just to get by, just to get by…

the title of this post is from a talib kweli song, fyi.

anyway, today was a “snow day.” forecasters had predicted up to 10 inches of snow and most schools closed, but all we received was a few inches of snow; the road is still visible. it was just disappointing because one of our favorite playgroups was canceled so i had to come up with ideas to keep penny entertained at home this morning.

since we hadn’t done any art projects at home lately, i quickly cut up striped tissue paper while penny practiced cutting on a different sheet. then, i gathered other art materials such as a canvas, glue, and a pencil. i drew a heart on the canvas using a pencil and penny squeezed glue on it. i helped her spread the glue out since she likes to squeeze out one giant glob.

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we spent the majority of our morning in the playroom which we hadn’t done in quite some time since penny and i partake in a morning activity every weekday. i always get nervous when i have to be with two kids on my own but it usually ends up being okay – unless penny’s sick or has one of her meltdowns.

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in my last post, i wrote about how penny had started going to the potty on her own. well, she’s still doing it! she will announce she has to go, walk into the bathroom on her own, pull down her pants and underwear and sit down. i was about to put away the small pottys because she had been sitting on the toilet but now i’ll leave them out to encourage her to go by herself.

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we have 4 bathrooms: 2 full and 2 half. she rarely uses the toilet in the master bedroom. in the playroom, we have a toilet seat on top of the toilet and in the upstairs bathroom we just place her on the toilet. she has a potty in her bedroom that she barely uses anymore so we might just put that away until it’s time to potty-train ezra. sometimes i’m still in awe that she’s potty trained. it’s such a huge milestone for toddlers – and definitely not an easy one – but i am so proud of penny. i’m hoping for penny to go to preschool once she turns 3 and having her go to the bathroom on her own is a huge step.

all right, it’s time for both kids to be up so i’ll have to get going. i’m just glad i was able to find time to squeeze in a post so soon after my previous one! i recently started working out again to get ready for my cancun trip so i hope to touch upon that in my next post.

dennis built a fort for the kids last weekend and they loved it. look at ezra’s expressions!

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the every-cheerful ezra. his third tooth broke through last week!

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his favorite song is “곰 새마리” (three bears)

i had wanted a picture of both girls because they wore the same shirt, but, of course, penny wanted no part in it.

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long winter days and nights

i believe in process. i believe in four seasons. i believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. i believe that there’s a growing season. and i think that you realize that in life, you grow. you get better.

~ steve southerland

this quote is so on point. winter can be dreary, depressing, and drags on for what seems like an eternity in new england. and as much as i complain about the cold and being trapped indoors, i do like the snow. it’s so pure, bright, and pretty. i also like how it creates a soft blanket over everything. still, cold weather does not equal snow unfortunately because snow, to me, justifies the frigid temperatures.

 

i used to think winter made me appreciate my favorite season, summer, more but as i grow older, i’m not quite certain about that. i get cold easily even in the summer time so staying warm during winter has its challenges. lately, we’ve had extremely frosty temperatures with wind chills in the negatives. it literally hurt to be outdoors, just to get out of the car and run inside a store. now we are back to “normal” new england winter temperatures although friday was a balmy 60 degrees.

 

saturday, january 13: we beat cabin fever by going to the mall to ride the carousel. this was ezra’s first time riding an animal. the other times, he sat in the seat with grandma.

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friday, january 12. penny enjoyed splashing through the puddles in her hunter boots after a playgroup at a local school. she’s eating goldfish crackers from a cup.

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the warm weather + rain melted most of the snow away on friday

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there actually is a thing called the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder. i feel like i’m much happier during spring and summer when there is more sunlight and warmth. i’m also probably more cheerful during these seasons because we aren’t confined indoors resigned to do the same activities over and over. who knows? maybe if i lived in sunny california, i’d be happy year-round… but nothing is ever perfect. california lately has been besieged with natural disasters such as wildfires and mudslides, so there’s no escaping the force of mother nature.

white christmas! these photos are long overdue!

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this photo was featured on the ig page: moms with cameras

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eating snow!

