nearing the end

i’m on week 35. i sound like a broken record, but it’s unreal how quickly this pregnancy has gone by. i recall being excited, nervous, and scared for penny’s arrival but i have a few more emotions to add to this one: sadness and guilt. i know, i know, i talked about guilt in my last post but this one is a bit different. for the past 22 months, penny has been the light in our lives; our shining star; the center of our universe… and in five short weeks, a tiny little being will steal some of her spotlight.

of course, we will try our best to make sure penny will get as much love and attention as possible – with much help from her paternal grandparents – but there will be plenty of times where mommy can’t cater to penny’s needs because she has to nurse or comfort a newborn. i really wonder how she will react to me holding a baby all the time especially in the early stages. she already is so helpful with cleaning and retrieving items so i’m hoping she will want to help take care of her baby brother.

it has been nearly a month since penny has been incredibly clingy, and she only wants me to do certain tasks such as bring her up for her bath. bathtime used to be daddy’s thing, but these days instead of running into his arms she’ll ask me to take her upstairs instead. once she’s in the bathtub, she’s fine with daddy (or grandma) giving her a bath but she will want to be carried upstairs by me. another thing that penny only wants me to do is read her books. if anyone else tries to read her a book, she stops them and has me do it instead. it’s a bit endearing honestly but very tiring too particularly if she only wants to be held by me.

we went up to boston the first weekend of march, and one of the activities we did was go to the museum of science. while there, she only wanted to be held by me. she didn’t even want to walk! you can imagine how exhausting that was especially with my belly in the way! if i tried to put her down to walk with her, she would curl her legs right back up. of course, she had been sick that week and was finally returning to her old self so she could’ve been seeking comfort. plus, her nap was about an hour so i know she was tired. i get frustrated and annoyed at times because i’m so tired, but i keep reminding myself that these are the last precious few weeks of holding and taking care of just one child. my first child. so, i try to take it in stride because i know i’ll miss these moments where i can just hug her at any time without having to tell her that i can’t embrace her right now because i’m holding her brother.

this is why i try to keep our days busy with activities; even when all i want to do is be lazy and put in minimal effort. i know it’s not fair to penny if i “check out” now more so since these are my last few weeks with just her. plus, i like seeing her engaged and happy. no matter how many toys you have, you’ll get sick of them so i’m always bringing her to places and thinking of activities we can do. and lastly, when the baby comes i’ll need time to recover… but then i won’t have time for anything but taking care of the baby. i know i’m going to yearn for the days where i can just get up and take penny somewhere even if it’s last-minute.

here are some memories we’ve made during the past two weeks.

we love to visit libraries, and one that we visited was south windsor public library in my husband’s hometown. after checking out the children’s area and befriending another toddler named jasmine, penny wanted to explore the rest of the library.

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her love for cars and trucks continues…

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when we walked by the children’s room, i knew she would love the chair

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there were some really good illustrations on here…

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two weekends, we made our final trip up to boston as a family before ezra’s arrival. our main purpose was to see my parents but also my grandma.. but unfortunately we weren’t able to visit my grandma because she had contracted MRSA.

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enjoying 미역국, seaweed soup, with grandma

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we visited the museum of science on saturday afternoon.

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at the chocolate exhibit

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she wanted a selfie with this giant acorn cushion

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playing at the gift shop

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mess-free sand

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trying dippin’ dots for the first time

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naptime while penny naps

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dinner with ben before watching hacksaw ridge

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cute pose by yuri

we went to vinkari safari in woburn again. all she wanted to do was ride the vehicles 🙂 it would’ve been fine if she stayed in a certain car for a period of time but we would push her for less than a minute and she would want to switch to a different car.

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we were craving 팥빙수, korean shaved ice so we stopped by cafe benne before heading back home. the dessert next to the strawberry/ sweet red bean shaved ice is a s’mores toast!

penny had been sick the week leading up to our boston trip. since she was still getting over her cough, we went up on saturday morning instead of friday. it was a short(er) trip but we still enjoyed seeing my parents, eating good korean food, and continuing our tradition of a “movie night” with ben (alf couldn’t make it because of a work project).

a library that we absolutely love, and go to twice a week, is booth & dimock library in coventry. on tuesdays from 10:15-11:15, they have a free program called tiny tots, which includes free play with toys and a group reading activity as well as singing along to songs.

on wednesdays they have free play from 10:30-11:30.

