candytopia

i actually am not a big candy fan. that’s dennis’ thing. i’m more a of a chocolate girl. still, when i scrolled through my facebook newsfeed one day and stumbled upon a candytopia  post, i was intrigued. this interactive candy exhibit looked outrageously fun and it made for good instagram photos – what most of us want these days, amirite?

my friend, genie, and i had already planned a girls’ day in nyc to go check out the rosé museum (future post) so we decided to visit candytopia on the same day. i am so glad we were on top of planning and purchased tickets for both exhibits beforehand because they quickly sold out! weekdays are pretty much available for both but it’s because most people have work or school. the weekends seem to fill up rather quickly. in fact, this coming weekend is sold out at candytopia, and next weekend is nearly sold out as well.

we purchased 11:15am tickets so we could grab lunch afterwards and go shopping before hitting up the rosé museum at 4PM. it was great to have groups go in 15-minute increments to prevent overcrowding. let’s face it, most people attend these exhibits to take photos and candytopia does not disappoint! in fact, we loved how the employees were so engaging and even approached us to ask if we wanted to have our pictures taken. we never felt rushed and everyone was so friendly.

there were children present because it was the long weekend and school hadn’t started for the year yet. it wasn’t chaotic at all; in fact, it was cute to see them so excited for the free candy and the displays. genie and I discussed very briefly how our girls would’ve enjoyed it if they had come but we did not regret coming without them! it was our day of being able to eat uninterrupted and explore at our own pace.

you can check out the site here for dates and tickets. admission is 3 and under are free, ages 4-12 are $24, and 4+ is $34. it seems pricey but it’s a one-of-a-kind experience only available in new york city and san francisco at the moment. plus, the exhibit is temporary and the last day is November 15th. get your tickets as soon as you can!

almost all of the objects were either made of candy or had candy on them. this cab greets you once you pass the ticket area. I believe it’s a replica but there were soft fondant-type banana candy glued onto the exterior.

in almost all of the rooms were open trunks where people were free to take candy such as kit kat bars, candy bracelets, pixie straws, and airheads.

 

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even with groups being split into different time increments, it can take a while to take pictures. you just have to be patient.

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there was a line for the hammock, of course.

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one of our favorite photo ops was the “100” emoji!

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he knew what was up

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I had to take this!

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I loved this one as well

the next photos were taken by syncing our phones with the cameras on the ceiling!

so cool!

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I love the optical illusion

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this wheel spun around while an employee sprayed confetti on us

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probably my favorite! this is the marshmallow pit… with fake marshmallows. 

people asked if the marshmallows were real but that would’ve been a huge sticky mess especially since we all take turns jumping in the pit! it was actually quite difficult to get out of the pit because we kept sinking in!

there are also signs warning you about taking your cell phone into the pit because if you lose it in there… it will take about a week to find (their words).. of course, that didn’t deter us from taking them in because photos!

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if you’re going to be in the new york city or san fran area, be sure to check out candytopia! hurry and reserve tickets before it’s too late.

new england air museum

if you haven’t yet visited the new england air museum, it’s definitely worth checking out. i’m constantly on the look-out for new places to bring penny and the neam has always been in the back of my mind. i first heard about it through my town library. many libraries offer discounts to museums and parks by requesting a pass in advance. admission for adults is normally $12.50 but with a library pass it was half off. kids 3 and under are free. i wasn’t sure how penny would like the museum even though she absolutely loves airplanes because, well, it’s a museum. however, i read so many rave reviews from people that had brought their toddlers and children so i decided to give it a shot.

the museum is located in windsor locks, ct so it was a half hour drive from our home. the hours are 10am-5pm every day but starting in september they will be closed on mondays. initially we had planned on going after penny’s nap but with possible t-storms and rush hour traffic, we decided to go right when it opened. it ended up working out because ezra woke up for the day a little before 8am so we kept him up and he snoozed a little on the way to the museum.

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we ended up arriving ten minutes early so we walked around the nearly empty parking lot and checked out the airplanes that were on display behind a fenced area. the museum is near bradley international airport so we were able to see a southwest airplane take off.

once inside, you are greeted with a display of model airplanes hanging on the ceiling. there is also a gift shop next to the ticket counter so we checked out the items while we waited for karen and parker. of course, we bought penny a few items: a southwest airplane set, a model airplane that moves and makes noises, a glider, and a museum magnet for myself.

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walking around and checking out the cool airplanes and helicopters is one thing, but several of them allow people to climb aboard and sit in the cockpit. this was definitely a hit with the kiddos. i even enjoyed sitting in the pilot seat and playing with the buttons.

