Wow, things have been busy! Family visits, Milo turning six months, our first dragon boat race (and grandparents’ full day of babysitting), and the grand finale: last week Milo and I went our separate ways. I’m officially back at work and Milo has started daycare. Sigh. Despite already feeling overwhelmed, I’m still hopeful for multiple blog posts. First up: the Duong reunion!
My last two weeks on maternity leave was spent with my whole family in town. My older sister Cookie, her husband Sylvain, and 3-year-old Yohan traveled all the way from France, my parents arrived a week later, and even Tata Chippy’s guy boldly visited during our big, fat reunion. It was a full house and we had an awesome time.
Cookie and Sylvain hadn’t been to Portland since our wedding in 2007. That time it was wedding season as they had just gotten married two months prior. This time it was kid season. Instead of planning bridal showers and buying last-minute decorations, we coordinated naps and feeding schedules and Cookie added to Milo’s modest toy collection. Instead of climbing at Smith Rock, we climbed play structures. Lots of them. We did manage to hike up to Pittock Mansion.
The first week was rainy so we spent a lot of time at the MAC. Yohan couldn’t get enough of the inflatable moon bounce at the tiny tots gym. One time we arrived before it started and he ran over and started jumping on the deflated plastic. We went to a Timbers game, my first in fact. No goal but the French always enjoy a game of football. We adults took advantage of the indoor tennis courts + daycare. Now that was a score!
Cookie and I played tennis almost every day. Hitting with Cookie is like marathon tennis. She is a wall. By the end of the trip, my foot and her wrist were feeling the 20-30 ball rallies, but we kept saying, “One more ball…” What a dangerous treat.
Since Ben was working, we had to coordinate 4 adults and 2 carseats with one car, and ending up going via Streetcar or strollers. Sure, there was one hustle in the pouring rain but it did end up in taking shelter at Little Big Burger. And this mode of transportation didn’t just make Yohan laugh:
Food of course was an important theme. We showed these Frenchies our staples: homemade pizza, chicken makhani, sushi, bagels + cream cheese, Papa Hadyn’s, and Ben’s chocolate chip cookies. When my parents arrived, though she said she wouldn’t, Ba cooked a feast every night.
The second week the sun cleared up and to keep all parties entertained, we visited every park with a play structure adjacent to a tennis court. The kids LOVED the swings.
Ben and I took advantage of having so many babysitters in town. Tata Cookie has always been a natural with kids, having cared for her two sisters and babysat all our cousins. She put Milo to bed no problem (ok, she learned a few things the first night) while both Ben and I got to go to dragon boat practice. The icing on the cake was getting to race! Ba and Ong took Milo for the whole day — 12 hours, 4x my longest stretch apart from Milo. “No problem,” she says.
There were many, many attempts to do cousins shots. It wasn’t easy! They managed to always nap, eat, or be grumpy at opposite times. But with Tata Cookie’s touch, Chippy’s camera skills, and darn cute babies, the photos turned out great.
And finally, a photo of the whole crew. We miss you all already and can’t wait for part deux this summer!