10 months and counting!

IMG_5295we’ve reached the double digits for months – just two more and she’ll be a year old :-O

IMG_5285

it hasn’t yet been a week since my last post but so much has happened since then. and, i don’t want the following entry to be super long because it’s crammed with everything that has been going on. i’m trying to whip this post out while penny naps because after she wakes up, i’m taking her to michael’s crafts store to buy more spray paint and other items for sprucing up her new ikea furniture.

we took a family outing (grandparents included) to ikea on monday to buy “a few items” for penny’s playroom and ended up spending over $500.. how…?! it’s so easy to spend money… my gosh, but these are all things we need for her playroom.. for the most part. as a first birthday gift, the so grandparents got penny a play kitchen along with pots/pans/colander and plush produce. the kitchen comes in a standard white-and-wood color but i wanted to spruce it up. same with the latt table and chair set. i already began glamming it up by spray painting the kitchen fixtures gold. one of the chairs i spray painted a petal pink color, and i want to buy 4 more colors today. (i ran out of the gold, too.) i have painter’s tape all over the furniture because i am going to do color-blocking for the tables and chairs.

IMG_5266

IMG_5277

IMG_5280IMG_5282

instead of getting started on the dol towers, i’m putting my energy into her furniture.. well, i still have 2 months left to do those and i don’t want the unassembled furniture sitting around in the boxes because penny will keep trying to play with them. we are also aiming to paint the walls so we’ll have to get started before hanging things like shelves, penny’s growth chart, and artwork.

thankfully penny’s playroom is our walk-out basement so even if i’m alone i manage to work on these projects. i step outside for a few minutes to spray paint while penny and yuri peer through the glass door. then i leave the pieces out on craft paper to dry and i keep painting as needed. i also have her nap times and bedtime to work on them as well.

i’ll be sure to show the finished products in a future post!

IMG_5228

neil’s donuts!

random doughnut picture, but neil’s donuts in wallingford, ct has the best doughnuts.. and my friend, grace, drove there to get a box for her and got some for dennis and me as well! ❤

it’s amazing how much language penny acquires on any given day. although we speak a mixture of english and korean to her, we use a lot of korean phrases so it’s not a surprise that her first words are all in korean! and, she can say a total of 4 of them: 맘마 (food), 엄마 (mom), 아빠 (dad), and 까까 (crackers). the last one is fairly recent and she doesn’t really enunciate it as well as the other 3 words but we know what she means.

some other cute things she does is to give us kisses when we say 뽀뽀 (kiss). we lean in and she puts her wet mouth on our cheeks, haha. she also shakes her head back and forth when we say 도리도리. i’m not quite sure of the meaning on that one but it sounds similar to 돌다 which means “to turn around.” however the other phrase is spelled differently and my mil thinks it has a japanese origin from back when korea was under japanese rule.

when you go back and forth between languages, things get lost in translation. sometimes there aren’t words to adequately describe or define what it is you’re talking. this is so true of the korean language. for instance, the word 애교. simply put, it means to act in a cute manner but even that doesn’t capture the true meaning of the word. however, it applies to girls acting all cutesy mostly for attention. penny definitely knows how to put on a show because when we say 아이고~ 이뻐라! (oh, so pretty!) she tilts her head to the side. it’s so adorable and we all get a kick out of it. when my parents saw it for the first time they couldn’t stop laughing.

speaking of my parents, i was so happy that they drove down from boston – with a ton of korean food nonetheless – last friday. even though they only live a little less than two hours away, we don’t get to see them often because of the restaurant business. in my last post i mentioned how my parents had sold one of their restaurants. they had 3 and now they’re down to 1 which means more free time! my parents are looking forward to taking a long-overdue and well-deserved vacation this summer. and hopefully that means more visits as well.

IMG_5219

it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

IMG_5218IMG_5221

IMG_5223

brewing homemade jujube tea

IMG_5230

삼계탕, or cornish hen stew

olivia g.’s 1st birthday is in two-and-a-half weeks!! genie has been spending most of her free time finishing up decor and finalizing all the details for her party. it’s sheer madness how much emphasis, money and time is spent on the first birthday especially since it’s a huge ordeal in the asian culture. obviously it’s for the parents and pictures than for the little one, but..particularly as first-time parents we can’t really help but go all out. plus, with social media and pinterest displaying all the latest trends and cute details it’s easy to go overboard.

