Wednesday, January 26, 2011

meanwhile, while the cousins' blogs are going nuts with posts about snow and storms...

...it is January in Goa and there is no snow.
In fact, it is peak season here (it gets too hot and rainy later in the year) Indians and foreigners come from all over. So many foreigners at our little beach, in fact, that we keep wondering if we might have accidentally gone to Europe (got speedos?).

But that doesn't mean that there are a lot of people. Check out our beach (south view):

(north view):
a typical street in Goa:

In other words, it is basically the opposite of Kolkata.
And here is how that makes us feel, straight out of the cab from the airport:
Please pardon our blog silence while we take some time off to build sandcastles and float on the waves. We're headed back soon enough and we intend to soak it up as much as possible.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

who says billboard advertising doesn't work?

L: "Mommy, that picture of chocolate milk reminds me that I want to drink chocolate milk."

nerds

This is what the kids call the "Big Playground." Climbing wall and bridges and slides and all that stuff.

You know what game they play on it? "Digestive system."


They are the food. They go "into the mouth and down the esophagus and through the digestive system and-" they emerge as...yup, you guessed it: "Little tiny poops!"

good morning, it's time to play!

BR is the first to wake up around here. He is not allowed to wake his sisters so instead he sneaks quietly into my room and stands, perfectly silent, in front of my face until I wake up (this does not startle me at all).
Next on the list: a card game, the memory game (his favorite) or a little craft time.
Usually I try to talk him into bringing whatever game he has chosen into bed with me so I don't have to depart from it immediately, but it doesn't always work out so we often relocate to the dining table.I keep trying to convince him and his daddy to make this into "boy time", but so far neither of them are interested.
I don't know why, though... Go Fish before breakfast? What's not to love?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

sometimes there are birthday parties with bonfires and dance music in the courtyard late at night

taking pride in their work

We don't have all that many homeschooling successes around here, so I hope you kind readers will indulge me. They were just so proud of their creations -- just look at those faces.

1. Here is BR, doing...something. Keeping himself busy while I looked after the girls, I guess. Those are pieces from the wood pizza set from B&C (thank you!) arranged in a ring around a desk chair. (Art, I think. Or maybe Science?)

2. We don't have a library or very many very-early-reader books around here and the internet connection is bad during the school hours, but we do have a very-early reader. What to do? Write our own, I guess.
Here is little author-A., designing, writing and illustrating her first book, using the make-your-own comic book kit from Kris. (thank you!)
Cat. Fat. Sat. Mat. The fat cat sat on the mat. And then she added word bubbles like "Howdy!" and "Wow!" because it was supposed to be a comic book, after all.
3. Geography project for the week*: Physical Map of India, with rivers and cities. Isn't it gorgeous?

(* yeah, right. as if we have a Geography project each week. As if we do Geography every week. Bah.)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

little ladies

I was gushing a little bit: "L., your hair looks so pretty today and you look so grown up and your dress is so nice..."
L.: "I want to eat a whole entire chicken one day."
A.: "And I want to stuff a whole pig into my mouth."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lost: one sense of humor

Reward if found.

It has been diarrhea central here, with a little nausea and vomitting thrown in. I have not been hit as hard as others in the family, so once I resurface from the (endless) cycle of washing everyone's soiled linens and bodies every few hours, I'll be back to tell you something funny about the whole thing.





But probably not. It will end probably end up as prominently in the blog files as The Great Winter Vomit-cation of 2009. Remember that one? Of course not. I never told ya'll about it. On RandB it showed up, short and sweet, right
here. I must have been feeling especially ironic the day I posted it because apparently I chose "fun in the snow" as the title.

See, they don't give ER residents Christmas off until they are seniors and have sufficiently "earned" it. But if you switch residency programs mid-way through then you get to start at the bottom of the barrel all over again. Anyhoo, vacation time fell in January and since buying tickets to fly anywhere from Colorado in January could end up being a total waste of money, we decided to stay close by and visit Winter Park, a mere two hour drive. Just far enough to feel like we're "getting away from it all," we thought. And with kids ages 1, 2 and 4, it's kind of a gamble anyway: is it more relaxing to travel? Tough call. It seemed safest to split up our time and spend half the week at home and the other half somewhere else.

