welcome, 2018

and just like that, another year has gone by.

in previous years, like millions of other people, my new year’s resolution used to be to lose weight. although i would love to get my post-pregnancy bod back into shape i really want to focus on my emotional and mental state as well as my overall happiness and well-being.

my close mom friends know what i’m talking about because i’ve discussed this with them on many occasions, and they certainly can relate to the emotional and mental toll motherhood can take on you. some of you may wonder what could possibly have such an effect on me when i am blessed to stay home with healthy children who sleep well. that is certainly what my mom and sister wondered aloud when i had a breakdown at my mom’s house a few months ago.

no matter how well your children sleep, you’re always going to be tired. that’s being a parent. i think the chronic tiredness just becomes a part of you until your child moves out. i know i’m always tired because i choose to stay up late. every night i tell myself i’ll go to bed earlier, but i rarely do. if i happened to fall asleep at an earlier time it’s because i fell asleep on the couch while reading a book, trying in vain to update my blog, or while watching netflix. if i don’t stay up, i won’t get the chance to indulge in adult activities such as reading uninterrupted or even just getting to linger over a meal. these are all things i took for granted before i became a mom, and it’s the simple things i yearn for the most.

i’m going to try to put myself first sometimes. or even better, put dennis and myself first over the children.. for certain things. as parents, we sacrifice so much for our children but having a decent meal, for one, shouldn’t be one of them. sometimes i’m too tired to cook because of all the time i spent catering to penny’s ever-changing palate, but take-out isn’t usually healthy nor financially savvy.

i also used to love reading books and was reading a new book every week/every two weeks for a while until i hit a rut again. i got caught up in all of the things i had, and wanted, to do during my downtime like attempting to update my blog! i’ve had to renew two books three times already because i was having difficulty finding time to read. one of the books is the handmaid’s tale and i’m still only a quarter of the way through even though i just renewed it again.

i had also recently gotten a haircut, something i hadn’t done in 14 months(!) and had also recently wrote about. jjust having that done made me feel really good about myself. now i just need to get a massage soon as well as a mani/pedi 🙂

what i really aim to do is just be more h a p p y. this is tricky because you can’t exactly will yourself to be happy, you just have to be. by happiness, i mean… to relax a little, let things go, revel in whatever it is you’re going through, and enjoy life. nowadays with social media, it’s hard to actually enjoy the now because we’re so busy trying to document it for… later. i’m totally guilty of this as well. sometimes i have to restrain myself from whipping out my phone to take yet another picture to add to my library of 15,000 images.

i also have a bad(?) habit of building great expectations… for events, but mostly for people. i can hold a grudge like my life depended on it.. so i want to be more, not really forgiving, but more… understanding, and empathetic. often times i fret over certain friendships and wonder if the effort is really worth it. i feel like i’m usually the one reaching out to certain people, even just to ask how their day was and i just want to stop. i’m tired of wondering how they are. i’m just tired! i want to try to focus on the few great friendships i have instead of trying to cultivate a bunch just to feel like i’m part of a certain group. basically, this calls for me to be more loving to myself.. to be comfortable in my own skin and not feel like i need the validity of others – friends or family.

even with all of these revelations, 2017 was a wonderful year with the most memorable moment being the birth of ezra, our darling boy. it was also a challenging year as our family adjusted to a new family member and also having to endure the newborn demands once again.

it was a huge year for miss penny. not only did she lose her only-child status, but she also got potty trained in a week and a half; night-trained in a week; and begrudgingly gave up her nap/bedtime pacifier all within several weeks of each other. i blamed most of penny’s sudden mood changes and behavioral issues on the “terrible twos” but penny experienced many developmental growths and achieved big milestones (no diapers!)

i definitely can be too hard on penny sometimes. i’m just an impatient person to begin with, and i have a short fuse. maybe it’s because i get easily flustered and frustrated but i find it so difficult to understand, and empathize, with a two-year-old. i feel like a terrible mom most of the time because i get unnecessarily angry and annoyed at her behavior. it’s not like she’s an awful child; she has typical toddler behavior: jealousy over the baby and hangry meltdowns, to name a couple. my reactions sometimes make me wonder how i ever even enjoyed being a teacher until i remember i had specifically chosen elementary over early childhood for the reasons above. (and my experience at home is also why i don’t want to go back to teaching.)

every day i pray for more love, more patience, and more understanding. i want to love myself more so i can teach penny and ezra to love themselves more, too.

2018 – bring. it. on.

[ these are some pictures i took from new year’s weekend in massachusetts. ]

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dessert crepes for dinner at burlington mall

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double duty: cleaning the floor and entertaining little brother

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a “typical” lunch made by my mom

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we forgot yuri’s booties so we used ezra’s socks

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it was stiflingly hot in grandma’s room

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grandpa lee and ezra passing the ball back and forth

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grandpa lee playing the fishing game, one of penny’s favorite christmas gifts

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ezra has been pushing himself forward for a couple of weeks now. he still can’t crawl; he has trouble lifting up his belly so far. he is over 23 lb so maybe weight is one of the reasons! he seems pretty content on moving around this way or just wanting to stand even though he can’t do that on his own.