last saturday, genie and i drove down to new jersey for the day. although it was a baby-free day, nearly everything we did was for the babies. i set my alarm for 5am so i could get dressed and pump just before leaving the house. genie and i hit the road a few minutes before 7am and got to new jersey around 9. first stop: hmart (a korean supermarket). we expected it to be busy on a saturday morning but it seems as if they had just opened because it was fairly quiet and everyone else had a few decades on us. 😛

IMG_5247

the cooler was filled to the top

IMG_5238

view from kuppi cafe

IMG_5255

IMG_5237

IMG_5235

first birthday rice cake

although i mostly got snacks and a few necessities, genie’s sole purpose was to buy ingredients for olivia’s birthday lunch since she and her mom are making korean food for the party! as we stood in the check-out line, a 할머니 (grandma) placed her hands on our cart and started leaning on it. startled, we looked at her and she said that she was using it to help her stand up. we let her, of course, but we wondered if she was going to take it; we had a lot of bags to carry to the car along with a bag of ice. as we were paying, i tentatively made a move to get the cart and she asked if we needed it, and we said, “yes…” but then i quickly told her it was okay and genie ran out of the supermarket to find another cart. we didn’t mind helping her out but it was so bizarre that she zeroed in on our cart when there were so many around. maybe she thought we didn’t need it because we’re young..?

other stops we made were paris baguette where we each left with a giant bag of pastries and milk bread. then, yedang (a korean rice cake shop) to inquire about ordering a rice cake for a first birthday party, and then…pumping in the car -__- the main reason we took dennis’ suv down to jersey is because it has tinted windows, shades, and an outlet in the back row. we still had to take turns pumping (and the engine was running for a half hour) so i’m sure passers-by were wondering what was going on…

we met up with our friends, rob and almex, for lunch at a ramen shop. it was good but the sodium made me feel nauseous later on and i was hanging my head out the window like a dog :-X afterwards, we went to a coffee shop on the waterfront. it was funny because almex remarked how the name of the shop is weird (he pronounced it: coo-pee), and then i saw the sign: kuppi. right away i told him “it’s cup-pee” (which is how you say “coffee” in korean).;-)

lastly, we went to rose bedding & interiors to check out hanbok, a traditional korean clothing. there were so many pretty designs and they all cost over $100 for the baby ones. an outfit they will only wear once… eesh. we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the specialty ones – these are the ones that are made in-house- but genie stealthily snapped a photo while the shop owner assisted me with the water cooler. 😛

despite an early start to the day, it flew by quickly. we couldn’t believe it was already time to go home. we took turns driving so the other could pump in the front seat – oh man, we are so looking forward to weaning!!! – and made a pit stop at a diner in southern connecticut. as we made our way to the bathroom, we both exclaimed, “oh my god!” at the sound of britney belting out “baby, one more time…” turns out, there was a high school dance party going on in one of the banquet rooms and we wondered aloud if we would be able to get away with crashing it. alas, we were wearing jeans and the kids were dressed up.

i’m happy with my life right now, but sometimes… sometimes i get wistful and think how if i had the chance to go back and relive from 17 on, i’d “live it up” a little more. i was always so insecure and shy, and it took me until my 30s to truly start to embrace myself. but, hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it? just because i have a baby now doesn’t mean i can’t have fun.. it’s just a different kind of fun, i suppose. it’s not too late to check off all the things on my ever-growing bucket list, and i need to slowly get a move on that. i’m a different person today than when i was in high school, and i really am grateful about that.

 

busy, busy, busy!

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney Co.

penny is so alert and curious these days. as she becomes more and more aware of the world, she just wants to be in the moment, exploring and experiencing… it’s hard for babies around this age to relax their minds before naps/bedtime hence the infamous 8~10 month sleep regression.

i believe we’ve slowly been going through it for the past two weeks. usually 1 out of 2 naps have been affected – 45 minutes or less. sometimes she wakes up happy and is chattering away whereas others she wakes up, crying because she’s tired. for the past two and a half months, penny’s awake time had been 2/3/4 but her awake time has slowly increased as she’s getting older. part of the reason her naps are all over the place is because she wants to be up and playing; she’s having difficulty putting her brain on pause. another reason is that we are still trying to figure out her awake time. sometimes she’s overtired and other times she’s undertired.

IMG_4975

playing with the mobile this morning. we have to lower the crib bottom!


