punta cana – destination wedding

we returned last week from vacation #2 without penny. our friends, mayra and evan, held their wedding in punta cana and, of course, we had to go!

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the beautiful bride and groom!

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the adorable flower girl – the bride’s niece

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the lovely bride and her father

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the bouquets

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dennis and i were much less worried about penny this time around due to the success of the vegas trip.. mil reassured us with lots of photos and updates via kakaotalk (a korean messaging app). however, this trip still wasn’t without a lot of headaches…

we were supposed to depart at 6am on friday, january 15th, and arrived at bradley airport a little after 4. after getting our boarding passes, we should have stood in the security line but we kept our friends company because one had left his passport in his mom’s car and was waiting for her to come back to the airport with it. we were with them, maybe, ten minutes tops but that time could have been spent waiting in the security line… because by the time we got there we realized just how insanely long that line was: it reached all the way to the other side of the airport! needless to say we missed our flight by MINUTES… the plane was still at the gate but they wouldn’t let us board the plane 😡 dennis and i debated driving down to newark, nj because that’s where our connecting flight was but with morning traffic and dennis’s dad having to come back to get us, we knew we wouldn’t make it. our luggage got on the flight so we had to hope that they wouldn’t get misplaced in newark since we now had to fly out a day later.

initially, i was angry about missing our flight but i got over it fairly quickly. dennis wasn’t that upset either. i guess it’s because there wasn’t anything else we could do, and it was just nice having that extra day spending it with penny. if this had happened even a year ago, i would have probably thrown a tantrum but after having a baby, i suppose i grew up a little, no? since dennis and i had been awake since 3:40am dennis’s mom stayed for the day and took care of penny while we napped.

after a lot of phone calls and being put on hold, orbitz agreed to let us stay an extra day in punta cana to make up for the day that we had lost. we also got the ‘okay’ from hard rock hotel to stay another night with no additional fees. success! 

everything was fine now, right? it was until we got to our hotel. upon checking in, the front desk said we would be charged for friday night because the room was “empty” and we were a “no-show”.. and no, we could not stay until wednesday. after explaining that this had been dealt with and getting orbitz on the phone, we finally got to our room and had an hour to get ready before the welcome dinner at 6pm.

we had a very enjoyable time in punta cana but the changes to our trip didn’t get resolved until monday – two days later – so until then we kept worrying that we would have to leave on tuesday. not something you want hanging over your heads.

pumping, this time, was less of a hassle than it was in vegas. i’ve been pumping every 4-5 hours lately so that gave me plenty of time to be on the beach and do other activities before heading back to the hotel room to pump. i’ve been renting the medela symphony pump (hospital-grade) because my ameda purely yours has been losing suction. i get a lot more output with the hospital pump. the only downside is that it’s so heavy and cumbersome, but i did bring it with me to punta cana. i brought back over 150 oz., or 9.3 lb., of milk! the milk was mostly the reason my luggage was over the weight limit by 10 lb so i had to put the milk into a different carry-on.

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pumping in the security room at the airport in punta cana

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our layover was in dc on the way home and that airport has nursing rooms!

it was so wonderful to get away from the cold and be able to relax. we got a tan from lounging on the beach, celebrated our friends’ beautiful wedding on the beach, and even swam with sharks and sting rays!

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i took this shot of people walking on the dock during our excursion

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last day in paradise

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sun and wine

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we’re on a boat!

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cerveza!

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cabana life

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dennis relaxing on a hammock

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dennis enjoying some meat at a brazilian joint

 

 

still, nothing beats home.. especially if you’re under the weather. most of the wedding party and guests caught a viral infection, and many were sick during the trip too – mostly diarrhea.. maybe from the ice in the drinks and brushing their teeth with tap water. i drank mostly beer so i wasn’t affected until i came home. dennis has had a really bad sore throat for over a week now. he got it checked out and it’s not strep so that’s a relief.

dennis goes back to work on thursday so we’ve been spending time together as a family, and taking turns sleeping in while the other tends to penny first thing in the morning. i wish every day was like this. i love my family!

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sunset during our first night

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our room was less than a minute’s walk to the beach

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the rooms have a spacious 2-person jacuzzi in the middle of the room. it was hard to get out of the tub, let me tell you!

