step right up and enjoy the ride

“carnivals bring out the child in everyone” ~ unknown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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grandma holding grandpa so he won’t fall


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rushing home for bedtime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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grandpa bought penny the bubble gun from the carnival

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happy birthday, america.. and grandpa so

summer days are flying by. the weather has finally been appropriate swim & tan weather though sadly i have yet to do either. (i do have awkward tan lines on my feet from favoring my mossimo sandals from target so i need to switch up my footwear.)

speaking of target, i recently purchased adorable cat & jack sandals for penny and strappy flats for myself. i snapped a shoefie (selfie + shoes) of our feet and posted it on instagram. to my surprise, target asked to share the image and, of course, i agreed! the image was shared on their ‘awesome shop’ page.

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the chosen image

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another shot of our feet

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feature on target’s ‘awesome shop’ page

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another look

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stamping at coventry library

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the location where i took the feet photos

fyi cat & jack shoes run big. i ordered a size 6 for penny and they were falling off her feet. i returned them for a size 5 and they fit perfectly.

june 29th was my 4th wedding anniversary. hard to believe it has only been four years. and in those four years, we already have two children! we waited until saturday, july 1st, to celebrate… and by celebrate, we went out to eat dinner and came straight home. it was already 10pm by the time we left the restaurant so there wasn’t much to do afterwards anyway.

i have slowly been planning for ezra’s 100th day party which is on july 22nd. s l o w l y. i browse pinterest for ideas but none have really caught my eye. granted the 100th day celebration is not as important as the first birthday but i do want to settle on a theme so i can get started on decorations.

the party is going to be held at our home and weather permitting we will have lawn games and water play outdoors. our back yard connects to a huge field that is part of an elementary school so we plan on setting up a badminton net back there along with cornhole, horseshoes, and other activities.

there are a lot of summer birthdays between dennis’ family and mine. my brother (6/15), my dad (6/25), my fil (7/8), my sil (7/25), and my sister (8/6). we went up to massachusetts the last weekend of june to celebrate my dad’s birthday. penny had so much fun with the water hose that i ended up purchasing a melissa & doug sprinkler attachment from tj maxx to use at home. we also purchased a 5-in-1 game set that includes badminton. i hadn’t played in years and i regaled dennis and my sister with a memorable account of when my friend and i beat all the other teams at badminton during p.e. class in high school.

ezra is 2.5 months and he’s already wearing size 6 month clothes! it seems like a waste of money to buy more summer clothes when fall will be here in a few months but the 3-month bodysuits are tight on him. as it is ezra was only able to wear his size 3-month shorts once (the elastic waistband is too tight).

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tolerating tummy time

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yogurt

she LOVES the korean yogurt drinks

playdate with olivia g.

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both girls were tentative about going in the sprinkler

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they enjoyed the water table more

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snacks

time to hydrate

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daddy brought ice cream home 

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trying on her new shades

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looking cool, ez

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these three

these days ezra is the easy one… he eats and sleeps well. ezra is on a great schedule and is continuing to only wake up once at night typically around 4-5am. i used to worry that he was sleeping too much during the day but i leave him alone because he will wake up when he’s hungry. his day sleep hasn’t affected his night sleep at all. additionally, he’s going through a lot of developmental leaps and growth spurts so some days he’ll be extra sleepy.

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ezra’s not a big fan of tummy time but he tolerates it on the boppy lounger

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ezra laughed out loud for the first time shortly after this picture was taken

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arts & crafts

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painting the american flag

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i made the star stamp on the spot: cut out a star on felt and used a glue gun to glue it onto a dowel

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penny’s still going through her 2-year sleep regression with who knows what else? although three of her canines have broken through they are taking their sweet time growing in. i don’t believe the fourth one has broken through yet.

we solved her fear of the dark by buying a night light that either glows blue or green. it really comforts her. we also leave the camera night light on and turn it off when she’s asleep. the evening that we returned from massachusetts, penny started crying hysterically at bedtime. i went to her room three times to comfort her and even left the camera light on (which had worked previously) but she still kept crying. finally, i looked online for advice and read that some parents left the hallway light on while leaving the child’s bedroom door ajar. it worked. penny stopped crying right away, played for a little bit, and fell asleep. now that we have the night light, we don’t have to keep the hallway light on.

