boston, you’re my home

we are at the tail end of a heat wave. the low-to-mid 90-degree weather has been occurring since last thursday and today should be the last day before thunderstorms supposedly arrive on friday. it’s not the heat that drives me insane as summer is my favorite season; it’s the humidity. penny’s constantly asking to go outside and yuri has to go out twice a day so we’re out there fairly often. it’s rough when the air feels like a brick wall on your chest and you just stepped outside..

lately, we’ve been forgoing the lunchtime walk because it’s unbearable and unsafe… but that means we have to pass the time doing something else. penny’s been on-the-go the past few months and she’s getting tired of all her toys. we don’t want to keep buying more toys that she will get bored with after a few weeks but there isn’t much to do to pass the time. she does like to use push toys and walkers but now she only uses it for a few minutes before moving onto something else. most recently, she’s been pushing the ikea high chair around the house.

ever since we brought penny to the bounce house and found that she loved playing with the push car, we bought her one from once upon a child, a baby consignment store. dennis purchased a fisher price elephant push car for $15 (retail price: $45)! he also chose a dump truck that makes noises, a crane, and a fisher price toy car. i’m glad he picked those toys out because i want penny’s toys to be well-rounded: cars and trucks aren’t just for boys! plus, she shows no interest in dolls just stuffed animals.

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trying out her push car for the first time at the lee grandparents’ house

my mil and i brought penny and yuri to henry park tuesday afternoon to play in the splash pad and playground. usually water & walking keep penny happy and yesterday was no exception. it’s funny though because we bought penny a water table — one that’s a best-seller on amazon — and she barely uses it. same with the plastic pool (and she has one at the grandparents’ house too). for penny to truly enjoy water play, she has to be in an actual swimming pool (not even in a float) or be under a sprinkler. this is why she loves the splash pad and she also enjoyed being in a wading pool this past weekend. hopefully she grows to like the water table as it was expensive…

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she absolutely loved being in the kiddie pool at henry park. there’s a separate pool for babies and young children (it’s about a 1.5 foot high) and penny kept wanting to be in the swimming position (on her belly) but it was difficult for us to bend over and keep her that way. she threw a fit when we stood her upright. we had to leave after ten minutes anyway because yuri was with us – no dogs allowed. so.. next time at least one of us will wear a swimsuit and we’ll leave yuri at home.

so, i started trying the one-nap method again on tuesday after penny skipped her afternoon nap on monday. she had woken up at 6:30am after sleeping for 12 hours. she made it to 11am for her nap without a meltdown BUT only slept for just over an hour like the last attempt.. ahh.. so, she had a long awake time before bed last night but she slept 6:50pm-6am. on wednesday, she went down for her nap at 11am – again, without a meltdown – so that’s a good sign that she’s ready for the one-nap transition. i just have to keep in mind that it’s a painful and slow process so i need to slowly push the nap without making miss p overtired. i’ve also been feeding her a snack/early small lunch before her 11am nap so her stomach is full since i hope for her to sleep until 1pm.

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this past weekend, we went to boston and brought penny to the museum of science. we purchased a membership which means we can get discounted or free admission to over 400 museums/science centers/zoos all over the world! the lutz children’s museum is one of them.. sadly (and surprisingly) the science museum in west hartford is not. it made sense to get a membership too since even going twice a year will make up for the $90 cost for two people.

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Penny’s favorite book at the moment is Goodnight, Moon so we had to take a picture of this!

my parents spent the entire saturday with us which was wonderful. we brought penny to a wading pool near my parents’ house which of course she enjoyed. she especially loved touching the water spray and having the water splash her in the face. that afternoon we all went to the museum of science. i was surprised to hear that my parents had never been before saturday and they have lived in massachusetts for over 30 years. it made me sad that they’ve been so busy with work, so i’m really pleased we were able to take my parents with us. my dad particularly had a great time – he enjoyed looking at all of the exhibits especially the animal ones and a huge stone with amethyst crystals inside.

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oh, you know, just a typical breakfast

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gotta love snapchat! mom aka sia

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unfortunately we didn’t see my brother or sister at all that weekend which was a major disappointment. sad to say,  i wasn’t that surprised. we also tried to meet up with a few cousins but they already had plans. i’m glad we were able to visit my grandma – she’s at a nursing home for the time being. we brought penny’s new push car with her and she was walking with it up and down the hallway, charming all of the residents and staff.

