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As of 2016, this blog, Pancakes in Bed, is no longer active. Please come find us at!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Farewell Pancakes

It's a time of great transition for our family. Lots of opportunities for new, fresh starts. And I've decided, along with James, that it's time for a fresh start to my blog writing.

It's time to say goodbye to this, my very first blog, Pancakes in Bed.

Feels hard to let go! This blog enabled me to write and share about many things very dear to my heart over the past three years. This blog has helped me hold safe our family's memories and stories. And those posts which are so special to me aren't going to disappear entirely, but I am going to take our stories and my writing to a new website starting now.

My goals are to be more cohesive in my content: focusing on our adventures in parenting and toddler activities, and to be a little bit more private with personal details of our life. My intention for my new blog is to continue writing for my own enjoyment - and sanity! - and to continue sharing our family's story. I think when families open up and tell their stories to one another it reveals how much we have in common, how much we can learn from each other, and that we are not alone. I want to reach out and be part of that connection.

As for more personal details and pages and pages of adorable pictures of Calvin and Henry... well, we'll find a way to share those things with just the people who should really get to see them :)

Thank you for being here and reading Pancakes in Bed. It means the world to me.

I am excited to share with you my brand new, still under construction blog: Surprisingly Special. I hope you'll come over and follow our stories there!


Friday, January 8, 2016


Before I let this new year get too far ahead of me, I want to share our family's quote for 2016. 

Rather than making resolutions, I like setting an intention for the year and I like choosing a quote that resonates with that intention. And a hashtag ;) I started doing this in 2014, and I'm keeping up the tradition this year. 

Last year I read and loved two books by Brené Brown. She is a research professor at the University of Houston and she has spent the last decade plus researching vulnerability, shame, worthiness, and courage by listening to many, many people's personal stories and analyzing them for common threads that can shed light on what these concepts look like and mean in real lives. Her books are wonderful. I read The Gifts of Imperfection, which is about what it means to live an authentic life - to live life from a place of worthiness. And James and I both read Daring Greatly, which is about vulnerability and why vulnerability is the most important part of courage. 

So this year's quote comes from that book, Daring Greatly.  

Here we are in a new town, in a new state, closer to our east coast family, but more than an hour drive away from any of them, looking at new jobs, new schools, new people, new home, new everything. 

And it's exciting!

And it's scary!!

And at the moment, our new house is the only place that feels like home and I really just want to hole up in here with the kids and enjoy a life of solitude and not bother making friends or looking at schools or thinking about going back to work or any of that hard, scary stuff. K? Thanks. Bye. 

Ok, no. Of course I'm not going to let myself do that. But this year I clearly need a quote that will help me feel brave enough to get out of the house and learn my way around this new town and try to make some mom-friends and get my kids enrolled in therapy and school and train for this half marathon that my sisters-in-law have gotten me into and - gulp - look into going back to work and decide what I want to be when I grow up. 

All of those things make me want to throw up and then get back in bed and hide under the covers. 

But ok, Brené, I believe you. For me, showing up definitely feels like the hardest part. Lacing up my running shoes and walking out the door. Getting the kids dressed, wrangled into their car seats, and pulling out of the driveway. Clicking "Publish" on a new blog post. Clicking "Join" on a local parents group online. Speaking up to actually talk to a stranger in real life.

Showing up means being seen, and being seen means taking the risk of feeling rejected. But showing up and being seen also means taking a chance that I'll be accepted just as I am. And it means putting myself out there to experience and learn and grow.

Last night there was an information session on Kindergarten and Pre-K programs in our county that was organized by a local parent group on Facebook. James had joined the group and found out about the meeting the day before. He suggested that it would be useful for me to go. I suggested that the thought of going to a meeting with a bunch of strangers to talk about something as stressful as school choices was going to make me throw up. I could feel the tension creeping up my arms and into my shoulders and neck. But I knew he was right and it was a good opportunity and it made more sense for me to go and not him because I'm the one who takes care of enrolling and making appointments and scheduling therapies and classes for the kids. So I reminded myself of this quote and I went to the meeting. And I didn't even throw up. And I met another mom with a son with special needs. And we chatted about transitioning from Early Start services into public school services and how confusing it all is.

