Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mourning mornings

For the last two weeks, I've been in denial.

Each morning, I tell myself that the previous days were flukes...

That surely, my son will take his morning nap.

Such is not the case.

Morning naps, sadly, are a thing of the past.

Just like that, one snowy morning, he decided that he was done. No more morning workouts, showers or breakfast in solitude for his mama.

Why nap? I gots lots of playin to do.

And I admit it....I'm mourning his morning naps.

He has adjusted well, making up for the lack of morning nap by taking a longer afternoon nap, but it's me who is having a conniption fit trying to re-configure my morning routine which I had grown to love.

For now, it's mid-day workouts (right after I put him down for afternoon nap), followed by a shower and lunch. So, I apologize to anyone who sees me before 1:00pm, I will be shower less and disheveled for another week or so until I manage to get my act together and get my shower in before he wakes for the day.

I'm also relishing in his long afternoon naps for now-perhaps I can actually start a project and finish it! I know its just a matter of time until he decides that afternoon naps are also a thing of the past, but I'm hoping to string them along as long as I can.

Think its possible to have him nap til he's in grade school?

When did your kids stop napping?

Recap:30 day shred

It took a week longer than planned but I finally completed all thirty days of the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred video...and boy am I ripped.

Just kidding.

I did finish it, but am definitely not ripped.

Nothing works that quickly or easily when you've got four years of laxidazical (yes that's a word) workouts, four pregnancies and one full term baby under your belt. I'm no fool.

Good things, and permanent change...take time. I'm still a rockstar..just undercover.

And for the record, Anita is just as much of a rockstar as Natalie.

I am happy with my results. I managed to exercise at least five days a week, carving out a half hour of my day just for ME. Who cares that my half hour sometimes meant that I got a workout in but no shower? It felt good to commit to something for myself again.

I love goals.

I love setting them, working toward them and most importantly, reaching them.

Best drug on earth.

The "in the mirror"results weighed in with a 1.5kg loss and a about 12 cm overall. Not too shabby for what I considered a totally do-able, fairly easy workout. Did I mention that my "weights" were 12oz water bottles? Yeah, they didn't exactly count as weights, but I worked with what I had. The physical changes have really amped my desire to continue to clean up my diet, and I crave the endorphin rush on a daily basis again. I always know that once I get going, it will make my day sooo much better. I had missed the workout high, and I am happy to welcome it back into my life.

Would I recommend this workout to friends and family?


I haaaated the second tier workouts, days 11-20 could just suck it ( lunge overload), but compared to the p90x workouts I've done in the past, they were survivable. The most important part of any exercise regimen is just sticking with it.

Up next...

..round 2...

Yep, I'm gonna suffer through her commentary for another thirty days.

I might even rope my ol man into giving it a try with me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shanghai day trip

On Friday, my friend Mrs.Georgia and I took our boys to Shanghai to see a pediatrician who was recommended to us. We boarded the train midmorning, each carrying half ton backpacks filled with bribes to keep the boys manageable for what was cut out to be a verrrry long, napless day.

Taking the G train

The train to Shanghai main from Wuxi takes only 45 minutes or so....this is a vast improvement over a two hour drive. From the train, we hopped on the Metro and headed towards People's square and the xintandi area. I'm so thankful that I had Mrs Georgia with me, as she navigated those crowds and lines like a professional. We swerved and curved in and out of the masses with our boys and even carried them up umpteen flights of stairs when escalators weren't available.

We got to our appointments right on time. She and her son went first, while I filled out paperwork and gave our insurance information. Once we were done, we were whisked away to triage, where accurate measurements were taken (don't even get me started on where I had been taking him..he would shrink in height and noggin circumference each month) and the nurses treated him like he was the cutest thing on earth. The pediatrician was a super nice, younger guy, with a great bedside manner and sense of humor. He had a list of questions for me to answer, and told me what milestones to be expecting soon. This is much more than I have received as far as advice in the last 8 months. This was exactly what I was looking for in a pediatrician. He also explained to me the immunizations, and pointed out that ours are a little screwy due to some being done in the US and some here in China. He's going to get us back on track, but it will require one extra visit. No big deal.

Both my friend and I left our appointments feeling so much relief having finally found a pediatrician that we're comfortable with. Yes, it's in Shanghai, and will require some travel to see him, but a good doctor is worth the train ride. I can't even explain how relieved I am to finally have a doctor I trust over here.

After successful appointments for the boys, we treated ourselves to lunch at a place called Fresh Elements. And as with the theme of the day, we had to carry our strollers up not one, not two, but three flights of stairs to the top floor to eat.

It was worth it.

