thanksgiving & birthday weekend

[12:30pm] i love my birthday because it usually falls around thanksgiving weekend so the festive mood from the holiday continues on to my birthday. sometimes my birthday falls on thanksgiving day which makes it even more special.

this year, thanksgiving got off to a rocky start. i got into a car accident on wednesday evening. i was craving pasta so i ordered dinner for the family (including in-laws) from cheesecake factory and i drove by myself to pick it up. i wanted to drive because i looked forward to the quiet time i could get in the car. dennis was working until 10 that evening so i decided to drop off food for him.

what should have been a half hour ride turned into an hour because of the holiday traffic. i don’t think it would’ve been that bad had there not been two accidents on the highway. at one point, three out of four lanes were closed which caused much of the delay. by the time i picked up the food and was on my way to dennis’ pharmacy it was already 5:30. i texted my mil to tell her to feed penny whatever food we had at home for now since i was going to be late.

as i drove down the local roads of west hartford i felt annoyed that i was running behind because of the accidents on the highway. i noticed a man pushing a stroller up his front walk, and then i looked forward just in time to see a minivan had stopped in front of me. i cursed and slammed on the brakes, but i plowed into the car anyway. the man with the stroller whipped around at the noise of the impact but i was busy trying to salvage the containers of pasta that had flown out of the bag. thankfully no food had spilled onto the car floor but the damage was done to my car. the grill was snapped in half and broken bits were scattered everywhere.

i knew it was my fault and i braced myself for the other driver’s reaction. a young woman stepped out and walked over to my car. then she asked worriedly, “are you okay?” i hadn’t been crying before because i was in shock but her kindness and genuine concern started a waterfall of tears. i kept blubbering on about how i was sorry and that i’ve been so tired lately that i zoned out. she kept reassuring me that as long as we were both okay, that it was fine.

it was only after i stepped out to inspect the damage to both cars and took photos with my iphone that i realized i was nearly 5 months pregnant! i wasn’t in any physical pain and i wasn’t going fast enough for the air bags to be deployed, but i was still concerned for the baby and i shared this with the other woman. she was troubled by it and even told the police officer that had arrived to report the accident.

it took quite a while for the officer to do the paperwork, and while the woman and i stood out in the cold we talked about where we are from (she’s originally from west hartford but has been living in baltimore) and what our plans had been that evening. i told her how my family had recently visited maryland to visit my brother-in-law and his wife. i even recommended the restaurant founding farmers to her. clearly, it isn’t ever ideal to get into a car accident but i am so grateful that the other person involved had been so understanding and gracious. she was on her way to meet a friend for dinner and i had ruined those plans, but she was still so positive about everything. she explained that she had been in my shoes a few months ago and knew what it was like to have to worry about dealing with insurance and the other driver. i had been in accidents where the other person was at fault and though i certainly never screamed or lost my temper, i don’t think i was really that understanding.

after almost an hour after the collision, i continued on to dennis’ work. he was only a half mile away! he knew what had happened because during all of the chaos i had called him to let him know. after talking to him and dropping off the food i was finally on my way home where the entire family – including crystal and dan – greeted me anxiously. i was fine, i was fine, thank the lord; just relieved to be home with the family.

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thanksgiving day was spent cooking all day but it was worth it. initially we had planned on driving up to massachusetts to celebrate with my side of the family since we had not been able to do that last year. however, we reconsidered after thinking of the traffic (two years ago, it took us 3 hours to arrive at my cousin’s house) and how we would only spend two hours there and then have to drive back again for penny’s bedtime.

it was eight of us including penny and yuri – a relaxing evening in the comforts of our own home. i tried to be festive by making a thanksgiving banner and hanging up fall-themed artwork created by penny. although the food was delicious – crystal contributed by making mac & cheese and helping me with other tasks like flower arranging – it was really time spent with the family that i appreciated. we never get to see crystal and dan this often and it was great being able to see them in maryland and then here for three days the week after. we will see them next at our pastor’s wedding in february.

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the boys playing mortal combat x

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the spread!

