We Finally Paid the Internet Bill

It’s been over 4 weeks since I’ve posted, not because I had nothing to say but because our internet was down. Well, we had to pay the bill but money was tight and it had to wait. There were some timely things that needed to be posted but they, of course, had to wait. I’ll be putting them up over the next few days (I did write them) and I’ll mention that it is a backlog post and when it was supposed to have gone up.

Other than that, life is pretty normal right now. Well, almost. School has begun but because of our pending move, we have opted to not enroll the kids for the new school year. The kids and Glad’s passports are at the visa office right now and we are waiting to get them back. After that, we will be free to make our move. Since we have no idea exactly when they will get here, everything else is kind of on hold.

I am doing some reading and pre-writing practice with Logan and Lila, just to keep the idea of “school” in their heads, and also because I want them to make some progress in those areas. Logan was reading well when he finished kindergarten, so we are continuing to practice with the Ladybird reader series. Lila is just learning to read with the same series. Both kids are learning phonics from this phonics website, Starfall.com.

For writing, I got them both some pre-writing practice workbooks. Logan especially needs to get the basic lines down. He was writing letters in kindergarten, both print and cursive, but it was difficult for him as he missed out on this basic training. So I am working slowly with him to get him comfortable with drawing lines. Even something as simple as a top-to-bottom or left-to-right straight line is difficult for him. Hopefully this practice will make it easier for him once he begins grade school.

So today you get two posts; this one and one backlog. The other backlog ones will follow over the next few days.

No More Naps – And My Schedule

Not long ago, I got frustrated with the schedule my kids were on. They were up at a decent time, but then they would nap and not fall asleep until almost 11 p.m., meaning that, even if I had them in bed by 9, they were still awake and playing around, and I’d still be busy instead of having some time off.

Last year Logan pretty much quit napping. Some days I’d make him nap just so I could have a break in the afternoon, but he didn’t really need it any more. Then Lila began to nap less frequently, so I decided to take them off of naps altogether. They were so happy the day I told them they no longer needed to nap! Of course Scarlett still needs a nap, so I put her down in my room while Logan and Lila play in their own room.

Then the kids began taking the skating lessons. Where we used to go to the playground near our house almost daily and then come home early enough for me to cook dinner, we now have to go to the slightly farther (but still walk-able distance) sports park for the classes.

They skate from 5 to 6 p.m. and then do some exercises with the coach for 30 minutes afterwards. While we don’t always stay for the exercises (how long you stay is up to you), most days the kids want to and Scarlett joins them too, so we only get out of the park by 6:30 or so. While we can walk there in 10 minutes (at Scarlett’s pace), going home can take upwards of 15 minutes since it is peak traffic hour and the area is full of construction and bad sidewalks, and I am dragging three tired kids while carrying a heavy bag full of skating gear and water bottles.

By the time we get home it is almost 7 p.m. Everyone is tired and hungry and can’t wait for me to cook. So from the beginning I switched to cooking dinner in the afternoon so that we can eat just as soon as we get in. It takes more planning for me to make dinner before going, but having food ready to feed starving tummies makes it worthwhile.

While we were happy with the skating lessons, it did take a little longer for them to settle into their new schedule of no naps and making it through the day. The first 2 weeks were tough, since the kids were adjusting to a different sleep schedule and more exercise, but now things are settling down.

Changing the schedule has meant moving dinner and bedtime up but that was the plan – to have them actually fall asleep at bedtime so I could have some time to myself. (Tonight I had them in bed by 8 since Logan had gotten up at 6, and he and Lila were asleep within minutes.)


Here is a peek at what my schedule looks like right now.

5:50 a.m.  My alarm goes off and I get up for exercise.

6:05 a.m.  I am out the door to the park for either a run or I do some strength training exercises at home.

7:00 a.m.  I get in just as Glad is heading out to the gym. Kids are (hopefully, usually) still sleeping. I shower and dress, then have my coffee and read the newspaper.

