count your blessings

good news: baby boy is doing well. at my ultrasound on tuesday, i found out that he’s in the 48th percentile for height and weighs about 6lb. 8oz. so far so nothing to worry about! he’s well on his way to being a 7lb. baby if he stays put for a few more weeks. i was also able to bring home pictures of him from the ultrasound – his fist is visible over his nose and he was moving a lot during the check-up too.

i’m already almost at 38 weeks! nowadays, i wake up every morning wondering if today is “the day.” i’ve actually been feeling more energized the last couple of days – i’m not sure if it’s my nesting instinct kicking in but i’ve been wired even on less sleep. two days ago, i stayed up until nearly 4am (!) to work on penny’s birthday invitations. dennis had recently gifted me the cricut explore air 2 and i’ve been fiddling around with it to create birthday invites for penny’s upcoming 2nd birthday party. it really shouldn’t have taken that long to create and cut the images, but i have an old macbook (2009) and my software is too old to support the cricut design space program. i tried downloading the newest osx but it wouldn’t work. i’ve been designing on my iphone and ipad but haven’t been able to print out the invitation wording. the downside of the cricut is that that most of the fonts have to be printed on a separate printer – this would be fine if i was able to use the program on my macbook. ūüė¶

anyway, the invitations are nearly done and i need to make the custom envelopes since they’re an awkward size.¬†last night i didn’t go to bed until after 1am (working on the invitations again) but felt well-rested when i woke up this morning. penny actually got up for good around 7:50am and her talking roused me from my slumber.

i’ve also been feeling better physically. usually i have difficulty breathing and my acid reflux comes and goes particularly after i eat, but yesterday was the first day in a long time where i did not experience either. i’m feeling rather good today too. maybe it means baby boy has dropped so there’s less pressure on my stomach and lungs. the only that persists is the constipation. it started clearing up a few days ago but then it returned so it has been quite uncomfortable.

we haven’t finished our hospital bags yet (me, mostly because i still need to buy a few more items) but we are going to have the majority of them packed tonight. this is because dennis and i are making a half-day trip up to massachusetts tomorrow to visit my eldest aunt and grandma. my aunt’s health has always been terrible – longtime smoker and doesn’t eat well – but she has deteriorated significantly the last several months. most recently she had shingles to go along with her many other ailments. my mom informed me two days ago that the doctor said my aunt may pass away soon, maybe even that night! well, she hasn’t thankfully… still barely holding on though so dennis and i want to go see her because it may be our last time.

i was never close to my aunt – she only came to the states after i graduated college or maybe a little before that. she also had a tumultuous relationship with my grandpa (rest in peace) and doesn’t get along with my grandma either. simply put, she has a lot of anger and resentment.. and we can only feel bad for her. she was always friendly whenever we visited (even if it was only a front) and she really looked forward to seeing dennis and, of course, penny.

my grandma.. well, she was more like our mother when we were young. she looked after my siblings and me while our parents worked long hours at their dry cleaners, and then later on a restaurant. she will be 96 in april and has lived a very long and illustrious life. she had always been in great health even with her many falls and accidents but her brittle bones couldn’t take any more of those. it looks as if she will be in a nursing home from now on so she doesn’t have the comfort of being in her own home. i wish we could bring penny up to see both my aunt and grandma but i know it wouldn’t be safe health-wise. (i’m being very cautious myself especially when seeing my aunt.)

it’s very difficult to think that my aunt and grandma both don’t have a lot of time left on this earth. i get so caught up in my everyday life worrying mostly about mundane things that i don’t fully¬†appreciate all the good things i have in life until i sit down and really ponder over my day. i still keep a journal and that helps me to recognize and address my thoughts, feelings, and day’s events. it’s not just so i can look back and remember how i had felt or what i had done on a particular day but writing is also very therapeutic because it’s a way for me to acknowledge what i am going through instead of bottling it all up inside.

i keep thinking of the bible verse: “and he said, ‘naked i came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall i return. the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” job 1:21. as i prepare to welcome a baby into this world, i’m also bracing for the departure of my aunt, and maybe even my grandmother later on in the year. i know my aunt is in a lot of pain and may not be entirely coherent but i hope she finds comfort knowing that her family members have, and continue to, visit her and provide company and support.

*update: my mom told me at 3:11pm that my aunt had passed away while my cousin was visiting. i’m very upset i wasn’t able to see her in time. still thinking of going up tomorrow; at least i can see my grandma.

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37 weeks

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brushing our teeth together in the morning

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we went to the kids fun fair held at the xl center in hartford last weekend. it’s definitely more appropriate for older children. penny wasn’t tall enough to go on any of the rides although one of the ride operators let her go on one… but she cried so he let her off.

i had a free adult ticket and child ticket courtesy of dennis’s store but i paid $15 for my mil’s ticket. food and rides are extra. i didn’t think it was worth $15 for the admission price. it wasn’t that big and you wouldn’t spend more than 2 hours there. (the online price of $10 sold out.) still, it was a great experience for penny to see live animals and also feed a llama!

