Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Huelan's not upset that Eva is fixing her hair. This is a selfie, with the phone set up so that she can see herself as she's snapping pics. This girl practices these faces in the mirror, or really, any relfective surface- sliding glass door, car widows, glass case at the supermarket. 

Sometimes she put her hands on her hips. 

It's not always a furrowed look, either. She has Surprised, Pleading, and my favorite, Coy (complete with averted eyes and rapid blinking).  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Deja Vu

Three and a half years ago, we took Huelan out to her first leisurely brunch. Our first real restaurant meal together was at Aunt Mary's, when she was about six weeks old. We've got Vansen out a little ahead of that schedule- Aunt Mary's at three weeks. 

He slept through the entire meal, and Liz and I actually got to talk to one another for a few minutes. Liz decided that she hasn't been missing much. 

This commemorative pic is one of the ones of Vansen where he looks markedly more like a Lee than a Ly, especially juxtaposed with Huelan at six weeks. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

So Far, So Good (Mostly)

Three weeks into this thing! And we're only slightly worse for the wear.  Vansen has been remarkably easy. Yes, I realize that I just completely jinxed us.

I actually remember this phase from when Huelan first came home as well- other than feeding and diaper changes, there aren't a lot of duties.  Of course the feeding and diaper changes happen around the clock with no regard for the circadian rhythms of adults with jobs, but as far as intensity of care, it's not too bad.  And this time, we've already been inoculated to N.A.D., which helps tremendously.  We've barely even picked up a book this time around....

And yet he seems to be thriving.  He left the hospital weighing 7lb, 14oz, but at this 2-week appt had plumped up to 8lb, 10oz.  The kid is insatiable.  In fact, Liz can't keep up and we've been supplementing with formula 2-3 times a day just to keep the feedings close to 2 hrs apart.  Liz generally uses feeding time to read on her iPhone, and I think she's almost finished the internet.

So far, the most challenging part of having two kids is the first kid.  She's super-sweet with her little brother, always angling to get in a hug and kiss, but with us it was tantrum city, especially around dinner time.  We were told to expect some regression, and we certainly got it.  But, like us, she is slowly adjusting and getting back to herself a little each day.

Thanks for all the kind words, gifts, and (most appreciated) visits.  We're pretty home-bound, but it being summer, we've have taken Vansen out a few times already (it was about 5 weeks before we took Huelan out to a restaurant brunch, but that was January).

Some Pics Here

Monday, July 15, 2013

Looks Like

When Huelan was born, the second thing I said to Liz was that she looks like me. An apology of sorts. Though it's very early still, I think this looks like Mama. Especially this pic:

Haha, sorry I can't resist a cheap laugh!

Friday, July 12, 2013


Lawrence Vansen has been with us for a week already, and we're not sure if it feels like a lot longer or a lot shorter.  It started after dinner at OB Town- spicy and garlicky KFC (Korean fried chicken).  We ended the evening with me apologizing to Liz about the burps that even I had to admit were noxious.

This was the evening of July 2, Anh's birthday, and the Official Due Date.  Since we were put on High Alert weeks ago with no signs of labor, we let this day pass just like the rest and settled in for the night around 11PM.  

The last time Liz went into labor, the initial signs were subtle and the hospital discouraged us from coming in too early (it was the day after Christmas- plenty of time to make a sandwich of leftovers and watch some TV). When we got to triage last time, contractions were still about five minutes apart, Liz was under-dilated,  and they asked us to walk around a little before they would admit us!  This one went down way differently.  

A little after 1:00AM, Liz woke up feeling a little weird.  Maybe it was the KFC?  But after she got out of bed, she noticed something unusual- a series of small puddles on the bathroom floor.  The light was low... could it be? Well, definitely maybe!  She wakes me up, and I call the hospital for instructions (since we have been approaching this pregnancy pretty casually, we failed to go through and drill on all the scenarios like we did last time).  Except the only number I have for the hospital on my phone is to the OR, where a janitor answers and puts me on hold for what seems like 20 minutes.  Finally, I speak with an L&D nurse, and she says if we think the water's broken, come in for a look under the hood.  Hearing this news, Liz promptly has her first contraction.  The next one comes a short three minutes later (!!!) and they continue to pile up at increasingly shorter intervals.  We're both unquestionably awake now, and know it's time to board the baby train cuz it's about to leave the station.

