no sleep till.. never?

goodness, it’s been a ghastly week at the so household. penny woke up with a fever last thursday morning and has been sick ever since with progressively worse symptoms. she’s finally much better today, and as my mil and i marveled over penny recognizing and reciting numbers 0-9 on her duplo blocks it was hard to believe this little smartypants had been vomiting almost all day on saturday.

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encouraging her to drink water to get a urine sample

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a little wary of the other adults

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little miss sunshine

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penny didn’t have much of an appetite since she wasn’t feeling well but was in good spirits most of the time during her illness. on friday, i suspected she had a uti because she suddenly got out of her car and started crying as she crossed her legs. even though i took her to the doctor’s office that afternoon we couldn’t determine exactly what she had because she wouldn’t cooperate. she screamed and writhed when getting her ears and heart checked. (at least they ruled out an ear infection.) we were unsuccessful in trying to attach a urine bag to penny to collect a urine sample so we tried by placing cotton balls in her diaper and having her drink water but her diaper was still dry after 25 minutes.

i brought two urine bags and a cup home in an attempt to collect a sample but was unsuccessful yet again. both bags became detached and were crumpled up in the diaper. she didn’t have pain going to the bathroom and her urine didn’t have a funky odor so it most likely was not a uti. the pediatrician seemed to think penny just had contracted a virus anyway.

things took a turn for the worse on saturday. we walked in penny’s room that morning and discovered she had vomited sometime during the night. it had dried on the crib sheet and there were chunks – pardon me while i gag – of partially digested food in her hair! she didn’t even cry but just looked up at us as if she was going to get in trouble. i don’t know how she slept in all of that, and that really makes me sad for her! dennis thinks penny vomited before she even fell asleep friday night. i had gone out to meet up with friends for a paint night / baby sprinkle that night and dennis had put both kids to bed with help from his mom. he noted that penny sat up in her crib for a while before finally going to bed. she must have vomited and had not known what to do.

for her nap on saturday, penny took an awfully long time to fall asleep. when she finally did, she only slept for an hour and sat up again in her crib. when i went in her room to check on her, i found that she had vomited again! as for bedtime that night… that was a downright fiasco. she had a developed a cough that day, and that was not only keeping her up but it caused her to vomit three more times that night. again, we never would have known because penny never cried or called out for us. we watched the monitor like a hawk to observe her behavior. at one point when she sat up in her crib, she made a brushing motion with her hand. (she was probably trying to wipe the vomit off her sleep sack.)

the washer and dryer were basically going on all night as we washed her pajamas, crib sheets, stuffed animals, and blankets. the first time it happened, we washed her off, changed her, and put her to bed before she vomited again. the second time it occurred there weren’t any crib sheets left so we had to keep her up while we waited for one to dry. while we were keeping her distracted, she vomited on the kitchen floor! by this time, she knew something was wrong and was getting a little scared. when we finally put her to bed she started crying because she probably thought she was going to vomit again. i think she was associating her crib with these horrible episodes.

i laid out a comforter on the floor of penny’s bedroom and lied down on it while coaxing penny to join me. she wasn’t convinced and kept trying to have me read books to her. i finally pretended to sleep but she kept her distance though she did steal glances in my direction. then, i left the room saying “bye, good night” and came back to see that she had finally lied down. i joined her and gave her her blankie. she did not want the room to be in total darkness so i left her lamp on to provide a dim light. i also soothed her by placing my hand on her stomach. she was asleep within minutes and i quietly stole out of the room. we waited about a half hour before dennis went in to place her gently in her crib. at least ezra slept through it all! his last feeding had been around 8pm and he didn’t wake again to eat until 2am.

penny seems to be near 100% today. finally. she is no longer coughing and her appetite has somewhat returned. she also slept for almost 12 hours last night which shows that rest is essential to recovering. since she was feeling much better today, i was able to take her to the library in coventry for story time – perfect timing since the program started up again today. we were able to see karen and parker there and catch up with them as well.

