happy birthday, penny

grapes

penny is 2! some of the things penny is doing these days is counting to 15, pointing out the numbers 1-4 on signs and pictures, and recognizing letters like c, e, and o (C.E.O. – hmm, i wonder if that will mean anything ). call me crazy but since penny was born i’ve tried to keep track of all of her milestones, tooth eruptions, illnesses, nap transitions, you name it. i even recorded every word penny has been saying since she uttered, “엄마 (mom) and 아빠 (dad). it’s practically impossible to keep track of her vocabulary now since she picks up new words on a daily basis and is stringing them into 2, 3, or 4-word phrases.

the reason why penny is counting up to 15 is because we practice counting while going upstairs for nap and bedtime, and we have… 15 steps. recently i bought her a counting book, “pinkalicous 1, 2, 3” so she can practice counting up to 20.

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as tiring as it is dealing with her mood swings and endless energy, we do enjoy witnessing every little thing penny learns every day. we are constantly amazed whenever penny utters a new word or phrase, and all four of us (dennis, me, and my in-laws) erupt in a round of applause!  i hope we are just as amazed when ezra starts talking, too.

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opening gifts

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penny was just as excited about the little tikes basketball hoop (not pictured)

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dennis made blueberry doughnuts this morning using the doughnut maker from olivia li!

 

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ezra is 6 weeks old and he has started cooing and social smiling.  he also turns his head, and not just his eyes, to follow movement. he is also “playing” with the green stars that hang over the pack and play. we place him on the boppy lounger and he will bat at the stars. i refer to the wonder weeks app to read up on upcoming developmental leaps; ezra started his first leap last week and it’s interesting to see how on point, and specific, the app is with what ezra will be learning.

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i remember how tough it was when penny was six weeks old. she was fussy in the evening (almost inconsolable at times) and wouldn’t sleep. six weeks is when the witching hour reaches its peak, and babies go through a growth spurt and somewhat of a sleep regression.

although it’s too soon to put ezra on a strict schedule, it’s never too early to establish a bedtime routine. we have been bathing ezra anywhere between 7:30-8:30pm, feeding him, and then putting him down for the night. usually he’ll sleep until after midnight (later if the routine is pushed back). two nights ago, he woke up every half hour until i finally fed him again around 11:30! half of the time he fell back asleep on his own having tried to self-soothe.. but other times we intervened with a pacifier or by rocking him. as for the late-night feedings, he was waking before he was hungry because of gas pains.. again! i had to soothe him by doing bicycle kicks, rubbing his tummy, and giving him gripe water. the latter helped significantly and he slept longer after that.

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last night, dennis and i went out see guardians of the galaxy 2.  it was our first date since ezra was born. (we loved the first movie and the sequel didn’t disappoint! a third one is in the works! )to make it easier for my mil, we put penny to bed so all she had to do was ezra’s bedtime routine. ezra woke up 40 minutes after going down so she tried soothing him in different ways, changing his diaper, and putting him down again. she ended up feeding him an hour later because it had been 3 hours since he had last eaten.

what is interesting about last night is that ezra only had one feeding. although ezra had difficulty falling, and staying, asleep (he didn’t end up falling asleep until 11:30pm and that was because i ended up sleeping with him in my arms.) he woke up to feed around 3am, and again, had trouble staying asleep so he slept in my arms until 8am! this shows me that ezra can stretch his feedings; it’s just a matter of him staying asleep.

at one point when he woke up crying, dennis suggested i check his diaper. if it’s only a wet diaper, i hadn’t been changing them lest i wake up him fully. but i need to start changing them once they’re really full because he does seem to be uncomfortable. after i changed his diaper, he was calm and fell asleep in my arms.

thankfully dennis wakes up and helps me when i really need assistance. one night, i had fallen asleep while feeding ezra at one point and milk had soaked the front of his bodysuit. dennis had to go get a new one from ezra’s room while i cleaned an unhappy and hungry baby.

having a baby will make you realize even more how important, and precious, sleep really is. i was also thinking the other day of how effective sleep deprivation is as a torture method. i recalled how one of the ways navy seals tortured a detainee was through sleep deprivation in the movie zero dark thirty. sometimes i’m so tired i feel like i’m losing my mind and just feel like crying. during night feedings, i find myself desperately shaking my head back and forth in a futile attempt to wake myself up. i also browse the internet using my phone but i’ve started to develop cramps and carpal tunnel in my hands from trying to access my phone in awkward positions.

