5 years and counting

june 29, 2013. five years ago, dennis and i were married in hamden, connecticut. how has it only been five years? so much has happened since our wedding that it feels more like it has been a decade. one factor is the bit with the emergence of two little ones. at times, i’m still in disbelief that i am a mother. i still feel like a 17-year-old at heart, and I’m still googling ways to solve toddler problems. don’t all parents?

but, there was a time before children. back when dennis and I enjoyed spontaneous date nights and could wake up whenever we wanted to on the weekends. dennis and I began dating in late 2009, but we actually knew of each other since high school circa 2000. dennis is a few years younger than I am so although we shared some mutual friends, we ran in different circles. oh, and he lived in Connecticut while I resided in Massachusetts. how did two teenagers who lived in two different states come to know one another? we both attended Korean churches that are part of a New England Korean community-type of association. this group organizes yearly retreats, and Dennis and I had attended the summer ones.

it wasn’t until 2009, post-college, that Dennis and I became reacquainted at a friend’s house party (a kegger, to be exact. ah, the joys of a kid-free life!) Dennis claims he arrived at the party in time to see me doing a keg stand. I ended up doing four of them that night so, needless to say, I don’t remember much of the party. however, Dennis reached out to me via facebook messenger to get together for a group snowboarding trip to sugar bush in vermont. I’m thinking he thought it was safer to have a casual group hangout rather than a date for the first get-together 🙂

five years ago, we could only imagine what parenthood would be like. we were so excited to become husband and wife, and the prospect of raising children was considered to be in the distant future. fast forward to 2018, and a life with a 3-year-old and a 14-month-old makes it hard to envision one without them.

though the children mean the world to me, I’ve heard, and read, so many times (most often from my mom) that we should put our spouses first, and not the children. of course, this does not mean to neglect or abandon them but to not focus most of our energy in trying to please and win over these tykes. perhaps, even more so with this generation, parents let their children dictate our lives even when we think we are being strict and disciplined. most of us just placate their demands because we want to avoid confrontation and arguing with unreasonable beings. I am totally guilty of this.

also, it’s worth mentioning that I’m fairly certain I’ve talked about this in past post(s) but its importance and validity is a reason why I’m bringing it up again. as I marvel over the past five years, I’m thinking of how dennis and I can focus more on our relationship without it being lost in our children’s world.

date nights are absolutely key in keeping communication and intimacy alive without the distraction of children, but these only occur a few times a month. it’s something as simple as being “unplugged” for an hour to truly prioritize the other person: listen and be engaged in what the other has to say. currently, we do our dance of asking how each other’s day was and sharing any issues that have arisen while offering support for the other. there, done. we eat dinner, tidy up the house, and pass out on the couch while watching Netflix. (these days, it’s dexter and america’s got talent.)

my goal is to have us take the time to have more in-depth conversations – serious and not-so-serious – about anything on our minds. I know being with the kids all day, every day, I have a lot of thoughts and ideas I’d like to share with another adult (and not necessarily with my in-laws all the time). it’s interesting how alone we can feel in this big, big world, isn’t it? we all just want to be heard, and who better to share my innermost thoughts and feelings than with the person I’m married to?

like so many things, it’s a lot easier than done. take for example, this blog post. I’ve been working on publishing this post for nearly two weekstwo! every time I had time (after the kids are in bed for the night), I would start typing and then I would doze off! (I’m actually nodding off as I type this.) or, I would put it off for another day because I had other things to do like read for my book club. certainly it’s my fault for staying up so late every night even though I tell myself every day that today is the day I’ll go to bed before 11. nope.

still, I can keep trying to accomplish small goals. I can also be kinder to myself instead of beating myself up over not completing my never-ending to-do list. love yourself. love those around you.

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my family

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you are my sunshine

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the happy bride and groom

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

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

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

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mr. & mrs. hubbard

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

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delicious cake!

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dennis and i at tupper manor

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

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photo booth fun

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

 

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

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

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trying butternut squash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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getting used to the texture and taste

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confused

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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always grabbing whatever she can

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