Back to School – Finally!!

After 2 weeks of holidays, it is Monday morning and back to school. As usually happens during a holiday, we were all on a rather late schedule, with the kids going to bed as late as 10 or 11 p.m. and not getting up before 9 a.m., so moving up to our school schedule does take some adjusting. I did have them in bed by 9 but they didn’t sleep ’till almost midnight (Logan and Lila, that is. Scarlett slept on time.) So getting them up at 7:30 was not so easy.

I managed to make it up by 6:30 and get in a half hour walk. I’ve gotta get more exercise, but I’ve come to realise that a little is better than none, and I feel better. It wakes me up, too, and I’d rather be awake before the kids get up than have them wake me (like was happening these past 2 weeks) and be groggy and not able to focus while they beg for food, milk and t.v.

Our t.v. is super old. We got it from some friends who had it for I don’t know how many years, and I think it may have been used when they got it. Just around the time we decided to move, it started acting up. Turning it on most days requires banging it and turning it on and off until it connects with the set top box. The remote is fiesty too. So imagine being woken and the first request is “Mommy, can you put the t.v. on?” Oh, and even if daddy was up and sitting in the living room reading the newspaper, Logan still wanted me to do it. I tried sending him to daddy but he says, “No, only you do it.”

So now my mornings are slightly more peaceful, except for the crying of a certain someone who wants to be carried as soon as the others leave. She follows me around begging me to pick her up while I try to get the house clean. What ever happened to the days when she would play quietly on her own?

Now to plan my next big project: Logan and Scarlett’s birthdays. Scarlett is easy – she wants a butterfly cake and doesn’t care about gifts yet. I think I’ll get her a doll, if I can find a good one. The one I got Lila is already falling apart from so much love. It wasn’t as sturdy as I thought. Good thing Lila isn’t attached to it ’cause it won’t be coming to Canada with us. (They already know no broken toys are coming and they have each picked out their one or two favorite cuddle toys to keep.)

Logan had to go and make it hard for me by not being able to make up his mind about his cake. As you know, he is into animals of all kinds, so first he wanted another farm cake, then a bear, butterfly, Noah’s Ark, back to farm, and we left off on a water animals cake. I’m still stuck as to what to make. I offered to make a cow, as in an actual cow cake and not one with the cow drawn like last year, but he doesn’t want that. And of course the only gift he wants is more plastic animals. Now to make up my own mind about what to make.

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Filling My Senses

One of the kids favorite of bedtime routines is dancing with daddy before sleep. He puts on some slow bedtime songs, things like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and such. But his favorite song to play is “You Fill Up My Senses” by John Denver. It is such a beautiful song; if you have never heard it, you’re missing something.

This song always brings back to me the memory of our first vacation as a couple. Well, okay, as a family, since Logan was there, but he was only 4 months old. We were staying in a small resort in Goa. Every night at dinner a guy (who could barely be called a musician since he could hardly play and definitely couldn’t sing) would play the guitar and sing for us. That was our nightly “entertainment”.

Because the food was served buffet style, I didn’t pay any attention the night Glad got up from the table. I figured he was after more food so I turned my attention to Logan, who was fussing. As soon as I stood up I heard, “Sit down, honey”, and there he was, guitar in hand, trying his best to figure out the cords to the song. Glad had gotten up to borrow the guitar from the guy so he could play me a song in front of all those people, mostly old couples. He fumbled through the cords in the first verse, probably out of nervousness, but then by the second verse he got it and sang so everyone there could hear. (He has a great voice, by the way.) Afterward he got a round of applause and I was left with a memory I will always cherish.

Here is a video of the song for those of you who have never heard it.

Vacation 2010 – Here it is!