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homemade pumpkin cheesecake pie

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macarons and mini cupcakes from baked by melissa

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praying for the meal

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we got chicken instead of turkey

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penny dancing while everyone cheers – this picture was from two days before thanksgiving

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having fun playing ping pong

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we went to a tree farm on saturday morning to get our christmas tree. it was easier when penny was 6 months old which is when we got our tree last year! since penny is mobile, she just wanted to walk and do her own thing. it took an hour to get a tree! i spent most of the time chasing penny and reining her in while dennis searched for a tree and cut it down. i did choose the final tree though!

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my birthday celebration on saturday evening was relatively low-key with dinner with close friends at a burger joint. i forgot to take a group photo  😦 alice, john, and grace couldn’t make it to the games portion of the night but most of us moved on to dave and buster’s. i had forgotten how fun that place can be although saturday nights are not the best day to go since there can be a wait for certain games. i even played pump (korean version of ddr) with my pregnant belly and all. i used to play with my brother when he was younger – he is like a pro – so i can dance to some of the harder modes but boy was i out of breath at the end!

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my sister brought a lovely assortment of cupcakes from boston

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raspberry mousse birthday cake from giuseppe’s in south windsor

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my brother (james) compared to my sister (jen)

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the highlight of that evening was definitely my sister and brother driving down from boston to spend the night. my brother actually lives in la now but flew home for thanksgiving weekend. it had been quite some time since the three of us had done something together so i was extremely happy that they had both made it. plus, they were able to see how much penny had grown and spent time with her as well.

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sunday morning before church – penny liked the small basketball we got for her from d & b’s

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penny likes watching us cook

on my actual birthday, i was scheduled for a 10am ultrasound and anatomy scan. dennis and i found out we are having a B O Y! the technician asked us if we wanted to know and dennis blurted out that he could see the penis so there was no denying it! thanks to genie, we had decided on popping a balloon filled with appropriately-colored confetti to reveal the sex. i even brought scissors, tissue paper and ziploc bags with me so i could continue cutting the confetti. of course i stopped cutting pink ones after we found out the results. by the way, i had done research about the confetti-balloon reveal and many women recommended cutting up confetti using tissue paper because it’s light enough that it’ll float nicely for the photos. the store-bought ones are too heavy and would probably just fall instead of flying around for a greater effect.

after the appointment we stopped by party city and the employees stuffed two black 24-inch balloons with sky blue and royal blue confetti; then they filled them with helium. we also got a regular white balloon for penny to play with. when we arrived home, penny was napping and we ate lunch with my mil. we were going to do the reveal after penny woke up so mil went home for a few hours and we rested. a little before 3pm, both parents came over and we went onto the field to take a the first round of photos. we filled two balloons in case the first photo shoot didn’t come out well. we also had mil practice taking pictures by holding down the shutter button on the iphone so she could take consecutive pictures rapidly.

the pictures on the field came out nice enough – especially our reactions – but it was too bright so the color of the confetti was difficult to see. we changed locations to our driveway where the shade and the white doors of the garage made for better photos. i ended up holding penny because it’s difficult to get a toddler to participate in photo shoots, really.

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the photo collage we used for our announcement

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we really would not have minded if we were going to have another girl but having a boy is wonderful too! so many of our friends and family commented that we are lucky to have one of each – which i suppose we are – but we all know health is #1. when i met with my ob after the ultrasound she said everything looked great which is not something she gets to say often (usually only once a day). she said nowadays that any little thing can be considered a “high-risk pregnancy” so to give us good news was great for her as well.

that evening, dennis and i enjoyed a quiet dinner at market grille. we ordered a bunch of apps from the happy hour menu and i indulged in a blackberry-pomegranate-ginger soda. we had planned on going to the movies afterwards to watch arrival but we were both tired (and wanted to watch the missed episode of the walking dead) and felt bad that we would be coming home late since mil was watching penny as usual. we ended up stopping by dave & buster’s to play a few games ( we ended up with over 1,000 tickets) and kept the tickets so we can save up to get a really good prize for penny. 🙂

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sorry for the terrible quality – snapchat photo

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it’s no wonder after that eventful week that i’ve been tired… tired enough where i can actually fall asleep during penny’s nap like i did yesterday. i thought i would close my eyes for a half hour and i ended up falling asleep for an hour! i sat upright immediately after realizing it was 3:30 and penny was still sleeping (almost 3 hours!) so i got up to wake her. let’s see if i can squeeze in some shut-eye now…

