Friday, September 27, 2013

23 weeks

How many weeks: 23

Showing? Ginormous. I'm embarrassed to admit I am depressed over how large I am (and I still have 15-17 weeks to go.)

How am I feeling? Tired. Depressed (see above). Elated to still be pregnant and feeling movement. Hopeful. 

Doctor’s Appointment? Saw my endocrinologist today. I'm severely hypothyroid, so were going to manipulate my meds til I get back into the normal range. I was the most hypo I have been in 6 years! No wonder I've been lagging even more than usual (and perhaps it has contributed to my magnificent weight gain). I absolutely adore my endo and his staff. He will have me retest in 4 weeks and go from there. Managing my thyroid from half a world away--now that's a doc that cares!

Workouts? Just walking and pushing strollers and carrying a 25lb toddler

Sleep? Terrible. Jet lag plus no naps while on holiday in CA have put me in bed by 8:30 most nights, and then it has taken our son a week to get his sleep right (its a 15 hr time difference from China to CA)...can't wait to get back to my afternoon naps and full nights of sleep.

Weight Gain?  As I said last week, I'm following Jessica Simpsons footsteps this time around. Wanna be shocked? 22 lbs in 23 weeks, 7 of those pounds have been gained in just 21 days. I want to cry! But before anyone blasts me--I will stand by my claim that I will do anything to get this baby home healthy and alive, no matter how many lbs I have to gain...just wishing it wasn't so much, so fast! 

Baby preparation? Uhm....between grandmas and aunts and great grandmas.....I have at least a suitcase full of girl clothes. We bought some formula to supplement with and pacifiers, bottle nipples and the like. So.much.stuff! Babies are expensive, yo.

Likes/Dislikes? Loves: lemonade

A day at the farm

Hello from sunny Southern California! 
It's currently 83 sunny, breezy degrees here and p-e-r-f-e-c-t autumn weather. 

Go ahead and hate me now ( I would too).

We wanted to give Sal a break from our on-the-go shopping/visiting/appointment schedule and do something just for him. A few years back when my friends Liz and John visited, we took them to Underwood farms and their daughter really liked it so I have been looking forward to taking Sal. 

Today was the day.

He was slow to warm up, but quickly fell in love with the animals and really really enjoyed feeding them carrots with his dad. He especially liked when the sheep would "baaaaa" and the pygmy goats would use their horns to knock on the feed chute to ask for more. We tried to get him to ride the miniature horses but he wasn't having it. He stuck his lower lip out and started doing his "how-can-you-do-this-to-me"?! face so we backed off and opted for the train ride instead.

 There were play structures and hay bales and tractor slides....and we did them all. On our way out, Sal got to select his very own pumpkin. He tried to pick it up himself but still needed some back-up from dad. He picked a winner!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


      Seven years married. Twenty month old son.
              Twenty three weeks pregnant.
                         I'm a lucky girl.

            Happy anniversary to my sunshine!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I realize I've been bitching quite a bit about China lately..and really, I shouldn't. I mean, we choose to live here. It isn't awful. It's just soooo foreign to anything either of us has experienced before. Well, Nick says India was more shocking, but maybe this is just because India was his first experience of the two. I don't know. I don't plan on going to India after hearing of some of the things he saw. China will be, and has been a humbling enough experience for me to fully appreciate what I have. I'm a lucky girl. 

We are a year and four months deep into this whole experience, and as much as we don't want to admit it, we've taken on some Chinese mannerisms and customs! Here's a listing no particular order.

1. We went from an eff-it attitude about wearing shoes in the house to leaving them outside on a designated doormat thanks to a few months of seeing what we were walking in on a daily basis. It is not uncommon to have to sidestep human vomit, feces, trash on the local streets. Who wants that tracked inside their house? Not these guys.

2. The street vendor food actually looks somewhat appetizing. I'm not quite ready to experiment with it yet, but I do see a few things that smell and look edible. There's an egg crepe with green onions and chili sauce that will probably be my first step into street food. We prefer to eat at jiaozi or Muslim noodle joints instead of the expat restaurants.  Can't beat the price. My noodle and bok choy bowl is only 7rmb ($1.10) and it's big enough to split with Sal. Our piggy bank likes that!