And when I got home and told James all about it he said, "Thank you for being brave."

As a family, we did a big, brave thing at the end of last year. We showed up here in Durham! Here we are! As exciting and scary as it may be, for better or for worse, we took the chance. And now we've got to keep showing up and taking chances so that we can keep growing and enjoying life, and find a sense of belonging here in this new place with all these new people.

So here's to a year of being brave and showing up. Showing up, being seen, risking rejection, and taking a chance on finding a place to belong. Because everybody deserves to be seen and to belong.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Top 10 Moments of 2015

Happy New Year!!

I want to start off the new year with a little recap of our family's big events of 2015. It will give me a chance to think about what I am really thankful for from the past year, and it will also give me an opportunity to share about Henry's latest and greatest milestone which I can't believe I haven't written about on the blog yet!! 

So here we go! Here's our top 10 of 2015!

1. Calvin's Palate Repair Surgery

A big deal for our "22qT" (Get it? Because 22q deletion.) This was his second surgery, the first being a hernia repair when he was 5 months old. In this surgery, he had one last hernia repaired, and he had his submucosal cleft palate repaired. (Check out the post from his surgery for the details.)

While it does not seem to have had an immediate impact on his speech, it was a necessary first step toward getting his palate and the surrounding anatomy as functional as possible. It's complicated. Every time I try to explain it I'm afraid I'm getting parts of it wrong... but basically there is likely at least one more surgery in his future to help him with his speech development, but this surgery had to happen first. And it went as well as could be expected. And we're so thankful to have had awesome doctors working on our little guy. 

2. Our Magical trip to Disneyland

I'm so glad we got this trip to Disneyland and California Adventure in before we said our goodbyes to the west coast. And I'm not even remotely sorry that the boys were so little that they won't remember it. James and I will remember it and we'll remember how happy it made them at the time and how much fun we had as a family. And we'll all relive it through the pictures! 

3. Camping with Toddlers

We went on 4 camping trips last year, bringing our total to 6 camping trips since the babies were born. We got to enjoy different parts of California's gorgeous landscape... redwoods, hills, lakes, the bay... we even got to visit an observatory and see planets and stars and stuff. Our little urban babies (at the time) got to get dirty and enjoy some nature. And by the 6th time around, I think we pretty much got the hang of it. On the Must Bring list: just-add-water pancake mix, lots of baby wipes, glow sticks, and a laid-back, I-don't-care-how-dirty-the-kids-get attitude. (Seriously, toddlers will get SO DIRTY. SO SO DIRTY.)

Here are my past posts about our camping trips:
China Camp
Little Basin
Fremont Peak

4. Calvin Went to Preschool

I was so nervous about sending Calvin to preschool! But in all respects it turned out to be a good experience. His teachers were so kind and patient with him (and with me!). The class was very play-based. Calvin got to have his speech therapy one-on-one twice a week at school. And he loved going to school. In fact, I am feeling a little mom-guilt about the fact that we are not putting him into preschool again until the fall... For a few reasons, mainly financial, we are going to keep him tot-schoolin' with me at home until next school year. I know he will be excited when he gets to go to preschool again! In the meantime, I am going to enjoy having him at home for a few more months. And I know Henry is happy to have his brother around again too :) 

5. Mom and Dad did some Races

James and I are pretty proud of our fitness accomplishments of last year. We ran two 5Ks with City Beer Runs in the spring, and then I started training for the Giant Race 10K in August. Meanwhile, James was continuing to do his bike-train commute to San Jose, and once or twice a month he would bike the entire 60 miles from SF to SJ. This helped him train for the Marin Century race in which he rode a total of 135 miles, including biking to the race early in the morning!

