blooms & custard

pwithflowers

did you know there are farms that allow you to pick your own flowers? i sure didn’t. i’m constantly looking for new and fun activities to do with penny and i found out about a flower picking farm in south windsor, ct from a mom’s group in my town. recently, i joined a mom’s group; i discovered this group through our town library and, not long ago, i saw the group on my instagram newsfeed. for an annual fee of $25/year, moms and their children participate in weekly activities, organized and spontaneous playgroups, monthly moms’ night out, and participate in board meetings.

it’s always great to meet other moms and provide our children more opportunities to socialize with other kids. the first activity i attended via the mom’s group was a music & dance playgroup at a local nursing & rehabilitation center. the children participate in organized activities during the hour-long playgroup and can interact with the residents if they choose. penny was shy at first because of all the people but she loosened up when she saw that the children were playing with big balloons. i thought that was a wonderful way to keep the kids preoccupied while waiting for the program to begin. some of the residents asked penny to hit the balloon to them so they could hit it back to her. it was really sweet to see how much joy the children brought to these people.

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this playgroup consisted of a sing-along, interactive reading, musical instruments, bubbles, parachute, and a snack. penny was engaged the entire time and was excited to move on to the next activity. although she really enjoyed everything, i could tell penny was particularly pleased with the cup of juice at snack time. we rarely let penny drink juice so it was a real treat for her especially since she was thirsty from all of the activity. overall, i was really pleased with the whole event and can’t wait to go back next week.

tuesday morning, the mom’s group went to petersen farm in south windsor to pick our own flowers. visitors can park right on the grass. the farm provides cutting tools, buckets, and water although it’s recommended you bring your own bucket to safely transport the flowers back home. flowers are $8/lb (which is an excellent deal) and i initially scoffed at the price thinking, “who gets a pound of flowers?” well, i ended up getting two. the flowers are all so gorgeous that you can’t help but want each one. i might have gotten a little scissor-happy.

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the only downside is that it was misting when we went so the grass was wet, soaking our sneakers. i had been thinking about purchasing rain boots for penny and now i have more of a reason to do that. fall is around the corner and they’ll be useful then, too.

we both enjoyed ourselves and i look forward to going back. fresh flowers certainly brighten up a room (and a mood!) and also smell divine.

tuesday was also “national custard day” so rita’s was having a .99 special for a kid’s size custard. i intended to meet some moms from the group around 3:30 but we didn’t end up arriving until after 4pm. i had to wake penny up from her nap because she was sleeping so much. ezra’s naps were off today because he’s been rolling over. since he was awake, we all went to rita’s.

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as for upcoming events and activities, there is a tolland 4-h fair this weekend so i’m thinking of bringing both kids to that.

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!

family, friends & fun – oh my!

holy smokes, the 18 month sleep regression really is a killer!

they say that god never gives you more than you can handle but i honestly think he overestimates me sometimes, or maybe it’s all a cruel, cruel test. i had read about this regression for months in anticipation but it’s no joke when it happens. i’ll talk about it a little more later on but first i wanted to share our weekend in boston. we finally made a long overdue trip up to my home state to see my parents, sister, and grandma. while there we were also able to meet up with a few friends — the kim family and movie night with the byun brothers.

we ate well and we played well.. and we are going back up in two weeks from the 23-24th. we didn’t celebrate thanksgiving with my family (again) so we are celebrating an early christmas with them. and it’s my mom’s birthday on christmas day. the only reason we are heading back early is because penny is getting baptized on christmas morning with her friend, ethan.

okay, back to the weekend trip. we embarked around 9:30am and arrived at 11am at my parents’ home. penny had time to see her grandparents and auntie jen, play for a little bit, eat lunch and take a nap. while she slept, my parents left for work and dennis, jen, and i watched the secret life of pets. it was funny though not as good as zootopia, and definitely not appropriate for little children as they talk about “whacking off humans.” o.O

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after penny woke up we went to go visit my grandma. jen even brought along charlie and logan, her dog and her boyfriend’s dog. the last time penny saw grandma, she wasn’t walking on her own yet so my grandma was marveling at her speed and her height. penny was in a kissing mood and wasn’t shy about giving her great-grandma kisses much to her delight. (lately when penny’s feeling generous she will kiss everyone in the room. multiple times.)

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만세!

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giving great-grandma a kiss

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copying daddy with a playdo mustache

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we kept busy the rest of the weekend. mornings, for the most part, were spent at home with my parents since they had to go into work in the afternoon.

