A Father’s Day Story

(This is a backlog post. It should have gone up last Sunday, June 16th. You may also be interested to know that I wrote most of it last year but saved it because I couldn’t find the shirts I wanted to give Glad and the kids for the occasion. I’ve since edited and updated it. )

 

Today is Father’s Day and I’m going to tell you a story about my husband.

Before I met Glad, I knew very little about superheroes. The only ones I was familiar with were the ones I saw movies of – Superman, Spiderman and the X-men. I had no idea any of them were interconnected in any way. I never read the comics or saw the cartoons.

When I met Glad, I thought he was an adult, and for the most part, he is. He works hard, single-handedly supports us, and takes care of bills and business and legal work.

But when it comes to superheroes, he is the biggest kid around!

My introduction to this love of his began when we were dating. He would bring movies for us to watch – Superman Returns and Fantastic Four are two I remember clearly. Then he began buying movies on CD – the Spiderman series, the X-men series and so on.

As new superhero movies came out, he taught me more about each one. The first lesson I learned was to never diss any of them. Ha. They are gods to him. Over time I learned that it was better to ask questions and learn about them rather than tease him for being into something so intensely.

When The Incredible Hulk was released, he went gaga, quite literally. I learned that he will attach himself to certain scenes once he has seen the movie and will re-watch those scenes hundreds of times over. I also learned that the Hulk is his favorite of all the superheroes and he sees himself as the Hulk. Yes, he does!

Marvel Studios taking over the stories of his favorite heroes made him so happy. He would literally dance in anticipation of the next movie and scour YouTube looking for trailers of the movies he was waiting for. When he is watching one of these movies, he gets as excited as my kids do when watching something they love. He will clap his hands and cheer and tell me how perfect the movie is and how Marvel got it exactly right.

So you can imagine his excitement when he first heard that The Avengers movie was coming out. For no less than a year, I had to listen to complaints about how long it was taking to release and why can’t it come faster? In the meantime, he enjoyed the Iron Man movies, Thor and Captain America.

As The Avengers release date drew closer, he imagined how he would get to the theater to see it. He actually planned to take a day off work and was going to see it more than once, but it didn’t happen. Finally, some friends of ours got him a ticket and the look on his face was pure ecstasy! He was speechless when he got home. All he could say was that it was perfect.

He claims that no movie will ever match up to The Avengers so he doesn’t want to see anything else, except, of course, for the next few movies Marvel Studios has lined up for release over the next few years. He tells me how he thinks they should go, who should be in them, and how the story should be. I told him he should just go get a job with Marvel Studios so he can get his two cents into every movie.

He loved Iron Man3 and last year’s Spiderman, and is waiting in anticipation to see Man of Steel (it’s in the theaters here now). Yes, I know Superman is not from Marvel comics. I have been paying attention to my lessons.

Over this past year, he has taught the kids about some of his favorite superheroes. Logan and Lila have seen scenes from The Avengers, know the names of all the characters, and are eagerly waiting for the day when daddy will say they are old enough to watch these movies with him. Logan claims to be old enough, but he sometimes has bad dreams with characters from movies he watches, mainly Rudy the dinosaur from Ice Age 3, so he isn’t quite ready for the intensity of The Avengers.

They pretend to be the various heroes; Logan is the Hulk and Lila is Iron Man. It’s really cute how Lila has gotten Logan into eating more green veggies so that “you can turn green like the Hulk”. Move over, Popeye, there is a new veggie-eater strong man in town.

To celebrate Father’s Day, I got Glad and Logan Hulk t-shirts, and I made the girls some special shirts that say “Daddy is my superhero”. I think they loved them, don’t you?

SAMSUNG

Love those smiles.

Love those smiles.

Thank you for being there for us, Sweetie. You are truly our superhero! We love you!

Click here for more pics.

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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!

Christmas Eve 2012

It’s come round again, and so quickly too. Wasn’t it just summer? Didn’t my kids just have their birthdays? Where has the time gone, and why does it seem to fly by faster each year?

Christmas Eve – Since the 1st my kids have been asking when Christmas morning would come. When could they open stockings and gifts? When could we go to the mall to see the decorations? When would school be out and holidays begin? Now it is the 24th and I am still wondering what happened with all that time I thought I had.

Today we took them to the same large mall we went to last year. There was only a central display, nothing they could actually do, like the train we rode last year. It was a two-story teddy bear house, complete with dancing bears, a teddy ferris wheel, bears drinking at tables, standing on balconies, and one army bear standing guard at the entrance to make sure no one went in. These bears were about 3 feet tall and dressed in party clothes (except for the army bear, of course – he wore the Indian army uniform).

