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.