i will go to genie’s house and work on olivia’s dol (first birthday) preparations as well as getting things underway for a friend’s baby shower in may.

it’s also dennis’ short weekend thus his long weekend 😀 no big plans this weekend as of yet; just looking forward to relaxing together. we are huge fans of the walking dead and the mid-season premiere was this past sunday. it started off with a bang! can’t wait to see it next sunday!

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penny’s 100th day (백일)

baek-il, or 100 days, is one of several korean birthday celebrations. in the olden days, infant mortality in korea was high so if a baby reached 100 days of life there was a small celebration to give thanks for the baby’s, and mother’s, health thus far. prayers were also said for the baby’s longevity, wealth, and luck.

today, the baek-il is celebrated more for fun: it’s an excuse to have a party, and to take pictures of the event to share with everyone. as the baek-il is not as a significant milestone as the dol, first birthday, we kept the party intimate by only inviting immediate family members and relatives. since baek-il is not a big deal and everyone else lives in either eastern massachusetts or new hampshire, less than half attended.. we ended up having too much food but better to have too much (and leftovers!) than too little. the food was catered from a local korean restaurant -thanks to my in-laws – and the mini rice cakes and actual rice cake were made by a church elder.

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obviously there is very little downtime with a baby. whenever penny napped, i would work on the decorations. i made the bunting – ‘happy 100th day’ – during one of penny’s 3-hour naps. i used leftover 8.5 x 11 in. brown card stock for the background and a small packet of 6×8 in. scrapbook paper that i purchased from michaels.

for the sign, i used a ruler and pencil to measure and mark the halfway point on the bottom of the card stock. next, i placed the ruler vertically from the middle point to mark 4 inches above the point. then, i used the ruler again to help draw straight lines from the new mark to the bottom corners of the paper (to make a triangle). finally, i cut out the triangle to make a sign. i used the first one as a tracer to make more signs.

for the letters, i just sketched out block letters on paper without stencils. i did make sure that each letter was similar in width and height to make them uniform. in addition, i made sure to sketch the letters on the other side of the paper so if i made a mistake and wanted to erase, the markings wouldn’t show on the side that would be displayed. that meant, for some letters, i had to sketch a few letters backwards.

i also made a mini bunting for the cake using scrapbook paper, bakery string, and paper straws. i drew a triangle and cut it out, and then i used the original as a tracer for all the other ones. next, i taped the triangles to bakery thread. then, i used a gold sharpie to write the letters. finally, i tied the bakery string to the paper straws.

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the korean characters are pronounced “chook baek-il” which is an abbreviated form of “congratulations on the 100th day”

small rice cakes, reese's peanut butter cake with the bunting, and the traditional rice cake for the baek-il

small rice cakes, reese’s peanut butter cake with the bunting, and the traditional rice cake for the baek-il

for the streamer background, i found a cool how-to on pinterest. all you need is masking tape and streamers.  you tape up the masking tape – sticky side out – in a straight line. then you hang up strips of streamers by sticking each one onto the tape. i made sure to tape each streamer at a different point on the tape strip so the streamers would overlap. i only used three colors: hot pink, light pink, and white. my sister and her boyfriend came the night before to help me set up the streamers, arrange the flowers, make paper flowers, and clean and organize the house.

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some of our family members. my sister is on the bottom holding the dog and my brother is the one awkwardly standing away from everyone else, lol

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another look at the decor and food

for the paper fans, some were decorations from my baby showers that i had saved and some were made by me for the baek-il. these proved difficult to hang up because of the ridges. i used a lot of masking tape. for the heavier ones, i either used a clear hook to hang them or taped twine on the back and hung them up that way.

“penny gallery”

we developed images from penny’s newborn photo shoot and had them framed to hang up around the home. we also had wrapped canvases made as well. the paper garland is from etsy and was a decoration from one of my baby showers.

beverage area

beverage area

for drinks, we offered water, 3 different kinds of flavored san pellegrino, and soda.

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homemade strawberry and pistachio macarons by rebecca

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macarons for penny!

my friend, rebecca, made macarons for the event and stopped by to personally drop them off. they were a huge hit and were gobbled up by everyone! she also made a separate batch for dennis and me as well as a box of 6 for penny. such a kind gesture ~

pano view

pano view

i attempted a panoramic view of the event. my dog and one of my cousins were moving so they came out distorted. we held the celebration in our finished basement. for now, the basement holds our ping pong table and a few of penny’s play things but soon it will become penny’s playroom.

if you look at the beverage table, you’ll notice a baby monitor next to the coke bottle. penny napped for nearly the entire event! she had slept poorly the night before and was exhausted. good thing we took pictures with her before she napped.

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penny with my mom and dad

penny with dennis' mom and dad

penny with dennis’ mom and dad

fil wanted one with yuri :)

fil wanted one with yuri 🙂

dennis and brendan

dennis and brendan

jen and brendan

jen and brendan

my cousins: sarah, mason, and sarah (mason's mom)

my cousins: sarah, mason, and sarah (mason’s mom). yuri was also begging for food.

william and mason

william and mason

my grandma couldn't make the event and sent over a bag of rice and thread for penny. she's afraid she won't live to see penny's first birthday :(

my grandma couldn’t make the event and sent over a bag of rice and thread for penny to sit on and wear (normally saved for the first birthday). she’s afraid she won’t live to see penny’s first birthday 😦

for the dol, or first birthday, an array of objects is displayed for the baby to choose. whatever the baby selects is supposed to predict the baby’s future occupation. some things that are laid out are rice, thread, pencil, and a book. nowadays, people also add things like a stethoscope and microphone among others to diversity the job field, haha.

my grandma told us to have penny sit on the bag of rice with the loops of thread around her neck. i had never heard of this, but i’m guessing that grandma wishes wealth (rice) and long life (thread) upon penny. here’s to that!

cute magnets from shutterfly

cute magnets from shutterfly