Monday, February 23, 2015

Tet, Ba Noi Visit

A few pics I had in my phone from the holiday weekend- he did much better with his haircut this time, and the result was straight lines! So preppy. 

More pics coming soon from Tet and the baptism. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cupcakes and Quiet

We didn't do a really thorough job of planning a romantic Valentine's Day, even though it fell on a Saturday and we would have had ample time to do something epic. Going out just seemed like too much to handle after a particularly busy week, which was tacked on to a string of other busy weeks. 

Buuuut.... BiBi stepped in and kind of forced us to take some time to ourselves, though, by taking the kids to an outdoor screening of Shrek at a friend's house (where 5-6 other couples dropped off their kids for V-Day as well). 

So we ordered some fancy French take out, opened a bottle of wine, and we had a beautiful, quiet dinner together in our own kitchen. It was luxuriously, decadently quiet and we actually had the opportunity to taste the food and converse. Simple, novel, perfect. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Cluckin' Valentine's

I used garage saling as a pretense to take Huelan out on a mini Daddy-Daughter Valentine's date this morning. We stopped by one sale (where the operator said Huelan was so cute that she didn't have to pay for the keychain she wanted. Nice gesture, but I think it sets a bad precident, so I forced her to give the lady a quarter out of her pouch. This happens at least once every trip).  

Then hit up Casa de Chocolates to get Momma and BiBi some sweets and a nibble of our own. And a nibble is all I got of that strawberry- she wolfed it down. 

The best part of the morning was on our walk back to the car on Ashby. There were chicken on the sidewalk, hens belonging to a family who lived on the corner. I guess free range means free to walk around the neighborhood? Well, at least they were friendly chickens. Huelan held a couple of them and she even got a freshly laid, warm egg to take home as a souvenir. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Splish Splash

We haven't had a good rain in a while, so when it came down this weekend, we took the opportunity to get out of the house and look for some puddles.  Because we live on a hill, all most of the water quickly drains, so this little puddle in our driveway was the best one.  They didn't seem to mind.

Mom wasn't home so this is what we do get get out of the house when it's just Ba.

Monday, February 2, 2015


He wanted a horsey ride from Momma, but this was as high as she could get him. 

Super Sunday

I hear that Superbowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving in food comsumption. Or it's possible that I made that up. If I did make that up, I did everything I could to make it be true. There was loads of smoked, grilled, fried, sauted, dried, tossed, and baked food piled high in chafing dishes and platters. I worked through a little of everything and went back for much of it. 

There was also a great game on at Brandt and Joni's, but with all that food and an outstanding view, it was difficult to focus. 

Kinda difficult to tell, but they're playing street football. We used to do a lot of that kind of thing in the local parking lots. Kids don't care about traffic. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


He discovered corn on the cob. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015


On Demand on the iPhone changes everything. Doesn't even have to be Saturday!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Avery's Birthday

The trip to Sac was worth it. They have their own bouncy house. 

And Vansen got a lolipop. 

Friday, January 23, 2015


Liz has worked with the same group as long as she's been out of college.  With a scenery like this, who would want to leave?  The expansive view sweeps from the Golden Gate to the west, across the entire northern part of the city and the bay, including Transamerica, Coit, North Beach, Alcatraz, Angel Island, Treasure Island, and finally the new spire of the Bay Bridge and the East Bay. 

Sometimes, it's mostly fog.  Sometimes, it's the bay churning up whitecaps and driving rain. Sometimes, it's clear as a bell and it feels like you can see all the way to Napa.  Sometimes, it's Fleet Week and the Blue Angels are buzzing the tower in tight formation. Too frequently, it's one of the three Giants victory parades at her doorstep and down Market Street.  What it's mostly been, though, is 17 years of everything and everyone, with too many changes and milestones and 5:30AM hangovers to enumerate, in the one single place where she's spent more time than anywhere else, where she's known the people longer than she's known me.

So I took Huelan out of school before her naptime, and went to visit Liz one last time in this office. The new one's not far, just about a block away, but the change will be significant (and not just the view).  Here's to the next chapter!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


One of the (many) thing about kids is that they constantly need to be convinced. I believe that a good 98% of all the fairy tales, myths and legends are a direct result of parents trying to convince their kids to eat their veggies and not hit one another. 

Convincing is different than reminding. Reminding is, "Please turn off the light." She's knows and understands this, just forgets. Convincing is, "You need to eat because otherwise you'll starve. And we'll go to jail."

This one, for example, needs to be convinced every evening that she can get something from her room by herself. And that she needs to brush her teeth (still trying to convince her while she's standing at the sink).  And that she needs to get dressed after bath time instead of dancing around like a jay bird and freezing. 