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it’s been rough over here in the so household for the past couple weeks. the kids had been sick which is no fun for anyone. penny’s congestion finally fully cleared up on wednesday but ezra still has a rattling sound when he breathes. he’s also teething so he’s been incessantly drooling. (his third tooth erupted yesterday.)

our daily struggles mostly concern miss p: being nice and sharing toys with ezra, using words to communicate instead of crying and whining, and eating. p lost nearly a pound while she was sick because of her refusal to eat most foods. now the weight difference between p and ezra are 1.6 lb. i weighed ezra the other day and he was 24.2 lb! i believe some of p’s emotional outbursts are because she’s hangry, but who really knows?! mealtimes have been a battle these days but now that she’s feeling a lot better she’s starting to eat more again.

on a positive note, a big milestone occurred today: penny used the potty on her own for the first time! while i was cooking dinner, penny announced she had to go potty and walked to the bathroom. my in-laws were over for dinner and we all thought penny was just pretending, but when my fil went over to check she had pulled down her pants and had already peed on the potty! when i walked over to see for myself, she had already finished wiping! i’m so proud of this girl!

it’s day 14 of the new year and so much has happened already. ezra is 9 months old; i went to a preschool fair to start preparing penny for preschool; i’m planning ezra’s first birthday (and penny’s 3rd birthday, already!); and preparing for our cancun trip in march! oh, and i also started a book club! that, i will go into detail in my next post. i want to finish this post so i can start reading tonight.

stay warm, friends.

 

welcome, 2018

and just like that, another year has gone by.

in previous years, like millions of other people, my new year’s resolution used to be to lose weight. although i would love to get my post-pregnancy bod back into shape i really want to focus on my emotional and mental state as well as my overall happiness and well-being.

my close mom friends know what i’m talking about because i’ve discussed this with them on many occasions, and they certainly can relate to the emotional and mental toll motherhood can take on you. some of you may wonder what could possibly have such an effect on me when i am blessed to stay home with healthy children who sleep well. that is certainly what my mom and sister wondered aloud when i had a breakdown at my mom’s house a few months ago.

no matter how well your children sleep, you’re always going to be tired. that’s being a parent. i think the chronic tiredness just becomes a part of you until your child moves out. i know i’m always tired because i choose to stay up late. every night i tell myself i’ll go to bed earlier, but i rarely do. if i happened to fall asleep at an earlier time it’s because i fell asleep on the couch while reading a book, trying in vain to update my blog, or while watching netflix. if i don’t stay up, i won’t get the chance to indulge in adult activities such as reading uninterrupted or even just getting to linger over a meal. these are all things i took for granted before i became a mom, and it’s the simple things i yearn for the most.

i’m going to try to put myself first sometimes. or even better, put dennis and myself first over the children.. for certain things. as parents, we sacrifice so much for our children but having a decent meal, for one, shouldn’t be one of them. sometimes i’m too tired to cook because of all the time i spent catering to penny’s ever-changing palate, but take-out isn’t usually healthy nor financially savvy.

i also used to love reading books and was reading a new book every week/every two weeks for a while until i hit a rut again. i got caught up in all of the things i had, and wanted, to do during my downtime like attempting to update my blog! i’ve had to renew two books three times already because i was having difficulty finding time to read. one of the books is the handmaid’s tale and i’m still only a quarter of the way through even though i just renewed it again.

i had also recently gotten a haircut, something i hadn’t done in 14 months(!) and had also recently wrote about. jjust having that done made me feel really good about myself. now i just need to get a massage soon as well as a mani/pedi 🙂

what i really aim to do is just be more h a p p y. this is tricky because you can’t exactly will yourself to be happy, you just have to be. by happiness, i mean… to relax a little, let things go, revel in whatever it is you’re going through, and enjoy life. nowadays with social media, it’s hard to actually enjoy the now because we’re so busy trying to document it for… later. i’m totally guilty of this as well. sometimes i have to restrain myself from whipping out my phone to take yet another picture to add to my library of 15,000 images.

i also have a bad(?) habit of building great expectations… for events, but mostly for people. i can hold a grudge like my life depended on it.. so i want to be more, not really forgiving, but more… understanding, and empathetic. often times i fret over certain friendships and wonder if the effort is really worth it. i feel like i’m usually the one reaching out to certain people, even just to ask how their day was and i just want to stop. i’m tired of wondering how they are. i’m just tired! i want to try to focus on the few great friendships i have instead of trying to cultivate a bunch just to feel like i’m part of a certain group. basically, this calls for me to be more loving to myself.. to be comfortable in my own skin and not feel like i need the validity of others – friends or family.

even with all of these revelations, 2017 was a wonderful year with the most memorable moment being the birth of ezra, our darling boy. it was also a challenging year as our family adjusted to a new family member and also having to endure the newborn demands once again.

it was a huge year for miss penny. not only did she lose her only-child status, but she also got potty trained in a week and a half; night-trained in a week; and begrudgingly gave up her nap/bedtime pacifier all within several weeks of each other. i blamed most of penny’s sudden mood changes and behavioral issues on the “terrible twos” but penny experienced many developmental growths and achieved big milestones (no diapers!)

i definitely can be too hard on penny sometimes. i’m just an impatient person to begin with, and i have a short fuse. maybe it’s because i get easily flustered and frustrated but i find it so difficult to understand, and empathize, with a two-year-old. i feel like a terrible mom most of the time because i get unnecessarily angry and annoyed at her behavior. it’s not like she’s an awful child; she has typical toddler behavior: jealousy over the baby and hangry meltdowns, to name a couple. my reactions sometimes make me wonder how i ever even enjoyed being a teacher until i remember i had specifically chosen elementary over early childhood for the reasons above. (and my experience at home is also why i don’t want to go back to teaching.)

every day i pray for more love, more patience, and more understanding. i want to love myself more so i can teach penny and ezra to love themselves more, too.