Then we went over to Hamleys just for fun. They love this toy shop, since there is lots to see and even play with. Their usual strictness about not playing with all the toys seemed to be relaxed and the kids had fun touching all the displays. Logan found a mat drum kit and had a ball with that, while Lila drove a scooter around and Scarlett tried out each rocking toy. If it could be played with, they did it.

After ice cream and a short walk around the mall, we were leaving when I noticed Santa was in the toy shop, so they went over for a treat and Hamleys badge before we headed home.

We spent the afternoon at home, playing, eating, napping, and lots of t.v. In fact, because of their naps, the girls weren’t ready to sleep until late. It was 11 p.m. before I got them into bed. Then I decided to do some prep for tomorrow morning. So the strawberries are washed and ready, the biscuit dough is made, fruitcake is cut and cookies are ready to be put out. The children are all now sleeping soundly, as is daddy, who fell asleep on the couch with the t.v. on and Scarlett in his arms.

Which brings me to why I felt the need to write a post after midnight.

As I filled stockings and laid the gifts around the tree, I felt just a twinge of sadness. My own stocking will remain empty and there won’t be any gift for me under the tree. As a child I always looked forward to opening gifts and seeing what unusual surprise there would be in my stocking (like the year when I was around 13, it was full of stickers that needed to be colored). Now that I am the one doing the buying, wrapping, and filling, it seems weird to put out gifts I bought myself.

Actually, I have yet to get myself a gift this year. I did buy two tops but I needed them right away for the cooler weather so I’ve been using them already. Sometimes it’s hard being married to a man who hates shopping so much that he refuses to go get me a gift, even if I give him ideas about what he could choose. I can’t remember the last time I had a surprise gift for either Christmas or my birthday.

So this is one thing I am looking forward to in moving closer to my family – gifts! Ha! No, I don’t mean it that way, it’s just that it’s nice to get a surprise instead of something I pick for myself, and coming from a Christmas-loving family, I know they will do it. At least I hope you will. 🙂 (I love you guys.)

I guess most mothers face this, at least until their kids are grown enough to go shopping on their own. I plan on training mine to each get me something so that, come Christmas morning, I will have at least 3 gifts instead of none. It will always be a dream to get a gift from my husband, but maybe one day it will come true.

So tell me, ladies. Does your husband/boyfriend buy you gifts or expect you to get your own? Men, do you buy something for your wife/girlfriend even if you hate shopping?

Botanical Gardens Outing

I forgot about our outing to the botanical gardens a few weeks ago. I did put the pics on facebook but forgot about writing about it here. Anyway, better late than never. It was a holiday – no school, no work – and I had been wanting to go for a while so we did.

They charge a minimal fee for adults (only rs.5) and kids are free. It was such a beautiful place. I can’t believe that we have been in Chennai for 4 years (in December) and this was our first time there. We have gone past it many times because my gynocologist is just down the road from there. Anyway, here are some photos of this pretty place.

The entrance.

This tree had flat branches and leaves.

I love how this one came out.

Everyone had to take a turn hanging:

We discovered a pond with ducks, something you don’t normally see here.

The bonsai garden was cute.

Cool trees.

This plant had leaves that were green on top and bright red underneath.

 And they had the nicest playground I have ever seen in India.

It was such a nice place that no one wanted to leave. Time to plan our next visit. I’d go every day if it was close enough.

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.

Backlog and Updates #2: Glad’s Birthday

August 12 came round again and it just happened to fall on a Sunday this year, meaning Glad got to be home for his birthday instead of working. Since I work Sundays (balloon sculpting at the Taj hotel, more on that another time), I planned our dinner and his cake ahead.
I served mini pizza slices, fried sausage pieces with cheese dip, carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus dip, and chips and salsa. Yes, I did make a lot, but we had some friends over so I wanted enough. We did end up with leftovers but who minds leftovers like these?
Obviously I didn’t actually “make” all of this. I put the pizzas together, made the hummus, chopped the veggies and fried the sausages. Everything else was just “open package, dump on plate”.
Hungry tummies couldn’t wait.
I went ahead and made the cake the day before. I wanted it to taste like a Snickers bar since that is his favorite chocolate bar, so I made a chocolate cake and filled it in the middle with chocolate frosting, melted butterscotch chips, and peanuts. Unfortunately the butterscotch hardened and was almost impossible to cut, …