3. My personal space has been invaded so many times, that I'm now an offender. I have no problem getting all up on a stranger to make sure I don't lose my spot in the Burger King line at lunch rush. In fact, one day, I even cut in front of some men who were taking too long to order! I didn't realize I had done this until after the fact, but it gave my friends a good laugh. My stroller has now become a fantastic tool at making sure people don't try to cut me in line. My front wheels literally touch the shoes of the person in front of me as to end any doubt that there is room for cutting. 

4. We ride an e-bike as a family. Yes, I know-sticklers for the carseat in the car, but we ride our 20 month old and unborn child on an e-bike? It's a decision we are comfortable with. With three of us (technically four now) maxing out the weight limit on the bike, our top speed is less than 15 mph. Bike riders pass us by. And who hasn't ridden a bike with their kid on it before? We also use designated scooter lanes and obey all traffic signals even if those around us do otherwise. We love our e-bike and the freedom it has provided for us.

5. I leave the house wearing whatever I feel like. Somedays it's my mumu --which is really a beach cover up that I think is cute, but NZ calls it a mumu. Other days it's workout shorts and whatever tank top I can find. Style isn't even on my radar. My hair has tons of whispy's since it is in a ponytail 90% of the time, and sometimes I wear make up and others I don't. Back home, I almost always did my hair and makeup, and tried to show that I cared. Here, anything goes. My friends and I even have distinctions for sweatpants. "Sweats casual" is sweats and no make up, and "sweats dressy" is wearing sweats with makeup. Seriously. I'm not alone in this fashion disaster. 

6. I'm considering buying our son a pair of kai dang ku, otherwise known as "split pants" to wear around the house. Not sure if my ol man is on board, but over the past month, our home has been clothing optional for Sal since he's been independently using his potty throughout the day (yes, we still have accidents, but more successes than accidents keep us happy). During summer months, being naked is no big deal, but I'm seeing the benefit of using split pants at home during the cooler months until the boy can pull chonies up and down himself. I'm not cool with him wearing them out in public (just "chinese split pants" if you don't believe me that Chinese kids air out their junk for all to see) but at home?? Why not? 

7. Looking out for #1. I was a nice person back home. Courteous. Waited my turn. Never would do something that might inconvenience someone else. I'd still like to think that I'm a courteous, turn waiting human being, but sometimes, you have to just look out for yourself and make things happen. I do things here that I never would at home-for example- the local grocer was selling two packs of juice for a good price. There was an apple-carrot juice pair, an orange-grape pair, and an orange-carrot pair for sale. I didn't want any carrot juice, but I did want a grape juice, an apple and two orange juices. Without hesitation, I undid the fancy red bows and cellophane packaging and switched around the pairings of juice, leaving two carrot juices together. For the record, I did repackage them and tied the big red bow. I did all of this while a store employee, my driver and my husband looked on. The store employee wasn't happy, but I wanted the good deal on the juices so I made it work in my favor. 

8. The greater the number of months that pass by, the closer our faces get to our dishes of food. We haven't given up on utensils quite yet, but give us a good bowl of noodles and we can steam up our faces and slurp with the best of them. 

A bunch of school girls enamored by the laowai children at lunch one day

Don't be fooled. We still stick out as a big red white blue, flag waving American family. There's no getting around that....from paparazzi ninjas getting a picture of the round eye baby boy to hearing " Měiguó ting bu dong" over and over (rough translation "american doesn't understand") while standing amongst the chattering  Nǎinai's (grandmas) while our kids play. We are reminded daily just how American we are, so I choose to celebrate the small adaptations that we have made.

 I think we are doing alright.

Monday, September 16, 2013

22 weeks

How many weeks: 22

Showing? Everything on me has grown this time. Arms, butt, stomach, chins....feeling more and more like Jessica Simpson, daily. Not knocking her by any means, but you know how some women only grow a cute belly....and others grow everywhere? I'm feeling the latter. 

How am I feeling? Tired. Achy. Hopeful. Really relieved to be feeling jabs and kicks more regularly. The first time I was absolutely positive I felt the girl (and not gas) was at 20w4d. So much for feeling consecutive pregnancies earlier and earlier. She held out on me! 

Doctor’s Appointment? No OB visits til October. A looooong 5 week stretch ( due to travel) between appointments this time. I will see my endocrinologist next week when I'm stateside. He's worth traveling a million miles for. 

