Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing It In

Obviously, this is not the typical New Year's Eve- no dressing up, big countdown or champgne toast. We are having a grand time nonetheless. In our pajamas.
I was able to get some intense napping in today and Liz even got a few winks. We were able to see some friends, who brought food. We got a good report from our visit to the pediatrician early this morning. All good ways to end 2009, which was a big one for all three of us.
Nicole Huelan ended the year keeping us harried, confused, and at times exasperated. We are looking forward to more in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We were very excited to bring Nicole home yesterday. She is getting used to her new environment (again) and we are getting used to our new lifestyle. Which basically consists of trying to figure out what she wants and doing it.

She wants to nurse quite a lot, and everything we read says that we (Liz) should be feeding her "on demand." Which basically makes Liz Nicole's 24 hour personal smoothie machine.

Although the hospital was comfortable and it was great having someone to help with every question or concern, there is no place like home.

Here's a vid of her before we left the hospital, getting hungry as usual. This is her first little outfit.

About 2 mins. I'll post shorter ones when I figure out how to cut and edit.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Downs and Ups

Today was a mixed day, the gratitude and awe we have with our daughter being tempered by the sad news that Liz's Auntie Mary passed early this morning. She went peacefully in her sleep after a long fight with the ailments of age. We all miss her dearly, but are comforted by the knowledge that her adventurous spirit has been freed from the body that has kept her bound these recent years.

Liz, Nicole and I are still at Alta Bates and have been quite comfortable. We went to a lactation education class in the hospital today and learned quite a lot. We learned that Nicole takes to nursing very well - not that we are competitive parents :)

The rest of the day was spent playing with her when she was awake and trying to get some rest while she rested. She just finished a 4-hour nap while Anh was visiting, and woke up wet and hungry. Is that common for infants...?

We also learned that she may be having an issue with jaundice- a common condition when the mother and child have different blood types, as is the case with us. If the physicians are concerned, they may want us (or her) to stay an extra day to make use of some phototherapy. If all goes well however, we should be headed for home tomorrow afternoon.

We had some downs and ups today; we don't expect them to be the last.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Here We Go

*JUST UPDATED: web album from her first 24 hours!
Nicole is currently sleeping peacefully on Liz, who is nearly passed out herself, after a very long and eventful day and a half. It's a scene out of a Gerber commercial, but it wasn't easy getting to this point.

Liz woke up the 26th with some cramps, thought that maybe she had had too much Christmas ham or prime rib. By 10am, though, it was clear that something was different, that she was not having indigestion. By 11am, the contractions were clear and prolonged, about 7 minutes apart. We waited another 2 hours at home to make sure that they weren't going to subside before calling our doctor.

We arrived at labor triage at about 2:15, but Liz wasn't dialated enough to get admitted. So we walked around the floor for about 45 minutes, contractions coming hard and often. We were finally admitted around 4:30, with contractions about 3.5 minutes apart.

From an outsider's prospective, contractions are a bitch. From what I can tell, it's like serious cramp that takes over your entire body and soul. This is made worse by the fact that you know another one will be right on its heels, and it is likely to be of a greater magnitude. Liz is a tough one, as you know, and she was bearing down through them like a champ.

We had planned all along to get the epidural, which in my opinion, is a great way to go. Some women opt to go au-natural, which is a pain I can not even fathom. They hook women in labor up to a monitor that plots the baby's heartrate and the intensity of the contraction on two differnet graphs. The epidural was given before the most intense contractions, and just in time. According to the graphs, the later contractions were at the top of the charts.

The contractions were coming with increasing frequency and magnitude. One nearly right on top of the last, over and over. So fast and hard, in fact, that the baby was having a hard time recooperating in between the existance-crushing shocks. For a while there, it looked like they might have to cut her out. But with the aid of the excellent staff at Alta Bates, mother and daughter were able to right the ship.

With a little bit of additional help, Liz was able to give a few hard pushes and a little head of hair was born, which was soon followed by round, downy little shoulders, miniature wrinkly hands, and slender legs.

Nicole Huelan Ly was born with hardly a peep. She came into the world with her eyes wide open, staring right at her mother in amazement, wonder and gratitude. She landed on her mother's chest covered in nine months of good loving and good living, and she was gorgeous.

She's been with us for a little over 18 hours now, and we've already seen glimpses of her personality. She loves to stare. She's introspective and serene. She nurses like a champ. She's already evolving, and even looks different than when we first met.

We hope that you'll be able to meet her soon, too, as some of her new family and friends already have. In any case, you will be able to follow her here, as much of this space will be devoted to her.

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and prayers.

Hung, Liz, and Nicole Huelan

more pics here

Plus One

A good day indeed, but I'll let my brother share the news. Congratulations you two.

P.S. Natalie was a pretty close guess.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Feist - Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming

I just returned from almost 6 days up in the bay, sunday night to friday evening. It was great; spent time with friends and family, ate way too much food, bought a new jacket, saw the sights and much more. This first Christmas away from home was definitely different but at the same time delightfully familiar with the whole family there (except for my dad). The only damper is that we had to come back home before dear Natalie was born. But it's ok, I'll have plenty of opportunities to spend time with my niece in the future. See you soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last night was our pre-Christmas eve dinner. Mom smuggled a whole suitcase full of food up on Southwest Airlines and we finished almost all of it. Just a few bowls leftover for breakfast today...


