the merry month of may

we spent part of mother’s day weekend in boston. (we as in penny, ezra, and me. dennis had to work 9-1 on saturday so he didn’t join us.) the kids and I left connecticut friday morning shortly after breakfast – thankfully, there wasn’t any traffic. i admit, i was anxious about having the kids to myself almost the entire weekend. but, i really wasn’t alone because my parents were around until 3pm on friday, and then I was alone with the kids from post-nap until my bedtime.

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Ezra actually blew a few bubbles on his own!

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penny loves running in my parents’ back yard

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Ezra likes playing with anything that makes noise: in this case, pistachios

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he was amused by what was on tv

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enjoying some ice cream

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the main reason for going up was to attend a dohl, a Korean first birthday, on saturday. i figured my parents would be busy with the restaurant but i’m really happy the kids and i were able to spend some time with them that weekend.

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he chose the sharpie!

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birthday boy with the proud parents

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praying before the meal

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mesmerized by the balloon artist

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the bedtime routine was kind of a struggle since I had to bathe both kids and do separate bedtime routines. it wouldn’t be so bad if penny cooperated a little bit more. lately, ezra wants to get out of the bathtub after about 5 minutes or so while penny has always loved bath time. since I was alone, I had to coax penny out of there since I can’t leave her alone in the tub.

my mom offered to watch ezra while penny and I went to the dohl on saturday. right as we were about to leave, penny had a massive nosebleed. she really doesn’t get nosebleeds that often but I did notice her picking at nose while she was using the iPad. I think she was more scared of the reaction my mom and I had when we saw her face. it was like a scene from the movie, carrie: her face was just dripping blood; the lower half of her face was bright red.

we tried to stop the bleeding by pinching her nose but she kept screaming and crying, most likely because she didn’t know to breathe through her mouth. I was really getting worried about the flow, and my mom was looking up the nearest hospital when it finally ceased. penny had spat out a glob of blood and that had stopped the bleeding.

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she was really scared and upset.

I considered not going to the party since I felt bad my mom would have to watch both children, but mom insisted I attend. however, penny piped up saying she wanted to go (birthdays = cake), so I ended up bringing her since she had recovered from the bloodbath (yikes!)

penny had a really great time especially since there were was a face painting artist and a balloon artist. she didn’t get her face painted (I didn’t ask if she wanted to because I figured it would smudge during nap time) but she did get a balloon princess wand. she also didn’t eat much of the food -sigh- but she had a bunch of fruit, green tea ice cream, cake, and a package of salted seaweed that I had brought.

penny actually ended up napping when we got home even though it was after 2pm. thankfully, Ezra napped too (he’s been fighting his second nap hardcore for the past month) so I was able to sleep!

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Ezra loves giving high-fives!

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picking flowers in the rain with auntie

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favorite toy: any ball

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eating tang soo yook: deep-fried sweet & sour pork

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the wonder of bubbles

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we drove back home after Ezra’s first nap on Sunday morning. we got home just after noon (time for lunch!) and Dennis had made French toast cannoli rolls for us to eat. they were sweet and savory – penny liked them too because of the mini chocolate chips. i also received a bouquet of flowers, a cake stand from Joanna & Chip’s brand, Hearth & Hand, and Joanna Gaines’ new cookbook, magnolia kitchen. all of the recipes sound tempting so I am excited to attempt to make every single dish.

for Mother’s Day, we took my in-laws out to dinner at a Korean bbq restaurant. we like going there because the kids love Korean food, and we get to sit in a room so we don’t have to worry about the little ones running around in the restaurant if they want to get out of their seats.

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so much is happening these days – I still have the book club that I had started back in January but I’ve been putting that on the back burner with all the family birthdays that have been going on! luckily, after penny’s birthday, it’ll be quiet for some time. my dad’s birthday is in June but I’m assuming I won’t be (fully) be in charge of planning a party.

I’ve also been trying to rebrand my instagram, but I’m still at a loss on what I want to focus on. I did want to do affordable mom fashion, but it’s pretty tough figuring out outfits in advance and having someone there to take photos. Dennis takes 99% of my instagram photos but it’s hard to get pictures taken during the weekdays since he’s at work. I would still like to share photos of my kids from time to time, too. I’m still trying to  figure it all out while also creating a specific “look” to my pictures so my feed is more cohesive.

what is exciting is that I have been in touch with a few companies that have reached out to collaborate. I’m waiting on a top to come so I can try it on and share it on Instagram. in the next few weeks, I hope to be sharing some of these collaborations with my followers.

goals for next post(s): penny’s birthday and nyc trip.

