celebrate good times

there have been many things to celebrate recently – two weddings and a first birthday party. although both weddings occurred in october i haven’t had the time nor energy (mostly energy) to organize and edit photos for a blog post.

the so family leaves for maryland tomorrow for a family vacation and that’ll be another post in itself when we return; so if i don’t post the wedding and birthday pictures i’ll never get around to them.

on october 15, we attended our friends’, alice and john’s, wedding. dennis was the best man and penny was the flower girl. we were nervous about penny walking down the aisle since she still is so young. i brought her lovey and lots of snacks to help coax her down the aisle, but in the end all it took was one cracker. i did try having her walk down by herself but she was understandably nervous with everyone’s eyes on her. in hindsight i wish i had walked ahead of her so i wasn’t in any of the photos. but we are just relieved she didn’t cry or run away.

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my friend, katie, captured us walking down the aisle

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matron of honor and best man 🙂

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traditional korean ceremony “paebaek”

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what’s a wedding without some photobooth fun?

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alice & john’s rehearsal dinner / ethan’s 100th day

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family photo

penny also only attended the ceremony. my mil took her back for her nap and dennis and i moved on to the reception. we were able to enjoy ourselves more not having to chase penny around, keep her entertained, and trying to feed her at the table. eternally grateful to have dennis’ parents nearby.

the next wedding was for esther and tony on october 29. they are our friends from church so john was in attendance too (two weeks after his own wedding!) but alice had to work. interestingly enough, both weddings we attended were morning weddings. i’m fairly certain i have never been to a morning wedding before. the best part about a morning wedding is you still have time to relax when you get home. in both cases actually dennis and i ended up passing out earlier than usual.

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16 weeks pregnant in this photo

it was lovely having an excuse to get dressed up and go out. dennis and i had been long overdue for a night out so those two weddings were a great way for us to enjoy time with friends without worrying about a baby. although we had fun, we were so tired that we just looked forward to going home!

many of my friends had babies in 2015 so there were a lot of first birthday parties this year. i attended the final one for this year this past sunday in massachusetts. thankfully, my mil was able to watch penny and i made the 1.5 hour drive each way to celebrate bowdin’s first year of life.

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cute touches by the crafty mama

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min MADE these forever cacti favors..

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she chose the stethoscope!

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dr. gianforti

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homemade cake along with felt flower toppers min made herself

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such a good idea to use pearls!

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yes, homemade cupcakes too

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the birthday party was fun and it was so cute to see all the of the special details my friend, min, put into it. best of all, it’s over! it’s always a relief when the first birthday is done and over with… all those months of planning..

min lives in maine so i rarely see her. the last time i saw her was at penny’s first birthday back in may. i hope someday we can make it work where our little girls can play while the mommies catch up. someday soon.

 

 

 

fourth of july weekend

happy birthday, usa!

the us celebrated its 240th birthday on monday.  july 4, 1776 – when the united states achieved independence from the tea-sipping brits. it’s actually quite surprising how relatively young our country is (although it really has been around for many, many years). i’m proud to be raising penny in the states where it is still seen as the land of opportunity and the land of hope. the world is moving at at even faster pace with life-changing inventions and innovations. it’s an amazing time to be alive, and i can’t wait for penny to take full advantage of what life has to offer us.

with that said, i was eagerly anticipating this year’s 4th of july because we had planned a family outing to elizabeth park in hartford. the rose garden, a very popular spot for pictures and picnics, is still very much in bloom, and penny is currently loving to touch everything particularly flowers, leaves, and pine needles.

after penny’s last nap, we drove down to hartford with the in-laws to have dinner at ichiban, a korean-japanese restaurant. penny did well (for a while) sitting in the high chair because she was busy looking around to check out other people and the restaurant itself. when she got fidgety, my mil took her to look at the fish in the fish tank and that kept her preoccupied while the rest of us finished our dinner. it takes a village!

afterwards, we went to elizabeth park to walk around and take pictures. we tried to recreate a picture of dennis and his brother, dan, (when they were around 2 and 4 years old)  sitting in front of the flowers by placing penny in the same spot but she wasn’t in the mood to take pictures. we had to sing a few songs to get her attention but she didn’t really smile. oh well.