I had the best sandwich I have eaten since moving here. A big juicy open faced Italian sub on fresh ciabatta bread. Oh em gee, I died and went to heaven eating that thing. Just delicious.

We headed out from lunch to do a little window shopping at all the high falutin' shops like Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana and such. We ended up seeing a sign that said "import groceries", and having limited access to western goods over here in Wuxi, the grocery store called our name more so than drooling over diamonds.

I've never been so excited to be in a grocery store. I found some hard to find items to stock our pantry- green died chiles, jalapeƱo kettle chips (a treat for NZ), jelly beans and some dried fruit chips for Sal.
Lights out. Two tired boys.

The boys hung tough, finally falling asleep just before we boarded the metro back to shanghai station. They both caught a few zzzz's until we boarded the train, and at that point they had enough energy to fuel an army. Never mind the treats we took as bribes, they wanted to play with the barf bags on the floor of the easily entertained.

All in all, it was a great trip to Shanghai with two of our favorite friends. Healthy check ups for the kids, and a super delicious and fun lunch/shopping day for the moms.

Looking forward to Sal's next pediatrician appointment in April cause I'm going to drag my sister along for a day in Shanghai!

Two more months til she arrives!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Snow saves the day

Well, as with everything here in China, nothing seems to go as planned. A friend of mine and I were planning a trip to Shanghai this morning to have our kids see a pediatrician and have immunizations. We had arranged for her driver to be here to pick us up at the crack of dawn, and drive us into the city for the day.

I think we had both been preparing ourselves for the early rise ( departure time 6:50 am) the last few days, and I had my diaper bag and "dining out" bag ready to go, along with money, passports, jackets and immunization card.

Then the weather report came in last night indicating snow. Heavy rain and snow.

Zero degrees.


We decided to sleep on it and see what the weather did overnight. A drive to Shanghai in good weather is sketchy enough, add snow to the mix and you're playing roulette. The Chinese are not the best of drivers in fair weather, I can't imagine what it would be like in snow.

Anyways, we woke up at 5:45 this morning....

To snow.

Lots of snow.

We decided to reschedule our appointments and try again another day.

Instead, we met up early this morning since the boys were already up, and played in the snow before braving the un-plowed sidewalks and a walk to buy fruit and veggies.

I guess you could say that the snow saved the day for both boys.

Playing in the snow instead of getting shots?

What kid wouldn't be happy with that?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Don't call me buddy

I'm currently 20 days Into Jillian Michaels 30 day shred workout video. When I began the workout series, I thought that 30 days would fly by. I'd be done with it in no time....but sickness took over our house, paired with a couple days of laziness over Chun Jie, and well, my thirty days is just gonna take a little longer than thirty days should. Besides, who wants to workout 30 days straight with no recovery days?

Maybe jillian, but not this girl.

So, how's it going 20 days in?

I hurt. My knees hurt. I hate when Jillian calls me "buddy". I'm not her buddy. if she only knew how many f bombs I spew her way during our twenty minutes together. I hate lunges and plank positions. I do them because I'm a rule follower. If I had an ounce of rebelliousness in me, I can assure you, I would not be doing lunges-ever. But, I curse my way through them because I want to see results and not have any excuses at the end of the program for why it didn't work.

I just thank God that we live in a high enough up that no neighboring buildings can see me. Cause my workout attire is so unattractive. No lululemon and matching pink sneakers here. We're talking barefeet, underwear and oversized T shirts, cause who wants to see their belly bulge while doing sit ups? I like to hide mine, thanks.

Anyways, I do feel stronger than before I started. I can do standard push-ups again. A lot of them. In a row. When I started twenty days ago, I was humbled by barely being able to do "girl" push-ups. Never, ever did I see myself ever doing girl push-ups in my lifetime. Ever. But, for the first week, that's what I had to do to get through the first tier of her video. By week two guess who was doing standard "boy" push-ups?

Yep. Me.

Guess what else? The cardio portion of the video series has also gotten my endurance back to a decent level. I did a gym workout last weekend and put some time in on the treadmill. I was amazed that I was able to run ten minute miles. Yes, miles...plural. For a non-runner like me, that was a major effing deal. Sign me up for a marathon (okay, that's a little ambitious, but you get my point).

It felt awesome.

I feel awesome.