summer daze

although fall doesn’t officially begin until september 22nd, it feels like summer is slowly coming to an end with the start of the school year around the corner. i certainly am relishing the long days and soaking up the last rays of the summer sun. as much as i like snow, i dread being stuck indoors and the sun setting at 4pm. i spent this summer planning activities and trying to coordinate them with my kids’ schedules. we didn’t travel anywhere exotic – even with the kids sleeping well, i wouldn’t quite consider traveling far with a toddler and an infant a “vacation” – nor do anything out of the ordinary, but we shared many laughs and created lasting memories.

one place that i’ve been dying to bring penny to is the dinosaur place in oakdale, ct. it is a 60-acre outdoor adventure park that includes new england’s largest splash pad, a jurassic-themed moon bounce, a maze, and a huge playground. there is also a 1.5 mile trail complete with 40 life-sized dinosaurs! the main reason we waited so long to bring her is the distance: it is nearly an hour away. since the dinosaur place opens at 10am, we would not be able to go in the morning and have enough time for penny to eat lunch, drive back, and take a nap. naturally, we planned for the afternoon. we pushed penny’s nap up so she would wake up earlier in the afternoon. (she still woke up around 2:30pm.)

there is so much to do, and you can easily spend the entire day there in order to properly experience everything. this is why admission is so expensive. i was surprised to learn admission for 2 and up is $24 during the peak season! there is no “kid’s price”: they pay the same as adults! for that reason alone, i really wouldn’t bring children unless they’re older.. maybe, at least 5 years old, to make the price worthwhile.

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we took a family photo before we explored the park

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penny enjoyed the splash pad the most!

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dad is regretting not bringing a change of clothes although he did wear swim trunks

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ezra did not like the jet spray of cold water

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can’t expect a toddler to look at the camera in the midst of water play

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this thing was awesome – half the time, kids were waiting for the huge bucket of water to fill up so it could tip over and come down the slide

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splash!

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waiting…

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walking the dinosaur trail

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dinosaur vertebrae

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ezra always has something in his mouth these days

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dinosaur maze

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our annual stop at dave’s place in oakdale, ct… it’s so good and always busy!

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my go-to: fried clam strips

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new england clam chowder and a cheeseburger

the day before, on saturday, august 12th, my mil and i took the kids to the tolland 4-h fair that was held across the street from where we live. we had taken penny there before when she was an infant but going on saturday made me realize just how small it is. i believe it was $3 for a walk-in fee.. not each person so that was fine.

there were a few vendors and food stands but the only thing that was of interest were the animals.  we looked at the llamas, cows, sheep, goats, chickens & roosters, and the rabbits (although the latter were closed off so we had to view from a distance). penny also liked looking at the row of tractors, old and new. she wanted to go on them but we told her they were only for looking.

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i don’t want to knock a fair, but it was just okay. i wouldn’t go back though, honestly. it was just something to do and all we had to do was walk over from our neighborhood.

dennis and i are really looking forward to taking the kids to farm day at the fish family farm in bolton. it’s on sept 2nd this year and it’s from 9am-5pm. we took penny last year but since she was so small she couldn’t participate in the children’s activities like the obstacle course. she did enjoy eating ice cream though (and it’s all-you-can-eat!) my friend, karen, and i found out from a vendor that there is a spin art station so i’ll be sure to look for that. hopefully this year we can make a tie-dye shirt too because we didn’t get a chance to last year.

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always smiling

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happy birthday, america.. and grandpa so

summer days are flying by. the weather has finally been appropriate swim & tan weather though sadly i have yet to do either. (i do have awkward tan lines on my feet from favoring my mossimo sandals from target so i need to switch up my footwear.)

speaking of target, i recently purchased adorable cat & jack sandals for penny and strappy flats for myself. i snapped a shoefie (selfie + shoes) of our feet and posted it on instagram. to my surprise, target asked to share the image and, of course, i agreed! the image was shared on their ‘awesome shop’ page.