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giving kisses to grandma, grandpa and daddy

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lunch!

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on saturday, we went to go see santa at the burlington mall. we were able to book a time in advance (3:20pm, and they book fast!) but we still arrived early anticipating a crazy holiday crowd. and.. we were correct. there was a lot of traffic and parking was sparse so dennis dropped off penny and me at the entrance closest to the santa meet ‘n greet. when penny and i got there, the line was wrapped around the entire santa section! there was a shorter line where people were waiting to pick up their photos. i asked a woman in that line if she had booked a time online and she said she did; she told me to flag down one of the employees so that we could cut in line since everyone there had not scheduled a time.

whew! i’m so glad i asked because it wouldn’t have made sense for us to wait in line especially since i paid a $10 nonrefundable deposit towards a photo package. santa took a bathroom break and as he walked by, he patted penny on the shoulder. after he came back, the whole photo shoot took about ten seconds. we didn’t want to risk penny crying so we decided to take a family photo.

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after that, we left and met the kim family at their home for a short play date before dinner at island creek oyster house.

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olivia & penny snacking on blueberries

the food at this restaurant was really good and i’d love to go back. this is the second location; the first location is near fenway.

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olivia enjoying homemade pesto pasta

our friends, alf and ben (brothers), came over for a movie night after penny had gone to bed. last time, we had watched spotlight and snacked on doughnuts. this time, we watched the jungle book (the most recent one) and snacked on macarons. it was great to see them because we had been trying for a few months to schedule a movie night. (being carless in the city makes it even more difficult to make it work, too.)

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after spending some time with my parents on sunday morning, we took penny to vinkari safari in woburn, a children’s indoor playground. i had looked up kid-friendly indoor activities to do that are in the area and i found vinkari. penny had a great time and we did too. currently she’s really into cars and trucks so she spent most of her time playing with trucks and riding in cars.

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we left a little after 11am and the place was getting packed! we left at just the right time.. there probably wouldn’t have been enough cars for the kids! i look forward to bringing penny back when we go back to boston. admission is $10 per child and up to two adults are free.

it’s interesting how the activities we plan for our family are geared towards penny. there really isn’t anything for us adults to enjoy at indoor playgrounds like vinkari but just to see the joy on penny’s face and seeing how engaged she is is enough for us — and i know there aren’t too many parents that would disagree with this. if the kid’s happy, you’re happy. i did tell dennis though that i hope we can go into boston at night the next time we’re up. maybe my parents will be home early enough so they can watch penny while she sleeps and dennis and i can do our own thing…

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dinner at buk kyung, my parents’ restaurant, before we head back to connecticut

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back to the sleep regression. it seems like every other day penny will wake up around 4-5am and then go between modes of being awake and asleep. she’ll stay up for a while calling out for me (but not crying) and talk to herself. it’ll be quiet for a half an hour — maybe she fell asleep or she’s trying to — and then i’ll hear her yell out again. dennis and i actually haven’t gone into her room at night since she started sleeping all night at 6.5 months and we hope not to. she’s great at self-soothing (she is attached to her lambie lovey from pbk) and loves her crib so for the most part she’s fine by herself even if she’s awake. the hard part is dealing with her crankiness in the morning while i struggle to stay alert.

it’s not particularly the sleep part that is taxing (though it’s a huge part) but now that she’s a full-on toddler she’s developed her own personality and is more vocal and demanding of her opinions. most of the meltdowns occur because of miscommunication or because she isn’t getting what she wants. she’s still young enough where you can’t really discipline her since she won’t understand but our pediatrician suggested a time-out of no longer than 1 minute just to remove her from the situation. it can be as simple as placing her in the pack ‘n play and walking away for a minute. i’ll have to remember this for next time.

anyway, tuesday morning was no different. while we were playing on the floor near the dining area, she stood up. i saw that she was about to hit her head on the marble table so i reached out to create a buffer but it was too late. the tears and screaming that quickly ensued had penny in a rage — she lunged at me and was trying to pinch my face! no matter what i did she would not calm down. ashamed to say i lost my cool and screamed back at her which caused her to cry more. ugh.. i struggle to stay cool in situations such as this. i walked away and sat on the couch to try the ‘ignore method.’ i quietly ate my bagel while she continued to scream. she followed me to the couch and kept screaming in bouts to get my attention and touched my foot. after i finally looked at her, she became quiet and let me hug her. she asked for milk and while she was drinking, she would pause to say “na na” which is what we say for “sleep” (night-night). i guess she was telling me she’s tired because i brought her upstairs for an earlier-than-usual nap and she passed out a few minutes later at 11:45.

