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U Bike. We Bike! (微笑單車)

With hubby on his way home today, we are officially switching now into "Local Mode" as a single mom with two.

My Mission?
To figure out how to move about this bustling city with 2 little ones in tow...WITHOUT taking a taxi or Uber.  We got the MRT down.  Now onto the local streets, planning ahead for daily drop off at the kiddo's various summer camps.  Nothing like getting to know the local streets on two wheels!

Yes, please.

I learned how awesomely convenient this bike rental system is:
  • Register your EASY CARD
  • Select your station (Click Map)
  • Select your bike (double checking tires and all parts)
  • Scan card
  • Pull out bike from stall
  • You are now riding your own Orange Smiley Bike
At $5 Yuan for the first 30mins, I can get almost anywhere for only 15cents!! 
The bargain diva in me is in heaven. 

For Zozie, we packed a light weight Razor to race along side me, easy enough.

But for the crucial part, how do I ride with my tiny girl too?  In my long research, I could not find any info on renting something to also carry a toddler.  It would have to be simple, quick on and off, and fit a public share bike such as our smiling tangerine friend.

Then I came across this magical wonder...the TYKE TOTER.

At around $99, weighing only a few pounds, it seemed to fit the bill.  Having shoved it into our luggage from the US, we finally took it out for a test run today...

Happy Trio!

Dedicated bike lanes.
Omi LOVES it.
We got lots of compliments and purchase inquiries on this fun little tyke seat... happens to also be orange so it matches the uBike perfectly! 
(Accidental awesomeness). 

At the uBike station today, we also saw families with older kids (like Zo) hop on the back wheel cap using the attached "foot rests" on the rear wheel!  Tho we have not tried this ourselves, we could potentially start our own family clown bike stunt act with this move...toddler in front and big kid in back.  Good to keep in mind should you have a multi-child need in a pinch!

We are now comfortable CRUIZING....with wind in our hair.
(or slightly plastered with sweat in 90degree + weather)
BUT...that just adds to us feeling like real locals.

Mission accomplished.


Beanie: Abstracted

2 Days old.
Loving all the juicy bits of this little lady.


Big Brother. (哥哥)

1 Day Old.
Meet big brother.

Zozie can't keep his paws off of her.
It's a double edge sword sometimes.
The fine balance in wanting them to get along and keeping the baby safe from her own sibling!  Alotta lovin' and kissin' going on, true love at first sight.
Guess there are worst things in life than this...

Creeping up on her.
Guchie, Guchie, Guch!
Whoa...Watch the head!
Got her...
Here's your birthday present!

No, she's ALL MINE!

Knuckle Sandwich??

Good Job Mama..thank you for my baby sister...


"Girl" @ 0536

Today, our girl arrived @ 0536.
A ripe gestation of 40weeks, to the day.
Chances of being born on your DUE DATE?
< 5%.  Unlike the other 95, we apparently hit the jackpot.

Physically & mentally, it's been a long journey.
One full of twists and turns that tore down my solid wall of presumptions and comparisons.  A fine lesson in NOT expecting anything while expecting.

Zozie's birth story has been told many times throughout the years to myself and to others.  No cravings, no morning sickness, no real fatigue.  Pregnant?  Most people couldn't tell from behind.  My little basketball in the gut went with me everywhere.  Eventually, I gave a perfect Hypnobabies birth with a midwife, un-medicated.  
Caught him myself, standing.  
My natural birth story was a badge of honor which I wore proudly.

Having no other experience, I found myself unknowingly expecting this pregnancy and birth to be nearly exactly the same as my last.

THAT...was my mistake.

She made me wait...
With each passing day over 38wks, I was disappointed.
Again, and again, and again.
(This is when Zozie came, right?)
"Today is the day!" I kept telling myself.
Nope.  Nothing.  Nada.
I eventually realized much of the let downs were self imposed.
My comparative mind consumed me.
Eventually, time just broke me.