IMG_4951

trying to stand on her own!

right now, for instance, she’s still on her first nap and it’s almost 11am! she woke up at 7am today (having slept 12 hours straight last night) and went down for her first nap around 10. it seems like her schedule is 3/3.5/4 now but we are still tweaking it because usually her first nap has been great while the second one suffers. it’s more important that the second one is longer for two reasons: 1) this is the nap babies keep when they transition down to one nap usually around 14~18 months, and 2) the awake time from the second nap to bedtime is the longest so they need to be well-rested for that.

well, yesterday, penny had a half-hour nap for the second one and she still stayed up for 4 hours before bedtime..without a meltdown, but perhaps we were lucky. she’s still been sleeping 11 hours straight every night, and last night she slept 12 hours, maybe, because of her short last nap. i’m hoping her night sleep doesn’t get interrupted, but it may once she really starts crawling and standing up. she’s been trying to do both (even in the bathtub!), and has been crawling forward a little. it’s not full-on crawling but she will go forward a few steps and fall back on her tummy, get back up, fall down, and repeat.

in order for penny to sleep well, we’ve been bringing her up to the nursery to wind down before her naps. about a half hour before we want her to sleep, we go upstairs to her room with her bottle. we have only table lamp on so it’s dim in the room and we also have the white noise on. we’ve also been using the boppy lounger (and a pillow) to give her her bottle so she can relax and play with toys while we feed her. she’s so easily distracted so we have to have a bunch of objects nearby for her to play with otherwise she’ll push the bottle out of her mouth. after she’s done with the bottle, we might read a few books, check her diaper and then put her in the sleep sack. then, she’ll take anywhere from 5~15 minutes to pass out. it’s a hit-or-miss lately but mostly because we’ve been trying to figure out a good time to put her down. (a few days ago she played for an hour in her crib before finally falling asleep!)

penny is also talking! her first word was 맘마, or mam-ma which means “food” in korean. she says this when she’s really hungry and impatient! she also says 엄마, or umma (mom) 아빠, or abba (dad)! when we say 도리도리 (do-ri, do-ri) she shakes her head back and forth. she also recently learned how to turn on the tv -_- we don’t let her watch tv but she plays with the remote sometimes so she’s figured it out. she will press the red button and look up at the tv to watch it turn on…

FullSizeRender

IMG_4471

penny trying to knock down the camera -_-

i guess we scored with penny’s first nap today because she’s still sleeping. i hate waking her up but i’m going to have to in 5 minutes to preserve her afternoon nap. hoping she gets two good naps in today. i’ll have to update later this afternoon.

3:23pm ~

penny finally went down for her afternoon nap. it took her 25 minutes because she kept fighting it and managed to knock over the camera again; i had to go in there to place it on the higher part of the crib. we’ll see what time she wakes up…

we had gotten back from a home goods outing with my mil and we met up with genie and olivia there. there are so many adorable things there that it’s incredibly difficult to hold back from buying out the whole store. both olivia and penny were chatting up a storm and snacking the entire time. 🙂

here’s a quick recap of some of the activities that the so family has been up to since the last post!

we had a play date with dana and avery two weeks ago. they also brought seollung-tang (설렁탕), or ox bone broth, from new jersey for lunch!

IMG_4484

penny & avery


IMG_4486

penny (9 months) & avery (14 months)

IMG_4485

IMG_4482

avery chilling with yuri while the mommies eat

IMG_4477

IMG_4480

we also had a play date with genie and olivia the next day! dennis stopped by after work to hang out and brought penny for bedtime routine while genie and i crafted.

IMG_4507

at least, 3 out of 4 are looking at the camera

notice the matching outfits? totally unplanned 😀

IMG_4512

olivia will be 11 months this week and probably walking before her first birthday, haha

IMG_4530IMG_4542IMG_4496

IMG_4493

she really liked the piano!


IMG_4550

dinner time!


IMG_4551

winston (the dog) keeping us company


IMG_4558

creating artwork for alice & john’s upcoming baby shower

family swim day ~~

IMG_4649

love her expression here!

IMG_4651IMG_4650

IMG_4652

getting ready to go home


IMG_4708

collage made on dennis’ phone


IMG_4598

she loves to “read” this book

IMG_4597IMG_4599IMG_4600

fun with bubbles!

this past sunday, i went to my friend abby’s baby shower. it’s always nice to get out of the house without a baby…

abby is expecting a girl on 4/19 – another gal pal for penny 🙂

IMG_4947

IMG_4940

the favors included crocheted flower bookmarks handmade by abby’s mil’s sister

IMG_4942

IMG_4943

bridget (standing) toasting her sister, abby (black tank)


IMG_4948

yes, the walking dead!