7:45 a.m.  If the kids aren’t awake already, I get them up, feed and dress them, pack their snacks for school, put on a load of laundry, eat my own breakfast, clear the table, stop a fight or two, maybe tidy up a little, and make sure they are ready to go by the time daddy is.

9:15 a.m.  Kids are gone to school with daddy. I find things to keep Scarlett busy as I clean and tidy the house. Once a week we go grocery shopping; once or twice we pick up anything else we need, like fruits and veggies, at the local shops. Sometimes we call off all work and go to the park for an hour or two. I also plan what I will make for dinner and take out meat that needs thawing or soak chickpeas for pressure cooking later.

12:00 a.m.  Prepare lunch.

12:45 a.m.  Glad and the kids are usually home by this time, so we eat right away, since Glad has to run back to work shortly afterwards. This is our family meal since daddy isn’t home for most dinners and he is at the gym while we have breakfast.

1:20 p.m.  Clean up lunch mess. Find a way to keep Lila out of trouble since she no longer naps (Logan plays well on his own so I don’t have to worry about him.) Put Scarlett down for a nap and take a short one myself for 15 – 20 minutes.

2:00 p.m.  Sit with my coffee and try to clear some cobwebs from my brain. I always need more sleep, but if I sleep longer, I can wake assured that Lila is up to no good. Just this past week she played with my glasses and broke them, put a mobile phone in the washer (we had to wait 3 days for the repair man to come get it out, meaning I had to add hand wash to my list of chores), and dumped a whole packet of glitter on the balcony. I lock the kitchen door, but she climbs through the small window between the kitchen and dining room to get into food and such, and sometimes can’t get back out. The other day I woke to the sound of her and Logan heading out the front door. No more long naps for me.

Once the cobwebs are gone, I help them with their homework, if they have any that day.

3:00 p.m.  I wake Scarlett from her nap, and then work on dinner. Meanwhile the kids entertain themselves with play or coloring or teasing each other and making it hard for me to finish quickly. Somewhere in there I give them a snack and that keeps them quiet for a while.

4:20 p.m. Roughly by this time I am done with the cooking, depending on how many times I had to intervene with the kids. I have a snack myself and then we get ready to go for skating class.

4:45 p.m. We leave the house. The sports park is close so we get there quickly. On Wednesdays we skip skating and go instead to the playground.

6:30 p.m. (or so) Head home. Wash up. Heat dinner and serve.

7:15 p.m. Kids are done eating so they have some playtime while I clean up. I also use this time to boil the milk for the next day, make yogurt (as needed), etc.

7:45 p.m. Shower time for the kids. Sometimes this is a happy time and other times they are crying until the moment they are in bed. Get into pj’s, brush teeth, have a story, drink some water, milk every minute they can of being awake. 🙂

8:30 p.m. Kids in bed. Since Logan and Lila no longer nap, they go to sleep quickly. Scarlett takes a little longer, and I often hear her singing to herself, or I catch her looking at books or playing. She is usually asleep by 9.

As soon as the kids are in bed, I jump in the shower, and then head for the computer. That is my only time most days. Sometimes I’d like to go to bed early, but Glad only gets in at 11 p.m., and because of the type of lock on our door, I have to stay up to let him in. We aren’t going to change it now that we are moving. If Glad is home that evening, I will go to bed earlier. Sometimes we will both be in bed by 10, or we relax with a movie together. (If I’m desperately tired, like during PMS, I’ll get into bed early and send Glad an SMS to call me when he gets home. That way I get some extra sleep.)

This is my weekday schedule.

On Saturdays we go to the park for a few hours or maybe the mall, just to spend the morning out of the house. Then I use the afternoon to catch up on stuff I can’t normally fit in.

On Sundays I work for a few hours outside the house, so daddy is in charge. I take full advantage of this “day off” from being mommy. I leave the house at noon, finish work by 3:30, eat lunch, and then take some time for shopping, visiting a mall by myself, or just walking around and enjoying the peace. I am home somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Daddy takes the kids skating this day, so that they can fit in 5 days of lessons a week.