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she did, however, enjoy walking around (with our assistance) and even ran a few times. she also surprised us by standing on her own for about ten seconds or more on a few occasions. she was afraid though so we helped her sit down. xD after walking around the rose garden, we enjoyed watermelon and cantaloupe before checking out the ducks in the pond. penny started getting fussy so we knew she was tired.

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after we got home and penny was in bed, the rest of us enjoyed cake that i made for my fil’s birthday. his actual birthday is on the 8th but we decided to celebrate it early since my mil works that day until 6pm. in korean culture, the 70th birthday is a huge milestone. (it used to be 60 but since life expectancy is longer than ever before, the age changed to 70.) my fil is more of a private person and keeps to himself so he definitely didn’t want a fancy gala – he just wanted a low-key dinner with us. we are hoping dan and crystal will be able to come up from maryland this upcoming weekend to help celebrate his actual birthday together. we know it’s tough for them to take time out of their schedule to come visit (even though they wish they could!) since crystal is taking two summer classes and dan is busy with church, but we hope we see them, at least, once this summer!

*edit – dan and crystal ARE coming up this weekend~ hooray!

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a former colleague shared a recipe for blueberry zucchini cake with lemon buttercream (from a blog) and i decided to make that. i LOVE lemon and it sounded like a perfect summer cake. it turned out even better than i had expected – the recipe is definitely a keeper! i hope you enjoy it as much as we did 🙂

 

diy cake smash photo shoot

when you have a baby, the costs keep adding up. there are the necessary everyday items like diapers, but then there are also optional luxuries such as having professional photos done for your child. like many parents, we opted to do the newborn photo shoot because 1) we wanted high-quality images of penny, and 2) we didn’t mind splurging for our first child. (i’d like to think we’d be as generous with our subsequent children.)

dennis and i didn’t truly appreciate the work that photographers go through for the newborn photo shoot until we were at the studio. i mean, how hard could it be taking pictures of a sleeping newborn? thing is, newborns don’t sleep all the time and they have to be asleep for certain poses. our photographer cranked the heat up in the studio and was constantly feeding penny so she’d be sleepy and full. also, babies are diaperless during these photos so you can imagine what a lot of milk and no diapers can do during picture time!

as much as we love the newborn photos and now know how much work goes into baby photo shoots, we still couldn’t justify paying upwards of $700+ for the cake smash session. a baby’s first birthday is a significant occasion in general but in the korean culture, it is a huge deal. with the big guest list, traditional tie-ins such as the doljabi and hanbok, entertainment for the younger crowd, favors, and food the final total can go into the thousands, sometimes tens of thousands (eek!) in the end, we asked our friend, john, who has a really nice canon to take family photos and pictures of penny for her cake smash. that left dennis and i to arrange the “home studio.”

we chose the basement aka penny’s playroom for the space because it’s spacious and has a lot of natural light. fyi, natural light is your best friend. it’s okay to use both natural and artificial light but, if possible, you want to take photos near big picture windows to ensure the photos come out their absolute best. we chose to have penny’s photo session take place around 3:30pm (after her last nap so she has a long window of awake time). we also decided to use the wall facing the windows for optimal light since the sun sets in that direction.

word of advice: have, at least, one other person present during the photo shoot. i recommend two people though. while the photographer (could be you) is taking pictures of the baby, there needs to be someone distracting the baby by making noises and trying to make them smile and face the camera. also, when you’re doing multiple outfit changes it helps to have extra hands to do the job super quick. while john took the photos, his wife, alice, helped set up the different backdrops. remember: your baby will get agitated sooner or later so you have to make sure you allow plenty of time, but also give yourselves a break! we stopped for a short while so penny could have some milk – don’t forget, they’ll be hungry so have snacks and milk ready!