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sweet news

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i’m back. and with big news. the so family is expecting baby #2 on april 16th, 2017. currently i’m in my second trimester (14w 4d) and feeling infinitely better than i had been the past few months.

the reason for my blogging hiatus was due to my morning sickness. with penny i experienced nausea, fatigue, and food aversion to name a few but i never threw up (though i was close a few times). with my current pregnancy, weeks 5-11 were pure hell complete with toilet-hugging. at times i couldn’t even get out of bed and, fortunately, on days that dennis works 2-10 he would wake up in the morning with penny while i rested. it was really difficult to play with penny and cater to her needs when all i wanted to do was lie down. but again, i had help from dennis and also my mother-in-law. she still comes over several days a week to help prepare meals and take care of penny which i’m entirely grateful for.

like my pregnancy with penny, i couldn’t eat a lot of foods particularly meat and anything with red sauce (pasta and pizza). dinner was always a battle because dennis would bring home food and i would look at it and gag. there were many nights where i would go to bed hungry because i couldn’t stomach anything – even water was gross; it tasted metallic.

i didn’t do much the past few months but attempt to eat and sleep. i got nauseous when watching tv or reading a book, and all i wanted to do was nap when penny napped so i put off blogging for a while even though there were so many things i wanted to share. hopefully i get back into the groove of things and i can record a detailed pregnancy journey for penny’s little sister or brother.

baby #2 wasn’t entirely a huge surprise. we had been planning on trying for another one around fall because we were thinking of the age gap between penny and the baby. we weren’t intentionally trying but we also weren’t being super cautious.

and then we found out about baby #2 on august 4th.

i had a feeling i was pregnant because i had experienced a stuffy nose for over a week. this was my first symptom with penny too. no matter how much i blew my nose, it was constantly stuffy and impacted my night sleep. then, i started getting acne on my forehead which is rare. oddly, my hair started falling out; with penny, my hair had started growing thicker. a day before i was due for my next period, i took a pregnancy test (at night) and voila – instantly positive. i took one again the next morning and it was the same result.

even now we are still in disbelief that we will soon be parents to two children. boy, life goes by so quickly… in the meantime we have been cherishing penny even more as her status as an only child will soon expire. a newborn requires so much attention and care and we are praying for a smooth transition. as hard as it has been dealing with morning sickness and caring for a rambunctious toddler, i can only imagine how much work it will be once the baby is here!

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here’s a photo of me (and the baby) at 14 weeks.

fourth of july weekend

happy birthday, usa!

the us celebrated its 240th birthday on monday.  july 4, 1776 – when the united states achieved independence from the tea-sipping brits. it’s actually quite surprising how relatively young our country is (although it really has been around for many, many years). i’m proud to be raising penny in the states where it is still seen as the land of opportunity and the land of hope. the world is moving at at even faster pace with life-changing inventions and innovations. it’s an amazing time to be alive, and i can’t wait for penny to take full advantage of what life has to offer us.

with that said, i was eagerly anticipating this year’s 4th of july because we had planned a family outing to elizabeth park in hartford. the rose garden, a very popular spot for pictures and picnics, is still very much in bloom, and penny is currently loving to touch everything particularly flowers, leaves, and pine needles.

after penny’s last nap, we drove down to hartford with the in-laws to have dinner at ichiban, a korean-japanese restaurant. penny did well (for a while) sitting in the high chair because she was busy looking around to check out other people and the restaurant itself. when she got fidgety, my mil took her to look at the fish in the fish tank and that kept her preoccupied while the rest of us finished our dinner. it takes a village!

afterwards, we went to elizabeth park to walk around and take pictures. we tried to recreate a picture of dennis and his brother, dan, (when they were around 2 and 4 years old)  sitting in front of the flowers by placing penny in the same spot but she wasn’t in the mood to take pictures. we had to sing a few songs to get her attention but she didn’t really smile. oh well.

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she did, however, enjoy walking around (with our assistance) and even ran a few times. she also surprised us by standing on her own for about ten seconds or more on a few occasions. she was afraid though so we helped her sit down. xD after walking around the rose garden, we enjoyed watermelon and cantaloupe before checking out the ducks in the pond. penny started getting fussy so we knew she was tired.