Workouts? Just walking. Been walking about 1-2 miles 3x a week. This afternoon, my trusty napper decided to babble for two hours in his crib before I caved and plopped him in our stroller for a ride. Twenty minutes into a walk I didn't really want to be on, he cashed in his chips, so I hightailed it home and parked my butt on the couch while he slept the afternoon away.  Mom wins.

 I had downloaded a Summer Sanders prenatal workout and OMG it is way beyond my abilities. Ab work and squats while pregnant? I thought this was a no-no? I'm bummed I paid for a workout I am not comfortable doing. Guess I will Improvise some upper body work and light legs myself. I should have known better than to download a video without watching a preview first. Mom loses.

Sleep? Still napping a ton. Nights are rough. Between nightmares (now courtesy of Breaking Bad episodes) and waking to pee every couple hours, I'm feeling like I hit my sleep stride right as our alarm goes off each morning. 

Weight Gain?  Oh my, yes! Another .4 kg since last week! Holy hell, batman! 

Baby preparation? Nope.

Likes/Dislikes? Orange juice and grapes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I caved.

I bought the girl some clothes.

So much for my "not buying anything until 30 weeks" rule I set for myself. I'm so superstitious about buying things for a baby that hasn't arrived yet. Mostly because past experience of having to sort through and give away clothes and baby gear that belonged to a baby that didn't come home. 

Talk about sucking big time. That experience is up there amongst my all time suckiest situations. (yes, suckiest is a word, autocorrect!). 

They say time makes you forget. I'll tell you what. That's a lie.

Time doesn't make you forget. All it does is let hope creep back in. 

So, that's what is going on here with this purchase. I'm letting HOPE back in. Hope that this little girl comes into the world just like her big brother did. Planned and on time...and most of all healthy enough to come home and be ours to raise and watch grow into this dress and these shoes.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Where were you on 9/11?

Twelve years.

Hard to believe so much time has passed since I remember exactly where and what I was doing when I caught news of the World Trade Center being attacked. I was living with Jon & JP in Davis, and teaching preschool as I was muddling my way through life after divorce. As was my usual, I had just returned from my morning jog-away-the-hangover run at the track across from our house. That morning, Peezy had beat me to the shower, so I turned on my TV (which I rarely ever did) while I waited my turn for the bathroom. 

And there it was.

A trailer for a movie I would most definitely never watch. I mean, who wants to watch a movie about planes flying into the WTC? 

And then I realized....this was no trailer. This was the news. Like, real actual LIVE news.

This was happening. This just happened. 

I crumbled to the floor and I cried...and cried and cried ( I cried a lot those days). I must have cried loud enough because I heard a knock on my door and a "Cheezy, you alright in there?" I told him to come in, and we just both sat on my bed, tears in our eyes watching the news unfold. Soon after, my phone rang. It was my sister. Her husband's family lives on Long Island. She was shaken as they could not contact her in laws. I finally got myself together, showered and headed to work. Most parents did not bring their kids to school. I think we had 6 kids attend out of 28 in our preschool room. It was eerie. 

I remember thinking that the whole world sucked, and wondering what would come next. Were the attacks over? Would California be next? 

But what happened in the days to come amazed me. 

Americans united. Firefighters and emergency crews risked their lives to find survivors. There was a renewed fighting spirit and pride amongst America as a whole. I'm proud to be an American and even more proud of those who risk their lives every single day for our freedoms. We may have our problems, but believe me when I say, there is no other country I would rather call home. 

To all of the fallen heroes and civilians we lost on 9/11....

We will never forget. 

Where were you on 9/11/01? Can anyone else recall it like it was yesterday?

Monday, September 9, 2013

A child lives here

For so many years, I kept a simple house clear of clutter. Simple design, with just a touch of ourselves. We still enjoy the minimalist style, however, I can't help but smile as I sit on my sofa and see the mess in front of me. Never in a million years did I expect a potty chair would reside in my living room, nor would a half eaten apple, a shoelace and a tonka truck be saddled up along side crumpled boardshorts that just needed to come off then and there.

And I have to say, as much as it tests my OCD tendencies, I wouldn't have it any other way. 

No doubt, a much wanted and very well loved child lives here. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Chemistry lesson

Hello all,

Last Thursday, as my ayi and I were tag teaming hanging some laundry to dry, something on the horizon caught my eye.

 I did a double take.

Thick, black, smoke was headed our direction from about two miles away.

