who's it gonna be?!

the name game... every parent goes through it. regardless of finding out the sex, picking out a name is a constant battle of emotion, research and favoritism. thirty thousand names in one book, special unique/celebrity/athlete names in another. the common 'Chris' can be found with ease, while the 80's popular "Lakeisha" is culturally new-american (it's in the books folks!)

HM and i decided that we weren't going to find out what were having, so naturally we agreed to set aside time to discuss boy and girl names. secretly i already had a name in mind, but i never brought it up with her early on. i guess i was afraid of it getting shot down. more on that later...

i think for most people, they would ask their parents how their name was chosen, right? who would have guessed my chosen name is of scandinavian origin and meaning 'always ruler'? kinda neat though. currently, my name is ranked #95 on US births....yay. i recently researched HM's name.... of course, the origin is vietnamese - and says the meaning is "moon". HM tells me that 'moon' is more of a folklore than the real translation. i guess i'll take her word for it!

and so here we go...ladies first....

baby Z stands for... baby Zoey!
Truthfully, Zoey was chosen months ago (as my secret suggestion). the origin is greek and means 'life'. and as neat as it may sound, it basically started with my infatuation with Zooey Deschanel -- even though I never though of her much in the movies, elf or the happening. it was her adorable, quirky personality in yes man, alongside jim carrey, where i started becoming a fan. the name just stuck in my head. HM liked it and agreed without any argument. it made me think that choosing names was a snap.

i remember the discussion turning silent when we tried to brainstorm boy names. we just couldn't think of anything. HM was adamant that she didn't want a common/popular name - so she frequented top 10 name lists every so often. Ethan, Aidan, Cayden, Noah, Liam....no luck there, my friends - some of you are also names of children among close friends/family we know. zoey is currently in the top 100 for girls, but since we didn't know any, we stuck with it. we were also not trying to fall into what i call the 'extreme-current-popular' names. you know that 5-10 years from now, there will be classrooms filled with Bellas, Jacobs, Taylors, etc. damn u, vampire movies...and taylor swift. i calmly offered jebediah for a boy, and u can guess how that went. hey guys out there -- if there is any advice i can give u about name choosing -- try not to be TOO unique. remember, this is your child's future we're talking about!

and on to the BABY BOY....

on april 16th, after two prior trips to borders bookstore and countless hours on the internet, we finally found a male name. actually, we agreed on 2 names - Calvin and Connor. calvin = the little bald one. connor = lover of hounds. connor seemed the front runner at first. when i indexed him in one book, the pages stated 6 and 15....my birthdate and lucky numbers. also, HM's love for dogs didn't hurt. but we both really liked the uniqueness of calvin (connor is fairly popular now). It was really a toss up that we had to think about, but i wanted to make a quick decision, so I could talk to the baby before going to bed at nights (hearing starts early!). we both went to sleep that night with an unsatisfying sense of accomplishment.

luckily the next morning, HM rolled over and simply whispered, 'lets choose calvin'. and that's how baby Calvin came to life! to keep some cultural roots, we agreed to use HM's grandparents first names as the middle names for either boy or girl. we also said that connor would be saved for a second boy...if everything goes as planned!

Calvin, Zoey, and Connor....three names reserved for our future family. didn't i say that HM was an uber-planner? and with the great luck that has treated our lives us so far, why would we expect anything different?

the campaign starts now!! who's it gonna be: baby C or baby Z?



old school pt. 1

-6 months-

there are world-famous photos throughout my lifetime that are essentially ingrained in the mind forever: the challenger shuttle bursting into flames, the berlin wall coming down, rodney king taking a beatdown off the highway, oj simpson's face in a courtroom. images so strong that i remember what i was doing at those moments...

where were you when you saw the twin towers burning? the resulting image of the firemen raising the flag over broken concrete like the GI's did in Iwo Jima? coming out of marketing class at UH...i saw fellow students' worried faces as they watched in disbelief. later that evening, a somber mood settled over the quiet dinner crowd at mama's cafe....where i tried to celebrate HM's birthday.

sometimes i can't believe the evolution of the picture took a major transformation during my generation. for over a 100 yrs, cameras produced hard copy paper images. today, everything is mainly digital. i went to my parents house a few weeks ago and ruffled through an old box of photos. scrolling through pictures on a computer just doesn't capture the moment like holding one in your hand. also, the anticipation of the waiting to see your pictures seemingly went from days to 1-hr to now instant. i agree progression and technology are amazing... but nostalgia will always hold a special place in my heart. it's amazing everything the differences my future child will take in. newspapers and land line phones will basically be historic. the computer, which has already become a household item, will be naturally integrated into his/her life from the beginning. i can totally see myself starting off stories, 'you know....way back when i was kid..... "

