Packing

Packing – there is so much to do and so little time to do it in. I’ve got just one week to go through everything that we own and cut it down to the bare minimum of what we will need while in Mangalore. But I’m excited! We’ve been waiting for this time to come for over a year now, and it’s finally here!

Yesterday I pulled out all of our suitcases and bags. I found the padlock for our back door that went missing about 2 years ago, conveniently hanging from the zipper of Glad’s small suitcase that hadn’t been used in forever. The suitcase was sitting inside a larger one that was stored under my bed, and of course, I never went into it because there was no need. I wonder what I’ll find today?

Last week I was getting rid of junk, throwing stuff out or giving it away. This week, I’ve got to look at every item still in the house and decide whether it will go in the bags we are taking or the ones we are giving away. Honestly, all we are keeping are clothes (about half of what we all own), a few toys and books, some personal items, and a few decorative things for Canada, plus a few things from the kitchen that my MIL wants or that I want to keep using while at her house, like my favorite glass baking pan.

Of course this will be reduced even more once we fly to Canada, but for now, if it fits in the car it can come.

Which brings me to the upcoming drive.

Remember last December when we drove to Mangalore? The trip that took two days? Yep, we are doing it again. Thankfully this time it is only one way. Two days in a car with kids is enough to drive anyone mad. My kids can’t do a whole lot in the car since two of them get carsick easily. Last time Logan asked literally every 5 minutes if we were there yet, and “but we’re supposed to be there already” is all I heard all day, unless he was napping.

So if you don’t hear too much from me this week or the next, you know what I’ll be doing.

Our Mangalore Trip 2013

It’s been nearly a year and a half since we made our big announcement about moving to Canada, and all you’ve heard since is that we’re going but nothing concrete about when. Well, it’s been a long, drawn-out affair. You can read these links if you want to catch up on the details.

Our Move – Progress Update

Our Move – Progress Update 2

Why Our Move is Still Pending

The Canadian embassy strike last year really slowed things down for us. The processing time for visas has gone up to 12 months, meaning we have to wait until the end of March before we can start questioning more delays. We are confident that the visas will come – they have no reason to deny them – it is just a question of when they will come.

We spent Christmas and New Year’s in Mangalore this year. We figured it would be a good idea to spend as much time as we can with Glad’s mom before we leave, since we don’t know when we will see her again. One of Glad’s sisters and her family were also there at the time, so our kids got to spend some quality time with a few cousins.

Ready for a long drive.

Ready for a long drive.

We drove from Chennai to Mangalore, dividing the trip over two days with a stopover in Bangalore. This was our first long drive with the kids. Along the way there were good roads, bad roads, large highways, tiny back roads, and one long drive over a hilly area with what looked like the worst road in the history of roads. This particular road is windy, and to make matters worse, it was so broken up in most parts that we had to go super slow. Parts would be level and then drop into deep ditches, the road would narrow and widen often. It looked like it was full of craters, or that an earthquake had hit. In reality it probably hadn’t been repaved since it was first made. There was roadwork happening but that just slowed us down all the more.

We saw things like a huge truck have a tire blowout, another truck with an elephant in the back, lots of monkeys on the side of the road, and lots of bad driving. And this was the national highway! On our way home we took the state highway which wound through more hills but was nicely paved and had the most gorgeous views.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

There were also lots of trucks overloaded with hay, which made them look like moving haystacks. We took to calling them “one-wheeled haystacks”, from the scene in the movie “The Aristocats” where the butler is being chased by some dogs and his motorbike with a sidecar goes through a haystack and the sidecar gets separated and is driving on its own with the haystack on top.

They looked something like this.

They looked something like this.
Source

During our time in Mangalore, we visited the beach, parks and malls. One thing about Mangalore, it is small and everything is so close. Just down the street from the house there is a natural ice cream parlor, and we became regulars there, all 11 of us. 🙂 We also braved what must have been the world’s smallest photo studio and got family photos taken.

DSC_1937       1

Including 4 days of driving, we were gone for 2 weeks, the longest trip we’ve ever taken with the kids.

