long winter days and nights

i believe in process. i believe in four seasons. i believe that winter’s tough, but spring’s coming. i believe that there’s a growing season. and i think that you realize that in life, you grow. you get better.

~ steve southerland

this quote is so on point. winter can be dreary, depressing, and drags on for what seems like an eternity in new england. and as much as i complain about the cold and being trapped indoors, i do like the snow. it’s so pure, bright, and pretty. i also like how it creates a soft blanket over everything. still, cold weather does not equal snow unfortunately because snow, to me, justifies the frigid temperatures.

 

i used to think winter made me appreciate my favorite season, summer, more but as i grow older, i’m not quite certain about that. i get cold easily even in the summer time so staying warm during winter has its challenges. lately, we’ve had extremely frosty temperatures with wind chills in the negatives. it literally hurt to be outdoors, just to get out of the car and run inside a store. now we are back to “normal” new england winter temperatures although friday was a balmy 60 degrees.

 

saturday, january 13: we beat cabin fever by going to the mall to ride the carousel. this was ezra’s first time riding an animal. the other times, he sat in the seat with grandma.

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friday, january 12. penny enjoyed splashing through the puddles in her hunter boots after a playgroup at a local school. she’s eating goldfish crackers from a cup.

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the warm weather + rain melted most of the snow away on friday

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there actually is a thing called the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder. i feel like i’m much happier during spring and summer when there is more sunlight and warmth. i’m also probably more cheerful during these seasons because we aren’t confined indoors resigned to do the same activities over and over. who knows? maybe if i lived in sunny california, i’d be happy year-round… but nothing is ever perfect. california lately has been besieged with natural disasters such as wildfires and mudslides, so there’s no escaping the force of mother nature.

white christmas! these photos are long overdue!

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this photo was featured on the ig page: moms with cameras

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eating snow!

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it’s been rough over here in the so household for the past couple weeks. the kids had been sick which is no fun for anyone. penny’s congestion finally fully cleared up on wednesday but ezra still has a rattling sound when he breathes. he’s also teething so he’s been incessantly drooling. (his third tooth erupted yesterday.)

our daily struggles mostly concern miss p: being nice and sharing toys with ezra, using words to communicate instead of crying and whining, and eating. p lost nearly a pound while she was sick because of her refusal to eat most foods. now the weight difference between p and ezra are 1.6 lb. i weighed ezra the other day and he was 24.2 lb! i believe some of p’s emotional outbursts are because she’s hangry, but who really knows?! mealtimes have been a battle these days but now that she’s feeling a lot better she’s starting to eat more again.

on a positive note, a big milestone occurred today: penny used the potty on her own for the first time! while i was cooking dinner, penny announced she had to go potty and walked to the bathroom. my in-laws were over for dinner and we all thought penny was just pretending, but when my fil went over to check she had pulled down her pants and had already peed on the potty! when i walked over to see for myself, she had already finished wiping! i’m so proud of this girl!

it’s day 14 of the new year and so much has happened already. ezra is 9 months old; i went to a preschool fair to start preparing penny for preschool; i’m planning ezra’s first birthday (and penny’s 3rd birthday, already!); and preparing for our cancun trip in march! oh, and i also started a book club! that, i will go into detail in my next post. i want to finish this post so i can start reading tonight.

stay warm, friends.

 

days go by

they say it gets easier as the children grow older… and it’s true. ezra is already 8 months old and he rarely gives me trouble. penny, on the other hand… she has been having better days lately and it may be because she’s well-rested. penny had been going through a weird phase a few months ago where she began waking up between 5-5:30am every morning. sometimes she would yell out but other times she was mostly quiet as she tried to go back to sleep.

at first, i thought it was because she had to use the potty but she kept waking up early for about a month. i brought it up to her pediatrician at penny’s 2.5 year visit, and he advised that she only nap for 1.5 hours. while researching online for help with toddler sleep, i did find an article where the sleep expert, kim west aka the sleep lady said toddlers between 2-3 years old should only be napping for 1.5 hours to protect night sleep.

our pediatrician warned us that it would take a week or so for results to show. it was tough at first because penny would be cranky whenever we woke her up from her nap since she was trying to make up for the early morning wake-up. she still can be cranky when we wake her up but it has been working because she is now waking up between 6:30-7… or sometimes even after 7am! she went from sleeping 9-9.5 hours during that month of hell to 10.5-11 hours!

maple street playgroup

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painting a pouch

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recent snow day

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like penny, i transitioned ezra to two naps a little earlier than the norm. both kids were ready for two naps because their last nap (a catnap) made their bedtime too late and resulted in less nighttime sleep overall.  plus, their first two naps were long (1.5 hours each) and i would have to wake them up from each one! a 2-nap schedule means we can do more during the evening hours, too.

i’ve been brave lately by bringing both kids out and about. recently, the mom’s group had a chuck e. cheese playdate so i brought both kids after they woke up from their nap. (another great thing is that ezra’s 2nd nap is usually around the same time as penny’s nap so i get to rest, too!)