It’s been 2 years since we last had a vacation. In 2008 we went to Goa for 10 days (if I remember correctly). Logan was only 4 months old so it was fairly relaxing and we didn’t have to do too much as far as his care went. Last year I was too pregnant to go anywhere for vacation so we just sort of relaxed at home. So this year we were ready. We had to go somewhere – get out of the house and relax (well, relax as much as is possible with two active children).
Our original plan was to go to Goa again, mainly because a number of people we know were going to be there at the same time. But as we added up our finances and realised what another long train journey with the kids would mean, we decided to look for something closer to home. Besides, Chennai is on the coast. There is lots of beach around if we want it. So we ended up going to a place not too far outside of Chennai. From our house the drive was about 1 1/2 hours. We stayed in a small but nice hotel that was situated right on the beach.
Ok, so I’m going to divided this up by days (to the best of my memory). Since I have such a large selection of photos to show you, I have put them in albums. Just click on the picture below and you can see the slideshow. Enjoy!

Day 1: We left around 12 noon for the hotel. Both children fell asleep almost immediately so we had a quiet drive down. Drove to a place called Mahabalipuram. (Don’t feel bad if you can’t pronounce it. I had a tough time at first too.) We checked in to the hotel, only to find that the room we had reserved was still occupied by some guys who were too drunk to know what was happening around them. They gave us a temporary room so we could at least have a place to wait. We had lunch and relaxed a little, then went for a swim.
This was Lila’s first time in a pool. At first she was ok with it, but after a short while she wanted nothing to do with it. She held me tight and wouldn’t even kick her legs or splash like she does in the tub. I think she realised that not being able to touch the bottom is scary, even if mommy is holding you.
Logan, on the other hand, took to it right away. It had been about a year since he last went in a pool, and he hadn’t liked it much that time, but this time, with the aid of some water wings, he had a great time. The first day he swam all over but the next few times he just kind of floated in the water and took it easy.
After swimming we moved to our room and got set up. Then we went out for dinner. We found a small restaurant on the beach and ate there. Glad loves his seafood so he was happy to be able to eat lots of his favorites on this trip. I’m not so fond of it so I stuck to pasta as much as I could. That night the children went to bed quiokly, tired from the day, but I stayed up for a while and read “King Solomon’s Mines”. Interesting, but not as much mystery as I had hoped for.

Day 2: We ate all our breakfasts at the hotel restaurant, so would go there each morning as soon as the kids were up and dressed, usually by 9 a.m. Then back to the room to decide what to do that day. It was hot, not terribly hot but hot enough that Glad preferred to stay in the room in the aircon and watch cricket. I prefer to get out even if it is hot cause I have to do something. But this morning we stayed in for a while, then went swimming.
After lunch the children napped and I finished reading “King Solomon’s Mines”. When they woke up we took them to the beach. This was the only time we ventured to the beach and you will see why.
The first thing Lila did while there was eat the sand. She shoved a handful into her mouth and wouldn’t take it out…and she kept eating it. Logan and daddy played cricket for a while, then they went in the water. Daddy decided to take Lila in the water and did she get mad. She screamed and freaked out and came to me, not looking back. After she calmed down he took her in again and the same thing happened. After that she refused to even look at him, much less go to him. She is still not comfortable in the water. Glad tried building sand castles with Logan, but every time he got one bucketful of sand to stand up, Logan would smash it. He gave up after a short time, and I don’t think I was ever happier to leave the beach.
That night we all were in bed by 9:30 p.m.

Day 3: Today I went out shopping while the kids slept. I always like to pick up a little something from wherever we are staying as a reminder of the place, but I like it to be useful. I looked in many places but only bought two silk scarves. Got a good deal on them though. They will go nicely with my formal tops.
Logan wasn’t feeling too well today. I think he had too much activity yesterday. He went down for his nap much earlier than usual, before lunch. Later we discovered a sort of inflamed rash on his abdominal area. We have no idea how he got it or what the cause is. He finds it very itchy.
In the afternoon we went out for ice cream. You can see in the pictures the progression of Logan’s. He only licks it with the tip of his tongue, hardly getting any on it, and most of it melted on his pants, but he enjoyed it. I also picked up a herbal antiseptic cream to put on his rash. I hope it works.
Tonight we ate at a different restaurant. It was small but very busy. We had a table right on the sidewalk. I finally got smart and took Lila to meals in the stroller so that I didn’t have to hold her. The best thing about a restaurant is each person can get the food they want. So tonight we went all out. Logan had chicken and fries, Glad had his favorite fish curry, and I had spagettie bologness. Lila had a little bit of everything.