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in a great mood on the way to the car

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she’s touching a plant that had a soft bulb on it

a chick-fil-a restaurant recently opened in west hartford. since it has an indoor play area, a few of my mommy friends and i decided to have a playdate there. although the sign said for ages 3 and under, we all agreed that it was more suitable for ages 3 and older. penny and i climbed up the structure but she was too nervous to enter the tubes to go down the slide. there also wasn’t really much for the kids to do there either so i wouldn’t recommend a play date there… but lunch was really good! penny didn’t want her chicken nuggets but she ate the fruit cup, waffle fries, and drank the juice.

i only found out after i had come home that chick-fil-a offers books as an alternative to a toy for ages 3 and under! i wish i had known because the paper toy she received was too advanced for her so i trashed it.

penny was so tired she actually fell asleep on the drive home! she hasn’t fallen asleep in the car since her infant days because we time our outings so that she’s home for her nap and bedtime routine. i was worried she wouldn’t fall asleep for her nap but she did.. and then i had to wake her up because it was getting late.

penny’s library books were due last thursday so we went to tolland library. the entire library was renovated recently and the children’s area is a spread out instead of being in an enclosed room. i actually liked the room because it prevented penny from wandering around but this was nice too.

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taking a break to snack on strawberries

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she’s great at stacking cups

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i bought these sensory beads from amazon. you soak them in the water for 6-10 hours (too long and they crumble/fall apart), drain the water, and let the kids play!

they feel like tapioca balls found in bubble tea. it’s amazing how fast they swell up!

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she was laughing because she threw the balls down the spiral chute

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remember the gno out from my last post? 10 ladies made it out and we had a wonderful time!! can’t wait to do it again soon. thanks to the baby daddies for taking care of the babies while the moms destressed!

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family, friends & fun – oh my!

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

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

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

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

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

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만세!

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giving great-grandma a kiss

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copying daddy with a playdo mustache

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

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giving kisses to grandma, grandpa and daddy

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lunch!

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

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

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

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olivia & penny snacking on blueberries

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

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olivia enjoying homemade pesto pasta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

some things penny knows and likes to do:

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

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

summertime shenanigans

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last saturday, dennis and i attended a wedding in norwalk, ct. he was able to get the day off so we could go, but he still had to work the next day… which was really unfortunate since it was a 1.5 hour drive each way. we left the party around 10:30 and came home at midnight.

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yikes, the selfie image came out way too pixelated

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close buds – dennis and andy (not the groom)

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we had a lovely time celebrating victoria and andrew. as many of you may know, i love to take pictures. the only reason why i don’t have many photos from the wedding (particularly of the married couple) is because there was no ceremony. the mr. and mrs. decided to do a civil ceremony and then celebrate with their family in england where the bride’s family resides. the party on saturday was just a reception for family and friends.

instead of a standard photo booth, theirs printed out 4×6 images which was unique! we glued some onto the guest book and kept the copies. there were even clear sleeves to protect the photos. in addition, there was a cigar bar. dennis and i had considered this for our wedding too but we ended up nixing it because the costs kept mounting for our big day…

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recently, i found out that the park near us has a baby-friendly playground and a splash pad. sure, we live next to an elementary school with two playgrounds that we visit on a daily basis but it’s awesome to have another one to go to.. and with, again, a splash pad for a girl who adores water!

i befriended another mommy that goes to story hour at jack & allie’s. it turns out she lives about a 3-minute drive from us! she has a 17-month-old son who is absolutely adorable. we met up once at the park and we are looking to go tomorrow as well.

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after we figured out this was a splash pad, i began taking penny here!

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as you can see, penny’s been standing on her own more and more. she still needs assistance to stand on her own and often uses nearby objects as well. once she does that, i’m guessing she’ll start taking some steps.. so, we wait.

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playdate at olivia’s

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they love water crackers

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she tried hot dogs for the first time!

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homemade sweet potato fries

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july 17th was national ice cream day so penny and i went to carvel for bogo soft serve!

