Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays!

We board the plane for Australia in 6 hours and I thought I'd recap our holiday weekend to date. We may not be able to blog for a while, but will do our best to keep the stories coming:)

Tom had a bunch of charity work this week for the OWC. They had gifts to deliver and grants to help write, all in time for Christmas. On Wednesday, this brave brave man took all the kids, our driver, our cook, our housekeeper and their son to one of the charities to pass out teddy bears. From what he related, it was quite an experience. The charity was a residents home for small children with epilepsy. Billy, Kay and Sam jumped right in and started playing with the toys and kids. Raj, Florence and Saravanan were even on the floor playing with any kid that was willing. Florence spotted a baby girl and Tom was teasing Raj that their family might expand if he didn't keep on eye on it. Jimmy was the only one that held back a little. He wasn't quite sure what to make about all it and had a 101 questions about the kids that night before he went to bed. Tom took the lot of them to KFC for lunch afterward. I think it was a good experience for everyone. The next day the very 1st thing Raj said to me was "we had a good day ma'am. A very good day".

Friday was the kids Cmas party up at the club house. Through word of mouth, we ended up with a rather motley crew of friends and their kids. I am not sure what I expected, but it wasn't 200+ people packed into a 30 ft by 30ft space where they were serving kids chocolate and cotton candy until they cried. It was chaos and a mess. The kids were in heaven. They even had a Santa. It turns out that in India, when you know Santa will be at a party you bring a present labeled for your child and Santa then hands them all out. Little did we know. So, here we are at a party with screaming kids, candy and soda without any presents for our kids. All the other kids are slowing getting presents and its starting to dawn on my 3 that nothing is coming their way... I thought up a lie and I thought it up quick. I explained that all these kids were going to be gone for Cmas and so Santa and brought their toys to the party instead. Since we were going to be home, Santa was going to bring our presents right to our house. My lie fooled the child.
We rounded everyone up and headed back to our house for the after party party. We had snacks, beer, wine and a bonfire. It was great to just relax and enjoy the evening not pressed body to body with the rest of humanity.

Saturday was a day full of parties, packing and prep. I woke up in a fit of giggles when Jimmy said to Tom, as he's trying to tickle his belly, " Daddy, why does your belly jiggle and my doesn't?" Nice. We had a lunch party for Raj, Florence, Saravanan and Sunita (Saravanan's fiance). We ate pizza, donuts and drank soda. We all exchanged presents and then took photos in front of the Christmas tree. It was really nice to be able to say "Thank You and Merry Christmas" to the people that have made our time here so wonderful. We had bought an extra turkey at Thanksgiving and were looking forward to having turkey, potatoes, stuffing and beans for dinner. I even found a can of my favorite jellied cranberry sauce! In true Bangalore fashion we promptly lost power for the next 2 hours. So, we read the kids books by flashlight and tried to cook our meal on our over sized Coleman stove by flashlight. Interesting. It turns out our turkey was of the Cornish game hen variety. The chickens you get here are bigger. We were laughing... no turkey salad, turkey soup, turkey a la king, turkey omelets, etc... Miracle of miracles though the kids went to bed nicely and were asleep within 5 minutes. The power came on and we watched "A Christmas Story" as is our yearly tradition. All was right with the world...

This morning Jimmy came into our room around 5 and I had a panic attack that the day was about to start. Mercifully, he fell back to sleep and at 7:15 work up and said, "Merry Christmas Mommy. Why is Christmas my favorite holiday?" Within 5 minutes the other kids were up and we ventured downstairs to see if Santa left us anything. He did!!! It was hysteria until all the presents were opened and accounted for... I got some really cool clothes from Tom (I am finally presentable), Jimmy got a space ship gun (he had convinced him that Santa had run out of BB guns), Kay got a kitchen set and Billy got more cars and car paraphernalia than a 2 yr old has a right to. My parents got them all very cute clothes, the Murphy's sent great DVDs and I got an EZ Bake Oven (I mean Kay got an EZ Bake oven). The rest of the day was spent playing with new toys and trying on new clothes. Jimmy, Billy, Mommy and Daddy also had nice long naps in preparation for our midnight flight to Sri Lanka and off to Australia. Kay, of course, chose this day to not nap. I have no idea how we are going to handle her over the next 24 hours as she'll only get an opportunity for 2 hours a sleep at a go. I am still hoping she naps today, but its 6:00pm already and I suspect its a lost cause. She is currently in her room screaming bloody murder. I am sure our neighbors think I am pulling her toenails out one by one. Our flight leaves at 12:30am, we travel 4 hours to Sri Lanka, have a 2 hour lay over and then board a plane for an 8 hour flight to Melbourne. We land at 8pm. The next day (Tuesday) we have a 5 hour trip to Mount Gambier. We are SO excited to see our friends but I am a little worried about the journey at the moment. Wish us luck.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If you hate to hear people brag about their kids, dont read any further

Ok ... We had parent teacher conferences today and we just need to brag about our kids for a bit.

