Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I hope that this cookie party becomes a tradition. Just pick any Sunday in December- I'll hang with Vansen and watch football, maybe walk around Telegraph Ave if it's sunny, and you guys bring home some sweet treats fresh from Grandma's oven. 

Yup, sounds good. 


So we inherited this chair from Kainoa. I've seen them around, but we never used one with Huelan so I'm not sure if we're doing it wrong or he's just top heavy. 

Probably both. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mirror Mirror

Like many kids, both of ours just love the mirror.  Huelan uses any reflective surface and we'll frequently catch her scoping herself out dancing and posing in our mirrored cabinets, sliding glass doors, even the glass window in the oven door.  Vansen so far is the same- he just lights up when he sees himself in the mirror (though to be fair, he has no conception of his own reflection... yet).  We've supplied him with some kiddie mirrors he plays with, and if we want him to be in a good mood, we know that putting him in front of a mirror is a great way to do it- the vid above is a good case in point.  It's also captures his weird reverse-laugh.

We didn't use the baby carrier a lot with Huelan- one of us could be with her and free the other one up to do something.  But with two kids we've been using the carrier more, since Vansen's heft makes it so that neither of us can carry him in our arms very long.  The carrier frees up both hands, allowing us to at least clear the dinner table and tidy up around the house while holding him, so it will probably get a lot of use.  Thankfully, he seems to dig it, especially the occasional dance jam.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Since about Thanksgiving, Vansen's definitely showed that he wants to join the party. Tons of social smiling and giggles galore. He doesn't quite have the laughing thing down yet- he makes most of the laugh noise on the inhale. Either that or we've been doting on his baby asthma....

The other new thing is this tongue- he  rarely has it in his mouth. He's just flapping it all around. Flat, pointy, up, down. The only constant is the drool. 

Logan James

Sunday we also got to stop in to meet Vansen's new little buddy Logan James, who was just three days old- THREE DAYS OLD!  He wasn't too interested in meeting us, but since we invited ourselves over he didn't have much of a choice. 

We popped in on Vivien, Jason, & Stella just in time to watch the last two minutes of the 49er game- the last game Jason will watch in its entirety for a while. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013


With the two kids and the holidays, which feel a little more compressed this year because of the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we feel like we've been hustlin a little bit lately. But we were able to celebrate Liz turning thirtysomething with a rich chocolate cake, a couple of scoops of eggnog icecream, dinner out, and a movie in a theater (thanks Grandma, Papa, and Sophia!). It's the little things....

We followed that up on Sunday with our first family trip to a Christmas tree farm. We bundled up the kids (it's been chilly here- like ice in the driveway chilly) packed up the car, bolted on the roof rack, and made our way to Sebastapol. It's kind of out of the way, but we thought it'd be fun. 

Not only did we cut down our own tree, but Huelan got a tractor hay ride, a pony ride, and a candy cane from Mrs. Claus. At the end of the day, when I asked her what her favorite thing was, she considered cafefully and answered, "I think all of it."  Yup worth the drive. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

One Track

The kid has just one thing on his mind. He knows when we're at the counter where I make his bottles. He'll hear me prepping up the formula and crane his head around to spot it. Once he does, he's locked in.

I'll lean him back, then let him reach his little overstuffed sausage link arms out to grab the bottle. He'll guide it, shakily like he's got the DT, to his pre-pursed lips then go to town. 

Ding Ding Ding A Ding A Ding Ding

Whatever it is the fox is saying, Vansen is digging it. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


8.5 hours was just 30 mins longer than my projection, so I'd say we did alright. For the most part it was painless, even the Denny's lunch stop, which was the only place open on Thanksgiving. The five of us ate a sit down meal for only $21- it might become a regular spot for us....

At Ba Noi's now, post dinner living room lounging. A little more settling then we're going in on the pies. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

High Roller

Fun couple of weeks culminated in David's 50th birthday/retirement party.  Too tired to caption this pic, so give it your best shot in the comments.