Early in the week, wouldn't you know that the kids got hit by a stomach bug. We post-poned our departure to the mountains for a few days until they felt better (see? airfare not wasted!), then on Thursday morning we set off and ate a nice lunch at a sandwich place in town. Jeremy took BR to the hotel room to try to get him a nap and I took the girls out to go sledding. It was a gorgeous day, plenty of snow, clear skies...We were loving it. An unsuccessful hour or so later, Jeremy gave up on the nap idea and joined us. Great, we were all together.

We had about 12 minutes of pure fun. (see photos) And then, the vomitting began.

Very quickly we went from having three healthy kids, to just two. By dinnertime, BR couldn't even sit up and lay sprawled on my lap. We headed back to our room extra early and tried to put everyone to bed. But they wouldn't sleep! At about 11pm, A. finally drifted off and I collapsed. She woke up at two hours later to throw up all over the bed she was sharing with L. So now we were down to only one healthy kid. "But at least there's one," we said.

Here's a tip: Never say this. Because the evil diarrhea gods are always lurking close by and they might hear you...

Just then L. woke up and had to be rushed to the loo. I don't remember what happened next; the rest of the night was a bit surreal and also very short because I seem to remember that BR chose 5am as the perfect time to start his day.
I snuck out of the room with him, trying not to wake the others, and we camped out in the lobby of the hotel where we could greet all the early risers who were off to the slopes. I was not feeling the slightest bit sorry for myself. I did not spend those 3 hours trying to come up with something positive about the whole thing.
Well, I didn't have to wash all those linens or clean the bathroom, did I? And maybe I could still get out in the snow for awhile? Sneak away while Jeremy took a shift wiping up after the little sickies, or something... (ER docs are good at that sort of thing, right?)

So then a snowstorm started up. It was piling up quickly and we could see cars starting to slide around a bit outside. Since our little Jetta was not really so good in the snow, and the forecast was calling for more, it was obvious that we really couldn't stick around a minute longer. We packed up, waved goodbye to the Planet Earth's #1 Smelliest Hotel Room Ever, and started driving.

But were we defeated? Was this really to be the end of our wintry getaway? We drove awhile and recovered our resolve to Enjoy Our Vacation At All Costs. We pulled over to the side of the road and parked next to a group of three back-country skiiers who were unloading their gear. We pulled out our toddlers and shoved on their boots and hats because doggone it This Was Vacation. "Sledding! You love sledding! Snow is fun!" we shouted and pulled them up the side of the mountain. BR quit halfway and I tried pushing him up and carrying him, but I kept falling over and he was bawling and I began to think that maybe this was all just a little bit cruel, so we dropped down and sat by while Jer got the girls on the sled. Too steep? You're too scared? No, there's nothing to worry about, you're going to love it! he said, and pushed off.



From where I was, I couldn't tell how steep it really was; I only knew that they were going much faster than seemed right. Instead of slowing down at the bank at the bottom, they actually lifted off and got airborne, flying off the sled and shrieking and screaming (fear--not fun) and then landed in a heap in a snowdrift. The girls were wailing, BR still hadn't stopped his crying and J and I couldn't stop our howling. The skiiers who, up until that point, had been ignoring us, stopped what they were doing to stare. "Uh, I leave my son at home when I come out here," one of them told us. (We'll promise not to have you arrested if you'll do the same, ok?)

So there it is. A little bit of GI trouble is nothing our family hasn't
survived before and we seasoned moms are good at thinking positive. At least we still have a washing machine, right? Even though it leaks all over the floor several times each load, it still doesn't even come close to the Great Washer Flood of '08. Heck, I may even eventually get over my trauma and be able to make a good bloggable story out of it one day.

Besides, if things really start to get really bad, we'll just call for backup. Who knows? Maybe if we're really lucky, we'll even get a second
decorative wood box out of the deal.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

healthy competition

We play a lot of games when we're indoors. Luckily, Santa brought us a bunch of new ones and now mama doesn't have to lose her mind playing the same ones over and over again---I mean, so we can have even more fun! BR is particular good at Memory games, which means he's good at them, but also that he has played them so many times that he's memorized all the answers.

After many attempts, L. finally beat her daddy at "Settlers" the other day.

And A. loves Go Fish, Crazy 8's and Uno.

Aunt Mer joined in, too.
Some of us don't like to lose...

I have been using Boggle as a spelling game and playing with L. during homeschooling hours. This is the only game I am actually good at in the whole world. I don't know whether that is something to be really proud of or whether I should be ashamed to admit that. Anyway, I'm really good at it. The other day, I found the word, "ironclad." 11 points. Yes!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

other views of Kolkata

Around Christmastime, we met a photographer who was spending time wandering the streets of North Kolkata. We haven't been there yet although we hope to soon.
The featured gallery on his site is a collection from his visit to India. No pictures of my kids, but it's still worth a look. (tee hee)

on their way to the vintage auto show


Sunday, January 9, 2011

all that repressed emotion...

