back into it

i’ve been mia from the blogosphere and it makes me sad that i didn’t chronicle the entire month of september. not a day went by without me thinking about finally writing another entry, but i kept putting it off for “tomorrow.” so much has happened since then.. umm, mostly just life.. with two kids. but seriously, at the end of the day, i just wanted to sit on the couch with munchies and watch tv.

we started shameless recently.  i can’t believe it’s been around for seven years (eighth season starting soon) and i am just getting into it now. (we are on season 2.) it’s rather addictive. i also began and finished atypical, a netflix series about a teenage boy on the autism spectrum trying to find a girlfriend. dennis couldn’t get into it, but i really enjoyed it. this is us also returned a few weeks ago so i’m watching that on tuesday nights along with fresh off the boat. two big shows are returning this month: the walking dead and stranger things. more reasons to veg out on the couch after a long day.

i also started reading for pleasure, again. i purchased john green’s new book, turtles all the way down. i’m taking my time reading it though because now i’m busy trying to catch up on my blogging (among other things) at night! ellington library is having a book sale this weekend so i brought penny with me this morning. they didn’t have a good selection of children’s books for sale so i only bought two. i was also getting carried away with the adult books until i realized i can just borrow them from the library. the grand total for two adult books and two children’s books was $1.00!

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a big reason i was also not blogging was because i was working on two scrapbooks: one for my mil and one for my good friend, genie. i decided to make each of them a scrapbook as a birthday gift, and even though i knew these would be time-consuming projecst i still didn’t give myself enough time to work on them. for genie, i showed the mostly-finished scrapbook to her at her surprise birthday dinner and took it back to finish. for weeks, i stayed up until nearly 2am, on some nights, to work on them! it was insane.. and i would have to wake up early to take care of the kids. i’m feeling so much better now that i am a little more well-rested. (i still have a bad habit of staying up late.)

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a good change i’ve been making in my life is starting to work out again. i was browsing my town’s park & rec catalog for classes i would possibly be interested in taking this fall. i came across pound, a group workout that uses weighted drumsticks, and was intrigued. after bringing up the class to the mom’s group that i am a part of, three other moms joined me in going to the group workout! i actually had a lot of fun, but it was hard because i am incredibly out of shape! i could barely do lunges let alone try drumming the floor at the same time. another class that i’d always been interested in trying is zumba. i had a blast! i liked all of the song choices that the instructor incorporated into the routine particularly the unexpected ones like “rollin’ down the river.”

dennis and i do have memberships at a gym that offers zumba, but none of the times work for me. the one i go to is on mondays & wednesdays at 7pm. this works out perfectly for me because i can help with the bath portion of the kids’ bedtime routine before leaving at 6:45pm. dennis usually comes home around 7, or a little after, on mondays-wednesdays so the time couldn’t have been any better, really.

like i mentioned before, so much has happened in these past six weeks (!) that i haven’t blogged. i’m quite overwhelmed at all of the catch-up posts that i have to do.. not to mention uploading all of photos i want to share. (and sadly, i still haven’t done my dad’s birthday from june!)

here’s a quick update before i go:

ezra

  • 6 months old! i cannot believe he will be a year old in… six months!
  • he is rolling onto his tummy now but have only just started seeing it in person! he keeps doing this in his crib, mostly.
  • he’s also pivoting in all directions and trying to crawl
  • eating solids: loves sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pears, and butternut squash; hates peas!
  • 2 teeth finally broke through but they have to make any progress beyond the tiny dots
  • still happiest during bath time, in the jumperoo, and taking walks
  • loves to watch his sister and dog
  • 9-month clothes are getting snug and short on him… we need to move on to 12-month clothes
  • “talking” a lot more and yelling out
  • bangs his toys around
  • loves looking at the ceiling fan and penny’s chandelier (as she did when she was an infant!)

