ezra’s tutti frutti party

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it was hard getting him to smile for this photo

ezra’s 100th day party has come and gone; now we can all relax. the night before, dennis and i stayed up until 2am cleaning and organizing the house (him) and putting together last-minute details & decor (me). we knew we still had a lot to do in the morning (and still take care of two kids) so we tried to get as much as done as we could before heading off to bed. what helped was that ezra didn’t wake up until 6:30am! he slept his longest stretch yet: 11 hours straight. what a wonderful gift! even penny ended up being tired enough to sleep in until 8am. that was a great way to start the day.

 

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initially i had a different theme in mind for ezra’s party but the details and decor were turning out to be too elaborate so i saved it for his first birthday! (you will have to wait until then to see what it is.) plus, i had chosen a bright yellow lemon invitation from paperless post for ezra’s party so i wanted to stick with a fruit theme. while i love the trendy minimalistic / modern look that is so popular these days, the bright color scheme for the ‘tutti frutti’ was perfect for a mid-summer party.

it’s been two years since penny’s 100th day party so i will share briefly on the history of the 100th day celebration. back in the olden days when infant mortality rate was high, if babies lived to be 100 days it was thought that they had a very good rate for survival into adulthood. of course this doesn’t apply anymore as korea has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world (especially the women) but the celebration still continues partly due to tradition but mostly for enjoyment purposes.

dennis was in charge of ordering the food. he decided to have restaurant bricco in west hartford cater, and we were very pleased with the decision. guests raved about the food and came back for seconds and thirds. my parents also brought tang soo yook (deep-fried sweet & sour pork) and beef bulgogi from their restaurant, and everyone loved those as well.

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a big staple in korean cuisine is ddeok, rice cakes, and these are important in celebratory events such as birthdays and weddings. it is known as “the food of the gods” and is usually a food that is shared. for the 100th day celebration, it is believed that if 100 pieces of ddeok are consumed by the guests, the baby will have bountiful luck. my mil brought homemade ddeok, lovingly prepared by a grandma from our church.

(the ddeok cake with raisins spelling out “baek il”, or “100 days” along with the 3 different kinds of round ddeok can be seen in the table display photos.)

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as for dessert, i had planned on ordering cupcakes from nora cupcake company in west hartford. as is the case for many bakeries, their “regular” cupcakes are huge. i wanted to minimize waste and also make the cupcakes kid-friendly so i chose the mini cupcakes (which actually aren’t really that small). the price for 40 mini cupcakes came out to over $106! i understand these are gourmet cupcakes but that price is ridiculous. i decided to bake my own cupcakes as well as a cake. inspired by one of nora’s cupcake flavors, i settled on fruit loops cupcakes and cake. perfect, right? the actual cake part was funfetti cake mix for the festive colors.

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for the decorations, i turned to trusty pinterest for inspirational ideas. one pin led to a blog that had a fruit garland available for download. the creator suggested printing the fruit on ‘photo paper’ option (even though you will actually print them on card stock) so the colors would be bold and bright. as suggested, they printed beautifully. after cutting out each fruit carefully, i taped each piece onto twine.

*note: the pieces of fruit may flip over if there isn’t enough weight to the card stock. i had to tape some of the fruit pieces onto the tablecloth to prevent this.

i noticed on an event planning website that brightly colored poms in various sizes were used for a backdrop so i decided to incorporate those as well. i was stuck on what to do for the wall. i thought about using the window & shade in our kitchen for the backdrop but the sun sets in that direction causing light to filter in through the shade. i didn’t want to just use our wall either because the paint is an off-white color and wouldn’t look as nice as a bright white background. then i remembered we had a roll of faux wood bulletin board paper that we had used for penny’s cake smash so we opted to use that instead.

one detail that was spontaneous was the letterboard. this has made a comeback in recent days and is no longer just for churches and businesses. many people use these in their homes to write funny and/or inspirational messages as part of their home decor. while i was at joann fabrics to buy other materials, i stumbled upon a letterboard display and decided to purchase one with a white background along with large mint letters for a splash of color. it added such a nice touch to our 100th day table display, and i know we will continue to use it in our home.