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this arden b jumpsuit is perfect for the beach

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outfit for the wedding

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like many women, i fretted over what to wear to the wedding and ended up going to the mall twice to find an ensemble. i bought an off-the-shoulder forest green top from forever 21 for $12.90 and paired it with a gold maxi that i had already had!

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danielle, roberta & me

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the reception was held on the terrace – straight up gorgeous

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mother-and-son dance

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father-and-daughter dance

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cake cutting

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the flower girl and her daddy

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vegas getaway

first of all, happy 1st birthday to avery!

i had the privilege of attending avery’s first birthday party yesterday in andover, massachusetts. initially, dennis and i were both going to go with penny but we knew it’d be easier if only one of us went sans baby. dennis elected to stay home and i brought my pump with me.

it was great seeing, and catching up with, old friends. i even kept my friend company while she pumped, haha. how things have changed.

the first birthday is a huge deal in korean culture. per tradition, the baby is also placed in front of a variety of objects that is supposed to predict their future: money or rice = wealth; pencil = artistic; book = scholar, etc.

avery chose money much to her mother’s dismay. (she was hoping avery would choose a pencil.) a lot of work goes into the first birthday especially with pinterest and social media putting the pressure on parents! i can’t wait to do penny’s first birthday. she will be 7 months on tuesday so it’s rapidly approaching!

back to vegas..our trip was a success! we had a relaxing, baby-free time with our friends and penny also did very well with my in-laws for four days.

although my mil texted a photo of penny along with reassuring words, i still worried during the entire flight. our flight departed at 2:10pm from hartford and flew nonstop to vegas. we landed at 4pm pst which meant it was 7pm back east. when i checked my phone, i saw that mil had texted saying penny went down for the night at 6:30pm. i felt a little better knowing penny slept at her usual time.

the biggest hassle was having to pump. i believe i pumped in six different locations. i also pumped twice on the flight to vegas and back home. we also carried my pump in dennis’ backpack and whenever it was time, i just took the bag and went to the nearest restroom. thankfully, hotel bathrooms are spacious and immaculate. i also made sure to pump in the handicapped stall so i could use the counter space or the baby changing table to set up my pump. honestly, it was inconvenient having to interrupt daily activities to pump; but i brought home over 100 oz which will be useful for when dennis and i go to punta cana in january!

be sure to request a fridge (free of charge) so you can keep the pumped milk cold. we also brought coolers and ice packs to keep the milk cold during the flight home.

i’ve also had a chronic cough since august (!) and my coughing fits have significantly decreased since coming home. maybe the dry desert air helped clear my passages. whatever the reason, i hope it’s permanent.

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flying over the rockies..?

we had a gorgeous view of the landscape just before making a descent to las vegas.

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aria

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i really liked the lovely christmas decorations at aria hotel. it was interesting to see various decorations at every hotel we visited such as caesars palace, the venetian, and bellagio. so much effort and money is put into the aesthetics. they truly were a visual feast.

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aria has a waterfall wall on one side of the building. water slowly trickles over the side and then a small gush of water cascades over the side in intermittent spurts.

the last time dennis and i went to vegas was two years ago for our bachelor/bachelorette party and we had stayed at the hard rock hotel. while nice, it wasn’t on the strip; this time we didn’t want to be too far from the action.

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the courtyard

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the weather was in the upper 60s to low 70s during our stay. the pool was heated but we didn’t go in. some of us did lounge on the chairs after breakfast to relax and get some sun.

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flaky almond croissant and croque monsieur sandwich from jean-philippe

we ate a lot of delicious food including a buffet dinner at bachannal, the #1 rated buffet joint in vegas, on the first night. i didn’t take a picture then because i was so intent on eating.. plus, i was falling asleep! i never got used to the time difference but i didn’t want to try because i knew it’d be tough when we returned home.

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pretty treats from jean-phillippe

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adorable cupcakes from bachannal

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on our way to bachannal

we walked around the strip and dined at bachannal the first night. we didn’t do too much but get settled in and rest up for the next three days.

this trip was much more different than two years ago. no clubs, no partying ’til dawn, and no crazy antics. after having a baby and being tired all the time, i just craved being able to sleep without having to worry about taking care of penny.

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the basics for a day walking around town

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visiting “paris”

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the girls before our dinner at javier’s

our group consisted of three couples. when we explored the sights, we all hung out together but we split up for certain activities – shopping for the ladies and gambling for the men. most meals we dined together as well especially dinner (and us girls wanted an excuse to dress up).