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after we got home and penny was in bed, the rest of us enjoyed cake that i made for my fil’s birthday. his actual birthday is on the 8th but we decided to celebrate it early since my mil works that day until 6pm. in korean culture, the 70th birthday is a huge milestone. (it used to be 60 but since life expectancy is longer than ever before, the age changed to 70.) my fil is more of a private person and keeps to himself so he definitely didn’t want a fancy gala – he just wanted a low-key dinner with us. we are hoping dan and crystal will be able to come up from maryland this upcoming weekend to help celebrate his actual birthday together. we know it’s tough for them to take time out of their schedule to come visit (even though they wish they could!) since crystal is taking two summer classes and dan is busy with church, but we hope we see them, at least, once this summer!

*edit – dan and crystal ARE coming up this weekend~ hooray!

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a former colleague shared a recipe for blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream (from a blog) and i decided to make that. i LOVE lemon and it sounded like a perfect summer cake. it turned out even better than i had expected – the recipe is definitely a keeper! i hope you enjoy it as much as we did 🙂

 

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!

life is good

my right arm is hovering over the keyboard as i type this entry because the stitches on my wrist prevent me from applying too much pressure on it.

on monday night, what was supposed to have been a relaxing and delicious family dinner turned out to be disastrous instead. as dennis grilled 삼겹살, or pork belly, in the sunroom and my in-laws were setting up the dinner table i went to get a small plate out of the cupboard to put the 쌈장, or bean paste spread, on. everything happened so quickly in the next few seconds that i’m not quite sure how it all went down. one minute i’m taking the plate out of the cupboard and then it broke in half – i think i banged it onto the open cupboard door and dropped it causing it to break. as the pieces fell, one half landed on my right wrist and sliced it, nicking an artery. i felt the plate hit my arm but didn’t think much of it until i bent down to pick up the pieces and saw blood gushing from my arm. there was so much blood and i was freaking out!

my in-laws saw and rushed over to help and the commotion drew dennis into the kitchen. he quickly applied pressure by wrapping two kitchen towels around my wrist. somehow, penny slept through all this and my in-laws stayed to watch penny and yuri while dennis took me to the er.

we were there for a few hours: questioning, cleaning, stitches, and withdrawing more blood. a student was stitching me up while a resident foresaw the procedure. both weren’t wearing masks because it wasn’t clear that i had nicked an artery until the student was about to finish stitching me up and nudged it. i wasn’t looking because i felt squeamish but dennis told me blood squirted up onto the girl’s face and some went in her mouth! blood also sprayed onto the resident’s coat. meanwhile, blood kept pouring out of my wrist and i was worried about losing a lot of blood, but i was told that it was fine because it stopped within a few minutes.

[warning: graphic photo ahead]

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it looks like a baby walker took a bite out of my arm

the nightmare continued because instead of being discharged after the stitches, i had to donate 4 vials of blood to get it checked out since some had gotten into the student’s mouth. more needles, more blood. the next day, i had to go to see a pcp to get my dressing changed and have it inspected. once again, i was questioned on how it happened and even as i explained it i knew how ridiculous it sounded. doubt flickered across the doctor’s face as he asked if i was having any stress in my life. i felt like i was lying even though i wasn’t! definitely a strange and uncomfortable situation… especially since life is so good right now.. and i want to live!! 🙂

thankfully, dennis worked the afternoon shifts the next two days so he took care of penny during the day and his mom came over to help until penny had gone to bed and we had eaten dinner. she even took work off yesterday to help! genie and olivia came over for a playdate – with coffee, doughnuts, and korean food – as well and i enjoyed our time with them.

it’s been a busy year already. the trip to dr was a welcome break and then we’ve had overnight visitors (my sister and friend, naomi). plus, my arm injury -_- and also my friend’s daughter’s first birthday party. many of us had babies last year so they’re all turning 1 this year!

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happy birthday, skylar!

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she is SO cute!

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dessert bar

to top it off, dennis and i have been invited to 8 weddings!! unfortunately, we’ll only be able to make it to about half because many fall on a saturday that dennis works and he’s using up all his vacation days for destination weddings and bachelor party getaways.

