life with two

two kids: two years old & two months old.

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people usually have their children close in age to one another so that they can be friends. they also have multiple children with the notion that it will be fun. but… when does the fun begin? okay, i guess i’m being dramatic but it sure is hard when your little ones are… just that, little. raising two kids is slowly becoming more enjoyable as dennis and i have gotten into the groove by tag-teaming and implementing consistent yet still flexible schedules.

ezra is still too young to have a set schedule like penny’s but, like i’ve said countless times before, it’s never too early to start. i already see a big difference in his daily routine because i follow the eat/play/sleep schedule and feed him enough calories during the day to have longer night sleep.  like penny, we incorporate bath time into ezra’s nightly bedtime routine. they both love water so being immersed in its warmth helps them relax (although penny is as energetic as ever) as well as signal to them that bedtime is near.

ezra has been consistent with doing a good 5~5.5 hour stretch of sleep before waking up again to feed. then, he will usually sleep for another 4~5 hours. he has been going to bed between 8~9pm lately. two nights ago, he slept for 7.5 hours straight! most babies his age have a later “bedtime” of closer to 10 or even 11pm. we like putting him down earlier so we can have time to ourselves and also so that we don’t have to gradually push his bedtime to what it is now later on when he’s older. plus, his evening naps aren’t so great so by that time he’s overtired and ready to pass out.

penny usually takes a bath around 7pm (6:30 if her nap ended earlier) so ezra usually takes a bath around then or a half hour later. it’s just easier to get both kids down at the same time – i normally do penny’s bedtime routine while dennis does ezra’s. then we will briefly gather to give the kids a chance to say good night to another (and us) and give kisses.

because of the two year sleep regression, penny’s been fighting her nap and bedtime. she will eventually fall asleep for her nap but sometimes she will play for an hour! this results in a late bedtime, sometimes close to 9pm! i religiously refer to babysleepsite.com for advice and it says to keep up with the daily bedtime routine – don’t change the times or drop the nap because this, too, shall pass. it really is obvious that penny is exhausted.. even with her falling asleep so late at night, she will wake up a few times during the night  and  have an early wake-up. last night she fell asleep close to 9pm and woke up this morning at 6:30am! you bet she was a hot mess around 11am! she passed out almost right away during her 12:30pm naptime.

i’m just really grateful that penny is a rather agreeable toddler in the sense that she may try to delay sleep lately but she doesn’t put up a fight with us (e.g climbing out of her crib or running away when we announce it’s nap/bedtime.) she does try to get us to read “one more book” so we won’t have to leave the room but if we tell her “that’s enough” she walks over to us. it seems as if she’s starting to get afraid of the dark – something that toddlers develop around this age even if they previously weren’t afraid – because she’ll cry until we go into her room. we turned the night light on her camera and she stopped crying right away. she’s asleep now (thankfully before 9pm!)

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now that penny’s 100% better, her appetite has returned somewhat. she did have 3 canines break through around the same time so they, along with her illness, most likely affected her eating habits. i find myself being much more patient and tolerant around penny now. this may be because her behavior has markedly improved – again, now that her teeth broke through. there are times where she can still be clingy, whiny, and disagreeable but there are much less instances now, and that’s typical toddler behavior anyway. she has so much charm that it’s difficult to stay upset at her for long. my mil even laughs and says, “how can you stay mad when she acts so cute?” it’s so true.. but it’s so bad because i feel like we enable her naughty behavior if we laugh. i still try my hardest to be firm with her and have consequences for her poor choices.

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she loves onions and brussels sprouts

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adorable juicy couture outfit from alice + john

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she knows how to pose!

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cooling down during the heat wave

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ethan’s 1st birthday party

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birthday boy with ezra

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too much excitement

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can’t say no to cupcakes

out for a walk with grandpa – 6/15

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i used the glink for the first time – what an amazing double stroller!! can’t say enough good things about it!

this week, i started working on getting back in shape. i didn’t exercise once during my pregnancy besides taking walks so attempting to go for a jog on monday night was torturous. my legs felt like lead and my lungs were straining to take in air. i kept at it however by doing a brisk pace/jog combo and eventually built up a bit of endurance. last night i ran ten laps on the indoor track at the gym. since i arrived around 9:15pm, there was only one other person at the track and he was shooting hoops.

being consistent and motivated to work out is a struggle… which i’m sure so many people deal with on a daily basis. of course i would much rather sleep.. or veg out on the couch but i am always going to be tired so i can’t use that as an excuse. my goal is to lose 10 lb because i never lose the last 5 with penny and i still have 5 from ezra as well. additionally, i want to be tone and gain muscle back. i’m considering buying free weights on days i don’t go to the gym. ahhhhhh, i don’t wannaaaa……

excuse my little outburst there.. there’s always so much to do and so little time. ezra’s 100th day is quickly approaching so i need to start planning for that! he officially is 100 days old on july 20th so we chose the 22nd as the celebration date. now we need to work on the guest list and food.

but for now.. sleep.

and.. a happy 27th (!) birthday s/o to my not-so-little brother, james. he’s living in cali now so i can’t see him but some of his friends flew out to celebrate with him. have a blast!