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we came to the venetian because it was kelly and mike’s first time in vegas, and kelly wanted to go on the gondola.

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we went on the giant ferris wheel that takes riders up 550 feet. it cost us $20 ($7 discount when purchased online) for a half hour ride. each pod fits about 40 people but there weren’t many people waiting to go on when we went so we had the entire car to ourselves.

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our last night, we explored old vegas on fremont street. we stopped by the pawn shop that is featured on the show “pawn stars”and also the golden nugget where the guys gambled briefly.

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later that night, we ate dinner at lemongrass, a thai restaurant, and saw “zarkana”, a cirque du soleil show. it sounds lame but i fell asleep a few times! even though it was our last night in vegas i still couldn’t stay awake. i just wanted to stay in bed… it took enormous effort to crawl out and get ready for dinner.

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zarkana

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it was only a week ago that we departed for vegas but it seems like it was last year. we missed penny but it was so sublime being baby-free for four days. penny usually sleeps most of the night but we get woken up to her short cries and movements. after being woken up, it’s difficult for me to fall back asleep because i lay there wondering if she’s going to fully wake up or drift back into slumber.

we nearly forgot what it felt like doing things for us as almost every aspect of our daily routine is catered towards penny. we could wake up whenever we wanted, eat to our heart’s content, and be spontaneous.

i’m glad our trip was a success because now i don’t have to stress over leaving her again in a month. actually, i’m just worried about this upcoming week because my in-laws left today to go on a caribbean cruise for 10 days. this means i’ll be alone the majority of the time and it’s dennis’ long work week. my mom is supposed to come down for the day on wednesday and i have a play date on saturday so that helps but i so wish i had company all the time…

 

 

 

you are my sunshine

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the happy bride and groom

last saturday, dennis and i attended my cousin’s wedding in beverly, massachusetts. we were both nervous – me more so than dennis – on how penny would be at bedtime since she is accustomed to having one of us put her down for the night.

since the wedding began at 4, we started getting ready around 12:30pm and left a little after 1:30pm in case there was traffic. and there was… but, gps navigated us and we got to the venue a half hour early. the annoying thing about being away from baby is having to pump on-the-go. i pumped on the way to the wedding, during the salad course, and on our way back home. we made it work though and penny ended up being fine. the only bump was that penny wouldn’t let mil rock her to sleep. so, mil put penny on her back and p fell asleep that way.

this was a positive “trial run” for us since we are going to vegas for 4 days in a few weeks! i’m still a bit apprehensive about being away for so long (and all that pumping! i hope tsa lets me bring my milk back *makes note to call southwest.) half a day is one thing, but four?! everyone keeps saying it’s harder on the parents than the baby, and i hope that’s true. now that penny is six months old she’s become a lot more social and adaptable to her surroundings… and she knows my mil so she shouldn’t be crying or anything. – exhales deeply –

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mr. & mrs. hubbard

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father-daughter dance to “you are my sunshine.” i could not stop the tears.. there were quite a few people wiping their eyes.

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delicious cake!

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dennis and i at tupper manor

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i was freezing but the wedding was indoors so all was well

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photo booth fun

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left: mom, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and dennis. right: one with my cousins

 

in my last post, i shared my concerns over my diet possibly upsetting penny’s stomach. i tried to cut out all dairy but i gave up after a day. there was barely anything i could eat in my home, and i can’t starve… i’m just guessing it’s a milk protein allergy because i can’t pinpoint anything else. it’d be fine if she pooped after every, or during, feeding but sometimes she poops 3 times after ONE feeding. she also has been getting blowouts more frequently particularly in the morning because she’s sleeping longer hours and she’s laying there in all that mess.. ugh. i feel so bad for her! she never had diaper rash until recently because of the constant pooping. my stomach has been feeling weird lately too so maybe we’re both being affected by dairy.. I. DON’T. KNOW. it’s just really frustrating. i may have to seriously cut out dairy depending how she does in the next few weeks.

her 6-months check-up, and the next round of vaccines, is on monday so we can also update penny’s pediatrician then, too.

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trying butternut squash

now that penny is 6 months old, we resumed solids. i made a big batch of butternut squash and froze them in ice cube trays with a silicone cover.

she’s still getting used to the texture as she’s used to liquids. i made a batch of sweet potato yesterday and made it more watery when i served it to her today; she seemed more receptive to that.