We didn't want her to come on the day Cal lost in the Poinsettia Bowl anyway.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fashionably Late

Today is Dec 23rd- the baby's due date. It looks like, however, she is going to be keeping everyone waiting a little while longer. I guess we had better get used to her taking her time.

Maybe she has a flare for drama, and has been biding her time until Ba Noi (Grandma) is here? Well, she's here 'til Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009


We downsized the tree this year and it fits perfectly in our new layout.

We acquired a few new ornaments this year, and this one's my favorite. It's the iconic outdoor pool at Hearst Castle, and it's 3D.

Best & Worst of the weekend

This was the first weekend in months and months that we simply relaxed. It was blissful. with all the excitement of the baby coming and the holidays, we are stoked to just be able to chill just the two of us. Not many more of these weekends...

- Nothing to move, assemble, clean, or organize!
- Put up and decorated our Xmas tree. House smells like Christmas now.
- Went to a movie- Avatar. Pretty good, solid B+
- Dinner at Laurie and Sophia's (and a homemade apple pie)
- Nap

- I bought these poinsettia plants 3 for $12. Great deal, right? Turns out they are kind of sorry and make me kind of sad when I look at them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guessing Game

We had 55 people from the various baby showers make guesses on the baby's arrival date and time. So far, 8 guesses have already passed, including Liz's guess, which was yesterday at 4:15pm (we were shopping). The official due date is December 23. I guessed, December 20, 10:15pm.

The latest date? Guessed by Dina Gee- January 8, 8:37am!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Best & Worst of the weekend

- Liz's last day of work before going on her maternity leave!
- Choosing a new rug. I know, we are are domesticated.
- Achieving 98% status on baby readiness.

- Realizing that 100% readiness is not possible. Oh well, she's coming any day now, ready or not.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Thursday night Liz's parents took us to the Fairmont to celebrate what Lynn calls Liz's "semi-retirement," meaning the beginning of her maternity leave from her office. We checked out the giant gingerbread house, and then went downstairs to the Tonga Room for fruity drinks, the Tonga Buffet, and indoor rain (of course!). They do a great job with everything at that place. Click the photo above for more pics.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Happy

Congrats M+C! a little video message from the Bay.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Garlic Fun Time

G made these great garlic noodles that were a hit Sunday and wanted to share the recipe with y'all. Two keys to making it authentic- crab butter, and you have to squat asian-style.

For the sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha
2 tablespoons michiu (rice cooking wine)
3 tablespoons kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
2 tablespoons mirin

For the noodles
1 pound fresh egg noodles, chow mein thickness
3 ounces unsalted butter
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 pound meat from a 1 1/2- to 2-pound Dungeness crab
Reserved crab "butter"
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
Boil 3 quarts of water, and cook egg noodles to al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse in cold water and set aside.
Combine butter and garlic in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Once butter begins to brown and garlic gets fragrant (about 1 minute), add the egg noodles and stir until butter coats them evenly.
Turn heat to high. Continue to saute for 3 minutes, adding the sauce mixture and combining evenly with the noodles. Once noodles have been cooked through (2 minutes), add the crabmeat and "butter" (tomalley), if using, and cook for an additional 1 minute.
Stir in lemon juice. Serve noodles on a plate, top with cilantro. Note: Fish sauce, sriracha, michiu, kecap manis and mirin can be found at Asian markets. To extract "butter" or tomalley from a crab, lift off top shell and spoon out the thick yellow substance.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Best & Worst of the Weekend- Liz's Birthday Edition

Superb friends and family weekend with lots of bests including:
-Saturday night at Ben and Tina's in Pacifica, with gift exchange and beer pong, resulting in lots of holiday trash talking. Luckily we escaped before the poker started otherwise I'd have been $40 poorer I am sure.
-Secret Santa delivered an early present- a yard glass of beer complete with stand! AND a 32 of the High Life with roadside emergency kit!
-A full house of family and friends to help us celebrate Liz's birthday. We'll soon have another December birthday (we hope).
-G's new recipe crab butter garlic noodles- tune in later this week for more details.
-Raymond and Bo sharing great news!
-Mike and Caroline sharing great news!
And a couple of worsts:
-Missing Chen's fly-by visit Friday night
-Cal getting a Husky beat down in Seattle. Bowl-bound none-the-less...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Party Time

Jens Lekman - Happy Birthday, Dear Friend Lisa Liz

Happy birthday Liz! (don't mind that the song is actually for a Lisa). I can't wait to say happy birthday to little Natalie in a few weeks.

P.S. I'm calling the baby Natalie until you reveal the name.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Buckshot Review

Last night we went to Buckshot for the first time (3rd and Geary). It was Viv's birthday, hence the Tuesday night outing.

In a previous life, it was Alpha Bar, and before that some Irish pub. It's present incarnation is super low-key and fun, with skee-ball (they host a league), some old-skool arcade games, and a great, small kitchen. The poor girl in her tiny kitchen was not expecting the 15 of us to descend on her on a Tuesday night, but she did an excellent job supplying us with pork sausage corn dogs (A), mac&cheese (B+), chicken fried bacon (surprisingly only a C), and sloppy joes (A+). $2 PBRs were the cherries on top. Definitely be back!