2018 – bring. it. on.

[ these are some pictures i took from new year’s weekend in massachusetts. ]

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dessert crepes for dinner at burlington mall

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double duty: cleaning the floor and entertaining little brother

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a “typical” lunch made by my mom

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we forgot yuri’s booties so we used ezra’s socks

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it was stiflingly hot in grandma’s room

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grandpa lee and ezra passing the ball back and forth

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grandpa lee playing the fishing game, one of penny’s favorite christmas gifts

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ezra has been pushing himself forward for a couple of weeks now. he still can’t crawl; he has trouble lifting up his belly so far. he is over 23 lb so maybe weight is one of the reasons! he seems pretty content on moving around this way or just wanting to stand even though he can’t do that on his own.

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ezra on the move!

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step right up and enjoy the ride

“carnivals bring out the child in everyone” ~ unknown

carouselfam

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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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!

baby shower for ezra so

those of you who are connected to me on facebook have seen most of the photos already, but i did want to share the photos on the blogosphere as well so that i have a written account.

the baby shower was held last saturday, february 18th, at our home and was lovingly, and fantastically, organized by my good friend, genie. somehow, she found the time to create the decorations by hand (including a tissue paper leaf garland that she sewed together using a sewing machine) balancing both work and motherhood full-time. in addition, she also made the adorable onesies and t-shirts for the little guests as well as the wooden teething rings for the babies and moms-to-be. everything was so adorable and fit the woodland theme. my friend, katie, also made the cupcakes and grace brought a helium tank and balloons.

i’m really glad genie came over around 10:30am to start setting up because we needed the extra time even though the shower didn’t start until 3:30pm. penny was really clingy that day and showing a lot of “stranger danger” so i couldn’t do much to help in the beginning but take care of her while dennis started setting up and also getting ready to go pick up the food, drop off our dog at his parents’ house, and pick up a few last-minute items. katie, mike, and grace also all came over early to help.

it really touched me to see our friends travel from all over to help us celebrate another baby. initially i had planned on having two showers: one in ct and one in boston like i did with penny but i didn’t want to overdo it. friends reassured me that if people really want to come they will travel even if it’s far. and travel they did. i even had a friend who’s due the week after me travel all the way from new hampshire! i was also excited to see my mom, my sister, jen, and her boyfriend, brendan, especially since they were the only ones to attend the shower from my family.

i hope you enjoy seeing the photos from my shower. 🙂 my wish is for ezra to see this blog post someday and realize how much love and support he had gotten already from his family and friends though he had yet to make an appearance.

7 more weeks until we see you, baby boy!

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felt flowers sewn together hanging from a real branch along with “ezra”

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what i love about the decor is that we can reuse them in the nursery

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sweet cupcakes by katie

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birch tree twigs by genie

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i made the cheese spread the night before and grace set everything up!

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the whistle for willie book is there because it’s by ezra jack keats

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handmade teething rings and onesie

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cute signs and clothes to go along with the theme

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gifts for the little ones

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toddlers also got an egg shaker

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treats for the adults

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a curtain of greens and baby’s breath

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pic of the set-up crew 

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waiting for the guests to arrive

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my sister made a diaper motorcyle

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mama-to-be hanna and her husband, yuri

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sisters, elaine and alice, with their sons, jj and ethan

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jen and mom

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love the kingsley’s

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loving the attention from her grandmas who wore strangely matching outfits

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mom and brendan

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group game: match baby animal to the adult

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game for men: blow up a balloon, tie it, stuff it under shirt, and bend & snap!

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rob won (he’s snapping)

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always the goofball

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look at that belly!

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penny received a few gifts as well

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penny checking out her brother’s clothes while miss cali helps us open gifts

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we had such a wonderful time with our family and friends, but am glad the shower is over. it’s always a lot of work prepping for an event. but, much of the credit goes to genie since she spent so much time (and money) making the decor and creating sweet details.

thanks to everyone who was involved and to all those that came. we feel the love!

 

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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