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.

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.

 

summertime shenanigans

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last saturday, dennis and i attended a wedding in norwalk, ct. he was able to get the day off so we could go, but he still had to work the next day… which was really unfortunate since it was a 1.5 hour drive each way. we left the party around 10:30 and came home at midnight.

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yikes, the selfie image came out way too pixelated

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close buds – dennis and andy (not the groom)

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we had a lovely time celebrating victoria and andrew. as many of you may know, i love to take pictures. the only reason why i don’t have many photos from the wedding (particularly of the married couple) is because there was no ceremony. the mr. and mrs. decided to do a civil ceremony and then celebrate with their family in england where the bride’s family resides. the party on saturday was just a reception for family and friends.

instead of a standard photo booth, theirs printed out 4×6 images which was unique! we glued some onto the guest book and kept the copies. there were even clear sleeves to protect the photos. in addition, there was a cigar bar. dennis and i had considered this for our wedding too but we ended up nixing it because the costs kept mounting for our big day…

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recently, i found out that the park near us has a baby-friendly playground and a splash pad. sure, we live next to an elementary school with two playgrounds that we visit on a daily basis but it’s awesome to have another one to go to.. and with, again, a splash pad for a girl who adores water!

i befriended another mommy that goes to story hour at jack & allie’s. it turns out she lives about a 3-minute drive from us! she has a 17-month-old son who is absolutely adorable. we met up once at the park and we are looking to go tomorrow as well.

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after we figured out this was a splash pad, i began taking penny here!

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as you can see, penny’s been standing on her own more and more. she still needs assistance to stand on her own and often uses nearby objects as well. once she does that, i’m guessing she’ll start taking some steps.. so, we wait.

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playdate at olivia’s

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they love water crackers

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she tried hot dogs for the first time!

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homemade sweet potato fries

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july 17th was national ice cream day so penny and i went to carvel for bogo soft serve!

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um, yes.. i’m playing pokemon go

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this picture is from today. look how tan penny’s feet are! 

it’s going to be busy the next few days! our town’s summer carnival kicked off tonight but we are stopping by tomorrow evening after dinner to check out the rides. we are hoping to take penny on the ferris wheel, carousel, and some other baby-friendly rides. also, we are going up to boston from friday-sunday. we are supposed to have a heat wave starting tomorrow so i assume it’ll feel suffocatingly hot in the city with all the buildings blocking the wind. we plan on going to boston common to go on the swan boat and bring penny to the splash pad at frog pond!

hopefully things work out.. penny skipped her afternoon nap today after having taken two naps since the june 29th incident. she has been taking a long time to fall asleep for her afternoon one though. lately she’s falling asleep around 3pm or even later.. and it’s taking her a half hour-hour to fall asleep! today, she finally just skipped it entirely and i got her at 3:30. i’m contemplating pushing her morning nap to 11am tomorrow to see how she does with one nap. the goal is to be at 12:30/1pm for the one-nap schedule.. i’m actually really nervous to start trying this before our boston trip. i guess i’ll just see how she does tonight and tomorrow morning!

fun with family & friends

having visitors never gets old… especially when they’re family, and it’s unexpected! we had celebrated my fil’s 70th birthday on july 4th.. but as the 70th birthday is an important occasion we received word from crystal and dan (dennis’ brother and our sister-in-law) that they would drive up from maryland on friday and leave on saturday!

the last time we saw them was for penny’s 1st birthday, and they had flown in for the day. it’s especially times like these when i wish they lived much closer, but at least they aren’t too far enough where they can’t make day (or two) trips.

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snapchatting


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face swap

unfortunately, we didn’t take a group photo of us.. but dan did take candids of us. our family “tradition” is to watch american ninja warrior when we wind down for the night. we also introduced our parents to snapchat and we had a lot of laughs over the various selfie lenses.

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i really like the above and below photos because they’re from two different perspectives.