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a detail that took up too much of my time were the “fruit” plates. to make the plates appear like fruit, i cut out seeds from black and white adhesive vinyl. there was a listing on etsy that sold 96 seeds in either black or white but i wouldn’t receive them in time. plus, they were $9.00. i would have to purchase about 4 (two in each color) to make sure there were enough. in the end, i stacked the plates so that every other one had the seeds on them. even though it was a lot of work, i still enjoyed making them and they turned out really cute.

my only regret, and there is always one, is that we didn’t take more pictures during the party. i had wanted to take more family photos with ezra but we didn’t get the chance. i don’t even have pictures of most of the guests! i also felt bad about pulling people away to take pictures but i still should have tried! he was sleeping for the first half of the party and then took another nap towards the end. he was passed around like a doll but he did so well! penny started getting more nervous with each arriving guest, so my mil took her down to the playroom to play and she ended up warming up to everyone later on.

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grandma lee feeding ezra

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dennis encouraging will to splash ryan with the hose

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poor will caught in the crossfire!

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lucky penny got to open up ezra’s gifts. she had one, too!

we took pictures with the grandparents the following day

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for ezra’s first birthday, i plan on having a friend take pictures so i don’t miss out on the actual party. usually i don’t mind taking pictures, but i miss out on a lot of opportunities to be in them because i’m the one behind the camera. i’d like to be in the pictures with my children, too. we still have some time before we have to think about planning for ezra’s birthday (much to dennis’ relief) so i won’t worry about that for now.

 

 

2017 – year of the rooster

happy new year! from what i’ve seen on social media, 2016 was a terrible year for a lot of people. i’m not sure if they actually felt that way or thought the memes and gifs they shared were funny.. but it’s too bad because 2016 was one of the best years of my life. penny turned one year old and this past summer was more enjoyable and adventurous than the last one because we were able to do a lot more with her. she also reached many milestones such as walking, talking, and more teeth: never a dull moment! additionally, we found out in august that we would be having another baby! i feel like now that i have a child (soon-to-be two) every year can only get better and better.

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25 weeks!

new year’s eve was a relatively quiet event. we stayed in but we had our friends, katie and mike, come over for a potluck game night. they had recently purchased new board games so we tried those out along with classics like boggle. we were actually so into the games and talking that we missed the countdown even though the television was on! i’m not sure how that happened.. we did run to the fridge to pop open the champagne (sparkling cider for me) and did a belated cheers. i thought i wouldn’t be able to last until midnight but i didn’t go to bed until nearly 3am!

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3 ingredients: meatballs, grape jelly and bbq sauce!

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gross beer illustration

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the boys wrecked us at bounce-off

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i love this pic! we were looking for a missing piece from the game, blokus. mike looked under the couch, found a cheerio, and tossed it back. when i asked why he threw it back, katie could not stop laughing.

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meanwhile…

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new year’s day was spent at home and then we headed over to the grandparents’ for traditional new year’s food: ddeok-gook (떡국). in korean culture we eat ddeok-gook, or a hearty rice cake soup with dumplings, eggs, scallions and nori, to celebrate the new year. really, ddeok-gook is good all year round but it’s important to eat on thanksgiving and new year’s day.

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due to the cold weather we haven’t been doing too much lately. yesterday was actually warm for a january in connecticut so we took a morning walk. dennis had assembled the radio flyer trike penny received for christmas and we had pushed her around on it in the basement but decided to give it a go outside. she didn’t last very long on it; i think she was excited to be outdoors because she wanted to walk around and look at everything. she saw me stepping on a frozen mound of snow and decided that’s what she wanted to do.