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ezra on the move!

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days go by

they say it gets easier as the children grow older… and it’s true. ezra is already 8 months old and he rarely gives me trouble. penny, on the other hand… she has been having better days lately and it may be because she’s well-rested. penny had been going through a weird phase a few months ago where she began waking up between 5-5:30am every morning. sometimes she would yell out but other times she was mostly quiet as she tried to go back to sleep.

at first, i thought it was because she had to use the potty but she kept waking up early for about a month. i brought it up to her pediatrician at penny’s 2.5 year visit, and he advised that she only nap for 1.5 hours. while researching online for help with toddler sleep, i did find an article where the sleep expert, kim west aka the sleep lady said toddlers between 2-3 years old should only be napping for 1.5 hours to protect night sleep.

our pediatrician warned us that it would take a week or so for results to show. it was tough at first because penny would be cranky whenever we woke her up from her nap since she was trying to make up for the early morning wake-up. she still can be cranky when we wake her up but it has been working because she is now waking up between 6:30-7… or sometimes even after 7am! she went from sleeping 9-9.5 hours during that month of hell to 10.5-11 hours!

maple street playgroup

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painting a pouch

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recent snow day

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like penny, i transitioned ezra to two naps a little earlier than the norm. both kids were ready for two naps because their last nap (a catnap) made their bedtime too late and resulted in less nighttime sleep overall.  plus, their first two naps were long (1.5 hours each) and i would have to wake them up from each one! a 2-nap schedule means we can do more during the evening hours, too.

i’ve been brave lately by bringing both kids out and about. recently, the mom’s group had a chuck e. cheese playdate so i brought both kids after they woke up from their nap. (another great thing is that ezra’s 2nd nap is usually around the same time as penny’s nap so i get to rest, too!)

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Penny couldn’t figure out how to go up this. the platforms were too high for her.

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nice action shot

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i don’t think i had ever been to a chuck e. cheese, even as a child. i always hear horror stories such as the viral videos of parents having a full-on brawl while their children watch. i decided to give the place a shot since we had never been there. the one in manchester is actually the 2nd-largest in new england! what’s neat is that there is a separate toddler section so you don’t have to worry about your little ones getting overrun by the older kids.

the rides moved a little too slowly (even for toddlers) in my opinion, and the hot chocolate one was weird, but penny seemed to enjoy herself. her favorite ride was the train. the children also climbed up padded platforms to go into tunnels and slide down a spiral slide. penny really wanted to go down the slide but couldn’t figure out how to climb up the platforms. other kids were being creative by using the netting to hoist themselves up, but penny didn’t even want to try. i wish she wasn’t so tentative at trying new things, but pushing her will only make it worse.

i also brought the kids to a holiday party held at one of the mom’s homes. the location being only 7 minutes from our home definitely made it easier to attend. still, i was a half hour late because of penny, stalling. it’s so hard to get her to go anywhere right after her nap and she shuts down when we try to rush her. i had to entice her by saying there would be “new toys” at the place we were going to.

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K combing Ezra’s hair 🙂

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penny enjoyed playing with the new toys, and also sat down with some of the other children to snack on fruit and crackers. she actually does better with sitting and eating (and feeding herself) when we are out! it really does help when she is sitting with her peers to eat. learn by example, right? ezra, as usual, was his own chill self. one of the moms offered to watch him so i could eat, and another mom put his shoes on when we were getting ready to leave. it takes a village!

i’ve been saying this for quite some time but i need to start taking better care of myself. i used to skip lunch and try to nap but forgoing meals aren’t good for my body and overall energy either. in fact, i used to eat so little during the day that my stomach chronically hurt. when i did eat, i was never satisfied because i could have always eaten more but i didn’t because i wanted to try to get some shut-eye.

my stomach hasn’t been bothering me lately so i guess i’m on the right path. i just need to start working out again… especially since we are planning a tropical getaway in march. i like having four seasons and i like snow but winters drag on in new england.  for sure, by march, we will be sick of being cooped up indoors. (i’m already tired of it now.) although nervous to be traveling with two little ones, i also am excited to share this experience as a family of four.

i took both kids to the playgroup at our town’s library.

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the size of ezra’s hands are catching up to his big sister’s!

michaels sells art projects by creatology. some are 3+ but most are 6+. this christmas sign was 6+ but i purchased it anyway thinking penny could do it anyway. now i know why they upped the age for seemingly simple project: their attention span! it seemed easy enough to just to put stickers on the sign but penny got bored of putting the little stickers like the individual letters on it. she liked working on the penguin the best (the part we tackled first.)

 

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after 14 months without a haircut, i finally got one last week. it was a big change: i had over 12 inches chopped off! i feel so much lighter and don’t have to battle tangled hair on a daily basis. i did have hair remorse soon after the new ‘do was unveiled but it went

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life with two

two kids: two years old & two months old.