although penny had been getting better with ezra being around, her bouts of jealousy have since returned. coupled with being hangry and tired from waking up at night, she’s just a hot mess lately. she’s actually fine when i am with ezra; penny goes ballistic when grandma suddenly tends to ezra when she had been playing with her.

and the ‘stranger danger’ issue continues. even with people she knows. on sunday, genie and olivia came over for a morning play date, and penny pinched me so hard from being nervous that she left a bruise on my thigh. she also scratched her own cheek from flipping out and her nail broke through her skin! we don’t know what else to do other than keep telling her that it’s okay and attempt to calm and soothe her. we even let her know in advance that friends are coming over so it won’t be a surprise. i just hope her fear subsides soon. it makes me sad to see her so genuinely nervous and scared, but it also frustrates me because there’s not much we can do to make her feel better.

dennis’ brother, dan, and his wife, crystal, arrived late sunday night and are leaving around noon today. we celebrated the 4th of july with a family cookout and an early birthday celebration for grandpa so. penny was a nervous wreck and uncle dan and aunt crystal came to visit monday afternoon. she was loads better on tuesday morning when they came to hang out for the entire day.

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playing with her ‘new’ toy, a vacuum. i purchased it for $5 off of facebook marketplace

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munching on goldfish crackers while watching sesame street

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finishing up breakfast in the sunroom

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love this impromptu photo shoot

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time to eat~

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pinterest-inspired fruit & pretzel platter

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kebabs & corn

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playing with aunt crystal

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yay, we got a group photo

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i was trying to capture dennis and uncle dan playing football but penny steals the show

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purposely looking away

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happy birthday, grandpa so!

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it’s always great when the kids go down for the night as we can all catch up and relax. last night, we were deciding on what movie to watch and settled on a netflix original ‘okja.’ it’s a korean film by famed director, bong joon-ho, about a young girl who goes through great lengths to save her pet super pig from a fate in the slaughterhouse.

we likely will not be able to see dan and crystal again until thanksgiving. even that will be tricky though because i do want to go up to massachusetts to celebrate with my family since we have not gone the past two years. we will just have to see what happens then. we all enjoyed the movie, and were moved, and disturbed, by the ongoing, inhumane actions of the meat industry. although some scenes were heartbreaking i’m not quite sure i’d be able to give up pork because i love it so much.

since i wasn’t able to write about, or acknowledge, grandpa lee’s birthday i will do that for my next post.

fun with family & friends

having visitors never gets old… especially when they’re family, and it’s unexpected! we had celebrated my fil’s 70th birthday on july 4th.. but as the 70th birthday is an important occasion we received word from crystal and dan (dennis’ brother and our sister-in-law) that they would drive up from maryland on friday and leave on saturday!

the last time we saw them was for penny’s 1st birthday, and they had flown in for the day. it’s especially times like these when i wish they lived much closer, but at least they aren’t too far enough where they can’t make day (or two) trips.

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snapchatting


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face swap

unfortunately, we didn’t take a group photo of us.. but dan did take candids of us. our family “tradition” is to watch american ninja warrior when we wind down for the night. we also introduced our parents to snapchat and we had a lot of laughs over the various selfie lenses.

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i really like the above and below photos because they’re from two different perspectives.

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on friday, we had a low-key dinner at home with italian food and just hung out watching anw, using snapchat, and enjoying each other’s company. we went to blue back square and ate at cheesecake factory for lunch on saturday. afterwards, we came back to the house and the brothers played ping pong while the rest of us talked. as always, the visit ended way too soon 😦 but we are so thankful that they were able to come up! they should be coming up next for thanksgiving, and we hope to make it out to maryland/dc area soon.. perhaps in april when i have spring break.

the only downside from the weekend was that penny caught some sort of virus. she woke up with a fever of 102 after her second nap on saturday. usually her second naps are 1.5 hours and we have to wake her up but this time she slept for an hour and woke up on her own. the poor thing — she was so warm.. initially she was smiling and being playful, but then she started becoming fussy and crying because she didn’t feel well. we think she may have caught something from playing at a bounce house on friday. dennis and i were looking for an activity to do with penny since it can get mundane being at the house all day. we took her to jumpin’ jonny’s, a bounce house, in our town. she had a great time but it’s easy to see how germ-ridden a place like that can get with sweaty kids running around in socks on vinyl bounce houses that are probably not cleaned often (or at all). needless to say, we won’t be going back there (or any other bounce house) until she’s a bit older…

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penny met this cute girl, savannah, who’s 1.5 years old and they took turns pushing each other on cars.. so adorable!

i’ve been trying to find different activities to do with penny since we can’t always take a walk because the july heat prevents us from going outdoors during lunchtime. sometimes i’ll take her to my in-laws’ place because their condo neighborhood has a pool. it’s going to be in the upper-80s/low 90s this week so i’m thinking of taking her on wednesday.