The teachers LOVE them...

Let's start with Kay...

You've heard of the teachers pet. Well Kay is ALL the teachers pet. All the teachers stop by at least once a day to pinch her cheeks and give her a squeeze. Who can blame them?! As Kay's teacher, Ma'am said, "she is totally pampered". Kay asks questions about everything they do in class - can I help, what's next, how does this work, why are we doing it this way... on and on. Then, when they have finished their activity (and all of Kay's questions) she tells Ma'am "that was wonderful" or "you did such a beautiful job" or "thank you Ma'am that was so much fun". Ma'am says Kay makes her feel so good about being a teacher. She also was so proud of Kay at the Christmas party yesterday at school. Kay was the only kid (in grade 1 or below) that asked, "but who is in the Santa outfit? where's the real Santa?" I hope she doesnt ruin it for everyone else....

Now Jimmy ...
His report card says "keen learner", "enthusiatic and friendly", "does very well in English and pronounciation" (no kidding...). Ma'am loves having him in class. He's friendly to everyone and will play with anyone. In fact, he stops by all the other classrooms on the way back from the bathroom to say "hi". (I would suspect this drives them a little crazy.) He also is VERY interested in learning and always wants to be the 1st one to answer a question. His Hindi Ma'am also wanted to tell us how proud she was of him that he now knows one letter in Hindi (how many are there?!). We didnt want to tell her that our housekeeper told us yesterday that Jimmy's now speaking phrases in Tamil (our housekeepers 1st language). Hindi Ma'am also said that since she is only in their class 2 days a week, he runs up to her to tell her "100 and 1 things about what's happened in the last week".

I think both have the "gift of gab" thanks to Tom's side of the family.
It also seems that we are raising future politicians....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Billy is now Two

Can you believe that our baby boy is now two!?! He had the time of his life on his birthday. To sum up Billy in one word is hard but if we had to, it would be... trucks. That's right he is a bonefied truckaholic. If you so much as look at one of his trucks you'd better watch out. It appears that everyone in the neighborhood is aware of this as well because he got a truck from every kid on the block including the drivers!! (I think they all want their trucks back as Billy is also a truck thief).

We tried to keep it simple, which translates in Bangalore to mean 12 kids 10 adults. We even had the no present rule and still it was chaos. We have several of our neighbors on our block that are Korean and they all brought food, it was very sweet of them. So, we had Chop Chae, Kim Bop and even Bolgogi. We were planning on going to dinner at one of the Korean resturants in town, but why bother when your Korean friends will bring a feast to your door?! The kids were in heaven, Jimmy ate a whole plate of Kim Bop on his own....
Billy's cake was to be shaped like a truck but turned out to be more of a car.The windows were made out of aluminum foil as were the windshield wipers, the rear and side view mirrors. The foil was to be removed before eating they informed us.

We also had ice cream and candles and Billy had to wait for Jimmy and then Kay to blow out his candles before he actually got his turn. It is great to have a brother and sister who love you so much.

Billy also got a new trike which has caused another stir. It seems that Jimmy and Kay think it is their's and true to Billy's attachment to "his' trucks he had to pinch each of them in the face to remind them who's truck it really was.

Billy finally went to bed and at 11:00pm. Dad had to go into his room and remove the truck from his bed as he was still making "varoom" sounds and keeping Mommy from a good night sleep... (See St Nick jiggle for background....)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

This weekend

We've had an incredibly busy weekend so we thought we'd share the highlights....

Friday night: We decide to have our neighbor friends over for A Christmas drink. The key word here is A. As background, there seems to be a mass exodus from Bangalore in the next week. Everyone heads to their respective home countries for extended holiday vacations. So, we thought we'd wish everyone well and have A friendly drink. It was a great night. Tom managed to get a fire started in our fire pit/grill and everyone brought snacky things to share. These type of potluck events get interesting as our friends are German, Irish and Canadian. We had cheese whiz, Bavarian sausage and chocolate and cream crackers. I was in heaven. Our German friends also brought their "hooka" pipe. Basially this is a water pipe through which you smoke flavored VERY mild tobacco. (really, no really). The oddest moment of the night was watching our friends sit down with their kids (ages 13, 10 & 7) and smoke hooka together. They totally admit that they would never do something like this in Germany, but as they say, what happens in India, stays in India. Everyone headed home at 1:30am and we were in bed by 2:00. So much for A drink.

Saturday: Tom and I awoke thinking . .. Naps Naps Naps ... But, TSI had an intercompany Cricket match that we had committed to bringing the kids to, so we were out the door at 9:3am. I have to admit that I know nothing about Cricket and after Saturday that hasnt changed. It is not an intuitive game. The kids had a great time though... they chased balls, drew with sticks in the sand, found an abandoned garbage pit and went looking for snakes in the weeds. Your typical wholesome Saturday morning in India... After a few hours of sufficiently driving my co-workers mad, we packed the kids up and headed home for lunch, baths and naps. For ONCE they cooperated and ALL of us had a 2 hour nap.

