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[Comments] (2) Today: I keep meaning to blog, but I haven’t had anything good to say. So in lack of anything better, here’s what I did today.

John got up with the kids about 7. I got up at 7:25, made the beds, started a load of laundry. Made smoothies (mango yogurt, orange juice, pineapple juice, frozen strawberries) and peanut butter toast for breakfast. Took the trash out. Kids watched Madagascar. I checked email and went through my Google Reader, bookmarking stuff to post on Mommysavers during naptime. Got a preschool activity ready for Maggie. Power went on and off and drove me and the internet nuts.

Maggie and I did a math game while Dalton played cars. Maggie helped me make colored ice cubes for water sensory play after quiet time. Dalton helped me make a mess. I made some cookies during a brief window when the power was on and stayed on. Kannagi made the dough last night, but the power has been blinking on and off for the past 24 hours. Hung up the laundry.

Fed Dalton a chapatti with peanut butter for lunch. Maggie wanted corn and cold water. Maggie drew some pictures on her daily journal paper and I helped her write about it while Dalton colored. Started another load of laundry. Lay on the rug singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm and Little Dalton Had a Zoo. Changed Dalton’s diaper. Gave Dalton a bath.

Swept up cookie crumbs. Changed Dalton’s diaper. Did breakfast, lunch, colored water and cookie dishes. Hung up more laundry. Emptied the baby pool and washed it with bleach water. This whole time Maggie was reading The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble With Friends and Dalton was in the kids’ room tucking his cars under Maggie’s pillow in a neat line.

Read The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble With Friends to the kids. Put Dalton down for his nap. Played oxcart game (The Oregon Trail) with Maggie. Put Maggie in my room with her Legos for quiet time.

When Maggie finished Legos, I set up the water play for her. We did three different colors of ice cubes and now she is playing with clear water. After, I have two more school activities planned for Maggie (making an address book, and making letters using playdough). When Dalton wakes up I’m going to take them to the playground or for a walk around the building because we’ve been inside all day. Then we’re having leftover chicken/veg biriyani and cookies for dinner. Maggie needs a bath, then bedtime!

Once the kids are in bed, I’ll do the dinner dishes, take a shower, and John and I will probably watch a show, or take a walk around the building. I am reading a book Rachel sent me, so I’ll probably read some of that before bed.

There’s my exciting day/blog post!

Would you like fat with that?: A few weeks ago, Kannagi called me as I was on my way home from shopping. "I can't understand what Maggie wants and she is crying," she said. She thought maybe Maggie wanted to bake the chapatti. She put Maggie on the phone.

"I want to eat butter with bacon!" Maggie cried. I burst out laughing and told Kannagi to give Maggie a roll with some butter to dip it in.

A few days before, we had pea soup with bacon and rolls, and Maggie just loved dipping her bacon in the butter for her roll. Yum.

In India But Not Of It: I know a few people here who seem to be pretending they're not in India. If you can spend 95% of your time in Air Conditioning, then maybe you won't notice it's not the US! But then why did you come?

You might ask the same of me. I have my complaints about living here. India is anything but convenient - one hassle after another. We came here to experience India, not to hide from it. Yes, I could pay someone to do my shopping and never leave the house, but what's the point? Everyday cultural experiences are just as much a part of this as taking all the right pictures and getting all the right passport stamps.

Camel Saddles: Yesterday we went to a birthday party where the kids got to ride a camel, play on the bouncy slide, and take home a set of tiny animals/dinosaurs that Kerri picked out just for them, and which they LOVE.

Growing up my mom had a little seat that she called a camel saddle. I always wondered how it could possibly fit over a camel as a saddle. And now I know. Riding a camel with Dalton isn't easy. There were no seatbelts and really nothing to hold onto. Dalton started complaining that he was swinging back and forth and finally I had to grip the saddle with one hand and hold him with the other. Still, it's not every day you get to ride a camel.

Maggie School: I recently bought this summer program to use for home preschool activities for Maggie. We started this week and did lots of activities, some from the book and some I've just been meaning to do with her. Here are a few of the things we did.

Homemade bubbles and bubble wands
Cut letters from magazines and use them to spell words
Use counters to practice basic addition and subtraction
Make letters from playdough and spell names and words
Write in a daily journal (she draws a picture and then tells me what to write and she traces over my letters)
Make a family tree ("I did bad letters for your parents because your grandparents are dead.")
Water and ice sensory box
Word bingo
Build structures using gum drops and toothpicks/skewers. I took pictures of this, but the gum drops were pretty soft so it wasn't a fabulous activity.

We also played some hopscotch. More on this soon!

[Comments] (1) Mother's Day Quotes: I got sweet little cards and flowers for Mother's Day.

On the way out the door:
Maggie: I'm going to buy you flowers, Mommy!
...
John: Surprise!

When making the cards:
John: Let's write three reasons you love Mommy.
Maggie: I don't love Mommy. She's mean to me. She gives me time outs.

More Quotes: Daddy: Want to go to a beach called Goa in 18 days?
Maggie: Daddy, you ever hear of a beach called Gondola? You have to ride on a swing. You can ride on a zebra. You can ride on a monkey. You can ride on a crocodile and it won't snap you.

