Sunday, December 26, 2010

Poor girl. At least she has her mom's hair and dimples.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Swinging without a care in the world

Monday, December 13, 2010

Huelan hairbrushing

Uncle Anh giving some grooming tips

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Word to her Mother

She seems like she is getting bigger even faster than she was before.   We think that she's even said her first word- "Bye Bye!"  She's only done it a few times, but it's incredibly cute, especially when accompanied by her little hand wave.  She's definitly wants to communicate with us, but mostly what we get are grunts when she wants something (food).  Apart from that, she makes a ton of babbling sounds and these weird animal growls that we've been trying to catch on video, but so far no luck. 

She definitely knows when we tell her "no," but she usually just pauses to give us a glance, then proceeds with whatever trouble she was about to get into.  Sometimes when we give her something new to check out, she'll give us a look that's unsure of whether she is allowed to play with it, then a big toothy smile and maybe some grunting. 

Her growing awareness and desire to interact with us is making this time super fun.  It's almost like she is growing out of her baby phase and becoming more like a little kid.

Here are some pics from the last few weeks

Saturday, November 27, 2010


- For a great family, even though we don't see one another as much as we'd like to.
- For great friends, even though we don't see one another as much as we'd like to.

That pretty much sums it up.

Check out some pics from the last month or so, including the last Thanksgiving at Andrew and Candy's!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Visiting Mom in the office today

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Laundry Helper

One thing Huelan will not tolerate is clean laundry just sitting there all folded and neat, taunting her.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bonus vid!

November Already

About 6 weeks have passed since the last update, and a lot has happened! Nicole had her regular checkup with Dr. Vo, and she confirmed that Nicole is a big baby. Not as chubby as some, but on the tall side for sure- hopefully takes after her mother. Otherwise she is doing well, though she is getting to the point where she kind of knows that when we go to the see the doctor, she's getting a shot.

She's actually getting to the point now (past 10 months) where she knows a lot of what's going on. We really feel like she knows her routine and has developed some favorite things, like paging through her books for her favorite pictures and favorite games to play with us. She knows what certain toys do, for example she'll point to one that projects a picture onto the wall, and when we grab it she will turn to look at the wall and wait for the picture. It's really amazing and fun to watch her development.

I have been away from home M-F for the past three weeks, but am able to get home on the weekend. This past weekend, we had some friends over and Huelan was playing with Melinda's daughter Sienna, who is about 2.5 years old. Nicole followed her around all night, checking her out, wanting to play with her, and generally having a blast. It was so cute to see Nicole tug on Sienna's shirt and try to get her attention- I've been thinking about them all week. I think that we need to find her some other kids to spend time with.
There's tons of other stuff to tell you about I am sure, but the trouble with such big gaps between posts is that I forget.... you're going to have to visit!

Here are some pics from October!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

9 Months!

It's been a busy few weeks for us- Nicole turned 9 months(!!!) yesterday.

I've had my hands full leaving my old job and ramping up at Intuitive Surgical. Leaving this job was a difficult process, but I am very excited to have a cool opportunity lined up. With robots. I get about 4 weeks of home study, which I am excited about because I'll get to spend much of it close to home with Huelan.

One of the big events of the last few weeks was Huelan's christening at St. Brennan's. Father Dan, the priest who married us, performed the baptism. The dress Huelan wore for her baptism (above) is the one Grandma wore sixty-something years ago!

Ba Noi came up for the ceremony and stayed with us for about 4 days, which was great because Huelan is so interactive now. She can easily crawl wherever she wants, and we do a lot of chasing (a game she loves). She's not satisfied with just crawling though- she likes to stand up holding on to the couch or walls and walk around from place to place.

Every day she's doing something different. Right now, she is loving being close to other kids. She makes these grunting noises in an attempt to communicate, which is hilarious, then she'll try to reach out and touch their faces. There are a number of kids in the neighborhood ages 3mos-3years, so it's fun to take Huelan out and see how they interact.

Here are some more pics from the past couple of weeks. There are also a bunch on David's Blog (link to the right)

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Three Day

We were inspired by perfect weather and great friends to make the most of the long weekend. G and Carreey had this idea to get out and do something different everyday, so we hatched a plan that included Cal's home opener, Lake Chalet, Golden Gate Fields, Takara Sake Factory, Vik's Distributors, and BBQ at Kim and Adam's place. We packed it in and had a terrific time, got a ton of sun and few beverages.

here are some pics

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Thursday, September 2, 2010


Even though she started teething about a month ago, we couldn't really see the teeth until about two weeks ago, and this is the first pic we've managed to snap of her chompers. And they are sharp!