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penny

  • vocabulary (english & korean) rapidly growing every day
  • speaking, up to, 6+ word sentences
  • counting ability and number recognition is on par with a 4-5 year old according to connecticut standards
  • identifies and says all 26 uppercase letters
  • memorizes oft-read books
  • can sing 8+ songs on her own including the abc song; twinkle, twinkle, little star; i’m a little teapot; and korean songs
  • talented at drawing!
  • still loves mickey and minnie mouse
  • sudden interest in her donald duck doll (dolls altogether) and taking care of him
  • loves to sort objects and line them up/put them in order
  • plays more with her kitchen than she ever has before
  • still gets jealous of her brother; controls what toys he plays with
  • fully day-trained for the potty and has been diaper-free at night for almost a month now
  • has been pacifier-free for nap/bedtime for about 3 weeks now. still asks for it now and then, and can get whiny, but she’s slowly getting better
  • transitioned to a toddler bed due to nighttime potty training. she’s doing great and loves her bed!
  • used scissors a few weeks ago for the first time
  • overall, a great eater. loves korean food especially different kinds of soups and fish; vegetables like onions, broccoli, and spinach; fruit such as golden kiwi, grapes, and clementines. hasn’t liked pasta and cheese for as long as i can remember (which kills me because pasta is my favorite)
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penny wearing her new vest from zara

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cute activity at a playgroup

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for some reason, penny is really possessive of this toy (even though it’s ezra’s). i have to let him play with it when penny isn’t around otherwise she throws a fit.

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80-degree temps in october!

 

happy birthday, penny

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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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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!

happy holidays

i had my 24-week checkup this morning. it was brief and everything went well. i’ve been keeping track of my weight gain like i did for penny, and i’ve gained 6.3 lb. so far. at this point with penny, i had gained 10.7 lb. and 18 lb. overall, right up until penny was born. i thought i would gain more during my second pregnancy but it’s not over yet so we will see how big this little boy grows.

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the ob measured my fundus (part of the uterus) to determine growth rate. it measured at 23cm which is fine because i’m at week 24. you want the measurements to be around the same as the number of weeks you’re pregnant, so i’m about a week behind which is still great. i have a long torso so i know the baby has a lot of room in there. this is also the reason why i haven’t shown until about a few weeks ago.

my next appointment will be the 28-week checkup where i have to take a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. i’m not worried about this one at all since my blood pressure is excellent and my weight gain has been minimal. plus, i was fine with penny. the only annoying thing is drinking this sugary orange drink in under 5 minutes.

with that said, these weeks are flying by; much more faster than when i was pregnant with penny. my friend and neighbor, yan, is expecting her second (also a boy!) on january 12th but she said she is already 4cm dilated so the baby could come any day now. it’s exciting and comforting to be going through my second pregnancy with friends who are also expecting their second around the same time. now we have to learn how to adjust to taking care of a newborn while also having a rambunctious toddler around. i’m eager to receive valuable tips from friends that are due before me, but i’m also grateful knowing that i will have lots of help from family members as well.

it was a busy christmas this year: we traveled to boston to celebrate with my family and then came back christmas eve so we could go to church on christmas morning. penny got baptized along with our friends’ son, ethan, and then we opened gifts in the early evening with dennis’ parents.

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homemade meal upon our arrival!

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penny’s baptism

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opening gifts

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she also received another baby doll for christmas (from my mom). this one i picked out: baby says “mama” when you squeeze her hand and she sucks on the magnetic pacifier when you place it on her mouth. penny knows how to do both.

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i forgot i bought her two wooden puzzles and a pizza kit so i gave them to her the following day

to top it off, i won fantasy football this year! i limped into the playoffs as the #8 seed (out of 12) and basically had no hope of even advancing into the next round. my first and second picks this year were rob gronkowski and dez bryant – both were huge disappointments this year although dez sealed the win for me in the end with a great game. most of my lineup were waiver wire pickups as well so it was amazing how i came back to win it all. this is my first victory after having been a runner-up a few times (most recently, last year) so i feel even more triumphant.

it has been hard to keep track of all the of the things penny has been learning because it’s at such a faster pace now. she’s saying more and more words. a few weeks ago she had added 뽀뽀 (kiss), 멍멍 (puppy), ball, wow, and 이모 (aunt) to her vocabulary, and most recently she has added “no more”, “one more”, “all done” (she only used to gesture), and 지지 (dirty). she is also sorting her colors by putting matching colors together. as one of her christmas gifts, i got her do-a-dot markers and she likes to screw the caps back on to the markers by herself. she correctly places the matching colored cap on the marker and twists it on! during bath time, she also places the colorful dolphin toys into their matching colored tubes.

