25 January 2008


It gives me great pleasure to announce the birth of Trinhity's freshly-minted baby brother, Taison Khai Clark. Like his Chị Hai (big sister), he was born by the strength and resolve of his Mother into the water, into his Father's hands at 9:34 AM Central US on Friday, 25th January 2008.

For news and pictures, you'll just have to check out his blog. How's that for a teaser? Go on, now...

20 January 2008

Christmas. Shaving with Di Trang.

Mama had this great idea: let the kid play with shaving cream. Loads of fun, cheap, doesn't stain, theoretically non-flammable.

Except that she bought shaving GEL instead of cream. Oppps.

Christmas. With Di Van.

Clara (Trinh's autie, aka Di Van) and Trevor came back from New Hampshire for Christmas this year. Got a few pix...

Christmas. With Swords.

Trinh's been big into "dang, dang"-ing things lately. Mostly monsters. And Daddy.

So, naturally, we bought her some swords for Christmas, showed her The Princess Bride, and taught her to say "en garde!".

That one just kills us! She's got the frilly pink princess dress...and a sword. LOVE it.

Christmas. To Ride.

We bought a big ol' rocker / recliner thing in hopes of inducing sleep in the inbound mancub while sitting...as opposed to walking literally miles around the house in the middle of the night.

It came in a big, big box. I sorta decked it out for Trinh: door knobs (on both sides), Christmas lights, furniture, wall-to-wall carpeting, etc. She totally dug it. Especially when she opened it for the first time and found her new tricycle inside.

WEEKS LATER: the box is still in our living room. Hmmm. Note to self....

Christmas. Sorry, Liz!

Catching up here from Christmas. This was from Lights in the Heights. You know who you are.

19 January 2008

I'm an Ant!

If you haven't seen the previous post about The Ant Bully, check it out before you read this one. Not just because it's already my favorite story of 2008, but also because this posting is again about ants.

See, the ants in the movie like to eat jelly beans. After she & I finished the movie yesterday, she went looking for Ông and yelling that she wanted kẹo (candy) for her "Halloween breakfast".

To my chagrin, he offered her a Cadbury Mini-Egg. She loves 'em, and I can't say much since I'm powerless to stop eating those stupid things myself. I worked in a Cadbury chocolate factory during the winter of 2004-05, and they were EVERYWHERE. It was heaven and hell combined, and I'll never admit how many I ate.

Anyhoo, I lured her home with a promise that we'd poke through the leftovers of her Halloween candy stash and see what looked good. About halfway home she got quiet and thoughtful, then burst into tears. The gist: "All we have at home are M&Ms, and M&Ms are yucky. I wanna go back to nhà Ông Bà and eat eggs!!"

I slyly redirected by asking if she was an ant. Yes, she declared emphatically, "I'm an ant!" I said, "Fine! Since you're an ant, we'll go find some jelly beans for you." She agreed.

We got home, dug through the pantry, found the jelly beans, and she eagerly popped a green one into her mouth. She chewed. And chewed. And chewed. And chewed some more. I got her a drink of water.

She took a long swig, then looked up at me and said, "Daddy? I'm not an ant anymore."

Soap Fer Bums

For better or worse, Trinhity's been watching a movie called The Ant Bully at nhà Ông Bà lately. We were mildly disturbed at first by her stories of marauding caterpillars and frogs, but she's been riveted by the film.

She tells us that she's a big gurl, she's not afraid -- until the movie starts, then she claims to be "Trinh nhỏ xíu!" (Trinh's little!) and runs for a lap. Somebody always sits with her, and we explain the action -- she has questions about EVERYTHING. That's how we rationalize her TV time: she isn't alone, we're always actively participating and educating.

There's a scene where the little boy is explaining to his ant friends about an exterminator's weapons, including "sulfur bombs". At that point she turned to Huong and asked, "Tại sao nó có xà bông đít?" Direct translation: "Why does he have soap for the butt?"

Or, as Trinh thought she heard in English: "Why does he have 'soapferbums'?"

07 January 2008

Homage a la Margaritaville

Oh, I wish I had a pencil thin mustache...

...the kind you get from eatin' cream cheese.

I'd smear it around, and I'd make it real fun...

...if you try to wash my face, Daddy, I'm gonna run....

Sweet Baby Chim (reprise)

It's been a long time since my little girl has wanted me to sing to her. For someone who sings pretty much ALL the time, even when I'm not singing out loud, that's been hard.

Heartbreaking, in fact. I mean, last week she told me I was a bad singer, and then later, that she doesn't like Leonard Cohen anymore. Not that she knows who he is. Which might be a good thing.

Anyway, she threw me out of the bedroom tonight at storytime saying that no, she really wanted to go to sleep with Mommy tonight. Daddy go away.