Sunday we were at Skates on the Bay, where we had a joint birthday brunch for Grandma and Auntie Laurie. Huelan had a big smile on her face because the wind was blowing pretty hard outside, and she loves watching the leaves rustle.

Here are some other pics from the weekend, including Karen's baby shower.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

8 Months

Sneaks up on you quickly! Both the time and the little crawler. We went to the doc this week for her check up (and shots) and it looks like she is doing great. 28 inches and 19 lbs, which puts her on the bigger side of babies her age. Must be all the pho I've been giving her while Liz is at work.

As you can see from the vid, she can pretty much get wherever she wants, and if you're in the way she'll try to go over you. She's easily pulling herself up to standing now, so we've had to elevate everything out of her reach, which she considers a challenge to her reaching ability.

I am usually around when she wakes up in the morning, when she has the most epic bed head, and it cracks me up. Her hair in the vid is actually pretty tame, even if it is huge. It's almost like seeing vintage photos from the 60's and 70's when people rocked hair helmets and beehives. Undoubtedly from the Lee side of the family tree.

Meanwhile, in other news, Randi had her baby boy- Casey on Wednesday. He looks like his mother. Welcome!

Here are some pics from the last week or two.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hella Heart

We went to brunch with Helen on Saturday and there was a real small baby sitting next to us- about 6 weeks. Tiny little thing. Huelan's doing so much stuff we almost get the feeling that she's no longer a baby!

Teething seems to be getting better, until the next tooth comes in. This one seems to be growing in a little crooked- she gets that from dad.

Some pics from the weekend.
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Saturday, August 14, 2010


A few weeks ago, I was commenting to a friend how sometime between months 5-6, Huelan exploded in physical and emotional maturity. Little did we know what she had in store for us for her 7th month.

Last week we met the SoCal contingent in Lake Tahoe for a five day vacation. The last time we packed for an extended trip Huelan was less than 4 month old, and she had a lot fewer accessories. This time, we had more equipment than even the Murano could handle and we had to rely on Anh's truck as overflow.

Ba Noi was stoked to be able to spend 5 whole days with her grand daughter. Huelan was just as excited, and she showed it with her new, ear-piercing scream. All night the second night. We thought maybe it was a little karmic because people always ask how she sleeps, and we're so happy to tell them that she's very consistent from 8:30 to 6:30. Then we thought it was the arid altitude making her crusty and congested. Or maybe it was just a different house and bassinet. She settled down a little after that second night, but she continued to push the decibel needle.

Well, when we got back, Gosia figured out that Huelan had a tooth coming in! At first, it was impossible to see or even feel, but when Gosia put a spoon in her mouth, we could hear it knocking against a little porcelain nub in the bottom of her mouth! That was about a week ago, and now the tip of the tooth is visible just breaking through her gum line. People tell us to expect the same thing for every tooth…. We are scared.

Another thing that’s got us scared is that she’s learned to get to her feet. She’ll crawl around until she can find something to grab onto, pull herself up to look at it, then all of a sudden she pops up and is looking around. At first she could only do it once or twice then get tired a sit back down, but in just a couple of days she’s pretty much got it down.

Tonight we’re putting her in her crib for the first time because she can probably climb out of her bassinet. The first time she’s sleeping in a different room from us! She’s also trying to feed herself little cereal puffs, starting to wave hello/goodbye, and trying to make some simple consonant sounds. So compared to her 6th month, this 7th month has been really crazy, and I don’t think she’s slowing down anytime soon.

The most recent pics here.
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seven Months

Today marks Nicole Huelan's seventh month with us! I know I always write about time feeling like it's flying, and it does, but there's another side too. Though it's "only" been seven months, it feels like she's been with us a whole lot longer.

In the past few weeks, she's almost perfected eating (at vid was taken about 2 weeks ago), can sit up pretty confidently, and wants to crawl on hands and knees (though she stilll resorts to army crawl when she is in a hurry).

The biggest changes, though, are in her personality. She is curious, always looking around and trying new things. She is trying to communicate (grunting counts we think). And when she hears keys jingle in the door, she knows that someone is coming to play with her and looks around expectantly. We love coming home!