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new straw cup

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braving the cold to get some fresh air!

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on my way home from my ob appointment today, a house had free toys set out on the curb so i took a coffee maker and this big rig auto transport.

penny’s top molars have broken through! i only noticed them a few days ago when i was changing her diaper and she was yelling/talking. currently she has 5 teeth but her top lateral incisors have been trying to poke their way through for almost a month now! she is a very slow teether. xD at 19 months it looks like she will soon have 9 teeth; but it seems that she’ll be closer to 20 months by the time they fully come in.

i can’t believe it’ll already be 2017 (year of the rooster) in a few short days. i’m excited to see what the new year brings (besides a baby boy!

  • i plan on adding more photos (52 total!) little by little. i just really want to post this entry before penny’s nap is up and the pictures take forever!

 

busy, busy, busy!

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney Co.

penny is so alert and curious these days. as she becomes more and more aware of the world, she just wants to be in the moment, exploring and experiencing… it’s hard for babies around this age to relax their minds before naps/bedtime hence the infamous 8~10 month sleep regression.

i believe we’ve slowly been going through it for the past two weeks. usually 1 out of 2 naps have been affected – 45 minutes or less. sometimes she wakes up happy and is chattering away whereas others she wakes up, crying because she’s tired. for the past two and a half months, penny’s awake time had been 2/3/4 but her awake time has slowly increased as she’s getting older. part of the reason her naps are all over the place is because she wants to be up and playing; she’s having difficulty putting her brain on pause. another reason is that we are still trying to figure out her awake time. sometimes she’s overtired and other times she’s undertired.

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playing with the mobile this morning. we have to lower the crib bottom!


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trying to stand on her own!

right now, for instance, she’s still on her first nap and it’s almost 11am! she woke up at 7am today (having slept 12 hours straight last night) and went down for her first nap around 10. it seems like her schedule is 3/3.5/4 now but we are still tweaking it because usually her first nap has been great while the second one suffers. it’s more important that the second one is longer for two reasons: 1) this is the nap babies keep when they transition down to one nap usually around 14~18 months, and 2) the awake time from the second nap to bedtime is the longest so they need to be well-rested for that.

well, yesterday, penny had a half-hour nap for the second one and she still stayed up for 4 hours before bedtime..without a meltdown, but perhaps we were lucky. she’s still been sleeping 11 hours straight every night, and last night she slept 12 hours, maybe, because of her short last nap. i’m hoping her night sleep doesn’t get interrupted, but it may once she really starts crawling and standing up. she’s been trying to do both (even in the bathtub!), and has been crawling forward a little. it’s not full-on crawling but she will go forward a few steps and fall back on her tummy, get back up, fall down, and repeat.

in order for penny to sleep well, we’ve been bringing her up to the nursery to wind down before her naps. about a half hour before we want her to sleep, we go upstairs to her room with her bottle. we have only table lamp on so it’s dim in the room and we also have the white noise on. we’ve also been using the boppy lounger (and a pillow) to give her her bottle so she can relax and play with toys while we feed her. she’s so easily distracted so we have to have a bunch of objects nearby for her to play with otherwise she’ll push the bottle out of her mouth. after she’s done with the bottle, we might read a few books, check her diaper and then put her in the sleep sack. then, she’ll take anywhere from 5~15 minutes to pass out. it’s a hit-or-miss lately but mostly because we’ve been trying to figure out a good time to put her down. (a few days ago she played for an hour in her crib before finally falling asleep!)

penny is also talking! her first word was 맘마, or mam-ma which means “food” in korean. she says this when she’s really hungry and impatient! she also says 엄마, or umma (mom) 아빠, or abba (dad)! when we say 도리도리 (do-ri, do-ri) she shakes her head back and forth. she also recently learned how to turn on the tv -_- we don’t let her watch tv but she plays with the remote sometimes so she’s figured it out. she will press the red button and look up at the tv to watch it turn on…

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penny trying to knock down the camera -_-

i guess we scored with penny’s first nap today because she’s still sleeping. i hate waking her up but i’m going to have to in 5 minutes to preserve her afternoon nap. hoping she gets two good naps in today. i’ll have to update later this afternoon.