IMG_4950

great view

and finally, my outfit to the shower, hehe.. before i was pregnant with penny, i had a fashion blog on tumblr but now it’s all about penny on wordpress. i try to do fashion and lifestyle-related posts but they all take a backseat next to the baby. so, i’m trying to squeeze one in here.

about a month ago, i purchased a light gray coat from h&m but hadn’t had the chance to wear it yet due to the weather. this past weekend was in the 50s so i finally was able to wear it!

since i normally wear neutrals, i thought it’d be fun to add a splash of color with my lilac skinny jeans from j.crew. it’s march now so hopefully spring-like weather will keep occurring.

IMG_4968IMG_4974

update on penny’s nap: she woke up after a half hour, crying…. bahh.. she’s in the playroom with grandma so off i go to join them.

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.

FullSizeRender

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

IMG_1646

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.

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

IMG_1507

IMG_1506

IMG_1505

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.

IMG_1515

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

IMG_1501

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.

IMG_1472

IMG_1473

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..

happy (?) 4 months

IMG_1459

i had a rough first month of motherhood – latching issues, nipple pain, and an oversupply of milk leading to mastitis. i kept hearing “it gets better” and “the first month is the hardest.” well, i’m four months in and i find that every month brings with it a new set of challenges.

penny is 4 months old as of yesterday. with each passing day, i still get amazed at how much she’s learning. for the past few weeks, penny has been laughing out loud, observing everything more intently, and looking around to see where dennis and i are. she has also been trying to roll from back to tummy but hasn’t been successful yet. she uses her legs – they are so strong! – to lift her back up and teeters back and forth before landing on her back again. i’ve been encouraging her by laying toys on either side for her to look at. i also slowly roll her onto her side so she can fall onto her stomach via gravity.

IMG_1458

a very happy baby

IMG_1449

staring at the mobile over her crib

penny has been going through the 4-month sleep regression for the past two weeks. it started off slowly with penny making random night wakings instead of the usual 2-3am. then, she started to wake up at midnight, then 11:30, and 9:30, and two nights ago at 6:40 – thirty minutes after she went down (kicking and screaming, of course). we knew she was exhausted because she had skipped her last nap and had been awake since 2:30pm. but, she was also hungry. for the past few weeks, penny’s been way too distracted during the daytime to nurse longer than 7 minutes so i’ve been having to bottle-feed and pump so she can look around and still get her daytime calories in. since i’m usually alone with her most of the day this is not an easy feat.

babies go through the so-called “sleep regression” around this time because their sleep cycle is beginning to mature and mimic that of an adult’s. babies have difficulty transitioning from one sleep cycle to the next and may wake up early from naps or repeatedly during the night because they don’t know how to fall back asleep on their own. so, they look for us to help them. monday night, at least, penny woke up because she was hungry and ended up falling asleep while dennis bottle-fed her. she slept for the next (almost) 9 hours and woke up at 3:30, nursed, fell asleep and woke up around 7. last night she woke up at 2:30 and i sat outside her door for 20 minutes to see if she would fall back asleep on her own. i ended up going in because it seemed like she was hungry (her cries were slowly increasing in volume and intensity.)

during this time, babies are also dropping their last nap – they go from 4 to 3. there still have been days where penny is taking 4 naps but she recently has been refusing the last one so we’ve been trying to put her to bed sooner than the usual 6:30-7pm if her last nap ends in early afternoon; otherwise her awake time from her last nap until bedtime would be 3+ hours = overtired, cranky baby. contrary to popular belief, babies won’t wake up sooner because you put them down sooner. sleep begets sleep so the more quality naps your baby takes, the better she’ll sleep at night. penny has been taking 1 short nap in the morning, then a long 2-3 hour nap, and then another short nap before bedtime.

with the sleep regression, we don’t know when she’ll wake up so i’m always fearfully staring at the monitor. she has been crying out and flopping her legs around at random times during the night but falls back asleep usually – whew. hoping this all subsides soon because then we have teething to look forward to.. AND she’s getting her 4-month vaccines on friday.. :*(

we’ve had a busy weekend. after meeting with my ob last week for an annual check-up, he advised me to go out more with and without penny so i can socialize and not go stir-crazy. i got really emotional when i shared what i’ve been feeling and being at home all day with a baby and a dog. i feel more and more confident the more i take penny out so i need to keep doing it.

friday night was a short date night. dennis and i put penny down for the night and went to go eat dinner at barcelona in west hartford. i was falling asleep on the way there! although penny was on my mind the entire time, i still enjoyed having a nice dinner with dennis. 🙂

IMG_1398

IMG_1397

on saturday, i met up with genie and mouy and their little ones at the mall. we ended up buying baby clothes from babygap and not a thing for ourselves, but we are going to schedule a shopping trip for US soon.

as mouy said it

as mouy said it “we roll 3 strollers deep.”