The classes last for 3 months, so after that I’m sure the schedule will change again, as summer will be here and school will be out. And there are more changes to come involving our move to Canada. But I’m not letting them stay up late ever again. 🙂 I love the quiet.

Our Move – Progress Update 2

It has been crazy busy since the new year, which has meant prioritizing my to-do’s and unfortunately, my blog often suffers because of it. Putting aside the care of the kids, housework, school stuff, etc., there were two major focus points. One personal one (exercise and weight loss, more on that in another post), and of course finalizing our legal work so we can push forward with this move to Canada.

The papers are all filled now, everything is sorted, signed, and organized. Pretty much everything is ready to go – we just have to make a payment for the immigration fees and then mail the papers. After that it will just be waiting to hear back.

Of course we had to get new photos taken of the kids since immigration photos have different requirements from passport photos. We all know how fun it is to try to get kids to pose for pics. And sit still. And look at the camera. And smile. All at the same time. If you have kids you know what I’m talking about.

Scarlett wanted to go first. She remembered sitting there for her passport photo just a few months ago, and right away went to the stool, climbed up on it and sat down. I tried getting her to smile, but she kept smiling after the photo was taken. This was the best of 3 or 4.

Lila went second. She actually likes to pose, and while she won’t stay still for long, she will move around into model-like poses and smile real big. I think hers was a one-take. As you can see, she recently had a haircut, her first. (I hope her curls come back. The ends were dry and damaged and I had no choice but to cut it. Yes, I did it myself. She isn’t quite ready for a barber yet.)


Logan went last. He had already caused trouble when upon entering the room he found a switch and turned it off. It turned out to belong to the main computer and the photographer had to reboot everything. (All electrical outlets here have switches to turn them on and off without having to unplug anything.) Then he tried to rearrange the chairs and mess with the lights and mess with the equipment.

Once he sat down, the photographer couldn’t get him to sit still, sit straight, look at the camera, keep his eyes open or face normal. Really the only time Logan is ever still is when he is sleeping. I kept telling Logan to look straight, so he’d look at me. Then I’d say, “Look at the camera.” and he’d look down too low. Then the photographer would tell him to look up and he’d look at the ceiling. Then he’d say, “Chin down.” and Logan would grab his chin and pull it down with his hands. (The girls were in the hall, keeping busy by  looking in the large mirror and re-combing their hair. 🙂 )

I finally went over next to him to try to coax him into position long enough to get a good pic. The guy had already taken about 5 and none of them were usable. He finally had to get someone else to come and take it. The other guy right away talked to Logan, which distracted him long enough to get one good pic – the one you see below.


So now you know what’s been keeping me so busy. They are just so curious about everything that they get into trouble everywhere we go.

Our Trip to Mangalore

Mangalore is a small city on the west coast of India. Logan and Lila have been there a few times but not since they were tiny, so it felt new to them, and Scarlett has never traveled before. This was her first trip anywhere and she was very excited.

The afternoon of December 26, 2012, we boarded a train, on our way to “nana’s house”. At first they loved it, but after a short time, Lila wanted to get off and go home. She hasn’t traveled away from home since she was a baby so being in unfamiliar surroundings made her uncomfortable. After a movie and dinner, they slept by 9 p.m.

During the night we traveled down through Tamil Nadu, passed through Kerala and then up to Karnataka, which is where Mangalore is situated. Chennai is on the east coast of India and Mangalore the west, so it was a coast to coast trip, though since this is the bottom of the country, the two coasts are not that far from each other.

The next morning we arrived around 9 a.m. A short ride from the station took us to the house where Glad spent part of his childhood and his teen years. Everything was interesting for the kids but nana quickly learned to take the keys out of the cupboard doors and to keep them locked as the kids tried to get into everything! Lila misplaced some of the keys and Logan wanted to find all the toys nana had stored, prompting her to hide some of them since Logan is neither quiet nor gentle in his play.