while she slept i had time to reflect on that morning.. and how i reacted to the situation. i have to keep reminding myself how frustrating it must be for penny to not be able to fully communicate to us what she wants and needs. i, as her mom, have to be more accommodating (to a certain extent, of course) and understanding…. but boy, is it tough. i should’ve just walked away sooner when i saw the tantrum coming but i kept trying to hug her and say soothing words instead. i pray i can deal with this better the next time it happens because penny (and her brother) need me to guide them on how to respond during exasperating situations.

tomorrow she’ll be 19 months and penny’s surprising me every day with things she knows.

some things penny knows and likes to do:

  • colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, white, black, and gray. she points to the correct colors when prompted and also says “blue” and “purple.” she tries to say “yellow.”
  • points to the letter “o” and says its name
  • points to certain animals in books when prompted such as dog, cat, bunny, turtle, lamb, and cow. also points to certain objects when prompted such as rattle, book, star, moon, flower, and tree.
  • her vocabulary is about 20 words – english and korean. she still says “abba” (dad) and “umma” (mom) most often and she signs for “milk” instead of saying it. she loves to say “lambie” (her lovey).
  • she likes to help us do laundry (putting in/taking out clothes in washer & dryer and pushing the buttons) and cook eggs (one of her favorite foods).
  • she loves cars and trucks – riding them and playing with them.
  • she loves to snuggle and kiss stuffed animals.
  • likes to switch the lights and her toys on/off.

there are probably a lot more but i’m getting tired. i need to upload the pictures and hopefully rest for a little bit. until next time…

the remedy

cold season has arrived. penny had two canceled play dates in the past two weeks due to her friends’ illnesses. i tried in vain to prevent penny from getting sick but you can only do so much. after 9 boogie-filled days, penny seems to have fully recovered.

it all began early monday morning (10/17) when i woke up to penny coughing. i saw that she had a runny nose and dennis suggested that was most likely causing her to cough. penny hardly coughed when she was awake; it was only when she was lying down. thankfully, she didn’t have a fever, was in good spirits for the most part, and still had a decent appetite. initially i was worried she had developed allergies so i cleaned, dusted, and aired out her room. we also washed her mattress cover, sleep sack, lovey, and blanket.

the coughing prevented penny from having a good nap and a well-rested night’s sleep for the next three days. usually 2.5~3 hours, she would wake up after an hour and a half (or less) because of coughing. during the night, she would sit up in bed for a little bit and look around, and try to go back to sleep.

the first thing i tried to help penny be more comfortable was the nose frida. we actually had only ever used this once before – when she was sick around her first birthday. we, and she, were lucky enough that she hadn’t been sick before that. let me tell you, that thing works! at first, she laughed when i used it because it tickled but she quickly grew to hate it. so much so that she would scream, flail, and cry when i tried to use it. i had to sneak up on her while she was playing to try to quickly suction mucus out of her nose. and, of course, her crying caused more mucus to collect in her nose. still, it was very effective at getting the mucus out since babies and young toddlers don’t know how to blow their nose.

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i honestly think she could have recovered sooner had she not been drinking milk. for those of you that have read my previous entries, i’m not a fan of cow milk. at first we gave penny hemp milk but when it proved to be costly i reluctantly gave penny some cow milk. i also purchased a brand of milk called ripple that is plant-based and available only at target (from what i saw). she never had a preference for a certain milk until i tried giving her ripple when she was sick. she noticed that it didn’t taste the same as whole milk and threw her cup in disgust! since she wanted milk, i had no choice but to continue giving her cow milk although i still limit it to 16 oz. a day. dairy causes mucus membranes to swell so it’s best to avoid it if you’re sick, but i can’t communicate all that to my daughter -_-

after the nose frida, i bought a vicks for babies plug-in vaporizer. i had read great reviews about it online on how babies and children slept well without coughing. in addition, i elevated one side of her mattress by rolling up 3 baby blankets underneath the mattress. i saw some improvement but penny’s cough was still affecting her sleep. next, dennis purchased a cool mist humidifier and we turned it on all night along with the plug-in vaporizer (and keeping the mattress elevated).