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she was trying to entice the mules with straw

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llamas!

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after she fed the llama some kibble, she freaked out a little bit. she said, “all done!” in korean and wanted nothing more to do with the llama.

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she was fine until the ride started

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uh-oh…

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we got her a balloon to calm her down

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the line to ride the elephant was too long

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she really wanted to go on this ride and had a meltdown when she could not go on.

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adults aren’t allowed on otherwise my mil would’ve ridden with her.

after the fair, we had dinner at grandma’s house where penny always enjoys playing with vintage toys – her dad’s and uncle dan’s! she loves blowing the kazoo!

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caught in the act!

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originally a selfie for grandma

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yesterday was a beautiful day so we ventured outdoors. 

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checking out our reflection in the sewer water

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snack break after “tiny tots.” penny loves to read and sing every tuesday at the library.

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stacking pegs all by herself this morning

on to the next one

by far, the fourth month of penny’s life has been the most eventful. the dreaded sleep regression, huge developmental gains, and a growth spurt. wait, another growth spurt? obviously, babies are constantly growing (penny is wearing size 6 months) but there are certain times where babies go through an extra ‘spurt’, so to speak, where they may sleep longer or less depending on the baby and consume more milk than usual. penny went through her growth spurt for about 2 days (9/24-25). during this time she upped her breast milk intake by 8-10oz. and she was sleeping most of the time. since she slept a lot during the day, she fought bedtime because she was hungry and was going to bed between 8:30-9:30pm during those two nights. growth spurts last between 2-3 days and sometimes up to a week. we were fortunate that penny’s was on the short end.

she loves putting her hands in her mouth!

she loves putting her hands in her mouth!

according to the wonder weeks app, penny’s current leap ends in one day~ hurray! it has been a L-O-N-G leap. granted, i have seen penny grow so much physically and developmentally during this time but i am ready for it to be over. during this time, the app says, “As your baby’s leaps become more intense for her, you will find that it becomes more difficult for you as well. It is normal that you will be more annoyed with her whining behavior, and you may sometimes feel as though you have had enough and occasionally, find yourself desperate for her to hurry through these behaviors.”

SO TRUE! penny has been fussing and whining a lot lately particularly when we are trying to put her down for naps and for bedtime. dennis and i rock her to sleep and we have had to constantly change the speed or the motions to her liking. the other night, i ran out of ideas and just held her closer and started lightly kissing her on the cheek and she finally closed her eyes and stopped whining. when dennis put her down for a morning nap earlier today, he gently blew on her face and she fell asleep. remembering that he did this, i did the same when i put penny down for the night at 6:45pm. we just have to keep being creative and persistent…

she discovered thumb-sucking!

she discovered thumb-sucking!

the past few weeks, penny has been showing a greater interest in her hands. she’s constantly staring at them making her cross-eyed (lol) and sticking them in her mouth. she also never sucked her thumb until a couple of days ago.

daddy & daughter time

daddy & daughter time

a positive about this current leap is that babies also become more fun to be around during the day – don’t forget that sleep regression at night! they become more communicative, responsive, and playful. penny has increasingly become more independent. for a while she has been fine being by herself for 10 minutes in her crib when she wakes up first thing in the morning. she will talk to herself, play with her hands, and smile and laugh at the mobile hanging over her crib. recently, she’s been chilling in her crib for up to 20 minutes! it’s very reassuring to see that penny is comfortable being alone for a certain period of time.

she's so happy!

she’s so happy!

i’ve followed up on my vow of being more active instead of being homebound. i brought penny to church by myself this past sunday even though genie wasn’t able to make it because olivia was still napping. (you will find that your life revolves around their nap schedule.) she sat on my lap during the entire service and was so¬†well-behaved for a baby. it’s natural for babies to fuss and cry, and she did fuss for a little bit because the window for her nap time had passed but i gave her a pacifier and she relaxed. after service, i ate lunch with my friend, alice, and penny was quietly sitting back in the stroller observing her surroundings and smiling when people came to visit her.

penny and i went to the mall today to meet up with genie and olivia.

bff

bff

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yummy godiva cone

yummy godiva cone

the only downside to bringing penny out to places for more than a couple of hours is that she can start getting cranky due to being overtired. every time we come home after church, for example, it becomes a battle trying to put her down for a nap. last week when dennis and i came home after church, penny woke up crying after a half-hour nap. i went upstairs, left the lights off and fed her. then, i rocked her to sleep and she slept for almost 3 hours! we were able to watch the entire patriots game! i’m glad we didn’t just ‘give up’ and bring her back downstairs… not only because we wouldn’t have been able to watch the game (we try our best for penny to avoid screen time) but she really¬†did¬†need to sleep. babies may have a few half-hour naps throughout the day but those naps aren’t restorative at all and may be one of the reasons your little one doesn’t sleep through the night. penny usually takes one long nap (anywhere from 2-3 hours) along with two 30-45 minute naps so she sleeps well at night.