Most of the time there we tried to keep the kids busy. We took them to the mall a few times, the beach, a park with a small train ride that circles the park, and on our last day, Pilikula Nisargadhama, a zoo and nature park. I think the best part about this place was that the big animals didn’t have cages but large open spaces with trenches for barriers. We saw lions and tigers in their natural habitat, lots of deer, elephants, birds and more. All the animals were native to India.

When at home, it was a bit of a struggle to keep the kids out of trouble. Nana’s house is not really child friendly and they did get bored sometimes but the overall trip was fun. The children slept together in one big bed, but, same as they do at home, they would slowly come and join Glad and I in our room. Often in the morning the kids would be in bed with me and Glad would be in the kids’ bed. Ha.

Logan and Lila did at first find being in a new place for more than a day difficult. They would cry and ask to go home to their own beds and they wanted all the cuddle toys we had left behind. (I let them each bring one.) But after talking to them and lots of explaining and comforting, they got used to it and enjoyed their time.

Our third night there we went to a party with lots of Glad’s relatives and family friends. It was celebrating his deceased paternal grandmother’s 100th birthday. Yes, you read that right, a birthday party for a dead person. I guess it was a reason for them to all get together and party.

First they had prayers and a little about her, her children, etc. Then they moved into games, and by the time the drinks came out, all these people who had been sitting so stiffly at the beginning were up on the stage dancing. Ha. My kids love stages and if there is one, they want to dance on it, so they had a great time.

On the trip home, the train left earlier so we had more time in which to entertain the kids. At first the car had very few passengers so we claimed a few seats next to each other, even though the ones we had were not confirmed and were spread out across the car. The kids watched a few movies on the laptop and took a nap, but by 6 p.m. we landed in the station that took on the most passengers and the car rapidly filled up.

We had two upper berths and one lower; the upper ones were near each other but the lower was at the other end of the car. So we decided that Glad and Lila would share the one at the far end, Logan had one upper one and Scarlett and I shared the other. Logan had slept on an upper bed on the way there and made it through the night, but this time he didn’t. Logan has a habit of hanging off his bed in his sleep. I often find him half off his bed or even on the floor. Everyone put the lights out by 9 p.m. since the train would get in at 5:30 a.m. so I put Scarlett to sleep, then made Logan lie down. He played for a while then went to sleep. Between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., I woke twice and moved Logan towards the wall since his legs were sticking out.

No sooner had I moved him the second time and climbed back into my bed and found a way to be comfy (since Scarlett likes to sprawl and take up most of the space) than I heard a thump and Logan began crying. He had fallen off the bunk. The man on the opposite bunk below was picking him up by the time I got down again but Logan wouldn’t stop crying. He had hit his head pretty hard, but Logan hates pain of any kind and cries as if an injury is much worse than it is.  The man who helped him traded bunks with him so Logan could be on a lower bunk, but then I had to sit with him for two hours during which time he cried and cried, used the toilet several times, then finally threw up.

After that he was able to sleep again, but it was already 4 a.m. so we didn’t have much time to sleep before having to get up again. The whole time I was down with him I kept looking up to make sure Scarlett didn’t roll over and fall off the top bunk. Needless to say, when we got home by 6:30 a.m., we all went to bed again and slept for several hours.  And yes, Logan is just fine. We thought if the pain continued we would have him checked for a concussion but he said it was just sore but didn’t hurt. I think the pain was more from his freaking out and the vomiting from the two hours he spent crying.

So I don’t look forward to traveling with my kids any time soon. Especially by train. I’m doing my best to prepare them for the huge change of moving countries sometime later this year, and I hope they won’t take long to adjust to the new place, but 24 hours or more of plane travel? Spare me, please!

Happy New Year!