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genie helping us with the bedtime routine!

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early valentine’s gift from olivia 🙂

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naomi and jen came to visit and spent the night. genie also came over and we had fun eating pizza and catching up. (dennis watched basketball up in our bedroom.0

another thing that’s keeping us busy is penny getting ready to crawl. she’s been trying for the past couple of weeks and she’s SO CLOSE. she lifts up her bottom and tries to move but ends up pushing herself backward. sometimes she can get herself into the crawling position while sitting but she’s still trying to figure out how to get one of her legs out of the way. she also practices a lot in the crib because she’s been sleeping on her belly lately for naps and bedtime.

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she loves playing with the remote control even though we don’t let her watch tv

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she loves to blow raspberries!

penny has also been very vocal lately saying, “da da da”, “ba ba ba”, “na na na”, and “ma ma ma.” she also imitates our actions (i.e blowing air –> it comes out like a whistle sometimes). when she’s in a cooperative mood, she’ll also scrunch up her eyes when we say, “이쁜 눈”, or “pretty eyes.” as much as we can’t wait to see her crawling, it’s nice to have her immobile for the most part so we’re not busy chasing her around. we need to begin putting socket covers on the outlets because she’s getting more curious and touching those and the tv cable outlet.

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penny at the library

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it was this night that the accident occurred 😦

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the books we borrowed!

this is dennis’ long weekend – hurray! – and we plan on catching up on the walking dead. we only need to watch three more episodes and we’ll be all caught up (which is perfect since the season returns on 2/14). on sunday, we have a double date hangout with genie and ben.. without the babies!! we’ve been frantically thinking of what we could do but we couldn’t think of much except watch the superbowl (uninterested because the patriots are not in it), go to a paintbar, watch a movie, or go to the claypen (a pottery painting place). my injured arm really limits physical activities like bowling and dave & buster’s. 😦 either way, it’ll be nice to hang out with just adults.

it’s a snow day today. schools are closed throughout the state and in massachusetts too. this winter has been incredibly mild compared to last year. this is the first snow day! it doesn’t really matter to me since i’m home anyway, but i love snow… how pure and clean it makes everything look. maybe i’ll take penny out in it so she can marvel at it and let her touch it as well.

penny’s first christmas

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penny in her playroom


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she loves yogurt!

’twas a very merry christmas!

i was so excited to celebrate our first christmas as a family because it’s such an important, and festive, holiday.

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playing with the gift the so grandparents got her


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one of her many gifts: a ball pit!


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thank you, jennie and kaylee, for the adorable headband!


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looks so much cuter with hair!

christmas is also my mom’s birthday. it’s rough having your birthday fall on the biggest holiday of the year and sharing it with jesus so we try to make it special for my mom. my parents came down for dinner on christmas eve, and we went out to eat with dennis’ parents as well. my mom is very selfless and doesn’t ask for much so i know she was overjoyed when we surprised her with a cake – strawberry cheesecake from vernon diner to be specific.

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i love you, mom! happy birthday ❤

taking advantage of being able to spend time with us, my mom practically held penny the entire time. she and my mil took turns feeding penny her bottle and butternut squash with pear.

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entertaining herself during dinner


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before we left for dinner

so much good happens in my life, and as every year draws to a close i wonder how next year can even possibly be on the same level, or even better, than this one. but every year has been better than the last.

2015 was no exception and is probably the most important year of my life since i became a mommy to a healthy, vivacious, happy, and beautiful baby girl. it’s hard to believe penny’s already 7.5 months. with each passing day, i’m in awe of what she knows and can do. for example, today she began saying “da da da.” she had been saying, “ba ba ba” for some time now but has been more vocal the past few days. she also has been screeching and yelling (while smiling) because she can.

penny also gave us a wonderful gift: sleeping on her own. we’ve been rocking penny to sleep since she was born. as she got heavier and heavier we have been wondering how long we would have to do this for. we knew we would have to start sleep training but i, in particular, was nervous about this daunting task. do we try the “cry it out” method? what do we do? it turns out we didn’t have to do anything except put her down.

when researching on sleep training i kept reading “put baby down ‘drowsy but awake'” and thought, “yeah, right.. penny will never sleep like that.” we were too afraid to risk it, and honestly penny probably wasn’t ready. until three days ago.