2 days before birth, I finally gave up, and gave in.
I gave in to the reality that this was a separate life.
One with it's own time.  One with it's own path.  One with it's own mind.
Even if I created it, it did not belong to me.

Then the "waves" came...
My body waited for my surrender and sent in the troops to deliver the final blow.  My water did not break, but my labor kicked in, full force.  I lulled at 4cm for days, trying to cope with the relentless waves that came every 5- 7mins for over 30hrs.  Once admitted, I walked the hospital halls breathing, focusing, and trying to find strength to continue the journey.  I finally realized that I was plain out of gas.

Maybe I'm older now, maybe I have an older child... for whatever reason, I was just really tired.  Unwilling but surrendering, I asked Dalee if he would be terribly disappointed if I accept the epidural this time.  He looked back at me with sincere kindness and shook his head.  Deep inside, I knew I was actually asking myself that question, and more so, desperately trying to answer it with as much kindness to myself.

I was not the type to give up...no, not me.
I can take the pain, I can do this...again!  Go natural or go home!  I searched for my self-Hypnosis, nothing.  I looked for my inner calm, blank.  I found none of the strength I possessed with Zozie's birth.  Who am I?  Where did I go?
Another wave.  Just waves.
Seriously questioning my own self definition, I finally let go.
She is NOT Zozie.  

"We'll give you the shot in 20mins, dear..."  said the nurse.
All I heard was "7 more contractions".
That was a sign.

With IV's & tubes hooked up everywhere, my hopes for another "natural childbirth" faded as I drift off to a 3 hour nap.  The pain melted away as the numbness progressed from my waist down.  On the monitor, my waves were now overlapping and crashing into one another.  I registered none of it.
Then...my unexpected miracle happened.

Her water broke @0135.
On it's own.
This triggered active labor, on it's own.
I progressed from 5 to 9cm in less than 3 hours, while napping.  (Whaaa?)
The numbness started to fade and a strong pressure pushed down below.
The ongoing waves returned, but I'm now ready.  Following my body, I just went with the waves.

Relax...don't resist.
Folding and bending into the pressure, I saw dark circles eclipsing each other in my mind before my eyes flashed open.  It was as though the universe was expanding down below me.
I knew she is here.

Repeatedly, I told the nurse of the baby's arrival, but perhaps since I was now too calm, my warnings were ignored.  Finally, she looked down and with a loud gasp, rushed out of the room yelling for the midwife.
"I need you in here STAT!!!"
Apparently, the baby's head was already half way out, up to her eyes.  With one obligatory push, she came slipping out like a bar of soap, less than 10 seconds flat.  They barely got their gloves on to catch her, and I could barely contain myself from laughing at it all...

She actually birthed herself.  
My most natural childbirth to date.
Expect nothing, and you will get everything.

@0546, 10 mins later.

Hello Beanie.
We are proud to introduce our newest addition to our LAB.


Fabulous at 40!

40 Weeks, that is.
Come out baby, come out!
(Don't think that green shirt can stretch much more.)



A side of Saturn in our kitchen?
Mad Scientists Dalee & Zozie experimented with colors and eggs this afternoon.  Single colors were combined into a primordial soup of chroma.  You can get some pretty funky results with this fun activity!

Back to "Old School" egg coloring for Easter.
No plastic shells, no candy.  Just a coloring kit and a dozen eggs.  It's such a versatile medium, the egg never stops to amaze me...or Zozie.  We've done several fun OVO Presentations, and are always ready to discover more.  Dalee not only created the beautiful eggs, he also created the beautiful photos below...

Chinese + Egg Hunts?
Growing up, it always grossed out my Chinese immigrant parents when I would insist on coloring real eggs and hiding them for a hunt in the back yard.
You may ask...What's wrong with that?
Well, it just didn't make any sense to them that you would boil perfectly good eggs, dunk them in really artificial coloring, throw them into the dirt, then pick them up again, just to peel and eat them.  All the while, the eggs were not refrigerated and could be out all day.  It just wasn't appetizing to them.