James and I ran the Giant Race 10K together in August. I did not keep up with my running after that, but James' sisters have talked me into training for a half marathon in April... so I guess it's time to dust off my pink sneakers! (And buy some cold weather running gear because YIKES IT IS COLD UP IN HERE EARLY IN THE MORNING!! I miss CA weather already.)

6. Most Awesome Family Halloween Costume So Far

I am still so proud that we pulled this off. And I still can't believe how we lucked into these awesome pics at the zoo!

7. Mom and Dad do Invisalign

One of the benefits of James working for Align is that we were both able to begin Invisalign treatment. Invisalign is a way to straighten your teeth with clear trays called "aligners" instead of metal braces. I started in March of 2015 and James started in April. My teeth were pretty darn crooked... especially my two front teeth. One stuck out in front of the other and in some pictures it would look like I was missing a tooth! It is harder to tell from James' "before" pic why he needed Invisalign because it was his bottom teeth that were crooked and you can't see them when he smiles. 

March 2015

April 2015

December 2015

Now I'm about a month away from the end of my treatment and I'm so happy with the result! James' treatment got a little complicated and he's having some dental work done before he is able to finish straightening his teeth, so it may be a couple more months for him. Again, you can't tell from his smile!

8. Crazy Cross-Country Move

Probably the most life-changing event of last year: James took a job at Duke University and we made the leap into a new life here on the east coast. It was a decision that we put a lot of time and thought and prayer into. We are so grateful that we got the opportunity we were waiting for to be able to relocate and be closer to our parents and brothers and sisters. We are sad to be so far from our loved ones in California. We will miss all the places that became special to us there. But we really believe this was the right move for our family and we are happy to be here getting settled in North Carolina. So here's to the new year in our new home in our new state! 

9. Christmas Morning in our New Home

We even got to spend Christmas morning in our new house! The boys woke up to find dinosaur tracks and what appears to be a T Rex shadow on the walls of their bedroom! Then, there were gifts around the tree, treats in their stockings, and another big surprise in the playroom!!

Are these two the cutest or what?!? They were super adorable on Christmas morning and spending those special moments in our new house helped make it feel like home. 

OK, Drumroll Please........

10. Henry is Walking!!!

Yaaaaaaay! Hooray for Henry!!

This video cracks me up. Henry is toddling around like a drunken sailor... Calvin, who I assume is hamming it up for the camera, keeps assaulting Henry - acting like he is going in for a hug, but instead knocking poor wobbly Henry over... and their cousin Davis keeps trying to help Henry and get Calvin to make amends for pushing his brother down!

Henry took his first steps in November. His very first independent step was from his speech therapist, Monica, to me during speech group. Little by little, we saw him taking two... then three or four steps from one piece of furniture to another. In the beginning we could hardly get him to walk to or from one of us because he would just collapse and expect to be picked up. But by the end of November he could make it from one end of the living room to the other and he would walk from one person to another without begging to be carried. He was able to really show off at his last therapy session with our California PT, Will :)

That video is from Thanksgiving, and over the past month he has gotten stronger and sturdier. He doesn't crawl to get around anymore, he gets up and walks! He can't stand up from the floor without pulling on something to help him, but he will crawl over to the nearest wall or piece of furniture or person's legs and pull himself up to walk where he wants to go. He still stumbles and falls or gets tired and sits down fairly often. But his progress has been amazing and so heartening! We are so proud of our "Super Duper!" (Get it? Because Dup15q.)

It was a good year. So much to be thankful for.

And thank you, dear readers, for caring enough about our little family to read this blog :)
I hope you, too have much to be thankful for from 2015, and I wish you lots of love and blessings for the new year.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Moving Part III: Gone to Carolina

We're home!! New home, that is. Home sweet North Carolina.

I am very relieved thankful grateful happy to report that the moving truck made it from CA to NC with all our things mostly intact.