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taken before church on 9/27

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dennis used the monitor to see what we were up to when penny woke up early from her nap last sunday :)

dennis used the monitor to see what we were up to when penny woke up early from her nap last sunday ūüôā

i’ve said it many times before and i’ll say it again.. it definitely helps having mommy friends close by. throughout your life, you’ll find friends entering and leaving your life¬†particularly during big events – college, wedding, baby, etc. sometimes people grow apart due to conflicting interests, distance, or busy schedules. other times, friendships start out of convenience or because you end up going through the same experience together.

often times¬†friendships that deteriorate during important life events is due to one person not being able to relate to the other. recently engaged? well, your single friends just may be resentful of your impending nuptials..¬†first-time parent? your baby-free friends just.cant.understand why you can’t find a sitter and come out for a few drinks. raising a baby really can’t be that hard, right? sure they cry and have poopy diapers, but don’t they eat and sleep most of the time?

during today’s playdate, genie and i discussed how our pre-baby mentality¬†mirrored exactly those of our baby-free¬†friends. both of us are part of a closed motherhood group on facebook with 29,000+ strong members. recently, a¬†member posted how she has been feeling left out because her friends who don’t have kids planned a trip to vegas without her. sure, she probably would not have been able to make it but it still hurt to not have been invited especially by your close friends. yes, our priority is raising a child but we still yearn to have a girls’ night out or a romantic getaway with a significant other without worrying about a baby. parenthood can be lonely especially if most of your friends don’t have children. it’s one reason why many moms are active on facebook – it gives them a peek into what others are doing so we aren’t totally isolated.

friendship is a two-way street and something that constantly needs to be maintained. however, in the defense of first-time parents, we don’t mean to be “bad friends.” we aren’t intentionally trying to cut people out of our lives or ignore your texts and calls… we are simply overwhelmed and exhausted beyond belief. ¬†because of recent supply issues, i have been pumping every 3-4 hours to maintain supply and also store milk since penny’s been having a bottle preference. this means that although penny sleeps anywhere from 7-12 hours straight at night i set alarms to wake up EVERY 3 HOURS so i can pump. and usually i am nodding off while pumping – once, milk started spilling out of the containers because i had dozed off and hadn’t realized that they were full. i wish i could sleep, but i can’t.

okay, so if it’s difficult to go out then how come you’re able to meet up with other moms? first, going out with a baby is a feat in itself and something i’ve slowly become more confident in doing. besides, truth be told, it’s just EASIER to meet up with mom-friends because they GET you. did you plan a get-together¬†but suddenly have to cancel because of a baby-related issue? we totally empathize… whereas other friends may wonder why it warrants a rain check. there is no need to explain anything to one another because we’re going, and have gone, through it. our outings are punctuated with pit stops – feed the baby, change the baby, soothe the baby… i’m not sure non-mommy friends would be as patient or understanding, but i could be mistaken. in all honesty, i guess i’m feeling resentful because there are still “friends” whom i have not spoken to since penny was born… nor have they visited her. i didn’t mean for this post to turn into a rant-fest but it’s something that’s been bugging me for some time. we have friends that live near and far… and many have made the effort to come visit and see how we are doing, but some have not. maybe they’ve been busy these past four months, or perhaps they think they would be a bother but how would you know if you don’t reach out? there’s not much i can do or say besides “come visit!” (which i have plenty of times – you can’t force people to go out of their way to come see you).

the reason why i’m sharing this is because i used to be that person who dismissed other new parents. “oh, they’re boring now and don’t WANT to go out anymore,” or “i don’t understand why you CAN’T go out.” now i see that babies’ awake time is around an hour and a half and we have to plan outings around their naps most of the time. it may seem like i’m being lazy but it’s so much easier for you to come visit me rather than me having to drive with a baby to see you. if the baby is tired, i can just put her down for a nap in her room instead of having to deal with a crying, overtired baby in a noisy, crowded place. would¬†you want to drive with a fussy baby in the back seat by yourself? probably not.

in the meantime, i have been making more of a conscious effort to meet up with friends to keep the friendship alive. i’m grateful for the ones that have been, and continue to, keep in touch to see how the baby and i are doing. as penny gets older, her awake time increases as well as her ability to handle unfamiliar people and environments; but for now making a long-distance trip solo to see friends and family is out of the question.

to all the baby-free peeps, in the words of biggie smalls: if you don’t know, now you know..