Elin’s Birthday

On August 24th, we celebrated Elin’s birthday in San Francisco at Sociale. Now that her time with us is coming to a close, I wish we had more time to experience the Bay Area together. We’re going to miss her!

Happy Birthday, Elin!

Eemoh’s 80th Birthday Party

My aunt celebrated her 80th birthday Saturday, August 18th, in New Jersey with many family and friends. I took the red-eye solo to represent our family for this important milestone. She is the rock of the entire Hau clan.

I arrived very early in the morning and stopped by Bobby’s house to see the family. We had breakfast together in Ridgewood, which is a super cute town. Afterwards I made my way to the party, which was on the Hudson River. My parents had come from Michigan and were staying with Jen.

There were many toasts and speeches by the children and grandchildren. There was entertainment from live action, live music and music videos. The Haus are incredibly theatrical!

Afterwards, we went to Ellie and Sandor’s beautiful new home in Rye, not far from Addy and Charles. There, I finally got to meet #4, Spencer. They were kind enough to put me up for the night. On Sunday, I drove into Manhattan with  Eemoh and met up with my parents and Jen for my first viewing of “Crazy Rich Asians” and lunch at Quality Italian. It was a super short trip, but important and memorable family time.

Happy 80th Birthday, Eemoh!

Liz and Clarence’s Family Visit

Liz and Clarence brought the whole family for their first California vacation. We were glad they and their cousin, Christine, were able to come over for dinner. The cousins had a lot of fun together, especially the slime-obsessed ones.

It was great spending time with the Tenafly Haus.

Father’s Day Weekend at Carmel Valley Ranch with Rhees

My parents and Jen had been staying with us since graduation. Grace planned for them to stay through Father’s Day so we could celebrate together. Elin took the opportunity to travel by herself to Vancouver and Seattle (now another place she’s been that I haven’t).

Grace was in Singapore all week with Dennis Rodman et al. My parents and Jen were on point for Camp Rhee at home. As a thank you, Grace wanted to take everyone to Carmel Valley Ranch for the weekend. In this type of situation, it’s best not to ask them what they want to do, and instead just let them know when it’s time to pile into the car.

We drove down Saturday morning and went straight to Carmel for lunch. My parents hadn’t been there in 30 years, so they and Jen walked around for a bit while we went to check in and get a head start on pool time.

We more or less celebrated Father’s Day at Saturday dinner, which was followed by the s’mores tradition. On Sunday morning, I rallied everyone early for breakfast because it was included. By everyone, I mean everyone except Grace, who was still wrecked from her Singapore trip. We let her sleep 14 hours while the kids and I had a practice session at the golf range. By 1pm, she was ready to rally for one more trip to the pool.

My dad is 82 and opted to not go sit outside by a pool filled with pee and screaming kids. I don’t blame him. He sheltered in place to watch the U.S. Open, which is right where he should be.

We had a late lunch together before heading out for home. Waze suggested HWY 1. It was a beautiful day for only my second drive up this route.

It was a great Father’s Day and the kids got in some QT with their grandparents and Aunt Jen. Happy Father’s Day!

Olivia’s Carey School Graduation

On Thursday, June 7th, Olivia graduated from The Carey School. It does seem like yesterday that she just finishing Kindergarten, though she has spent more than half her life at this school. Upon reflection, it has been everything we hoped for when she started: kind friends, amazing teachers (all of them) and administrators, and a wonderful community of parents and supporters.

Elementary school graduation has a lot more pomp and circumstance than I remember from my time finishing 5th grade. That said, these kids are different. While we know they grown up in their little bubble, they’re also very aware of what’s going on in their community, their country and around the world. They’ve studied and participated in movements with empathy and passion. They’re truly little citizens of the world and I do have hope that they’ll do better than we have in bringing people together.

A lot of families were graduating their last or only child this week. Thankfully, we still have a couple more years at Carey for Lucas. As for Olivia, we know she’s ready for middle school and are excited about everything new she will be experiencing.

Thanks to all of Olivia’s grandparents and Aunt Jen and Uncle Dave for coming to celebrate with us. We had a luncheon with Julie and Albert’s family at Il Fornaio (where else?) to toast our little graduates, Olivia and Olivia. Best wishes to them both! We love you.

Luna Joins Our Family

Olivia has been lobbying for a cat for quite some time. I’m an advocate for any kind of (furry) pet, though I am partial to dogs. It took the family a while to get over the passing of Snickers, especially Grace. But, the time had apparently come, as Grace told Olivia we could get a cat on her birthday.

We’ve been going to the local SPCA periodically, “just to look,” for quite a while. However, after we got back from our holiday travels, we went every weekend. There aren’t many kittens this time of year, and Grace and Olivia really wanted one.

On January 28th, we went on our weekly pilgrimage, and found they had a couple of young new arrivals. We met the first one, a beautiful gray cat, who was friendly, but very shy. We met a second cat briefly, as Lucas had to go to a birthday party, so after a quick deliberation, we decided on the gray cat. By the time I returned, Grace and Olivia had decided to take home the 2nd cat, as she was much friendlier and less shy. Snickers was pretty skittish, so I can understand the reluctance to get another cat that would hardly be seen.

The cat was a stray and guessed to be about a year old. She was found pregnant, but too malnourished to carry the kittens to term. She had a name when she arrived, but it was changed to Pomegranate. That was too much of a mouthful for us, so we were going to come up with our own name.

When she got home, it became clear we need to call her something, so we brainstormed some names. I started throwing out Harry Potter names: “Hermione,” “Belatrix,” “Luna Lovegood,” Luna actually seemed to fit, as she had similar coloring to Luna Lovegood and she did look a little like the moon. It stuck, even though Grace wasn’t convinced.