Of course, I always listen on the monitor -- sometimes she does want me to put her to sleep, and I rush upstairs to sneak in as many minutes as I can. Tonight came a new request, though: "Daddy, please sing Sweet Baby Chims to me?"

Oh man, what do you say to that? You sing, of course. So I did -- and she talked through most of it. But I decided not to push my luck, so I stopped after one verse and the chorus, gave her a kiss and said good-night.

She responded (in a pleased voice), "Go away now, Daddy."

C'mere Sweet Big Boy

This has been happening for a couple weeks. It still disturbs me.

One evening I was chasing a little naked girl around the upstairs after her bath, and I said, "Hey! C'mere, little guuuurl...."

She turned around, gave me a sly look and a wicked grin and drawled, "No. You c'mere...big boy."

When do they teach stuff like that to little girls? Is it while we're away fighting the good fight to bring home the bacon? I mean, seriously. It was scary.

Tonight saw a sweeter twist: I hauled her out of her car seat in the garage and said, "C'mere, sweet pea..." She responded with, "C'mere, sweet boy..."

Hallelujah. Maybe there's still a toddler in there somewhere. Instead of a teenager.

03 January 2008


Alert readers may recall a couple relatively recent postings here (and here) that tied back to our photographer friend's blog and website, Rebecca-Linh.

Well, we did a proper photo shoot with her a couple weeks ago, and she posted some proofs last week. She gave us waaay more blog space than we'd anticipated...
Ready for more? Go here.

I really can't say enough nice stuff about Rebecca-Linh. Not only does she get some amazing shots, she possesses Photoshop skills worthy of a magnificent pagan deity. She has treated us like royalty, and she's got a wicked sense of humor to boot.

A small example from the photo shoot: you'll note that our couch is outside. I have no witnesses, but I gotta tell ya, hefting that thing from the living room to the backyard by myself was no small feat.

In fact, I was feeling moderately manly about it.

Within moments of matter-of-factly requesting such a mannish deed, Rebecca-Linh promptly demanded that I paint my daughter's fingernails a lovely shade of hot pink.

Never mind that I paint Trinh's nails all the time, nor that I'm not half-bad at it, nor that I'm the foolish sot who's been pregnant on the internet twice now. It's the irony you're supposed to be getting here, the humourous juxtaposition of macho against emasculated in which Rebecca-Linh seems to find devilish delight.

She's a bit wicked, methinks. We like her.

In fact, we have another shoot scheduled with her in a few weeks, just after the Mancub arrives. She's threatening to make me shave my arms. Check back, you'll want to see this.

Or maybe you won't. But check out her blog and her website. We think it's good stuff.

01 January 2008

Waving from the Carousel

A Little Little People's Music


[still catching up from last year]
Give a toddler a fork, a knife and a Thanksgiving turkey...what happens?

Carvings. Followed by eatings.

Christmas Past

Tasting Notes

It's New Year's Eve -- ah, well, technically it's New Year's Day now...Happy 2008, all.

I'm drinking wine for the occasion, a very respectable Clos du Caillou from 2004, an almost Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate in the Côtes-du-Rhône that's every bit as good as a proper Châteauneuf, but slightly cheaper. (Thanks, Bill!) This brought back memories from a wine tasting back in November.

NOTE: no laws (state, federal, religious or otherwise) were broken during the filming of this event.

First, we savor the wine's appearance: color, swirl. I wasn't brave enough to teach her to swirl. Yet.

Next, the bouquet. She was all about this stage.

Next: the lick. This is a stage in the tasting process that was novel to me, and I'm now firmly convinced that even the most highly regarded oenologists may have overlooked its importance. Trust me, it's a powerful new way to regard a wine.

Of course, the toast. Cheers!! Trinh loves this part. This was actually fairly tricky: see, we've given her a cheap glass, but mine isn't so cheap. She got a little rambunctious with the clinking. Let's just say that I've never heard the glass ring quite like that.

Finally, we savor. My beloved daughter is a fine sommelier in the making. Only 19 more years to go before she can do it with something better than grape juice.

PS: an alert reader and hardcore wine geek pointed out that while I've described my wine, nothing has been said about what Trinh is drinking. I've just chased down the details:
  • Estate: Chateaux Welch
  • Varietal: 100% Concord (although we probably cut it with water -- heresy, I know)
  • Vintage: expiration 14th July 2008
I found the nose somewhat bland and the taste overly sweet, so I was grateful for the water; but those attributes are to be expected given the relative alcohol and tannin content. Trinh didn't have a strong opinion about it.

Some might consider it rather pedestrian, but one of the virtues of the Welch estate is their ability to deliver consistency. One bottle is predictably identical to the next.

PSS: Oh, and a word of caution about the licking -- it's more complex than it appears. For instance, if you have bad dishwashers, you might discover a slight hint of the Cascade, or perhaps a fresh scent of Dawn. It opens a startling new dimension of the wines you know and love.