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the museum has quite a collection of planes and copters and the exhibits are always changing. they are also in the midst of renovating some of the space. in addition, there’s a kidsport where you can learn how to make different kinds of paper airplanes, watch interactive videos on planes, and dress up in pilot gear.

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the fenced in area that we had seen from the parking lot is also accessible through one of the exhibit rooms. we did go outside to look at a few planes but it was so humid that we retreated back into the air-conditioned museum.

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even though ezra didn’t nap at all he was in great spirits, smiling and babbling away. he did get really cranky near the end so my mil took him out of the car seat to walk around with him. penny started getting a little tired and hangry as well but snacking on grapes helped her calm down near the end of the visit. we stayed for about an hour and 15 minutes. it was a wonderful way to spend the morning, and i’m really glad that the trip was a success.

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thunder has been rolling before i even started writing this blog post so a big storm seems imminent. both kids fell asleep for their nap at the same time so i have a bit of quiet time here which is why i’m updating my blog. if i don’t do it now, it’ll probably not get published for another week, at least.

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the next event we are looking forward to is going up to massachusetts this weekend to celebrate my sister’s birthday. i can’t believe it’s already august!

vegas getaway

first of all, happy 1st birthday to avery!

i had the privilege of attending avery’s first birthday party yesterday in andover, massachusetts. initially, dennis and i were both going to go with penny but we knew it’d be easier if only one of us went sans baby. dennis elected to stay home and i brought my pump with me.

it was great seeing, and catching up with, old friends. i even kept my friend company while she pumped, haha. how things have changed.

the first birthday is a huge deal in korean culture. per tradition, the baby is also placed in front of a variety of objects that is supposed to predict their future: money or rice = wealth; pencil = artistic; book = scholar, etc.

avery chose money much to her mother’s dismay. (she was hoping avery would choose a pencil.) a lot of work goes into the first birthday especially with pinterest and social media putting the pressure on parents! i can’t wait to do penny’s first birthday. she will be 7 months on tuesday so it’s rapidly approaching!

back to vegas..our trip was a success! we had a relaxing, baby-free time with our friends and penny also did very well with my in-laws for four days.

although my mil texted a photo of penny along with reassuring words, i still worried during the entire flight. our flight departed at 2:10pm from hartford and flew nonstop to vegas. we landed at 4pm pst which meant it was 7pm back east. when i checked my phone, i saw that mil had texted saying penny went down for the night at 6:30pm. i felt a little better knowing penny slept at her usual time.

the biggest hassle was having to pump. i believe i pumped in six different locations. i also pumped twice on the flight to vegas and back home. we also carried my pump in dennis’ backpack and whenever it was time, i just took the bag and went to the nearest restroom. thankfully, hotel bathrooms are spacious and immaculate. i also made sure to pump in the handicapped stall so i could use the counter space or the baby changing table to set up my pump. honestly, it was inconvenient having to interrupt daily activities to pump; but i brought home over 100 oz which will be useful for when dennis and i go to punta cana in january!

be sure to request a fridge (free of charge) so you can keep the pumped milk cold. we also brought coolers and ice packs to keep the milk cold during the flight home.

i’ve also had a chronic cough since august (!) and my coughing fits have significantly decreased since coming home. maybe the dry desert air helped clear my passages. whatever the reason, i hope it’s permanent.

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flying over the rockies..?

we had a gorgeous view of the landscape just before making a descent to las vegas.

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aria

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i really liked the lovely christmas decorations at aria hotel. it was interesting to see various decorations at every hotel we visited such as caesars palace, the venetian, and bellagio. so much effort and money is put into the aesthetics. they truly were a visual feast.

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aria has a waterfall wall on one side of the building. water slowly trickles over the side and then a small gush of water cascades over the side in intermittent spurts.

the last time dennis and i went to vegas was two years ago for our bachelor/bachelorette party and we had stayed at the hard rock hotel. while nice, it wasn’t on the strip; this time we didn’t want to be too far from the action.

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the courtyard

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the weather was in the upper 60s to low 70s during our stay. the pool was heated but we didn’t go in. some of us did lounge on the chairs after breakfast to relax and get some sun.

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flaky almond croissant and croque monsieur sandwich from jean-philippe

we ate a lot of delicious food including a buffet dinner at bachannal, the #1 rated buffet joint in vegas, on the first night. i didn’t take a picture then because i was so intent on eating.. plus, i was falling asleep! i never got used to the time difference but i didn’t want to try because i knew it’d be tough when we returned home.