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precious

 

lastly, we were able to finally watch the movie spotlight with our friends, ben and alf (they’re brothers). ben, alf, and i, particularly ben and i, are cinephiles so we were waiting to watch spotlight (the 2016 best picture winner) together. we supplied dinner from my parents’ restaurant and the byun brothers brought doughnuts – yum! i love doing simple activities such as watching movies and playing board games – the latter which we also did with friends last week.

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our dear friend, alice, sent us 100 mini cupcakes and macarons!

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before i close up, i wanted to share that penny is becoming more brave at standing on her own. when she does it on her own (told hold/play with an object) or does it without realizing, she stands for a while. but it’s when we force it up on her that she puts up a fight. at henry park, my mil let go of penny and encouraged her to walk and she walked 3 steps! yesterday while i was cooking, she took about 5 steps for dennis and his parents. she took a few steps today too. that’s a great start! hoping she walks before her 15-month checkup, but we really hope she walks before our friends’ wedding in october since she’ll be a flower girl.

 

summertime shenanigans

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last saturday, dennis and i attended a wedding in norwalk, ct. he was able to get the day off so we could go, but he still had to work the next day… which was really unfortunate since it was a 1.5 hour drive each way. we left the party around 10:30 and came home at midnight.

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yikes, the selfie image came out way too pixelated

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close buds – dennis and andy (not the groom)

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we had a lovely time celebrating victoria and andrew. as many of you may know, i love to take pictures. the only reason why i don’t have many photos from the wedding (particularly of the married couple) is because there was no ceremony. the mr. and mrs. decided to do a civil ceremony and then celebrate with their family in england where the bride’s family resides. the party on saturday was just a reception for family and friends.

instead of a standard photo booth, theirs printed out 4×6 images which was unique! we glued some onto the guest book and kept the copies. there were even clear sleeves to protect the photos. in addition, there was a cigar bar. dennis and i had considered this for our wedding too but we ended up nixing it because the costs kept mounting for our big day…

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recently, i found out that the park near us has a baby-friendly playground and a splash pad. sure, we live next to an elementary school with two playgrounds that we visit on a daily basis but it’s awesome to have another one to go to.. and with, again, a splash pad for a girl who adores water!

i befriended another mommy that goes to story hour at jack & allie’s. it turns out she lives about a 3-minute drive from us! she has a 17-month-old son who is absolutely adorable. we met up once at the park and we are looking to go tomorrow as well.

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after we figured out this was a splash pad, i began taking penny here!

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as you can see, penny’s been standing on her own more and more. she still needs assistance to stand on her own and often uses nearby objects as well. once she does that, i’m guessing she’ll start taking some steps.. so, we wait.

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playdate at olivia’s

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they love water crackers

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she tried hot dogs for the first time!

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homemade sweet potato fries

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july 17th was national ice cream day so penny and i went to carvel for bogo soft serve!

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um, yes.. i’m playing pokemon go

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this picture is from today. look how tan penny’s feet are! 

it’s going to be busy the next few days! our town’s summer carnival kicked off tonight but we are stopping by tomorrow evening after dinner to check out the rides. we are hoping to take penny on the ferris wheel, carousel, and some other baby-friendly rides. also, we are going up to boston from friday-sunday. we are supposed to have a heat wave starting tomorrow so i assume it’ll feel suffocatingly hot in the city with all the buildings blocking the wind. we plan on going to boston common to go on the swan boat and bring penny to the splash pad at frog pond!

hopefully things work out.. penny skipped her afternoon nap today after having taken two naps since the june 29th incident. she has been taking a long time to fall asleep for her afternoon one though. lately she’s falling asleep around 3pm or even later.. and it’s taking her a half hour-hour to fall asleep! today, she finally just skipped it entirely and i got her at 3:30. i’m contemplating pushing her morning nap to 11am tomorrow to see how she does with one nap. the goal is to be at 12:30/1pm for the one-nap schedule.. i’m actually really nervous to start trying this before our boston trip. i guess i’ll just see how she does tonight and tomorrow morning!

weekend in boston

dennis and i arrived safely back from aruba last wednesday night around 10:30pm. we had thursday to relax at home.. and then we drove up to boston friday morning and stayed at my parents’ house until sunday evening.