3:23pm ~

penny finally went down for her afternoon nap. it took her 25 minutes because she kept fighting it and managed to knock over the camera again; i had to go in there to place it on the higher part of the crib. we’ll see what time she wakes up…

we had gotten back from a home goods outing with my mil and we met up with genie and olivia there. there are so many adorable things there that it’s incredibly difficult to hold back from buying out the whole store. both olivia and penny were chatting up a storm and snacking the entire time. 🙂

here’s a quick recap of some of the activities that the so family has been up to since the last post!

we had a play date with dana and avery two weeks ago. they also brought seollung-tang (설렁탕), or ox bone broth, from new jersey for lunch!

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penny & avery


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penny (9 months) & avery (14 months)

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avery chilling with yuri while the mommies eat

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we also had a play date with genie and olivia the next day! dennis stopped by after work to hang out and brought penny for bedtime routine while genie and i crafted.

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at least, 3 out of 4 are looking at the camera

notice the matching outfits? totally unplanned 😀

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olivia will be 11 months this week and probably walking before her first birthday, haha

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she really liked the piano!


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dinner time!


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winston (the dog) keeping us company


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creating artwork for alice & john’s upcoming baby shower

family swim day ~~

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love her expression here!

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getting ready to go home


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collage made on dennis’ phone


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she loves to “read” this book

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fun with bubbles!

this past sunday, i went to my friend abby’s baby shower. it’s always nice to get out of the house without a baby…

abby is expecting a girl on 4/19 – another gal pal for penny 🙂

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the favors included crocheted flower bookmarks handmade by abby’s mil’s sister

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bridget (standing) toasting her sister, abby (black tank)


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yes, the walking dead!


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great view

and finally, my outfit to the shower, hehe.. before i was pregnant with penny, i had a fashion blog on tumblr but now it’s all about penny on wordpress. i try to do fashion and lifestyle-related posts but they all take a backseat next to the baby. so, i’m trying to squeeze one in here.

about a month ago, i purchased a light gray coat from h&m but hadn’t had the chance to wear it yet due to the weather. this past weekend was in the 50s so i finally was able to wear it!

since i normally wear neutrals, i thought it’d be fun to add a splash of color with my lilac skinny jeans from j.crew. it’s march now so hopefully spring-like weather will keep occurring.

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update on penny’s nap: she woke up after a half hour, crying…. bahh.. she’s in the playroom with grandma so off i go to join them.

penny’s first christmas

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penny in her playroom


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she loves yogurt!

’twas a very merry christmas!

i was so excited to celebrate our first christmas as a family because it’s such an important, and festive, holiday.

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playing with the gift the so grandparents got her


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one of her many gifts: a ball pit!


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thank you, jennie and kaylee, for the adorable headband!


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looks so much cuter with hair!

christmas is also my mom’s birthday. it’s rough having your birthday fall on the biggest holiday of the year and sharing it with jesus so we try to make it special for my mom. my parents came down for dinner on christmas eve, and we went out to eat with dennis’ parents as well. my mom is very selfless and doesn’t ask for much so i know she was overjoyed when we surprised her with a cake – strawberry cheesecake from vernon diner to be specific.

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i love you, mom! happy birthday ❤

taking advantage of being able to spend time with us, my mom practically held penny the entire time. she and my mil took turns feeding penny her bottle and butternut squash with pear.

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entertaining herself during dinner


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before we left for dinner

so much good happens in my life, and as every year draws to a close i wonder how next year can even possibly be on the same level, or even better, than this one. but every year has been better than the last.