also, the photo shoot could take more than one day. i ended up taking pictures of penny with my iphone 6 a few days later so i could have more pictures of her, smiling. during the original photo shoot whenever dennis and i made noises for her to smile, she’d end up looking at us. thankfully, dennis’ mom came over to help with wardrobe changes and using props to get penny’s attention. these pictures turned out great too! i was worried about the quality of the iphone photos but i think the natural light helped immensely. all of the photos of her smiling were taken with my iphone!

okay, onto to the preparation of the home studio. i did a lot of research and saw that people purchased a big roll of bulletin board paper or craft paper for the backdrop. some used white (blank canvas and makes the photos super bright) while others opted for colored backgrounds. dennis and i went to jo-ann fabrics to see what we could find and we were pumped to see that they had a faux wood bulletin board paper! the ones that some people were using were 52 inches wide and ours was 48. just a few inches short but the width does make a difference because it determines how close/far you can take your pictures since you don’t want the wall to show. try to make sure you can find a width that’s 48 inches or more.

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make sure you tape the backdrop up high and without cutting it, roll it out so the floor is covered too.

i made the ‘one’ banner and hung it low so it would show in the picture. have a few decorations and/or banners on hand so you can have a variety of “looks.” i saved a fringe banner from last year’s baby shower, made the ‘one’ banner, bought balloons, and saved paper fans from my baby shower and penny’s 100th day celebration.

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how it looks close-up

 

for the smash cake, i decided to make a giant cupcake. i purchased a giant cupcake pan from amazon and it’s around $15.

i referred to this blog post, and it was really helpful. the only thing i have to gripe about is how much cake batter was left over. the ingredients ask for 2 boxes of yellow cake mix and you end up using about half, maybe a little more. i suppose you could just make more cake or cupcakes with it but after spending all morning making and prepping the smash cake i didn’t even want to eat the remnants.

anyway, if you don’t feel like opening up another link i’ll post the ingredients here:

ingredients and supplies

  • 2 Boxes of Yellow Cake Mix
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 Package Jello-O Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 1 c. oil
  • 2 c. water
  • giant cupcake mold
  • cooking spray
  • glass bowl
  • hand mixer
  • 1 lb. candy melts
  • long knife
  • 2 cans of frosting or homemade buttercream frosting (i opted to make frosting – recipe in included in post.)
  • *food coloring (only if you’re making the frosting – i used wilton)

i poured 2.5 cups of batter in the cone portion (left side) and 3.5 cups in the bottom part of the cupcake (right side).

when it’s done, let them cool in pan for 15 minutes and transfer over to a wire rack to cool completely.

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after they cool, level the raised parts of both the cone and the bottom portion of the cupcake. the bottom photo was taken before i did that. notice how the cone isn’t perfect? i used frosting later on to cover it up and faced that part away from the camera.

with the knife, you also want to slice off the ridges of the bottom part so that it fits into the candy mold later on. you will see what i’m talking about in the next picture.

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this candy mold for the bottom part of the cupcake is optional but it has a much better presentation than if the cupcake was just shown with the cake bottom.

the blog post says to put the candy melts (most of the bag) in a microwaveable bowl and melt the candy for 30 seconds in 3 intervals. i found that two times sufficed for me because the candy was too watery the third time around and wouldn’t coat the sides of the pan to create a thick shell.

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i purchased these from party city

after the candy is melted, pour it into the bottom part of the cupcake mold and make sure to coat the sides. if it looks too thin, you may need to harden the candy and try melting it again. i learned that the hard way. after refrigerating the shell for 40 minutes, i saw that it was way too thin to even take out of the mold so i had to scrape the shell off and redo it.

okay, so after the melted candy is in the mold put it in the fridge for, at least, 40 minutes so that it’s solid. then, turn the mold upside down and gently tap it… it should slide out easily!