We had a small number of broken items... mostly fixable and nothing to cry over, though we will be reporting the broken items to the moving company. There was also some frustration over the timing of the truck's arrival. They had originally told us the truck would arrive on a Monday... and then that got changed to Friday... and it actually arrived on Saturday. Plus it was difficult to get in touch with the company because they were so slow in responding to calls and emails. I get the sense that this is all typical of cross-country movers, unfortunately. But I am brushin' that dirt off my shoulders because what's important is that we made it!

Unpacking has been almost-but-not-quite as horrible as packing was. Man, it is hard to get ANYTHING done around here with these BABIES all over us!! LOL. And although we made an effort to organize things by room when we were packing, things did not end up perfectly sorted... As my friend Jaime put it, "At first everything's all neat and organized... and by the end you're just, like, throwing everything in random boxes!" She nailed it.

We also kept running into roadblocks because of lack of storage furniture. We chose not to pack most of our shelves and storage units because we wanted different ones, but you can't unpack books if you don't have a bookshelf and you can't unpack clothes if you don't have a dresser!!

Slowly, painfully, in halting, partially completed steps, we have managed to accomplish most of the unpacking. The truck unloaded on Saturday night a week ago and sometime around last Wednesday it started to feel like an actual home instead of some kind of homegoods warehouse explosion.

My parents came up for a couple of days to help out while we are getting unpacked and organized. It's so nice that they are just a drive away! (A long drive, but not longer than a day of flying cross-country!)

James is starting work this week. We visited his new lab at Duke a few days ago and met some of his coworkers. Hoping all goes well for him as he starts work!

I am so ready to be *totally done* unpacking and organizing, but I am trying to let myself start to feel settled, even with all our books still in boxes and missing furniture that needs to be bought or built. Some things can wait until January!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Moving Part II: Made it Across the Country

We knew that it would take the movers a couple of weeks to get our furniture and boxes from one coast to the other, so we timed the move so that we could spend the in-between time in Georgia during Thanksgiving week.

We landed in Atlanta after an eventful, but thankfully safe travel day - there was a bomb threat on the flight before ours, a marriage proposal over the intercom on our first flight, snow in Denver and terrifying turbulence on our second flight, and then our luggage got jammed on its way to the baggage claim carousel at Hartsfield-Jackson! Plus, poor Henry had a hard time falling asleep on our second flight and he cried for something like an hour, which felt like an eternity!

The next morning, as we drove through metro Atlanta to visit some friends, I looked out the window at a very different landscape and felt, we're not in California anymore! It didn't feel sad. It felt like a huge sense of relief. We had made it this far. We had made it safely to the southeast. Not quite to our final destination, but still all the way across the country. It was a lot of work in a short amount of time to get us moved out of California after James got the job offer from Duke, but we did it and I was proud of us for it and grateful to have made it safely.

During our first few days in Georgia we spent some time with old friends, with Granny and Danpa, and we upgraded our family car to a fancy new minivan!

We spent Thanksgiving and the following weekend up in the North Georgia mountains with James' family. It was a full house: lots of people and lots of food! 

It has been a long time since we were in town for Thanksgiving with James' family. It was great to get to spend the holiday weekend with his siblings and all the kids. It will be so nice to be able to drive down for more family holidays like this!

After Thanksgiving weekend, we still had about a week to wait for the moving truck to make it to our new house. So after leaving my in-laws' home, we headed north, slowly making our way closer to our final destination, and have been staying with James' brother in South Carolina. 

The latest from the moving company is that our truck will arrive this weekend! So very soon we will be headed at last to our new home! It has been a nice break. Feels like we've been on vacation for two weeks. I'm excited and a little nervous to finally get to our house and start getting settled. There will be a lot to do... some furniture and appliances to buy, all the unpacking, and it's almost Christmas! I think the first thing I'll unpack will be the Christmas decorations... :)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Moving Part I: California Goodbyes

All has been quiet on the blog for the past couple of weeks. First we were totally consumed with packing and getting all of our stuff and ourselves moved out of our apartment in California. Then, we finally made it to Georgia and have spent the past week enjoying time with friends and family. We are in a nice lull in the process of moving. The work of packing up our home in California is behind us, and the job of unpacking in our new home in North Carolina is ahead of us.