It didn’t initially strike us how beautiful Luna is. She came home with us because in a way, she chose us with her friendly personality. The first night was interesting, as Olivia was determined to have Luna sleep with her, but she was set on sleeping on/near her face, so that didn’t last at all. Instead, she slept on Grace’s and my face that first night.

She is so friendly to everyone, including strangers. Everyone is in love with her. We’re so glad she has joined our family. Welcome home, Luna!

Olivia’s 11th Birthday Celebration at Benihana in Michigan

Our last dinner together in Michigan was to celebrate Olivia’s 11th birthday. We don’t traditionally celebrate birthdays there, but it was what Olivia wanted. The number one thing Olivia has been asking for is a cat. I wasn’t a proponent of making a pet a Christmas or Birthday gift, but Grace had mentally committed to getting a new cat. Olivia was overjoyed to read the news that it was finally happening.

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

Christmas in Michigan with Rhees and Parks

For the first time in 8 years, we spent the Christmas holiday in Michigan at my parents’ house (and childhood home). The kids know it well from our summer trips, but they haven’t really experienced snow there as kids (and ironically there was a lot more of it than in Colorado). Addy and Charles were also in Michigan to visit Amy and Arnie’s family, and thus Grace’s parents and Dave also came to Michigan.

Everyone came over for Christmas Day and dinner. The kids had some daylight to play in the snow. I tried to buy some sleds, but there was nothing open. They improvised with cardboard and plastic. Grace improvised with the recycling container top. The Rhees (no relation) also joined us for dinner, which was prepared by my mom, Jen and Grace.

We spent time in Ann Arbor with Grace’s Hur side of the family. It was nice to see all the cousins. They each took turns kissing the ring (Dad Park).

We saw Melanie, Nick and the kids, who took us downtown for lunch and bowling at Punch Bowl Social. It was a nice excursion to my old work neighborhood. Detroit is coming along!

The holidays is also the time we celebrate my Dad’s birthday. We celebrated 82 with a great meal at Eddie V’s, which is new to Detroit. Happy Birthday, Dad!

We all love visiting Michigan at any time of year. Olivia and Lucas can’t get enough of the wide open spaces and my parents’ yard. Even though it was single digits, they never really complained about the cold, which encourages me that our California kids are tougher than we might think.

Thanksgiving 2017 in Orlando with the Parks

We spent only our second destination Thanksgiving in Orlando, FL last week. Coincidentally, the first was with the Rhees in Miami Beach, FL five years ago. Our family and Elin went down a little early to spend a few days at Universal Studios. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was very close to the park.

The kids were most excited about Harry Potter, even though we already enjoyed the lite version in Hollywood over Spring Break. Orlando’s Diagon Alley did not disappoint. The weather was amazing the day we went. Our family lost steam around dinner time. We had dinner at Citywalk before heading back to the hotel. Elin, however, wanted to hit every ride and got most of them in by riding until closing time.

The next day, it was raining, but we still went to the pool anyway. It would have helped a bit if it was warmer, but the kids didn’t seem to mind too much. After swimming, we made a game time call to see Wonder. Afterwards, we had dinner across the street at The Portofino.

The third day we just had breakfast and packed up to move over to Disney. We went over to the Hilton next door to use their pool, which had a lazy river and a slide. Addy, Charles, the kids, and Dave all arrived and met us there. We tried to have dinner at Disney Springs with no reservation, but ended up just eating back at the hotel lobby.

On Thanksgiving, my plans to eat nothing until dinner was thwarted by a nice lunch at Eddie V’s. We hit the pool at our hotel in the afternoon, which had less amenities but was at least heated. We had Thanksgiving dinner at the hotel restaurant, which is not our style, but still a lot easier for those who usually cook and or clean. Our main motivation for visiting Orlando was to see Grace’s mom’s brother, Ben, who lives there. We were happy that he joined us for our family dinner. This was Elin’s first American Thanksgiving, which she hopefully enjoyed.

Black Friday was spent at Disney World. It was my first visit there since 1980, which was before Epcot was even built. We planned this part of the trip terribly, as we just bought our tickets and had virtually no fast passes reserved among our big group. Our plan to mitigate this was to catch the first shuttle to the Disney, which meant a pre-dawn wakeup.

The main attraction Charles wanted to ride was the new Avatar-themed Pandora attraction. We didn’t exactly elbow our way into the park or run to the ride. By the time we were in line, it was already a 3-hour wait. Oof. Thankfully, everyone was patient (including the Grandparents). I don’t do well on these 4D rides. It was pretty amazing, but I’m still queasy. The kids and Elin loved it. We took it a little easier in the Animal Kingdom and did some Safari ride. Because the damage was done, even the Dinosaur ride was painful to me. We did actually have 3pm fast passes for Pandora, so Elin, Addy, Olivia, Lucas and Cameron rode it again.

We all headed over to Epcot for dinner. It was my first visit there. We then rode the monorail back to the transit center. Olivia, Lucas and Grace’s parents were done at this point, so I took them back to the hotel. The rest of the group headed over to the Magic Kingdom to check it out and watch the grand finale. Everyone was impressed.

On our last full day together, we finally made it into Morimoto Asia for lunch. Afterwards, half the group went back to Disney World for another day and night at the park. Elin had a Fast Pass at 11:30pm at Space Mountain and didn’t make it home until late. The kids, Grace, Dave, Grace’s Dad and I went to the pool for a bit. We were back at Disney Springs for a healthy meal of fried everything at Art Smith’s.

Sunday, we packed up, and headed out of Disney for the last time. What we didn’t know was that our flight was going to be delayed about 4 hours, which made for a long rest at the Orlando airport. The one good thing about it was running into my long lost b-school buddy, Ted, who was on his way back to Austin.

As always, we have so much for which to be thankful and now this amazing trip  with family is also on the list.