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see how the candy walls are thick?

then, gently place the bottom part of the cupcake (with the ridges sliced off) into the mold. i had to keep taking the cupcake out to trim it even more because it was too big to fit into the mold. keep playing around with it.

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ta-da! it finally fit! see how much better the cupcake looks with a candy mold???

after i finished making the frosting, i put in one drop of the pink food coloring. the color i desired was a light pink so i wanted to start off slowly. be aware that food coloring can deepen over time so you want to start with one drop and then slowly add more. you can always make the frosting darker but you would need to add (and then make more) frosting to make it lighter. i only ended up using two drops!

here is the recipe for the frosting, borders & writing (if you’re into all that). i got it from my baking instructor.

icing

  • 1/2 c. crisco
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 4 tb. warm water
  • 1 lb. domino 10x confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbs. corn starch

mix everything but sugar and corn starch.

add sugar slowly, and then corn starch. mix until smooth.

add food coloring drop by drop.

 

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IMG_6036and, viola! i took a cake decorating class at jo-ann fabrics a few years ago. sadly, i forget most of the techniques but the rosette is not hard to do at all. i just practiced a few of them on the plastic pad that i got with my decorating kit.

*note: if you want bigger rosettes, you want to use a bigger tip. mine took a while to do and the frosting was hard to squeeze out because i had used a lot of powdered sugar. more sugar, more stiffness.

please give yourself plenty of time to bake the cake, make the frosting, and set it up. ideally, it would be best to do the photo shoot in the afternoon so your child is well-rested and you have more time to get ready. dennis took care of penny in the morning but i still got up around 7am to prep and bake the cake. i was still working on it three hours later! i also didn’t put the frosting on until a half hour before the shoot, and we took pictures of it during penny’s nap.

it’s kind of sad to see your hard work get destroyed, but hey, it’s a cake smash! i admit, it was fun to see penny get mystified by the cake and then hesitantly touch it. she didn’t go all out as we had hoped but we still got some good pictures!

remember to have fun… and relax!

enjoy the pictures!

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let go, and let God

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d-18 until penny’s party! i think it’s safe to say that the majority of 2016 was spent agonizing over the details of penny’s first birthday. for the most part, i’ve completed the dol towers – all 3 of them – but i still need to do the tops. i need a break from those for now, and there are other pressing matters that i need to attend to.

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for instance, this saturday my friend, mouy, and i were going to make a day trip up to boston to drop some decor off at my parents’ house. dennis and i already have so much to bring up (i.e pack and play, stroller, etc.) the day before the party so we wanted to make sure we have enough room in the car. i had to postpone this trip because i realized that my idea for a backdrop isn’t going to work because it’ll be too big to transport even in an suv. so, i was left scrambling for alternative ideas. genie assisted in helping narrow down the options, and saturday will be spent (hopefully) starting and completing the backdrop with the help of two friends!

a lot has happened since the last post. penny’s first tooth is finally trying to break through! we can see, and feel, the top of a tooth on her bottom gum. she’s been fussy during the daytime lately but usually during mealtimes. she’d rather play than sit in a high chair… she’s still sleeping very well at night so we haven’t noticed any changes (thank goodness).

penny had also outgrown her car seat a while ago but we kept putting off purchasing a convertible seat because we figured she would be okay until her first birthday. but then we noticed her feet were sticking out from the car seat more than they had been, and we read an article that a fellow parent had shared in a parenthood group on facebook about switching to convertible seats sooner rather than later. dennis had taken a picture from the newest edition of the baby bargains book and the britax boulevard clicktight was the best-rated of the bunch, so we went with that. it arrived yesterday and we can tell penny is already much more comfortable in it. we already took her to the pool for a family swim, cheesecake factory for dinner, and to the grocery store.


our friends, esther and william, came down from massachusetts with baby olivia (aka ollie) to visit us a few weeks ago. this is olivia k., not olivia g. (genie’s “olivia.” 😀 – a very popular name this year!) it was super sweet of them to make that drive to come see us and we all had a wonderful time. we joked that the boys seemed to enjoy the play date the most but in all seriousness i think they did. they played table tennis, ps4, and basketball while esther and i … played with the babies -_- no, but still, i’m glad dennis had fun because he doesn’t really get to “play” much and i enjoyed my time with esther just having girl talk.