I tapped Liu on the back and pointed in the direction of the smoke. "Huǒ", she says, obviously meaning "fire". We stood on the balcony for a good twenty minutes, amazed at this plume of smoke slowly taking over the New District sky. It was eerie. Finally, she cups her ear and motions for me to listen....The sound of fire trucks finally filled the air. Seriously, twenty minutes before we heard a single siren. 

Relieved that the fire would be put out, we went back to our business, occasionally checking on the smokey sky. I texted Nick to tell him about the fire, and he said he was on his way home, and had actually just passed by the factory and it was still burning. 

Through NZ's assistant, we got notifications that the Chinese officials were broadcasting to the public. We were told that we should close all windows, stay inside and turn off our AC units until the smoke cleared. Common sense, right? 

As the evening progressed, we started hearing rumors.

The thick plume of smoke? 

Chemicals as a result of a semiconductor plant explosion.

Semiconductor plants do a lot of etching. The chemical used to do such a job is hydrofluoric acid. Anyone who's seen the tv show "breaking bad" would remember that that's what Jesse poured over the drug distributor's dead body in his bathtub, which ultimately ate through the tub and sent it through the ceiling to the floor below. Yeah, that shhht's nasty. And highly toxic. 60% concentration will kill you. A small burn (5%) can kill you. 

NZ and I paced around our apartment that evening after learning that the smoke was actually Hf. What should we do? Can we get out of dodge? Where would we go? Is the danger of smoke inhalation as dangerous as direct contact? Would we wake Sal and call our driver to take us to SuZhou? Mind you, its about 10:00p and we know our driver is probably half a bottle of baiju deep. He'd be too drunk to drive anywhere. I decide to go to bed and NZ stayed up to wait for morning time to hit in California. He wanted to consult with a few people who may have better knowledge of Hf and the dangers of burning Hf. 

Ultimately, we stayed the night, but everyone agreed that it was dangerous.

We woke up to rain the next day.

Rain is good, right?

Well, when residual Hf is in the air, and rain is brought into the picture, not so much. Supposedly there was a danger of Hf then contacting skin through rainfall, which is super scary. Some people evacuated out of fear, others stayed home and inside, and some went on like there was no danger at all. 

We did leave for Shanghai (I had an appointment) and some safety. I think we both felt better about it. 

We've since returned and life is back to normal. 

I'll be happy if we never have to go through that again. 

20 weeks [halfway there]

 How many weeks? 20 

Yes, and lately I can't figure out it the chatter of the Ayis is an "oh-my-Gawd-laowai-is-pregnant-and-chasing-a-toddler-alone" (the Chinese tend to see women who are pregnant as very of them being that a pregnant woman should not exert herself, especially by carrying a 11kg toddler) or more of the "oh-my-gawd-Laowai-woman-think-she-so-special-having-more-than-one-baby". I really don't know how the Chinese feel about the laws of their country forbidding couples from having more than one child. Are they okay with that? Do they feel slighted? Are they jealous of us foreigners or the few Chinese that are allowed to have more than one? Anyone know the answer?


How am I feeling? Relieved but still guarded. We had the level II anatomy scan this week and she is measuring perfectly average. All her parts appear to be functioning and in the right place. She's laying oblique, and facing my spine, just like Sal did, so we didn't get to see the picture perfect profile shot, but we got to see a glimpse as she wiggled around a bit. 

Doctor’s Appointment? Yep. Still liking my Doctor and the hospital we've chosen. She's very reassuring this far. Next appointment is scheduled for after our return from the USA. They do the 3-hr glucose tolerance test here, so I can't say I'm looking forward to that one. I'm looking at not being able to eat until 1:00pm that day due to fasting, travel time, and the 3hr test starting at 10:00am. Someone have a lemonade  on tap for me STAT.

Workouts? Sal and I walked halfway for 5k Monday with the ladies, and once to the produce market. After seeing the scale today, I ordered a prenatal workout on iTunes to try out. Mama needs exercise. 

Sleep? Still napping a ton. Starting to feel like an insomniac at night though.

Weight Gain?  Oh my, yes! 3kg in just 4 weeks! That's 6.8kg overall at the halfway point. It's the most I've gained so early in any of my pregnancies.

Baby preparation? Not this week.

Likes/Dislikes? Orange juice & cream cheese on anything.