anyway, i could go on forever sharing more anecdotes but i need to end this post at some point. penny went to her 2-year checkup yesterday and she’s 75% for height and 25% for her weight: tall and thin. the pediatrician wasn’t worried about her weight noting toddlers can be finicky eaters. he wanted to know how penny was doing with her vocabulary and was pleased to see that she speaks very well. as for ezra, he was 9lb. 14.5 oz and 21.5 inches at his 1-month checkup, and has moved on to size 3 month clothes.

dennis has a 4-day weekend coming up thanks to memorial day. we are spending friday-sunday in massachusetts. my grandma will finally be able to meet ezra; and, we will also spend time with the kim family and see their new addition, micah! he and ezra are one month apart.

i’ll be sure to share how our weekend went. hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

5/14/17 (mother’s day)

we spent mother’s day going to church in the morning. in the afternoon, we went to the mall to check out sneakers for me.. but i couldn’t find any that i liked. we ended up buying new balance sneakers for penny. afterwards, we ate dinner at seoul bbq.

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5/16/17

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checking out ants

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5/17/17: play date with parker

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5/19/17: mom and jen visit

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grapes

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those busy toddler days

miss penny is 20 months old now – closer and closer to becoming a 2-year-old. every day, penny goes back and forth from being a fiercely independent toddler to a clingy one. most of the time she will want to do things on her own — placing different shapes in the correct cutouts, putting animals in a truck, etc. — and even knock our hands out of the way if we try to help. and then, out of nowhere, she will climb onto my lap or ask to be picked up. she’s been like a baby sloth lately – i’ll try to put her down and she’ll curl her legs right back up.

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i actually don’t mind the extra comfort that penny is seeking nowadays because i know i won’t be able to cuddle her as much when ezra arrives, but it’s getting more difficult to pick her up and carry her around as my belly continually expands. i wonder if it’s a phase she is going through or if she senses her baby brother – i’m thinking both. she doesn’t ask anyone else – not even her dad – to pick her up and hold her like she does to me. when dennis works the day shift, he does bath time. all he has to say is “bath time” or “bubbles” and penny will run into his arms. lately, she’s been twisting in his arms and extending her arms to me so i’ve been bringing her upstairs to give her a bath. even yesterday when grandma so tried to bring her upstairs, penny insisted i do it instead.

within the past month, penny has also had 6 teeth come in! she had 4 for the longest time and now she has all of her first molars (top and bottom) and two of the lateral incisors (one on top and one on bottom). they never really affected her sleep (lucky us) but probably had an effect on her daytime mood and eating habits.

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penny has been at the late end of the tooth eruption stage for all her teeth thus far

now we are just waiting for her canines, the rest of her lateral incisors, and later on, her second molars.

penny definitely acts clingy when i’m around; she doesn’t really look for me if i’m not there. last wednesday, grace and i went to new jersey for the day. i was a little worried that penny would look for me and get upset that i wasn’t there, but she was fine. dennis woke up in the morning to take care of her since i had to leave around 8am to get to grace’s house so we could carpool. dennis even made me an egg, cheese, and sausage breakfast sandwich to eat on the road! his mom came a few hours later to take over and penny was great, as usual, for the rest of the day as well.

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avocado toast at kuppi cafe

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i’d been to this cafe once before but i had no idea the owner and i had mutual friends. we ended up getting our orders on the house!

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lunch at mitsuwa

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nuna pipa car seat

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dream shade

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gam mi-ok before heading home

grace and i had a wonderful time in jersey. it felt so odd to be away from home for an entire day. i’m trying to think of the last time i did that and i really can’t remember. sure, i’ve been gone a few hours here and there recently but not a whole day. i just thought about penny the entire time (of course) and how much i missed her.

when we went shopping at garden state plaza mall, i vowed i’d buy something for myself because i rarely do these days. i ended up buying a lot of clothes from zara for penny (all on sale), a few items for dennis and jeggings for myself from uniqlo. grace and i also tried out strollers and car seats at nordstrom – uppababy vista for her and the nuna pipa car seat for me. i’ve been looking to replace the mesa car seat with a nuna pipa so i was glad i was able to try it out in person. the feature that i like the best is the dream drape – the extra sun shade extends to the baby’s feet. it also weighs about 7.7 lb: one of the lightest car seats out there. i’m still stuck on the color – the classic black is always nice especially since the infant insert is a cream color, but i am also partial to indigo.

my friend, grace, also had her mickey mouse-themed baby shower on the 15th. i made a banner for the shower and i’m really pleased with how it turned out. i made the mickey mouse cutouts and the letters without using any templates. the korean characters proved to be the hardest because i wanted the font to look authentic and the size had to fit inside the bunting.

