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February 1, 2013

If you want to know why I haven’t been writing much recently, here’s the reason:

This Tuesday, January 29, at 6:45am, my wife Frances gave birth to twin baby girls.  Alice Chovanec (Chinese name Cheng Yilan) was born first, weighed 2.82kg (6 lbs, 4 ounces), and was 46cm long.  Rachel Chovanec (Chinese name Cheng Xinlan) came next, weighing 2.55kg (5 lbs, 10 ounces), and was 44cm long.

Within hours, it became evident they have quite distinct personalities.  Alice (pictured right) squints and grunts at the world around her, and cries loudly whenever she needs our attention — she also bears an unmistakable likeness to her older brother William (now 3 years old) as a newborn baby.  Rachel (pictured left) hardly makes a sound, but is always opening her eyes and quietly looking around, just like she is doing in the photograph below.


William, who until now has been enjoying life as an only child, got to meet his new sisters today and gave each of them a kiss — and then attempted to pinch Alice to see if she would cry.  Actually, besides this one instance of rather innocent curiosity, William proved to be on his very best behavior, and — like all of us — is looking forward to getting to know these new members of our family much better in the days to come.


49 Comments leave one →
  1. Drayer, Keith permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:06 pm

    Congratulations! Best wishes for a long, healthy, happy life with a wonderful family.

    Keith Drayer
    Henry Schein Financial Services

  2. February 1, 2013 11:07 pm

    Many many congratulations and best wishes !

  3. Alexis De Mones permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:10 pm

    Adorable, congratulations, we all love twins (for other parents…)

  4. February 1, 2013 11:12 pm

    Congratulations to you and Frances!!!!

  5. February 1, 2013 11:14 pm

    Big congrats!!!

    Sent from my iPad

  6. Darius Dale permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:20 pm

    Congrats, Professor! Wonderful news

  7. Stephan Krause permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:21 pm

    My sincere congratulations and all the best for the first few years which can be quite work-intensive!

  8. February 1, 2013 11:24 pm

    What a great gift of life ! Congrats !

  9. Martin permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:30 pm

    Massive congratulations. You’ve got a noisy twenty years ahead of you!

  10. February 1, 2013 11:31 pm

    congratulations! u have your hands full now! all the best

  11. Hua Qiao permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:34 pm

    Fantastic! Enjoy the precious moments. You’re excused from blogging for a little while. Congratulations!

  12. calvin ho permalink
    February 1, 2013 11:54 pm

    Congraduations! i wonder if you have any plan for ur kids to move to other places given the air quality of Beijing. or that issue is just bought up in the foreign news. btw, how does the one child policy apply for non-chinese citizen living in China? presume your wife is a Chinese citizen?

  13. Karen Kane permalink
    February 2, 2013 12:35 am

    Congratulations, Patrick—you’re daughters are beautiful! And William seems quite pleased as well.

    Let us know when you are coming to Chicago. Perhaps we can arrange another dinner.

    Best regards,

    Karen and Chris

    Karen Kane

    773-799-8868 (office)

    630-338-2341 (mobile)

  14. Anthony Vespa permalink
    February 2, 2013 12:46 am

    Congrats to you, your wife, William and to the new sisters. Many years of happiness together.

  15. February 2, 2013 1:19 am

    Patrick – firstly many congratulations to you and your wife. I hope both mother and twins are doing well.

    Secondly, I am so pleased that despite being a multi-racial family you’ve decided to preserve the Chinese family naming convention (as I have with my British wife – and three kids). And, like the (in)-famous Soong family that produced three famous daughters; one married to Sun Yatsen and another to Chiang Kaishek, you’ve decided to use the third name for the generation name (see –

    Warm regards
    Zhang Chiahou

  16. February 2, 2013 1:48 am


  17. February 2, 2013 2:49 am

    Congratulations Patrick. I know you only through your writing which I very much appreciate reading and your insights. I follow you under a couple of my Twitter handles. I spent 7 years travelling and doing business throughout China, your writing brings me back. Best wishes to and family. Bless you!

  18. John Nelson permalink
    February 2, 2013 4:25 am

    Congratulations! I’m told the teenage years are brutal, but as a father of three girls myself, I can tell you that at least the younger years are a delight.

  19. Zhiwei Tan permalink
    February 2, 2013 5:25 am

    Warm congrats! They look really healthy and cute. William seems to be very happy too 🙂

  20. Zhiwei Tan permalink
    February 2, 2013 5:40 am

    How is the mom? Hope Frances is doing well!
    Best Wishes.

  21. Paul permalink
    February 2, 2013 7:31 am

    Well Patrick and Frances what can I say . You really did manage to catch the DRAGON by the tail!! Congratulations and the very best wishes to you and yours for a bright and better future. Kind regards Paul

  22. kailing permalink
    February 2, 2013 9:11 am

    Congratulations !