Mommy and Ba's night out

Viv and Jason's wedding at the City Club SF. We're so blessed to have been to some great weddings and this was up there with the best of them. One of my favorite afterparties.... don't judge me.
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Learn On

Huelan is just a 10 days shy of being seven months old, and in the past 3-4 weeks her growth has just exploded. It's great fun to watch her physically grow, gaining length and strength, and add new skills. Her legs are getting buff from all the boucing she's been doing in her hew jumperoo, and she gets around pretty efficiently now so we have to keep a close eye on her. She's very curious, and is especially interested in trying to find out what's under the couch, coffee table, and TV stand. She has mastered working her rattles, and we've found that she loves books (to eat). We challenge her by putting obstacles in front of her and watch her try to figure out how to get where she wants. She's kinda like one of those Roomba robot sweepers- when she bumps into something, she backs up and tries to approach it from another direction. Endless enterainment for us, which is why we had her.

Even more fun to watch is the growing that she's doing mentally. She recognizes multiple people, and her favorites are greeted with big smile or laugh and excited leg kicks and arm waves. Her concept of object permanance is forming, and she looks for people and things when we hide them. She is always down for a good game of Peek a Boo. I think that she recognizes when we call her name, which can be confusing because we regularly call her by at least 3 different names.

Along with these changes have come the first real necessity for parenting. Most of what we've done up to this point has been to meet basic physical needs- food and comfort, stuff that we felt we were just getting the hang of. Now, with her baby brain forming, we're got a vastly more difficult responsibility- helping her balance her first concepts of possibilities vs. boundries. And right now, all that she sees are possibilities.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Free Will

Been away from the blog for a while, but it's been a busy month. And what a difference a month makes! When we last posted, Huelan was about 5 months old. Now that she's 6, she has a whole new bag of tricks. Though she is obviously still a wee baby, she is developig her own sense of what she wants to do. There is not turning back now. I was stunned to see her army crawl across her blanket to get to her toy basket, tip it over, and go for her favorites. And she laughs like crazy.

With her newfound mobility, she's been exploring every crevice. If we let her, she'll crawl across the rug and try to shimmy herself under the couch or coffee table, her favorite spots. Looks like it's time to babyproof the living room.

In addition to the physical changes, this month she's become a lot more interactive. At this age, she constantly wants to look around and interact with stuff. She recognizes people, places, and toys. The babyfood thing is going well; she's not too picky (like her dad), though she sometimes makes a face at first (like her mom).

She checked in at the doctor last week and got her shots, which she tolerated very well. She weighted in at 16lbs,6oz (60th %tile) and almost 27inches (90th%tile!).

We've defnintely got her out and about this summer- hope to see you!

Here are the most recent pics.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gettin Out

The weather these last few weekends has been fantastic. 75-80 and sunny, even in parts of SF. That's made it really easy to take Huelan out and explore, which she is really digging. She's got a growing curiosity, and likes being out of her stroller when we walk, her head on a swivel checking everything out.

Walking around with a baby puts you in this whole different world. You know when you learn a new word and suddenly hear it used everywhere? It's kind of like that except there are babies everywhere. Among parents, there is tons of knowing eye contact, a fraternal nod and smile. And mnay parents are thankful for any brief opportunity to engage another adult for a few minutes, even if the topic is children. I actually have to be careful when I don't have Huelan with me because I don't want to be taken for a weirdo smiling at other people's kids.

And people on the street are always doing double takes at Huelan, stopping us to check her out. The comment that she gets most is about her lux hair; she rocks a barrette like few 5-month-olds can. It goes without saying that she gets her hair from her mother.

Here are some recent pics.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Now that she's a little bigger, it seems like a lot more things happen. In the past few weeks we had Mother's Day, went to some parties, and had Ba Noi in town. She was even sick for a while, which was terribly sad. But she's back to herself now, and she's picked up a few new skills- rolling over left and right, getting her toes in her mouth, and blowing wet raspberries. She tries to sit up on her own, but inevitably gets transfixed by her feet and slumps foward.

She's also been staring at us while we eat, so we figured she might want some too. We tried spoon feeding her for the first time last night- some rice cereal mixed with milk, barely thicker than the milk alone. She's good at getting the food off the spoon, but doesn't yet know what to do with it from there, so most of it ends up dripping down her chins. If she's anything like her mom and dad she'll be get the hang of it sooner rather than later.

Over the weekend, my cousin was here from Houston, telling us about her son, who is just under 2. We are having a great time with Nicole, and it's awesome to hear about all the fun stuff there is to look forward to. Of course everyone says that time just flies by and advises us to soak up the baby-essence as much as we can right now. Is it possible to have nostalgia for something as it's actually happening? Evidently so.