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this book was handed down to me from my cousin who has a 4-year-old son, mason. there are newer editions available.

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the oxo food containers and ice cube tray are both available on amazon

each cube is about 2 tablespoons which is a lot for a baby just starting solids. penny barely eats a teaspoon right now. it’s mostly just so baby can get used to different tastes and textures rather than filling them up.

when i thaw each cube, i plan to divide it into two, maybe three servings and discard whatever she doesn’t eat. as she gets older she’ll consume a cube in one sitting but for now i’m trying not to waste food.

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after the cubes are frozen, i let the tray sit out for 5-10 minutes so the cubes are easier to remove and then put them in a baggie along with the date. i also had to go back and label the bag since the sweet potato batch is also orange.

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getting used to the texture and taste

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confused

for some reason, the doorknob for the nursery squeaks a lot when turned. i tried all the other doorknobs in the house and, of course, hers is the loudest. the latch sometimes clicks loudly into place which has startled penny a few times, though not many, thank goodness.

my sister made door jamb muffler (i had never heard of one!) after seeing them on pinterest but it was too loose. the idea is that the soft pillow part stretches tightly over the latch so when you close the door, there’s no clicking noise.

i used leftover felt from penny’s baby groot costume and 2 hair ties to make one. as you can see the felt isn’t firm enough to push the latch in but it still does a nice job of muffling the latch. i’ll have to make a better one soon.

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since five months, penny has been grabbing objects with both hands equally. she also LOVES to grab her feet and is constantly doing yoga poses while drinking from a bottle or when getting her diaper changed. now that she’s rolling over more frequently it’s so tough to change her diaper! she keeps wanting to go on her side -_- she has always been a wiggler so attempting to put her pants on is a challenge every time as one leg slides out of the pant leg while i’m hurriedly trying to insert the other leg in.

she also began tilting her head to one size to scrutinize things more carefully; it’s so cute! one last thing we noticed is that she’s been making the “b” sound frequently (“ba-ba-ba”). she started by tucking in her bottom lip and then slowly began making the sound.

babble says that many of the first words a baby says start with ‘b’ or ‘d’ because of the articulators in the front of the mouth – “they’re the first proper consonants the muscles can make.” still, i hope penny says, “umma” (“mom” in korean) first rather an “abba” (“dad”). 🙂

 

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always grabbing whatever she can

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she’s been moving around so much lately. she woke up from a nap recently but was playing so i left her alone for a bit while i finished eating. i look up and she had already turned 90 degrees.

 

 

keep on rollin’

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penny before church. she kicked her shoe off.

the above picture is how i felt all of last week. dennis works 7 straight days biweekly and those weeks are tough for both of us. last week felt dreadfully long as i tended to penny mostly by myself from monday-sunday. it’s not even just being stir-crazy from being holed up in the house but also constantly battling sleep deprivation. normally i can count on penny’s second nap to be 2~3 hours long. i really look forward to this nap so i can eat as much (and quickly) as i can and try to get some shut-eye myself. however, this whole 4-month sleep regression has thrown everything off – sometimes she’ll wake up after a half hour and scream.. so i’ll have to lug myself upstairs to try to put her back down. if she does end up falling back asleep it’s only for another half hour or so.

i knew it was pretty bad at one point when i was nodding off, in broad daylight, while bottle-feeding penny. my eyes would fly open to see penny staring curiously at me. i felt terrible that penny had to see like that but that’s how tired i’ve been lately. for the most part, she’s been getting back on track with her nighttime sleep schedule. she still wakes up once a night but that’s typical of babies her age (and a whole lot better than the multiple wakings we had been experiencing recently!) the past two nights have been unusual because she skipped her third nap. though we tried pushing up her bedtime she still fought sleep (no crying, at least) and had been awake for 3~4 hours!

every day is an adventure…

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lately whenever penny wakes up, this is what we see on the baby monitor. she hasn’t rolled over from back to tummy yet but she’s trying in earnest even with the merlin sleep suit on! once she starts rolling over in the suit, we have to stop using it. definitely dreading when that day comes. we will have to start sleep training her soon… only to have it thrown off once she starts teething, has the 6-month growth spurt and starts sitting up… it never ends!!!

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look how cute she is, haha. she’s looking at yuri in this picture. what we do is try to grab her attention using toys and encouragement. she almost has gotten the hang of it; she just needs to figure out how to throw her back leg over to roll.