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Penny couldn’t figure out how to go up this. the platforms were too high for her.

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nice action shot

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i don’t think i had ever been to a chuck e. cheese, even as a child. i always hear horror stories such as the viral videos of parents having a full-on brawl while their children watch. i decided to give the place a shot since we had never been there. the one in manchester is actually the 2nd-largest in new england! what’s neat is that there is a separate toddler section so you don’t have to worry about your little ones getting overrun by the older kids.

the rides moved a little too slowly (even for toddlers) in my opinion, and the hot chocolate one was weird, but penny seemed to enjoy herself. her favorite ride was the train. the children also climbed up padded platforms to go into tunnels and slide down a spiral slide. penny really wanted to go down the slide but couldn’t figure out how to climb up the platforms. other kids were being creative by using the netting to hoist themselves up, but penny didn’t even want to try. i wish she wasn’t so tentative at trying new things, but pushing her will only make it worse.

i also brought the kids to a holiday party held at one of the mom’s homes. the location being only 7 minutes from our home definitely made it easier to attend. still, i was a half hour late because of penny, stalling. it’s so hard to get her to go anywhere right after her nap and she shuts down when we try to rush her. i had to entice her by saying there would be “new toys” at the place we were going to.

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K combing Ezra’s hair 🙂

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penny enjoyed playing with the new toys, and also sat down with some of the other children to snack on fruit and crackers. she actually does better with sitting and eating (and feeding herself) when we are out! it really does help when she is sitting with her peers to eat. learn by example, right? ezra, as usual, was his own chill self. one of the moms offered to watch him so i could eat, and another mom put his shoes on when we were getting ready to leave. it takes a village!

i’ve been saying this for quite some time but i need to start taking better care of myself. i used to skip lunch and try to nap but forgoing meals aren’t good for my body and overall energy either. in fact, i used to eat so little during the day that my stomach chronically hurt. when i did eat, i was never satisfied because i could have always eaten more but i didn’t because i wanted to try to get some shut-eye.

my stomach hasn’t been bothering me lately so i guess i’m on the right path. i just need to start working out again… especially since we are planning a tropical getaway in march. i like having four seasons and i like snow but winters drag on in new england.  for sure, by march, we will be sick of being cooped up indoors. (i’m already tired of it now.) although nervous to be traveling with two little ones, i also am excited to share this experience as a family of four.

i took both kids to the playgroup at our town’s library.

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the size of ezra’s hands are catching up to his big sister’s!

michaels sells art projects by creatology. some are 3+ but most are 6+. this christmas sign was 6+ but i purchased it anyway thinking penny could do it anyway. now i know why they upped the age for seemingly simple project: their attention span! it seemed easy enough to just to put stickers on the sign but penny got bored of putting the little stickers like the individual letters on it. she liked working on the penguin the best (the part we tackled first.)

 

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after 14 months without a haircut, i finally got one last week. it was a big change: i had over 12 inches chopped off! i feel so much lighter and don’t have to battle tangled hair on a daily basis. i did have hair remorse soon after the new ‘do was unveiled but it went

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snow days & birthdays

2017 is already turning out to be a busy year: yet another one filled with babies, weddings, and birthdays. many of my friends and acquaintances had babies in 2015 (the year i had penny) and most of them are having their second this year. this includes my friend, and neighbor, yan, who kicked off the year with a baby boy named lucas on january 1st. he was the first 2017 baby to be born at st francis so he was featured on the news! her firstborn, olivia, is 3.5 months older than penny and now ezra’s first playmate has already arrived!

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lucas li, 1/1/2017 @ 5:18am. 6lb. 9oz.

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i’ve been spending my free time trying to get things done. my friend, grace’s shower is this upcoming sunday so i spent last night making a banner for her mickey-mouse themed shower. i’m bringing penny with me to the shower and i purchased her a minnie mouse outfit from babygap to wear to the event.

even though penny’s 2nd birthday is four months away i already finalized the details. it’s actually too early to book the venue so i need to get back in touch with them next month. also, we are close to booking our family newborn photo session. we will be going with the photographer who did penny’s session: remi kate photography

penny is also a flower girl for our friends’ wedding in april so i’ve been looking for a dress. the wedding colors are lavender, sage, and white; after browsing through some options i feel a lavender dress will look really sweet on penny for a spring wedding. since ezra is due on easter sunday (4/16) and the wedding is on 4/30 i probably will not be able to attend but i would still like to try. we shall see when baby boy arrives.