So how is the new year treating you so far? It always makes me feel like change is possible; a new daily planner to fill, new goals to reach, new things to try. I do have a personal goal that I will get into in another post; this one is just to talk about what I’ve done for the past 5 days.

Jan. 1st – Our last day in Mangalore. We took the kids to the zoo in the morning, rested and relaxed the rest of the day.

Jan. 2nd – Packing! Caught the train home at 12:30 p.m. (Details of the trip and train rides will come in the next post.)

Jan. 3rd –  Arrived in Chennai at 5:30 a.m. Came home and we all went to bed. Got up by 10. Spent the day cleaning the house.

Jan. 4th – Logan and Lila had school (they missed 2 days since it began on the 2nd). I spent the whole day cleaning, interspersed with cooking, baths, potty runs, play monitoring, and so on. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Jan. 5th – Today I’m still cleaning. Just took a break to write this and update a few things.

It’s amazing how much dirt can collect over the course of a week, well, 8 days including 2 half days on the train. Here in India there is always dust in the air, so much so that daily dusting would not be a waste of time. Not that I have the time to do it though. I usually do it once a week, twice if I can manage. So you can imagine how dusty the house was after a week of no cleaning. It also smelled of damp since it had rained a few times while we were gone.

In the past 3 days I have:

  • Dusted everything, including all doors, door frames, window frames and grill work, shelves, t.v., living room cupboards and shelves, photo frames, bookshelf, air conditioners, toy shelf, bed frames, woodwork on the couches, etc. The dust was thick so it took more than a quick wipe.
  • Changed the bedding on all the beds.
  • Washed 7 loads of laundry, including bedding, curtains, and screens.
  • Put away about 1/2 of the laundry.
  • Rehung the screens and curtains.
  • Cleaned the fridge and microwave inside and out.
  • Cleaned out the pantry and all food storage containers.
  • Cleaned the main bathroom.
  • Polished all glass doors and tables.
  • Threw out all sorts of garbage that was lying around.
  • Took down the Christmas tree and decorations and put them away.
  • Reorganized several shelves.
  • Washed the fake flowers.
  • Swept the balcony.
  • Swept the floors countless times.

And I’m not finished yet. I still need to clean the fans, get rid of all the cobwebs, thoroughly sweep and mop the whole house, clean the second bathroom (the one we rarely use), and deep clean the guest room. I’ve been working from front to back, so the guest room is the last place that is still messy and dusty. We have a large desk in there that is full of papers, some important and some junk, and it has to be gone through since the drawers have fallen apart and no longer have bottoms to them. It is one of those press-board desks and quite old.

Having a clean house aside, we are expecting guests some time next week, people we haven’t seen in a few years. There is no way I’ll let them see the house as it usually is. 🙂 I can’t stand that. So I will continue to clean for the rest of today and do what I can tomorrow despite back-to-back balloon sculpting events, and I’ll try to finish on Monday (while I also fit in the grocery shopping). So if you don’t hear from me, you know why.

Now if only there was a way to magically paint the walls this weekend.

Our Move – Progress Update

In case you are new here and have not read any of my posts from a few months ago, you should know that we are planning to move to Canada some time next year. (One thing I have discovered since moving from Blogger to WordPress is that a lot more people find and read your posts. I’m still figuring out how it all works.)

To date, we have retained the help of an attorney who specializes in immigration cases; have filled out innumerable forms; have gone over said forms with the help of an assistant multiple times, in order to make sure everything is just right; and yesterday Glad and the kids  had their required medical checkups.

Normally my kids nap, but in order to make it to our appointment on time, we had to leave right after lunch. At first it was all fun and games, being out of the house, no need to nap, extra play, but the length of time we were there began to take its toll. Glad had to fill out a mile of paperwork for himself and the kids, and then we had to wait 2 hours before any of the required tests began.

The kids spent that time reading books, drawing, and exploring. Then, when they got bored with that, they ran around despite my attempts to get them to walk or sit down.  After two hours on the fourth floor, we were sent to the second floor for the tests, right around the time that Scarlett couldn’t last any longer and fell asleep.