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the chosen image

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another shot of our feet

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feature on target’s ‘awesome shop’ page

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another look

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stamping at coventry library

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the location where i took the feet photos

fyi cat & jack shoes run big. i ordered a size 6 for penny and they were falling off her feet. i returned them for a size 5 and they fit perfectly.

june 29th was my 4th wedding anniversary. hard to believe it has only been four years. and in those four years, we already have two children! we waited until saturday, july 1st, to celebrate… and by celebrate, we went out to eat dinner and came straight home. it was already 10pm by the time we left the restaurant so there wasn’t much to do afterwards anyway.

i have slowly been planning for ezra’s 100th day party which is on july 22nd. s l o w l y. i browse pinterest for ideas but none have really caught my eye. granted the 100th day celebration is not as important as the first birthday but i do want to settle on a theme so i can get started on decorations.

the party is going to be held at our home and weather permitting we will have lawn games and water play outdoors. our back yard connects to a huge field that is part of an elementary school so we plan on setting up a badminton net back there along with cornhole, horseshoes, and other activities.

there are a lot of summer birthdays between dennis’ family and mine. my brother (6/15), my dad (6/25), my fil (7/8), my sil (7/25), and my sister (8/6). we went up to massachusetts the last weekend of june to celebrate my dad’s birthday. penny had so much fun with the water hose that i ended up purchasing a melissa & doug sprinkler attachment from tj maxx to use at home. we also purchased a 5-in-1 game set that includes badminton. i hadn’t played in years and i regaled dennis and my sister with a memorable account of when my friend and i beat all the other teams at badminton during p.e. class in high school.

ezra is 2.5 months and he’s already wearing size 6 month clothes! it seems like a waste of money to buy more summer clothes when fall will be here in a few months but the 3-month bodysuits are tight on him. as it is ezra was only able to wear his size 3-month shorts once (the elastic waistband is too tight).

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tolerating tummy time

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yogurt

she LOVES the korean yogurt drinks

playdate with olivia g.

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both girls were tentative about going in the sprinkler

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they enjoyed the water table more

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snacks

time to hydrate

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daddy brought ice cream home 

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trying on her new shades

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looking cool, ez

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these three

these days ezra is the easy one… he eats and sleeps well. ezra is on a great schedule and is continuing to only wake up once at night typically around 4-5am. i used to worry that he was sleeping too much during the day but i leave him alone because he will wake up when he’s hungry. his day sleep hasn’t affected his night sleep at all. additionally, he’s going through a lot of developmental leaps and growth spurts so some days he’ll be extra sleepy.

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ezra’s not a big fan of tummy time but he tolerates it on the boppy lounger

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ezra laughed out loud for the first time shortly after this picture was taken

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arts & crafts

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painting the american flag

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i made the star stamp on the spot: cut out a star on felt and used a glue gun to glue it onto a dowel

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penny’s still going through her 2-year sleep regression with who knows what else? although three of her canines have broken through they are taking their sweet time growing in. i don’t believe the fourth one has broken through yet.

we solved her fear of the dark by buying a night light that either glows blue or green. it really comforts her. we also leave the camera night light on and turn it off when she’s asleep. the evening that we returned from massachusetts, penny started crying hysterically at bedtime. i went to her room three times to comfort her and even left the camera light on (which had worked previously) but she still kept crying. finally, i looked online for advice and read that some parents left the hallway light on while leaving the child’s bedroom door ajar. it worked. penny stopped crying right away, played for a little bit, and fell asleep. now that we have the night light, we don’t have to keep the hallway light on.

although penny had been getting better with ezra being around, her bouts of jealousy have since returned. coupled with being hangry and tired from waking up at night, she’s just a hot mess lately. she’s actually fine when i am with ezra; penny goes ballistic when grandma suddenly tends to ezra when she had been playing with her.

and the ‘stranger danger’ issue continues. even with people she knows. on sunday, genie and olivia came over for a morning play date, and penny pinched me so hard from being nervous that she left a bruise on my thigh. she also scratched her own cheek from flipping out and her nail broke through her skin! we don’t know what else to do other than keep telling her that it’s okay and attempt to calm and soothe her. we even let her know in advance that friends are coming over so it won’t be a surprise. i just hope her fear subsides soon. it makes me sad to see her so genuinely nervous and scared, but it also frustrates me because there’s not much we can do to make her feel better.

dennis’ brother, dan, and his wife, crystal, arrived late sunday night and are leaving around noon today. we celebrated the 4th of july with a family cookout and an early birthday celebration for grandpa so. penny was a nervous wreck and uncle dan and aunt crystal came to visit monday afternoon. she was loads better on tuesday morning when they came to hang out for the entire day.

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playing with her ‘new’ toy, a vacuum. i purchased it for $5 off of facebook marketplace

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munching on goldfish crackers while watching sesame street

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finishing up breakfast in the sunroom

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love this impromptu photo shoot

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time to eat~

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pinterest-inspired fruit & pretzel platter

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kebabs & corn

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playing with aunt crystal

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yay, we got a group photo

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i was trying to capture dennis and uncle dan playing football but penny steals the show

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purposely looking away

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happy birthday, grandpa so!

