Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Epic Trip

We've been busy around here.  Tomorrow morning, we leave our home in India for five months of first-world heaven, home time.  Rest. Relaxation. Family. Friends. Food.

It takes a lot of time, work, and mental gymnastics to pack up six people and leave your home for five months.  In the states, it would be as simple as making sure everything is somewhat clean and locking the door.  But here, it's a little bit more.  Tomorrow morning, we have to turn off the water in every bathroom and the kitchen.  We will close the toilets and put something heavy on them so no rats can climb up in to the house.  We will store our candles in such a way that they won't melt while we're gone.  We're taping the doors shut from the inside to prevent as much dust from coming in as possible.  Covering important furniture with cloths to keep dust off.  Deep floor cleaning will be done, and the last few weeks I've done lots of sorting, throwing away, re-evaluating, do we really need this? Because I know in five months, I'm coming home with like 10-12 bags full of goodies from the US and will need a spot to put it all. : )

This going home thing always unearths some lapses in our parenting that we only realize when we're about to meet with our home culture.  Yesterday, I realized we'll be in London on Thursday, and the forecast for London is overcast and a high of 66.  What?!?  So I decided we needed to pack actual shoes, not just sandals.  Uh... where are the kids real shoes? Oh, wait... they don't have any.  So off to the store we went to day to buy them some real shoes.  Luke found some addidas tennis on sale that he just had to have.  This was all fine and dandy until we got home and realized our serious oversight. Luke is in second grade, and is nearly 7 years old.  And he doesn't know how to tie a pair of tennis shoes.  He doesn't even know the technique to get them on.  (Loosen the ties, pull up the shoe's tongue, etc.). Because for his whole life, he's worn sandals that slide on and off easily so when we visit people's homes or shops, he can leave his shoes at the door.  So now we're in the middle of teaching him to tie his shoes.  Aye-yi-yi....

Trying to pack "lightly" for six people is always tough!  We have managed to take back the bare essentials: clothes, shoes, school books, gifts, and a few items of baby gear, including a car seat, and collapsible eating chair, and a baby carrier.  (Not even a stroller!) And that's it.  And that's 8 giant bags!  As I'm packing, I'm looking at the kids clothes, pulling out their cutest, best things, and wondering, if in five months, I will consider these things to be outdated rags not worthy of being brought back...

We have an epic trip looming....  we leave our home tomorrow morning at 11.  We hopefully will arrive in the capital city around dinner time and share a meal with friends before heading to the airport.  We depart Delhi at 2:30 a.m. after a round of Benadryl for all the kids.  We arrive in London at 6:45 a.m. London time (11:30 a.m. India time).  Then, we have a whirlwind tour of the Tower of London planned! I'm so excited about this! I know, I know, we'll be sooo tired, and everyone will be cranky.  But how can we pass it up?  We can take the tube straight from Heathrow to Tower Hill. I found some fun Explorer Kits online from Guy Fox and printed them out.  Great activity pages on what we'll see at the Tower, and at Tower Bridge.  Things to look for, facts to find, stamps to get.  We'll have lunch at the Tower restaurant, proper British food... then head back to the airport around 2:30 to catch our 5:15 flight.  After everyone has been loaded up with Coke and other caffeine filled things, we will fly 8 hours to Chicago, landing at 8 p.m. Chicago time (8 a.m. India time Friday).  Yes, it's still Thursday at that point.  The longest day ever.  Even though I'm hoping the caffeine will keep them awake for most of that London-Chicago flight, we'll spend a (probably sleepless) night at an airport hotel and head to Wichita the next morning by 1:00 p.m.

As we said when we came to India the first time, five and a half years ago, with two small babies: if we can survive this trip, we can do anything. : )

See you on the other side!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Always when Dad's gone...

The worst things always happen when Dad is away from home.  This week while Paul was out traveling, Levi and Luke were running around the house before bed time.  Right before bed time.  I was sitting and watched Levi run by me and trip and slam his head into the footboard of my bed.  When he came up, he had blood gushing from his forehead.  It was awful, running into his eyes, everywhere.  I couldn't tell how deep the cut was, but I felt like I needed to take him to get seen by a doctor, because it might need stitches, and I didn't want to mess around with a scar on his face, ya know?