with that being said, i'm posting a few of my own most memorable old school youth photos (along with captioning explaining the memory). don't worry...this will not be the last of older pics:

varsity tennis. i loved high school and i loved being on the tennis team. being captain and motivating people was something i was good at. unfortunately, even though i thought i was a badass in this picture - my tennis game was far from it. i've explained this in prior blog. and yes - i had longer hair:

favorite picture with my mom. my parents took me to disney many times throughout my youth up to my young adulthood. this picture is memorable because it showed me how truly happy i was, even if i was such a brat (see following picture). any mom can smile and say cheese. an awesome one can do it while juggling her purse, some souvenirs, and a coke....all while looking great at the same time:

favorite picture with my dad. i never realized it until years later, but this was actually taken on the same day as my fave with my mom. what are the chances of that? here we are riding on the tomorrowland transit authority peoplemover. the old school glasses and the packet of salem's in his shirt pocket certainly conjure up childhood memories. i love this picture because i specifically remember how annoying i was in my adolescence. i couldn't imagine dealing with a child like me. karma - please pass me by on this one....

favorite picture with my soul brothers. i grew up with one sister (i don't have my fave pic of her scanned!), but i consider these guys to be family. love, hate, and everything in between....we've been through it all. and just like any family, we've grown into our own separate lives but still keep in touch. MR (on right) was a year older and in college, but i guess fate had it that he snagged a date during my prom (JS....YOUR NEW WIFE!!). TS (in middle) had a date that definitely set off a memorable evening by snoring the whole night! did i mention that i loved high school?...

bonus. everyone who reads this blog is in for a special treat today. below is my 2nd grade little league picture. i only played 1 year because i got beaned in the mouth (kids pitch). u can imagine that i wasn't the biggest guy on the field, but u might not be able to tell considering my huge bobblehead-like stature in the picture. this is not photoshopped people!! but unlike tennis, i actually excelled in this sport as a leadoff batter due to my quickness. stat line:
12 games
2 hits...the coach told me NOT to swing!
20 walks (small strike zone along with kids pitching = advantage bobblehead eric)
40 STOLEN BASES in 42 attempts - i was a straight up beast.
at least 20 runs scored

memories.....last a lifetime.


*update: before finishing this post, i laid in bed with HM talking to the baby before she went to bed. i felt a kick for the first time!! definitely priceless..


continuing education

though HM and i plan to give every opportunity for our child to have the best education possible, personally i have never been much of a bookworm when it comes to classroom schooling. i made above average grades throughout my youth and could have graduated college in 4 years had i put more effort. sleeping in class probably didn't help much either.

this is not to say that i don't like the idea of learning. i like researching. i love to put my thoughts down. i'm not heavy into book reading, but most magazine articles are just the right length to keep me interested. i think it's all about the topics we choose, right? HM likes learning about the human body. MR gets excited about the newest tech toy. my friend HT will learn anything and everything about investing.

it shouldn't be a surprise that we're signed up for child preparation classes. lined up so far: breastfeeding/feeding (obviously, more for HM!), infant CPR, and basic infant care. there are so many more classes available, but i trust HM's judgement on what we should take. and to tell u the truth, i've been overly giddy inside about the thought of attending all of them. other than my nephews (whom i've never really babysat), our exposure to children has been very limited. i sometimes fear holding other people's children just because i'm not used to it. i've only changed a handful of diapers in my lifetime and was lucky enough to only experience the liquid kind. a weird, greedy part inside of me wants to experience all of this with my own child first instead of somebody else's. it sounds fairly ridiculous. maybe it is, maybe not. either way, that's just the way i've been feeling lately....

i often wonder what parents did back in the day prior to the massive influx of information we now have at our fingertips. it's so easy for me to google something rather than have to worry about asking the Dr on our next visit. i can pull up 10 articles before even scheduling an appointment. and yet here i am, grinning to no end, at the fact that i have the opportunity to learn in a classroom environment again. there are baby books to be read and even more articles that my brain can absorb.....

all for u, Baby C...or Baby Z.



father hood: prince of thieves

is there a certain trait or preference that you have that you can directly link or have taken from your parents?

for instance, i love movies (as you can already tell from some of my postings). my mom used to take me on fridays during opening night. it wasn't as much for my benefit, but rather her love for cheesy action flicks. think: jean claude van damme and steven seagal. yes - that was MY mom. she was so into the impossible and overdramatic stories. but it was awesome remembering how much she enjoyed seeing something so over the top. one thing that i loathe is when people come out of movies blurting out, "oh my God, that was SOOOO UNREALISTIC". look - we live in reality. one of the main reasons i watch a movie is to see something i CAN'T do myself or i wish could happen to me. who wouldn't want a love story similar to serendipity or fight crime in a mysterious bat suit? when my mom and i exited the theater, she rarely came out hating a movie. i certainly felt the same way and still do now.