as for the other child, ezra has had a good routine going once i upped his milk intake. he never seemed to be fully satisfied after every feeding and would sometimes cry for a little bit. after researching online, i found that bottle-fed babies are drinking about 5~6 ounces per feeding at his age (he is 8 weeks today.) i had been giving ezra 3 oz. every 3 hours! no wonder he wasn’t satiated. i tried giving him 5oz and he drank it all without spitting up or being uncomfortable. after some experimenting, i found that ezra still wants to drink every 3 hours which caused his milk intake to shoot up during the day. i was worried i was overfeeding him but getting his calories in during the day helped him sleep longer at night – the ultimate goal!

we have been putting ezra down for the night around 8:30pm shortly after penny goes to bed. then he will have a good stretch before he needs to eat again, about 5-6 hours! i was feeling rather pleased with this improved schedule until last night. ezra would not fall asleep for longer than a half hour before he started crying. dennis and i took turns going in there to soothe him, rock him, change his diaper, and reswaddle. every time he fell asleep, he would wake up crying a short while later. we attributed his discomfort to gas but none of the measures we were using were working. finally at 5am, i decided to let him sleep on his belly to push the gas out… and that was it. he passed out and slept for two hours before waking up for his morning feed, and then taking a 2.5 hour nap.

anyway, both kiddos seem to be doing much better today – hallelujah! this depressing weather has been crippling our mood as well but it seems to be slowly turning around tomorrow. it’s hard to believe today’s high is in the 50s while next tuesday’s will be 90! we have another busy weekend ahead of us. saturday is a day trip to massachusetts to attend my cousin’s high school graduation party. (to be accurate, it’s my first cousin once removed – my first cousin’s son.) sunday is ethan’s first birthday so we will attend that as a family as well.

with everything going on, i haven’t been able to write a post on memorial day weekend. hoping i will soon. goal: before the month is over. 😦

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ez loves bath time just like penny

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smiling a lot more these days

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congrats on your new position!

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paint night for bomie and baby!

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watching high school musical 2

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first time using the activity mat

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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i will survive…

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ezra all dressed up for katie and mike’s wedding

[ friday, 5/5/17 ] i have been trying to publish this post for five days now. i have to go through what i already wrote to update. for instance, ezra is three weeks old as of this past tuesday! although the newborn stage has its challenges, like those motn (middle of the night) feedings, it’s also fairly easy in a sense that all the baby does is eat and sleep… unless he is wide awake all night.. and he was for almost 3 hours last night! after over an hour, dennis took over so i could sleep. ezra hates getting his diaper changed so the motn diaper changes stress me out because of how much he cries. i find that changing his diaper after a feeding will result in him being more calm because he’s content; but then i have to put him back to sleep since the whole process will have woken him up from his milk coma. so, now i stop him halfway through a feed to change his diaper (if he has pooped) since i can soothe him with milk afterwards.

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ezra at 2 weeks old

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with the exception of the first few days in the hospital, penny was exclusively breastfed until she switched over to hemp and whole milk at 13 months. there is no way i am going to be able to do this the second time around. as it is, it’s tough to find time to pump even with help. i also didn’t want to constantly pump and then be engorged on the days i’m alone and can’t find the time to do so. i had thought i could pump while playing with penny but, for some reason, she has developed a fear(?) of the pump. i’m guessing the fear stems from the pump’s appearance because she is also scared of the horn that was included with her set of musical instruments and a toy blender. who knows why?

i have tried to pump after an early morning feeding (usually i’m nodding off in bed), then during penny’s naptime, once during the evening, and then before bed. i pumped once today for comfort after not having pumped for a day and a half (!) with a nursing session in-between. looks like my nursing/pumping days are over very soon.. it does make me a little sad. in a way, i feel apologetic towards ezra.. and a little guilty because i was able to make it work for penny. but i know it’s much less stress for me.

i was also under the weather after our friends’ wedding this past sunday, most likely due to exhaustion and not eating enough these past few weeks. breastfeeding moms, particularly, need to eat well and drink plenty of water but i had been neglecting myself. that, along with sleep deprivation and infrequent pump sessions, tanked my supply. i have been supplementing with enfamil enspire formula because i had read that it’s the closest to breast milk but it was giving ezra a lot of gas. we switched over to similac (a sample from the pediatrician’s office) and he seems to be doing better with that.

