Saturday, June 29, 2013

From CA, with love

Isn't this cool?

I had fallen in love with a similar pillow from Kitson, but wasn't willing to pay upwards of $100 for a pillow that would inevitably get covered in snot and goldfish crackers. I sent the link to my sister, who I am crafting vicariously through until we return to home of the brave, land of the free and its multitude of craft stores. She in turn, painted white muslin fabric and put our favorite California landmarks on it, including out home (Newbury Park) and the town Nick and I fell in love (Davis). 

It now lives on our sofa (as opposed to Sal's room which was my original idea) and I'm smitten.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

For the love of toilets


For some reason, Sal has been all about the toilet for the last few weeks. It started in Bali, when we would let him roam the hotel room naked after pool time, and he would go pull toilet paper off the roll and "wipe". It was all fun and games to him, pulling more and more paper off until there was a heap on the floor. He'd follow my husband or me in, acting as our own personal toilet paper butler.

It was cute. We laughed. I let it carry on.

It has since continued since our return to Wuxi. Now when I take his diaper off for a change or bath time, I tell him to go pee. He walks to our bathroom, opens the lid and stands in font of the toilet (never produces until he is conveniently in the bath water, but still...). He always needs his square of toilet paper, then throws it in the bowl, closes the lid, then climbs up to flush.

Today we had a miracle.

I heard a familiar little grunt.

My initial thought was "oh man, he's in a cloth diaper with no liner." Then I thought, why not try for the toilet? I ran, scooped him up and said to him, "lets sit on the toilet." So, I sat him on the toilet (with diaper on), then undid the tabs on his diaper, pulling it our from under him and he proceeded to poop! 


I was the proudest mama alive today. Hence my blogging about it, which will someday probably embarrass him, but it's the small victories like this that I don't want to forget, and I hope someday he reads this and understands how proud he makes us every single day. 

I don't expect this to lead to toilet training quite yet, as he is only 17 months but we are on our way to more independence!

A child size potty is on its way, and hopefully we have continued interest. 

Go Sal!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bali favorites

We're back from holiday in Bali.

Nusa Dua beach
I'm glad to be done flying for a while. Flights with toddlers, although not impossible, are tiring. Gone are the days of plugging in my earphones, reclining my seat and catching a few movies. I've traded that type of travel in for constant distractions, baby wrangling and acting as a makeshift trampoline. But, it's worth it.

I've said it before, but I'd love for Sal to see the World and grow up realizing that life isn't all about material possessions. Living in Asia, we have the opportunity to explore some countries we never would have considered visiting from the States. Destinations which would require multiple flights and a few days travel from California can be reached within a couple of flights and one days travel from here.

Bali was lovely.

The people were so gracious and humble. The town of Nusa Dua was beautiful. Our resort, the Westin Nusa Dua, was fantastic. It was definitely more of a family resort, so if you ever head to Bali and want to party, the Westin is not the place for you. My favorite thing about the resort was our room. We had a room with our own lanai and extra space to keep the crib. We were actually able to put Sal down for naps and bedtime and sit on our lanai while he talked himself to sleep.

We spent most of our time on the beach and in the pool. Sal loved the water and the sand. He built some serious sandcastles with his dad.


sand in the hair, oh yeah.
One morning we rented bicycles (with the most punishing seats!) and rode down the beach walk to a blow hole. It was gorgeous, and the ocean spray felt so so good!

We had great Balinese food (with some Western comfort food mixed in) and just soaked up every minute of beach time we could. Looking forward to choosing our next destination. Oh where oh where will the Zentils go?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Sal turned 17 months in yet another country--Indonesia. By next month he'll be done with his worldwide jet setting, and will celebrate the next few monthly milestones in China. We have a trip planned to the USA again in the end of September, but as for summer 'round here, we're gonna cruise through and enjoy a break from jet lag and climbing the walls of airplanes for a few months.