I was concerned about what they might require and how we would deal with tired kids getting blood tests. Logan especially would freak out, I knew. But I needn’t have worried. Only daddy needed the blood test, and Logan learned to pee in a jar for his urine test. There were separate test requirements for kids under 5 and over 5, so the girls didn’t need the urine test. They were measured (height and head circumference) and weighed, and a doctor gave them a once-over. Logan kept moving away because her hands were freezing cold and she finally resorted to putting a glove on to get it done. Logan and Lila almost ransacked her office, and she had to call in a nurse to hold sleeping Scarlett so I could dress and undress the other two, keep Logan from knocking everything over and Lila from drawing on every paper in sight. (I think it was about this time when I began to dream of vodka and bedtime.) 🙂 Logan has ADHD so keeping him cooped up a long time is not fun. He begins to do things you didn’t think a child could ever dream up.

We had to wait a while longer while Glad was checked and met with a separate doctor, and they were all so bored and tired, and hungry. I hadn’t brought a snack for them since I had nothing in the house and we had forgotten to pick one up. Scarlett only had a short nap, and they all kept moving the whole time, so finally, after 3 hours, we left and Logan and Lila had a short nap in the taxi on the way home.

They fussed and cried at being woken, and then begged for snacks, but I gave them dinner instead, seeing as it was nearly 6 p.m. and they usually eat at 6:30. They watched a video and ate, and when they were finally in bed at 9 p.m., they went to sleep quickly instead of taking a long time like they normally do.

As for Glad and I, we were in bed by 10. I can’t remember when I last went to bed so early, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer and I needed the extra sleep.

This Past Week, Or, How I Almost Burned the House Down

Things have been hectic around here this week – the cyclone aftermath, 3 days of school cancelled, trying to not go crazy with cooped up kids who only wanted to go outside, application forms to fill out for the immigration process, extra cleaning and laundry to catch up on from the long power cuts, Lila’s Halloween party and judging the sweets contest (next post), a birthday party to attend, parties to plan, and today Logan just had to come down with some tummy bug and spend the day throwing up bile.

I’ve also forced myself to get back into my morning exercise after a time of not doing it, so by the evening I’m so tired that all I want to do is chill in front of the t.v. and rest my body and brain. But there isn’t much time to rest. I have to plan Logan’s school birthday party for this friday. That means baking and getting some small giveaway gift for the other children. Giveaways are a custom here, and so far Logan has gotten something nice from each of his classmates parties so, though it is optional, I feel obligated to give something. Something small, but still something.

Then Glad’s mom arrives Saturday. She is coming for Logan and Scarlett’s birthdays, and hers is around the same time so we will celebrate it as well. Sunday is Logan’s birthday and tuesday is Scarlett’s. Tuesday is also Diwali so that means more holidays. And monday we are spending at the passport office while we do the paperwork for the kids passports. I’ll be doing good to get a chance to sit, let alone blog.

Ok, well, the cyclone mainly caused damage to trees, at least in our area. One huge one fell just down the road, and several fell at our local park. I think there may have been a minor quake as more than one tree fell in such a way that I’m sure it couldn’t have been the storm. We didn’t seem to have winds strong enough to topple trees, at least here away from the beach. (There is currently an oil tanker on the popular Marina Beach that the storm swept ashore.) Our local park is still flooded and the sand in the playground won’t dry; it just isn’t warm enough. So I’ve been having the kids run around the jogging path instead of going to the playground.

The massive tree that fell. The roots were under cement and that was ripped up, as was the entrance to the house it was in front of.

This is the bottom of our street – it’s a complete river during the rains.

We had one night where the power was out all night, when that big tree fell. It tore down some power lines as well as smashed some small buildings that were directly opposite it. Anyway, because the lights were out we had candles lit. Not so safe with kids, I know, but we don’t have a battery lamp or an inverter. They have learned to be careful.