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that seemed to have helped even more, but it wasn’t until we applied baby chest rub to her feet that we noticed a drastic change! penny ended up sleeping her usual 2.5~3 hours for her nap and had uninterrupted night sleep – no coughing! again, i had read rave reviews but was still skeptical on how well it would work. i don’t know why but applying the chest rub to babies’ feet and putting socks over them truly works. for good measure, i also rubbed a little on her chest for nighttime.

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penny’s nose was still dripping like a faucet during the day and going outside made it worse (we had to take yuri out though). this morning, she woke up without a runny nose and we haven’t had to wipe her nose all day. fingers crossed she’s back to 100%!

next time your little one has a cold, try all of the above remedies but definitely have baby chest rub on hand. we used the walgreens brand but any brand will do, like the vicks for babies. do not use the adult vicks on babies as the scent is too harsh for them. i would also advise against using cold tablets and cough syrup even if they are for babies. there are just too many scary stories out there about babies dying due to an accidental overdose (such as from benedryl). plus, there are limited studies on how effective certain cough syrups like zarbee’s really is. science based magazine states zarbee’s is more or less “effectively diluted honey.” it might even be more beneficial to give your child actual honey (only give honey to babies over 12 months old) to coat the throat instead of using “placebo or no treatment.”

it’s still only october so we have a long winter ahead of us, but i hope that is the last illness penny will have this season. everyone’s miserable when a baby is sick especially the little one since she can’t communicate her discomfort. penny will get her flu shot along with another round of vaccines at her 18-month checkup next month so hopefully those help her to stay healthy this winter.

this reminds me: i need to get my flu shot soon too especially since i’m pregnant. i’m halfway through 15 weeks and for the past few days i’ve been feeling flutters. i felt penny move for the first time at 16 weeks so i can distinguish between gas and a baby’s movements (i would hope).i particularly feel the baby moving more when i’m lying down. (penny, too, was always more active when i was still because she was lulled to sleep when i walked around.)

this is getting more and more real every day! in less than a month we will also find out if we are having a boy or a girl, and then we can actually start planning for the baby’s arrival. we do want to paint the baby’s room and buy items based on the baby’s sex. once my belly actually starts getting bigger and i feel actual kicks, i will actually feel pregnant too. i’ve gained 2.2 pounds so far and i still fit into all of my skinny jeans.. and i hope i can still wear regular clothes for as long as i can!

penny staying busy at her toddler sense class

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we also visit different libraries (3 towns so far) to check out the children’s room.

lately it’s been difficult to coax penny into a stroller: why ride when you can walk, right? it’s not easy to walk the dog if penny isn’t in a stroller when i’m by myself so i have to bribe her with crackers lately… or just place her in the seat while she’s crying.

after a nice stroller ride, i “rewarded” penny by letting her walk around our yard while yuri watched from the foyer.

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some indoor activities penny enjoys are coloring and playing with stickers. she particularly likes putting stickers on my face and laughing. during a recent trip to a toy store in west hartford, i got the idea of buying reusable stickers. they’re a hit! she likes placing them on the different scenic backgrounds that the stickers came with.

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she’s actually quite good with not putting objects in her mouth.. she never really has! if she got curious and would try, one “no” would suffice. penny uses crayons and markers correctly which is why we weren’t too worried about her using markers.

as it gets colder and darker, i’m trying to find more activities to keep penny preoccupied indoors. i’ll have to think of other creative ways for penny to be engaged. i’ll be sure to share those – successful or not – in future posts.

sweet news

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i’m back. and with big news. the so family is expecting baby #2 on april 16th, 2017. currently i’m in my second trimester (14w 4d) and feeling infinitely better than i had been the past few months.

the reason for my blogging hiatus was due to my morning sickness. with penny i experienced nausea, fatigue, and food aversion to name a few but i never threw up (though i was close a few times). with my current pregnancy, weeks 5-11 were pure hell complete with toilet-hugging. at times i couldn’t even get out of bed and, fortunately, on days that dennis works 2-10 he would wake up in the morning with penny while i rested. it was really difficult to play with penny and cater to her needs when all i wanted to do was lie down. but again, i had help from dennis and also my mother-in-law. she still comes over several days a week to help prepare meals and take care of penny which i’m entirely grateful for.

like my pregnancy with penny, i couldn’t eat a lot of foods particularly meat and anything with red sauce (pasta and pizza). dinner was always a battle because dennis would bring home food and i would look at it and gag. there were many nights where i would go to bed hungry because i couldn’t stomach anything – even water was gross; it tasted metallic.