around 6 months, penny transitioned to a 2-nap day and her awake time has been slowly increasing. currently, penny’s on track to being on the 2-3-4 schedule. if you don’t know what that is, it means your baby’s awake period is 2 hours before first nap, 3 hours before second nap, and 4 hours before bedtime. for quite some time, penny’s awake time was 2 hours before each nap and then, maybe, 3 until bedtime. we have been slowly increasing the increments in her awake time while still following her sleepy cues.

we also noticed that if her second nap was a half hour and gave her a third nap, she wouldn’t fall asleep as easily for bedtime. therefore if she ever had a “disaster nap” for the second nap we would put her to bed a little earlier.

this website was so helpful in helping me figure out penny’s schedule. yes, all babies are different but the “sleep lady” was on point for penny’s needs. we don’t let penny sleep longer than 2 hours for any nap and we are mindful of her awake time.

back in november, penny was sleeping 10-hour stretches which were wonderful but also driving us crazy because she would be awake and ready to go at 4am. she would play for an hour or even more and finally end up falling asleep again. thankfully, she had learned how to self-soothe by then so she wasn’t crying for us but i would lie awake wondering if i would have to tend to her or not. on one of the nights penny would not fall asleep i told dennis to turn off the night light on the video monitor. we were skeptical, but it worked! with the room pitch-black, penny soon fell asleep! now we knew why she had had a hard time falling back asleep: as she became more aware of her surroundings, the night light distracted her and kept her from sleeping even though she was tired.

one of the other reasons for her early-morning wake-ups was that penny had started waking up around 6am or earlier so by the end of the day she would want to go to bed around 5:30! it was stressful trying to make her stay up until, at least, 6pm so she wouldn’t wake up so early the next day. (now that penny has a set schedule i see that she was trying to fully transition to 2 naps and we had to fiddle with her awake time.)

some days she slept even longer, until 5am, but then would not fall back asleep because.. face it, 11 hours straight is pretty dang good. that’s a well-rested baby. but again, with time, and with the increase in her awake time penny has been waking up after 6am and sleeping after 6pm.

i was pretty satisfied with penny’s progress until she threw me for a loop three nights ago. even though penny was tired, she would not sleep. i rocked her for 3 hours.. is that crazy or what?! every time i put her in the crib, her eyes would fly open. it was obvious she was ready to pass out because every time i picked her back up her eyes would immediately close. finally, out of frustration, exhaustion, and hunger i placed her in the crib around 9:40pm and walked downstairs.

as i ate a very late dinner and watched the monitor, penny fussed and played for ten minutes and then fell asleep. i couldn’t believe it. first of all, she had been on her side in the merlin suit and fell asleep like that! and second, there was no pacifier and no one to soothe her.. she just.. fell asleep.

thinking it was just a fluke and that she had just been exhausted from being up so long, dennis tried rocking her for her morning nap the next day. but, penny would wake up whenever he put her down. finally he came downstairs to see if she would fall asleep on her own AND SHE DID! penny has been telling us she’s ready to fall asleep by herself.. and we are ECSTATIC that we don’t have to rock her anymore.

sleep is such a beautiful, beautiful thing… and penny has been sleeping 11 straight hours without us having to tend to her. we still can’t believe it. of course, all will change when her teeth finally come in.. and the 8-month sleep regression is quickly approaching but we are SO enjoying this right now! and we are so proud that penny has been able to figure out how to sleep on her own. we are finally feeling more rested, and happier because of it too.

sweet dreams, penny.

everything’s coming up baby

12 days to go!

So much has happened since my last post. Every day, I think about updating my blog but can never around to it due to work-related priorities and the ongoing tasks at home in being ready for the baby’s arrival. This morning, I did more of the baby’s laundry and added more items into my hospital bag.

Currently, I am 38 weeks and 2 days and this is my last week of work.

Although I’m looking forward to going on maternity leave, this is not going to be an easy last week. My excitement for the week ahead deflated significantly after I found out I still have to do my final observation for the year, assess my students and meet for an end-of-the-year evaluation. Instead of being able to leave at 3:45PM on Friday, I will be sitting in an office being told how I was as a first-year teacher. On top of that, I’m finally meeting the sub who will take over for me for the first time on Wednesday – 2 days before I leave! Then, I’ll have to leave two weeks’ worth of lesson plans for the sub.