although ezra is only three weeks old he has definitely become more alert. around week 2, he had a significant growth spurt where he was extra sleepy and hungry. his newborn clothes had been loose on him but now they are a bit more snug. that week was also when the witching hour began. from 6pm on, he wouldn’t sleep and would cluster feed. some of the times, however, he wasn’t hungry and just wanted to be held. there were instances where we fed him because we mistook his cues and he was very unhappy and uncomfortable from the extra milk (and gas). one night, ezra was awake from 7pm until after 11pm! every time he fell asleep in my arms and i put him down, he would wake up. my dinner had gotten cold and i gave up trying to do anything that night. after one more feed around 10, he finally fell asleep in my arms while i was in bed. i had fallen asleep too and didn’t wake up until nearly midnight to place him in his rock and play.

this is dennis’ long week at work which also means it’s a long week for me. (but now that it’s friday night instead of tuesday when i originally started this post, it’s almost over!) thankfully, i have a few play dates lined up on the days i would have been alone. i’m hoping penny will cooperate as her aversion to most adults is still going strong. (she was apprehensive initially when parker came over today but she warmed up, and they played well together.)

my mom and my sister also drove down from boston to visit for the day so i was able to take a 2.5 hour nap while they took care of ezra and played with penny. it was glorious! now i just need to get through this weekend and we can have a family day on monday since dennis has it off.

hoping tonight isn’t like last night! fingers crossed…

[family day in hartford]

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she wouldn’t leave the water station at ct science center

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snacking on blackberries

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[in-laws’ 38th wedding anniversary]

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cake

i made this cute cake topper using my cricut!

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[ katie & mike’s wedding ]

location: the barns at wesleyan hills in middletown, ct

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[ visit from mom and sister from last week ]

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…and ezra makes four

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baby boy is already 13 days old! after i wrote the last blog post, i ended up calling my ob who told me to go to the hospital right away. we made a pit stop to grab some snacks, drinks, and magazines. then we arrived at the hospital around 1:30am. i was immediately ushered into the triage room where i found out that i was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. i got my membranes stripped again to get the labor moving along. my contractions were anywhere between 5-8 minutes so i wasn’t able to get the epidural until 3:50am. the hardest part in both of my pregnancies was trying to withstand the ever-growing contractions – the pain that radiates from your back to your abdomen is unexplainable. it makes you behave like a rabid animal- a teeth-gnashing, body-flailing, wild-eyed creature.

after i got the epidural, i calmed down considerably… but so did the progress of my labor. whereas with penny i was ready to push two hours later, i still remained at 4cm at 6am. finally my ob, nurse, and attending student started getting ready for delivery at 10am. i was told that ezra’s head was visible so it would probably be a quick delivery! i glanced at the clock and it was 10:05am when i started pushing. five minutes later, ezra was out! the agonizing contractions, and the wait for them to be consistent, were totally worth the easy delivery. we were all amazed at how quickly and effortlessly ezra came out.

here are the deets: ezra 하민 (ha-min) so born on april 11, 2017 at 10:10am. he weighed 7lb. 1oz and was 20 inches long.

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he loved getting his hair washed

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he seems so much smaller though… maybe it’s because we forgot how small newborn babies are but he definitely is smaller than penny when she was born. penny was only 8.5 oz heavier than him but it seems like she was more. she was also only a half inch longer but when she was born we all commented how tall she was.

currently he weighs 6 lb. 15 oz (babies always lose some weight afterwards because of fluid loss – it’s not a big deal as long as it’s not over 10% of their body weight.) we didn’t get too many newborn clothes because we remembered how briefly penny wore them, but ezra has been drowning in his 0-3 months / 3 months size clothes so i had to go out to purchase a few more newborn clothes.

 

our first visitors

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the grandparents and penny came the day ezra was born.

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our friends

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our friends, the choi family, and katie and mike came later on in the evening. genie came too but i wasn’t able to get a picture!