Most recent pics here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Super Baby

She loves this ("Bay" means fly in vietnamese).

thanks for the vid Uncle Jay.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day

Huelan says, "Thanks Mommy. For gestating me, birthing me, nursing me, and loving me. I love you too. Happy first Mother's Day. Here is your present."

Monday, May 3, 2010


She's had been right on the cusp for 4-5 days, with an occassional successful attempt, but this weekend it looks like she mastered it- the RollOver!

The difficultly with this manuever is that her left arm gets in the way when she is just about over. Sometimes, she would get 80% there and get flung back because that left arm gets in her way and she doesn't know what to do with it. But it looks like her master plan with all those extra ounces of chubb onto her thighs was to use them to leverage herself onto her belly.

She only likes to roll over her left shoulder, so I think that she's going to be goofy-footed.

She's so funny- once she figured it out consistently, she is doing it all the time. She'll be on her back, I go to get some water, and when I come back she's on her tummy. But she doesn't really like being on her tummy too long and hasn't figured out how to get back yet, so she'll just get tired after a while and start to cry.

I guess that'll be her next trick.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Nicole just reached the four-month mark this week, and she had her scheduled doctor's visit. She checked in at 24 inches, 13lbs & 12 oz, and it shows- she's definitely heftier. She's also noticably stronger with her arms, back and squirms.

But what we really notice is the change in her interactivity- she does things to see how we will react, staring at us with wide eyes. We also we get a huge kick out of is provoking reactions in her. Of course making her laugh is the most fun. It might be the funnest sound I've ever heard.
It start out like a high pitched giggle, but when she's really into it, she'll even kind of yell, like in the video above where Liz is playing with her. What's cool is when she's laughing like that, she's totally focussing on you to see what you'll do next.

Once we find something that puts a smile on her face, we'll do it repeatedly, faster, and more exaggerated to see if we can get her to laugh. She's not ticklish yet, but I can't wait. She loves to move really fast and have us fly her around like Supergirl.

Can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Time Flies

We constantly wonder where all the time goes. I think most parents feel this weird mix of wishing their babies would stay babies longer and looking forward to all the things they'll be able to do when they get a little older. I guess it's a good place to be- wanting to slow down the present while happily anticipating the future.

This month in particular flew by, though. Mainly because we have been mentally occupied with figuring out what to do when Liz returned to work (first day was yesterday). We looked into a few good options, and decided to go with a nanny who comes to our house 4 days/week. She's a very experienced Polish lady names Gosia (pro: Go-sha). And she lives in our neighborhood, so she can walk to our house in the morning. She has a kind and playful temperment and seems to really enjoy playing with Nicole.

She was previously commuting to Hillsborough, where she worked for 4 years for someone who Liz's boss knows. Of course no matter how good the references are, there's still some anxiety. The fact that I can partially work from home makes it easier, though.

And the remaining one day a week, Liz's parents have volunteered to come over and care for Nicole. Yesterday was their first day, and I think it worked out great. It's been a while since they took care of a newborn all day, so I think there was some nerves, but I hope they had fun. Nicole loved it of course.

She is super interactive now, and seems like she is making sounds on purpose. They're longer and alomst annunciated. We can almost see her thinking, reacting to our reactions. She laughs, which makes us laugh, which she laughs at. I think that means we're on the verge of actual parenting. Scary.

She looks around the room searching for certain things, and can reach out and grab stuff we put in front of her. Of course everything she grabs goes directly into her mouth. And just the other day, she held her own bottle for the first time.

Time keeps on slippin into the future, and the only option we have is to soak it up.

Here are some pics!

Friday, April 2, 2010


(This video is kind of long, and there's no big finish or anything, so you won't be missing anything if you stop it before it's done)

Mornings are typically the best for us, and I am especially happy when I can hang around for a bit before heading to work. The video above is from this morning. One of my favorite things is her first smile of the day. For about 2 weeks now, Nicole has been sleeping a solid 7-8 hours at night, which has been a blessing for Liz and me. What's more, she usually wakes up happy and wants to smile and play.

Liz is also working on stretching out Nicole's daytime meal intervals from about 2 hours to 3 or more. So far Liz has been really successful. When Nicole wants to eat, we'll try to disctract her by picking her up, playing with her, or going for a walk. But when she reaches her limit, she lets us know. The video below is from this morning, about an hour after Nicole woke up. As you can see, she's finding her lungs and learning how to express herself.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Not to get too existential, but this having a kid thing is really a trip. It's one of the basic things that people of all races and cultures do, and though our methods may differ a bit, the goal is pretty much the same.