i’m looking forward to next wednesday because mommy-to-be grace and i are going to new jersey for the day to stuff our pregnant bellies. we settled on japanese food but we will probably also stop by korean bakeries, eat ice cream, and maybe squeeze some shopping in. it’ll be fun to do my own thing for an entire day.

i already feel so accomplished today because my mil came early this morning. on days that dennis works the afternoon shift, she comes after penny’s nap and on days (like today) where dennis works the morning shift she comes in the morning. while mom watched penny, i was able to…

  • take yuri out
  • shower (still a luxury)
  • do laundry
  • eat peacefully
  • prep for dinner

now that penny’s napping i’m trying to whip out this blog post so i can get a few other things out of the way before i attempt to rest.

we had about 5-6 inches of snow last saturday. it was still snowing in the evening so we didn’t take penny outdoors until sunday. after getting all bundled up and going outdoors, we only lasted about ten minutes because it was too darn cold! the temperature said 18 degrees but the weather app said “feels like 6.” at least penny had her first experience of tubing down the hill!

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our first attempt to go out: she started crying shortly after this picture. we found out her brand-new boots are too small for her! we took out the lining when we went out the second time but we will have to return the boots.

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tubing with grandma

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off we go!

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there goes daddy and penny! yuri is trying furiously to keep up.

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fun with grandpa

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like i said in previous posts, i can’t keep up with penny’s expanding vocabulary. since my last post, she’s been saying “딸기” (strawberry), 뜨거 뜨거 (hot, hot), and 추워 추워 (cold, cold). the latter two she hears us saying when the stove is on so when she pretends to cook, is about to eat hot food or the stove/fireplace is on, she says “hot, hot!” sometimes she will want to go in the sunroom and if the space heater isn’t on we will tell her it’s too cold, so now she says that as well.

yesterday she tried to say “i love you” when i said it to her as i put her down for a nap. it was more like “i lay” but she’s trying! she loves her colors and i’ve probably said this before but now she also says “brown” and “green.” “orange” is more like “jee” (that’s a tough one).

with my baby shower approaching, i keep meaning to write posts on useful baby items and toys that penny likes so i can share with other parents/future parents. i promise to write separate posts on baby items and baby toys & books this month!

playdates & playmates

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every day i wrack my brain on things penny and i can do for the day. lately it’s been too cold in the mornings to go out for a walk; and penny has actually been refusing to go out too. i don’t blame her – we interrupt her morning play by trying to force her in a stroller. (this morning however she asked to go outside which was great since the temperature was in the 50s. gotta take advantage!)

when i come up with different activities such as a trip to the library, mall, or arts & crafts i do my best to spread them out during the week so we have something to do every day to pass the time. not only that but if i know for sure my mil is coming over that day or dennis has the day off, i’ll plan an activity such as going to the museum so i have an extra person to help me with penny. penny’s nap time is spent getting her snacks, drinks, and diaper bag ready so when she wakes up we can just go.

here’s our itinerary for the week of 10/30~11/5:

sunday: playdate with olivia l. (kidcity museum)

monday: halloween! family photos in the morning and trick-or-treating in the evening with grandparents

tuesday: create a fall picture using felt and glitter stickers of pumpkins, leaves, and flowers.

wednesday: paint a pumpkin

thursday: toddler sense class (9:30~10am) & the library in the afternoon

friday: introduce new activity – putting colored bean bags in a homemade sorter

saturday: my friend, katie, is visiting for the day

as you can see, these are fairly simple activities. you don’t have to go all out for a toddler since their attention span is so short anyway. think of things that your little one likes to do and create activities around their interests.

i mentioned in another post that penny really likes to color and play with stickers. what better way to get her artistic side out and have fun than creating collages and pictures? i finally ordered a long-sleeve smock for penny last night. every day she asks to use the paint and i say “no” because of the mess. she doesn’t ask after i say “no” the first time but i feel bad because i know she likes to feel the paint between her fingers. even though i don’t have the smock yet, i set aside a button-down shirt that i rarely wear for penny to use today when we paint a pumpkin. i also have rolls of craft paper that i will spread out on the wood floor to catch most of the paint.

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this was tuesday’s activity. penny placed stickers on card stock and i drew a fall scene afterwards.

penny also really enjoys her toddler sense class. last week she played with jello! there were other things for her to do but she spent the majority of the time squishing jello between her fingers. she didn’t put any in her mouth but, then again, she usually doesn’t put things in her mouth. tomorrow is the last class which i’m really bummed about. there is supposed to be another session starting soon that includes older kids so hopefully that’s an option.

