i will survive…

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ezra all dressed up for katie and mike’s wedding

[ friday, 5/5/17 ] i have been trying to publish this post for five days now. i have to go through what i already wrote to update. for instance, ezra is three weeks old as of this past tuesday! although the newborn stage has its challenges, like those motn (middle of the night) feedings, it’s also fairly easy in a sense that all the baby does is eat and sleep… unless he is wide awake all night.. and he was for almost 3 hours last night! after over an hour, dennis took over so i could sleep. ezra hates getting his diaper changed so the motn diaper changes stress me out because of how much he cries. i find that changing his diaper after a feeding will result in him being more calm because he’s content; but then i have to put him back to sleep since the whole process will have woken him up from his milk coma. so, now i stop him halfway through a feed to change his diaper (if he has pooped) since i can soothe him with milk afterwards.

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ezra at 2 weeks old

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with the exception of the first few days in the hospital, penny was exclusively breastfed until she switched over to hemp and whole milk at 13 months. there is no way i am going to be able to do this the second time around. as it is, it’s tough to find time to pump even with help. i also didn’t want to constantly pump and then be engorged on the days i’m alone and can’t find the time to do so. i had thought i could pump while playing with penny but, for some reason, she has developed a fear(?) of the pump. i’m guessing the fear stems from the pump’s appearance because she is also scared of the horn that was included with her set of musical instruments and a toy blender. who knows why?

i have tried to pump after an early morning feeding (usually i’m nodding off in bed), then during penny’s naptime, once during the evening, and then before bed. i pumped once today for comfort after not having pumped for a day and a half (!) with a nursing session in-between. looks like my nursing/pumping days are over very soon.. it does make me a little sad. in a way, i feel apologetic towards ezra.. and a little guilty because i was able to make it work for penny. but i know it’s much less stress for me.

i was also under the weather after our friends’ wedding this past sunday, most likely due to exhaustion and not eating enough these past few weeks. breastfeeding moms, particularly, need to eat well and drink plenty of water but i had been neglecting myself. that, along with sleep deprivation and infrequent pump sessions, tanked my supply. i have been supplementing with enfamil enspire formula because i had read that it’s the closest to breast milk but it was giving ezra a lot of gas. we switched over to similac (a sample from the pediatrician’s office) and he seems to be doing better with that.

although ezra is only three weeks old he has definitely become more alert. around week 2, he had a significant growth spurt where he was extra sleepy and hungry. his newborn clothes had been loose on him but now they are a bit more snug. that week was also when the witching hour began. from 6pm on, he wouldn’t sleep and would cluster feed. some of the times, however, he wasn’t hungry and just wanted to be held. there were instances where we fed him because we mistook his cues and he was very unhappy and uncomfortable from the extra milk (and gas). one night, ezra was awake from 7pm until after 11pm! every time he fell asleep in my arms and i put him down, he would wake up. my dinner had gotten cold and i gave up trying to do anything that night. after one more feed around 10, he finally fell asleep in my arms while i was in bed. i had fallen asleep too and didn’t wake up until nearly midnight to place him in his rock and play.

this is dennis’ long week at work which also means it’s a long week for me. (but now that it’s friday night instead of tuesday when i originally started this post, it’s almost over!) thankfully, i have a few play dates lined up on the days i would have been alone. i’m hoping penny will cooperate as her aversion to most adults is still going strong. (she was apprehensive initially when parker came over today but she warmed up, and they played well together.)

my mom and my sister also drove down from boston to visit for the day so i was able to take a 2.5 hour nap while they took care of ezra and played with penny. it was glorious! now i just need to get through this weekend and we can have a family day on monday since dennis has it off.

hoping tonight isn’t like last night! fingers crossed…

[family day in hartford]

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she wouldn’t leave the water station at ct science center

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snacking on blackberries

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[in-laws’ 38th wedding anniversary]

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cake

i made this cute cake topper using my cricut!