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um, yes.. i’m playing pokemon go

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this picture is from today. look how tan penny’s feet are! 

it’s going to be busy the next few days! our town’s summer carnival kicked off tonight but we are stopping by tomorrow evening after dinner to check out the rides. we are hoping to take penny on the ferris wheel, carousel, and some other baby-friendly rides. also, we are going up to boston from friday-sunday. we are supposed to have a heat wave starting tomorrow so i assume it’ll feel suffocatingly hot in the city with all the buildings blocking the wind. we plan on going to boston common to go on the swan boat and bring penny to the splash pad at frog pond!

hopefully things work out.. penny skipped her afternoon nap today after having taken two naps since the june 29th incident. she has been taking a long time to fall asleep for her afternoon one though. lately she’s falling asleep around 3pm or even later.. and it’s taking her a half hour-hour to fall asleep! today, she finally just skipped it entirely and i got her at 3:30. i’m contemplating pushing her morning nap to 11am tomorrow to see how she does with one nap. the goal is to be at 12:30/1pm for the one-nap schedule.. i’m actually really nervous to start trying this before our boston trip. i guess i’ll just see how she does tonight and tomorrow morning!

weekend in boston

dennis and i arrived safely back from aruba last wednesday night around 10:30pm. we had thursday to relax at home.. and then we drove up to boston friday morning and stayed at my parents’ house until sunday evening.

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the above photos are soon after we arrived at my parents’ house. penny had lunch and then we went outside for a walk. she LOVES going outside.. sometimes she throws a tantrum when we come back in -_-

lately all she wants to do is walk and she’s getting better at it every day. we purchased her sneakers recently too to help encourage her walking 🙂

our main reason for visiting massachusetts was to see my grandmother who is recovering from a recent spinal surgery. being 95 years old, she has brittle bones so even just moving a certain way can cause those fragile bones to fracture. she’s in a rehabilitation home for the time being and we really want penny to see my grandma as much as possible because, honestly, who knows how much time we all really have..?

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she loves playing with the selfie stick

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remarking over penny’s feet and sneakers

my grandma was so surprised to see us! we made her very happy, and we are thrilled that we were able to see her too. we came back to visit her the next evening and she was, again, surprised to see us because she thought we had already gone back home.

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she was thankful to eat korean food for dinner two nights in a row

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penny did not like being held!

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my grandma was shocked at how strong penny is…

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avery & penny

hopefully we can arrange more play dates (and parent dates) with our friends in boston too. we met up with a group of friends for lunch on saturday, and it was chaotic with 3 little girls. olivia k. was napping so we couldn’t get in a picture of all 3 of them.

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bringing the walker along helped save our backs!

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one of her favorite things to do is point.. at everything!

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cute little bunny in the backyard on sunday morning

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penny pretending to mow the lawn like aunt jen!

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on our way to the ice cream shop!

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penny loved her vanilla soft serve!

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she signed for “milk” after we came home

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eating dinner at my parents’ restaurant in boston before we head home

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an employee gave her a $20 bill…

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it’s tough because dennis works every other weekend and some of those weekends are already accounted for, such as weddings and other events.. but we are definitely going to go up again this summer to spend more time with my parents, siblings, and grandma. summer in boston should be a lot of fun!

after we got back from aruba, we barely had time to unwind. we spent most of the day at home on thursday but we decided to buy penny her first pair of walking sneakers so we went to the mall and met up with the gardners.

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trying out see kai run sneakers

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ended up getting nikes

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they look miserable but they had fun!

we wanted to purchase stride rite sneakers after hearing great feedback from many people but found out that nordstrom is slowly phasing them out in favor of their own brand: see kai run. this is also a highly rated brand as well. after trying on toms, see kai run, and nike free we ended up getting penny the nike sneakers because the soles were lighter and had more cushion. i still want to get her see kai run and stride rite too but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. the nike ones were $48! :-O

the aruba trip was amazing… i’ll have to write a post on that destination wedding/vacation alone! i can’t wait to share all of the pictures. as always, it was awesome to get a break away from penny because we got to sleep in and do what we wanted to do.. but, of course, we missed her… and it was also nice coming back home.

 

keep on keepin’ on

dennis and i are going to aruba this saturday so we have also been busy preparing for the trip. we purchased sunscreen and some clothes (well, i did) and we have to make a trip to babies ‘r us to make sure we have plenty of diapers and wipes. penny is still being super fussy about food so i’ve been making purees and stuffing food into her pouches. i still purchase ready-made food pouches too since there is a wide variety to choose from. i’m really not worried about leaving penny because this’ll be our third vacation without her and she’s been sleeping all night without waking up since she was 7 months old. she’s in great hands and i know my mil is going to make a ton of korean food to feed penny too.