It's something that so many people share, you can meet almost any stranger with a kid and can relate to them through common feelings and experiences: the seemingly overwhelming trials of the first few weeks, the joy of little milestones, the fact that your baby will grow and change much more quickly than you expect (even though everyone tells you to expect this), the amazing learning that babies are capable of, the occasional irrational fear, the reprioritizing, the desire to make time stand still, the shift in the way that you think about the present and the future, the realization that you have all this room in your heart that you didn't know was there... all parts of the endless list that makes us parents.

And it's cool how we now share this with our own parents.

Last week we spent a wonderful few days in socal with family and friends. She did amazingly well in the car both ways, sleeping most of the time. We woke her to feed her and let her stretch a little, which added a welcome leisurely quality to what is usually a 400 mile sprint.

Huelan got to spend some quality time with Ba Noi and meet all of her aunts and uncles. She seems like she is comfortable being the center of attention. Ba Noi showed her off to her friends and co-workers; there are few places on earth where a baby girl is more fawned over than a hair salon.

We had a great time for so many reasons, but perhaps best of all we were able to meet some of the newest people on earth- Leah An Nguyen (6lbs, 3oz) and Francesco Reno Toscanini (8lbs, 15oz!). And, to top that off, we went to a baby shower where there were THREE pregnant people. Congrats to all- you guys are going to be great parents.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another Year

I think that having a baby actually makes us feel younger. The exuberance that comes with goofing off, making faces and making noises is good for us I am sure. Sometimes her firsts feel like our firsts too, which is almos as good as a fountain of youth.

Despite this feeling, however, Larry and I celebrated our birthdays last weeked. Larry went to the Cliff House Friday, and spent Saturday at St Anne's St. Patrick's Dinner Dance.

On this side of the bay, Laurie and Sophia watched Nicole while Liz and I relaxed at Piedmont Springs, a day spa nearby. For dinner, Liz took us out to sushi at Kirala. We were in the first seating and were home by 6:45. Our new normal.

Sunday was the gathering at Lynn and Larry's. We celebrated St. Patty's day and three birthdays (Larry, Me, and Ashley-13!) with the traditional huge slabs of corned beef and cabbage with all the fixins.

Then last night, Bi, Anh and Patty came over to make dinner at our place- fancy appetizers, Bo Luc Lac, and a strawberry short cake for desert. A delicious end to a very relaxed and gluttonous birthday weekend. Just have to make sure that my waist size doesn't keep increasing with my age.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Keep Calm

Happy birthday big brother! It's been a pretty crazy year eh? You have a baby, a new decade is upon us and now you're even older than before. Well at least you'll always be younger than your wife, haha. I'll see you in a few weeks.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Going Out

We've gathered a lot of courage in the past two weeks. Although I have had friends tell me that they took their babies out into the world just four or five days after they got home from the hospital, we've opted for the more cautious route- eating in, declining invitations, DVR, and generally chilling at home. And we have loved it.

But I think that we are embarking on a new chapter, one that involves interacting with the outside world. Just this week, Huelan had three big firsts: walking the lake with Gramma and Papa, Lake Tahoe, & Mason's party.

Part of what has kept us home were (valid) concerns about germs and weather, and logistics. The last thing we want is a sick baby, but we also know that we can't keep her in a bubble forever (I'll save that for ages 12-25). And with the rain giving us a reprieve, we figured we should capitalize. As for the logistics piece, I guess we just learn as we go.

Unfortunately, I couldn't be at Stowe Lake with Gramma and Papa, which was a cool milestone. I think a First like this is one that most people don't consider until later in life- the first time you take your grandchild for a walk. Lynn's been walking around that lake for years with her walking group, but it's probably been over a decade since she's pushed a stroller around with her.

The next test was two nights in Lake Tahoe. Sometime Thursday afternoon, Vivien invited us to come up and spend the weekend with her and Jason at their place in south lake. It would just be the five of us, and it only took Liz and I about five minutes to decide that I would take Friday off and we'd head up that evening. Though it looked and felt like we had overpacked, we ended up with just the right amount of gear for Huelan; we were happy to have the extra outfits, since the difference in altitude had an explosive effect.

Nicole otherwise did great, and we had a fantastic time. Like many babies, she is really comfortable in her carseat, and she slept the entire trip both ways. That little thing is like magic. In a restaurant, she'll be asleep from the car ride and continue to nap tableside sitting in the carseat. If she wakes up, she usually just looks around for a bit and drifts off again.