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dennis’ 31st birthday was on the 17th and he spent the day golfing with his buddies. he ended up being late for a family dinner but he had had a great day, so that’s all that matters.

after an enjoyable weekend with friends, dennis and i realized how we need to take more time to take care of ourselves, and have fun too. as much as penny is the light of our lives, we can’t forgot to “treat” ourselves and go out once in a while without her. yes, we’ve been on a few vacations since penny was born but a date night needs to happen more often. being home with penny all day, i sometimes forget how deprived i am of adult interaction. thankfully, my in-laws live nearby so usually they can take care of penny if i have dates with friends.

i was able to catch up with two friends that i worked with a few years ago. one recently got married and the other is getting married in july. we went out for happy hour and just laughed and laughed about our teaching experiences.. while also griping about the education system.

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i guess i’ll make light of it even though it’s a heavy topic but i got laid off recently. connecticut, like all of the other states, has had a major cut in their budgets for schools so teachers are getting laid off and schools are closing. the town that i’m working in laid off 17 teachers (it actually became 15 because 2 resigned) and may even close one elementary school. it’s all by seniority and i missed the cut-off date by two months. truthfully, i was upset (and shocked) and even cried although i had been feeling ambivalent about returning in the fall. it’s more of a pride thing, you know?

so many friends, and of course dennis above all, have been sending love and offered encouraging words like how i get to spend even more time with penny. plus, i can always work somewhere else. two teachers have been rehired in the meantime and i’m actually third in line to be called back so there’s a possibility. i fervently believe everything happens for a reason so i’m letting go, and letting God.

oh! another important event occurred that weekend: penny’s cake smash! i’ll actually not go into too much detail here because it’ll end up being a l o n g post with a plethora of pictures.. so i’ll save that for the next post, but.. it went well and i’m glad it’s done and over with! i’ll share a few pictures here for those that were not able to view them on facebook. again, i’ll go into specifics in the next post and share how i created a “home studio” and made a giant cupcake. we saved a lot of money this way!

until then, enjoy these adorable pictures 🙂

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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…

valentine’s day + penny’s 9 months

happy 9 months to penny! she’s 3/4 of the way to being a one-year-old!

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this past month has been a whirlwind! penny is keeping us on our toes 🙂 she’s always been a fairly active baby, but now that she’s moving around we have to keep a close watch on her. she’s sooo close to crawling but hasn’t quite gotten the mechanics down yet. she does, however, creep around. that’s a weird word – creep, but that’s what it’s called when a baby moves around on her belly, and penny goes forward, backward, and all around. she does lift up her belly and bend her knees so she’s getting there!

she also goes from a sitting position directly to her belly so we aren’t always placing her on her stomach to do tummy time and practice. plus, she sleeps on her tummy so when she’s awake in her crib she’ll practice moving around as well.

penny is eager to see and touch everything as is evidenced in the photos below.