Mall outing on Christmas Eve.

Mall outing on Christmas Eve.

When we got home, I spent a few days just cleaning, since dust was thick on everything. Then we got back into our  school routine, interspersed by sickness. Things almost feel normal around here…just hoping the visas will show up soon.

Traveling…Yet Again Part 2

Okay, to pick up where I left off. We rested as much as we could that day because we knew it would be a late night with the party. Regretfully I didn’t take ANY pics there. Why? Well, I just didn’t have the presence of mind to go around and stick my camera in strangers faces. And besides, I had to be in the group pics that were taken. So those are my excuses. I’ll see if I can get pics from those who were there. I did get two of Logan. The only two pics I took the whole evening.


He went around at the end picking up pieces of confetti and sticking it into the tube it had been shot from. Everyone watching him was laughing.


Lila had a great time at the party, being passed around from one aunty to the next. Everyone wanted to hold her. She was also the only baby there so you can see why she had so much attention.

That night the kids were in bed by midnight and I took advantage of the time to have an undisturbed bath in the tub. That is something I haven’t done in ages as we don’t have a tub at our house.

The next day we relaxed and rested some more. Then we heard that we had to go to Bangalore to pick up my visa. We knew we had to do that, but hadn’t expected it so soon. So we made plans to leave that night.

In the afternoon we took the kids to a mall for some play. Logan got to ride on some rides but I think he most enjoyed watching the people who were bowling. He kept reaching out his hand for the ball.

This is the same horse he rode when 10 months old.


Okay, so he didn’t ride everything but he did sit in all of them, just to see what they were like.




Here are Logan and daddy waiting for the bus.


And my cuties all ready for the cooler Bangalore weather.


We stayed there longer than expected due to unforeseen delays. But the work got done. We also met with Amar while there. Wish the rest of you had been there too. Maybe some day we can work that out.

Well, there isn’t much more to say about the trip. We relaxed and took it easy, then headed home Diwali night. Yes, amid the fireworks we were boarding a bus. Well, it was good in a way as then we didn’t have to listen to the noise. But we didn’t escape it as it continued for the next two nights at home.

And I will end there. The trip itself was rather uneventful – my paperwork got done and we just chilled while waiting.

I do have lots of other pics that I will try to post over the next few days. See you soon.

Traveling…Yet Again Part 1

It all started with a phone call. Glad was invited to his aunt’s birthday party in Mangalore, his hometown. At first, he thought of going alone, then possibly with Logan; but then we realized that there would be people there who had never met me or the kids who would love to meet us. So we (read that “I”) packed up and prepared for a long train trip.

Lila and daddy on the top bunk of the train.

Logan and daddy, just after boarding the train.

Mangalore is on the opposite side of the country from where we are. The train takes 16 hours to get there, something I was not looking forward to. Why? Well, keeping two young kids busy for 16 hours is easier said than done. We had barely left the station and Logan didn’t want to sit in the seat. I finally convinced him to draw in my notebook for a while.

This is how Glad passed the time. Still a kid at heart.

We had big plans to watch lots of movies on the train and had copied a good number onto the hard drive, but the seat we got didn’t have a plug for the laptop. Sadly, our laptop is no longer a laptop but a desktop. It has to be plugged in at all times as it has no battery, it needs an external keyboard, and has to sit on something to keep it cool or else it will shut down when it gets too hot. Therefore, we only move it when absolutely necessary.

Thankfully the kids took naps so I did have some peace and quiet for a short time. I even got to take a nap while Glad took Logan for a walk through the train, visiting other cars and meeting people. Lila was sleeping next to me on that very narrow bed. See how small it was?


I had brought things along for Logan to keep busy but it wasn’t easy to keep his attention for long. He looked at his books for a while, then he took them to another passenger and asked him to read to him. It was cute. Normally Logan won’t go up to just anyone but here I guess he felt it was okay. I had also brought lots of toddler-friendly snacks – tiny crackers and cookies, juice, bananas, and milk powder, though he had no interest in the last one. He took one taste and refused to drink more. I ended up having to drink it myself. He prefers fresh milk.