IMG_1393

i brought penny to church again last sunday. i was a little late because i waited for penny to wake up from her nap. she was in a great mood until we got to church… for one thing, she needed a diaper change, and she was also hungry. but my mil was excited that she came and whisked her off to see her friends despite me warning her that penny would cry. and cry she did! it must’ve been overwhelming to have 15 (i kid you not) jibber-jabbering middle-aged women sticking their faces in the stroller to look at you.

my mil meant well: she was just excited.. but next time, feed and a diaper change first because after i did both penny was in a much better mood and even let others (some whom she’d met for the first time) hold her. this is AFTER i was forced to nurse her in a supply closet because all the rooms, and the nursery, were occupied…

about to leave for church

about to leave for church

ben & olivia

ben & olivia

my friends, the gardners, came to church too. there was bibimbap for lunch that day and olivia is looking at the omelets being made. 🙂

IMG_1407

we celebrated my mil’s birthday that evening at our house with korean food and a cake. dennis bought this hazelnut cake from a ukrainian bakery near where he works.

happy 65th birthday :)

happy 65th birthday 🙂

IMG_1413

playing with penny before her bedtime

playing with penny before her bedtime

before i go, here are some pictures from penny’s 4-month “photo shoot.” i have a lot more but let’s not get too carried away…

IMG_1447

dennis thinks it looks like she’s waving ^^

IMG_1441

IMG_1430

she loves putting her fist in her mouth

awww

awww

yuri wanted to be with her

yuri wanted to be with her

hair today, gone tomorrow

i was hoping it wouldn’t happen, but it has.

during pregnancy, my hair became thicker and more lush. i had a lot of hair to begin with but pregnancy hormones caused less of my hair to fall out. naturally, we shed hair every day but this process stalls during pregnancy making it seem like you’re growing more when in fact you’re just losing less. my normally paper-thin fingernails were also stronger and seemed to be growing at an alarming rate. (i felt like i was clipping my nails all the time!)

now that i’m 3.5 months postpartum, the hair-shedding process has begun. i began noticing strands of hair on my arm, on my clothes, and in penny’s clenched fists! while rocking penny to sleep, i noticed how stray hairs kept tickling my forehead prompting me to repeatedly, but ineffectively, brush them away. these, i saw, were baby hairs. what’s interesting is that penny has been losing hair as well. however, i feel like she’s losing it more so because she’s been grabbing at her own hair. now that she’s more environmentally and physically aware, she’s always staring at her hands and using them to feel and grasp. she’s been tugging at her hair mainly on her left side so it’s noticeably thinner on the left side of her head.

there’s really not much you can do to prevent hair loss. i still take my prenatal vitamins every day and it still happens. the good news is your hair eventually grows back. same with the baby’s.

a more serious problem that i’ve been recently experiencing is the gradual loss of my milk supply. every summer around this time i develop a chronic cough that is caused by an excess of mucus. i’m not sure if it has to do with allergies or the weather, but it keeps me up at night… and has also awoken penny many times while holding her because i haven’t been able to suppress it. i began taking mucinex dm last monday and i noticed that i was producing less breast milk. i couldn’t feel my milk come in and penny began fussing while nursing because, i assume, there wasn’t enough milk. prior to this incident i never had to switch breasts while nursing because penny had been satiated from nursing on one side. now, she would begin fussing around the 5-minute mark and she would unlatch/relatch for another 5 or so minutes before getting hysterical. after i switched her to the other side, the same thing would happen.

besides the mucinex, i believe that my supply has been decreasing because penny has been distracted. during the 3-4 month mark, babies become hyper-aware of their surroundings and stare at objects in an almost trance-like state. no matter where i nurse, penny unlatches to look at something, be it a lamp, a blanket, or artwork. i even nurse in penny’s room with only a small table lamp on but something always manages to catch her eye! because she has been consuming less, her sleep has been impacted as well.  she used to sleep a good stretch of 6+ hours a night and then she began waking up only a few hours after going down for the night. three days ago it was 11:30pm, and two nights ago she woke up at 9:30pm! she didn’t just wake up needing to be rocked back to sleep; she was guzzling 4 ounces of milk! since she was consuming less in the day, she was making up for it at night. not fun.