Month seventeen has been both extremely rewarding, and challenging at the same time. Sal's vocabulary is growing little by little, and the looks on Nick and my faces when we showed him a duck one day and he said "duck" Clear as day was priceless. I didn't even know he knew what ducks are. Apparently he does. He is a good timin' kid, much like his dad. When he is having fun, he's doing it full throttle. He laughs, smiles and screeches to show his enjoyment for anything from going to the park to shaking a cup full of goldfish til it empties on the floor. He loves to empty containers and put the contents back in. I'm hoping this transfers to putting toys away soon. 

As for the challenging part of month 17? 

Temper tantrums.

In full force. Anywhere and everywhere. I know that this is the age when toddlers start to figure out how to manipulate their environment, so I try to keep in mind that the tantrums are just his way of learning how to be a little man. It's our job to guide him by providing choices, consequences and consistency...and really, just leading by example--which is easier said than done. I've got the mouth of a sailor at times, and the last thing I want is to hear is my son saying something wildly inappropriate at the most unfortunate time. 

His new words this month have been:

Byyyye dad

He went in a swimming pool for the first time while in Bali, and he also got to take a dip in both the Indian Ocean and the Bali sea during the same trip. He took to the water like a moth to a flame, and once he realized the garden outside our hotel room lead to the pool it was time for me to put my running shoes on to keep up with him as he would sprint toward the water every time we were out on our porch. We were really happy to see how comfortable he became in the pool, and hope to get him in swim lessons soon. 

Since we travelled so much this past month, I allowed Sal to use my iPad during flights. His favorite app? Talking Tom and Talking Ginger, the cats that you can speak to and then they repeat. There was a lot of high pitched screeching going on, but it was so cute to watch.

Sal continues to be a social little guy. He goes through periods of shyness, but he generally likes people and attention. He loves older children, and even showed some maturity from baby to toddler when he offered toys to my friend's younger son. Let's just hope this continues when he has a sibling to share with. 

Last month someone had emailed me about breaking the bottle habit, asking how it was going...

My answer in short.. They still exist.

This is a "mom" habit, not a Sal thing. His only "must have" is his blue blanket....but I keep on with routine and have not stopped the naptime and bedtime bottles yet. Why is change sometimes harder for the parents? I guess because he doesn't "need" it, I feel like its okay to continue on with the bottle, but then again, do I really want a two year old drinking bottles of milk at night? Plus, its easy. I know that after bottle time, he will go to sleep. Naptime and bedtime is precious. I'm sort of afraid of messing with something that has been working for us.

But i know...i have to change the routine. Didn't I say that last month? 

Here's to breaking the bottle by month eighteen!

Sunset dining

We ate on the beach at sunset last night.

So romantic, right?

The driver that picked us up from the airport had given us his number in case we needed anything during our stay. We have used him a couple of times now-once to drive into Kuta, and again last night to go to a Jimbaran area live seafood restaurant. Turns out, his brother in law works there, so we had the welcoming committee during our stay. Everyone in Bali is so friendly.

Here are NZ and Sal picking out shellfish (none for Sal, he shared my fish instead) for dinner.

Here's the view from our table. The rain clouds were looming so we didn't get an ultra colorful sunset but it was still serene, none-the-less. So far it has only rained overnight, so we have enjoyed sunny days all week through.

Family picture in front of our table. Bet you thought I was lying when I said beachfront seating. Nope. This place is literally on the beach. Sand in your toes and everything. Doesn't get much more vacations than that.

And finally, a picture of yours truly, way too excited to have fresh red snapper for dinner. Living in China I most certainly do not trust seafood from the markets. Fresh, my ass. If I can't smell the ocean air from where I'm buying my fish, it isn't fresh. End of story. Call me spoiled, but being raised in Southern Ca and being married to a husband who goes fishing regularly, you get a little snobby about your fish. 

This stuff, I have to say, was legit.

Bali does fresh seafood right.