Day 4: Today Glad was determined to stay in the room and watch cricket. For those of you who aren’t cricket buffs, this was the day that his favorite player, Sachin Tendulkar, scored 200 runs in the game in one shot. I am not a cricket fan, but I think that if you love your husband, you will at least familiarise yourself with his favorite game and players. Apparently this game had historical relevance and it was in the newspapers for days afterwards.
I didn’t want to stay in the room all day so we decided that Logan would stay with Glad and I would go out with Lila. I wanted to check out a park I had heard of that was full of rock carvings and sculptures. I’m not normally into this kind of stuff, but I found it very interesting. Most of the temples were all carved from one rock, except for the biggest one, which was pieced together from several large rocks. You can see in the pictures what they look like. I also found steps cut from rocks that were just lying around. It wasn’t easy getting around this place with the stroller and my high heels but I was determined to see it all. Had I known I would be mountain climbing I would have worn other shoes so don’t blame me for wanting to look fancy. I would have preferred running shoes.
One of the main attractions of the park is a large rock that is perched on a much larger rock. It is perfectly balanced, so much so that even hooking 8 elephants up to it didn’t budge it. The top half of the rock is cut off, but even then, it is a sight to behold. The locals have named it “Krishna’s Butterball”.
Another attraction was the lighthouse. There was a long walkway up to it and I carried the stroller up the stairs, hoping for a look inside but it was closed up. After that I think I only saw one or two other carved temples and then I left.
Lila napped most of the time so I was free to look at things, but I did have to carry the stroller over rocks and in areas that weren’t made for a stroller to go. Along one side of the park were lots of stone masons who sold small replicas of the statues in the park, and most of the Hindu gods for anyone who was interested. I wasn’t. I did pick up some earrings made of seashell. I usually get a pair on vacation. They are cheap, and last until the shell gets broken by me carelessly tossing them in my jewelry box. I also bought Lila a pink straw hat with a big flower on it. There was a time when I used to love to wear things like that. Now you couldn’t pay me to wear them but I think my baby looks adorable in such girly things.
On the way home the hat blew out of the stroller and I didn’t notice until I got back to the room. I wasn’t happy with that so I left Lila with Glad and went out to look for it. I found it with someone at the end of the street and happily brought it back.
By this time the camera was full of pictures, so I emptied it. That afternoon we went to the grassy area above the beach so I could relax in the hammock and Logan and daddy could play cricket together. Then we swam again. Lila is finally warming up to the water and enjoyed it more today. She didn’t freak out like before.
That night we tried a different restaurant. It was a failure from the start as we were there for at least an hour waiting for our food, as was each other person there. We finally found out they only had one cook on duty that night. I think they lost a lot of customers because of that.
One good thing that happened while waiting is Logan said a few new words. To pass the time and distract the kids while they were waiting, we watched the kitten begging for food from the other tables, played games and sang their favorite songs. They both love “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Any time it is sung you get their attention. Then at one point Logan started saying the words of the song, not the whole thing but just the part he wanted to: up above (you know, up above the world so high). But when he said it, it came out more like “upabub”. He thinks it is one word. He also said the word “high” fairly well. Then he looked at the banner above the restaurant (you could see the words printed on the other side through it) and he recognised the letter “b” and very clearly said b. I had reviewed the phonetic alphabet with him and found that he can say most of it, but to have him indentifying letters even when backwards means he can read them well, even if he can’t say all of them or many words. I find it very encoraging and I think it won’t be long before he talks well.
The kids went straight to bed and I watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie.