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people usually have their children close in age to one another so that they can be friends. they also have multiple children with the notion that it will be fun. but… when does the fun begin? okay, i guess i’m being dramatic but it sure is hard when your little ones are… just that, little. raising two kids is slowly becoming more enjoyable as dennis and i have gotten into the groove by tag-teaming and implementing consistent yet still flexible schedules.

ezra is still too young to have a set schedule like penny’s but, like i’ve said countless times before, it’s never too early to start. i already see a big difference in his daily routine because i follow the eat/play/sleep schedule and feed him enough calories during the day to have longer night sleep.  like penny, we incorporate bath time into ezra’s nightly bedtime routine. they both love water so being immersed in its warmth helps them relax (although penny is as energetic as ever) as well as signal to them that bedtime is near.

ezra has been consistent with doing a good 5~5.5 hour stretch of sleep before waking up again to feed. then, he will usually sleep for another 4~5 hours. he has been going to bed between 8~9pm lately. two nights ago, he slept for 7.5 hours straight! most babies his age have a later “bedtime” of closer to 10 or even 11pm. we like putting him down earlier so we can have time to ourselves and also so that we don’t have to gradually push his bedtime to what it is now later on when he’s older. plus, his evening naps aren’t so great so by that time he’s overtired and ready to pass out.

penny usually takes a bath around 7pm (6:30 if her nap ended earlier) so ezra usually takes a bath around then or a half hour later. it’s just easier to get both kids down at the same time – i normally do penny’s bedtime routine while dennis does ezra’s. then we will briefly gather to give the kids a chance to say good night to another (and us) and give kisses.

because of the two year sleep regression, penny’s been fighting her nap and bedtime. she will eventually fall asleep for her nap but sometimes she will play for an hour! this results in a late bedtime, sometimes close to 9pm! i religiously refer to babysleepsite.com for advice and it says to keep up with the daily bedtime routine – don’t change the times or drop the nap because this, too, shall pass. it really is obvious that penny is exhausted.. even with her falling asleep so late at night, she will wake up a few times during the night  and  have an early wake-up. last night she fell asleep close to 9pm and woke up this morning at 6:30am! you bet she was a hot mess around 11am! she passed out almost right away during her 12:30pm naptime.

i’m just really grateful that penny is a rather agreeable toddler in the sense that she may try to delay sleep lately but she doesn’t put up a fight with us (e.g climbing out of her crib or running away when we announce it’s nap/bedtime.) she does try to get us to read “one more book” so we won’t have to leave the room but if we tell her “that’s enough” she walks over to us. it seems as if she’s starting to get afraid of the dark – something that toddlers develop around this age even if they previously weren’t afraid – because she’ll cry until we go into her room. we turned the night light on her camera and she stopped crying right away. she’s asleep now (thankfully before 9pm!)

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now that penny’s 100% better, her appetite has returned somewhat. she did have 3 canines break through around the same time so they, along with her illness, most likely affected her eating habits. i find myself being much more patient and tolerant around penny now. this may be because her behavior has markedly improved – again, now that her teeth broke through. there are times where she can still be clingy, whiny, and disagreeable but there are much less instances now, and that’s typical toddler behavior anyway. she has so much charm that it’s difficult to stay upset at her for long. my mil even laughs and says, “how can you stay mad when she acts so cute?” it’s so true.. but it’s so bad because i feel like we enable her naughty behavior if we laugh. i still try my hardest to be firm with her and have consequences for her poor choices.

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she loves onions and brussels sprouts

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adorable juicy couture outfit from alice + john

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she knows how to pose!

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cooling down during the heat wave

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ethan’s 1st birthday party

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birthday boy with ezra

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too much excitement

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can’t say no to cupcakes

out for a walk with grandpa – 6/15

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i used the glink for the first time – what an amazing double stroller!! can’t say enough good things about it!

this week, i started working on getting back in shape. i didn’t exercise once during my pregnancy besides taking walks so attempting to go for a jog on monday night was torturous. my legs felt like lead and my lungs were straining to take in air. i kept at it however by doing a brisk pace/jog combo and eventually built up a bit of endurance. last night i ran ten laps on the indoor track at the gym. since i arrived around 9:15pm, there was only one other person at the track and he was shooting hoops.

being consistent and motivated to work out is a struggle… which i’m sure so many people deal with on a daily basis. of course i would much rather sleep.. or veg out on the couch but i am always going to be tired so i can’t use that as an excuse. my goal is to lose 10 lb because i never lose the last 5 with penny and i still have 5 from ezra as well. additionally, i want to be tone and gain muscle back. i’m considering buying free weights on days i don’t go to the gym. ahhhhhh, i don’t wannaaaa……

excuse my little outburst there.. there’s always so much to do and so little time. ezra’s 100th day is quickly approaching so i need to start planning for that! he officially is 100 days old on july 20th so we chose the 22nd as the celebration date. now we need to work on the guest list and food.

but for now.. sleep.

and.. a happy 27th (!) birthday s/o to my not-so-little brother, james. he’s living in cali now so i can’t see him but some of his friends flew out to celebrate with him. have a blast!