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4/12/17

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my parents and sister drove down the following day

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pastor james and his wife, hera, also came to visit and pray for us

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getting ready to go home

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auntie jen got her the ‘big sister’ ribbon

like penny, ezra has a really cute nose. everyone from doctors to visitors commented on ezra’s nose. a lot of asian babies tend to have wide noses but penny and ezra both lucked out and ended up with pretty noses. penny’s nose actually resembles dennis’ and ezra’s is more like mine. ezra also has 속 쌍꺼플 (inner folds on eyelids) that resulted in him having big eyes. his tiny face makes his eyes look even bigger.

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his long fingers also get a lot of compliments such as, “he should play the piano!”

penny had a lot of acid reflux when she was a newborn and was constantly spitting up milk. we don’t have that problem with ezra, but he is really gassy. we try to alleviate this problem by propping him up to feed him, burping him frequently, lying him on his tummy, doing bicycle kicks, and giving him gas relief drops. these methods have all been helpful especially tummy time. most nights he has trouble sleeping because of the discomfort (and i have difficulty sleeping because of the noise!) so i found that when he’s sleeping on his tummy, he sleeps better and longer. our pediatrician okayed supervised tummy sleeping during the day so if he’s not napping in his swing, he’s usually on his stomach. this position also helps him to maintain a nice, round head. with penny, i was afraid of sids so i rarely had her sleep on her tummy even though my mil wanted to have penny sleep that way. penny ended up with a flat spot on one side of her head so afterwards we were diligent about switching positions.

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daddy and son both fell asleep during a late-night feeding

since ezra has been home, our daily life consists of dennis waking up with penny, making her breakfast, and doing activities with her until i come down with ezra – usually between 10-11am. i do all the nighttime feedings and diaper changes since dennis needs his energy to take care of penny in the morning. because of this, i take a nap with ezra after his first morning feeding. when he wakes up, i feed him again and then we come downstairs.

my mom came to visit for the day

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dinner in the sunroom

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our first walk as a family of four

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like i mentioned before, nights had been rough because of gas (and a growth spurt between 7~10 days old) but last night was a lot better. he woke up only twice at night and one was a 4-hour stretch! he had trouble sleeping peacefully after his morning feeding so i took him out of the rock and play and placed him tummy side down on our bed. he slept for another hour and a half after that.

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one of the questions family and friends have been asking us the most is “how is penny doing?” well, she has had a hard time adjusting, that’s for sure. she, along with my in-laws, came to visit us at the hospital the day ezra was born. she was a bit apprehensive at meeting the baby although she did make a few remarks such as, “baby nose” in korean. she got really upset when grandma held ezra, but not when grandpa held him. it has been like this at home too. she starts crying hysterically whenever grandma or i hold the baby but she’s fine with dennis or grandpa holding him! penny also had a meltdown when i tried to pump in front of her (with a cover on) and when i was starting to prepare ezra’s bottle.

it has been difficult for all of us as we get used to having a newborn around but it seems as if penny is having the hardest time. still, she is slowly warming up to the baby with each passing day. she will give him kisses and hold him if we ask her to, and she doesn’t cry when she sees me holding him (although sometimes she does request that dad hold the baby instead). another thing that has been helping is the equal amount of attention we try to provide for both ezra and penny. grandma and dad make sure penny is well taken care of while i look after ezra. we also involve penny in our everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and helping take care of ezra.

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i purchased all of penny’s easter gifts before ezra arrived, thankfully

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she LOVES the mickey mouse clock: she already can identify every number on the clock and say it.

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fun at church as always

4/17/17: daddy’s birthday

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d’s favorite: ice cream cake

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as the weather gets warmer, we love to eat our meals in the sun room

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penny also turns two next month and the terrible two’s seem to have already started. she has been more vocal in what she wants and gets incredibly upset (e.g throwing tantrums) when she doesn’t get her way. her “stranger danger” is at its peak right now so it’s difficult to bring her to restaurants or anywhere with a lot of people. for instance, after ezra’s first doctor visit we all went to ihop for breakfast afterwards. as it was a saturday morning, ihop was, well, hopping. penny started crying and freaking out because there were so many people there. she wouldn’t sit at our table until dennis took out saltine crackers. she became a lot more relaxed after our server brought the booster seat too. lately penny has been resisting her high chair and wanting to sit in the “big chair” at the table with us so we ordered a booster seat for our home.