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since the shower was at 3:30pm, i was able to bring penny. i’m glad i brought her so i can get her accustomed to attending more social gatherings since she tends to be shy; but also in a few months i’ll have to learn how to tote two (!) around so i should take advantage of only having to do one for now. it still did prove to be difficult because she wanted to be held for the first half hour (my arms were killing me) but she did eventually warm up and walked around and played with the other children.

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penny & ethan

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with the mommy-to-be

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i thought it was an actual cake

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i wish i had brought food from home though because she couldn’t really eat any of the food provided. she snacked on sun chips, a few crackers, pineapple and strawberries; refused cheese and, not surprisingly, the olives and roasted veggies. i thought she would, at least, eat a few bites of the creamy pasta but she didn’t. she wanted the salad – she likes lettuce even though it’s hard for her to eat it – but ended up munching on the raw onions! she also ended up eating a cupcake sans frosting and drinking juice from a juice box for the first time ever. when we got home, i made sure to feed her a little bit more before starting the bedtime routine.

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a highlight was that i won one of the games – something that i’ve never done at a baby or bridal shower, i believe. i got a starbucks gift card with a “year of the rooster” illustration on it – yay!

recently, a few mommy friends and i met up for a group play date. we were excited to visit imagine nation, a children’s museum in bristol, for the first time. i was wary of the distance though (a 40-minute drive) since the museum opens at 9:30am and penny and i would need to leave around 11am to come back home in time for lunch.

penny actually ended up doing really well on the car ride (credit goes to the forward-facing seat) so that wasn’t an issue. we all discovered when we arrived there that the museum is closed on mondays and tuesdays! one of the mommies suggested we go to the public library a half mile down the road and we all hoped they would have a decent children’s section. they do! in fact, they have one of the best children’s rooms in a library that i’ve ever seen: spacious, filled with toys and tablet stations (!), and a sensory board on a wall. it ended up working out because penny and i had gotten to the museum around 10 so we would’ve only had about an hour to play. (admission is $10/person.)

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penny enjoying strawberries while parker munches on veggie sticks

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penny and serina checking out the sensory board

dennis and i ended up bringing penny to imagine nation later on in the week. the exhibits are spread out and capacious but we felt that the museum geared towards older kids – at least, 4~5 years old and up. penny is still young enough where she wasn’t engrossed in many of the exhibits like the wellness center where you can pretend to be a dentist. personally, i liked the giant bubble and the art room. penny did paint for a short while in the art studio but even the tables and stools were made for older children. she liked the interactive floor, glow sticks (they have these at other kids’ museums), and the musical instruments the best. i was debating whether we should have penny’s birthday at kid city or imagine nation but we decided on kid city after our visit to imagine nation that day.

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air blowing up a balloon

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pushing the table so the marker can make lines

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interactive floor

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she liked the magnatiles and especially the color-changing table

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she likes playing with different musical instruments at home so she enjoyed herself

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squashing aliens

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not a fan of the sportscenter broadcasting station

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the water was too cold for her liking

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giant bubble maker

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check out the snake skin

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she just wanted to play with the markers

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painting buddies

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i made snowflakes as the duo painted

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it’s fascinating to see penny develop an interest in toys that she had not cared for in past months. now that she’s older, she likes to play with the pegs and peg board that i had gotten for her back when she was 16 months. when i had first introduced them to her, she only liked the place the pegs upside down and put them in cups. now she actually puts them on the board and also stacks them on top of each other.

one of our neighbors works for lego and she gave penny a minnie mouse duplo set this past summer. all penny liked to do was dump out the pieces and methodically put each one back in the box. she would point at the airplane and say “bi” (short for “bihenggi”, airplane in korean) but was still too young then to really build with them. our friends, katie and mike, gave penny a farm duplo set as a baptism gift and she plays with it all the time! she particularly likes the people that came with the set – calling the boy “dad” and the girl “grandma.”

penny still loves cars and trucks, and she has a bunch of them. we don’t really get her cars that are pink and “girly”  because we don’t want to pigeonhole her into the category where girls only like/have things that are pink and purple. penny has a good amount of pink clothes but so much more are gray and navy. personally, i like those colors better because they match with other items of clothing.

as a former teacher, i figure it’s never too early to introduce the alphabet. we read books about letters and numbers, but i also wanted penny to be able to play with magnet letters. after much research, i settled on a jug of roscoe learning magnetic letters. i wanted large, foam letters and these have magnets on the entire backside. plus, they have multiple letters for each one so you can actually spells words and make sentences. the softer colors were also appealing to me. i’m not sure if this company makes numbers but i hope they do.