2015 was no exception and is probably the most important year of my life since i became a mommy to a healthy, vivacious, happy, and beautiful baby girl. it’s hard to believe penny’s already 7.5 months. with each passing day, i’m in awe of what she knows and can do. for example, today she began saying “da da da.” she had been saying, “ba ba ba” for some time now but has been more vocal the past few days. she also has been screeching and yelling (while smiling) because she can.

penny also gave us a wonderful gift: sleeping on her own. we’ve been rocking penny to sleep since she was born. as she got heavier and heavier we have been wondering how long we would have to do this for. we knew we would have to start sleep training but i, in particular, was nervous about this daunting task. do we try the “cry it out” method? what do we do? it turns out we didn’t have to do anything except put her down.

when researching on sleep training i kept reading “put baby down ‘drowsy but awake'” and thought, “yeah, right.. penny will never sleep like that.” we were too afraid to risk it, and honestly penny probably wasn’t ready. until three days ago.

around 6 months, penny transitioned to a 2-nap day and her awake time has been slowly increasing. currently, penny’s on track to being on the 2-3-4 schedule. if you don’t know what that is, it means your baby’s awake period is 2 hours before first nap, 3 hours before second nap, and 4 hours before bedtime. for quite some time, penny’s awake time was 2 hours before each nap and then, maybe, 3 until bedtime. we have been slowly increasing the increments in her awake time while still following her sleepy cues.

we also noticed that if her second nap was a half hour and gave her a third nap, she wouldn’t fall asleep as easily for bedtime. therefore if she ever had a “disaster nap” for the second nap we would put her to bed a little earlier.

this website was so helpful in helping me figure out penny’s schedule. yes, all babies are different but the “sleep lady” was on point for penny’s needs. we don’t let penny sleep longer than 2 hours for any nap and we are mindful of her awake time.

back in november, penny was sleeping 10-hour stretches which were wonderful but also driving us crazy because she would be awake and ready to go at 4am. she would play for an hour or even more and finally end up falling asleep again. thankfully, she had learned how to self-soothe by then so she wasn’t crying for us but i would lie awake wondering if i would have to tend to her or not. on one of the nights penny would not fall asleep i told dennis to turn off the night light on the video monitor. we were skeptical, but it worked! with the room pitch-black, penny soon fell asleep! now we knew why she had had a hard time falling back asleep: as she became more aware of her surroundings, the night light distracted her and kept her from sleeping even though she was tired.

one of the other reasons for her early-morning wake-ups was that penny had started waking up around 6am or earlier so by the end of the day she would want to go to bed around 5:30! it was stressful trying to make her stay up until, at least, 6pm so she wouldn’t wake up so early the next day. (now that penny has a set schedule i see that she was trying to fully transition to 2 naps and we had to fiddle with her awake time.)

some days she slept even longer, until 5am, but then would not fall back asleep because.. face it, 11 hours straight is pretty dang good. that’s a well-rested baby. but again, with time, and with the increase in her awake time penny has been waking up after 6am and sleeping after 6pm.

i was pretty satisfied with penny’s progress until she threw me for a loop three nights ago. even though penny was tired, she would not sleep. i rocked her for 3 hours.. is that crazy or what?! every time i put her in the crib, her eyes would fly open. it was obvious she was ready to pass out because every time i picked her back up her eyes would immediately close. finally, out of frustration, exhaustion, and hunger i placed her in the crib around 9:40pm and walked downstairs.

as i ate a very late dinner and watched the monitor, penny fussed and played for ten minutes and then fell asleep. i couldn’t believe it. first of all, she had been on her side in the merlin suit and fell asleep like that! and second, there was no pacifier and no one to soothe her.. she just.. fell asleep.

thinking it was just a fluke and that she had just been exhausted from being up so long, dennis tried rocking her for her morning nap the next day. but, penny would wake up whenever he put her down. finally he came downstairs to see if she would fall asleep on her own AND SHE DID! penny has been telling us she’s ready to fall asleep by herself.. and we are ECSTATIC that we don’t have to rock her anymore.

sleep is such a beautiful, beautiful thing… and penny has been sleeping 11 straight hours without us having to tend to her. we still can’t believe it. of course, all will change when her teeth finally come in.. and the 8-month sleep regression is quickly approaching but we are SO enjoying this right now! and we are so proud that penny has been able to figure out how to sleep on her own. we are finally feeling more rested, and happier because of it too.

sweet dreams, penny.

thankful

it’s already december! one more month and it’ll be 2016. i have gone through so many firsts with penny and soon it’ll be her first christmas 🙂

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we cut down penny’s first christmas tree!