Then today we went to Mason's 3rd bithday party in Pacifica. We only stayed a few hours, but it was long enough for Nicole to get fawned over by nearly every female there. Good food, good friends, good party. And on the way home, I did my Nicole impression and passed out as soon as Liz put the car in gear.
Going out is fun, and it's good for Nicole (as long as we keep her away from sick people). But another big benefit is Liz's sanity. She hasn't complained a peep during these last nine weeks of near-isolation, but being deprived of regular adult interaction is tough. And I don't count. Happy mommy + Happy baby = Happy daddy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2 Months

Last Saturday we reached the 2 month mark with Huelan, and we all are doing really well. She weighed in at 9lbs, 13oz, and measured 22&3/8 inches at her last doc's visit, which is all right on track. She's got a few new rolls of chubb around her legs and arms, and she's storing a healthy amount of milk calories in her cheeks and chin too. Her hair's getting longer, and it's actually turning a light brown. It's wavy, and sometimes it gets a little wave like a baby pompadour.

Mornings are usually good for her, and when I don't have early appointments, I can hang out with her for a bit and give Liz a little rest. When Huelan's alert and interactive, it's a lot of fun for us. We'll make faces, sounds and sing-song to get her to react, and when we get a smile it's pretty much the best thing ever. She'll even coo back sometimes, and we can almost have a conversation.

We're getting braver with taking her out, and we went to a relaxed brunch at Lake Chalet last weekend (build your own bloody mary bar). We took advantage of the sun and strolled her around the lake. She slept most of the time. We're trying to make an effort to expose her to new things, especially outside, but with more rain expected this week, we'll probably be home, so come by and visit! If you can't make it, here are a few pics.

Monday, February 22, 2010

You're Awesome

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp

School's been pretty busy lately.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Vu

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I know, I'm a day late. I suck at birthdays.

Heads Up

Huelan is eight weeks old today, and is doing great. To celebrate, this weekend she got a visit from some out-of-towners: Joy, Karen, Ruben and Joaquin.

We also did an unofficial weigh in yesterday at Grandma & Papa's, and with clothes on she tipped the scales at a whopping 10lbs, 6oz. Liz and I can tell that she's definitely longer and she's plumping up, but we were suprised she passed 10lbs for some reason. I guess it's parental nature to be taken off guard at how quickly their kids have grown, even as infants.

We were suprised at another thing she learned this week- she's just about able to support her own head! Check out the pic above & vid below.

Tomorrow we take her to her doctor for a scheduled exam and we'll get an official weight. Along with some shots, which I hear suck. Supposedly the baby forgets almost immediately, but I am more concerned about Liz and I being scarred forever.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Number One Hits

With a new baby, one of the sweetest things is all of her "firsts." We try to celebrate and record every milestone with her, and that's a lot of fun in itself. There is a slightly bitter side, though- that a first only happens once. I know all parents dote on their babies, and now I know why. I'll paraphrase my friend Omar- you've got to try to soak up every one of those moments because they're finite; you've got to be greedy with every little smile and coo. That's exactly how I feel.

This week, we had a couple of especially fun firsts- Valentine's day and the Lunar New Year. People always ask me about Vietnamese new year (called Tet) and Chinese new year. They are the same holiday, based on the lunar calendar, and many of the traditions are the same. Principally, eating a ton.

Along with Nicole's first Tet, she got her first jewelery- a necklace and charm with her Chinese zodiac sign on it (year of the Ox), and a little jade heart charm. And of course she got her first red envelopes, which she'll learn to look forward to every year for the next couple of decades.

Some other fun recent firsts:
- Keeping her head up upright by herself
- Loud giggles
- Liz's first sushi in over a year- our pre-Val dinner at Kirala
- Grandma and Papa's first time watching Nicole while we went out
- Nicole's first time meeting Zachary (thanks for the lasagna!)

Also, a notable second- Ba Noi's second visit to spend time with Huelan. She is having a blast, just like the first time.

Here are some pics from the past few weeks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


When babies start to get chubby, baby people call it "thriving." Apparently babies don't have the abdominal muscles to keep all of their insides tight. I call it frogbelly. Affectionately, of course.

Monday, February 8, 2010


It might just be that you've never owned anyone quite like you did when you were an infant and you owned your parents. Your boss can't make you change his diapers 12 times a day. The bank that owns your mortgage can't make you get up every few hours around the clock. And as she gets older, we'll expect her to fend for herself to some degree. But now, she has us right where she wants us- wrapped around her tiny finger. Liz and I just had a laughing fit wondering out loud when we'll ever get to sleep through an entire night again (we muffled ourselves, careful not to wake her).