Another interesting, post-worthy item is the train toilet. I didn’t want Logan to go back to diapers on the trip, as he was doing so well with his potty training. On our last trip, he started using a regular toilet instead of the potty, so he was used to it, but I didn’t want to sit him on the toilet on the train as it would not be hygienic. So I decided that since he knew how to stand and pee, it would be easiest to have him stand and pee in the Indian-style toilet. (Pic courtesy of Google search. I should have taken one myself but didn’t think about it.)


This proved to be much easier to use while on a moving train. Actually, this was the cleanest train toilet I had ever seen here in India. (On our train, that is, not the above pic.) Usually they stink horribly but this one was a pleasure to use. And even though I had put a diaper on Logan just in case he happened to not be able to hold it, he was dry all day and didn’t wet the diaper once. I just used it as a precaution to avoid having to deal with wet clothes.

By evening there were fewer passengers in our section of the car, so we claimed the larger seats opposite ours to sleep on. We now tried to watch some movies but it wasn’t so easy. The mouse cursor was jumping all over the place. We had no control over it. Glad finally figured out a way to open what we wanted without opening 20 other files at the same time. Logan watched parts of “Finding Nemo” while eating his dinner, then he went to sleep. After the kids were asleep we watched “Dumb and Dumber” (don’t ask me why Glad likes that movie so much – I really don’t know).

We finally went to sleep around midnight, only to waken by 4:30 a.m. when we pulled in to the station an hour early. Needless to say, I was tired the rest of the day.

I put Lila in the carrier, hoping she would stay asleep but she was bright and perky and wide awake at that early hour. Logan didn’t like being woken up or having to walk. I ended up carrying him too as Glad had all the luggage and couldn’t carry Logan. People were staring at me like I was strange or something. Ha.

We took an auto to the hotel (this is how they look, though in Mangalore they always have heavy curtains on the sides to keep the rain out)

and tried to convince the kids to go back to sleep, but I guess it was too exciting being up before the sun was.

“What a joke! Mom thinks we are going to go back to sleep. We’ll show her.”



Finally, I did get them both back to sleep


and was able to sleep a little myself before Logan was up again asking for food. We got our breakfast and ate it in the room. Here is Logan eating while being watched by some excited aunties who couldn’t wait to see the kids. They came to our room early. Lila loved the attention but Logan was, as usual, a little more shy.


Here is what our room looked like.

The view from our room. We were on the 8th floor so we could see everything.


We had a dining table,

and a big mirror,

lots of window space,

t.v.,

and even a small fridge, which I used for milk and juice and Glad used for beer.

Logan had a great time running around in the room.

There was also a bathtub in the bathroom. Logan had never had a bath in a regular tub before and was delighted to be able to lie on his tummy in the tub and stretch out.

And guess who learned to sit up on this trip?

To be continued… (click here for second part)

Our Trip to Bangalore and Home Again

Ahhh, it feels good to have the keys under my fingers again. Since the drive crash I’ve not dared even turn the computer on again lest some other problem befall me. Yesterday Glad took the computer to be fixed and yes, the guy was able to retrieve everything. I’m so happy! The first thing I did was back up on CD all my most valuable files. Why didn’t I do that before? Well, I feel better now, so relieved that I didn’t lose what I thought I did.

About our trip: we didn’t go home when I thought we would. In fact, we stayed 5 more days. We didn’t want to have to make another trip back for some small detail so we waited until everything having to do with my legal work was done. I didn’t mind being gone for a while as we got to visit people we hadn’t seen in a while and we also sort of got a break, meaning we didn’t keep our regular schedule. We did things like watch movies in the morning (before breakfast, mind you. We had to wait for the maid to arrive and cook.) But it was fun because it was different. The person we stayed with had a house that wasn’t by any means child-friendly so I had to be on my toes with Logan and the winding metal staircase, plus the steps to the sunken living room. He learned to crawl down to the living room feet-first but I kept him off the staircase. The gaps in the railing were too big. Didn’t want to take any chances.