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[ katie & mike’s wedding ]

location: the barns at wesleyan hills in middletown, ct

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[ visit from mom and sister from last week ]

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easter weekend

ah, penny’s in bed for the night and i’m on the couch updating my blog while taking breaks to eat 갈비찜 (braised short ribs) that my mil made.

today flew by ~~ these days seem to be going by so fast. i helped genie set up for olivia’s first birthday party this saturday so my mil watched penny from 12-6:30pm. i can’t believe olivia’s dol is this weekend!!! i’m actually nervous, and excited, for genie because i know first-hand just how stressful planning for a baby’s first birthday is. genie is very crafty (like me) and she made these beautiful tissue paper flowers as a backdrop. i can’t wait to blog about olivia’s birthday!

i finally started gluing the beans for penny’s dol towers. i need to make 3: one for her name, one that says “축 돌” (abbreviated form of “congratulations – first bithday”), and the last one of a lamb (penny’s zodiac). i’ve been putting this project off but now that i’m in the midst of it i find it oddly therapeutic.  i also started assembling her play kitchen today so i hope to finish that after i finish blogging.

speaking of her play kitchen, i finished refurbishing and putting together penny’s table and chairs set. i used 5 different spray paint colors because i wanted to do color-blocking.

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didn’t they turn out great??  i love the colors that i chose: ballet pink, watermelon, sea glass, white and gold.

materials needed

krylon spray paint

painter’s tape

pencil and eraser

ruler

big pieces of cardboard

i was inspired by a pinterest post on color-blocking ikea latt table and chairs. i measured 4 inches on the table and chairs’ legs and taped them off. then i taped other areas so they could be different colors. this project took a lot longer than i had anticipated. i figured i’d use 1-2 layers, they would dry and i would be able to put them together in 2 days tops. reality: it took about 4-5 days. the white spray paint goes on really thin, and i think the wood absorbs it, because i used up an entire can of spray paint even though i only sprayed 4 small pieces of wood on the chairs! i also used the white spray paint for the play kitchen so i’m on my third can now!

anyway, the large pieces of cardboard are to have something to spray and have the pieces of furniture dry on. at first, i used a huge sheet of craft paper but the wet pieces got stuck to the paper and i had to scrape the paper off and respray to get an even look. 😦

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they’re so adorable! i’m so proud of myself 😀

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the furniture was finished in time for penny’s easter portrait 🙂

we went to homegoods on friday to buy black pantyhose but ended up also purchasing a mini armchair and ottoman for $79 – so much cheaper than pottery barn kids and it comes with a a darling footrest! plus, i read feedback from multiple people that homegoods/tj maxx has better quality kids’ chairs than pbk. good to know!

notice the easter canvas? more artwork!

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baby feet are sooooo cute.. penny’s getting ready to dip her feet into paint!

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i used a disposable changing pad to protect the mat (i was going to throw it out anyway so i used that instead of craft paper.) i also had wipes and paper towels ready to quickly clean her feet before washing them with soap and water. it’s so much easier to do footprint art rather than hands because babies arent’t cooperative enough to lay their hands flat for an art project.

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ta-da!

i also made and mailed out easter cards. see below!

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materials needed

card stock

paint & paintbrush

glue

markers and fine-point sharpie pens

googly eyes

border stencil

i wanted the cards to fit in a long envelope so i measured to make sure they would. then i added an elegant touch by only stenciling the bottom.

 

penny rarely wears shoes. she’s not walking yet so what’s the point? more like a waste of money. but she’s standing more now and wearing shoes will help her get used to them. the above picture shows how fascinated she is with her footwear 😉

i hadn’t been to church in a few months because service starts at 10am and that’s during, or just before, penny’s naptime. this past sunday, i brought her after she woke up. we missed the entire service and lunch was al most over but we made it, at least.. and i was able to catch up with friends. i had also seen some the night before because one of our friends had gotten married at the waterview. dennis and i were the last ones off the dance floor, and we have a baby at home!

okay, it’s already 9pm sadly.. and i still need to finish my dinner, complete assembling the play kitchen, and glue some beans. i’m already falling asleep though…

you are my sunshine

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the happy bride and groom

last saturday, dennis and i attended my cousin’s wedding in beverly, massachusetts. we were both nervous – me more so than dennis – on how penny would be at bedtime since she is accustomed to having one of us put her down for the night.