No matter what my final results are on day thirty, whether I've lost weight, or any inches, I am proud of myself for committing to something for myself and carrying it out until the end.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I had intended on taking some really cute Valentine themed pictures to celebrate Sal's 13th month, but his one-year-old molars put a dent in the plans. Poor kid has two molars and two incisors emerging all at once. He's a trooper, but his willingness to pose for mama to take ridiculous pictures is lacking.
Can't say I blame him.
Aside from cutting teeth, he is getting more and more confident with walking, however, we still can't claim that he "walks". He can, he just doesn't.
Instead, he prefers to crawl on all fours with speed that would put Jeff Gordon or any other NASCAR driver to shame. The kid has wheels! He has also perfected this one legged scoot as pictured below. It's the cutest darned thing and he does it all the time.
Who needs to walk when you can scoot like me?
When he isn't crawling or scooting, he's furniture moving.
All. Day. Long.
Twenty bucks says that his college job is working for Meathead Movers. As I've blogged before, I think our neighbors are counting down the days til he gets over his chair moving infatuation.

Mama, Why I can't move furniture inside?
And when he isn't moving chairs, he's climbing. He has mastered the sofa, the patio chairs, and now the window seat in our bedroom. I know the day is coming when he will show up at our bedside after climbing out of his crib.

Breakdancing? Yoga?
Nope. Climbing up mom and dad's window seat.

It's been really cold here, and our household just rotated through illnesses, so the month of January found us indoors most of the time. We tried some easy toddler art projects--some with success, others--not so much. My favorite activity was blue crayon eating. I know I should have been stern, but that big blue toothy grin just melted my heart.

Ziploc mess free painting
Sal is still a great eater, polishing off half of a filet mignon, devouring eggs for breakfast and our little lefty is getting some hand control with the spoon.  Wuxi finally has strawberries and tangerines, and he LOVES both. He'd eat his weight in tangerines if we'd let him. He has mastered the sport top sippy cups, and now drinks milk. We're still doing nap time and bedtime bottles, but hope to transition out of bottles altogether in the next month or two.

He has started to transition out of the morning nap, which makes me a little sad ( I'll have to change my workout/shower routine), but he has exchanged it for a long afternoon nap, so I really shouldn't complain. Some mornings he still needs that morning snooze, but I foresee those coming to an end really really soon.

New words this month are "Uh oh" and something that sounds like " Duuuuuude" which cracks me up. He says it all the time. Guess that just proves that you can take the boy out of California but you can't take California out of the boy.

Kickin it off with a bang

Today is Saturday.

And as with most holiday weeks, this means that NZ headed back to the office today, to make up for the time he and his employees had off to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The fireworks around our apartment building have finally slowed down, and I can't say I miss them.

We've had enough fireworks to last us many many years, and there's a good possibilty that next Chun Jie, the Zentil's of Wuxi will not be in Wuxi. Yep--we may skip town like everyone else, and holiday somewhere where fireworks are illegal. Our poor cat. I think I swept up a coat's worth of fur this last week. Where's my ayi when I need her? On holiday of course. Fireworks and thirteen year old cats do not mix. We owe him many sweet snuggles when he finally emerges from his bunker behind our bed.

With the beginning of the New Year over here, and today being the first day back to work for many companies, it's customary to you guessed it, light fireworks. The fireworks symbolize the hope for a prosperous New Year, with good fortune for the business.

take a look at all them 'crackers!

Light em up
group effort. Even the driver is lighting some
Here are the fireworks that NZ's company set off this morning upon arrival to the office.  May this year be full of prosperity and good business!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cabin fever

It's been great having NZ home this week. Sweats have been the norm--we've really only ventured out a couple of times due to the weather. We've caught up on some Deadliest Catch episodes that finally downloaded (one episode took FOUR days to download due to slooooow Internet connections), finished Parks and Rec and are darn near done with United States of be honest, we watch wayyy too much tv here. Way more than ever before.

There's not a whole lot more for us to do.

Our hobbies back home aren't really compatible with our life here.

Surfing requires and ocean. Or at the very least, clean water and a swell. Sewing requires a sewing machine...which I could buy here but quilting fabric is not readily available anywhere near me. So, it just doesn't make sense to buy a sewing machine if I have no access to materials to sew. We both enjoy cooking, which is the one thing we've been able to continue to do while here. Ingredients are few and far between, so we can't get too fancy (still looking for Italian sausage), but we have managed to make many things like bagels and tortillas that are either not available to us, or too expensive to reason buying.

We stay home a lot. Most of the time we enjoy not having anything on the agenda, but after weeks like these, where we have unfavorable weather and limited access to a vehicle we end up with a mad case of cabin fever.

We fixed that today with a call to our driver, and a trip to HongMei market (we call it "stuff mart") to buy Sal a few new toys. After upgrading his collection with a few big boy toys, we enjoyed brick oven pizzas at one of our favorite expat restaurants.

A day out with my boys was just what the Doctor ordered.