So now we are home and I am catching up on the stuff that fell by the side while I was gone. There are always pieces to pick up when you get back from a trip somewhere. I have also caught the cold that Lila got while traveling. The weather there was mostly cold and rainy and she is used to hot weather so I think that is why she got sick. Then Logan got it and now I have it, quite possibly due to being too close to my sick babies. Ain’t that always the way it happens to mommies? Okay, now I’ll close with a few pics for you from our trip. Enjoy.

“I got my wheels and I’m ready to roll.”

Mr. Ice Cream Face

What do you think of this beautiful dress? I love it.

On the swing, his favorite part of the playground.

Looking cute.

“Sitting up is fun!”

Ready to start crawling. “Won’t be long until I can escape and be free.”

Fun with daddy at the playground.

On the bus, ready to go home.

Our Chennai Trip

We landed in Chennai and had one day to rest and get some extra sleep. I never sleep well on a bus and to top it off, Logan was up from the time the bus arrived around 5:30 in the morning. So when he went to bed, I did too and we both slept for hours, me out of tiredness and he due to being sick. He had a fever the night before but was much better now.
Here Logan is dressed up for Halloween. Not that it is celebrated here but a hotel here had decided to celebrate and we were asked to make balloon sculptures and paint faces.

But as you can see, his makeup didn’t last. Here Logan is having lunch at the hotel restaurant.

This is the apartment we will be moving into in Chennai. The family we are moving in with had this fish tank and Logan loves crawling up to it and trying to catch the fish.

He also had fun in the rocking chair.

Well, I didn’t get any pictures of the city itself but that will come in time. We plan to move there soon, sometime in the next two weeks after we wrap things up here in Bangalore. So moving time is coming up. I’m excited about being in a new place.
Some other news is that Logan is going to be one in three days. Already he is almost weaned, not that I wanted to wean him so soon, but because I couldn’t keep up with nursing him while being pregnant. Now he takes bottles before his naps and during the night and eats solids well at meals and snacks. The only time he still nurses is before bed. He knows that is the time he can and doesn’t like to take a bottle then, though I try to get him to take at least a little bottle so his tummy is full and he can sleep better.
Another new thing is that I started him on the potty. This picture is the first time he went doodoo in the potty. I was excited because every doodoo in the potty is one less I have to wash out of his diaper. And as you can see, he already knows how to clap for himself.

Updates

Here are the promised updates from the past month. Logan is finally sleeping so I have time to do it.

The first thing was that we made a trip to Mangalore to visit Glad’s family.

Daddy and Logan sleep on the bus.

I’ve never seen buses like this anywhere before. They have beds instead of seats that are fairly comfortable but if the bus is taking the curves too fast, you may fall off. For that reason, many buses have bars on the bottom bunks as well as the top ones.

After an extra long ride (for some reason the bus was late), we arrived and got settled.

Waiting for breakfast.

We spent 4 days visiting grandma where Logan got to meet his cousins Brandon and Alysia. Here is an interesting tidbit: Logan has 16 cousins. Let’s see if he will ever get to meet all of them.

Daddy and Logan playing on the balcony at Grandma’s house.

Then we took the train to Chennai. Logan had fun on the train, except that he didn’t want to sleep with me on that narrow bed, so I had to lie on the other end and block him with my legs as we were on a top bunk. Every time he woke up I had to sit up, nurse him, and put him down again before I could go back to sleep. I didn’t sleep very well that night.

Happy boy on his first train ride.

Logan and mommy on the top bunk.

See how small the bunk was?

Waking up the next morning.

We arrived in Chennai the following afternoon, and spent a week there. (Sorry, no pics from Chennai, but I will have some in the future.) Logan got to play on the beach. I sat him in the sand after a big wave soaked him and daddy and I let him get as dirty as he wanted to. I wish I had had the camera with me that day. He had sand all over him from head to toe, and he even tried to eat it. When we came back to Bangalore, I got sick with a bad cold for a week and couldn’t do much, but I am much better now.

