step right up and enjoy the ride

“carnivals bring out the child in everyone” ~ unknown

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every summer, our town holds a carnival during the last week of july from wednesday through saturday. i had wanted to bring penny last year but we didn’t end up going because it was really hot and humid on that saturday. why didn’t i try bringing her on the other days? well, the carnival opens at 6pm wednesday – friday and at 5pm on saturday. considering penny was 14 months then and her bedtime around 7/7:30, there wouldn’t have been much time to spend at the carnival if i had gone on the other days. for those of you that know me and/or have been following my blog for some time, i have my children on a somewhat rigid schedule. we all know that tired and miserable children means that the adults are tired and miserable, too.

even though penny is 26 months now, her bedtime mostly depends on when her nap ended. it’s not until children start dropping their nap altogether (usually around age 3~4) that a strict bedtime is necessary, typically around 7:30. even if she’s gotten a good 2.5 hour nap in, sometimes she’ll still want to go to sleep about 4 hours after her nap ended. we just go by her cues because every day is different. she’s learning something new all the time and it can be exhausting (for all).

but, back to the carnival. we were able to take both penny and ezra to the carnival yesterday! the weather was perfect: sunny with a cool breeze. we waited until ezra’s last ended. (actually i had to wake him up at 4:50pm!) we decided it would be easier to feed him at home since it would be chaotic at the carnival. this meant that we didn’t arrive there until around 5:40pm.

dennis’ parents were waiting for us in the parking lot, and we met up with parker, karen, and patrick near the carousel. i was worried about how penny would do on the rides but since she and parker sat together for some of the rides, she was fine! i think she was a little shocked still (and paralyzed with fear, haha) but she was good. no tears until she wanted to sit on a solo car. by the time we tried to find something else for her to sit on, all the double cars were taken so we got our 3 tickets back and just watched parker ride solo. baby steps… i’m still proud that she went on some rides. i mean, she is still only 2 years old.

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the adults were all a little skeptical about how the kids would react to the giant slide but they wanted to go on! the dads took parker and penny while the rest of us took videos and photos. penny absolutely loved it and wanted to go on again. this time, karen and i took the kids and i think we enjoyed it even more than the little ones! i used to love going to carnivals. i still do, but now i have to focus more on taking care of the kids. it’s not like i can run off to enjoy a ride solo. i guess i could if i really wanted to but there’s the waiting-in-line bit.

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anyway, i got a bit wistful as i looked around at all the rides. so many things these days seem to be “when the kids get older, we can do this”, and it gets me a little impatient. however, i know when they’re in their teenage years i’ll miss how small they used to be. plus, my goal was to be able to bring the kids to a carnival and we did! mission: accomplished.

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penny tried fried dough for the first time. despite her expression in pictures, she liked it

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grandma holding grandpa so he won’t fall


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rushing home for bedtime

this is off-topic but we have been potty training penny using the oh crap! potty training book for almost a week now. i really wish i had purchased the book sooner especially since we had attempted potty training back when penny was 19/20 months old. she had had successful pees/poops in the potty then but was still anxious and scared. thinking she wasn’t ready, we held off until recently.

this book is so amazing! it has wonderful tips and advice on how to know when your child is ready and what steps to take. one of the biggest mistakes parents make (and why kids get nervous) is because we tend to overprompt even when we think we aren’t! we might try to bribe, beg, or force them on the potty and those methods usually don’t work. that makes them more resistant.

the author states the best age to start is between 20-30 months. the closer the child gets to age 3, it’ll be more difficult because they’re more aware and independent (which could mean more power struggles). also, it is a myth that boys are ready later than girls. this kind of thinking is detrimental to boys in general. i know i have heard this myth plenty of times and even believed it to be true so i’m glad to be rid of this misconception.

parents want to clear their schedule and focus on the child (keep them close by!) during the first few days. the kid should also be naked from the waist down, at least. this gives them faster access to the potty but also makes them more aware of their body. plus, not having a snug diaper is a feeling they have to get used to! even underwear isn’t suggested because it feels too much like a diaper. once the child gets a good pee on the potty, the author suggests putting pants on the child, commando, and going out for a short walk or errand to hand your child success.

since penny had peed just before we were about to leave the house for the carnival (part floor/ part potty), we figured she was good to go. upon arrival, we saw that she had peed in her car seat and hadn’t told us! we really didn’t want to put a diaper on her, but felt like we had no choice since we risked her having an accident on a ride! it was just as well, i suppose, because while we stood in line to go on the carousel, i saw penny go suddenly still and knew she was peeing in her diaper. maybe she felt safe because she had a diaper on, or maybe she still would’ve peed without it… but it happened. i’m really hoping that one diaper didn’t set her backward since she’s only been wearing a diaper during naptime and bedtime.

the key is to not overprompt and pressure her (i need to step back more and look at what kind of message i’m sending with my words and tone of voice). it’s also tough to get everyone on the same page because i have to repeat the steps to my in-laws to remind them what we are supposed to be doing. they haven’t read the book so they can’t remember everything i tell them. sometimes they’ll ask her if she has to go or overprompt – both things not to do. but dennis and i catch ourselves doing that too so we attempt to back off when we find ourselves doing that the first time.

one thing that we’re glad for is that it’s summer. the warm days make it easy for penny to run around half-naked at home without us worrying about her being cold. hopefully she starts recognizing the sensation of having to go pee sooner than when it’s already coming out! i’ve seen some improvement though. for instance, she told me she had to go potty while we were walking down the stairs this morning. i held her and rushed her down, and she pooped entirely in the potty! (small victory!) in the afternoon, while she was playing with grandma she announced, “똥 나온다” (poop is coming out) and my mil quickly sat her on the potty just in time. ten minutes later, she said she had to pee and she peed entirely in the potty! that was her second time peeing in the potty with grandma today. needless to say, we were all in a celebratory mood today.

these are some hard times, for sure… i can’t believe we have to go through this with ezra in a few years.. and not to mention night-train both kids. but, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

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she got her nails painted for the first time while sitting on the potty

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grandpa bought penny the bubble gun from the carnival

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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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