So much has happened in my life since I last wrote! Most importantly and most recently, on August 23 at 10:07 A.M., our baby boy Felix Hieu Steinbaugh was born. The little guy was a couple weeks early, and in fact he crashed his own baby shower, which was scheduled to take place that every afternoon. Nhu woke up at four in the morning to discover that her water had broken, so we made the call to the hospital. When we got there, we discovered that little Felix was breech. We attempted inversions for an hour or so to try to get him to turn around, but to no avail. So, although we were planning for a natural birth with as little doctor intervention as possible, what we ended up with was a Caesarean section. I was allowed in the O.R. during the procedure, and Nhu was awake for the whole thing. I was allowed to cut the cord, and then Felix was brought over to Mommy. I was then taken to the recovery room with Felix, where we had some skin-to-skin bonding time while the doctors finished with Nhu. Soon, though, she was brought into the room with us, and we had some bonding time with our newest family member. Throughout the entire delivery process, our doula Anna Stavola was fantastic. She provided us with insight into our options, and empowered us to make decisions that made sense for us.
After four days in the hospital, we were ready to take our little guy home. As Felix was four weeks early, we had little prepared. Thankfully, my mom and dad came to the rescue and made a quick trip to Babies R Us for the essentials; plus, they had planned on giving us the much needed car seat for the shower anyway, so they provided that as well. After getting the baby into his new car seat, we were off for home. Fast forward to a week later, and not much has changed. Mom and Dad are a bit sleep-deprived, but otherwise we are doing well. Felix has already had his first photo shoot, and I hope to have pictures for that posted soon. I have one more week of paternity leave before I go back to work, and Nhu will be taking a total of six weeks off, thanks to the surgery.
On to other details... Just a week prior to baby Felix's birth, we bought a brand new Nissan Leaf. The new car is for Nhu to take to work, and will also be our family car. Nhu's old Honda Civic served her well, but with over 200,000 miles and no A/C, it was time for an upgrade. After very, very much research, we decided to take the plunge and buy the all-electric Nissan Leaf. Of course, it doesn't hurt that we'll be getting over $13,000 in tax credits between our state and federal filings next year, but looking at the five year total cost-to-own versus a Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, and Mazda 6, there was really no comparison. And the Leaf is so much fun to drive! It has far more oomph and far more room than you'd think from looking at it. Plus we still have my Civic should we need anything beyond the Leaf's range.
Of course, we've also had a few other adventures since I wrote last. In April, I spent a weekend in Palm Springs rather than returning home. After the excruciating drive from West L.A., I ventured into Joshua Tree National Park, where I spent most of my time during the weekend. I was also very impressed with the restaurants in Palm Springs, much more so than in West L.A. Also in April, Nhu and I spent some time in Europe. First we flew to Munich to see Nhu's relatives there, which included her aunt, uncle, cousin, and her cousin's family. After a couple days there, we flew to Paris, where we spent the bulk of our vacation. Although I've been to Paris numerous times, Nhu had never been, so I showed her around. We stayed at a fantastic little bed and breakfast, located at 52 Rue de Clichy, which proved to be an excellent location for all of our sightseeing. As this was Nhu's first time, all of the common attractions were a must: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Versailles, the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, Centre Pompidou, and Sainte-Chapelle. We also saw the Orangerie, which had been closed for all of my previous visits, so that was a plus for me. The Paris Museum Pass made seeing all of these things much more enjoyable, as we were able to skip the lines for everything except for the Eiffel Tower.
In June, Nhu and I visited the Palouse region of eastern Washington. As far as I can tell, this beautiful hilly region seems known only to landscape photographers, but it is truly a sight to behold. The area is sparsely populated, but the rolling hills are mostly farmland, making for a beautiful rolling patchwork quilt of greens, browns and yellows. At the top of Steptoe Butte, photographers by the dozens can be found during both sunrise and sunset, waiting to snap the perfect photo of the hills. Nhu and I spent a long weekend in the area, flying into Spokane and driving the rest of the way down to the Pullman area where we stayed.
Finally, in July, Nhu and I flew to Edmonton, Alberta, to meet up with Nhu's good friend from Vietnam. Along with her husband and young daughter, we toured Jasper and Banff national parks. The Canadian Rockies hold many similarities to the mountains in Colorado, but they are also very different as well. The mountains seem much more stark, and the lakes much more blue. And then there are the glaciers. After we had had our fill of lakes and mountains, we made our way back north. We stopped in Calgary for some quick sightseeing, and also for some fantastic duck at a local Chinese restaurant (supposedly the best in Calgary). We then made our way back to Edmonton, and finally Morinville, where Nhu's friend is living, before saying goodbye and heading back home.
Now, of course, we're done travelling for the time being, at least until little Felix is old enough for a trip.