The photo above is from dinnertime, which is usually the beginning of the our nightly trials. Lately, she's been running around like crazy at dinner, resulting in spilled drinks and plates full of food on the floor.  So we tried to convince her that big girls sit at the table and eat dinner in their seats. This particular solution started as a threat- basically, "We'll strap you down."  But as you can see, the threat was unconvincing. 


So I, Christmas and New Year's Eve did happen, and I even have the pics and stories to prove it. But the thought of going through all our exploits for the blog was just weighing me down and preventing me from blogging In The Moment. So I'm just skipping. (I'll do some kind of bullet point post later?)

Here's stuff from this weekend, which was a three-day that we really appreciated. Saturday was chill- garage saling with Huelan, smokin a bunch of meat, local oark playing, and eating Overnight Chili. Makin bacon:


Sunday was only slightly different, in that went mixed in some shopping (mostly returning, actually). 

During which Huelan gets bored and goes around the store with the camera phone. 

And Monday was a bonus day! So we went to Golden Gate park to let Huelan ride around on her new-ish bike (it's been in the basement for about 6 months. It was supposed to be a reward to earning stars on her chart, but we kind of lost the thread on that one). She jams on that thing, though because she doesn't really know how to use it or have any conception of the rules of the road, she almost got creamed by this mean old couple on wearing neon green on a tandem. Whatever screw them. And she'll stop abruptly to collect a leaf or pick a flower. When she's actually pedalling, she jams and looks like this:

GG park was followed by a large dimsum lunch to celebrate Tommy's promotion. Then a visit to Vern and Jake's new sunset house which I think is super nice cozy. And they got a dog, Sadie, who finally lost patience with Vansen bugging her and head butted him, resulting in this:

Being 2 hrs late for nap time was also contributed to the wide-mouthed crying. 

Also- we stayed up til 3am watching season 4 of Homeland. Only three episodes left. And Vansen on his first skate. Good weekend!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Van on the Run

Full speed:


He's steady enough on his feet now to want to run, but not quite steady enough to do it well.  He's still got the toddles whether he's walking or running, but he thinks it's swag.


It's a funny thing with a kid this age.  He's old enough to obviously have his own agenda, but not old enough to articulate what exactly that is.  Seeing him acting out his interior thoughts is comedy because, as an adult, we ascribe certain thoughts to his actions, like he's a kid from Look Who's Talking Now.  Which he obviously isn't, but we just put these thoughts in his head in an effort to make sense of what he's doing.  He's starting to talk a lot more now, so this era of thought bubbles is coming to a close, but his attempts at speech are funny in a totally different way.  And adorable.

He has maybe a dozen or fifteen words that he uses regularly, though he understands more than that.  In a family with a toddler, it's a kind of backwards logic that the kid teaches the family his words and the family adopts the kid's vocabulary.  One such word we've taken on is ChiCha, which we believe means "sister," though for him it's a little more broad.  He definitely uses it for Huelan, but also sometimes points to other people and himself as says ChiCha. So far, he doesn't yet have a name for himself, but he can name pretty much everyone he sees regularly.

This is a vid I got one recent morning, and it's pretty much the story of every morning.  At least the good ones (of which there are more, since he's been waiting til after 7AM to wake- Hallelujah!).  He gets a bottle then we play around a bit - here we're in the kitchen getting a morning snack.  As he's trying to convince me to get him some more, he hears his ChiCha in her room.  In his mind, the fact that she's kind of awake is permission to enter.

He's matured so much just in the past week or two.  He's definitely trying to communicate with words and he is super playful.  Kissing and hugging are huge with him right now- everyone gets a goodnight kiss and he kisses Elmo every time he sees him.  Big, demonstrative, smoochy kisses.  It's pretty much the best.  Here's something he picked up- the stinky feet game:

Speaking of Elmo, I have no idea how Sesame Street does it, but they are terrific at creating these addicting characters for kids.  Vansen met Elmo for the first time at a cousin's birthday last month, and he's been obsessed with him ever since.  Vansen is a pretty big and feisty kid, and he is particularly ornery on the changing table.  When he has to be on there for an extended period of time, we've taken to showing him a YouTube clip of Elmo.  It's gotten to the point now that when he loads up his diaper, he makes us aware of it by pointing to his butt and saying, "Elmo!"

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Rain just started coming down in earnest, around 6:30am. If it's as bad as people are predicting, maybe I'll take tomorrow off and catch up on some pics and posts. 

Here's a pic from post bath last night to til then.