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she had her check-up today and thankfully no vaccines were involved. she did get her big toe pricked for a hemoglobin test but she was fine! she just sat there looking around =D she also had a vision and hearing test – she passed both – and got measured and weighed: 27 3/4 inches long and 19 lb. 2 oz. respectively. i was surprised at her height though because she was 27 inches at her 6-month appointment; i thought she’d be a lot taller especially since she’s wearing size 12 months. still, happy that she’s growing and is healthy.

we asked our pediatrician about penny’s eczema. she’s had it for almost a month now, i’d say. at first, it started off as tiny patches behind her knees and near her inner elbows, but then they increased in size. she also had a little patch on her chest (gone now) and now she has spots on her thighs and armpit area. 😦 they don’t seem to bother her as she’s sleeping well and not being fussy during the day but it makes me sad.

at a friend’s suggestion we started apply aquaphor and it helped a lot. however, sometimes it would flare up again; i thought it might be a food allergy so i cut out certain foods like yogurt, eggs, and peanut butter but when i slowly reintroduced them there weren’t any flare-ups. there was a flare-up when we applied coconut oil to the problem areas per my mil’s suggestion. then, i thought she might be allergic to coconuts but i ate coconut almond yogurt the other day and penny was unaffected. (whew.) it just might have been too greasy for her skin… i guess?

penny takes a bath every night as part of her bedtime routine so instead of bathing her with soap, some nights we will just splash her with lukewarm water. this seems to have helped because taking baths can be very drying for the skin especially during the wintertime. we also slather her in burt’s bees body lotion. aquaphor 3x a day and lukewarm water baths have worked thus far *fingers crossed

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penny in our backyard

we had a lot of snow last week. the groundhog (for groundhog’s day) had predicted an early spring but look at us now! december had record-breaking mild weather and we’re making up for it in february. this past weekend’s weather broke records in the new england area as well but for frigidity, not warmth: nights, and parts of the days were in the negatives! walking yuri was brutal and usually she wants to linger outside but after she did her business, she ran back to our house. no complaints there.

although it was too cold for walks, we did go outside in our backyard for a few minutes on the days that were in the 30s just so we could get fresh air.

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this picture reminds me of old-school korea

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penny’s first time touching snow. you can tell from her facial expressions that she’s not a big fan of the cold white stuff. it was good snow too; the kind you can pack into snowballs.

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i LOVE to do arts & crafts – i have bins and bins full of different kinds of paper, stickers, and all sorts of goodies from michael’s. valentine’s day, of course, called for some crafting!

dennis, penny, and i made valentine’s cards for some friends and family. we used ink pads to make thumb people on the cards and i wrote “thumb-body loves you!” i can’t take credit for this cute idea since i found it on pinterest, but the layout of the cards i did myself – definitely not hard to do.

the cutout paper hearts were easy but they were a leftover decoration from my baby shower (made by genie) and i had saved them, yay! i also used 4 different crafting scissors to cut out the card and give each one an individual look.

dennis held penny’s thumb while i pressed it onto pink, gold, and silver inkpads to make a thumb baby. dennis and i took turns stamping our thumbs as well. i had a lot of fun making the thumb-people as you can see! ^0^

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another project that i did was making footprint art. my mil was here to help me with this one. she held penny while we dipped her foot in paint and then i firmly planted it onto scrapbook paper. we tried to do handprint art but it didn’t turn out well.

again, cute ideas via pinterest!  i gave the butterfly one to my mil because that one also had a polaroid of her and penny. 🙂

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when genie and olivia came over a few weeks ago, we also did crafts together. genie had prepped these canvasses back in december for a future art project. since we already had done two christmas crafts together – mistletoes and handprint ornaments – we decided to save them. genie has this cool embossing kit so the word “love” is textured.

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a lot of wipes were used during this project! we used their handprint and footprints to help spell the word “love”. i’m sad i don’t have a picture of the finished product for both canvasses but it makes an appearance in a valentine’s day picture i took of penny.

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i used black paint for the letters “l” and “e” and i also decorated it using more paper hearts made by genie, a pink fuzzball tassle, and writing penny’s name along with the year using letter and number stamps.

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penny also got a mickey mouse microphone as a valentine’s gift from daddy! it plays music and lets you speak into it when you hold down a ‘talk’ button.

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penny was fascinated when my voice came out of the microphone. i had her try it out and she tried by licking it, hahaha.