Trying to cut through the butterscotch.
“I give up!”
but the taste of the cake made up for it and no one minded. Glad thought it was just a normal chocolate cake until he began eating. After about the third bite, he looked up and said “It’s Snickers!” Ahh, he got it and that made it all worthwhile.
A little “mouse” got into it in the fridge. She came and told me “the cake is so yummy”. Ha.
After dinner we just sat around, drinking and getting Glad to tell some stories about himself. It was a fun, relaxing evening. Scarlett, though, had extra cake after dinner and she was the last one to go to bed. I had to sit in her room until she slept as she was just playing and making so much noise I was afraid she’d wake the others.
No, they didn’t like it one bit.

The next day at work, Glad found his desk covered with cards and gifts, all from his staff. They all like him a lot and he gets lots of attention. Ahem. That is what happens when your staff is 90% female. (I think. It might be more.)

That’s it, until next year.



A Holiday Outing

I’m going to attempt to keep up with some more regular blogging and catch up with the updates at the same time. This is the promised visit to the zoo post and next time I will do some backlog. Oh yes, here is the link for the photo updates. The latest ones begin about halfway through; this album covers May through August, so far.

So last wednesday, we took the kids to the little zoo that is in town. This is much smaller than the one we went to back in May and only has animals that are native to India, but it also has a nice play area and snack areas. The last time we went to this zoo, Logan was the age Scarlett is now and Lila was only 4 months old, so they didn’t remember it at all.

Ready to go.
The holiday was Onam, the harvest festival of Kerela, a state further south than us (I think, I’m not currently consulting a map). Anyway, school was closed and when Glad asked the kids what they’d like to do, they said “Visit the zoo.” So we did.
We took a taxi across town and had it wait for us; because of that, I don’t think we stayed for more than 1 1/2 hours but it was enough. We left just as it was about to rain so we missed visiting the snake and croc part but the kids didn’t know any better and were content with what they did see.

Snacktime.

They loved this very friendly deer.

Watching the otter have his lunch. You can see him there at Lila’s elbow.

The sambar deer.

Climbing high.

This place is also part nature reserve, so lots of deer are allowed to roam. In the parking lot there was one with huge horns trying to bum food off some people having their lunch, and there was a monkey running loose, terrorizing the people at the tables inside who were trying to eat. Their attempts to ward him off only made him hiss. Why he was loose I don’t know, seeing as the rest were caged.

Ok, I have to stop here for now. Gotta go buy something for dinner, drag the kids with me, and then come up with how to prepare whatever I buy. I don’t want to cook tonight.

Memories Captured – July Edition

It is again time to link up some favorite photos via These Little Waves monthly photo meme, Memories Captured.
Sitting in a tree is such fun … especially the first time you do it.

I love hairstyles. Maybe one day she will have the patience to let me do french braids.

Blue day at school for Lila.

Daddy and his girls. They love him to bits!

On a recent rainy afternoon we made a tent in between the dining table and the couch.

Even daddy crawled in when he got in from work.

What special memories do you have this month?

Things That Make Me Smile

Just a few things that brighten my day…
Outdoor tea parties.
She has just learned to get on by herself and is enjoying the horse.
My new mop.
Pretty earrings.
Photos on display. I have more photos to frame than places to put them.
Not having to wash laundry by hand.
Exercise mat. I got 1 1/2 hours of workout this morning. Yes!
I want these!
So near, yet so far. (Yeah, they are on the other side of the wall.)
Summer is here.
And this means summer camps are happening. 3 hours of peace and quiet each morning. Ahhhh.

So the other day at the park we met a cow. All my kids love cows and Scarlett kept saying, “dao, dao”. (She is on my lap right now saying, “dats da dao”.)

We found some dried grass near the playground. Logan saw it and said, “Hay! Let’s feed the cow!” So he picked up a bunch, leaving a trail behind him as he went happily to feed the very hungry cow.

The next day, daddy was home and we went to the park together, and the cow was there again. Yes, it got more food from us.

 

I just found out about this meme, as it was mentioned in the comments I got below, so I checked it out and decided to link up cause I love sharing pics. This meme comes courtesy of These Little Waves.