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the above photos are soon after we arrived at my parents’ house. penny had lunch and then we went outside for a walk. she LOVES going outside.. sometimes she throws a tantrum when we come back in -_-

lately all she wants to do is walk and she’s getting better at it every day. we purchased her sneakers recently too to help encourage her walking 🙂

our main reason for visiting massachusetts was to see my grandmother who is recovering from a recent spinal surgery. being 95 years old, she has brittle bones so even just moving a certain way can cause those fragile bones to fracture. she’s in a rehabilitation home for the time being and we really want penny to see my grandma as much as possible because, honestly, who knows how much time we all really have..?

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she loves playing with the selfie stick

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remarking over penny’s feet and sneakers

my grandma was so surprised to see us! we made her very happy, and we are thrilled that we were able to see her too. we came back to visit her the next evening and she was, again, surprised to see us because she thought we had already gone back home.

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she was thankful to eat korean food for dinner two nights in a row

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penny did not like being held!

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my grandma was shocked at how strong penny is…

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avery & penny

hopefully we can arrange more play dates (and parent dates) with our friends in boston too. we met up with a group of friends for lunch on saturday, and it was chaotic with 3 little girls. olivia k. was napping so we couldn’t get in a picture of all 3 of them.

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bringing the walker along helped save our backs!

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one of her favorite things to do is point.. at everything!

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cute little bunny in the backyard on sunday morning

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penny pretending to mow the lawn like aunt jen!

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on our way to the ice cream shop!

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penny loved her vanilla soft serve!

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she signed for “milk” after we came home

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eating dinner at my parents’ restaurant in boston before we head home

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an employee gave her a $20 bill…

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it’s tough because dennis works every other weekend and some of those weekends are already accounted for, such as weddings and other events.. but we are definitely going to go up again this summer to spend more time with my parents, siblings, and grandma. summer in boston should be a lot of fun!

after we got back from aruba, we barely had time to unwind. we spent most of the day at home on thursday but we decided to buy penny her first pair of walking sneakers so we went to the mall and met up with the gardners.

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trying out see kai run sneakers

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ended up getting nikes

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they look miserable but they had fun!

we wanted to purchase stride rite sneakers after hearing great feedback from many people but found out that nordstrom is slowly phasing them out in favor of their own brand: see kai run. this is also a highly rated brand as well. after trying on toms, see kai run, and nike free we ended up getting penny the nike sneakers because the soles were lighter and had more cushion. i still want to get her see kai run and stride rite too but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. the nike ones were $48! :-O

the aruba trip was amazing… i’ll have to write a post on that destination wedding/vacation alone! i can’t wait to share all of the pictures. as always, it was awesome to get a break away from penny because we got to sleep in and do what we wanted to do.. but, of course, we missed her… and it was also nice coming back home.

 

hurry up & slow down

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penny is nearing her 10th month. 10! we are closing in on the double-digits here. she spends most of her awake time crawling and is ready to pass out by the time her nap time rolls around. now that she’s more mobile and burning more calories, she’s getting tired earlier. i tried to keep her up on a few occasions so she wouldn’t be taking naps so soon but then she ends up being grouchy and taking short naps.

this morning she woke up around 5:45am (ugh) but slept 11 hours straight last night so she was totally ready for the day. dennis got up with her and i slept a little longer after pumping. she was ready to sleep around 8am but we tried feeding her solids again (she hasn’t been receptive to breakfast lately) and she only took a few bites. after a short naptime routine in her nursery, she fell asleep around 8:40. *fingers crossed she sleeps longer than an hour*

as penny becomes more and more like a mini adult, i find myself caught in a mixture of emotions. as eager as i am to discover penny’s new-found skills, i also feel a twinge of sadness at her progress: she’s leaving the infant stage behind and becoming a toddler. 😥 it’s quite the paradox, isn’t it?

it’s getting increasingly difficult to change her diapers, give her baths, and feed her because she wants to go, go, go! we rarely cradle her anymore but when we do we are amazed at how tall she is. i never really thought i’d be this wistful of her wee newborn days, but she was so little then and there seemed to be all the time in the world for her to grow up.