At bedtime I left a candle burning in the hall between our bedrooms, because the kids can’t stand the house being pitch dark when they wake at night. They have a knack for waking up just as soon as the power goes off at night. I can almost time it. The candle was on a foam plate, which was on top of the hard plastic stepstool that always sat under the sink. I had a fleeting thought that maybe the plate would melt but I was sure the candle would go out before anything serious could happen since it was quite small. So I left it.

About 2 hours later, I woke to hear Lila calling me. I got up and as I passed the hall, I could make out a ring of fire on the floor. The combination of the dark and no glasses limited what I saw but I knew what it was – the candle had melted the stepstool, something I didn’t think was possible.

I dropped to the floor and blew it out before I was even fully awake and thinking straight. Thankfully there was nothing around it that could have caught fire but it did scare me. Because I couldn’t see it clearly, I thought it was stuck to the floor, but in the morning after it cooled, I found it wasn’t. See? This is all that is left of what was our stepstool, the one that all our kids have used to reach the sink, the one I sat on to shower when I was so pregnant that standing in the shower was uncomfortable, the multi-purpose, most useful item we had.

It used to be a very sturdy stool. The power of a small flame at the end of a candle.

School? What School? We’re Still Home.

So after the bliss of sending them off to school yesterday, today the rain gods decided I needed to have them home longer. Heavy rains are predicted for this whole week, and when the rain is heavy, most schools close, especially the preschools and primary schools. So I woke to a message from Logan’s school saying it was closed, and a call from Lila’s school. The counselor was trying to call Glad but he kept hanging up on her and trying to go back to sleep (it was barely 7 a.m.) so she called me. He then had no choice but to get up and send a message to all the parents about school being closed – and then he went back to bed. Ha.

I do have a topic I want to write about but I’m gonna stick it in a separate post, a new My Thoughts on India post. Look for it soon. For now, here comes a photo update of random stuff that hasn’t been posted yet from October.

Logan made a new friend.

My girls have a stick obsession. Lila will collect sticks at the park and often looks like she is aiming to start a bonfire.

She was “fishing”.

 I did a test run of my fruitcake recipe and it turned out much better than expected, thanks to some tricks I learned about making fruitcakes. When I do my Christmas batch, I’ll write it up.

I snuck a photo in a toyshop that forbids photography. Naughty, naughty. 🙂

Scarlett is now without a bed, thanks to Lila for jumping in her bed and breaking the frame beyond repair. We had to throw it out. She is now on a mattress on the floor, and will most likely be there until we move as we are not investing in any new furniture this year. So far she is ok with it.

Goodbye to yet another faithful friend. It was used by all 3 of my kids but I guess it just couldn’t take the strain any more.

 I found this shirt for Scarlett. It sums her up completely. Logan and Lila think the caption is refering to the cupcake on the shirt. Ha.

 This one really doesn’t need an explanation.

So here’s to more rain, no sun, and being driven crazy. It is only 9:30 a.m. and Logan is asking every 5 minutes when we can go to the mall like daddy promised. In between he is making up fake words to “Jingle Bells” and teasing Scarlett. Save me already!

Just Some Random, Recent Stuff


Logan’s last day of school was a celebration in preparation for the Dussehra holidays. (See link below in Lila’s section. I’m writing the post in reverse and wrote about Lila first.) They were also celebrating Grandparent’s Day, but since Logan doesn’t have any grandparents here with us, I was invited to come.

We made our handprints on a large sheet of paper.

There was a huge display of animals and Hindu idols. Each of the kids contributed 2 animals and Logan is still concerned about his. They are labled though, and he will get them back later.

Having a snack.

We left shortly after that because I had to pick Lila up, and besides, I wasn’t interested in joining the Hindu prayers part. 


