NICU 2019

“They say you never want to be in NICU, but you are grateful if you have to be.” Curie and Elia are NICU alums spending 4 days for Curie and 18 days for Elia. We go every year to say thank you and bring chocolates, even though in Labor and Delivery most of the staff has turned over – people like our friend Emma have long moved on. Analise, Ray, and James are still at NICU but we went after 9:00 PM so we didn’t see them. This year the Labor and Delivery nurses were all at the nursing station and asked the kids their ages it was so nice to interact with them, at least one of them remembered us from past years. At NICU, the lady let the kids into the front doors into the foyer and also asked them their ages. For some reason we take a family picture in the security mirrors in the hallway when we go, so here is this year’s – we Chens have a lot of traditions.

Old Navy Cat Hat

The girls rocking the cat hat beanie (Old Navy 2018 collection), also a reminder of how good the phone cameras have gotten. It is also a reminder of how much better window lighting is to restaurant lighting.

Albert’s 50th Birthday Weekend

So first, thank you to everyone for their birthday wishes, and to Erin for trying to plan dinners with friends – since canceled or rain-checked. We were derailed because Curie got the flu the night before on Elia’s birthday and we have been worried and taking care of her since. Good news is that she has been fever free for the past 36 hours, so we are grateful, and grateful Elia seems flu-free and grateful we got our flu shots – the Type B going around was not part of the prediction this year but her flu lasted about 3 days instead of 7 as they say. BTW here is a picture of the girls, Elia from Sunday, and Curie from yesterday – evidently feeling better.
Before you begin about how sorry you are that this happened on my 50th birthday, 1) we already celebrated in Japan earlier this year, 2)Julie was willing to brave the flu and babysit for us for a few hours so we could see Star Wars on opening day. And 3) the silver lining is this – we did some Chengineering (check out those pictures too), we held Curie every night to soothe her to sleep, played with Elia while Curie slept, and held Elia in the guestroom so that she wouldn’t get sick. Playing with your kids and holding your kids while they sleep? Not a bad birthday weekend at all.

Some Art

Anniversary Moon. Shot hand held and un-cropped with Erin’s Nikon P900. I did color and contrast correct.
Computer generated water color of a nuthatch in our backyard.

Happy 12th Anniversary!

Erin once asked me, “why don’t you write letters to me any more?” To which I laughed and replied, “because you never wrote me back.” She laughed also and said “I guess I needed to do that.” I once wrote Erin a love letter to our kids that we did not have yet apologizing to them that I will love their mother more. 

Parenting can be amazing, full of joy and fulfillment watching your kids find joy and grow. Parenting can also be trying, each putting in 110% and yet seeing the house still messy or finding your spouse still asleep at 10 AM,  or passed out on the couch at 8 PM feeling like the other is not pulling their weight, even though both of you are trying to do their best and not everything is getting done. Parenting can feel filled with guilt that you are doing all you can yet feeling as though you are doing nothing well. And even when you forgive yourself for all those feelings, parenting can feel transactional doing what needs to be done and not finding time for each other. 

There are parents who have date nights or weekends away, but we feel so away from our kids when we are away from them that we don’t really do it. There are too many trips for work that we spend away, and time can feel so short. So we find other ways, we sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and talk for two hours like we did when we were dating. We hold hands in the mall as the kids run on ahead of us. We kiss in front of our kids eliciting knowing glances and “ooohs” between them. We laugh at our own foibles and forgive each other’s angers. We step in when the other is exhausted, we pull our weight to get the kids to the bus. We take care of each other when we are sick or tired, or sad. We take the time to say “I love you” every day and talk every day for the past 14 years. We learn to laugh at ourselves and with each other to grow together, and in growing together, we work to fulfill our vows we made 12 years ago. What can be more romantic than that? Happy anniversary Erin. I love you.