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penny gets captivated by yuri. i’m sure yuri is an intriguing sight, what with all that fur and physical features so different from ours.

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here she is, practicing again. she seems to prefer her left side. i think this is because she’s drawn to her bedroom window. though we try to keep her room as dark as possible light still filters in and it attracts her attention. often times when i’m rocking her to sleep, she’ll try to face the window so i turn my body to accommodate her.

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this is a common sight nowadays

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dennis and i had been looking to get more toys for penny so she won’t be bored, and he suggested ‘once upon a child.‘ if you haven’t heard of this store, it’s a nationwide chain that buys/sells gently used baby and children’s clothing, toys, books, and gear. i couldn’t believe the racks and racks of clothes! we actually purchased a hoodie and bottom set for penny’s halloween costume (it’s a secret; you’ll see in a future post.)

after carefully perusing the toy section, i chose a bright starts activity ball and the classic xylophone. i washed them both with warm water and soap before letting penny play with them. she especially loves the activity ball because it’s easy for her to grasp. she does like the sounds the xylophone makes and grips the mallet, but isn’t yet able to hit the plates on her own. she whacked herself on the head accidentally and cried >.<

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at penny’s 4-month check-up, we were told that we could slowly start introducing penny to solids. initially i was hesitant because i wanted to wait until she’s 6 months old, but it really wouldn’t hurt for her to get acclimated to the tastes and textures of solids. plus. she’s been consuming nearly 30 oz. of breast milk recently and still wakes up hungry once a night. furthermore, she’s been showing great interest in food and stops what she’s doing to watch me eat.

i’ve been giving penny a spoon so she can get used to it.

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hm.. doesn’t taste good

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how adorable is she? 🙂

mother-daughter moment at church

mother-daughter moment at church

penny will be 5 months on thursday. my beautiful baby girl will already be 5 months. every time i try to savor each smile, each new skill, each sweet embrace, time flies by that much quicker. i love you so much, penny!!

it ain’t over ’til it’s over

remember how i had declared, with much relief, that penny’s sleep regression seemed to have ended? yes, well, forget that, because it’s still in progress. after talking about the sleep regression with my friend, jisun (언니) at church yesterday, she confirmed that the regression can come and go – one night your baby will sleep wonderfully and then the next time she will have multiple wakings.

an important thing that i need to keep reminding myself: penny is just a baby.

watching yuri, our dog.

watching yuri, our dog.

she loves feeling different textures

she loves feeling different textures

she doesn’t intend to wake up, and stay awake for hours. she’s exhausted too – this is obvious because she makes up for lost sleep during the day – and is still trying to figure out how to transition to the different sleep cycles. sometimes she’s successful, and other times she’s not.

saturday night, for instance. she woke up at 1:30am and was moving around, but didn’t cry.. and her eyes were still closed. i was pumping so i let her be. she became more and more agitated that she couldn’t fall back asleep and began crying and trying to self-soothe by putting her hand in her mouth. when her cries escalated, i finally attended to her at 2:30am. she had been trying for an hour to fall back asleep! i ended up rocking her for AN HOUR AND A HALF. during this time, penny’s eyes were wide open but she was quiet. my chronic cough hasn’t gone away and my throat started to tickle, threatening to wake penny up. i put penny down too early because her eyes flew open and i had to start the rocking process over again. by the time she fell asleep at 4am, it was time to pump again!!!!! as i finished pumping, she woke up! this time she was hungry, and had a very wet diaper. she downed 5.5 ounces and when i rocked her, she fell asleep and stayed asleep for over 4 hours.

the first time that i tried putting penny down in her crib, i had noticed that her diaper was full but didn’t want to further stimulate her by changing it so i left it alone. in hindsight, it’s possible she woke up because she was uncomfortable, and that made her realize she’s hungry too.. who knows? again, she’s just a baby. she’s not waking up to annoy us. this is my mantra that i’ll just have to keep repeating to myself when i find myself getting agitated during these frequent wakings.

out of desperation, i had been googling about the 4-month-old sleep regression the past few weeks. a great blog post i came across is found here: help! my 4-5 month old is sleeping like a newborn again!

this post helped me understand what penny is going through developmentally, and empathize with her. around 4 months of age, the “fourth trimester” ends (the first three months of a baby’s life is referred to as the “fourth trimester” because those months are like an extension of life inside the womb.) and suddenly, the entire world is opened up before their eyes. anything, and everything, is fascinating and you may find (like i did) that your baby is highly distracted to even eat which results in night wakings up make up the calories.