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normally on thursday mornings, penny has had her toddler class but the second session had ended the thursday before christmas. the next session starts the following thursday (1/12) so we haven’t had that to look forward to. this morning seemed to drag on and penny seemed bored so we went to our town library. we hadn’t been to that one in a while because the neighboring town, tolland, has a nicer play area for babies and young children – it’s enclosed in a room and has a lot more toys including a puppet theatre and a computer with games for toddlers. penny still had fun taking all of the trucks and cars out of the toy bin and playing in the barn. we also saw a friend from her toddler class there so that was a pleasant surprise. as usual, it was difficult getting her to leave so i had to keep telling her we had to go home to let yuri out and eat lunch.

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“reading” with the leapfrog reader

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so, so sweet

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she likes to wear sunglasses indoors like jack nicholson

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our baby boy’s nursery is finally beginning to come around.. sort of. dennis and i spent all of monday morning cleaning out the closet and wardrobe while grandma so watched penny. it’s unbelievable how many bags of clothes we decided to sell/donate. dennis will tell you i’m a hoarder (i say, i’m sentimental) so it was hard for me to part with some keepsakes but i knew it had to be done.. i mean, what am i going to do with a birthday card from my 20th birthday?!

i’m not sure if i shared the news on my blog yet but our son’s name is going to be ezra! we had chosen this name back in 2014 when we were going to start trying for a baby. his korean name will be ha-min, 하민. dennis came up with it: the ‘ha’ comes from penny’s korean name ‘ha-neul’ and ‘min’ comes from dennis’ korean name (he only has one character for his name).

ezra’s crib arrived almost a month ago and has been sitting in a box, unassembled, so we need to set that up soon. we also need to make an ikea trip for a dresser like the one penny has and some other nursery essentials. my friend, genie, sent out invitations for our baby shower a few days ago so i’m looking forward to that as well. i’m trying not to go overboard because we can definitely reuse items but i do want to get a new infant car seat since penny didn’t like the uppababy mesa. i’ve been eyeing the nuna pipa (a very light 7.7 lb and the canopy stretches to the baby’s feet) and it’s gotten rave reviews.. plus, it’s also compatible with the vista though we have to get the adapter. i just hope we’re able to sell the mesa and car bases.

recent penny news: her molars are fully out so she officially has 7 teeth; her upper lateral incisors are taking forever to make their appearance though they’ve been threatening to poke through for the past few months.

new words: she is also trying to say the colors “brown” and “green.” “blue”, “purple”, and “yellow” she has been saying already although the latter is more like “neh-no” because she’s having trouble with the ‘y’ sound. lately she is repeating everything we say so her vocabulary is growing at a faster rate every day. yesterday she started saying “thank you” on her own (after months of us telling her to say “thank you” when receiving a cup of milk or other items).
some other words she says are “bee” (and she’ll point to a picture of a bumblebee) and “apple.”

whew~~ it’s tough to try to keep track of all this.. but i do attempt it! ever since penny was born i’ve been logging notes on my iphone by continually adding onto a, now, very long list. soon i’ll have to do that for ezra!

 

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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celebrate good times

there have been many things to celebrate recently – two weddings and a first birthday party. although both weddings occurred in october i haven’t had the time nor energy (mostly energy) to organize and edit photos for a blog post.

the so family leaves for maryland tomorrow for a family vacation and that’ll be another post in itself when we return; so if i don’t post the wedding and birthday pictures i’ll never get around to them.

on october 15, we attended our friends’, alice and john’s, wedding. dennis was the best man and penny was the flower girl. we were nervous about penny walking down the aisle since she still is so young. i brought her lovey and lots of snacks to help coax her down the aisle, but in the end all it took was one cracker. i did try having her walk down by herself but she was understandably nervous with everyone’s eyes on her. in hindsight i wish i had walked ahead of her so i wasn’t in any of the photos. but we are just relieved she didn’t cry or run away.

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my friend, katie, captured us walking down the aisle

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matron of honor and best man 🙂

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traditional korean ceremony “paebaek”

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what’s a wedding without some photobooth fun?