for my father, i've mentioned before that he has a personality that is very welcoming and magnetic. he cracks jokes and makes everyone feel comfortable. i certainly feel i do the same. in high school, i joined the tennis team in my sophomore year (i didn't make it the first time around). i was ranked 9th out of 12....which basically meant i was horrible and hardly played. the coach chose two captains: the #1 guy and... me. i thought she was trying to be nice and give me a confidence boost. Prior to graduating 2 years later, i asked her why she ever made me captain in the first place. she said, "i noticed your interactions with everyone on the team. not just the varsity or junior varsity members, but you were talking to the freshmen as well. on a player level, you made them feel comfortable and motivated them in ways i couldn't. being #1 doesn't always mean you're a born leader. your teammates follow you because you simply TALK to them. when you speak, your words don't fall on deaf ears. coaches and captains are rarely the best player on a team... but they are the ones that command the most respect."

her words resonated with me. interacations. leader. respect. i had never really thought much about it, but much my personality is a direct link to my father. it wasn't something that was taught or given, but rather just the influence i absorbed over the years. i 'stole' something from my dad without even knowing it....not that it was a bad thing to take.

HM and i are approximately 17 weeks away from bringing a child into this world. what do i have that i can offer him/her? what will he/she 'take' from their father? it's truly a scary thought...and my mind races more as the due date approaches closer. i guess this is supposed to be a natural feeling, but it's still new to me. but just like anything i've ever encountered before, this feeling shall also pass.




i used yesterday (mother's day) as a time to recover. on saturday night, we attended the wedding of a friend that i've known since 3rd grade. it was an evening full of high school memories, oodles of food and drink, and good times. the following 24 hrs... not so great.

upon HM driving me home, my midnight food craving crept in. i was being loud and obnoxious, ranting and raving about complete randomness. when we arrived at home, HM and i were debating about a topic that i can't even recall, though i'm sure she was right. it seems that imbibing on tito's and cranberry didn't assist me in my argument.

though usually i get more talkative (and annoying) after such an event, i normally am good at being aware of my surroundings, time and place. given that it was past midnight, i should have smiled and said, "happy mother's day, babe" to my lovely wife. i'm remarkable about remembering dates, anniversaries, and milestones.

instead - i went off on a tangent thinking nothing of it... then blurbed out some more words, and went to bed. i woke up at 630am to a rapidly pacing heartbeat with an equally pounding headache. my mouth dehydrated, i rolled over and wrapped my arm around HM's belly. she shoved me away and said she was upset. i thought i knew it was because of my immature behavior from the prior evening, but it was much more.

around midnight, HM told me that i hadn't wished her a happy mother's day --- and in my drunken stupor, i apparently said she was not a mother yet.

i laid in silence for a moment, taking it all in. she started to sniffle, and though she wasn't facing me, i could feel the tears running down her face. my own eyes started to water. how could i have been such an asshole? i pulled her closer.....she resisted, but eventually gave in. i held her close to my chest as my nose sniffed her perfume on her neck from the prior evening. i apologized. i told her that i never meant any harm and there was no excuse for my behavior. we laid together for a few moments, slight tension still between our bodies. an even though HM is never one to say the words, it only takes her accepting hands to let me know i'm forgiven.

i'm not a faultless husband, nor have i ever claimed to be. i make plenty of mistakes and i'm grown enough to admit and learn from them. i feel that HM and i have impeccable communication with each other and i'm comfortable knowing that we understand the human errors we both share. lesson most definitely learned.

this post is dedicated to you, my love -- happy belated mother's day.



art of war: the registry

who said that registries were boring and just for moms to enjoy? i make my own rules. in tribute to kick off the summer movie season, i’ve enlisted the help of the hugely popular Iron Man! though i doubt you will find billionaire-playboy tony stark shopping at your local target anytime soon.

as i might have mentioned before, HM is fairly methodical when it comes to researching, planning, etc. during our wedding, she had a notebook with a complete listing for the reception set up. from how she wanted the plates to be set with menus on top, party favors to be faced toward guest, with centerpieces positioned facing east as the sun set (ok not that bad) --- all the way down to the specific dimming of the lights (thanks again for those who had to execute for her!).

our registry is a work in progress. it probably won’t even be finished until after the baby arrives. there are just so many options! research upon more research, the task is quite tedious. you have ratings with reviews. then you have reviews that are rated. and all of this for a car seat that will be used for 6 months? well, as some will say….this IS all for your child, right?

you can imagine the dirty looks we got when i was walking around in superhero mask as HM and i pulled down playpen displays that were "suggested" not to be moved. some father i’m going to be, huh? HM was a good sport about it…and why not? this is a fun and exciting time for us. who doesn’t like pick out a bunch of stuff that people want to buy for you? it’s like being in a candy store…. and this particular fat kid** loves cake!