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lucky penny also received a gift from her grandparents! leapfrog came out with a new toy recently. it resembles a bingo or lotto wheel but when you spin it, and a letter lands on the arrow it tells you the letter, the animal and sound, or plays music depending on the mode. penny really likes to spin wheels so this is a great gift.

she’s so funny.. she recognizes cute animals and figures so when we hold up dolls, she goes nuts especially over miffy, a bunny. the animal above is a blue elephant that my friend, ben, bought for her.

it’s also cute that penny’s hair is long enough to tie back into pigtails.

this should be another busy week! a friend may stop by tomorrow for lunch and on thursday we have two play dates. one friend and her 14-month-old daughter will stop by for lunch as they drive home to massachusetts from new jersey. later in the afternoon, penny and i will go to genie’s house and work on olivia’s dol (first birthday) preparations as well as getting things underway for a friend’s baby shower in may.

it’s also dennis’ short weekend thus his long weekend 😀 no big plans this weekend as of yet; just looking forward to relaxing together. we are huge fans of the walking dead and the mid-season premiere was this past sunday. it started off with a bang! can’t wait to see it next sunday!

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baby food

penny loves food!

we had a bit of a rough start at 5 months but she wasn’t ready for solids then. and her first food was avocado which is a hit-or-miss because of its texture. since she didn’t take too well with solids we opted to wait until she was 6 months to try again.

she was more curious and receptive this time. before we reintroduced solids, i would have penny sit in her inglesina chair and play with a spoon to have her get used to mealtimes. some babies really hate being spoonfed but penny loves it. she also likes to feed herself and i put a little yogurt on the spoon and have her try it out.

she loves food so much that she yells with impatience sometimes when we don’t feed her fast enough! recently, she began saying, “맘마!” (or, mam-ma) which is a cute korean term for saying “food.”

she also makes noises and flails her hands when she wants water from her sippy cup.

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nuk sippy cup 

i’m glad she takes well to a sippy cup but she isn’t drinking on her own yet. she’ll hold the handles and lift the cup up to her mouth but doesn’t yet know that she has to tilt her head back to help get the water out.

since she likes to feed herself, we also give her a variety of crackers and yogurt melts to munch on as 간식, or snack.

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we get the happybaby brand but they’re all similar

penny initially didn’t like the yogurt melts because the freeze-dried snacks have a distinct texture. i tried them and when they brush against my teeth, i get a small shiver like i’d get from nails on a chalkboard. i’m sure my analogy really doesn’t help the case for the yogurt snacks but they are good!

here are some other snacks that penny likes to eat on her own:

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she used to LOVE the puffs (and the star shape makes it easy for babies to pick them up) but ever since she began snacking on lil crunchies and the teething wafers, she doesn’t like the puffs as much anymore. she’ll eat them if you place them in her mouth but she won’t pick them up on her own usually.

the lil crunchies and the wafers, she’ll grab without hesitation and stick them in her mouth! the wafers are big so i break them up into smaller pieces.

here’s a comprehensive list of all the foods penny has tried so far:

fruits

  • pears (anjou and korean)
  • apple
  • apricot
  • banana
  • avocado
  • honeydew melon
  • peach
  • pineapple
  • prunes

vegetables

  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • butternut squash
  • sweet potato (korean and american)
  • peas
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • green beans

meats

  • beef
  • chicken

grains

  • macaroni and cheese
  • bread
  • apple cinnamon cheerios
  • rice, 누룽지 (scorched rice), and 닭죽 (chicken rice porridge)
  • oatmeal cereal

other

  • egg
  • cheese
  • peanut butter
  • yogurt: banana, mango, apple, blueberry, and apple/sweet potato
  • prune juice diluted with water or breast milk

penny is a very good eater but even she has favorites. her all-time favorite for fruits is pear especially anjou pear, and apple (golden delicious) is a close second. i mix pear or apple with new veggies so she’ll get used to the taste since babies tend to like fruit more than veggies as they’re sweeter.

she also has a great appetite for yogurt – all flavors!