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alice & john’s rehearsal dinner / ethan’s 100th day

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family photo

penny also only attended the ceremony. my mil took her back for her nap and dennis and i moved on to the reception. we were able to enjoy ourselves more not having to chase penny around, keep her entertained, and trying to feed her at the table. eternally grateful to have dennis’ parents nearby.

the next wedding was for esther and tony on october 29. they are our friends from church so john was in attendance too (two weeks after his own wedding!) but alice had to work. interestingly enough, both weddings we attended were morning weddings. i’m fairly certain i have never been to a morning wedding before. the best part about a morning wedding is you still have time to relax when you get home. in both cases actually dennis and i ended up passing out earlier than usual.

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16 weeks pregnant in this photo

it was lovely having an excuse to get dressed up and go out. dennis and i had been long overdue for a night out so those two weddings were a great way for us to enjoy time with friends without worrying about a baby. although we had fun, we were so tired that we just looked forward to going home!

many of my friends had babies in 2015 so there were a lot of first birthday parties this year. i attended the final one for this year this past sunday in massachusetts. thankfully, my mil was able to watch penny and i made the 1.5 hour drive each way to celebrate bowdin’s first year of life.

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cute touches by the crafty mama

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min MADE these forever cacti favors..

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she chose the stethoscope!

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dr. gianforti

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homemade cake along with felt flower toppers min made herself

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such a good idea to use pearls!

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yes, homemade cupcakes too

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the birthday party was fun and it was so cute to see all the of the special details my friend, min, put into it. best of all, it’s over! it’s always a relief when the first birthday is done and over with… all those months of planning..

min lives in maine so i rarely see her. the last time i saw her was at penny’s first birthday back in may. i hope someday we can make it work where our little girls can play while the mommies catch up. someday soon.

 

 

 

boston, you’re my home

we are at the tail end of a heat wave. the low-to-mid 90-degree weather has been occurring since last thursday and today should be the last day before thunderstorms supposedly arrive on friday. it’s not the heat that drives me insane as summer is my favorite season; it’s the humidity. penny’s constantly asking to go outside and yuri has to go out twice a day so we’re out there fairly often. it’s rough when the air feels like a brick wall on your chest and you just stepped outside..

lately, we’ve been forgoing the lunchtime walk because it’s unbearable and unsafe… but that means we have to pass the time doing something else. penny’s been on-the-go the past few months and she’s getting tired of all her toys. we don’t want to keep buying more toys that she will get bored with after a few weeks but there isn’t much to do to pass the time. she does like to use push toys and walkers but now she only uses it for a few minutes before moving onto something else. most recently, she’s been pushing the ikea high chair around the house.

ever since we brought penny to the bounce house and found that she loved playing with the push car, we bought her one from once upon a child, a baby consignment store. dennis purchased a fisher price elephant push car for $15 (retail price: $45)! he also chose a dump truck that makes noises, a crane, and a fisher price toy car. i’m glad he picked those toys out because i want penny’s toys to be well-rounded: cars and trucks aren’t just for boys! plus, she shows no interest in dolls just stuffed animals.

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trying out her push car for the first time at the lee grandparents’ house

my mil and i brought penny and yuri to henry park tuesday afternoon to play in the splash pad and playground. usually water & walking keep penny happy and yesterday was no exception. it’s funny though because we bought penny a water table — one that’s a best-seller on amazon — and she barely uses it. same with the plastic pool (and she has one at the grandparents’ house too). for penny to truly enjoy water play, she has to be in an actual swimming pool (not even in a float) or be under a sprinkler. this is why she loves the splash pad and she also enjoyed being in a wading pool this past weekend. hopefully she grows to like the water table as it was expensive…

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she absolutely loved being in the kiddie pool at henry park. there’s a separate pool for babies and young children (it’s about a 1.5 foot high) and penny kept wanting to be in the swimming position (on her belly) but it was difficult for us to bend over and keep her that way. she threw a fit when we stood her upright. we had to leave after ten minutes anyway because yuri was with us – no dogs allowed. so.. next time at least one of us will wear a swimsuit and we’ll leave yuri at home.