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she prefers being in the water than being in a float

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yet another rabbit in our backyard!

on one particularl day, dennis suggested the mall and they have an indoor children’s playground so i decided to take her there. lo and behold, the playground is being moved and renovated so it wasn’t at its usual spot 😦 i ended up taking her to barnes & noble since the children’s section usually has a play area. penny liked just being able to get out of the stroller and walking around — she doesn’t find the gluxe as comfortable as the vista. she also played with the trains at the thomas the tank engine train table. a toddler joined her and they shared the trains.

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one of her all-time favorite books: the going to bed book by sandra boynton


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her current favorite: goodnight, moon

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we ate lunch at the food court – pizza and baked ziti – but penny was more interested in the carousel. i didn’t let her go on it this time (she had gone before) but i did let her “drive” the coin-operated cars… minus the coins. she enjoyed turning the steering wheels 🙂 to adults, it may not seem like much but the stimulation from being at the mall alone is a lot for a toddler. she passed out quickly for her afternoon nap after we got back and, yes, i had to wake her up.

speaking of “waking her up”, penny’s been having erratic naps lately.. and taking a long time to fall asleep. i think she’s trying in earnest to drop a nap. i know i mentioned this a few times in previous posts but the signs are coming up again. she has been fighting her morning nap like she’s not tired enough to take one. her awake time from morning wake-up to first nap had been 3 hours, and lately she’s sitting up in her crib and playing. if she isn’t playing, she nods off but fights sleep while sitting up!

yesterday, she fought both morning and afternoon nap. granted, she had slept for 12 hours straight the night before so maybe she wasn’t tired enough.. we took her out of her crib at 11am and kept her up until 12:30pm to see how a one-nap day would work. nightmare… she was overtired.. i think we kept her up too long.. reading about 2-to-1 nap transitions, it says to gradually push back the morning nap in 15-minute increments and i just shot towards a 12:30pm time.. yikes. i figured, we had to squeeze in lunch so we would have to do a later time.. well, now i know. she cried on/off and was nodding off for her second nap. she finally fell asleep and woke up after 50 minutes.

she was off for the rest of the evening. i left the house around 4pm to meet up with friends for a gno and dennis said that penny cried basically non-stop after i left. she has been experiencing some separation anxiety / attachment to me lately so that didn’t help with her being overtired. she flat-out refused dinner and milk (whoa) so she went to bed at 6pm on an empty stomach. for those that know penny or read my blog regularly, you know that penny loves her baths.. but she even cried during bath time!  poor dennis… he actually rocked her for a while to soothe her and she ended up falling asleep in his arms.. only to wake up when he placed her in the crib. but..she ended up sleeping from 6pm to 6:45am — that’s nearly 13 hours! so much for waking up at night because she’s hungry..

i still use the babytracker app religiously, and thank god for that because i can see her sleeping patterns and figure out when/how to transition her to one nap. this one’s a doozy, i hear.. and i just want to make it as least painful as i can for all of us. i’ll keep you posted!

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i still had a lovely time with these ladies despite being worried about penny

the girls and i tried out bar louie, a new restaurant that opened up recently in blue back square. initially we sat indoors because all of the outdoor seating was taken, but we spied an empty table and ran outside to claim it! 4/5 of us are married and 3/5 of us are baby mamas so this was a much-needed night out. much thanks to the baby daddies taking care of the little ones so us ladies could relish time together. ❤

and last.. but not least.. for this post.. our dear friends, alice and john, welcomed their baby boy, ethan 진명 choi, on june 30, 2016. he was 19.5 inches long and weighed 6 lb. 14 oz. the pictures john took of us holding ethan make it seem like we are the proud parents of a baby boy, haha. seriously though, we are overjoyed for our friends. we love you!

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