i didn’t do much the past few months but attempt to eat and sleep. i got nauseous when watching tv or reading a book, and all i wanted to do was nap when penny napped so i put off blogging for a while even though there were so many things i wanted to share. hopefully i get back into the groove of things and i can record a detailed pregnancy journey for penny’s little sister or brother.

baby #2 wasn’t entirely a huge surprise. we had been planning on trying for another one around fall because we were thinking of the age gap between penny and the baby. we weren’t intentionally trying but we also weren’t being super cautious.

and then we found out about baby #2 on august 4th.

i had a feeling i was pregnant because i had experienced a stuffy nose for over a week. this was my first symptom with penny too. no matter how much i blew my nose, it was constantly stuffy and impacted my night sleep. then, i started getting acne on my forehead which is rare. oddly, my hair started falling out; with penny, my hair had started growing thicker. a day before i was due for my next period, i took a pregnancy test (at night) and voila – instantly positive. i took one again the next morning and it was the same result.

even now we are still in disbelief that we will soon be parents to two children. boy, life goes by so quickly… in the meantime we have been cherishing penny even more as her status as an only child will soon expire. a newborn requires so much attention and care and we are praying for a smooth transition. as hard as it has been dealing with morning sickness and caring for a rambunctious toddler, i can only imagine how much work it will be once the baby is here!

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here’s a photo of me (and the baby) at 14 weeks.

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IMG_0548on august 3rd, 2016, i sent my letter of resignation to middletown public schools. walking away from my career wasn’t something i ever envisioned. but after penny was born, everything changed. i dreaded returning to work and extended my leave to half a year and then eventually the entire school year. when everyone inquired about me returning for the 2016-2017, i responded that, indeed, i was though i did share my worries about returning to work. i really wasn’t so much concerned about penny because she has been on a great schedule for a while now and is used to being with her grandparents.

i had come to the realization that i didn’t care so much for my job anymore. when your passion for anything dies, you can either try to get it back or move on. back in march, the city i worked in notified 16 other teachers and me that we would be let go due to budget cuts. due to initial shock, i cried and was understandably distraught over the situation. but, the more i thought about it, i realized it was a blessing in disguise: i had secretly been wanting to stay at home and now i really could!

but then a wrench got thrown in the works because a few months later, i was notified that all  the teachers would be rehired. i felt pressure from myself, and others, that i should return, so i signed the contract on june 8th. since then, i had been dreading the start of the school year: thinking about buying school supplies, cleaning and setting up the classroom, organizing and creating lesson plans, and so much more.

then, out of the blue, dennis said if i really wanted to stay home, i should. i was so ecstatic and relieved to have that support from him that i broke down in tears. why did i want to leave my job so badly? well, here’s a little bit of my work background.

even though i had been a classroom teacher for one year, i had been in the education field for a decade. as an undergraduate, i worked part-time (full-time during the summer) at a child care center for almost four years. then, i did student teaching and was a substitute teacher for a few districts. then, i moved to connecticut to become a building sub and would also later work as a long-term sub, interventionist, and finally obtained my own classroom. with each passing year, i became increasingly agitated and stressed over the escalating expectations of teachers. with all this accountability on making sure students achieve high scores on standardized tests, i slowly started to weary being a teacher but i kept on because i had been trying so long to be one.

after all that, one might think it’s such a waste to throw that all away but, to me, it’s entirely worth it to stay home with penny. it was a no-brainer for me anyway because i had steadily become more and more jaded with the education system over the years. teaching will always be there.. maybe in the future when penny (and her siblings) are all in school i’ll return; or maybe i’ll pursue a different career, but the truth of the matter is i can never experience being at home with penny again.

being at home is difficult too, of course. penny has been taking steps on her own for a few weeks now but just recently she has been walking more and more on her own. she has also transitioned to one nap so usually i spend this time cleaning up a little bit, but also trying to get some shut-eye myself because it’s tiring to chase her around and keep her preoccupied with constant activity. usually, i don’t fall asleep but i do feel better after resting my eyes.

summer is my favorite season, and i was always mournful when it ended because that meant the start of the school year. now i can completely enjoy the fall season because i don’t have to stress about being miserable at work. i am so psyched for all of the fall activities coming up: apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay rides, cider doughnuts and juice, fairs and festivals, halloween, enjoying the foliage, jumping in leaf piles to name a few!