It's a blessing that Nhuanh is staying with us, and that she's not yet fully asleep, because we're now unexpectedly in a hurry and Huelan's fast asleep.  She comes upstairs and takes this picture of us and our hospital luggage. Maybe this is the last ever picture of a pregnant Liz?

(Looks like we're going on vacation)

The scene at Alta Bates was kind of comedy.  We pull up almost simultaneously with two other couples who are obviously headed to the same place as us.  We all head up the path, with each couple alternating between a brisk walking pace and total standstill to brace and breathe. An overhead view would remind you of one the races they show on the big screen at ballgames, where each couple is represented by a colored BART car that jets ahead, then falls behind, wanders around in a circle, and finally gets back on track to jostles for position. We came in second (which kinda bugged both of us).  By the time we got through triage, Liz is powering through contractions less than two minutes apart, and I'm doing my best not to burp in Liz's general direction.

In contrast to Huelan's delivery, this one was rather straightforward.  The epidural was administered without incident (more on this later), and soon Liz's intense waves of contractory pain smoothed out into manageable ripples of pressure and tightness.  After the nurse determined that Liz was at a full 10 centimeters, it was time to push.  (Us being on the imperial system I've attached the photo below to illustrate what 10cm looks like, using an iPhone4 for scale.)

Huelan's delivery was pretty dramatic, necessitating a full staff in the room- probably the OB plus six or seven nurses.  This time was more conventional, comparatively serene, with just the OB and one nurse. Soon It soon became apparent that this kid was also going to start life with a full, thick, enviable head of hair.

Lawrence Vansen Ly joined us soon thereafter- officially logged on Wednesday, July 3, 6:19AM- at a girthy 8lbs, 5.9oz.  He took about a 6 second survey of the scene, sucked in his first deep lungful, then quickly began continuously linking loud, toothless screams end to end until he was plopped down in his exhausted mama's arms.  My garlic breath does not seem to have effected his appetite, and like a true Ly/Lee, he immediately latched and drank hungrily, kicking off a long life of comfort eating.

It's incredible what slips out of our memories against our will. They say that's the reason anyone ever decides to have a second child- we block out the details of what the first one was like.  For instance, neither Liz nor I remember me cutting the cord the first time, though I'm sure I must have.  It's got a rubbery,octopus like texture that give even the surgical grade hospital scissors resistance.  And the particular color of a newborn, a completely organic purple-gray.  The pointy shape of the baby's crown before the nurse covers it with a baby cap.  The relief-joy at seeing ten fingers and toes and hearing those first primal baby screams.  The heady rush of life flashing before your eyes when you hold your wiggly kid in the first few minutes of his life.

Lynn and Larry, who left their house at 3AM, were there before the pushing really started in force, and were the first ones in the room after Lawrence was born. Lynn swears that she was dreaming about delivery when her phone rang, and had their bag packed near the door.

Liz had some minor complications that have stretched out the recovery timeline a little, but she's doing better by the day.  A persistent headache attributed to a combination of a dural puncture and anemia.  Still, she's stronger at her weakest than me at my strongest.  Vansen is eight days old now, and he's been quite easy for the most part.  Speaking as parenting veterans, these first few weeks are relatively easy as long as we accept the sleep deprivation and take extra care not to accidentally sit on the child.

His sister, however, has been dialing up more than enough challenges to keep us busy.

Some pics from our week here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's a Boy!!!

That's what my mom and dad said 34 years ago, when Anh was born in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Happy Birthday, Chu Ti!

What were you excpecting?