Some more pics here
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Friday, November 22, 2013


Him on her lap, her on my lap- she calls it the Triplestack. The combination of his chubby heft and her bony bottom is going to make this difficult to do much longer. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013


See this pensive, cherubic face? 

He's pooping. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


He's figured out how to make noises, but doesn't have a lot of range just yet.  He mostly makes a sound that's about 60% laugh, 20% squeal, and 20% cry.  Sometimes is tips to 60% cry, hovers there for a little bit, then tips back to laughing.  It almost always tips back to laughing- he's not much of a crier, which we're very thankful for.

We're also thankful for the FIFTH night of no waking. After our anxiety the first night, Vansen settled in very nicely.  If we stirs a little at night, he soothes himself right back to sleep.  It's like a different life- food tastes better, the sun's brighter, and my jokes are funnier.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Portrait Day

We just got the proofs from Huelan's preschool picture day. The photo company is pretty crafty- they have a bunch of sheets already printed out for the parents- combos of 8x10, 5x7, and wallets- for and try to upsell everyone into buying more sheets. And the fact that they invite little siblings to the shoot just adds more bait to the already well-set trap. 

Dang them and their aggressive heartstrings marketing tactics!


The subject (again) is sleeping through the night. Can you tell we think about this a lot?  Could be worse, we could be talking about poop all the time....

With Huelan, we were pretty lucky.  We documented her first few months fairly well, and our records indicate that at three months, she was consistently sleeping from 11PM through until 6AM- all we could ask for.  We haven't been so lucky with Vansen (which has been well-explored in a previous post), BUT, we've gotten close a number of times.  He commonly does 9:30 to 3:30, which is pretty good, and even did 10-4 one night, which works great for our weird schedule.

What we've *been* doing when he wakes in the middle of the night is nursing (by "we" I mean Liz) or bottle feeding him to get him back to sleep.  He's learned to expect it. Need it maybe? Well, we're pretty confident that there is no physical need for nourishment overnight, so last night we tried the Cry It Out method for the first time.  

In theory, the baby slowly realizes that he doesn't need to eat at night and eventually just sleeps through til after we've had our coffee.  This, however, takes a little time- it's not called Cry It Out because everyone sleeps peacefully through the night. 

The first night was not easy.  We have to resist the natural urge to go and sooth him when we hear that first soft cry, which last night was about 2:30.  Over the next 45 minute, he would work his way through 4-5 distinct types of cry, each progressively more fervent than the last.  All the while, Liz and I would lie fully awake, wondering exactly how large the psychic scars would be.  He'd stop crying and we'd feel some vindication, only to take a deep, audible breath and start in again more fiercely.  At one point, we were both lying there in bed, in the dark, our faces lit pale blue by iPhone glow, as Liz scanned the internet for articles justifying going in there to soothe him, while I scanned for counter articles saying it was okay to let him go til he tired out.  The conflict added to the already tortuous wailing.   

How much longer? What if he's hungry? What if he's cold? What if he's scared? As we alternated between consoling one another and psyching each other up to do nothing, he just stopped.  And slept til 7:15. 

I'm sure tonight will be different. Maybe we'll be more rational about letting him Cry It Out. Maybe he'll suprise us and just sleep through. Maybe I'll have my articles queued up before I go to bed. 

Friday, November 1, 2013



It's amazing how single mindedly kids pursue candy.  There's probably nothing in my life as an adult that I am obsessed with as much as kids (younger me included) are candy in all its devine incarnations.

And it's kinda weird that we encourage them to ask strangers for candy handouts once a year, but it's cute, so there you go.  And bonus- we get to mooch some while they're alseep.

The rest of the Halloween pics here
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This year she rocked kind of a throw-back costume; she made up her mind weeks ago to be a ghost, and there was no detering her.  Though it was a simple costume, she was the only ghost we saw and she got tons of comments. 

This year, she was much more assertive with her Trick-or-Treat, but her favorite part was the "Boo!" followed by, "It's just me- I'm just a kid!" 