so, i started trying the one-nap method again on tuesday after penny skipped her afternoon nap on monday. she had woken up at 6:30am after sleeping for 12 hours. she made it to 11am for her nap without a meltdown BUT only slept for just over an hour like the last attempt.. ahh.. so, she had a long awake time before bed last night but she slept 6:50pm-6am. on wednesday, she went down for her nap at 11am – again, without a meltdown – so that’s a good sign that she’s ready for the one-nap transition. i just have to keep in mind that it’s a painful and slow process so i need to slowly push the nap without making miss p overtired. i’ve also been feeding her a snack/early small lunch before her 11am nap so her stomach is full since i hope for her to sleep until 1pm.

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this past weekend, we went to boston and brought penny to the museum of science. we purchased a membership which means we can get discounted or free admission to over 400 museums/science centers/zoos all over the world! the lutz children’s museum is one of them.. sadly (and surprisingly) the science museum in west hartford is not. it made sense to get a membership too since even going twice a year will make up for the $90 cost for two people.

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Penny’s favorite book at the moment is Goodnight, Moon so we had to take a picture of this!

my parents spent the entire saturday with us which was wonderful. we brought penny to a wading pool near my parents’ house which of course she enjoyed. she especially loved touching the water spray and having the water splash her in the face. that afternoon we all went to the museum of science. i was surprised to hear that my parents had never been before saturday and they have lived in massachusetts for over 30 years. it made me sad that they’ve been so busy with work, so i’m really pleased we were able to take my parents with us. my dad particularly had a great time – he enjoyed looking at all of the exhibits especially the animal ones and a huge stone with amethyst crystals inside.

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oh, you know, just a typical breakfast

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gotta love snapchat! mom aka sia

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unfortunately we didn’t see my brother or sister at all that weekend which was a major disappointment. sad to say,  i wasn’t that surprised. we also tried to meet up with a few cousins but they already had plans. i’m glad we were able to visit my grandma – she’s at a nursing home for the time being. we brought penny’s new push car with her and she was walking with it up and down the hallway, charming all of the residents and staff.

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precious

 

lastly, we were able to finally watch the movie spotlight with our friends, ben and alf (they’re brothers). ben, alf, and i, particularly ben and i, are cinephiles so we were waiting to watch spotlight (the 2016 best picture winner) together. we supplied dinner from my parents’ restaurant and the byun brothers brought doughnuts – yum! i love doing simple activities such as watching movies and playing board games – the latter which we also did with friends last week.

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

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before i close up, i wanted to share that penny is becoming more brave at standing on her own. when she does it on her own (told hold/play with an object) or does it without realizing, she stands for a while. but it’s when we force it up on her that she puts up a fight. at henry park, my mil let go of penny and encouraged her to walk and she walked 3 steps! yesterday while i was cooking, she took about 5 steps for dennis and his parents. she took a few steps today too. that’s a great start! hoping she walks before her 15-month checkup, but we really hope she walks before our friends’ wedding in october since she’ll be a flower girl.

 

keep on keepin’ on

dennis and i are going to aruba this saturday so we have also been busy preparing for the trip. we purchased sunscreen and some clothes (well, i did) and we have to make a trip to babies ‘r us to make sure we have plenty of diapers and wipes. penny is still being super fussy about food so i’ve been making purees and stuffing food into her pouches. i still purchase ready-made food pouches too since there is a wide variety to choose from. i’m really not worried about leaving penny because this’ll be our third vacation without her and she’s been sleeping all night without waking up since she was 7 months old. she’s in great hands and i know my mil is going to make a ton of korean food to feed penny too.