Don't get me wrong- it's a joy. It's just totally without reprieve.

But it is getting a little easier. We've gotten through most of our N.A.D. issues and Nicole Huelan is six weeks old now. She's increasingly awake & alert, and those are the fun times. Just in the last day or two, Liz and I think that she's beginning to make social smiles. She's more interactive now, and seems to be very curious about us, even recognizing our voices from across the room. She loves following us with her eyes, but then again she also does that with her mobiles, so I am not sure she knows the difference.

Another benefit of this age is that she is beginning to have a schedule. We can usually count on her to take a long morning nap and another two or three in the afternoon. At night, we've been giving her a big "dose" of milk around 10pm in hopes that it'll tide her over for 3.5 - 4 hours. Four uninterupted, blissful hours of sleep. Yes, she owns us.

This past weekend was actually a milestone. During her morning nap, we took her out of the house for the first time (excluding the Sunset and the doctor's). We played it safe on Saturday, taking her to our Pho spot. Pho is served quickly and we can scarf it in case a quick getaway was necessary. But she slept the whole time and we were able to eat leisurely.

Sunday, we got the idea to hit up Aunt Mary's for brunch. This is a longer service and a louder spot, but she did equally well. She woke up for a while, which had us ready to spring into parental action, but she soothed herself and fell back asleep in her carseat. The pic above is us outside Aunt Mary's- notice how happy we are to have some sun on us.

This brings up another question. When the hostess asks how many, what do we say? a table for two is usually not big enough if we have the carseat, and defintely too small if we have the stroller. But if you say three, they usually sit you at a four-top, which would annoy a waiter during a busy brunch. So maybe two and a half is the right answer? Hmmm... we need more experience.

As a token of appreciation for getting through this rambling, scatted post, here's the link to Nicole Huelan's most current pics.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Had 'Em, Lost 'Em

Nicole needs to be soothed pretty regularly. It sounds weird, but the experts say that sometimes babies get over-tired and just don't know how to get themselves to sleep, which leads to frustration and crying. We've definitely seen this with Nicole, and we usually intervene by letter her pacify herself for a few minutes on one of our fingers. When she's tired, it's like magic- she can be fully asleep in less than a minute. But we have to be careful, because if we pull the pinky out too early, she'll root around for it and have little convulsions (funnier than it sounds).

But really, self-sooting is the goal. Nicole found her fingers pretty early, but the trouble is she doesn't quite know how to keep them in her mouth, as you can see in the vid clip.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To The Day

We celebrated one month with Nicole Huelan today. Liz and I can't actually decide if seems like it's been a long time or whether time has flown by. A little of both I suppose.

Perhaps we really started bonding with her well before she was born, talking to her and getting ready for her arrival, making it seem like so much longer than a mere 30 days. Or maybe it's just our screwed up sleep cycles that have distorted our sense of time.

She has definitely changed a lot in just a month. We can see it in her face and body- she's no longer the puffy little bundle all wrapped up in a blanket. She is starting to make little cooing noises and gurgles that have me completely smitten. She can track our faces if we move slowly from side to side (and if she's in the mood). And she's eating more, which is helping her get noticeably stronger, heavier, and more active.

Some of the books we read tell us what to expect at 2 and 3 months, but that feels like a long way from now. We hope next month will be as fun as this one has been (except with more sleep).

Friday, January 22, 2010

The More We Change...

Being around an infant these last few weeks made me realize that there are some things we do as adults that we are pretty much programmed to do from the womb. For instance, people believe that the reason that newborns like to sleep all day and stay awake at night is because all day the mother in rocking them to sleep in utero by walking around and going about her daily business. They are soothed all the voices and sounds mommy hears, not to mention all the goings-on inside mommy's belly. Then at night, when mommy is sleeping and it's quiet out, they are more active. After they are born, we still rock them to soothe them, some people even resorting to placing them on a clothes drier or taking them for a drive. And as adults, those same gentle vibrations soothe us and put us right to sleep; how many people do you know who can't manage to stay alseep on a long car ride? How many people sleep better with a little white noise like rain falling?

Then there's the sucking instinct, perhaps the strongest instinct newborns have. Babies must be strong sucklers to stay alive, and they even want to satisfy their sucking instinct right after they eat, even when they are full. Maybe this is the origin of the oral fixation in adults- gum chewing, fingernail biting, cigarette smoking, and recreational eating?