*edit: last night she slept from 7pm-4am! i didn’t set my alarm to pump because i thought she’d wake up a lot sooner. just as i finished pumping she woke up so i couldn’t nurse her, but dennis bottle fed her 5 oz (to make up for the long stretch of sleep). she drank it all and slept for another 2.5 hours.

unfortunately, i think the nighttime wakings have been exacerbated by the dreaded 4-month sleep regression. though named for the fourth month, this sleep regression can happen anytime between a baby’s third-fifth month. this usually occurs because the baby is developmentally growing at a rapid rate (like rolling!), and with all the stimulation they are getting during the day it becomes difficult to sleep at night. furthermore, the baby’s sleep cycle starts to mature. this is where rem sleep comes in and babies find it tough to switch from one sleep cycle to the next. ever wonder why your baby repeatedly wakes up around the 45-minute mark? this is why. since penny’s nighttime sleep has been getting interrupted, she’s also trying to make up for it during the daytime.. and then she’s not tired enough at night to sleep in longer stretches.. it’s a vicious cycle. supposedly, you shouldn’t introduce any new sleeping methods (i.e if you don’t use a pacifier, don’t introduce a new crutch now.) because it should all go back to “normal” eventually. the question: how long will this last? it’s different for every baby. some claim their baby only goes through it for a week but others can last as long as six! i sincerely hope it’s not the latter for me.

penny doing tummy time on her pororo mat

penny doing tummy time on her pororo mat

penny on her new pororo mat

recently, we purchased a pororo mat (korean company) for penny. they retail for a little over $100 on amazon for the large mat. a little pricey (and this is the sale price), but totally worth it. penny does most of her tummy time and play time on here. since i’ve been consistent with tummy time, penny has started to roll over! dennis was the first to witness it during penny’s 14th week and i was finally able to see it for myself at her 15th week. since then she has been rolling from tummy to back nearly every day.

IMG_1184

the first thing i have penny do when she wakes up for the day is tummy time either in her crib or on the floor on top of a blanket. a great way to encourage your baby to like or, at least, endure tummy time is to provide things for her to look at. i usually get on the floor with her and talk to her, and i also lay out toys in a half circle so she’s turning to the side to look at them.

IMG_0998

here she is looking at her mobile. she’s still got a lot of hair! that “bedhead” is actually what her hair looks like every day because of two cowlicks on the back of her head. i liken her hair to donald trump’s -_- for some reason, double cowlicks have a bad reputation: anything from being left-handed (why is this bad?) to autism! these are all myths, of course… and penny is already showing preference for her right hand so that theory is incorrect. as penny’s hair grows longer and thicker, it should lay flat… but for now she always looks like she got caught in a windstorm.

IMG_1191

a mirror is a great way to encourage baby during tummy time.. and it also raises self-awareness.

IMG_1187 IMG_1189

i just noticed that all the toys i laid out were all gifts 🙂 the lamb chop puppet that penny is fixated on was given to me by one of my former students.

IMG_1201 IMG_1164

for babies that hate tummy time, putting them on your tummy counts! the wonder weeks app also suggests games like “airplane.”

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_1

sweet father-daughter moments. i’ll be able to witness more of these on any given day because i’m taking a year off from work to be a sahm (stay-at-home mom). i’m so excited to be able to witness penny’s milestones and just being able to BE with her all day… before penny was born, i thought 4 months was enough time to bond with her but clearly not as i found myself in tears the first few months, dreading the day i would have to return to work.

dennis encouraged me to stay home not only to ease my distress but he truly believes that the best person for penny is me. no one else has that -bond- with a baby quite like the mother. this is one reason why i am so devastated by my supply issue. i’ve been pumping every 3-4 hours to bring it back up, nursing whenever i can, drinking mother’s milk tea, and eating, eating, eating. i’ve already started to see an increase but it’s still not enough particularly in the evening before bedtime. it’s quite disheartening to hear penny cry because she’s not satisfied.  at least i am able to (hopefully) rectify the problem without having to worry about work as well. i love teaching but it can’t top being penny’s #1 teacher. she’s growing and learning so much every day, and i don’t want to miss anything.