In the short time that we had in between James signing his new job offer and the day the moving truck came, we managed to get together with some of our California friends and family to say our goodbyes.

Packing up our home of 8 years was a much harder, bigger, crazier task than was reasonable for the two of us in the time we gave ourselves. It was a nightmare and I'm so glad it's over! Somehow, and with a little bit of help, we managed to get it done and soon enough the moving truck was packed up and on its way. The silver lining on the whole horrible rushed packing experience was that the movers were really kind and patient. It took them 8 hours to load up the truck because there was so much boxing-up left to do, but they didn't give us a hard time about it. Calvin was at preschool for most of the day - his last day at his first preschool! - but Henry was basically underfoot, toddling around among the boxes in the living room. Thank goodness the movers didn't seem bothered by Henry at all, in fact they were really friendly to him. Lola Coring was a big help with Henry. She stayed with him and made sure he didn't sneak out of the living room or eat packing tape or anything like that :)

The moving truck left in the evening, and our plane to Atlanta left the following morning. Saying our rushed airport-morning goodbyes was a whole other kind of hard. We were able to see our friends who live around the corner, our cousins who live down the street, my aunt, and of course, my Lola Coring on the morning that we left for the airport. It was strange and bittersweet saying goodbye to people whom we have been so close to for the past several years. Trying to take a moment to push aside thoughts about when the car would be arriving to pick us up... which keys to leave with my aunt... whether we had enough diapers for the airplane... whether we had missed any items that needed to be packed... Trying to let all that go for brief moments in order to be present with these important friends and family, and be able to say and feel: I love you. I will miss you. Thank you for being such a big part of our lives.  

It is a bittersweet transition for our family. There are many people we will miss, and many things about our life in California that we will miss. But we are looking forward to the next part of our story, and as always, we are trying to be present in each part of this transition: focus on what there is to do, to enjoy, to be thankful for, in each step along the way.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Big News: A Big Move!

We've got big news around here...


We are saying goodbye to Northern California and hello to North Carolina!

I'm so excited anxious nervous stressed happy hopeful grateful.

OK, I'm a mess. But I am pulling it together along with James, who, as you might imagine, is not a mess, and we are hiring movers and making phone calls and doing paperwork and getting ready to pack our worldly possessions into boxes in a moving truck! Whew! It's a lot, and it's happening fast. We will be saying our California goodbyes before Thanksgiving. 

James and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007 just weeks after our wedding. 

2007, just after we arrived in CA

Over the past 8 years, we've enjoyed California's beautiful mountains, beaches, and redwood forests. We've been spoiled by San Francisco's amazing restaurants, museums, and festivals. We've toasted many celebrations with California wines and brews (wine tasting in Napa might just be my favorite thing to do in NorCal!). We've been here to cheer on our San Francisco Giants to three World Series wins. We have made friendships that we hope will last a lifetime. We have loved being close to our west coast cousins, aunts, uncles, and of course, our Lola Coring. We arrived as newlyweds, and we will leave as a family of four. California will always be a special place for us, and an important part of our family's story.

Though there will be a lot of things that we'll miss about our home here by the bay, we are looking forward to new adventures awaiting us in North Carolina. 

James is excited about his new position at Duke University - back to the field of biomechanics and orthopedics which was the focus of his doctorate research at Stanford. North Carolina is beautiful and the Raleigh-Durham area where we'll be is really charming. We are looking forward to being closer to our parents and the rest of our east coast family, and we even have a few friends in Raleigh and Durham. 

We have been wanting to re-locate to the east coast for the past year or so, and we are thrilled and thankful to finally have the opportunity. It's bittersweet, of course, but we really believe that this move is the right thing for our family right now. 

So, cheers farewell to California! And cheers hello to North Carolina! 

Send us prayers, wish us luck!!