Day 5: I decided I wanted Logan to see the park and sculptures for himself, not to mention the animals that were there. The grass was so nice that there were goats all over feasting on it. Logan learned to climb rocks and he had fun but also found out that rocks sitting in the sun are HOT. He climbed some rock steps by himself. I followed him up to take his picture at the top; then I helped him down. I turned my back for one minute to check on Lila and he was back at the top. But the highlight for Logan was seeing monkeys up close. He wanted to follow and touch them but these monkeys can be dangerous. Not only are they dirty and full of germs, but also they have a nasty bite. They get away with a lot because of this. They steal food from vendors and shops, and will even enter your house if they can get away with it. For this reason we used to keep a pellet gun when I lived in Bangalore. Once shot they never came back.
In the evening we went out to a very nice restaurant. A friend of a friend had invited us to sample the buffet in his 5 star resort. Who wants to turn that offer down? The kids enjoyed it too. The bad thing was that the camera chose this moment to conk out so I have no pics of that night.

Day 6: Vacation is over. We only had to check out by noon, so I took my time packing. The camera, tempermental piece of equipment that it was, decided to work again so I got some last minute pics of the kids and hotel before leaving.
We all enjoyed ourselves and can’t wait to do it again. Enjoy the pics.

Selection of the best pics.

Visit to the rock carvings.

I’ve made it to my 100th post this year…

…and it is also my last for the year, because tonight we are traveling to Mangalore to visit Glad’s mom. We booked our tickets late so are getting the slow train that takes 24 hours. Do you feel sorry for me yet? I’m gonna be on the train with my kids for 24 hours!!! Better bring lots of things for Logan to do. We will be there for 5 days plus two days of travel so will be gone a total of 7 days. Don’t expect to hear from me until I get back. There is no internet in the house we will be staying in and I won’t go out to use it (since I’d have to take the kids along and I can’t post with Lila crying in the stroller (oh dear, I won’t have that with me either) and Logan running around playing with all the computers in the internet cafe).
But I do promise to update you on everything when we get back. Now I’m off to pack. Gotta get it done since we are leaving in a few hours. Just taking a chance to type this while the kids nap.

And I’ll leave you with the pic you’ve been waiting for – Lila standing by herself.


Vacation Highlights

Well, I finally get to sit and write about our vacation. I am only going to put the highlights as most of the 10 days were spent doing routine things – mostly things involving the care of the baby. So here we go with what we did on vacation.

Glad drove some people in the car while Logan and I went with the rest by bus. We took a night bus that had beds instead of seats all along the sides. I’ve never seen anything like it. The aisle was no more than a foot and a half wide and the beds were about 5 ½ feet by 2 ½ feet. It wasn’t very easy to sleep in as I spent most of my time hanging on and trying to not fall out of bed.

Inside the bus. See how squishy it was?

The trip takes about 14 hours so most prefer it to be while they are sleeping, which in a way is good as you get something done while you are sleeping but it was hard to nurse the baby while the bus was swaying side to side. There is one portion of the road on the way to Goa that is very winding and it takes a good two to three hours to drive it. On the way back it was easier as that portion of road passed before I went to sleep and I slept better on the way back than on the way there.

Happy boy having fun on the bus.

Once we got there we made our way to our hotel. It was a simple place, mainly just set up for sleeping, though we also had a fridge and TV in the room.

Samsung

The view from our balcony.

The view from our hotel room Trying to get us in the pic.

The beach was just a 10 minute walk away. Logan had his first experience of being on the beach. Well, he didn’t like it too much but he put up with it, mostly because of the wind and heat. Goa is extremely hot and you have to have an aircon in the room to just feel comfortable. Every time we stepped out of the room it was like walking into a sauna, the humidity was so thick.

Down on the beach Logan got his first taste of waves splashing on him, sand on his feet, and being sticky and tasting sandy milk. After the second or third time at the beach he didn’t mind it so much.

What he did enjoy was the pool. Every time we took him in, he would kick and have a great time, and he would also tire himself out enough that I would put him on a sunbed (in the shade of course) and let him sleep while we swam. His after-swim naps were some of his best.

Samsung

Even superman has to sleep

One highlight to remember is the night that Glad sang to me at dinner. Every night they had a “band”, a man who could hardly sing, with his guitar. So one night I’m sitting eating. Glad had gone to get more food from the buffet and I was about to put the baby into the stroller when I heard “Sit down, Honey, I’m going to sing for you.” So he sang for me in front of all the old couples who were there and afterwards they were all congratulating him. It was so sweet. He was nervous during the first verse so he couldn’t get the cords but kept playing anyway and got them on the second verse. Oh, you want to know what song he sang, do you? It was “You Fill Up My Senses”. Such a beautiful song.