even now, i find myself thinking, “i can’t wait until she’s older so we can ____.” there are future disney vacations (maybe one next year), beach outings, day trips, and jet-setting around the world to be had when her naps aren’t in the way of life. still, even when she is old enough, there’s the possibility that she’ll have siblings which makes it even more tough to travel.

but, for now, there’s just penny… and i want to take her all in and enjoy having just her for as long as we can. try not to look so far ahead. the future will happen. enjoy now; enjoy this moment.

penny and i went grocery shopping recently. what’s so special about that? well, dennis and i usually go grocery shopping together so one is pushing the stroller and the other is handling the cart. however, we needed some items that day (particularly fresh produce for baby food) so i took penny. it was her first time sitting in the shopping cart and she did well!

i don’t have a shopping cart seat cover so i used a thick blanket to pad the area for her. i also used a muslin swaddle blanket to cushion her legs and chest. i noticed that she jerks forward whenever i push the cart so the blanket helped her from teetering back and forth.

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observing other customers

penny was fairly quiet during the entire trip. she liked being free from the constraints of a hot car seat and she had a 360-degree view of the world.

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checking out the grocery list


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i made her laugh 🙂


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checking out the light fixtures and sprinklers


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she loves to read, like mommy! she’s checking out bridal magazines though.. too soon, too soon!


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she was getting hungry and tired.. this is after we purchased the groceries. passers-by were remarking how cute penny was when she started lying down.

penny’s finally attempting to hold the bottle on her own. she always could; she just never wanted to because she wants to play with toys. even now, she’s easily distracted but she’s starting to become a little more independent. she also started to “read” books during mealtimes. she loves the book “100 first word”: she squeals and smiles whenever she sees the book, and she flips through the pages on her own.

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i’m still making the majority of penny’s food. one easy recipe i tried recently is pastina. i got this recipe from a baby food cookbook and it only requires two ingredients: pastina and low-sodium chicken broth. pastina means “little pasta” and these are star-shaped (adorable).

lovely little pasta soup

1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

2 tbs. pastina

bring broth to a gentle boil and add pastina. stir occasionally and let cook for 7~8 minutes or until tender. serve warm. when reheating, add a little bit of water to the pastina. makes about 4 servings.

i didn’t think 2 tablespoons of pastina would be a lot but i was surprised how much there was after it was done cooking. the recipe says 4 servings but i definitely stretched to 6; it depends how much your baby wants to eat it. penny really liked it but i like offering her a variety of foods at mealtimes so she doesn’t get bored.

grace and i went to the mall last sunday to look for a wedding outfit. we are going to a friend’s wedding on 3/26 and have “nothing to wear.” we really wanted to find midi or maxi skirts but couldn’t find any we liked. i may have to buy an outfit online…

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enjoying godiva cones and breaking in grace’s new selfie stick


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i like macarons but i rarely eat them because they are so expensive. my favorite of the bunch was lemon poppy.

the northeast has been fortunate to have beautiful, warm weather this week! yesterday peaked at 75 degrees! it’s actually raining right now (boo) but the temperature is still 70. i’m glad we went out for a family walk around lunchtime because it looks as if i won’t be able to take penny and yuri out later. we are going to the library though after penny’s last nap.

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it was a little windy so dennis’ mom wrapped a scarf around her.


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looking like a little babushka


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selfie with mommy


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the playground is literally in our backyard. an elementary school is behind our neighborhood so we’ll be coming here often this summer!

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the photos below were taken yesterday when i took penny and yuri out for an early evening walk.

she’s so adorable with the sunglasses but like most babies, she’s not a fan. she actually took them off the first time (3rd photo, right after i took the picture). i bribed her with crackers and she kept them on after that but i felt bad so i took them off after a few minutes.

the middle picture is where she’s busy shoving a cracker in her mouth and it looks like she’s giving me the finger 😛

looking forward to this weekend! my parents are visiting for the day tomorrow with a ton of food from their restaurant (yay!!) and my friend’s birthday dinner is that night. then on saturday morning, genie and i are heading to new jersey for the day to shop, eat and meet up with friends 🙂

i’ve been taking a hiatus on making crafts for penny’s birthday but the invitations went out last week and guests are slowly sending in their rsvp’s. i can’t believe the party will be in 2 months!! i’m hoping to resume party planning next week; there are a lot of things that i need to make… onward ho!

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 🙂

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..