Saturday night: We woke up late for our next gathering. A wedding reception of a coworker followed by a party at our English friends house. My coworker insisted that I bring the kids, so the plan was... head to the reception, stay for an hour, meet Raj (our housekeeper) at our friends party, send him home with the kids, have the driver pick us up in 2 - 3 hours. This was a flawless plan, until you factor in Bangalore traffic. Needless to say, after sitting in the car (in a traffic jam) for 1 1/2 hrs, we had to give up hope of making it to the reception. The kids were starving and we were only 1/2 way there. We bailed and found the most fabulous Chinese restaruant. The kids got to eat noodles and Tom and I were able to enjoy a drink. We did the Superman change of clothes in the car and were ready for our next party. It was a rooftop party in the heart of the city. They had a tent, a groomed lawn, fabulous kebabs and a DJ. We met some really cool people and drank some decent wine. Plus we didnt have to clean up, so all in all, a good night!

Sunday: Today was the day. Our driver is finally getting engaged. It is an arranged marriage and you'd think that this was his last day on earth for how nervous he is. Now, dont get me wrong, he has wanted to get married for the last 4 months, I just think that the "gravity" of the decision is finally sinking in. For the engagement there is a big ceremony and he's asked us to specifically wear our best Indian clothes. The program started at 11:00 and was scheduled to go to 3:00. Having never been at an Indian engagement, I had no idea what to expect. Well... It is almost undescribable. 1st you arrive at a "hall" that is basically a grade school auditorium where they have for some unexplicable reason turned on the heat. There is a 16 piece band and 14 of the pieces are drums. People are sitting 2 to a seat and everyone is wearing their best and brighest clothes. ALL the women have jasime and flowers in their hair and the kids are running around like its Christmas. Then, there doesnt seem to be any start or stop to the ceremony. People talk, visit, stand, sit, move around...all through the ceremony. After 1 hour of this, the kids were getting a little antsy to say the least. I take them one at a time out for a potty break and a little fresh air. Another hour passes and Billy cannot be contained. He has spotted the velvet love seat that is on the "stage" and is bound and determined to sit in it. After 2 major meltdowns 2 feet away from the happy couple, I am sure they are wondering what they are in for. Jimmy of course had found the "boy posse" and was running up and down the stairs screaming, wrestling and chasing all the other boys ages 5-10. Kay had been swept away by one of Saravnans "aunties" and was getting her cheeks pinched by everyone in the room. We finally made it to pictures. This is an interesting part of Indian ceremonies. The couple stands on stage and EVERYONE files by, one by one and has their photo taken with the "happy" couple. This could go on for hours, I'm thinking, and it did. Saravanan had thought of everything though and one of his uncle led us to to a room that had cheese pizza and beer. THANK GOD!! We managed to wrap up a little after 1:30 and naps today consistented of a few minutes of shut eye in the car.
We came home, took a shower and went to bed.

The Bus

The bus sagas continue...

Out of no where, Kay decided she wanted to ride the bus this week. So she started to just get on the bus. She is hysterical. It doesnt seem to bother her in the least anymore that neither Tom or Saravanan are with her. In fact, she was causing the school a lot of headache as we hadnt paid for the bus yet. The school called 3 days in a row so we finally signed her up. Thursday was the 1st official day that she was going to ride the bus both ways to school. It was suppose to come at 9:30am and at 9:15am we get a call from the bus driver ....
Bus driver: "where's Kay?"
Us: "I thought the bus came at 9:30"
Bus driver :"yes"
Us : "but its 9:15"
Bus driver: "yes"
So, we get into high speed getting Kay ready for school. All the time she's saying....
"Oh Man... I'm gonna be yate for the bus. I'm gonna be yate...." "Mommy hurry, I need my yipstick". Like she's been riding the bus for years....

On the other hand, Jimmy is currently not interested in taking the bus home... He has a friend that rides a different bus and for the last week, Jimmy has been refusing to get on his bus, and is trying to sneak into his friends bus. School called Tom 4 times on Tuesday in the hopes that Tom can talk him into it. It doesnt work. So far the only thing that works is to have the bus driver bribe him with bubble gum. Buy stock in the Super bubble gum company.

Jolly Old St Nicholas

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, lean your ear this way
Dont you tell a single soul what I'm going to say
Christmas Eve is coming soon, now you dear old man
Whisper what you'll bring to me, tell me if you can
Mary wants a pair of skates
Susie wants a dolly
Kay Kay wants a kitchen set
Billy wants a trolley
Jimmy wants a BB gun
Daddy wants some wine
Mommy wants a good night sleep
Then we'll all be fine....