You know how we’ve had so much rain this past week? Well, yesterday morning we finally got some sun and I decided to take the kids out in the morning. Good thing too because it poured later. It was also one of the many days in the festival of Dussehra, a Hindu celebration. One of the things Hindus use a lot in their worship and celebrations is a ringing bell. It has a tinkling, sort of jingly sound, and we hear it a lot because most of our neighbors are Hindus.

As I was getting Lila ready to go out, she hears one of these bells ring and stops in her tracks.

“Do you hear it, Mommy?”


“It’s Santa’s bells!”

She was dead serious. She ran to her bedroom window to look outside, so sure that was what she was hearing. I thought it was odd because I have not told my kids that Santa is real. I’ve told them he is a symbol of Christmas and represents the joy and fun of the season, but I don’t want them to believe in something, only to have their hopes dashed in the future.

So I reminded her, “You do know Santa isn’t real, right?”

“But, Mommy, I hear the bells.”

As she looked out the window, I heard them too and of course knew what they were. So I explained that the neighbors use the bell because that is what they do in their religion when they are praying. She just went “Oh” and that was that.

I wonder what was going through her mind at that time, though. Was she wondering if Santa really was real? Did she expect to see cartoons come to life?  Both she and Logan have expressed the desire to be in a cartoon. Yes, actually in a cartoon, interacting with the characters.

I just asked Logan what cartoon he would like to be in and why. He want’s to be in “Winnie the Pooh: Springtime With Roo” so he can play with Roo. Lila wants to be in “Finding Nemo” so she can play with Nemo and the sharks will get her. Ha. My crazy kids.


She is now a 2 year old in every sense of the word. I’ll write a longer post about her for her birthday, but right now I’m gonna write some of the things she says.

It mys – It’s mine! Anytime she wants anything.

1,2,3,4,7,8,9,10 is how she counts.

She has figured out how to lecture Logan when he doesn’t listen to me: “No, Loden (she used to call him Doden), top be naty!” said in a stern voice with finger wagging. 🙂 (Say it out loud if you don’t know what she is saying.)

I hongy – how she lets me know she’s ready to eat.

There is never a dull moment with them around.

Down (the Street) On the Farm

Just down the street and around the corner from our house, tucked behind some houses, is a poor man’s farm. This is the property of a rather poor family who live in two tumble down shacks with a wreck of a yard in between.
The attraction of course is the animals they own. They have a cow, calf, goat, and some chickens and turkeys. My kids are crazy about animals and love to visit. Of course the people don’t mind having these white kids in their yard. Ever since we first moved here, my kids have been there countless times. Daddy often visits with the kids on the way back from school. I’ve heard countless stories about how many animals there were and what they were doing.
Some time last year, Glad and Logan decided to name all the animals, so over lunch they came up with names for each of them. For a long time, Logan used the names and then somehow they got forgotten … until recently. We were not surprised to see Logan recalled each of the names (he has a great memory) and has been using them again. So come and meet some of them.
Here is Scarlett petting Charlie the goat.

And this is Martha, the cow.

The turkeys – Witwicky (the white one, yes, daddy came up with that one), Marvin, and Marvin-Marvin (the black ones). Ha.So original. And they didn’t care that the black ones are female.

Some of the new chicks. They have colored feathers on their heads and necks. I’m still trying to figure out how they got them like that, ’cause the rest of their feathers are still white. Logan has named all 3 of them Chickie the chick. 🙂

More visiting with Charlie.

In the back there you can see the black calf, Winston, and some of the chickens – Mary the white hen, Wendy the black one, and Chip the Rooster.

Logan and Charlie.

There was a puppy there for a while who they named Candy, but he was so hyper and always tied up, poor guy. He isn’t there any more so I’m guessing they got rid of him.

The kids have gotten into naming all the animals they see lately. All crows are Caca (and there are thousands of them), gekkos are Gekkie, and cats are Don kay. The local stray dogs have been named too – Skinny, Spotty, Brownie, and Stinky.

Ahh, life is never boring around here.

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