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on friday, we had a low-key dinner at home with italian food and just hung out watching anw, using snapchat, and enjoying each other’s company. we went to blue back square and ate at cheesecake factory for lunch on saturday. afterwards, we came back to the house and the brothers played ping pong while the rest of us talked. as always, the visit ended way too soon 😦 but we are so thankful that they were able to come up! they should be coming up next for thanksgiving, and we hope to make it out to maryland/dc area soon.. perhaps in april when i have spring break.

the only downside from the weekend was that penny caught some sort of virus. she woke up with a fever of 102 after her second nap on saturday. usually her second naps are 1.5 hours and we have to wake her up but this time she slept for an hour and woke up on her own. the poor thing — she was so warm.. initially she was smiling and being playful, but then she started becoming fussy and crying because she didn’t feel well. we think she may have caught something from playing at a bounce house on friday. dennis and i were looking for an activity to do with penny since it can get mundane being at the house all day. we took her to jumpin’ jonny’s, a bounce house, in our town. she had a great time but it’s easy to see how germ-ridden a place like that can get with sweaty kids running around in socks on vinyl bounce houses that are probably not cleaned often (or at all). needless to say, we won’t be going back there (or any other bounce house) until she’s a bit older…

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penny met this cute girl, savannah, who’s 1.5 years old and they took turns pushing each other on cars.. so adorable!

i’ve been trying to find different activities to do with penny since we can’t always take a walk because the july heat prevents us from going outdoors during lunchtime. sometimes i’ll take her to my in-laws’ place because their condo neighborhood has a pool. it’s going to be in the upper-80s/low 90s this week so i’m thinking of taking her on wednesday.

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she prefers being in the water than being in a float

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yet another rabbit in our backyard!

on one particularl day, dennis suggested the mall and they have an indoor children’s playground so i decided to take her there. lo and behold, the playground is being moved and renovated so it wasn’t at its usual spot 😦 i ended up taking her to barnes & noble since the children’s section usually has a play area. penny liked just being able to get out of the stroller and walking around — she doesn’t find the gluxe as comfortable as the vista. she also played with the trains at the thomas the tank engine train table. a toddler joined her and they shared the trains.

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one of her all-time favorite books: the going to bed book by sandra boynton


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her current favorite: goodnight, moon

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we ate lunch at the food court – pizza and baked ziti – but penny was more interested in the carousel. i didn’t let her go on it this time (she had gone before) but i did let her “drive” the coin-operated cars… minus the coins. she enjoyed turning the steering wheels 🙂 to adults, it may not seem like much but the stimulation from being at the mall alone is a lot for a toddler. she passed out quickly for her afternoon nap after we got back and, yes, i had to wake her up.

speaking of “waking her up”, penny’s been having erratic naps lately.. and taking a long time to fall asleep. i think she’s trying in earnest to drop a nap. i know i mentioned this a few times in previous posts but the signs are coming up again. she has been fighting her morning nap like she’s not tired enough to take one. her awake time from morning wake-up to first nap had been 3 hours, and lately she’s sitting up in her crib and playing. if she isn’t playing, she nods off but fights sleep while sitting up!

yesterday, she fought both morning and afternoon nap. granted, she had slept for 12 hours straight the night before so maybe she wasn’t tired enough.. we took her out of her crib at 11am and kept her up until 12:30pm to see how a one-nap day would work. nightmare… she was overtired.. i think we kept her up too long.. reading about 2-to-1 nap transitions, it says to gradually push back the morning nap in 15-minute increments and i just shot towards a 12:30pm time.. yikes. i figured, we had to squeeze in lunch so we would have to do a later time.. well, now i know. she cried on/off and was nodding off for her second nap. she finally fell asleep and woke up after 50 minutes.

she was off for the rest of the evening. i left the house around 4pm to meet up with friends for a gno and dennis said that penny cried basically non-stop after i left. she has been experiencing some separation anxiety / attachment to me lately so that didn’t help with her being overtired. she flat-out refused dinner and milk (whoa) so she went to bed at 6pm on an empty stomach. for those that know penny or read my blog regularly, you know that penny loves her baths.. but she even cried during bath time!  poor dennis… he actually rocked her for a while to soothe her and she ended up falling asleep in his arms.. only to wake up when he placed her in the crib. but..she ended up sleeping from 6pm to 6:45am — that’s nearly 13 hours! so much for waking up at night because she’s hungry..

i still use the babytracker app religiously, and thank god for that because i can see her sleeping patterns and figure out when/how to transition her to one nap. this one’s a doozy, i hear.. and i just want to make it as least painful as i can for all of us. i’ll keep you posted!