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dot-painting is offered every class and penny really likes it. i’ve been holding off on purchasing them so they can be one of her stocking stuffers 🙂

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this past weekend was daddy’s weekend off, so we kept busy! on friday we met up with our friends mouy, cali, and tristan at the connecticut science center. we are all members and it’s so worth it! this was our family’s 4th time going.

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penny loves cars!

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she also likes sliding down this ramp

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tristan braving the hurricane room

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and the snake =X

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she loves to drive

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penny’s driving and tristan is shifting gears. it’s called teamwork!

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popping balloons

having fun with the 360 camera

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having fun with the 360 camera

 

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dennis and i went to a wedding on saturday (i’ll have to share photos from that day as well as alice and john’s wedding too!) so we were gone all day while mil watched penny.

on sunday, we had a playdate with a friend from our neighborhood, olivia l. (penny has 3 friends named olivia and this one is 21 months.) it was our second time going to kidcity museum and olivia’s first time! olivia’s family enjoyed it so much they purchased a membership!

we actually arrived there an hour before olivia and her family so we had checked most of the rooms out by the time they arrived but they still spent an hour together, and we went back to the medieval room to show them how cool it is.

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some scenes in penny’s life:

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first snow of the season: 0ctober 27, 2016

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trying out the potty

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she likes to give the lamb rocker kisses and climbs on it by herself to rock back and forth

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for the longest time, this truck scared her because of the loud noises it makes when the red button is pushed. she took it out on her own one day and started playing with it. she still hates the button though.

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she loves to eat gim (toasted kelp)

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tummy time 🙂

penny’s been having bad dreams lately and she’ll cry out at night. she was fine last night but a few nights ago she was crying every hour from 2am on. we haven’t had to go in to soothe her because she’ll fall back asleep after crying for a few minutes; but it does make us sad, and tired! i know she isn’t having night terrors because the first time she’ll cry is usually around 2am and night terrors occur a few hours after bedtime (and usually because they’re overtired).

her naps are usually good ~ about 2.5-3 hours but sometimes they’re 1.5 hours on a “bad day.” this is when her second sleep cycle ends so sometimes she’ll wake up especially if there were loud noises outside like a lawn mower. she actually just woke up after napping for 1.5 hours a few minutes ago. this loud truck kept rumbling by and it drove by again right at the end of her sleep cycle so i’m guessing it roused her from her sleep. i know she won’t go back to sleep but i’m going to leave her in there for another half hour so i can close my eyes. it’s only 1:30pm and i’m alone all day so the second half of the day is going to be another long one 😦

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

our dog is normally great about waiting to, er, shall we say, relieve herself until either dennis or i get out of bed. we know she really has to go if she jumps out of bed and starts pacing which is what she did on saturday morning. then she started hinting even more by jumping on the couch and looking out the window at the freshly fallen snow. light began flooding the room because she pushed aside the curtains and we couldn’t ignore her any longer.

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catering to our dog is not much to complain about. when our baby arrives, we’ll be in a sleep-deprived state of mind most of the time so taking care of yuri is cake. we’ll just have to make sure she doesn’t get jealous of the baby :X as i type this, she is curled up on my lap…

much of connecticut received 5-8 inches of snow yesterday. dennis and i were going to visit my grandma in massachusetts because she recently had a hip surgery at 93(!), but the treacherous roads kept us at home. we enjoyed each other’s company instead by playing in the snow, dancing to bruno mars’ uptown funk in the kitchen, and eating homemade brunch together

putting our selfie stick to use

putting our selfie stick to use

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she loves daddy

she loves daddy

faceplant, lol

faceplant, lol

great recovery

great recovery

awesome still from a video

awesome still from a video

heading back

heading back

chocolate chip pancakes with powdered sugar, eggs with baby arugula and bacon

chocolate chip pancakes with powdered sugar, eggs with baby arugula and bacon

after we ate, all three of us relaxed in the living room: dennis read a magazine and i read the newspaper in front of a blazing fireplace. we slowly drifted to sleep and fell asleep for about an hour and a half.

we woke up like this

we woke up like this

in the evening, we visited our friend, genie, who is about 31 weeks pregnant. her husband, ben, works for espn and is away in arizona until february 2nd to work at the superbowl. we went to her house to shovel her driveway (rather, dennis shoveled and i took yuri for a walk) before she came home from work. then we all ate individual pizzas from california pizza kitchen and watched dawn of the planet of the apes. it turned out to be an entertaining movie even without, sadly, james franco.

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2 preggo ladies

2 preggo ladies

my friend, almex, works for sho eyeworks, a company that sells eyeglasses and sunglasses. recently, he hooked me up with a pair of shades that has clear frames.

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they are lightweight and comfortable, and also retail for around $52!

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mine are the ivan in matte crystal gray seen here

if you are interested in any of the products, please let me know so i can contact my friend! enjoy the last moments of your weekend 🙂