Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day

My brother changed his FB profile pic to this one.  It's what my dad's flagpole used to look like, not just on Memorial Day, but everyday.

Long Weekend

Everyone loves a long weekend.  Somehow, it seems like long weekends are the only opportunities that we have enough time to get anything done around the house.  Of course that's not really true, but it seems like with all the hustle and bustle and more hustle of getting through a regular week/everyday, a long weekend provides such a welcome breather.

We did a pretty decent job this weekend of both Maxing and Relaxing.  We had a few peeps over for some pulled pork (14lbs worth went in tummies and doggie bags) to celebrate Mel's Birthday, Part II: Chill Edition. Sunday was mostly dedicated to sleep and recuperation, then a nice sunny Monday running through the sprinklers with Laurie and Sophia while I cleaned the garage top to bottom.  No fewer than 40 spiders lost their lives that afternoon.

Great to feel like a lot was accomplished while still getting our recharge on.

Some pics here:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Flyin Part 2

This pic makes it look like I'm wearing a toupe. It's a decent look I'm considering it...

So two weeks ago Huelan and I took a long weekend and flew down to SoCal for Jonathan's graduation from Cal St. Fullerton. Contrary to the stories I've heard, he said it was pretty easy to knock out in four years, no summer school or anything. We're super proud of him, and he even managed to lock down a job at Yamaha in the Motorsports division, just 5 miles from home!

Given the hot weather, even by OC standards, my mom prohibited Huelan from going to the ceremony. She heard that some kids and senior citizens fainted the day before, so we got nixed. So we took the morning and went to the beach and shared a milkshake at In-N-Out. Not a bad consolation.  

More pics from that weekend here:

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I have no idea...
Jonathan just graduated from college. It was great having the family back together to celebrate.

Click for more pictures.

I just started posting again because my mom was totally bugging me about it.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Somebody's excited about flying to visit Ba Noi!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mothers' Day

The top collage is two recent pics of Ba Noi juxtaposed with a pic of her well before she was Ba Noi, taken in Hong Kong during our six-month residence in a refugee camp there, when I was still an only child. 

Fast forward about 36 years and here we are, feeding Vansen his first pho noodles at a Vietnamese restaurant in Oakland. Whood-a-thunk?

(Not-at-all-surprising fact of the day: he loved his pho and couldn't get enough.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Set, Hike

We found this brand new infrant carrier backpack for sale at Urban Ore for $7, which is way below the threshold for me caring about the possible effects of a carrying my son in a pink backpack. He actually really dug it. 

Seeing as how we live across the street from a regional park with dozens of miles of hiking trails, we're slightly embarrassed that this was our first time venturing past the play structures. We only did about a mile, but it was a good start, and we not only survived, but had a really nice time. The lookout point we "summitted" gave us an clear view across Diablo Valley to Mt. Diablo and beyond. Huelan was impressed, though slightly concerned about the illuatrated warnings at the trail head for bobcats, foxes, and deer. 

Next time, packing a lunch?

Monday, May 5, 2014


Pretty much every kid from 3-13 can belt out a few lines from their favorite Frozen song.  Huelan combines her love of those songs with her desire to put off going to sleep for as long as possible.  I recorded this from the hallway outside of her room, where she is going through one of the Frozen songs, adding a few new lines, and generally rebelling against bedtime.  To herself, in the dark.

Tale of the Tape

His 10 month check up today, and he weighed in at 24.5lbs, 30inches long. That's 94th & 93rd percentiles, respectively. Still a big kid, but leaning out a tad with all the exercise he's been getting in. 

We mentioned to the doc during our last visit that we thought Vansen had some kind of allergic reaction, but we couldn't identify what he was allergic to. We still haven't figured it out, she she sent us for a blood test to check out all the usual suspects. It took both of us to hold him down and still while the not-super-friendly phlebologist drew THREE vials of blood. Thankfully it only took one stick, but Vansen did not like it at all. The screaming. The tears. Oh my. 

The look on the face of the lady in the waiting room holding her 9month old, waiting for their turn, was one of apprehension bordering on terror. 


This is a prime example of the ephemeral nature of little kids.  His laugh will change, and our ability to bring it out in him will change.  I'm just leaving this here to remind ourselves down the line what a little Vansen laugh sounded like when he's driving us nuts around age 6 (or 12, or 15, or 24...).

Thursday, May 1, 2014


This is his scoot.  He is quite a capable crawler, too, but he prefers this modality when he can.  He maybe gets a little better POV from his head being higher vs. crawling, but mainly I think it's the speed.  He can easily get from one end of the house clear to the other end, which is basically his whole world.  We recently put in a gate at the top of the stairs, so we let him roam freely on the main floor and he totally digs it.  His own room he's not that in to, but he loves raiding the accessible shelves in Huelan's room.

He knows when he's about to do something or go somewhere that we might not allow.  His gait changes a bit, slows down, and he pauses every few scoots to see if we're going to check him.  He's already got his little mischievous smirk working, and when we give him permission to explore something new, he grins broadly.

His world has not just expanded laterally; in the past few weeks he's also discovered that there's a whole universe above his head.  He can pull himself up to standing using basically anything as a crutch.  He generally looks around, reaches for stuff, then gets himself stranded and needs help getting back down to his bottom.

As if Around and Up wasn't enough for him to explore, he's also getting In.  As in In cabinets, and In drawers. It seems like he's learning all of this stuff at once.  Over the past 2-3 weeks you can almost see a new spark in his eyes, a sign that he's beginning to sense that there's a whole world of things for him to see and touch (and taste).  Then after a little while he gets tired, sucks his thumb, and wants a nap.