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!

2017 – year of the rooster

happy new year! from what i’ve seen on social media, 2016 was a terrible year for a lot of people. i’m not sure if they actually felt that way or thought the memes and gifs they shared were funny.. but it’s too bad because 2016 was one of the best years of my life. penny turned one year old and this past summer was more enjoyable and adventurous than the last one because we were able to do a lot more with her. she also reached many milestones such as walking, talking, and more teeth: never a dull moment! additionally, we found out in august that we would be having another baby! i feel like now that i have a child (soon-to-be two) every year can only get better and better.

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25 weeks!

new year’s eve was a relatively quiet event. we stayed in but we had our friends, katie and mike, come over for a potluck game night. they had recently purchased new board games so we tried those out along with classics like boggle. we were actually so into the games and talking that we missed the countdown even though the television was on! i’m not sure how that happened.. we did run to the fridge to pop open the champagne (sparkling cider for me) and did a belated cheers. i thought i wouldn’t be able to last until midnight but i didn’t go to bed until nearly 3am!

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3 ingredients: meatballs, grape jelly and bbq sauce!

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gross beer illustration

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the boys wrecked us at bounce-off

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i love this pic! we were looking for a missing piece from the game, blokus. mike looked under the couch, found a cheerio, and tossed it back. when i asked why he threw it back, katie could not stop laughing.

snapchat fun

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meanwhile…

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new year’s day was spent at home and then we headed over to the grandparents’ for traditional new year’s food: ddeok-gook (떡국). in korean culture we eat ddeok-gook, or a hearty rice cake soup with dumplings, eggs, scallions and nori, to celebrate the new year. really, ddeok-gook is good all year round but it’s important to eat on thanksgiving and new year’s day.

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due to the cold weather we haven’t been doing too much lately. yesterday was actually warm for a january in connecticut so we took a morning walk. dennis had assembled the radio flyer trike penny received for christmas and we had pushed her around on it in the basement but decided to give it a go outside. she didn’t last very long on it; i think she was excited to be outdoors because she wanted to walk around and look at everything. she saw me stepping on a frozen mound of snow and decided that’s what she wanted to do.

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normally on thursday mornings, penny has had her toddler class but the second session had ended the thursday before christmas. the next session starts the following thursday (1/12) so we haven’t had that to look forward to. this morning seemed to drag on and penny seemed bored so we went to our town library. we hadn’t been to that one in a while because the neighboring town, tolland, has a nicer play area for babies and young children – it’s enclosed in a room and has a lot more toys including a puppet theatre and a computer with games for toddlers. penny still had fun taking all of the trucks and cars out of the toy bin and playing in the barn. we also saw a friend from her toddler class there so that was a pleasant surprise. as usual, it was difficult getting her to leave so i had to keep telling her we had to go home to let yuri out and eat lunch.

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“reading” with the leapfrog reader

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so, so sweet

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she likes to wear sunglasses indoors like jack nicholson

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our baby boy’s nursery is finally beginning to come around.. sort of. dennis and i spent all of monday morning cleaning out the closet and wardrobe while grandma so watched penny. it’s unbelievable how many bags of clothes we decided to sell/donate. dennis will tell you i’m a hoarder (i say, i’m sentimental) so it was hard for me to part with some keepsakes but i knew it had to be done.. i mean, what am i going to do with a birthday card from my 20th birthday?!

i’m not sure if i shared the news on my blog yet but our son’s name is going to be ezra! we had chosen this name back in 2014 when we were going to start trying for a baby. his korean name will be ha-min, 하민. dennis came up with it: the ‘ha’ comes from penny’s korean name ‘ha-neul’ and ‘min’ comes from dennis’ korean name (he only has one character for his name).

ezra’s crib arrived almost a month ago and has been sitting in a box, unassembled, so we need to set that up soon. we also need to make an ikea trip for a dresser like the one penny has and some other nursery essentials. my friend, genie, sent out invitations for our baby shower a few days ago so i’m looking forward to that as well. i’m trying not to go overboard because we can definitely reuse items but i do want to get a new infant car seat since penny didn’t like the uppababy mesa. i’ve been eyeing the nuna pipa (a very light 7.7 lb and the canopy stretches to the baby’s feet) and it’s gotten rave reviews.. plus, it’s also compatible with the vista though we have to get the adapter. i just hope we’re able to sell the mesa and car bases.

recent penny news: her molars are fully out so she officially has 7 teeth; her upper lateral incisors are taking forever to make their appearance though they’ve been threatening to poke through for the past few months.

new words: she is also trying to say the colors “brown” and “green.” “blue”, “purple”, and “yellow” she has been saying already although the latter is more like “neh-no” because she’s having trouble with the ‘y’ sound. lately she is repeating everything we say so her vocabulary is growing at a faster rate every day. yesterday she started saying “thank you” on her own (after months of us telling her to say “thank you” when receiving a cup of milk or other items).
some other words she says are “bee” (and she’ll point to a picture of a bumblebee) and “apple.”

whew~~ it’s tough to try to keep track of all this.. but i do attempt it! ever since penny was born i’ve been logging notes on my iphone by continually adding onto a, now, very long list. soon i’ll have to do that for ezra!