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brunch at ihop: in a better mood

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we pray together as a family before penny goes to bed, and these days our biggest request is for us to have patience and empathy for penny as she gets used to having a younger sibling. and although dennis and i are both exhausted, we do have each other (and his parents) to help one another out. i’m so worried on how i, and the little ones, will fare once dennis returns to work. even though his mom comes over as much as she can to help take care of penny she also still works thursday-saturday. if it happens to be dennis’ long week, i will be alone these three days and i’m panicking just thinking about how the day will go particularly if penny isn’t cooperating with me.

for now, i’ll just have to focus on taking it one day at a time and seeing how today will go.

count your blessings

good news: baby boy is doing well. at my ultrasound on tuesday, i found out that he’s in the 48th percentile for height and weighs about 6lb. 8oz. so far so nothing to worry about! he’s well on his way to being a 7lb. baby if he stays put for a few more weeks. i was also able to bring home pictures of him from the ultrasound – his fist is visible over his nose and he was moving a lot during the check-up too.

i’m already almost at 38 weeks! nowadays, i wake up every morning wondering if today is “the day.” i’ve actually been feeling more energized the last couple of days – i’m not sure if it’s my nesting instinct kicking in but i’ve been wired even on less sleep. two days ago, i stayed up until nearly 4am (!) to work on penny’s birthday invitations. dennis had recently gifted me the cricut explore air 2 and i’ve been fiddling around with it to create birthday invites for penny’s upcoming 2nd birthday party. it really shouldn’t have taken that long to create and cut the images, but i have an old macbook (2009) and my software is too old to support the cricut design space program. i tried downloading the newest osx but it wouldn’t work. i’ve been designing on my iphone and ipad but haven’t been able to print out the invitation wording. the downside of the cricut is that that most of the fonts have to be printed on a separate printer – this would be fine if i was able to use the program on my macbook. 😦

anyway, the invitations are nearly done and i need to make the custom envelopes since they’re an awkward size. last night i didn’t go to bed until after 1am (working on the invitations again) but felt well-rested when i woke up this morning. penny actually got up for good around 7:50am and her talking roused me from my slumber.

i’ve also been feeling better physically. usually i have difficulty breathing and my acid reflux comes and goes particularly after i eat, but yesterday was the first day in a long time where i did not experience either. i’m feeling rather good today too. maybe it means baby boy has dropped so there’s less pressure on my stomach and lungs. the only that persists is the constipation. it started clearing up a few days ago but then it returned so it has been quite uncomfortable.

we haven’t finished our hospital bags yet (me, mostly because i still need to buy a few more items) but we are going to have the majority of them packed tonight. this is because dennis and i are making a half-day trip up to massachusetts tomorrow to visit my eldest aunt and grandma. my aunt’s health has always been terrible – longtime smoker and doesn’t eat well – but she has deteriorated significantly the last several months. most recently she had shingles to go along with her many other ailments. my mom informed me two days ago that the doctor said my aunt may pass away soon, maybe even that night! well, she hasn’t thankfully… still barely holding on though so dennis and i want to go see her because it may be our last time.

i was never close to my aunt – she only came to the states after i graduated college or maybe a little before that. she also had a tumultuous relationship with my grandpa (rest in peace) and doesn’t get along with my grandma either. simply put, she has a lot of anger and resentment.. and we can only feel bad for her. she was always friendly whenever we visited (even if it was only a front) and she really looked forward to seeing dennis and, of course, penny.