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last week was thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, and we had been planning to go up to boston to celebrate it with my side of the family. for those who know, my family is huge (about 50 members or so) and it’s always a good time: tons of food (korean and american); gambling (poker for the younger generations and hwa-to, 화토 korean cards for the older adults); and football to name a few activities.

our family even has a facebook group to update each other on events. on november 1st, someone starts a post on who will bring what to thanksgiving. we always have to have 2 turkeys just because of the sheer size of our family. there’s usually ham as well, and we also have sullung-tang, 설러탕 or gook-bab, 국밥 for dinner in addition to the leftovers.

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my family, sans us, at this year’s thanksgiving!

dennis and i had been fretting (mostly me) on enduring 3-hour traffic; dealing with an overtired baby; and having her spend the night in an unfamiliar place. we had a list on what to pack and it was practically everything baby-related item we own including a pack ‘n play and her monitor.

in the end, we opted to stay home. i was really sad about missing out on my family’s thanksgiving (i cried!) but it was truly for the best, and i don’t regret our decision. plus, dennis’ brother, dan, and his wife, crystal, drove up from washington d.c. to spend thanksgiving here and we would not have been able to spend time with them had we gone up to boston. we also had not seen them since july when penny was about 7 weeks old! it was a relaxing, intimate get-together with both korean and american food – thanks to crystal and our mil.

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the so family

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obligatory ‘funny face’ photo

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it was also my 32nd birthday on the 28th. i didn’t have the motivation to go out and celebrate but dennis was sweet enough to plan and organize a birthday dinner for me. at the end of the day, all i really look forward to is lounging on the couch and passing out in front of the tv. but i’m glad dennis made sure i take time to enjoy life as well.

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delicious strawberry-peach cake

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as a birthday gift, dennis is also treating me to 4 days in las vegas! we are leaving this coming sunday and i’m incredibly nervous about the trip. it’s not just the hassle of pumping, saving milk and transporting it back but i’m so anxious to leave penny home for 4 days. although penny is comfortable with my mil she goes through ‘mommy phases’ where she can only be soothed by me. i just worry about her crying for me at night especially since she’s been sleeping 9~12 hours straight as of last week. i know babies are unpredictable and just when you think you have their schedule figured out, it goes belly-up but i worry how much  it will be affected when i’m gone.

mil was over yesterday and she took the initiative to jot down notes on penny’s awake time, how much to feed and how often, and nap length. she’s really great with penny and very loving and patient so i know she’ll do a great job.. i just need to reassure myself. and anyway, the trip is happening so there’s nothing i can do but try to enjoy myself! we are going with four of our friends and it’ll be nice to get away and treat myself… right?

well anyway, i need to get my mind off the trip because i’ll drive myself crazy with unnecessary stress.

today is penny’s first swim lesson! she absolutely loves bath time so we figured she’ll take to swimming but it’s in a whole different environment so who knows, really? her bathing suit arrived a few days ago and though it’s size 6-12 months it’ll be too small for her in a month or so. her lesson is from 4:30-5pm which is perfect because then we can come home and do her bedtime routine. i’m nervous because i’ll be taking her by myself (and going in the water too!) so i hope all goes well.

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important update on penny’s supposed milk allergy: she is not allergic to dairy.. hooray! at her 6-month visit, our pediatrician changed penny’s poopy diaper and noted that it looks normal for a breastfed baby. he advised us to get probiotics to help with her bowel movements. we give penny 5 drops a day by spoon and now she’s down to 1-2 bowel movements a day! i’m so relieved because a dairy-free diet is unbelievably difficult and i didn’t want have to deal with that… of course, i would have had to if penny really was allergic, but she’s not!

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all in all, i have a lot to be thankful about… and during times of trial, i hope i can think of moments like these to spur me on.