So a good, sweet friend sent her husband over to stay with my kids so I could take my Levi to the doctor in the late evening.  Thankfully, doc didn't think stitches would help the recovery or scar.  Here's how we arrived back home.

Never a dull moment!

Movie Night the following night!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Messy Princess

Meryn is doing really well adjusting to life with the Preedy's.  Kiryn is having a great time dressing her up....

Adorable, aren't they? : )  

But this week, Meryn has found her lungs.  At meals times, it was just constant screaming.  Like a pterodactyl.  Ear piercing screams.  She is clearly bent out of shape about something.  Eventually, we figured out it was because she wanted to feed herself.  No more mommy feeding her.  

Look how proud of herself she is!

I made a mess! 
(But at least I'm not screaming!)

See my teeth! : ) 

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Aftermath of "Service"

We usually try to have our air conditioners serviced before the hot season and somewhere toward the middle or end of the hot season.  It's unbelievable how much dirt and grime builds up on those AC's.

Today, we had our inside split AC serviced.  Two guys first came and cleaned the filters, wiped down the outside, and rinsed out the external unit.  Lots of black water running off. Nice.  : )  It all looked clean and new, and they left.

An hour later, the AC started dripping... more like, raining water inside the house.  It was a pretty rapid drip in several spots.  So we called them back.  They came a couple of hours later.

They opened up the inside unit, and about 1/2 bucket of water and grime poured out of it.  (All over my kitchen table and chairs, which they were standing on.  Unbelievable!  Big lumps of dirt that were soaked with water. Oh, it was gross.  After making the mistake of putting their dirty feet on my kitchen table, they proceeded to try to clean it with a toothbrush, which just got caked with dirt.  Then it was just a bunch of rubbing grime around from one place to another.  After their request to use the hose to splash water all over the AC (while it was still inside) was vehemently denied, we all finally agreed that the whole unit needed to come off the wall and be taken outside and cleaned with water (which would be at an extra charge).  Two hours later, they were finished.  Their work was done.  And this was the state of my house.

I'm not sure this rug will ever be usable again. Happened before I could do anything about it.

Can you see the grime splatters all over the door and wall??

Wow.  So much dirt everywhere. 

Somehow a blob of green paint inexplicably got on the floor outside.  And then it got stepped in again and again and drug all over the balcony. 

This is one thing about India I haven't ever and will never understand!  People who come to your home to fix something always leave the biggest messes behind them, and usually don't seem to give any care or concern for the things in your home or even try to take care of things, or be neat and tidy in their work.  But, now my balcony is cleaner than it's been in a long time, since I had to get out there and do it after they left! : )

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tapestry: Year 2, Week 6

We had a fun time this week getting into a study of knights and castles.  Our books were great and the kids enjoyed reading about how to lay siege to a castle, the feudal system in the middle ages, and learning all about knights armor and jousting.  We also started reading Robin Hood this week and will continue it next week.  

One thing our kids have been enjoying this year is getting fun craft ideas from Mr. Maker on Saturday mornings.  I am NOT a crafty person, and can never think of fun crafts to do, plus I hate messes. : )  But I've enjoyed helping them make Mr. Maker crafts.  Thank you, Mr. Maker, for this fun Saturday Bowlasaurus (though I admit that I changed it so we didn't have to paint a bowl, because we don't have paper products here. Sorry, Mr. Maker). 

I think the most fun thing we've done so far this year was make pretzels! Our activity book said that pretzels were a common treat for children in the middle ages. Plus they're fun to make. : )  We wanted to make a big deal out of it, so we invited friends over to join the fun!

Som peeps pretzels looked more like pretzels than others. 

I love this picture.  Everyone is smiling, even the upside down Levi. 

Enjoying the pretzels with mustard and ketchup.  They turned out great!

Then we had an outside play time, and learned all about frogs...

And centrifugal force.  Not really. 

This week, we painted our volcano...

And exploded it.  The kids loved this.  We've done it before, but it worked a lot better this time. 

Notebooking from the week! 

Fun week!  We're looking forward to the next three weeks and then a little break as we make the big trip back to the US for the fall.  I'm so excited, because it just worked out for us to spend a day in London.  So we'll spend the day exploring medieval things, like the Tower of London!  So excited!!!