my grandma.. well, she was more like our mother when we were young. she looked after my siblings and me while our parents worked long hours at their dry cleaners, and then later on a restaurant. she will be 96 in april and has lived a very long and illustrious life. she had always been in great health even with her many falls and accidents but her brittle bones couldn’t take any more of those. it looks as if she will be in a nursing home from now on so she doesn’t have the comfort of being in her own home. i wish we could bring penny up to see both my aunt and grandma but i know it wouldn’t be safe health-wise. (i’m being very cautious myself especially when seeing my aunt.)

it’s very difficult to think that my aunt and grandma both don’t have a lot of time left on this earth. i get so caught up in my everyday life worrying mostly about mundane things that i don’t fully appreciate all the good things i have in life until i sit down and really ponder over my day. i still keep a journal and that helps me to recognize and address my thoughts, feelings, and day’s events. it’s not just so i can look back and remember how i had felt or what i had done on a particular day but writing is also very therapeutic because it’s a way for me to acknowledge what i am going through instead of bottling it all up inside.

i keep thinking of the bible verse: “and he said, ‘naked i came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall i return. the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” job 1:21. as i prepare to welcome a baby into this world, i’m also bracing for the departure of my aunt, and maybe even my grandmother later on in the year. i know my aunt is in a lot of pain and may not be entirely coherent but i hope she finds comfort knowing that her family members have, and continue to, visit her and provide company and support.

*update: my mom told me at 3:11pm that my aunt had passed away while my cousin was visiting. i’m very upset i wasn’t able to see her in time. still thinking of going up tomorrow; at least i can see my grandma.

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37 weeks

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brushing our teeth together in the morning

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we went to the kids fun fair held at the xl center in hartford last weekend. it’s definitely more appropriate for older children. penny wasn’t tall enough to go on any of the rides although one of the ride operators let her go on one… but she cried so he let her off.

i had a free adult ticket and child ticket courtesy of dennis’s store but i paid $15 for my mil’s ticket. food and rides are extra. i didn’t think it was worth $15 for the admission price. it wasn’t that big and you wouldn’t spend more than 2 hours there. (the online price of $10 sold out.) still, it was a great experience for penny to see live animals and also feed a llama!

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she was trying to entice the mules with straw

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llamas!

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after she fed the llama some kibble, she freaked out a little bit. she said, “all done!” in korean and wanted nothing more to do with the llama.

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she was fine until the ride started

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uh-oh…

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we got her a balloon to calm her down

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the line to ride the elephant was too long

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she really wanted to go on this ride and had a meltdown when she could not go on.

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adults aren’t allowed on otherwise my mil would’ve ridden with her.

after the fair, we had dinner at grandma’s house where penny always enjoys playing with vintage toys – her dad’s and uncle dan’s! she loves blowing the kazoo!

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caught in the act!

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originally a selfie for grandma

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yesterday was a beautiful day so we ventured outdoors. 

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checking out our reflection in the sewer water

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snack break after “tiny tots.” penny loves to read and sing every tuesday at the library.

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stacking pegs all by herself this morning

fun with family & friends

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

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

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snapchatting


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face swap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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she prefers being in the water than being in a float

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yet another rabbit in our backyard!

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

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


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her current favorite: goodnight, moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“ohana” means “family”

it’s been a busy month, clearly. i was surprised to see that i hadn’t updated my blog in two weeks.

the sleep regression finally ended about a week and a half ago. penny is back to sleeping about 12 hours a night with one feeding around 3am. thing is, she started a new leap recently (that will last a MONTH!). with every development leap, come the 3 c’s: cranky, clingy, and crying. i still get impressed with how accurate the ‘wonder weeks app’ is at describing the abilities penny will pick up during this phase, and what signs are indicative of her leap.