Another highlight was going to the Saturday Night Bazaar, something they have every week. Our band was playing so we went to see them as well as do some shopping. I found a Goa shirt Logan’s size and Glad had to get him a superman shirt, so Logan did the most shopping that night. I got a nice top and Glad got some too. Then we got a whole roast chicken to take back to the hotel for dinner. This bazaar is full of all kinds of things, and not just ethnic Indian things either. There are many foreigners who go there to sell their wares. Items range from clothing to jewelry to bedding to ornaments, food and more. The big thing about it is you don’t pay the price they first give you. If you do they know you must be a dumb rich tourist who doesn’t care about the price. Everyone bargains to get the lowest price possible. It’s tricky but some people get real good at it.

On our last day there we wanted to do something special so we set out to the beach and on the way met someone representing a major company here that was giving away prizes. We got a top prize so decided to walk to the hotel to claim it. On the way we met two others doing the same thing and each time we got a top prize. The last guy took us to the hotel and in order to claim the prize you had to take the tour of the property and listen to them try to sell you on their holiday package. In the end, we didn’t qualify for their packages, which we didn’t mind, but we did get the prize (all the prizes we scratched on the cards were the same) – paid stay at one of their hotels for up to 14 days in Goa or 7 days in Singapore. Well, we might use it, you never know. And of course, being that a beer company was hosting this, we got a large bottle of beer. This outing took most of the morning but it was something different and we did enjoy ourselves.

The only nice thing about coming back to Bangalore after being in Goa is that the weather here is much cooler and not so humid. Otherwise I didn’t really look forward to coming back to work. What am I saying? My work traveled with me. He was a very good boy for the whole trip. Actually, he loves going out in the car and seeing new places. He gets bored being in the same place for too long.
Well, I can’t think of anything more that stands out. Most days were spent sleeping, eating, resting, going to the beach, and of course caring for the baby.

Oh, one thing comes to mind. Twice I got to go shopping without the baby. Glad kept him in the hotel while I went to some nearby store to indulge in the womanly art of shopping. I think that was so sweet of him. Once the baby was sleeping and once he was awake but happy. Glad hates shopping and I think Logan does too, since the last time I took him, he gave me a hard time. He fussed and cried and I ended up buying something that didn’t fit. Oh well. And I made sure to not be gone too long (1 ½ hours max.) so the baby wouldn’t freak out when he got hungry. It felt nice to be able to shop without bouncing him and trying to get him to be quiet at the same time.

We’re off to Goa!

In a few days we are leaving for Goa for a much needed vacation. Yippie. I don’t think I will be able to post anything while there but I will be sure to update you all when I get back. I have yet to see how much I will need to pack now that I have to pack for a baby. Usually I just take a small bag for myself, but this year I’m thinking of taking a suitcase, a small one, but it is bigger than the bag I usually take.

It’s amazing how much stuff you need when going anywhere with a baby. Even to just go shopping I have to think about extra diapers, clothes, toys, etc. and hope I didn’t forget anything.

Logan is now getting on a better schedule. He still sleeps a lot, but when he is rested he will play on his own for a while. Like right now. He is lying down kicking his legs and babbling to himself. He responds well when you play with him, usually with a smile but sometimes even with a laugh. He doesn’t last too long on his own so I have to do this while I can and hope he doesn’t get bored too soon.

He is usually in bed by 9 p.m. Not bad for a baby his age. And he will sleep for about 3 hours, then wake to nurse, and sleep soundly for the night, waking at least once to nurse. The downside to this early bedtime is that he tends to wake up at 6:30 a.m. Sometimes he just wakes up to nurse and goes back to sleep, but more often now he stays awake so that is my revelie for the day. But I don’t mind. I prefer that he is in bed early at night so I can have the evening free to relax or get needed things done.

Ok, he is calling now so I need to go. I’ll try to get some new pics up before we leave, but if I don’t, know that there will be lots to post when I get back.

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