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penny’s footprints from birth to one year old

summer has officially started. ( in our book, anyway.) the first day of summer is june 20th – hey, yuri’s 6th birthday! – but dennis remarked that it feels like summer after memorial day ends, and i agree. plus, we’ve been in the midst of a heat wave in connecticut. now that the weather is nice, i try to go out for walks 3x a day: usually around 8:30/9am, 1/1:30pm, and 6/6:30pm, or depending when penny is done with dinner. with the temperature being in the high 80s~low 90s along with high humidity, it’s been tough trying to take a lunchtime stroll. even though we gave yuri a short haircut, it’s still much too hot for her. normally penny loves being outdoors but she’s been whining (partly due to the heat and partly because she wants to) because it’s still stiflingly hot even with a sun hat and a stroller shade. i bring out a water cup for her now. for our lunchtime walk today, yuri barely made it around our neighborhood before i put her back in the house and let her look outside through the storm door while penny and i kept walking.

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we’ve also been taking trips to the mall to walk around with the cool ac blasting. thankfully we have central air at home and our basement is refreshing without having to turn the air on, but alas, there is no cool air blowing down on us when we walk outside.. only the occasional breeze, and sometimes it’s hot air.

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so stinking cute

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she loves to look at my parents’ wedding photo

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drinking smoothies

our family had a wonderful long weekend. we didn’t go on vacation or go to a beach but we loved spending time together. dennis was lucky enough to have a four-day weekend without requesting any days off so we spent our time taking penny swimming and hanging out with the grandparents.

on saturday night, i also had a gno with mouy and katie. we went to the claypen, a paint-your-own pottery studio. it’s byob so we drank red wine and ate italian cookies while painting. afterwards, we had dinner at rizzuto’s.

i was also able to catch up with some of my former coworkers at kathryn’s surprise bridal shower. i went to school a little early so i could catch some of the students as well.

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the bride-to-be with the apron i got her from anthro


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kathryn and heather


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made by kelly

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we bought penny a baby float for $9.99 from tj maxx


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painting pottery pieces at the claypen

penny’s 12-month appointment was last friday. she got 3 vaccines: varicella (chicken pox), hepatitis a, and mmr. she cried so much and was inconsolable until we gave her milk. even then she would stop drinking to cry. what finally helped was when i sat her on my lap and sang her songs while giving her more milk.

Penny is now 30 1/4 inches tall and 20.2 lb! She’s in the 75th percentile for her height! After a lag between 6 to 9 months, she went through a growth spurt.

i’ve been trying to wean penny from breast milk since she was 10.5 months old. i am down to 2 pumps a day but she’s drinking even more milk lately! i got the thumbs-up to give penny hemp milk as it has plenty of vitamin d, fat, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. thing is, she is supposed to get 16 oz. max a day once she fully transitions but right now she is drinking anywhere from 23-28 oz. a day! hemp milk is not cheap and we are flying through the boxes… i hope her phase of refusing food stops soon -__- i hear it’s common at this age, and it can actually last for several months so we still have to keep offering a variety of food and be patient. i have also been making smoothies for penny to drink to see if she drinks less milk but it’s not the case.. she’ll still drink both.

on tuesday, we met up with the gardners at jack & allie’s for story hour. it looks like we’re going to make it a weekly thing so that’s fun! penny still loves the green rocking chair. we were the last ones to leave the book store because she kept wanting to sit on it and touch the picture of the frog.

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thanks to genie for taking these pictures!

the pictures from penny’s first birthday have slowly been uploaded to her album via our photographer (and cousin’s husband) but they’re not all there yet. we’re eagerly anticipating the family photos and then we’ll choose which photos to develop and frame. in the meantime, i’ve also been sending out thank-you cards in small batches. i hope to be done with those tonight.

well, after penny wakes up we are making a trip to the mall to return some items and also get more exercise in! i got a fitbit recently so i’ve been trying to reach 10,000 steps every day. i have a competitive nature and i like to win.. so i hope having my fitbit motivates me to keep moving. i’ve also been going to the gym lately and i’m eager to get back into shape!

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