We went to the local Halloween parade, where they had the Wells Fargo stagecoach, complete with horses, a firetruck, and the local HS marching band lead the way.  Behind them, it seemed like a thousand kids mobbed the storefronts as they handed out candy.  Usually in Oakland this type if scene ends up with tear gas canisters flying, but the mob was mostly peaceful today. They only teetered on the edge of violence once, when one of the stores ran dry with a large group of princesses, wizards, and dragons gathered in front.  

Huelan was a champ, identifying where the candy sources were and navigating her way through the 4-foot tall crowd to get hers. She did spare a few seconds to get a picture with Mayor Quan, though. 

Vansen on the other hand, just chilled sporting his own ghost/pope outfit. 

We went to SF with the thought of visiting some of the Sunet neighbors, but failed to actually leave the house. Huelan had enough treats, and Liz and I both accidentally caught a quick snooze in the livingroom. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Back At It

A couple of nights before Liz went back to work, Huelan kicks back fully on the couch, taking in some Jake and eating a snack, without a care in the world. 

The night before D(B)-Day, the other one must have sensed something was different and cut us some slack- he went down around 10pm and slept through til 5am! Six ounces of bottle and 30mins later, he was back snoozing in his crib. I left for work shortly after, but Grandma and Grampa took over and juggled getting Huelan ready for school and Vansen duty like champs. 

Liz strategically decided to go back to work on a Wednesday to set herself up with a short week, so we only have two days left this week. If it continues to go like this, I'd give our chances of survival at least 40%. 

Update: Haha just kidding it's 1:56 and the three of us are up, about to cave in and feed the boy. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hand in Hand

Makes me feel feelings. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rollin' / Tired Rant

He's been verrrrry close for a few days, but today when Liz walked into the kitchen, where Vansen was supposed to be staring up and batting at his toys, he was on his belly.  Up until now, he's been foiled in his attempts by his right arm, like in the third pic above.  Up until now, we've been more-or-less comfortable leaving him unattended on the couch, changing table, our bed, etc....  Well, that's over forever.

With Liz going back to work next week (!!!), we're focusing on trying to get Vansen to sleep longer at night. His first stretch of sleep is often good, as he goes down around 8:30 and can sleep through til 1:30, sometimes a little longer.  But that doesn't do us a ton of good because we often don't get to bed until 11:30 most nights, so it's effectively 2 hours of sleep for us.  And then he's up every 2-3 hours after that.  Liz hasn't slept for 5 hours straight more than once or twice in the past 4 months, and for the most part a 3 hour stretch is standard.  Sounds crazy when I say it like that, but that's the reality.  And now that Huelan is mostly potty trained, she will sometimes get up in the middle of the night asking to get taken to the potty instead of filling her pull-up, so that's another impediment to being well-rested.

I won't catalog all of the strategies we're trying, but Vansen just got moved from the co-sleeper to his own crib in his own room, so we're hoping that helps somehow.  Not sure what the logic there is, but we're game to give it a try.

Also on the subject of sleep, there was a study recently publicized about the role of sleep. It's now believed that during sleep, the brain cells open up and allow fluid to wash out toxins from synapses, perhaps maintaining and improving function.  No sleep = dirty synapses = low functioning.  So science is finally catching up to what new parents have known for eons.

Before Huelan, I rarely drank coffee in the morning.  Haha that was a long time ago.

To me, the most obvious effect of chronic sleep deprivation (isn't that how they torture P.O.W.s & force false confessions?) is difficulty with anything creative.  It just seems to take too much energy.  Or maybe it'll get to a point where we're so tired that we'll reach some uber-creative state, like a hallucinatory, muse-inspired fugue.

Until then, here's what we've been up to in list form, and in no particular order:
- Pumpkin patch! Kind of like a cross between a pumpkin lot and carnival with rides and snow cones.  After Halloween, they truck in the evergreens and gear up for Xmas.  We didn't ride the giant slide this year, which I am regretting.
- Swimming at Anh &  Patty's new pad - warm Walnut Creek and Ly Family Chicken.
- Gosia's family came over for dinner- her twins were here for a month from Warsaw, but went back last week.
- Hannah's third Bday party, with Liz and Karen being nursing twinsies.
- Housewarming at Viv and Jason's- plenty of room for the girls to run around.  It'll seem small once the boys are big enough roam, though.
- FaceTime with Great Grampa.  He only has these two great-grandkids, and he loooooves them.  This was super fun and we'll be doing it again soon.