  23. redneck in SE USA permalink
    February 2, 2013 9:51 am

    Great congratulations and hope everyone is well. I’m sure the pair will prompt some interesting blogs.

  24. Esther Tang 唐宁استر تنگ استر تانج permalink
    February 2, 2013 10:11 am

    Gorgeous family! Best wishes to their mama as well.

    Avid reader in Dubai/Orange County, Esther

  25. Andy permalink
    February 2, 2013 12:16 pm

    Hey Patrick,
    I don’t know you, but have been reading your blog.
    Congratulations! Your children are beautiful!
    The twins look like angels.

  26. Nikolodian permalink
    February 2, 2013 2:22 pm

    Congratulations on your beautiful growing family and on having the luck to have TWINS!

  27. Sera permalink
    February 2, 2013 2:45 pm

    Congratulations! May you and your family have cool breezes and calm seas.

  28. Nikesh Sinha permalink
    February 2, 2013 9:59 pm

    Wonderful news Patrick. Now you are more a person to me than you were as a Chinese commentator. May the tribe of the Chovanecs increase, may it prosper and become wiser.



  29. kris permalink
    February 2, 2013 10:36 pm

    May God bless the twins and the parents.

    • kris permalink
      February 2, 2013 10:37 pm

      …and the first born.

  30. Steve W from Ford permalink
    February 3, 2013 4:45 am

    Congratulations. Hope you got plenty of sleep before they came! Twice as much to love but four times as much to do.
    Little stepping stones to heaven, as my Grandpa called them.

  31. Chi from Switzerland permalink
    February 3, 2013 5:41 am

    Warmest congratulations! May they enjoy a peaceful yet exciting life, filled with love and many successes.

  32. Jim and Terry permalink
    February 3, 2013 8:11 am

    Patch and Frances,
    Oh my, how absolutely wonderful for you both. The girls are beautiful! The picture of William with them is priceless. Joan and Frances’ mom are surely looking down and beaming with pleasure and pride, as well they should. Grandma Helen would have been so happy for you. We wish you well…

  33. February 3, 2013 4:38 pm

    What a beautiful family you have. Many congratulations.

  34. Peter Lee permalink
    February 3, 2013 5:39 pm

    And now there are five, congratuatulations on the arrival of Alice and Rachel.

  35. Conor permalink
    February 4, 2013 2:58 pm

    Congrats Patrick. A good excuse to take a break from your excellent blogging!

  36. February 4, 2013 5:32 pm

    Congratulations. I got a little girl Saturday, name is Marie冬.

  37. geoih permalink
    February 5, 2013 12:20 am


  38. Baeb permalink
    February 5, 2013 6:59 am

    William sure looks happy! Big brother now. Terrific family!!

  39. February 5, 2013 5:20 pm

    the most beautifull post i have both like you (original)even your son.

  40. Daniel permalink
    February 7, 2013 1:25 pm

    They are all beautiful, congratulations Prof. and to your wife.

    Happy New Year!

  41. February 7, 2013 8:14 pm


  42. Gwendolyn Tates | ChinaWays permalink
    February 11, 2013 10:33 pm

    Dear Mr Chovenac, Congratulations with the birth of your two daugthers! I wish you much happiness and good luck with them (in Chinese fashion). I always enjoy your posts, so please keep on writing them! Best regards, Gwendolyn Tates

    Gwendolyn Tates ChinaWays tel. +31 (0)6-44900557 skype: gwendolyn.tates

  43. Irene permalink
    February 12, 2013 4:52 am


  44. Derek Wongsa permalink
    February 12, 2013 9:25 am

    I wish you luck and all the best for your family. These days, you’ve got all the blessing to have bigger family. The smart and genius type of genes are very important to the advancement of all man kind.

    Terrific family.

  45. February 14, 2013 10:06 am

    Hi Pat, Joe Byerwalter here. I look at your blog every so often and was delighted to see your two new ones. Congratulations and may you find that they have an easy time sleeping thru the night at an early age. I also see a lot of you in your older son. Wishing you all the best. Joe

  46. February 17, 2013 2:35 pm

    Congrats and best wishes to both you and your wife. May the kids grow up healthy and wise in an open world.

  47. David Penhale permalink
    February 19, 2013 5:36 pm

    So happy for you all Patrick. You have no doubt had more than firecrackers disturbing your sleep these last few weeks in Beijing! I guess at least the girls have spectacular birthday firework displays to look forward to in future years if you stay in China. David

  48. Hua Qiao permalink
    April 13, 2013 5:12 pm


    I see that you are now with Silvercrest Asset Management. Have you left Beijing for the cleaner air (sort of) of New York?

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