since the wedding began at 4, we started getting ready around 12:30pm and left a little after 1:30pm in case there was traffic. and there was… but, gps navigated us and we got to the venue a half hour early. the annoying thing about being away from baby is having to pump on-the-go. i pumped on the way to the wedding, during the salad course, and on our way back home. we made it work though and penny ended up being fine. the only bump was that penny wouldn’t let mil rock her to sleep. so, mil put penny on her back and p fell asleep that way.

this was a positive “trial run” for us since we are going to vegas for 4 days in a few weeks! i’m still a bit apprehensive about being away for so long (and all that pumping! i hope tsa lets me bring my milk back *makes note to call southwest.) half a day is one thing, but four?! everyone keeps saying it’s harder on the parents than the baby, and i hope that’s true. now that penny is six months old she’s become a lot more social and adaptable to her surroundings… and she knows my mil so she shouldn’t be crying or anything. – exhales deeply –

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mr. & mrs. hubbard

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father-daughter dance to “you are my sunshine.” i could not stop the tears.. there were quite a few people wiping their eyes.

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delicious cake!

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dennis and i at tupper manor

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i was freezing but the wedding was indoors so all was well

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photo booth fun

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left: mom, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and dennis. right: one with my cousins

 

in my last post, i shared my concerns over my diet possibly upsetting penny’s stomach. i tried to cut out all dairy but i gave up after a day. there was barely anything i could eat in my home, and i can’t starve… i’m just guessing it’s a milk protein allergy because i can’t pinpoint anything else. it’d be fine if she pooped after every, or during, feeding but sometimes she poops 3 times after ONE feeding. she also has been getting blowouts more frequently particularly in the morning because she’s sleeping longer hours and she’s laying there in all that mess.. ugh. i feel so bad for her! she never had diaper rash until recently because of the constant pooping. my stomach has been feeling weird lately too so maybe we’re both being affected by dairy.. I. DON’T. KNOW. it’s just really frustrating. i may have to seriously cut out dairy depending how she does in the next few weeks.

her 6-months check-up, and the next round of vaccines, is on monday so we can also update penny’s pediatrician then, too.

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trying butternut squash

now that penny is 6 months old, we resumed solids. i made a big batch of butternut squash and froze them in ice cube trays with a silicone cover.

she’s still getting used to the texture as she’s used to liquids. i made a batch of sweet potato yesterday and made it more watery when i served it to her today; she seemed more receptive to that.

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this book was handed down to me from my cousin who has a 4-year-old son, mason. there are newer editions available.

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the oxo food containers and ice cube tray are both available on amazon

each cube is about 2 tablespoons which is a lot for a baby just starting solids. penny barely eats a teaspoon right now. it’s mostly just so baby can get used to different tastes and textures rather than filling them up.

when i thaw each cube, i plan to divide it into two, maybe three servings and discard whatever she doesn’t eat. as she gets older she’ll consume a cube in one sitting but for now i’m trying not to waste food.

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after the cubes are frozen, i let the tray sit out for 5-10 minutes so the cubes are easier to remove and then put them in a baggie along with the date. i also had to go back and label the bag since the sweet potato batch is also orange.

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getting used to the texture and taste

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confused

for some reason, the doorknob for the nursery squeaks a lot when turned. i tried all the other doorknobs in the house and, of course, hers is the loudest. the latch sometimes clicks loudly into place which has startled penny a few times, though not many, thank goodness.

my sister made door jamb muffler (i had never heard of one!) after seeing them on pinterest but it was too loose. the idea is that the soft pillow part stretches tightly over the latch so when you close the door, there’s no clicking noise.

i used leftover felt from penny’s baby groot costume and 2 hair ties to make one. as you can see the felt isn’t firm enough to push the latch in but it still does a nice job of muffling the latch. i’ll have to make a better one soon.

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since five months, penny has been grabbing objects with both hands equally. she also LOVES to grab her feet and is constantly doing yoga poses while drinking from a bottle or when getting her diaper changed. now that she’s rolling over more frequently it’s so tough to change her diaper! she keeps wanting to go on her side -_- she has always been a wiggler so attempting to put her pants on is a challenge every time as one leg slides out of the pant leg while i’m hurriedly trying to insert the other leg in.

she also began tilting her head to one size to scrutinize things more carefully; it’s so cute! one last thing we noticed is that she’s been making the “b” sound frequently (“ba-ba-ba”). she started by tucking in her bottom lip and then slowly began making the sound.

babble says that many of the first words a baby says start with ‘b’ or ‘d’ because of the articulators in the front of the mouth – “they’re the first proper consonants the muscles can make.” still, i hope penny says, “umma” (“mom” in korean) first rather an “abba” (“dad”). 🙂

 

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always grabbing whatever she can

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she’s been moving around so much lately. she woke up from a nap recently but was playing so i left her alone for a bit while i finished eating. i look up and she had already turned 90 degrees.

