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Our morning conversation:

Kalena: “If you sleep walk, you will drown.”

Kai: “if you sleep walk near a pool, you will get burned and drown in the hot tub”

Me: “Kai, let’s not talk about things like that. Are you guys excited about going camping in 2 days?”

Kalena: “CAMPING!!!”

Me: “Don’t forget to pack your bags today with me”

Kalena: “CAMPING!!!”

Kai: “You’re too loud, Kalena. You are goin to break my ear drums.”

Kalena: ” Ear drums? Hahahahaha!!”

(Kai looks at me, confused).

Me: “She doesn’t know what ear drums are, Kai.”

Kai: “Kalena, ear drums are when a guy is in your ears, drumming like this (pretends to drum). Hahaha, I’m just kidding.


The kids were allowed to save 10 treats from Halloween to eat one a day. Kai remembered as soon as he got up from his nap, and chose a small bag of potato skins chips to eat. he made sure kalena had a snack to eat, too as they say together enjoying their treats at the table. then they had their little conversation together:

“kalena, sit at the table to eat please”.

“okay, Kai”.

“do you like it”?


“hmm…(referring to his chips) why do they make this SO good?! is this made of potatoes, mom?”

“yes kai, can you believe it? And you say you don’t like potatoes”. (me)

kai: “raise your hand if you like potatoes”.

we all raise our hand up.

during the egg hunt kai missed out on some eggs because he was telling me about each egg he found, one by one.  got to train him up for next year!

Kai has (thankfully) started to realize that diapers aren’t all that great sometimes. On ocassion I will find him trying scratch a spot that is rubbing or uncomfortable. “it’s sratchy here”, he tells me.

The most unusual time is when I find him jumping onto his bottom continuosly all around the living room. “what are you doing, kai?” I ask. “it’s sratch”. Oh, but of course that’s what you are doing.

Things our son does that makes me think he is not a baby anymore, or just laugh:

-his ability to navigate any app on the iPhone without tutorials
-singing the lyrics to a local song, “Ehu Girl”, “I’m Yours” and some Lady Gaga.
-telling R to put the coral in “time out” because it stratched his knees up while surfing. (things that hurt people go in time out).
-saying, “oh my goodness!” and “shoot!” (whoops).
-being able to comfort his sister to make her stop crying
-Singing ABC’s and Old MacDonald to himself at night before falling asleep.
-trying to nurse his sister
-his ability to express his feelings verbally
-reminding Aunty to take off her shoes when inside the house

i can’t believe how much you forget after you’ve had a kid.  you particularly realize this when you have another one (and another, at least i’ve been told).

kalena is an awesome baby.  i cannot complain.  she sleeps well and is very straight forward.  or, most likely i was just an idiot with kai and he was almost just as easy (minus the gas).

kai is adjusting as well as can be expected to all this new change.  he loves his “cute” little sister (as he calls her), and is very helpful.  sometimes i wish he could understand a little more in terms of communication, though.  often our conversations go like this:

me/rick – “Kai, we don’t stand on the couch.  Please sit down.”

kai keeps standing on the couch.

me/rick – “Kai! Don’t do that.  You could get hurt.  You understand?!”

kai – “what.”

i feel like we keep having this same conversation over and over again with various things, and all he says back is “what.”  it’s like he thinks when you say, “do you understand?” you are supposed to respond with “what.” (meaning yes?)

it’s been so long since i’ve posted here.  life has been happening too fast for me to record anywhere but in my memory, which is rapidly fading.  i forgot what it’s like not to get solid sleep.  i’ve had plenty of short sleep nights but it is tough to readjust to an hour or two at a time.  kai has been pretty good about all this, but i’m sure his time will come.  i try to help out where i can, but sometimes alicia has to wake me up several times before i am conscious.

i took some shots in the hospital – tried to keep it clean and unobtrusive while at the same time being “there” in the moment for my daughter’s birth.  we have some favorite shots of kai when he first came out that we don’t show anyone else, but enjoy looking at privately to remember what a miracle his birth was.

let me just say that it is great to have family support at a time like this.  i don’t know how we would get by otherwise.  as we were warned, 1+1 is much more than 2 when it comes to kids.  i have greater respect for parents as time goes on and i experience the challenges of raising a growing family.

we love little kalena and will need to make sure she gets the same documentary photojourney her brother did.  thanks for all of your well wishes and advice.  lots of posting is going up on facebook so be sure to keep track there.



wow.  two months since the last post.  you can probably tell that moving caught up with us.  it was not my new year’s resolution to quit blogging.  but such is life – you prioritize, and much of what i would normally post on here to benefit the majority of our previous audiences was actually experienced in person by those same people.  our geographic shift has in turn changed the purpose of our blog slightly as we become more involved in the day-to-day of certain friends and family members.

for the rest of you, though, here’s a quick update of the last few weeks.  kai experienced his first bout of cold weather as we visited with family in utah.  zero degrees (fahrenheit), snow, ice, shivering, all that.  fortunately the humidity was nonexistent and i still wore a t-shirt while i shoveled snow off the driveways.kai and his hat

we spent some great family time with the chenns, eating lots of yummy food and playing with nieces and nephews.  it was an adjustment to get used to driving everywhere and seeing american prices (both higher and lower than hong kong in various cases).  it was nice to have lots of space to play, clean air to breathe and beautiful views over cache valley.

food collage

we did the nativity, had christmas presents, took family photos, and made plans to take over the world.  the cousins all got to play together quite a few times.  it was great to have the whole family all in one place.

chenns - familywe managed to squeeze in a few visits with friends as well – mostly people we hadn’t seen since moving to hong kong and in some cases for many years.  it’s nice when you have friends that you can go years without seeing yet when you get together things slip right back into place without any awkwardness.  speaking of which, “awkward” is an awkward word to type.

img_8413jan and juliareflecting poolExtended Abelmann familyjuliamarlenamarcelodallinAll in all, a great way to end the year in preparation for a very new 2009.

kai is almost always a happy, good natured kid.  most of my pictures reflect his cheeser grin, cackling laugh or contemplative looks.  so i thought i should show you what he looks like when he is mad/sad/grumpy.  his brows furrow up and his lips purse out.  he gets a little whine in his voice.  and when he really gets going, he cries from way in the back of his throat (which tends to trigger his gag reflex…).  of course, we love this part of him too.



we spent some time visiting grandma chenn, aunt helena and alicia’s cousin nathania and her family.   we enjoyed a fantastic lunch (too busy eating, no pics) in san mateo and then spent the afternoon hanging out at grandma’s house.  kai enjoyed getting to know his cousins once removed.  if you need a guide on degrees of cousinage, check here.



"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it."

~ Steve Jobs

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