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. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tree Pickin

Last year we tried starting a tradition and went to a tree farm in Sebastapol, about an hour away. Apple cider, hay rides, piny rides, the while nine yards. 

This year, we decided to go with a different tradition- doing it the easy way. There's a Boy Scouts tree lot about 5 mins away, and we bought the first tree the kid showed us. We rooted around a little bit for the kids' tree, but we were in and out in record time- probably 30 mins!  I like this tradition. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Open Open Open

The bacon will be done in a few minutes buddy. 

Air Vasen

Everyone says that little boys are more physically hyper than little girls. We had a pretty active one with Huelan, so I thought a boy probably wouldn't, couldn't be much more rambunctious than her. I was wrong. The boy is just wired differntly. He is into everything, and he's kind of a brute, so he tears everything to pieces. Climbs a stool to get to a chair to get to a counter where he can grab something and shake it. You can see in his eyes that needs to be working on getting something out of reach. Gotta love the motor, but we need a safe, constructive release, and we found one, at least for a few minutes- improving his vertical.

He's counting to three in Vietnamese- something I do with him each time I flip him around or toss him up. 


Seriously, feel like I look away for a second and I've got five vids to post and hundreds of pics. I haven't even posted Halloween pics!

Well let's tackle these one at a time: 

Halloween was a super blast this year. At nearly five years old, this is the first time that Huelan has been so excited about a holiday. She's talked about it for months, musing about costumes and practicing her trick or treat schpeel, and going through the Oriental Trading Company catalogs circling everyone's favorite candies. The thing was in tatters, all dog eared and marked up like a manic's . 

Of course it was all about the candy. We stayed in the neighborhood this year- Grandma and Papa even came from SF- the first time in over 40 years they didn't great trick or treaters on 8th Ave! Unfortunately, we didn't get many kids coming around our house this year- the older ones were at parties and there aren't many young families- just us and one other family. 

But that didn't dampen Huelan's spirits at all. In fact, I think she sensed that the small number of competitors was in her favor. Neighbors figured out that not many kids were coming, so they dished out swollen handfuls of candy at almost every house. Some double handfuls. She harvested two buckets of sweets from 30 mins of work. 

This year we tried something new- The Switch Witch. We asked Huelan to wrote a list of toys, as if Santa was coming, and leave it for the Switch Witch. "If you leave her enough candy, maybe she'll bring you a gift from your list!"  Well, she was skeptical to say the least. We could see the wheels grinding in her sugar-addled brain. She had a contemplative, crooked smile on her face as she literally weighed her options. Transfer a few pieces of candy to the Switch Witch bucket as shift it around a little bit to see if it looked like enough. Or too much. We finally got her to fill a bucket full with candy, and we could see that she was not confident about this working out in her favor. This was perfectly good, freshly earned candy she was parting with, and she had not a drop of faith in this Switch Witch. 

Well, the Switch Witch came through, with adorable results:

Later she told me secretively, "I still have a lot of candy left." That she does. 

This was also the first year that I couldn't talk her into letting me make her costume. I was kind of sad, but also kind of lazy and found a $17 costume on Amazon, so it worked out okay. At least I got to make Vansen's vest. 

The rest of the Halloween pics are here:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Second Spring

We spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend, taking advantage of some outstanding outdoor conditions. The autumn weather this week has been near perfect- a slightly crisp air balanced perfectly with warm, orange-tinted sunlight. It's so nice, in fact, that after a few small showers the week before, we saw a number of plants on our hike shooting up tender green new sprouts. Go figure.

The end of the Joaquin Miller loop

Brightening up the deck with some new plants

Stowe Lake paddle boats

A little something for the ducks

Weekend mornings = both kids piling into our bed

Dropping Huelan off at Grandma's for her sleepover. Stowe Lake, sandwiches at Roxy, JP Murphy playground = Gorgeous Sunset afternoon. 

Huelan is staying tonight and possibly tomorrow night with Grandma and Papa, just for kicks.  We're hitting the sack before 10:15. Everybody wins. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Halloween and October Fun (for some)

Check out the mug on the boy- not pleased!  But he got over it.