A Story from My Recent Past

I’m just sitting here catching up on my weekly posts for my other blog. I’m trying to gain a readership and following over there but not having computer access during the day limits what I can do. I don’t want to ignore this blog either cause it is a record of our family, the children’s growth and progress, etc. and as far as I know, my whole family on both sides reads it. At least I think they all do. (Do you guys?) Since we have no immediate family living nearby, I feel the need to keep in touch this way.
But sometimes I can’t think of anything to write. It isn’t that there is nothing to write about; I think of stuff constantly and keep a notebook of blog post ideas for both blogs. It’s just that when I do get a chance to write, I feel everything is a jumble and it takes me time to get my ideas sorted out. In the evening I am just too tired to think straight so I often chill instead by watching a video or reading other blogs since it takes less effort.
Anyway, tonight I just wanted to leave a little something here, and I remembered a story that I have never told anyone. I doubt Glad even remembers it. Ok, here we go.

In November 2008, just after Logan’s first birthday, we moved to Chennai. It was a pretty big deal moving us to another city, packing all our stuff, baby equipment. At least we didn’t need to bring furniture. We were landing at the house of a couple we knew and would spend the next 18 months there.
The day we were to leave Bangalore I was ultra-busy – packing suitcases and boxes, dealing with my new pregnancy (Lila, around 3 months), and of course, caring for Logan. Glad got sick that day, so sick that all he could do was sleep. By evening he finally had enough strength to make it to the train. Traveling with us was this couple’s 14 year old son who had been in Bangalore for a get-together with some of his friends.
If you have never been on an Indian train, it can be hard to explain things about it so you will understand, but I’ll try. Indian trains are notorious for having all sorts of bad things happen – the papers are full of it, so when traveling on one, you have to be mindful of yourself and your belongings. Thankfully we have never had anything bad happen on a train, but this incident was a little scary.
The windows on these trains are small and, unless it is an airconditioned car, they have bars and shutters that you can close and lock. Airconditioned cars have sealed glass windows and are a little more comfortable, but the other one was all we could get for that trip, and it was packed. You’ll see in a minute why I bring up the windows.
We found our seats and settled in. Since it was a night trip, the bunks were already down. Ok, more explaining. Each car is divided into seating areas that are open to the rest of the car, no privacy. Each area has long bench seats on the lowest level that convert into bunks at night, and have space for 6 adults. These go the width of the car. Opposite them by the other window across the aisle are two seats going the length of the car. These are narrower but one plus is the upper bunk is always down and you still have two seats if you want them, or two bunks. We usually get these cause then we can keep stuff on the top bunk while on a day trip.
So we had booked two of these narrow ones and one opposite in the middle. I got the bottom with Logan, the teen with us had the bunk above me, and Glad was in the middle bunk just opposite us. As soon as we boarded, I got Logan ready for bed. I made the bed and gave him a bottle, then patted him to sleep at the end by my feet. The whole time I was putting Logan to sleep, this guy from the next set of seats was sitting on the end of his bunk staring at me. Now, I am used to people staring at me since I’m white, but this started to get annoying. How interested could he be in me putting Logan to sleep?
The window next to me had been left open by the previous passenger, and since I was busy, I left it. I figured I’d close it later when I cooled down a bit, cause even though it was already quite cold in Bangalore at that time, I was hot. I was pregnant, remember? At one point this guy got up and pushed in front of me, closing the window and saying it had to be closed. I thought it was not only odd but rude of him. Glad noticed and asked me if I wanted it closed and I shrugged the whole thing off and got back to Logan.
But the guy kept staring, and it was annoying me, to say the least. Finally, I think Glad had gotten up to use the toilet so I told him about the guy staring and how it was bothering me. He went to the toilet and I laid down to try to sleep since Logan was down by then. I think I was laying there with my eyes closed, when I heard Glad talking rather forcefully to this guy.  He was asking him if he had a problem and said “That is my wife and if you need something you come to me. Stay away from her.” I had actually forgotten that I had asked him to do something about the staring guy, and was a little startled at first, but then I knew I would be able to relax. He was so forceful and talking loudly that the guy freaked out and apologized, then lay facing the other way the rest of the night.
It is known that Indian men can be very possive of their wives, and even though I know Glad would only beat someone up if he was hurting me, he was able to use that to our advantage to get the guy to leave me in peace. The rest of the night passed without incident and by the time we arrived in Chennai that guy had already gotten off the train.
I’m happy to say we have never had a bad train experience while traveling as a family. You can read about a few of those trips here and here.

Well, goodnight. It is almost 1:30 a.m and I do have to get up in the morning. Logan has school, well, it is a Diwali celebration so no actual school. You can look forward to a post on Diwali, the festival of lights.

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