we are continually encouraging penny to be aware of her body and her bowel movements. she has been telling us “응가” (eung-gah, kind of like a grunt in korean when kids poop) when she has to poop but will refuse to sit on the potty. the past few days we’ve caught her mid-poop so took off her diaper/pull-up and sat her on the potty. she resisted but i sang a song and the last bit made it into the potty. when dennis took care of penny in the morning yesterday he was able to have her go in the potty as well. it takes a lot of praise, patience, and encouragement.

hurray to finally updating another blog post. i started this last night but was able to finish it this morning because grandma so is over this morning to help out with penny. *thankful*

penny’s selfies

penny having fun with daddy’s 27-year-old cray pas crayons from korea!

snow days & birthdays

2017 is already turning out to be a busy year: yet another one filled with babies, weddings, and birthdays. many of my friends and acquaintances had babies in 2015 (the year i had penny) and most of them are having their second this year. this includes my friend, and neighbor, yan, who kicked off the year with a baby boy named lucas on january 1st. he was the first 2017 baby to be born at st francis so he was featured on the news! her firstborn, olivia, is 3.5 months older than penny and now ezra’s first playmate has already arrived!

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lucas li, 1/1/2017 @ 5:18am. 6lb. 9oz.

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i’ve been spending my free time trying to get things done. my friend, grace’s shower is this upcoming sunday so i spent last night making a banner for her mickey-mouse themed shower. i’m bringing penny with me to the shower and i purchased her a minnie mouse outfit from babygap to wear to the event.

even though penny’s 2nd birthday is four months away i already finalized the details. it’s actually too early to book the venue so i need to get back in touch with them next month. also, we are close to booking our family newborn photo session. we will be going with the photographer who did penny’s session: remi kate photography

penny is also a flower girl for our friends’ wedding in april so i’ve been looking for a dress. the wedding colors are lavender, sage, and white; after browsing through some options i feel a lavender dress will look really sweet on penny for a spring wedding. since ezra is due on easter sunday (4/16) and the wedding is on 4/30 i probably will not be able to attend but i would still like to try. we shall see when baby boy arrives.

i’m looking forward to next wednesday because mommy-to-be grace and i are going to new jersey for the day to stuff our pregnant bellies. we settled on japanese food but we will probably also stop by korean bakeries, eat ice cream, and maybe squeeze some shopping in. it’ll be fun to do my own thing for an entire day.

i already feel so accomplished today because my mil came early this morning. on days that dennis works the afternoon shift, she comes after penny’s nap and on days (like today) where dennis works the morning shift she comes in the morning. while mom watched penny, i was able to…

  • take yuri out
  • shower (still a luxury)
  • do laundry
  • eat peacefully
  • prep for dinner

now that penny’s napping i’m trying to whip out this blog post so i can get a few other things out of the way before i attempt to rest.

we had about 5-6 inches of snow last saturday. it was still snowing in the evening so we didn’t take penny outdoors until sunday. after getting all bundled up and going outdoors, we only lasted about ten minutes because it was too darn cold! the temperature said 18 degrees but the weather app said “feels like 6.” at least penny had her first experience of tubing down the hill!

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our first attempt to go out: she started crying shortly after this picture. we found out her brand-new boots are too small for her! we took out the lining when we went out the second time but we will have to return the boots.

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tubing with grandma

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off we go!

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there goes daddy and penny! yuri is trying furiously to keep up.

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fun with grandpa

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like i said in previous posts, i can’t keep up with penny’s expanding vocabulary. since my last post, she’s been saying “딸기” (strawberry), 뜨거 뜨거 (hot, hot), and 추워 추워 (cold, cold). the latter two she hears us saying when the stove is on so when she pretends to cook, is about to eat hot food or the stove/fireplace is on, she says “hot, hot!” sometimes she will want to go in the sunroom and if the space heater isn’t on we will tell her it’s too cold, so now she says that as well.

yesterday she tried to say “i love you” when i said it to her as i put her down for a nap. it was more like “i lay” but she’s trying! she loves her colors and i’ve probably said this before but now she also says “brown” and “green.” “orange” is more like “jee” (that’s a tough one).

with my baby shower approaching, i keep meaning to write posts on useful baby items and toys that penny likes so i can share with other parents/future parents. i promise to write separate posts on baby items and baby toys & books this month!