I know, I know, this is not an original idea for a post since I've said it all before...
It's just that we have such a tough time reading her...

How does she feel about that?

What could she be thinking?

(are these two related or what?)

No, L. has not always been pleased that we're (still) in India or that we'll be here for (what seems like forEVER) a few more months. And I don't blame her, either. It's tough being 6 and having no say about most of what's going on in your life. (besides wearing those socks. That was HER choice.)

But while Aunt Mer was visiting, it was one thousand percent happiness for the entire week.

"I'm ready for my supper!"

This is the girls' new favorite thing to do at restaurants. "Take pictures!" they squeal. So I do.



the water bottle is ready.
even the glass is ready...

munching on a crayon. like you do.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

streetcar

While Aunt Mer was visiting, we finally managed to hop on a streetcar and see a bit of the city that way. To hitch a ride, all you have to do is flag one down in the middle of an intersection, pick your way through traffic and get on. Then do it all again when it's time to get off. Sorry, kiddos, these rides will be few and far between, but it sure was fun!





(see how empty that street is? It's because it's Sunday. Our new favorite time to be out and about)

Monday, January 3, 2011

misc.

It's so cute when BR tells me how he's "feeling 'zhausted." If only that meant that he would nap then maybe we could get a break from all the lunging and launching and slamming into things. (sigh)
But then he can be so sweet sometimes, too. At bedtime, whenever it's time for prayers and he needs to pick someone to pray for, he always, always picks his two cousines Margot and Eloise. Every single night.

*****

Sometimes five months seems like a really long time to be living somewhere and sometimes it seems too short. When you consider that we are going to try to make it to New Delhi, the Taj Mahal, the beaches of Goa, the North East, the mountains, the Sunderbans (to see some wild tigers!) and perhaps Malaysia over the next 16 weeks, it's a lot to fit in.

On the other hand, we miss real brownies. I mean, family.

*****

our favorite TV ad:



****

In Indian English, to "pass out" means to graduate. As in, "Congratulations for passing out!"

Also, there is a certain vegetable here they call "seem." I have no idea what this vegetable is called in English, but I know what that same word means in Arabic. So it always makes me smile when the housekeeper announces that she's planning to make my favorite again for lunch: "Poison!"

****

Yes, we have a cook/housekeeper/childminder. She makes two meals a day for us and does some of the cleaning. In the mornings, while I sit and do lessons with L., point A. toward some preschool activities and try to keep BR (aka the Human Wrecking Ball) out of trouble, it's SO nice to know that someone is making the meals and the breakfast dishes have been done.
For you homeschooling mamas: I'm not trying to be obnoxious, honest. I just thought you might be interested to hear that it is just as you have suspected all along: you are doing the workload of at least 2 people (or sometimes 3 when that Wrecking Ball is really in tip top shape.)

btw, to those who have inquired: we are not going to continue homeschooling next Fall. It's fine right now since it's 1st grade and I have a maid and all, but overall it does not seem to be a good fit for us. L. had such a wonderful Kindergarten experience in public school so we're going to keep going that route after the next (and final?) move.

*****

Jeremy keeps threatening to shave off the goatie and leave only the 'stache. Gross.

But wait... On second thought, if he could pull this off



...it may just turn out to be his most astounding achievement yet.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

save it

There is not much that goes to waste around here, least of all money. Most drivers are in the habit of turning off their engines at traffic lights and then waiting until the last moment to switch them back on. I started filming, hoping to capture the way the world sounded for those few moments. It was so quiet...

...and no one was even talking about toilets for, like, 20 seconds at least.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

so many trees

On Friday, we discovered the Botanical Gardens of Kolkata. Who says there isn't a beautiful, green, quiet place to relax in this noisy, crowded city? We have the proof:

a few old and beautiful buildings:


but even more old and beautiful trees, growing around other trees and wrapped with vines (or more trees)



flowers and lakes and plenty of sticks, of course






...and then we came in sight of the biggest and oldest tree of all, the Great Banyan:
It looks like a grove, but it is a single tree that has spread out over the course of 250 years and now covers 4 acres. Walking through it (or should I say "in" it?) was pretty fun.



and that captures about 1/8 of it.