I’m trying to focus on the light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel but I can’t help being annoyed how everything has been left until my final week. But, I just need to grit my teeth and just get through it.

Moving on…

At my 32-week check-up, I was told my baby was measuring small so I had to have an ultrasound. When I returned for my 36-week check-up I was again told that Penny was on the smaller side so I had to have another ultrasound! Thankfully, again, everything looked normal. It was just difficult to get a good measurement of her belly because of her position (she’s getting ready to come out!) and she kept squirming away from the wand… she’s a stubborn one. This time her weight was estimated at about 6 lb. 2 oz. but the OB thinks it’s less than that… well, as long as she’s healthy that’s fine with me.

Baby girl at 36 weeks

Baby girl at 36 weeks

After the 36-week check-up are the weekly ones. I went to my 37-week one last Wednesday, April 22nd. As usual, she was very active during the check-up and she’s still on the smaller side but otherwise healthy. I keep being told she’s small but watch her weigh 7+ lbs. which is normal! For the FTM (first-time moms) or future moms, this information might be helpful; to others, possibly TMI but starting at the 36-37-week check-ups you get measured for dilation/effacement to see how far along you are. As of last week, I was not dilated but I was 50% effaced with the baby at -2 for station (how far the baby has come down into your pelvis).

Let me explain further: effacement means thinning of the cervix. Throughout most of the pregnancy, your cervix is 0% effaced but as you near labor, it starts thinning out. If you touch the tip of your nose, that’s what the cervix feels like normally and then it feels more like your lips when it is 100% effaced. The cervix has to be fully effaced to be ready for delivery. Of course, the cervix has to be dilated as well. This varies but most hospitals may not admit you until you are 4~5cm dilated and if you’re 10 (max), that means the baby is ready to come out.

my status as of last week

my status as of last week

Referring to the station, “0” is when the baby has settled and before its descent into the birth canal. Once the baby is in the positives, labor should begin shortly as baby is making its way out. Whew~ I’ve learned so many things during my pregnancy. I hope my explanations help future moms when they’re anxiously waiting. By the way, only 15% of pregnancies result in the woman’s water breaking… it’s really exaggerated in TV shows and movies. Usually, the doctor has to break it for you when you’re in the hospital so that’s not really a main indicator of labor.

I’ve experienced cramping the past two days which is an early sign of labor. Mind you, symptoms of labor can start days or even weeks in advance especially for FTM but they do indicate that labor is coming soon. I’m also currently experiencing nausea at the moment and am trying to chug water to offset it. Before a woman goes into labor, she can also experience looser stools or diarrhea which is your body’s way of cleaning out the system for the baby’s arrival. Throughout the entirety of my pregnancy, I suffered from constipation (a common symptom) but I’ve gone to the bathroom more regularly the past week so I guess my body is getting prepared!

Enough with the labor talk 🙂 I’ve gone through a lot of stressful moments the past few weeks but now I want to focus on a happy event that occurred recently.

Last Thursday, I was treated to a surprise baby shower from my colleagues – that’s my third shower! Dennis and I had already washed and folded the newborn and 0-3 months clothes but we received more from the latest shower. These are only the nb and 0-3 months’ sizes from the most recent shower and some hand-me-downs from a friend:

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I can only imagine what the laundry will be like once the baby is here… Especially since she’ll grow rapidly and we will need to wash bigger sizes. Thankfully, we received sizes that range from premie to 12 months from all three showers so we have a good variety.

Unfortunately, I need to start typing up my pre-observation form for my 8AM meeting tomorrow. I’ll conclude by sharing images from my final shower. (Note: I still need to write a post on my second shower that was held in Boston.)

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It was nice to see friends from all three schools I’ve worked at

Handmade alphabet chart

Handmade alphabet chart

I kept the booties to record baby stats on its soles

I kept the booties to record baby stats on its soles

So much love

So much love

Some of the many cute outfits!

Some of the many cute outfits!

Clothesline of essentials

Clothesline of essentials

Can't forget the food

Can’t forget the food

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