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penny has been pursing her lips a lot 🙂

taken just before we left for church this morning

taken just before we left for church sunday morning

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what i also liked about this post is that the writer reassures us, the parents, that we aren’t doing anything wrong. it’s easy to blame ourselves when we are up for the fourth time in just as many hours trying to put the baby back to bed. just like how i had thought if i had changed penny’s diaper, she would’ve slept longer… maybe, maybe not.. she IS going through a sleep regression so she could have woken up around the same time even if she had a dry diaper.

just keep doing what you have been doing: feed/nurse (if necessary) and comfort them. this, too, shall pass. babies especially need you during this challenging time. another helpful point to remember is that soon your baby will be crawling, then walking, and then running… sometimes the days can drag on but as a collective time really flies by… as you cradle your wide-eyed child at 3am, try to keep in mind that she won’t “need” you as much as she gets older and learns how to self-soothe. she won’t hug you for no reason or cling by your side.. she’ll want to be with her friends, or play games on her ipad instead of wanting to be held by her mom. though difficult to appreciate now, please try to cherish these moments with your sweet little baby.

i’m talking to you, jax.

on to the next one

by far, the fourth month of penny’s life has been the most eventful. the dreaded sleep regression, huge developmental gains, and a growth spurt. wait, another growth spurt? obviously, babies are constantly growing (penny is wearing size 6 months) but there are certain times where babies go through an extra ‘spurt’, so to speak, where they may sleep longer or less depending on the baby and consume more milk than usual. penny went through her growth spurt for about 2 days (9/24-25). during this time she upped her breast milk intake by 8-10oz. and she was sleeping most of the time. since she slept a lot during the day, she fought bedtime because she was hungry and was going to bed between 8:30-9:30pm during those two nights. growth spurts last between 2-3 days and sometimes up to a week. we were fortunate that penny’s was on the short end.

she loves putting her hands in her mouth!

she loves putting her hands in her mouth!

according to the wonder weeks app, penny’s current leap ends in one day~ hurray! it has been a L-O-N-G leap. granted, i have seen penny grow so much physically and developmentally during this time but i am ready for it to be over. during this time, the app says, “As your baby’s leaps become more intense for her, you will find that it becomes more difficult for you as well. It is normal that you will be more annoyed with her whining behavior, and you may sometimes feel as though you have had enough and occasionally, find yourself desperate for her to hurry through these behaviors.”

SO TRUE! penny has been fussing and whining a lot lately particularly when we are trying to put her down for naps and for bedtime. dennis and i rock her to sleep and we have had to constantly change the speed or the motions to her liking. the other night, i ran out of ideas and just held her closer and started lightly kissing her on the cheek and she finally closed her eyes and stopped whining. when dennis put her down for a morning nap earlier today, he gently blew on her face and she fell asleep. remembering that he did this, i did the same when i put penny down for the night at 6:45pm. we just have to keep being creative and persistent…

she discovered thumb-sucking!

she discovered thumb-sucking!

the past few weeks, penny has been showing a greater interest in her hands. she’s constantly staring at them making her cross-eyed (lol) and sticking them in her mouth. she also never sucked her thumb until a couple of days ago.

daddy & daughter time

daddy & daughter time

a positive about this current leap is that babies also become more fun to be around during the day – don’t forget that sleep regression at night! they become more communicative, responsive, and playful. penny has increasingly become more independent. for a while she has been fine being by herself for 10 minutes in her crib when she wakes up first thing in the morning. she will talk to herself, play with her hands, and smile and laugh at the mobile hanging over her crib. recently, she’s been chilling in her crib for up to 20 minutes! it’s very reassuring to see that penny is comfortable being alone for a certain period of time.

she's so happy!

she’s so happy!

i’ve followed up on my vow of being more active instead of being homebound. i brought penny to church by myself this past sunday even though genie wasn’t able to make it because olivia was still napping. (you will find that your life revolves around their nap schedule.) she sat on my lap during the entire service and was so well-behaved for a baby. it’s natural for babies to fuss and cry, and she did fuss for a little bit because the window for her nap time had passed but i gave her a pacifier and she relaxed. after service, i ate lunch with my friend, alice, and penny was quietly sitting back in the stroller observing her surroundings and smiling when people came to visit her.