Happy Valentines, all!

Monday, February 11, 2013

A letter to....

On Friday, Sal and I hopped in the elevator to meet up with our friends. I chuckled as I read the notice that had been posted.

Posted in the elevator

And then it dawned on me.
I think the letter is addressing....!
You see, Sal loves to move furniture. He really does. He moves anything he can push. The sofa chaise, the coffee table, kitchen chairs, his high chair---and this is like his FAVORITE thing to do when he gets up every day.
And what time might that be?
Between 7:00-8:00am.
mama, I think this chaise looks better over there.
I don't know who's moving chairs late night--we can't be to blame for that one...but the morning complaints might just be aimed at the 25th floor.
Until someone knocks on our door to complain face to face, I've decided that I will let my son get his kicks off moving chairs.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Spin Art Valentines

So easy, a 12 month old can do it!
I don't know about other moms out there, but I can not wait for Sal to be old enough to enjoy "projects". I have failed at tried a few age appropriate ideas off pinterest and my little guy either had no interest what-so-ever, or the "mess free" chinese ziploc wanna be  Ziploc baggie full of paint leaked all over the place, looking like a rainbow threw up on my floor/baby/highchair/clothes.

Anyways, I saw an idea for spin art with toddlers. Sal loves to play with our salad spinner while I am in the kitchen, so I knew he had the motor skills and coordination for this one. With Valentines day around the corner, and no Hallmark stores or scrapbooking supplies in sight, I decided we would try and make our own spin art hearts.

I had some left over cardstock that my sister had mailed me ( for Sal's Birthday bunting banner), so I cut out some 3" hearts. The only paints I have are chinese poster paints with a really thick  consistency. I picked out three "boy" colors ( Oh, I know, I'm feeding into societal norms), and diluted the paints with a bit of water so that they could be dropped from an old dropper I had on hand.

I let Sal pick up each heart and instructed him to put it in his spinner. He is really good with one step instructions these days. I then sucked up a little paint into the dropper and gave it to him, showing him how to squeeze paint out onto his heart. I put the lid onto the spinner and just let him go to town spinning the handle round and round.

We continued this method for each heart, and amazingly enough, the kid had a long enough attention span to make eight Valentines.

Not too bad for an almost-13-month-old.

And, best part of it for me?

Mess free.

Chun Jie

By the sound of the fireworks outside our window right now ( it's 7:45p on Saturday night), the celebration of the Lunar New Year has officially begun.

front row seats on the 25th floor

NZ is off this next week for Chun Jie, as it is a government approved holiday week. It will be nice to have him home, although we don't have our driver at our disposal this week, as he is with family, enjoying the holiday. We've been told to expect the new District, where we live, to be a bit deserted ( you won't hear us complain!), and that many restaurants and shops will close for a few days.
NZ picks a line. We always pick the slowest one!

We stocked up at the local super megastore earlier this week, and man it was a zoo! This morning we walked to the produce market and many vendors had already closed down for holiday. Thankfully, our fruit lady was open, so we stocked Sal up on his fruit of the week--cutie tangerines. That boy eats so many tangerines he might just turn orange! Heaven forbid he go a few days without his beloved cuties.
fireworks stand by the produce market

As for our plans while NZ is off?


Well, not exactly nada.

We plan some long leisurely walks once the weather warms up ( it should get warmer as the week progresses--we had snow and -5c yesterday), and I plan on continuing my 30 day shred video ( I'm on day 15/30) and might just get NZ to try it with me. We're hoping to grab some noodles with friends, and just enjoy having time to do nothing.

Maybe next year we will leave the firework madness of Chinese New Year, and holiday somewhere where we can get sand between our toes, saltwater in our eyes and a real good tan.

Did I just describe California?

Why yes, I think I did.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dora speaks Chinese

I've been sicker than I've been In along long time since Friday night. I'm thankful that NZ has been home over the weekend to tend to the boy, as I was in no condition to do so until late yesterday afternoon. We woke this morning, and I could tell he was still worried about leaving me alone with the boy while he heads to work- but, I think I am on the mend..just slow.

Anyways, we don't let Sal watch tv, or haven't really, yet. But with my reaction time still being a bit slow, and hoping to have a nice easy morning, I turned on Nickelodeon for the first time.

And guess what?

Our Dora the explorer speaks three languages! Move over NiHao Kailan! Dora's trilingual. Bowl cut girl speaks Chinese, Spanish and English. Our Dora program is dubbed in Chinese and she teaches the kids Spanish. If we couldn't confuse our poor kid anymore, lol.

It gave a me a good laugh this morning, which I could definitely use.