And I have saved the best news for last. In case I haven’t personally told you yet, I’m pregnant again! Just two months along, but enduring morning sickness that lasts all day. Ha! Actually, it is doing better as long as I can eat. I am hoping for a girl this time. Let’s see what happens.

So all in all we had a busy month. I’ll do my best to make sure I keep you posted more frequently.

News

As I sit here typing, Logan is playing on the floor with his toys. He has a tin with clothespins in it and is banging it joyfully, delighted with the noise it makes.

He is trying to crawl these days, though he can’t quite do it yet. He leans forward and can get one leg behind him but the other stays stuck. When he does manage to get it out, he falls on his tummy and cries because he doesn’t like to be in that position. He can wiggle backwards a little but can’t move forwards. I think he gets frustrated with not being able to move around as he likes to when he wants to.

Next week we are going to visit Glad’s mom again for 4 or 5 days. His sister and her family are coming and of course they want to meet me and Logan, so we are going. From there we are going to Chennai for a week or so.

For those of you who I haven’t told, we are moving to a city called Chennai some time next year, probably around March or April, so in between we are visiting to scout out the place and see what our options are. The weather there is quite different from Bangalore; here it is cool most of the time (compared to the rest of India) and there it is very humid with temperatures around 40 degrees C in the summer. Last month we stayed there for 3 days and spent much time sweating. Thankfully the people we stayed with had aircon’s in the bedrooms. Chennai is also on the ocean, actually the area where the tsunami hit a few years ago. I told Glad that I don’t want to live too close to the water.

So in the next few months we begin a new chapter in our lives – moving to a new city with new people to work with and new challenges. Pray for us as we make this change.

Just woke up.

Traveling

In a few hours we are making a trip to Chennai. Chennai is very hot and humid, something I don’t really like but can’t do anything about. Why are we going? Well, we are planning to move there next year, but right now we have to check it out and see what the possibilities are. We will be there for 3 days this month, but are planning a longer trip next month, possibly two weeks. I’ll be sure to take lots of pics of the place so you can see what it is like.

In the meantime, here are some more pics of Logan from this past month.

Happy boy at mealtime.  He now has 4 teeth, two on bottom and two on top, and boy, are they sharp! I can’t put my fingers anywhere near his mouth. Whoever said that you can clean a baby’s teeth with gauze obviously never put their finger in a baby’s mouth! I use a toddler toothbrush instead.

Post-shower fuzz.

Superman!!!

Latest family photo.

Taking his pic in the car. He was sitting next to me and was wearing a seatbelt on his own for the first time. He usually sits on my lap. (Car seats are not common here. It’s not very safe but keeps us praying for safety.)

He is starting to feed himself non-messy foods, though by the time he is done the mess is quite large.

Exploring the grass. He tried to eat it too.

Logan’s Visit to Grandma

Logan got to visit his paternal grandmother for the first time last week. We took an evening bus to Mangalore, during which we hardly slept, especially me. I had Logan on my chest and the seat in front of me down almost on my lap. Here they like to fill the buses as full as possible so the seats are rather close together. When the seat goes back, you are quite literally lying in the person’s lap. Anyway, I was squished and Logan was the only one who had a good nights sleep.

We arrived around 5:30 in the morning. I put Logan in bed hoping he would sleep a while longer. Well, by the time I got out of the shower he was awake. Thankfully I was tired enough to fall asleep with him babbling and kicking next to me but it was only for a short time since he wanted to nurse. Needless to say, I was dead tired that day.

It rained most of the time we were there (it’s the rainy season, you know) so we didn’t go out much, except for a walk in the afternoon and we got caught in the rain. But the weather is warm so it didn’t matter.

Of course the highlight was that Logan and grandma got to hang out together a lot. They both had a great time.

He has finally learned to sit up, though he still falls back regularly. Here he is playing at grandma’s house while daddy sleeps in the back.

His first time in a cart.

Logan and grandma together.

Here he is in his new booster chair. I was trying to get him to look at the camera but he was watching a video and would only look away for a second and by the time I clicked the camera he wasn’t looking any more.

Here is the busy little boy having fun. He much prefers to sit up when playing now instead of lying down.

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