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penny’s footprints from birth to one year old

summer has officially started. ( in our book, anyway.) the first day of summer is june 20th – hey, yuri’s 6th birthday! – but dennis remarked that it feels like summer after memorial day ends, and i agree. plus, we’ve been in the midst of a heat wave in connecticut. now that the weather is nice, i try to go out for walks 3x a day: usually around 8:30/9am, 1/1:30pm, and 6/6:30pm, or depending when penny is done with dinner. with the temperature being in the high 80s~low 90s along with high humidity, it’s been tough trying to take a lunchtime stroll. even though we gave yuri a short haircut, it’s still much too hot for her. normally penny loves being outdoors but she’s been whining (partly due to the heat and partly because she wants to) because it’s still stiflingly hot even with a sun hat and a stroller shade. i bring out a water cup for her now. for our lunchtime walk today, yuri barely made it around our neighborhood before i put her back in the house and let her look outside through the storm door while penny and i kept walking.

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we’ve also been taking trips to the mall to walk around with the cool ac blasting. thankfully we have central air at home and our basement is refreshing without having to turn the air on, but alas, there is no cool air blowing down on us when we walk outside.. only the occasional breeze, and sometimes it’s hot air.

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so stinking cute

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she loves to look at my parents’ wedding photo

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drinking smoothies

our family had a wonderful long weekend. we didn’t go on vacation or go to a beach but we loved spending time together. dennis was lucky enough to have a four-day weekend without requesting any days off so we spent our time taking penny swimming and hanging out with the grandparents.

on saturday night, i also had a gno with mouy and katie. we went to the claypen, a paint-your-own pottery studio. it’s byob so we drank red wine and ate italian cookies while painting. afterwards, we had dinner at rizzuto’s.

i was also able to catch up with some of my former coworkers at kathryn’s surprise bridal shower. i went to school a little early so i could catch some of the students as well.

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the bride-to-be with the apron i got her from anthro


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kathryn and heather


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made by kelly

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we bought penny a baby float for $9.99 from tj maxx


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painting pottery pieces at the claypen

penny’s 12-month appointment was last friday. she got 3 vaccines: varicella (chicken pox), hepatitis a, and mmr. she cried so much and was inconsolable until we gave her milk. even then she would stop drinking to cry. what finally helped was when i sat her on my lap and sang her songs while giving her more milk.

Penny is now 30 1/4 inches tall and 20.2 lb! She’s in the 75th percentile for her height! After a lag between 6 to 9 months, she went through a growth spurt.

i’ve been trying to wean penny from breast milk since she was 10.5 months old. i am down to 2 pumps a day but she’s drinking even more milk lately! i got the thumbs-up to give penny hemp milk as it has plenty of vitamin d, fat, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. thing is, she is supposed to get 16 oz. max a day once she fully transitions but right now she is drinking anywhere from 23-28 oz. a day! hemp milk is not cheap and we are flying through the boxes… i hope her phase of refusing food stops soon -__- i hear it’s common at this age, and it can actually last for several months so we still have to keep offering a variety of food and be patient. i have also been making smoothies for penny to drink to see if she drinks less milk but it’s not the case.. she’ll still drink both.

on tuesday, we met up with the gardners at jack & allie’s for story hour. it looks like we’re going to make it a weekly thing so that’s fun! penny still loves the green rocking chair. we were the last ones to leave the book store because she kept wanting to sit on it and touch the picture of the frog.

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thanks to genie for taking these pictures!

the pictures from penny’s first birthday have slowly been uploaded to her album via our photographer (and cousin’s husband) but they’re not all there yet. we’re eagerly anticipating the family photos and then we’ll choose which photos to develop and frame. in the meantime, i’ve also been sending out thank-you cards in small batches. i hope to be done with those tonight.

well, after penny wakes up we are making a trip to the mall to return some items and also get more exercise in! i got a fitbit recently so i’ve been trying to reach 10,000 steps every day. i have a competitive nature and i like to win.. so i hope having my fitbit motivates me to keep moving. i’ve also been going to the gym lately and i’m eager to get back into shape!

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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.