penny and i went to the mall today to meet up with genie and olivia.

bff

bff

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yummy godiva cone

yummy godiva cone

the only downside to bringing penny out to places for more than a couple of hours is that she can start getting cranky due to being overtired. every time we come home after church, for example, it becomes a battle trying to put her down for a nap. last week when dennis and i came home after church, penny woke up crying after a half-hour nap. i went upstairs, left the lights off and fed her. then, i rocked her to sleep and she slept for almost 3 hours! we were able to watch the entire patriots game! i’m glad we didn’t just ‘give up’ and bring her back downstairs… not only because we wouldn’t have been able to watch the game (we try our best for penny to avoid screen time) but she really did need to sleep. babies may have a few half-hour naps throughout the day but those naps aren’t restorative at all and may be one of the reasons your little one doesn’t sleep through the night. penny usually takes one long nap (anywhere from 2-3 hours) along with two 30-45 minute naps so she sleeps well at night.

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taken before church on 9/27

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dennis used the monitor to see what we were up to when penny woke up early from her nap last sunday :)

dennis used the monitor to see what we were up to when penny woke up early from her nap last sunday 🙂

i’ve said it many times before and i’ll say it again.. it definitely helps having mommy friends close by. throughout your life, you’ll find friends entering and leaving your life particularly during big events – college, wedding, baby, etc. sometimes people grow apart due to conflicting interests, distance, or busy schedules. other times, friendships start out of convenience or because you end up going through the same experience together.

often times friendships that deteriorate during important life events is due to one person not being able to relate to the other. recently engaged? well, your single friends just may be resentful of your impending nuptials.. first-time parent? your baby-free friends just.cant.understand why you can’t find a sitter and come out for a few drinks. raising a baby really can’t be that hard, right? sure they cry and have poopy diapers, but don’t they eat and sleep most of the time?

during today’s playdate, genie and i discussed how our pre-baby mentality mirrored exactly those of our baby-free friends. both of us are part of a closed motherhood group on facebook with 29,000+ strong members. recently, a member posted how she has been feeling left out because her friends who don’t have kids planned a trip to vegas without her. sure, she probably would not have been able to make it but it still hurt to not have been invited especially by your close friends. yes, our priority is raising a child but we still yearn to have a girls’ night out or a romantic getaway with a significant other without worrying about a baby. parenthood can be lonely especially if most of your friends don’t have children. it’s one reason why many moms are active on facebook – it gives them a peek into what others are doing so we aren’t totally isolated.

friendship is a two-way street and something that constantly needs to be maintained. however, in the defense of first-time parents, we don’t mean to be “bad friends.” we aren’t intentionally trying to cut people out of our lives or ignore your texts and calls… we are simply overwhelmed and exhausted beyond belief.  because of recent supply issues, i have been pumping every 3-4 hours to maintain supply and also store milk since penny’s been having a bottle preference. this means that although penny sleeps anywhere from 7-12 hours straight at night i set alarms to wake up EVERY 3 HOURS so i can pump. and usually i am nodding off while pumping – once, milk started spilling out of the containers because i had dozed off and hadn’t realized that they were full. i wish i could sleep, but i can’t.

okay, so if it’s difficult to go out then how come you’re able to meet up with other moms? first, going out with a baby is a feat in itself and something i’ve slowly become more confident in doing. besides, truth be told, it’s just EASIER to meet up with mom-friends because they GET you. did you plan a get-together but suddenly have to cancel because of a baby-related issue? we totally empathize… whereas other friends may wonder why it warrants a rain check. there is no need to explain anything to one another because we’re going, and have gone, through it. our outings are punctuated with pit stops – feed the baby, change the baby, soothe the baby… i’m not sure non-mommy friends would be as patient or understanding, but i could be mistaken. in all honesty, i guess i’m feeling resentful because there are still “friends” whom i have not spoken to since penny was born… nor have they visited her. i didn’t mean for this post to turn into a rant-fest but it’s something that’s been bugging me for some time. we have friends that live near and far… and many have made the effort to come visit and see how we are doing, but some have not. maybe they’ve been busy these past four months, or perhaps they think they would be a bother but how would you know if you don’t reach out? there’s not much i can do or say besides “come visit!” (which i have plenty of times – you can’t force people to go out of their way to come see you).