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pretty treats from jean-phillippe

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adorable cupcakes from bachannal

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on our way to bachannal

we walked around the strip and dined at bachannal the first night. we didn’t do too much but get settled in and rest up for the next three days.

this trip was much more different than two years ago. no clubs, no partying ’til dawn, and no crazy antics. after having a baby and being tired all the time, i just craved being able to sleep without having to worry about taking care of penny.

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the basics for a day walking around town

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visiting “paris”

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the girls before our dinner at javier’s

our group consisted of three couples. when we explored the sights, we all hung out together but we split up for certain activities – shopping for the ladies and gambling for the men. most meals we dined together as well especially dinner (and us girls wanted an excuse to dress up).

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we came to the venetian because it was kelly and mike’s first time in vegas, and kelly wanted to go on the gondola.

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we went on the giant ferris wheel that takes riders up 550 feet. it cost us $20 ($7 discount when purchased online) for a half hour ride. each pod fits about 40 people but there weren’t many people waiting to go on when we went so we had the entire car to ourselves.

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our last night, we explored old vegas on fremont street. we stopped by the pawn shop that is featured on the show “pawn stars”and also the golden nugget where the guys gambled briefly.

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later that night, we ate dinner at lemongrass, a thai restaurant, and saw “zarkana”, a cirque du soleil show. it sounds lame but i fell asleep a few times! even though it was our last night in vegas i still couldn’t stay awake. i just wanted to stay in bed… it took enormous effort to crawl out and get ready for dinner.

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zarkana

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it was only a week ago that we departed for vegas but it seems like it was last year. we missed penny but it was so sublime being baby-free for four days. penny usually sleeps most of the night but we get woken up to her short cries and movements. after being woken up, it’s difficult for me to fall back asleep because i lay there wondering if she’s going to fully wake up or drift back into slumber.

we nearly forgot what it felt like doing things for us as almost every aspect of our daily routine is catered towards penny. we could wake up whenever we wanted, eat to our heart’s content, and be spontaneous.

i’m glad our trip was a success because now i don’t have to stress over leaving her again in a month. actually, i’m just worried about this upcoming week because my in-laws left today to go on a caribbean cruise for 10 days. this means i’ll be alone the majority of the time and it’s dennis’ long work week. my mom is supposed to come down for the day on wednesday and i have a play date on saturday so that helps but i so wish i had company all the time…

 

 

 

penny’s first halloween

can it already be november? it’s hard to believe that there are only two months left in the year 2015. there already have been so many “first’s” with penny including milestones, seasons, events, and holidays. a memorable first in october was halloween. of course, penny being 5.5 months she’ll only have pictures to remind her how halloween was spent at that age. for parents with children under age 2, halloween is more for their amusement as they decide how to torture how to dress up their little one.

for us, it wasn’t any different. back in september, dennis and i were throwing around family costume ideas. i suggested star wars but that was vetoed since that would be a very popular choice due to the next installment being released winter. we briefly considered marvel superheroes until dennis proposed guardians of the galaxy. yes, this was it. dennis would go as star-lord, i would be gamora, penny would be baby groot and yuri would be rocket. it was perfect. the challenges that we faced were creating the costume for baby groot and painting my skin green.

i googled baby groot costumes for inspiration and bought materials at michaels.

baby groot

  • brown felt
  • very sharp scissors, or shears
  • brown hoodie and pants set
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • fake leaves
  • white or yellow chalk
  • green yarn

the scissors, glue gun, glue sticks, and chalk i had at home; everything else we purchased at michaels with the exception of the hoodie and pants set. in a previous post, i mentioned once upon a child, a baby and children’s store selling gently used items of clothing and toys. we had the good luck of finding an old navy brown hoodie and pants set there for around $6. i cut out pieces of felt to resemble bark and glued them onto the hoodie and pants. i have to admit that my sister did nearly all of the bark. i did a few and kept putting off the project because i chose to nap instead of working on the costume -__-

thankfully when my sister came to visit for a few days she worked on the costume. the chalk was used to make the bark look more realistic. after the felt pieces were all glued on (we didn’t glue any on the backside of the costume since no one would see it – saves time!), i cut pieces of fake ivy from a flowering plant and glued them in strategic areas. i also cut out felt pieces to make a crown of bark on the hood. it was tricky at first trying to figure out how to make the felt pieces stand up instead of flopping over, but i spaced out the felt pieces when gluing the bottoms and let them fall onto each other. they ended up holding each other up for support.

the green yarn was used to resemble the green shoot running across the trunk of groot’s body.