**fat kid = me..not HM!

picture time!

HM in H&M in beantown. apparentely the baby stimulates more shopping too.

our registry weapon of choice....

HM inspecting playpens models. you can see they were placed higher to discourage people from taking them down. like i said before… we make our own rules.

…and for those of you that still don’t believe the belly is there, check out HM’s homer simpson impression. Duff rules!



over the past few days, HM has been experiencing a fluttering feeling in her lower belly area. people have told us that this is the baby kicking! today, she said she felt it most of the day....how exciting is that? i tried to lay my hands against HM last night, but couldn't feel anything. i went to bed slightly disappointed.

i read that during pregnancy, many men don't know how to accept their role as a bystander and supporter. the man basically takes a backseat as the mother and child grow together. though this situation may ultimately be the case, i don't like to think of myself as 'taking a backseat'. i want to feel purpose, involved.

my coworker CC, who is expecting a son of his own in about a month, said his first bonding connection was when he felt the baby kick with his own hands. the moment can't come soon enough for me. and since the baby supposedly can hear us now, i've been trying to give nightly talks so my voice will be recognized too.

a few nights ago, as i spoke and laid my ear against HM's navel, i thought i was getting a response back. not surprisingly, it was only HM's stomach crying out for thirst. i got up to fetch some water. if that's what it takes to be involved, i'll do anything for both of them. :)


bury my shell at wounded knee

have you ever read something in your adult life that u previously saw when you were younger... only to realize -- "oh sh*t, THAT'S what it means!"

for instance, take the title to this post. does it sound at all familiar to you? any part of it?! i'll explain. when i was a ratty middle schooler, i played video games ALL the time. a favorite of mine was the arcade version of TMNT: Turtles in Time. one of the stages was called, "bury my shell at wounded knee". i always thought it was a cool title...and the music was badical! (dark mark - you can thank me for that).

it wasn't until i was in college that i realized that the makers of the game were history buffs! isn't that a cool feeling? what were the chances that i didn't skip (or sleep) through this particular history II class...and end up learning about something that was related to a childhood memory? who could have guessed that my passion for ninja turtles along with 'bury my heart at wounded knee' would make me WANT to learn about history? well, it did.... at least for that one test.

childhood memories can be an awesome stepping stone to success in older age. i'm not saying that this one incident changed my life, but it made me realize how much a person can grow up. it also wasn't until i got older that i realized that i inherited my dad's ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. unfortunately, i think i got more of the height gene from my mother's side (or did i actually mean LESS!). God, please give my child HM's bookworm ethics, good skin, and straight teeth. and if u could miraculously throw in some NBA-growth to his or her legs.... i'd greatly appreciate it too!


*HM update - visited Dr. today. progressing as normal. and no, we didn't find out the sex! :)


well traveled baby

*following post was written on 4/30/2010*

20 weeks, 5 days.

halfway through the pregnancy and our baby already has more air miles than most 10 yr olds. in early march, we went to hawaii (trip planned preconception) for a vacation and to visit PP/NP. we trekked our way through multiple hikes and even attempted the stairway to heaven (google: haiku stairs). pretty crazy, i know, but luckily we realized that the altitude and climbing probably wasn’t a great combination for a woman in her 2nd trimester. i also had the unfortunate luck to experience one of the WORST possible scenarios a person could encounter while on a deep sea fishing trip. it's a story that i will only tell in person.... while i'm drunk. anyways – i’m currently typing this on a flight back from boston for a work conference. HM joined and did some great sightseeing. she also wreaked havoc on shopping for prego clothes. i find it hilarious that she doesn’t even shop the maternity sections, but rather buys clothes 2 sizes larger along with a forgiving belly area.

and all of you worry-warts out there can rest easy…. we don’t plan to do anymore flying before delivery date. if it makes anyone feel better, she IS wearing compression stockings, as recommended by Dr. D. the stockings are nothing more than expensive leggings that fit tighter than normal…..the purpose being to prevent deep vein thrombosis. along with HM's keep-the-pants-from-falling belly band, she’s a walking advertisement for spandex!

our desire for travel is evident. even with HM’s tough med school/residency schedule, we’ve managed to fit trips to LA, SF, CHI, NYC, MIA, ORL, AUS, and PHI just in the past few years. i get a little overboard with planning, but i guess that's because i don't want her to worry about anything. and granted we've only been to major US cities - our dream is international travel. i fully expect that we will accomplish those trips in the future. with a child of my own on the way, i plan to provide him/her with what my parents gave me: the opportunity to see and experience what this great country has to offer. they offered the best to me, whether it was in a dodge caravan cruising the route 1 highway in california or simply standing atop the world trade center in NYC donning my 'cool' rayon shirt. thanks for everything mom and dad!

don't knock the girbaud's!