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yogurt!

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yum! annie’s mac & cheese!

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she tried broccoli for the first time yesterday and i mixed in a little pear puree. for her second serving at dinner later that day, i gave it to her straight up and she devoured it. one food she doesn’t really like, besides the avocado, is green beans because it has a strong taste. i definitely mix in fruit when i give her green beans as she will only take a few bites by itself. another is bananas but, again, it could’ve been the texture. i followed a recipe from a baby recipe book and it said to mash the banana and saute it in butter. since penny doesn’t have teeth yet it was hard for her to eat and she didn’t seem too fond of it.

since penny is eating more solids, she gets constipated now and then even with breast milk and water. i aim to give penny, at least, 24 oz of breast milk a day along with 3-4 oz water. it seems as if she’s been going through a growth spurt lately (hunger + sleepiness) so she’s eating a lot more solids and milk. for constipation per a friend’s advice i mix in about half an ounce to an ounce of prune juice with her milk. i tried mixing juice with her water and she hated it. other that that, i don’t offer juice at all – too much sugar.

this is the baby food maker that i use, and i love it! i got it as a gift from one of my showers.

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you can have both sides steaming food at the same time, but only the right side can puree. you can see the blade in the above photo.

it’s so convenient! i chop up food, pour water into the reservoir, press the steam button (cloud), and it’s done in 15-20 minutes! then i use the spatula to lift up the food basket, dump the contents into the pitcher and turn the silver button to the right (note the arrow) to puree. the water from the steaming process drips out into the bottom of the pitcher so you can leave as much as needed for your food when you blend.

slide the spatula through the slots of the basket to lift it up. this helps so the steam doesn’t burn you! tilt the basket to empty the contents into the pitcher to blend.

notice the hole on the food maker? that’s the reservoir. the pitcher has markings 1, 2, and 3. you pour water up to 1 to reheat food, 2 is for fruits, and 3 is for veggies. (i heat up baby food using the microwave as it’s faster.) then you pour the water into the reservoir for the steaming process.

meal times are a long process – it basically takes up her entire wake time when she first awakes in the morning, but it’s also fun seeing her reaction when she eats. she’s so happy!! also, it gives me a chance to eat alongside her at a normal pace instead of shoving food into my mouth any chance i get (which i recall doing for the first half of her life).

currently, i offer 5 oz. of breast milk when she wakes up but she doesn’t usually drink it all in one sitting. then, she eats 2 cubes of fruit + veggie, 2 T of yogurt, and 1 T of oatmeal cereal. i don’t offer the yogurt or cereal every day now because of constipation; i substitute yogurt and/or cereal with helpings of other fruits + veggies. i also offer finger snacks so she can keep practicing her fine motor skills (and because she’s so ravenous first thing in the morning).

before her first nap, i offer 4 oz. of breast milk with whatever milk was left over from the previous feed. she doesn’t drink the same amount every day so i offer her milk throughout the day.

after the first nap, she’s offered 5 oz again. then an hour later she’ll have lunch: 2 cubes of fruit + veggies and snacks. before her last nap, she’s offered 4 oz. of milk.

after her last nap, she’s offered 4 oz. of milk. sometimes she isn’t hungry right after waking up so we keep offering it to her during playtime. about two hours after wake-up we offer about 3-4 oz and then have dinner (2T of meat + veggies or 2 T of veggies, 1 T of fruit, and snacks. depending on hunger cues, we’ll up her servings by a tablespoon.)

before bedtime, she will have 5-6 oz of milk and then it’s lights out.

i just try to keep her full by attempting to reach the minimum daily intake of 24 oz of milk along with solids. this, i think, helps her sleep well too for naps and bedtime.

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penny’s reaction when she’s about to eat