Friday, July 21, 2017

Apple Cheeks

Take a close look at these three pictures of Asher.  In the top one, he has no facial expression, and in the bottom one he is flashing his megawatt smile.  The middle one, though, is the most beguiling.  When he likes something, he gives us this half-smile, like Mona Lisa.  We call this smile "apple cheeks," and it makes us smile too, not just because it's cute but because we know he is happy. 

Amy or I can be in the grumpiest of moods, but when one of us calls out "apple cheeks," we come running, for a glimpse at a happy boy who is giving us our favorite half-smile.  😁

Monday, July 17, 2017

On Again, Off Again

Welcome home; now it's time to head back out.  That's what this weekend felt like, with Jada and then Aaron returning from separate two-week sleepaway camps, only to then ship them back out to a one-week soccer camp. 

Jada arrived home first and immediately remarked that she would enjoy having a single night of sleep in which neither Aaron was home nor was she surrounded by 10-12 girls.  Aaron's arrival home allowed us to have one solitary family dinner together, albeit one encroached upon by the need for laundry and packing.

The next morning, I took Asher with me to drop Jada and Aaron off at the bus pick-up spot.  Asher is enamored with buses, so to see a real one up close and personal made him quite happy.  I allowed him to board and sit for a second, but once I pulled him off and he realized he wasn't making the trip with his big sibs, he got very upset. 

Once we left, he was fine, but it made me think that someday he will in fact be making the trip.  By then, Aaron and Jada will be college-bound.  Gosh, these kids are growing up so fast!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Spoiled Child

With Jada and Aaron away at sleepaway camps, Asher's sense that the world revolves him has only heightened.  We joke about him being spoiled rotten, but there is a serious side to that too.

On the one hand, we don't coddle our children for precisely the reason that childhood is for building resiliency muscle rather than protecting kids from boredom or hardship or failure.  On the other hand, there is a sense in which you want childhood to be this wonderful phase of safety and bliss and provision.

Of course, 2 years old is when kids are truly terrible, because their sense that the world revolves around them is dissonant with the rest of the world which doesn't act that way.  And there are just as many times that we don't give into Asher than that we do.  He'll be OK.  Even if he's a little spoiled.  And even if some people are warning us not to spoil him, while others goad us to spoil him even more!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Philly's More Fun When You Sleep Over

Amy and I have enjoyed kid-free mini-vacations in Miami and Richmond this year, but over the Fourth weekend we chose someplace a bit closer: home.  Thanks to a cheap hotel downtown, we had an affordable but fun-filled overnighter in Philadelphia.  A few highlights (as well as tips for others and for our future selves):

Monday 1:00pm.  Even taking the bus solo with my wife is a relative luxury.  It arrives just as we get to the bus stop a block from our house, and drops us off across the street from Club Quarters, where we'll be spending the night.

2:00pm.  We drop our stuff of and set a leisurely pace to the Historic District a mile and change away, people-watching and scoping out retail and restaurants along the way.  We take some snaps at Independence Mall and are happily swept up into a street fest with food trucks and ice cream bar giveaways (a refreshing detour in 90+ degree heat!).

3:00pm.  We spent a couple of hours taking in the newest addition to the Historic District, the Museum of the American Revolution.  It is a well-done museum and the only downside is that it is so popular that it is uncomfortably crowded in parts.  But I am reminded of how improbable victory was (against an imposing British navy) and how dissonant it was to fight for ideals while being far from upholding them (all men are created equal, unless you are black, native American, or female). 

6:00pm.  We double back to our hotel area, change clothes, and take in the 360-degree views at the Observation Deck at One Liberty Place.  A beautiful day to take in such nice sight lines. 

7:00pm.  Dinner and drinks at Continental, ice cream at Ben & Jerry's.  It's amazing how different it is to do dinner and dessert with vs. without kids (stating the obvious). 

8:00pm.  Speaking of which, a subtle but wonderful luxury for us, since we aren't late night folks, is just basking in a little TV in the evening.  Shark Tank plus a documentary on an E. coli outbreak at a peanut farm hit the spot.  Yeah, we're living it up!

Tuesday 6:00am.  A rare morning where I can take my time with my workout.  I opt for a long and meandering run to Gray's Ferry Crescent, cutting through the Penn campus on the way out and South Philly and the way back.  Despite getting slightly lost a couple of times, I make it back before running out of steam...barely. 

8:00am.  Breakfast buffet at XIX Nineteen.  Lovely setting.  The cold breakfast is so good we should've just stuck with that instead paying extra to access the hot breakfast, too.  No matter, we got our money's worth either way. 

9:00am.  A long nap after a long run and a big breakfast is so, so good.  If I am ever lucky enough to retire, I would spent every morning this way.  Alas, eventually we have to check out of our room and get back to reality.  Still, it was a very good getaway.  (And a short bus ride home!)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

All-American Family

If you take our three kids' Gotcha Days (Jada 10/10, Aaron 6/9, Asher 4/21) and average them out, you end up at just about exactly July 4.  How fitting.  So we're celebrating our all-American family today!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Huang Family Newsletter, June 2017

Jada and Aaron were delighted to end the school year. Jada ended up with year-round grades of half A's and B's, while Aaron got all A's except 2 B's.  They also finished all of their extra-curriculars (swimming, karate, gymnastics, choir), so a long and lazy summer of sleeping in and sleepaway camps awaits.

Meanwhile, Asher is learning more words and being his general terrible twosy self.  He had his first dental visit, which was quite an adventure.  His parents cycle quickly between being at their wit's end and showering him with kisses.  It's good to be the king.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Another Failed Adoption

Amy and I are saddened to report that we have suffered another failed adoption.  We did not tell many people about this possible match that we had been working on for the past six weeks because of the complexities involved with the baby's situation, complexities that I would prefer not to disclose to maintain discretion and complexities that ultimately made this adoption impossible to complete.

So we are saying a regretful goodbye to that little baby-to-be, and are back to waiting, with even heavier hearts.  It pains us to think we may never be able to add one more baby to our family.  And it is super stressful to live in this ongoing uncertainty of not knowing if and when a major life event is going to take place.  This is where we are now, and we could use your prayers to keep us afloat.