Just a thought...

By the weigh- Nicole Huelan got up to 7lbs, 5.6 oz at her doc's visit this week.

Some more recent pics here

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ba Noi

In Vietmanese, the Ba Noi is the grandmother on the paternal side, i.e. what my mom is to Nicole. Nicole's Ba Noi was here December 22-25, hoping that she could coax Nicole out to join us. Unfortunately, Nicole waited another day and Ba Noi missed her granddaughter's debut.

So it was an agonizing two weeks for Ba Noi, made only barely more tolerable by phone calls and Skype, but she finally met Nicole Huelan last week. You've never seen anyone happier to hear a baby cry- she didn't stop grinning the entire time. Ba Noi delivered and raised plenty of her own kids, but it's been a while since she's held a newborn. Her and my step dad fought over the right to hold, soothe, and change diapers for 48 hours straight.
In the few minutes that she wasn't exercising her matriarchal right to spoil her only grandchild, she even had time to make us a few soups and other comfort foods. Ahhhh, everybody wins when Ba Noi is in town. We all had a blast and can't wait to get them together again soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Newborn Anxiety Disorder. If I could patent a pill for it we'd make trillions. The reason is that I believe anxiety is the most common, universal emotion for new parents next to love & affection. From the "What do we do now?" moment when the door closes after you bring your child home for the first time until they can effectively communicate, it's a constant guessing game of "What does this mean?" & "What does that mean?"

It's the uncertainty that is the most vexing. My buddy Michael said that when babies cry there are just three things they could need: food, diaper change, or hugs. Pretty simple sounding, but easy to agonize over. Is she getting enough food? Should we supplement with formula? Should we wake her to finish eating? Is she going through a normal number of diapers? Is the cream we are using right for her? Are we picking her up too much? Too little? What are the long term consequences of giving her a pacifier? Are we spoiling her? Seriously, it can be endless, and the crazy part is that it's often impossible to know.

One good anti-anxiety cure we have found is reading about newborns. There is a lot of information out there, and we tried to read some before Nicole was born, but it just didn't quite make sense to us then. Now, however, it's very reassuring to find a paragraph or two that aptly describes what she is doing and how she is acting- it's good to know that she's not doing anything too weird.

Really, though, we are very fortunate to have friends & family with a lot of experience who we can lean on. Nicole has already changed a lot in her 2.5 weeks on earth, and having people who can give us some insight on what to expect makes all the difference. We even have a personal Lactation Consultant who makes an incredible meatball tortellini soup (thanks Corina!).

When we're frustrated because we can't figure out how to ease her pain, it can drive us crazy and make us question what we are doing. I think that puts us in the same company as all the parents who have ever lived. Sometimes we have found that "I don't know," is the right answer and we are content with that. Cindy said something we really like- that it's impossible to spoil a newborn. So, when in doubt, we are going to err on the side of more hugs.

BTW- Nicole Huelan is up to 6lbs, 15oz and 20.75 inches. Some new pics here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mini, Funny Things

Pretty much everything a baby does is funny and/or cute. Even the most simple and mundane functions for a grown person are super cute when babies do them because it reminds you that they are mini people. Mini people doing mini things. Super mini.

This video is of Nicole Huelan at one of her more alert times- ready to nurse, but (just) before she gets vocal about it. She has the baby hiccups, yawns and sneezes. Hopefully you'll be able to hear her. Her mini feet are also kicking like a mini Pele. It's about 3 mins long.

Monday, January 4, 2010


When you pledge a fraternity, there is a stage called Initiation Week, or I-Week. It's a time where you're basically cut off from the outside world and taught the final bits of knowledge necessary for entrance into the fraternity. You are supposed to come out the other side with new new-found appreciation and bond, much of it brought on by some physical and mental hazing, augmented by sleep depriviation.

A lot like our first week with Nicole.

We have learned a lot this week, but just when we think we have her figured out, she throws us a curve ball. She has us ecstatic over the smallest actions and bodily functions, but she also has us up at all hours of the night. It's hilarious how Liz and I talk about what might be happening, how we guess at what some action or behavior means. "Maybe that means she's full." "Maybe that means she's tired." "Maybe that means she wants us to dress her up in her favorite outfit." It's a very amusing game.

And in just one short week, she has learned some new cries. In addition to the way she was born singing, she now has a low, throaty wail and a short, staccato one. There are some people who actually say they can decode them. We are not that sophisticated yet, but she's teaching us.

It looks like this initiation is going to last longer than one week....