the reason why i’m sharing this is because i used to be that person who dismissed other new parents. “oh, they’re boring now and don’t WANT to go out anymore,” or “i don’t understand why you CAN’T go out.” now i see that babies’ awake time is around an hour and a half and we have to plan outings around their naps most of the time. it may seem like i’m being lazy but it’s so much easier for you to come visit me rather than me having to drive with a baby to see you. if the baby is tired, i can just put her down for a nap in her room instead of having to deal with a crying, overtired baby in a noisy, crowded place. would you want to drive with a fussy baby in the back seat by yourself? probably not.

in the meantime, i have been making more of a conscious effort to meet up with friends to keep the friendship alive. i’m grateful for the ones that have been, and continue to, keep in touch to see how the baby and i are doing. as penny gets older, her awake time increases as well as her ability to handle unfamiliar people and environments; but for now making a long-distance trip solo to see friends and family is out of the question.

to all the baby-free peeps, in the words of biggie smalls: if you don’t know, now you know..

weekend fun

think the worst of the sleep regression has subsided. I really don’t want to jinx it but the past few nights have been penny waking up at her “normal” hours – once a night. this is, of course, excluding last night.

penny had her 4-month vaccines on friday afternoon. i learned this after the fact but it’s advisable to schedule vaccines after 1:30pm so your baby can sleep through the discomfort at night. penny’s appt was at 2:30. she cried a little bit but stopped immediately when dennis picked her up. she was her usual self too just a little quiet. she also ended up sleeping fine that night, but her naps the next day were affected. it was obvious that she was exhausted but she took 4 half-hour naps on saturday. the short naps ended up disrupting her nighttime sleep as because she woke up at 11:40pm last night and it took two tries to put her down. (I finally succeeded at 12:20am.) Then, she woke up at 2:20am so dennis fed her, but she didn’t end up falling asleep until 4:30am!

a little out of it after the vaccines

a little out of it after the vaccines

we weren’t sure if we would be able to make it to church today on account of everyone being tired. but when i put penny down for her morning nap – knowing it’d last a half hour – we scrambled to get ready by taking turns showering, dressing, and getting penny’s diaper bag and other essentials ready to load into the car. lo and behold, penny woke up at the half-hour mark but we were able to go to church! anddddd she was so good today. we made sure to feed her (during service) and kept her preoccupied with toys and a stroller fan blowing on her. (it was really stuffy in the room.) she became a little fussy because she was tired but i changed her diaper in the bathroom and walked around with her in the hallway to give her a break, and fresh air. she was content and let my friend, grace, hold her while dennis and i ate lunch.

full belly = happy baby

full belly = happy baby

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now we’re home and watching the patriots! well, dennis was watching the patriots.. but he ended up taking a nap with yuri so currently i’m the only one awake in this house.

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this past weekend was dennis’ weekend off. he has a 3-day weekend every other weekend and i look forward to them (maybe as much as he does!) for family bonding time and, naturally, the assistance with penny. yesterday when penny struggled with her naps and we couldn’t catch a break, we tag-teamed by taking turns napping while the other fed, played, and put penny down for a nap.

there was a small farm fair near our neighborhood yesterday and after penny’s first nap we walked over to check it out. we ate hot dogs, checked out homemade crafts and wares, and brought home fresh microgreens from the greenhouse.

there were also two alpacas. one saw yuri and kept craning her neck around her own to take a better look at her 😀 it was hilarious. the alpaca even came closer to inspect yuri more carefully and yuri didn’t like it at all!

makes me think of

makes me think of “the emperor’s new groove”, one of my favorite disney movies

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thursday was also our friend, john’s 30th birthday and we celebrated at sushi house, an all-you-can-eat sushi joint! he and my friend, alice, are set to wed next year and dennis is the best man 🙂

as usual, i was nervous about going out but penny ended up being fine (since we already put her down for the night). in my last post, i talked about socializing more and going out. it felt refreshing to catch up with friends and have “me” time.

happy birthday!

happy birthday!

although i don’t like to place penny on her back for too long because she’s in that position most of the time due to naps and bedtime, i have been laying her down on occasion to try and encourage her to roll from back to tummy.

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penny’s still napping (2 hours exactly so far) so i should take advantage and see if i can manage some shut-eye myself. hopefully the next time i post, penny’s sleep regression will have ended!

*edit – just as i saved this post, penny woke up, crying..but fell back asleep. Whew..