 

 

it ain’t over ’til it’s over

remember how i had declared, with much relief, that penny’s sleep regression seemed to have ended? yes, well, forget that, because it’s still in progress. after talking about the sleep regression with my friend, jisun (언니) at church yesterday, she confirmed that the regression can come and go – one night your baby will sleep wonderfully and then the next time she will have multiple wakings.

an important thing that i need to keep reminding myself: penny is just a baby.

watching yuri, our dog.

watching yuri, our dog.

she loves feeling different textures

she loves feeling different textures

she doesn’t intend to wake up, and stay awake for hours. she’s exhausted too – this is obvious because she makes up for lost sleep during the day – and is still trying to figure out how to transition to the different sleep cycles. sometimes she’s successful, and other times she’s not.

saturday night, for instance. she woke up at 1:30am and was moving around, but didn’t cry.. and her eyes were still closed. i was pumping so i let her be. she became more and more agitated that she couldn’t fall back asleep and began crying and trying to self-soothe by putting her hand in her mouth. when her cries escalated, i finally attended to her at 2:30am. she had been trying for an hour to fall back asleep! i ended up rocking her for AN HOUR AND A HALF. during this time, penny’s eyes were wide open but she was quiet. my chronic cough hasn’t gone away and my throat started to tickle, threatening to wake penny up. i put penny down too early because her eyes flew open and i had to start the rocking process over again. by the time she fell asleep at 4am, it was time to pump again!!!!! as i finished pumping, she woke up! this time she was hungry, and had a very wet diaper. she downed 5.5 ounces and when i rocked her, she fell asleep and stayed asleep for over 4 hours.

the first time that i tried putting penny down in her crib, i had noticed that her diaper was full but didn’t want to further stimulate her by changing it so i left it alone. in hindsight, it’s possible she woke up because she was uncomfortable, and that made her realize she’s hungry too.. who knows? again, she’s just a baby. she’s not waking up to annoy us. this is my mantra that i’ll just have to keep repeating to myself when i find myself getting agitated during these frequent wakings.

out of desperation, i had been googling about the 4-month-old sleep regression the past few weeks. a great blog post i came across is found here: help! my 4-5 month old is sleeping like a newborn again!

this post helped me understand what penny is going through developmentally, and empathize with her. around 4 months of age, the “fourth trimester” ends (the first three months of a baby’s life is referred to as the “fourth trimester” because those months are like an extension of life inside the womb.) and suddenly, the entire world is opened up before their eyes. anything, and everything, is fascinating and you may find (like i did) that your baby is highly distracted to even eat which results in night wakings up make up the calories.

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penny has been pursing her lips a lot 🙂

taken just before we left for church this morning

taken just before we left for church sunday morning

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what i also liked about this post is that the writer reassures us, the parents, that we aren’t doing anything wrong. it’s easy to blame ourselves when we are up for the fourth time in just as many hours trying to put the baby back to bed. just like how i had thought if i had changed penny’s diaper, she would’ve slept longer… maybe, maybe not.. she IS going through a sleep regression so she could have woken up around the same time even if she had a dry diaper.

just keep doing what you have been doing: feed/nurse (if necessary) and comfort them. this, too, shall pass. babies especially need you during this challenging time. another helpful point to remember is that soon your baby will be crawling, then walking, and then running… sometimes the days can drag on but as a collective time really flies by… as you cradle your wide-eyed child at 3am, try to keep in mind that she won’t “need” you as much as she gets older and learns how to self-soothe. she won’t hug you for no reason or cling by your side.. she’ll want to be with her friends, or play games on her ipad instead of wanting to be held by her mom. though difficult to appreciate now, please try to cherish these moments with your sweet little baby.

i’m talking to you, jax.