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i still had a lovely time with these ladies despite being worried about penny

the girls and i tried out bar louie, a new restaurant that opened up recently in blue back square. initially we sat indoors because all of the outdoor seating was taken, but we spied an empty table and ran outside to claim it! 4/5 of us are married and 3/5 of us are baby mamas so this was a much-needed night out. much thanks to the baby daddies taking care of the little ones so us ladies could relish time together. ❤

and last.. but not least.. for this post.. our dear friends, alice and john, welcomed their baby boy, ethan 진명 choi, on june 30, 2016. he was 19.5 inches long and weighed 6 lb. 14 oz. the pictures john took of us holding ethan make it seem like we are the proud parents of a baby boy, haha. seriously though, we are overjoyed for our friends. we love you!

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weekend in boston

dennis and i arrived safely back from aruba last wednesday night around 10:30pm. we had thursday to relax at home.. and then we drove up to boston friday morning and stayed at my parents’ house until sunday evening.

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the above photos are soon after we arrived at my parents’ house. penny had lunch and then we went outside for a walk. she LOVES going outside.. sometimes she throws a tantrum when we come back in -_-

lately all she wants to do is walk and she’s getting better at it every day. we purchased her sneakers recently too to help encourage her walking 🙂

our main reason for visiting massachusetts was to see my grandmother who is recovering from a recent spinal surgery. being 95 years old, she has brittle bones so even just moving a certain way can cause those fragile bones to fracture. she’s in a rehabilitation home for the time being and we really want penny to see my grandma as much as possible because, honestly, who knows how much time we all really have..?

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she loves playing with the selfie stick

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remarking over penny’s feet and sneakers

my grandma was so surprised to see us! we made her very happy, and we are thrilled that we were able to see her too. we came back to visit her the next evening and she was, again, surprised to see us because she thought we had already gone back home.

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she was thankful to eat korean food for dinner two nights in a row

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penny did not like being held!

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my grandma was shocked at how strong penny is…

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avery & penny

hopefully we can arrange more play dates (and parent dates) with our friends in boston too. we met up with a group of friends for lunch on saturday, and it was chaotic with 3 little girls. olivia k. was napping so we couldn’t get in a picture of all 3 of them.

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bringing the walker along helped save our backs!

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one of her favorite things to do is point.. at everything!

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cute little bunny in the backyard on sunday morning

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penny pretending to mow the lawn like aunt jen!

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on our way to the ice cream shop!

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penny loved her vanilla soft serve!

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she signed for “milk” after we came home

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eating dinner at my parents’ restaurant in boston before we head home

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an employee gave her a $20 bill…

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it’s tough because dennis works every other weekend and some of those weekends are already accounted for, such as weddings and other events.. but we are definitely going to go up again this summer to spend more time with my parents, siblings, and grandma. summer in boston should be a lot of fun!

after we got back from aruba, we barely had time to unwind. we spent most of the day at home on thursday but we decided to buy penny her first pair of walking sneakers so we went to the mall and met up with the gardners.

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trying out see kai run sneakers

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ended up getting nikes

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they look miserable but they had fun!

we wanted to purchase stride rite sneakers after hearing great feedback from many people but found out that nordstrom is slowly phasing them out in favor of their own brand: see kai run. this is also a highly rated brand as well. after trying on toms, see kai run, and nike free we ended up getting penny the nike sneakers because the soles were lighter and had more cushion. i still want to get her see kai run and stride rite too but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. the nike ones were $48! :-O

the aruba trip was amazing… i’ll have to write a post on that destination wedding/vacation alone! i can’t wait to share all of the pictures. as always, it was awesome to get a break away from penny because we got to sleep in and do what we wanted to do.. but, of course, we missed her… and it was also nice coming back home.

 

happy 1st birthday, penny

it’s done! it’s over! all those months of endless planning… finding ideas on pinterest… crafting during penny’s naps and bedtime… fretting over the tiniest details… they are no more. and honestly, it makes me kind of sad. my friend, jennie, celebrated her daughter’s first birthday this past sunday. her baby girl, kaylee, and penny, were born on the same day: 5/15/15. unfortunately since they reside on the west coast we weren’t able to attend each other’s parties. but we discussed them in full length last night after we had somewhat recovered from the weekend festivities. we both agreed that we were enormously relieved that it was all over… but we felt a piece of us was missing.. what is our purpose now? haha.. jennie said we are crazy, and i guess i would have to agree.