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it’s always great when the kids go down for the night as we can all catch up and relax. last night, we were deciding on what movie to watch and settled on a netflix original ‘okja.’ it’s a korean film by famed director, bong joon-ho, about a young girl who goes through great lengths to save her pet super pig from a fate in the slaughterhouse.

we likely will not be able to see dan and crystal again until thanksgiving. even that will be tricky though because i do want to go up to massachusetts to celebrate with my family since we have not gone the past two years. we will just have to see what happens then. we all enjoyed the movie, and were moved, and disturbed, by the ongoing, inhumane actions of the meat industry. although some scenes were heartbreaking i’m not quite sure i’d be able to give up pork because i love it so much.

since i wasn’t able to write about, or acknowledge, grandpa lee’s birthday i will do that for my next post.

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…

thanksgiving & birthday weekend

[12:30pm] i love my birthday because it usually falls around thanksgiving weekend so the festive mood from the holiday continues on to my birthday. sometimes my birthday falls on thanksgiving day which makes it even more special.

this year, thanksgiving got off to a rocky start. i got into a car accident on wednesday evening. i was craving pasta so i ordered dinner for the family (including in-laws) from cheesecake factory and i drove by myself to pick it up. i wanted to drive because i looked forward to the quiet time i could get in the car. dennis was working until 10 that evening so i decided to drop off food for him.

what should have been a half hour ride turned into an hour because of the holiday traffic. i don’t think it would’ve been that bad had there not been two accidents on the highway. at one point, three out of four lanes were closed which caused much of the delay. by the time i picked up the food and was on my way to dennis’ pharmacy it was already 5:30. i texted my mil to tell her to feed penny whatever food we had at home for now since i was going to be late.

as i drove down the local roads of west hartford i felt annoyed that i was running behind because of the accidents on the highway. i noticed a man pushing a stroller up his front walk, and then i looked forward just in time to see a minivan had stopped in front of me. i cursed and slammed on the brakes, but i plowed into the car anyway. the man with the stroller whipped around at the noise of the impact but i was busy trying to salvage the containers of pasta that had flown out of the bag. thankfully no food had spilled onto the car floor but the damage was done to my car. the grill was snapped in half and broken bits were scattered everywhere.

i knew it was my fault and i braced myself for the other driver’s reaction. a young woman stepped out and walked over to my car. then she asked worriedly, “are you okay?” i hadn’t been crying before because i was in shock but her kindness and genuine concern started a waterfall of tears. i kept blubbering on about how i was sorry and that i’ve been so tired lately that i zoned out. she kept reassuring me that as long as we were both okay, that it was fine.

it was only after i stepped out to inspect the damage to both cars and took photos with my iphone that i realized i was nearly 5 months pregnant! i wasn’t in any physical pain and i wasn’t going fast enough for the air bags to be deployed, but i was still concerned for the baby and i shared this with the other woman. she was troubled by it and even told the police officer that had arrived to report the accident.

it took quite a while for the officer to do the paperwork, and while the woman and i stood out in the cold we talked about where we are from (she’s originally from west hartford but has been living in baltimore) and what our plans had been that evening. i told her how my family had recently visited maryland to visit my brother-in-law and his wife. i even recommended the restaurant founding farmers to her. clearly, it isn’t ever ideal to get into a car accident but i am so grateful that the other person involved had been so understanding and gracious. she was on her way to meet a friend for dinner and i had ruined those plans, but she was still so positive about everything. she explained that she had been in my shoes a few months ago and knew what it was like to have to worry about dealing with insurance and the other driver. i had been in accidents where the other person was at fault and though i certainly never screamed or lost my temper, i don’t think i was really that understanding.

after almost an hour after the collision, i continued on to dennis’ work. he was only a half mile away! he knew what had happened because during all of the chaos i had called him to let him know. after talking to him and dropping off the food i was finally on my way home where the entire family – including crystal and dan – greeted me anxiously. i was fine, i was fine, thank the lord; just relieved to be home with the family.

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thanksgiving day was spent cooking all day but it was worth it. initially we had planned on driving up to massachusetts to celebrate with my side of the family since we had not been able to do that last year. however, we reconsidered after thinking of the traffic (two years ago, it took us 3 hours to arrive at my cousin’s house) and how we would only spend two hours there and then have to drive back again for penny’s bedtime.

it was eight of us including penny and yuri – a relaxing evening in the comforts of our own home. i tried to be festive by making a thanksgiving banner and hanging up fall-themed artwork created by penny. although the food was delicious – crystal contributed by making mac & cheese and helping me with other tasks like flower arranging – it was really time spent with the family that i appreciated. we never get to see crystal and dan this often and it was great being able to see them in maryland and then here for three days the week after. we will see them next at our pastor’s wedding in february.