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we were so pleased with how the costume turned out! she only got to wear it for an hour or so but it made for good pictures, and memories. we definitely will hold onto this costume… how can we discard it after all that work?

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i was really worried about the makeup for my costume. first of all, when i went to party city (the day before halloween no less), there was only one small tube of green cream left. i purchased that and a green grease makeup as back-up.

we even planned how we were going to dress up and when we would take pictures. while dennis put penny down for her last nap, i started getting ready because my get-up would take the longest. i wore pleather-and-cotton leggings that i already had and borrowed a black tank top from dennis. then i proceeded to rub the makeup on my face. the green grease makeup did not blend well so i ended up the green cream for my face, neck, chest, and arms. i was afraid there wouldn’t be enough but i had plenty left over. i wasn’t as green as i had hoped i would be, but it would do. to be honest, i felt more like the wicked witch of the west, haha.

i also sprayed hot pink hair spray onto the ends of my hair. even though i used the entire can the color didn’t show up in the photos except for the one above. (and even that one doesn’t showcase the bold color.)

dennis wore clothes that he already had including a leather jacket, sport-utility pants from eastern mountain sports, a belt with a silver buckle and boots. he also dug up old headphones from a discman to wrap around his neck and colored a cassette tape to resemble star-lord’s mix tape.

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for yuri’s costume, i glued 3 brown felt stripes onto a puffy vest that she already had. we turned it inside out so it would be orange just like rocket’s.

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family photo 🙂 i love how penny is staring at the cassette tape xD

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dennis’s mom stopped by after work to take our pictures 🙂

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grandma and baby groot

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we also took pictures while waiting for penny to wake up from her last nap. here’s one.

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i thought it would be neat to have the background be outer space so i used apps to superimpose our images. it’s pretty hard erasing the background around your own image using your finger… this was the best editing i could do and it took quite a while. my condolences to dennis and his missing right cheek.

halloween aside, october brought with it many changes (for better or for worse) in penny. though the sleep regression is long gone, penny’s naps are still irregular and shorter than what they used to be because of her current developmental leap. (yes, i’m still lamenting over the 2-3 hour nap she used to take late morning to early afternoon.) looking at my baby tracker app, there really isn’t too much of a noticeable pattern. she is still taking 3 naps unless the last one is too far from her bedtime. she has also been waking up around 6:30am lately and falling asleep before, or by, 6:30pm.

in my last post, i had talked about pushing up penny’s bedtime in 10-15-minute increments. it had been working for the most part until FRIDAY. that day, penny refused her third nap. i might be the one to blame… i was about to put penny down in her crib when i had the strong urge to cough. terrified i’d wake her, i hurriedly but gently placed her in the crib and closed the bedroom door. unfortunately, her door cracked twice (!) while i was closing it and then the click of the door woke her up… dennis intervened but it was too late: she was wide awake. normally we don’t put penny down for a nap after 4:30 so she will be awake by 5 to not interfere with her bedtime, but she desperately needed that last nap. she cried from exhaustion and fell asleep at 5:15 so we had no choice but to push her bedtime back since she ended up sleeping until 7pm.

anytime i try to plan and organize around penny, i’m reminded how flexible i have to be and just go with the flow.. easier said than done since i’m so neurotic about schedules. dennis keeps me sane because he’s so much more adaptable and easygoing than i am.

currently, penny’s on her last nap. lately her first two naps have been 30-45 minutes while the third is about an hour and a half… but even that can be unpredictable. when i put penny down for her last nap around 1pm, i calculated that she would wake up around 2:30pm or earlier but desperately hoped she would wake up at 3pm (earliest) so she wouldn’t be overtired for bedtime. last night i had to put penny down at 5:40pm! i think the whole daylight savings thing is throwing her off a little still. thankfully, she woke up for the day at 6:40 and not earlier than that!

what do you know.. it’s 3:02pm and penny’s still sleeping. so happy right now!!!!

so many things to look forward to this month:

  • THANKSGIVING with my huge family in boston
  • my birthday (the 28th)
  • penny will be 6 months old
  • penny will (re)start solids (i tried at 5 months and stopped)
  • 6-month growth spurt.. not really looking forward to this but it’s good for her, at least
  • arts & crafts play dates with genie and olivia

well, penny’s stirring now.. of course, a huge construction truck had to drive past her window.. but thankful she slept this long because she we really needed it!