Pics here

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


We went to a wedding this weekend, only this time Huelan wasn't a flowergirl. She found a way to have just as much anyway, even though we banned her from teaching the other kids her patented Run & Slide®. 

She somehow got Show & Tell at school confused with "hotel," so we spent the night at a "showtel" in Stockton. In addition to her mini bed, this time she also made use of the showtel stationary, drawing a Dora-style map for baby brother. 

She's probably stayed at more hotels and attended more weddings by age four than me at age 20. 

Baby Lawrence

There's no shortage of people who tell us that Vansen looks like me, but in this pic you can totally see the Lee side, specifically his namesake. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Huelan found Liz's old yoga mat today, so we dialed up some youtube Cosmic Kids Yoga, perfect little 15 minute kid-friendly sessions that she just loved. 

If she can keep this going maybe she'll inspire the whole family to shape up. 

Pumpkin Patch

7th Ave Sunset Pumpkin Patch. Halloween is fast approaching, and Huelan's been working herself up for weeks. 

She got her hands on this Halloween catalog from Oriental Trading Company- decorations, costumes, and of course candy. She's been slowly circling her favorite things with her red marker, which she calls shopping. 

I don't want to know what's going to happen when everything's all circled. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tale of the Tape

At three months, Vansen's meeting all of the expected milestones. Our favorite is the social smiling, which he's realized gets him a lot of positive attention. He tracks us across the room and positively lights up when we smile at him.

Though he doesn't quite have control of his vocal chords yet, he's experimenting with squeaks, squeals, and gurgles. And as you can see, he's discovered his hands, though it'll be a while before he figures out how to use them.  

With his robust belly, sausage arms, marshmellow thighs, and generous cheeks, he's like a little cherub. Describing him as an angel might be going too far however, at least until he can bless Liz with more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. 

He weighed in at the doctor's office today at 26.25 inches & 16lb, 10oz.  A growing boy indeed. We're not sure whether he's growing so quickly because he eats all the time or if he needs to eat all the time because he's growing so quickly. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

First Day

We all visited the school a few months ago- a home-based place just four houses down the street from us.  It's been there quite a while, and most of the neighbors sent their kids there, so we felt that it'd be a good place for Huelan to start preschool.  It's set up like a preschool/daycare, with around 8-12 kids there at any given time with Ms. Jan and her twenty-something daughter Ms. Michelle.  You get the feeling from her voice and cadence that Ms. Jan's been at this a long time.

Huelan was so excited the day of her first visit that she wanted to stay (It helped that two girls told her that her dress was pretty).  We went home, but have been talking about preschool periodically since and ramped up the talk in the last week or so.  Her excitement ramped up too, but she let some trepidation show through. When we told her that she wouldn't be going to story time at the library, she said in a soft voice, "But I don't want things to change, I want everything to stay the same."  I would too if I was her- she has it pretty good.

The actual logistics are pretty easy right now.  Since it's just a 5 min walk away and she can pretty much show up any time before 9, we didn't have too much of a time crunch.  The first morning Huelan had the full escort- Mom, Ba, Vansen, and Gosia.  Huelan was a little shy when we walked in at 8:30, and there was just one other kid there, but in a few minutes half the kids had shown up and we were barely able to coral her for a goodbye kiss.  She had jumped in with both feet.

Mom and Ba did okay, too.  We were probably more anxious about how she would do than sad or nostalgic.  I was fully expecting to get a phone call in the middle of the day asking me to pick up Huelan because she was doing atomic knee-drops on the other kids during nap time or she wouldn't stop making fart noises with her mouth until all the monsters were gone.  But no, she did great, and especially loved art time.  Actually the only one of us to shed a tear was Gosia, who's also moving on to another chapter: Vansen.

Some more pics here