But, C'mon...
all this coming from people who enjoy "Century Egg" or Pídàn (皮蛋).  
Also known as perserved egg, hundred-year egg, thousand-year egg, and millennium egg.
Ok, just by the name, you get that the eggs are probably left out for a REALLY LONG TIME.  This is a Chinese delicacy made by preserving duck, chicken, or quail eggs in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice hulls for several weeks to months.  Result?  A dark green grey yolk smelling of sulphur and ammonia, while the egg white becomes a dark translucent brown jelly....yum...wait...yum???

As for us, at the end of the day, it was great to see Zozie so excited just to peel and eat an egg that he colored.  We skipped the "tossing it in the dirt part".  Guess the Chinese thing did rub off on me alittle.  And I guess I do also enjoy the flavors of the Bizillion-Year-Egg, jelly yolk and all.  Either way, eating the egg WAS the prize, for me and Zozie.  Now that's a sweet reward inside a shell...with alittle extra protein.


artist at work.
my prize!


Ad Hoc.

"for temporary relief from hunger..."
That's the motto at Ad Hoc.
Here piggie, here.
That's how I felt here at Ad Hoc.

As part deux of my mama-shower, my design girls treated me to a fabulous Sunday Brunch at this yummy bistro in Napa, one of the more "casual" joints by Thomas Keller of French Laundry & Bouchon's.  I'm only calling it a bistro since linens were absent from the table tops.  But unlike FL, you don't need to spend 4 hours AND half of your life's savings to dine at Ad Hoc.  With waiters in jeans and brown Dickies putton-ups, jammin' Johnny Cash-ish Pandora swooning us, and a farm-to-table organic local menu, it was the perfect spot for a lazy Sunday with your yappiest of girlfriends.

The girls started with a few Strawberry Lemonade Sangrias while Beanie & I chugged glasses of fresh squeezed OJ....ahhhh.  
Then the magic started to happen.
We opened with some Bouchon Bakery Pecan Sticky Buns, accompanied with some sort of fruit confection laced with lemon curd glaze.  

The feast continued with simply eggs & ham over toast...they had MUCH better wording of this, but that's the gist.  They paired the entree with a generous bowl of the creamiest grits EVER, tossed in some perfectly sauteed shrimp and sprinkles of asparagus and called it done.  Served to me in it's own cooking pan, I had some robustly seasoned escarole and leeks instead of the ham, my gosh it was good!  What pixie dust did they sprinkle over these veggies??? Oink.

We finished off the Prix Fixe brunch with homemade coffee ice cream, oven fresh golden brownies, and warm cookies for dessert...that's right, c-o-f-f-e-e i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m, my personal favorite.  Needless to say, we were too busy scarfing this course down to have time to take a picture for you.  
Oink.  Oink.

We almost couldn't stand for the photos with such a big belly...oh wait, that just me at near 37weeks now.  Ok, fine.  And a big food belly on top.

The day was so Napa-beautiful, we decided to swing by Robert Sinskey's Winnery for a taste of their "fine wines from organic vines."  Kid you not, that's their catch phrase.  I'm feeling quite high brow and hoity-toity at this point.  Anyways, RS is known to offer tastings with fantastic food & snack pairings.  
Yes, we need more food right now.

This looks oh-so-WRONG with that 9month bump...

No worries, I focused mostly on the snack plate and the truffle salted popcorn treat they served.  I stumbled out of the vineyard drunk with life...these last few weeks before the baby comes will be one to remember as this may be my last time around.  For as uncomfortable as it has been at times during this whole transition, it really is beautiful to see the ripple a tiny new being is causing in my own still pond of a life.

The temporary relief of hunger actually lasted ALL DAY.
Thanks so much M & A, for your generous hospitality today.
Looking forward to our next pig-out together, post baby.