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perfecting her grip... hmm, a future pharmacist like dad??

perfecting her grip… hmm, a future pharmacist like dad??

visit daddy at work

visit daddy at work

for instance, one sign of penny’s leap (“relationships”) is that she will “sleep less, sleep worse, and eat less.” she sleeps fine at night (thank god!) but her naps have been affected, mostly her second nap which used to be 2-3 hours. now, i’m lucky if i can get her to sleep 1.5 hours for her second nap. on days that she naps poorly, i try to squeeze in a fourth nap to compensate for her long awake time between her third nap and bedtime but most days it’s unsuccessful. she will fight me tooth and nail to stay up; it’s as if she knows she shouldn’t be taking a fourth nap.

i also don’t want to push up bedtime because she hasn’t been eating much during the day. some days she’ll have consumed less than 10 oz total and it’s 4pm! she’s been teething recently so it’s uncomfortable for her to eat but it’s also because of her leap. the good thing is that penny ends up consuming large amounts in a short period of time just before bedtime. it’s as if she knows she has to sleep a long stretch and she really should eat. the other night, she ate 9.25 oz an hour before she passed out! i never know how much she’ll eat so i just have milk ready for her and refill the bottle as i go. again, i’m just relieved her nighttime sleep isn’t affected.

speaking of sleep, daylight savings ends this upcoming sunday. supposedly, we gain an hour of sleep but this is so not true for parents. we’re up whenever the baby is up. still, there are preventative measures to keep your baby from waking up at 5:30am and wanting to party.

this article informs us how to make sure your baby doesn’t confuse the time change come next sunday. a week before daylight savings ends, you push back your child’s bedtime in 10-15-minute increments every night or every other night. penny has been going to bed around 6:30, if not sooner, recently so tuesday night i put her to bed at 6:50pm instead of 6:30pm. last night was 7:07pm, and tonight was 7:15pm.  it’s already working because she’s waking up a little later to nurse for the motn (middle of the night) feeding and also for the day. hopefully by the time sunday morning rolls around she will wake up at 7am instead of 6am. this’ll mean that i may have to put her to bed closer to 8pm on saturday night which is really late for her.. i’m worried about keeping her up and making her overtired especially with penny rejecting the fourth nap. i guess that’s why the article suggests short increments so the baby gradually gets used to having the bedtime extended. we’ll see how this goes *fingers crossed*

i’ve been working on this post since yesterday. my sister came down tuesday night to visit and stayed until 4:30pm today. i’m really thankful my sister was able to visit for a few days not only to help take care of penny but also for the adult company. my parents and sister actually came down to visit last friday and brought a ton of food from the restaurant and home. hard to believe, but they hadn’t seen penny since penny’s 100th day celebration back in august! even though they live only an hour and a half away, they’re so busy tending to their businesses they don’t have much time for anything else. i do hope my parents can find more time to visit though. they were amazed at how much penny has grown, but they’re also wistful that they missed out on so much already. that’s why my sister decided to visit again – she doesn’t want to keep missing penny’s milestones and developmental growths, or have her be a stranger to penny.

dad feeding penny

dad feeding penny

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so curious

so curious

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she LOVES her rainforest jumperoo

she LOVES her rainforest jumperoo

penny and i worked on halloween crafts several days ago. we created halloween cards using her hand-and-foot prints.

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today, genie and olivia came over for a play date. it had been a few weeks since i had seen them both so it was great to catch up. olivia can now sit up unassisted and has two teeth! so many changes in such a short amount of time… we plan to get together soon work on christmas crafts! can’t wait!

olivia :)

olivia 🙂

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penny has been aware of, and tracking, yuri for quite some time now but she also gets so amused by her. she’ll laugh and kick her legs whenever she sees yuri. what’s funny is that olivia is just as entertained by yuri. we noticed today that olivia would laugh and get excited whenever she spotted yuri; it was the cutest thing. at one point, both girls kept staring at yuri but she could care less. in fact, she hates it when penny tries to pet her no matter how gently she does it.. i think it’s because she’s still a bit jealous of penny.

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face/off

face/off

speaking of ‘olivia’, my friend, esther, became a first-time mom to a baby girl, olivia, three weeks ago. now i have two baby mama friends with daughters named olivia. congratulations, esther and william! here’s a picture of the beautiful family 🙂

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although i take pictures, and record videos, of penny nearly every day i have very little photos of penny with both dennis and me. i asked dennis to take photos of me with penny, and a neighbor walking by with her dog asked if we wanted family photos. of course we do! hoping we can take some decent photos soon for christmas cards as well.

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