snow days & birthdays

2017 is already turning out to be a busy year: yet another one filled with babies, weddings, and birthdays. many of my friends and acquaintances had babies in 2015 (the year i had penny) and most of them are having their second this year. this includes my friend, and neighbor, yan, who kicked off the year with a baby boy named lucas on january 1st. he was the first 2017 baby to be born at st francis so he was featured on the news! her firstborn, olivia, is 3.5 months older than penny and now ezra’s first playmate has already arrived!

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lucas li, 1/1/2017 @ 5:18am. 6lb. 9oz.

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i’ve been spending my free time trying to get things done. my friend, grace’s shower is this upcoming sunday so i spent last night making a banner for her mickey-mouse themed shower. i’m bringing penny with me to the shower and i purchased her a minnie mouse outfit from babygap to wear to the event.

even though penny’s 2nd birthday is four months away i already finalized the details. it’s actually too early to book the venue so i need to get back in touch with them next month. also, we are close to booking our family newborn photo session. we will be going with the photographer who did penny’s session: remi kate photography

penny is also a flower girl for our friends’ wedding in april so i’ve been looking for a dress. the wedding colors are lavender, sage, and white; after browsing through some options i feel a lavender dress will look really sweet on penny for a spring wedding. since ezra is due on easter sunday (4/16) and the wedding is on 4/30 i probably will not be able to attend but i would still like to try. we shall see when baby boy arrives.

i’m looking forward to next wednesday because mommy-to-be grace and i are going to new jersey for the day to stuff our pregnant bellies. we settled on japanese food but we will probably also stop by korean bakeries, eat ice cream, and maybe squeeze some shopping in. it’ll be fun to do my own thing for an entire day.

i already feel so accomplished today because my mil came early this morning. on days that dennis works the afternoon shift, she comes after penny’s nap and on days (like today) where dennis works the morning shift she comes in the morning. while mom watched penny, i was able to…

  • take yuri out
  • shower (still a luxury)
  • do laundry
  • eat peacefully
  • prep for dinner

now that penny’s napping i’m trying to whip out this blog post so i can get a few other things out of the way before i attempt to rest.

we had about 5-6 inches of snow last saturday. it was still snowing in the evening so we didn’t take penny outdoors until sunday. after getting all bundled up and going outdoors, we only lasted about ten minutes because it was too darn cold! the temperature said 18 degrees but the weather app said “feels like 6.” at least penny had her first experience of tubing down the hill!

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our first attempt to go out: she started crying shortly after this picture. we found out her brand-new boots are too small for her! we took out the lining when we went out the second time but we will have to return the boots.

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tubing with grandma

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off we go!

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there goes daddy and penny! yuri is trying furiously to keep up.

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fun with grandpa

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like i said in previous posts, i can’t keep up with penny’s expanding vocabulary. since my last post, she’s been saying “딸기” (strawberry), 뜨거 뜨거 (hot, hot), and 추워 추워 (cold, cold). the latter two she hears us saying when the stove is on so when she pretends to cook, is about to eat hot food or the stove/fireplace is on, she says “hot, hot!” sometimes she will want to go in the sunroom and if the space heater isn’t on we will tell her it’s too cold, so now she says that as well.

yesterday she tried to say “i love you” when i said it to her as i put her down for a nap. it was more like “i lay” but she’s trying! she loves her colors and i’ve probably said this before but now she also says “brown” and “green.” “orange” is more like “jee” (that’s a tough one).

with my baby shower approaching, i keep meaning to write posts on useful baby items and toys that penny likes so i can share with other parents/future parents. i promise to write separate posts on baby items and baby toys & books this month!

the remedy

cold season has arrived. penny had two canceled play dates in the past two weeks due to her friends’ illnesses. i tried in vain to prevent penny from getting sick but you can only do so much. after 9 boogie-filled days, penny seems to have fully recovered.

it all began early monday morning (10/17) when i woke up to penny coughing. i saw that she had a runny nose and dennis suggested that was most likely causing her to cough. penny hardly coughed when she was awake; it was only when she was lying down. thankfully, she didn’t have a fever, was in good spirits for the most part, and still had a decent appetite. initially i was worried she had developed allergies so i cleaned, dusted, and aired out her room. we also washed her mattress cover, sleep sack, lovey, and blanket.

the coughing prevented penny from having a good nap and a well-rested night’s sleep for the next three days. usually 2.5~3 hours, she would wake up after an hour and a half (or less) because of coughing. during the night, she would sit up in bed for a little bit and look around, and try to go back to sleep.

the first thing i tried to help penny be more comfortable was the nose frida. we actually had only ever used this once before – when she was sick around her first birthday. we, and she, were lucky enough that she hadn’t been sick before that. let me tell you, that thing works! at first, she laughed when i used it because it tickled but she quickly grew to hate it. so much so that she would scream, flail, and cry when i tried to use it. i had to sneak up on her while she was playing to try to quickly suction mucus out of her nose. and, of course, her crying caused more mucus to collect in her nose. still, it was very effective at getting the mucus out since babies and young toddlers don’t know how to blow their nose.