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before the party, two things that had worried us the most were the weather and how penny would sleep in an unfamiliar place. there was no rain date and we absolutely would not have been able to comfortably accommodate all the guests indoors especially since we had rented a photo booth. the event was held at my parents’ house and everything was set up in the backyard. turns out, the weather and penny’s sleep were the least of our worries. saturday ended up being in the mid-to-high 70s and sunny and penny slept on her own, no problem.

what we didn’t take into account was that penny would get sick. she started showing symptoms around wednesday afternoon after her last nap. she woke up with flushed cheeks and was fussy. later, she started feeling really warm and had a fever of 102.2. her fever went up and down the next several days and she also had diarrhea. tylenol seemed to help her immensely and she continued to sleep well albeit in pain (we could hear her moaning and crying a little in her sleep.)

we packed up most of the car on thursday night since we were going to head up to boston on friday after her morning nap. she did great on the 1.5 hour drive – all smiles – so we were hopeful that she was getting better. the tylenol wore off and she still didn’t have much of an appetite – we kept trying to make her drink milk, water, and pedialyte. we had to wake her up from her first nap away from home and she was not happy. she hadn’t improved by saturday so we let her sleep as long as she wanted for her first nap – it ended up being 3 hours – while we started setting up for the party.

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even though she wasn’t feeling well, she enjoyed taking walks outside.

a positive note from that morning was that dennis received a very special surprise: his brother, dan, and wife, crystal, flew in from maryland that morning just to attend penny’s birthday. dan, crystal, and i had known for 2 months that they were flying up for the day. i ended up telling dennis’s mom so that she and my fil could come up to boston a little early to spend time with dan and crystal too. she’s good at keeping secrets.. dennis’ dad, not so much. xP

we definitely needed their presence too because we all seriously underestimated how much time we would need to set up for the party. we began around 10am when penny fell asleep for her nap and were still scrambling to finish as guests began to arrive a few minutes before 3pm. even though my sister and her boyfriend, brendan, had arrived around 11 to help we were still backed up! we are talking 8 adults here…(dennis’ parents arrived around noon.) after penny woke up at 1pm, dennis’ mom took care of her while the rest of us ran around like chickens with our heads cut off..eesh. i hate the feeling of not being ready so my stress level was on high that day.

since we were so concerned about penny’s well-being i feel like we didn’t get to mingle with the guests as much. dennis and i also forgot to do some of the things we had planned because we were trying to rush everything like photos, doljabi, and the cake while she was in a good mood. granted, she probably would’ve been overwhelmed even if she was 100% because of how many people were there but being sick made it worse. she did a total 180 when dennis and i took her inside so she could eat dinner away from the crowd. we also just let her sit in her diaper and she was much happier… the hanbok that she was wearing was stiff and hot and that had made her even crankier. her mood improved drastically after a full belly and we were able to take her outdoors for the “happy birthday” song and she even took a few swipes at the cake and ate the frosting.

we are waiting for the photographs to be ready… in the meantime we were looking at the photo booth pictures and photos that people took with their phones. in hindsight, yeah, we could have always made it better… but i am grateful that the weather was perfect, everyone had a great time, and penny ended up feeling better near the end.

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we waited to open the gifts the next day

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spending some time with grandpa lee before going home

now that my life isn’t consumed with planning penny’s birthday,  i can catch up on eating (i hadn’t been eating well, or enough the last month or so.. basically just shoving food in my mouth or skipping meals altogether so i could focus on penny’s birthday projects) and taking care of myself because i let all that go out the window. dennis and i are going to aruba for a destination wedding in a few weeks and i haven’t been to the gym since i went ONCE in punta cana back in january. is a beach body even feasible in two weeks’ time? probably not.. but i could, at least, start going so i can be “ready” for this summer. maybe tonight…

in any case, dennis and i are looking forward to making weekend trips to boston this summer. now that we know penny’s a good sleeper even when she’s not at home (hopefully, it wasn’t a fluke) we are even more excited for the summer! i think it helped that she was in her own room on the third floor while the rest of us slept on the second. plus, we brought everything from home that she’s used to like her white noise, bedtime books, and this fisher price puppy that plays lullabies. we did the same routine during naps and bedtime and she did fabulously. it was her first time sleeping in the pack ‘n play as well. we bought a mattress for it so she’d be comfortable as the thin pad that comes with it isn’t really suitable for sleep. she goes in the pack ‘n play now and then while we prep food in the kitchen but she had never slept in it before. we couldn’t be happier with our sleeping beauty!