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the boys playing mortal combat x

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the spread!

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homemade pumpkin cheesecake pie

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macarons and mini cupcakes from baked by melissa

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praying for the meal

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we got chicken instead of turkey

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penny dancing while everyone cheers – this picture was from two days before thanksgiving

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having fun playing ping pong

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we went to a tree farm on saturday morning to get our christmas tree. it was easier when penny was 6 months old which is when we got our tree last year! since penny is mobile, she just wanted to walk and do her own thing. it took an hour to get a tree! i spent most of the time chasing penny and reining her in while dennis searched for a tree and cut it down. i did choose the final tree though!

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my birthday celebration on saturday evening was relatively low-key with dinner with close friends at a burger joint. i forgot to take a group photo  😦 alice, john, and grace couldn’t make it to the games portion of the night but most of us moved on to dave and buster’s. i had forgotten how fun that place can be although saturday nights are not the best day to go since there can be a wait for certain games. i even played pump (korean version of ddr) with my pregnant belly and all. i used to play with my brother when he was younger – he is like a pro – so i can dance to some of the harder modes but boy was i out of breath at the end!

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my sister brought a lovely assortment of cupcakes from boston

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raspberry mousse birthday cake from giuseppe’s in south windsor

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my brother (james) compared to my sister (jen)

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the highlight of that evening was definitely my sister and brother driving down from boston to spend the night. my brother actually lives in la now but flew home for thanksgiving weekend. it had been quite some time since the three of us had done something together so i was extremely happy that they had both made it. plus, they were able to see how much penny had grown and spent time with her as well.

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sunday morning before church – penny liked the small basketball we got for her from d & b’s

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penny likes watching us cook

on my actual birthday, i was scheduled for a 10am ultrasound and anatomy scan. dennis and i found out we are having a B O Y! the technician asked us if we wanted to know and dennis blurted out that he could see the penis so there was no denying it! thanks to genie, we had decided on popping a balloon filled with appropriately-colored confetti to reveal the sex. i even brought scissors, tissue paper and ziploc bags with me so i could continue cutting the confetti. of course i stopped cutting pink ones after we found out the results. by the way, i had done research about the confetti-balloon reveal and many women recommended cutting up confetti using tissue paper because it’s light enough that it’ll float nicely for the photos. the store-bought ones are too heavy and would probably just fall instead of flying around for a greater effect.

after the appointment we stopped by party city and the employees stuffed two black 24-inch balloons with sky blue and royal blue confetti; then they filled them with helium. we also got a regular white balloon for penny to play with. when we arrived home, penny was napping and we ate lunch with my mil. we were going to do the reveal after penny woke up so mil went home for a few hours and we rested. a little before 3pm, both parents came over and we went onto the field to take a the first round of photos. we filled two balloons in case the first photo shoot didn’t come out well. we also had mil practice taking pictures by holding down the shutter button on the iphone so she could take consecutive pictures rapidly.

the pictures on the field came out nice enough – especially our reactions – but it was too bright so the color of the confetti was difficult to see. we changed locations to our driveway where the shade and the white doors of the garage made for better photos. i ended up holding penny because it’s difficult to get a toddler to participate in photo shoots, really.

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the photo collage we used for our announcement

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we really would not have minded if we were going to have another girl but having a boy is wonderful too! so many of our friends and family commented that we are lucky to have one of each – which i suppose we are – but we all know health is #1. when i met with my ob after the ultrasound she said everything looked great which is not something she gets to say often (usually only once a day). she said nowadays that any little thing can be considered a “high-risk pregnancy” so to give us good news was great for her as well.

that evening, dennis and i enjoyed a quiet dinner at market grille. we ordered a bunch of apps from the happy hour menu and i indulged in a blackberry-pomegranate-ginger soda. we had planned on going to the movies afterwards to watch arrival but we were both tired (and wanted to watch the missed episode of the walking dead) and felt bad that we would be coming home late since mil was watching penny as usual. we ended up stopping by dave & buster’s to play a few games ( we ended up with over 1,000 tickets) and kept the tickets so we can save up to get a really good prize for penny. 🙂

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sorry for the terrible quality – snapchat photo

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it’s no wonder after that eventful week that i’ve been tired… tired enough where i can actually fall asleep during penny’s nap like i did yesterday. i thought i would close my eyes for a half hour and i ended up falling asleep for an hour! i sat upright immediately after realizing it was 3:30 and penny was still sleeping (almost 3 hours!) so i got up to wake her. let’s see if i can squeeze in some shut-eye now…

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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.