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i honestly think she could have recovered sooner had she not been drinking milk. for those of you that have read my previous entries, i’m not a fan of cow milk. at first we gave penny hemp milk but when it proved to be costly i reluctantly gave penny some cow milk. i also purchased a brand of milk called ripple that is plant-based and available only at target (from what i saw). she never had a preference for a certain milk until i tried giving her ripple when she was sick. she noticed that it didn’t taste the same as whole milk and threw her cup in disgust! since she wanted milk, i had no choice but to continue giving her cow milk although i still limit it to 16 oz. a day. dairy causes mucus membranes to swell so it’s best to avoid it if you’re sick, but i can’t communicate all that to my daughter -_-

after the nose frida, i bought a vicks for babies plug-in vaporizer. i had read great reviews about it online on how babies and children slept well without coughing. in addition, i elevated one side of her mattress by rolling up 3 baby blankets underneath the mattress. i saw some improvement but penny’s cough was still affecting her sleep. next, dennis purchased a cool mist humidifier and we turned it on all night along with the plug-in vaporizer (and keeping the mattress elevated).

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that seemed to have helped even more, but it wasn’t until we applied baby chest rub to her feet that we noticed a drastic change! penny ended up sleeping her usual 2.5~3 hours for her nap and had uninterrupted night sleep – no coughing! again, i had read rave reviews but was still skeptical on how well it would work. i don’t know why but applying the chest rub to babies’ feet and putting socks over them truly works. for good measure, i also rubbed a little on her chest for nighttime.

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penny’s nose was still dripping like a faucet during the day and going outside made it worse (we had to take yuri out though). this morning, she woke up without a runny nose and we haven’t had to wipe her nose all day. fingers crossed she’s back to 100%!

next time your little one has a cold, try all of the above remedies but definitely have baby chest rub on hand. we used the walgreens brand but any brand will do, like the vicks for babies. do not use the adult vicks on babies as the scent is too harsh for them. i would also advise against using cold tablets and cough syrup even if they are for babies. there are just too many scary stories out there about babies dying due to an accidental overdose (such as from benedryl). plus, there are limited studies on how effective certain cough syrups like zarbee’s really is. science based magazine states zarbee’s is more or less “effectively diluted honey.” it might even be more beneficial to give your child actual honey (only give honey to babies over 12 months old) to coat the throat instead of using “placebo or no treatment.”

it’s still only october so we have a long winter ahead of us, but i hope that is the last illness penny will have this season. everyone’s miserable when a baby is sick especially the little one since she can’t communicate her discomfort. penny will get her flu shot along with another round of vaccines at her 18-month checkup next month so hopefully those help her to stay healthy this winter.

this reminds me: i need to get my flu shot soon too especially since i’m pregnant. i’m halfway through 15 weeks and for the past few days i’ve been feeling flutters. i felt penny move for the first time at 16 weeks so i can distinguish between gas and a baby’s movements (i would hope).i particularly feel the baby moving more when i’m lying down. (penny, too, was always more active when i was still because she was lulled to sleep when i walked around.)

this is getting more and more real every day! in less than a month we will also find out if we are having a boy or a girl, and then we can actually start planning for the baby’s arrival. we do want to paint the baby’s room and buy items based on the baby’s sex. once my belly actually starts getting bigger and i feel actual kicks, i will actually feel pregnant too. i’ve gained 2.2 pounds so far and i still fit into all of my skinny jeans.. and i hope i can still wear regular clothes for as long as i can!

penny staying busy at her toddler sense class

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we also visit different libraries (3 towns so far) to check out the children’s room.

lately it’s been difficult to coax penny into a stroller: why ride when you can walk, right? it’s not easy to walk the dog if penny isn’t in a stroller when i’m by myself so i have to bribe her with crackers lately… or just place her in the seat while she’s crying.

after a nice stroller ride, i “rewarded” penny by letting her walk around our yard while yuri watched from the foyer.

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some indoor activities penny enjoys are coloring and playing with stickers. she particularly likes putting stickers on my face and laughing. during a recent trip to a toy store in west hartford, i got the idea of buying reusable stickers. they’re a hit! she likes placing them on the different scenic backgrounds that the stickers came with.

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she’s actually quite good with not putting objects in her mouth.. she never really has! if she got curious and would try, one “no” would suffice. penny uses crayons and markers correctly which is why we weren’t too worried about her using markers.

as it gets colder and darker, i’m trying to find more activities to keep penny preoccupied indoors. i’ll have to think of other creative ways for penny to be engaged. i’ll be sure to share those – successful or not – in future posts.