I also saw a sign on a painted flyover that said, "Keep your city beautiful. Do not defecate the wall."

Good to Be Home: We went to lunch with Daddy today. When we got home, I was so happy to open the door. The apartment was light and breezy and it smelled good. Even though there were toys all over the place, I was happy to be coming home to a nice place.

Summertime: According to Kannagi, summer is the time of year when everyone in India gets sick. Her grandson is sick, and John heard lots of coughing at work.

According to John's coworkers, there are many other reasons we are all sick. It's raining (2 days after we got sick). The weather changed. We drank cold water. It's Wednesday. Or, more likely, John spends his days in other people's cubicles with their germs, and Dalton spends his Sunday afternoons in nursery with runny nosed kids.

Anyway, we all have colds and my throat hurts very badly and John has been staying home to rest/take care of me and Kannagi made us food.

[Comments] (1) This Week With Maggie: Here are some of the fun things we did at home this week. Since we spent a good part of it being sick, we also did lots of lying around, show-watching, and reading.

drew our own stamps
made a get well card for Daddy
practiced adding with counting beads
ABC scavenger hunt during a drive
made a postcard to send to Colette
"exercised" - we made a jar of exercises and yoga poses and drew a few things from it each day.
fingerpainting with chocolate pudding
practiced sight words
traced circles
added to our eggs or no eggs chart
And Maggie colored an eggs or no eggs picture to quiz me with.

I posted pictures of a few of these things.

Sandeep Says: This climate is only not proper, ma'am.

Meaning, the weather's bad.

[Comments] (1) A Different Kind of Smart: With Dalton starting nursery, I recalled that when Maggie started nursery, she said her first word. Really? Dalton knows dozens of words! Not to mention signs and animal noises, which Maggie knew plenty of (Dalton does know more signs than Maggie did as a baby). He has started repeating words all the time, too. He does not, however, know his colors (though he can repeat the names) and he is not afraid of new clothes. He doesn't like long-sleeves though, a drawback of year-round nice weather. The new long-sleeve jammies have Buzz Lightyear on them, though, so he got used to it.

Anyway, back to listing all the words Dalton can say. In the five minutes it took me to type the above, he repeated paint and green and said: on, off, please and color.
car
ball
Pooh
this
please
milk
juice
cracker (he was saying this around his 1st birthday)
cheese
book
woah
sandwich
chocolate
egg
dressed
change
dirty
water
drink
bath
duck
on
off
mama
dada
papa
fish
giraffe
paper
bird
kiss
empty
all gone/all done
boat
light
hi
bye
hot
banana
wash
up
rock
bye
star(this is the only shape he knows)
He can also make the sound of each letter of the alphabet (by sight or letter name) and name many of the letters.

Typing all this makes me think maybe it's time to try a video again, so here you go! Here's the "baby Maggie" words video, taken a couple weeks before her first real word.

Update: Last night after I posted this, Dalton started labeling all the green things "geen".

No!: You might have noticed a very common toddler word missing from Dalton's vocabulary - "no!" In fact, just before I took a video of Dalton saying "die!" he said it for the first time. Kannagi asked if he wanted to go to the playground and the answer was an emphatic "No!" accompanied by head-shaking, and running to get his sandals.

[Comments] (1) Leaps and Bounds: Since I last blogged about Dalton (2 days ago), he's figured out how to climb out of his crib, open the bedroom doors, and shown a big interest in feeding himself with a spoon, which he's pretty good at. He also has a new tooth.

Goodbye, Cruel World: Hellooooo vacation! Inclusive resort, warm weather, short flight, not-Bangalore, bathtub, fancy hotel, kid's club, pool, private beach, ocean, shell-gathering, sand castles, Arabian Sea, immigration-free, off season, delicious vacation.

We are bringing capris, skirts, harem pants, shorts, swimming suits, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, beach toys, [malaria pills], Sudoku, the Kindle, passports, and that's about it!

[Comments] (1) The Goan Way: Back from the beach! We had a great trip in Goa. I've never stayed at a resort before. It was awesome! Like a cruise ship without the seasickness. Here are some thoughts from our trip.

The food was really expensive. We prepaid $60/day for lunch and dinner (breakfast was included) and we had to be really frugal to stay within budget. We got ice cream cones one day and they charged Rs. 660 for two cones - $15! We had a huge sunken tub in our room, one of the highlights of the trip. The resort does daily mosquito fogging. No mosquito bites at all - yay!

It was nice not to be the only people wearing swimming suits. In fact, I only once saw people swimming in their clothes, and it was at the beach. I don't think clothes are allowed in the pool.

The lounge chairs were the best part. The pool boys set them up for you, with a nice cushion and a towel to lay on and another towel to dry off with, and an umbrella overhead. They were soooo comfortable.

They did a good job of making the kids comfortable. When they made up a crib for Dalton, the folded a comforter under the sheet, and folded another sheet for a blanket for him, and brought a little pillow. They also brought us baby toiletries and a squeaky toy for the bathroom. And - yay - they had highchairs at the restaurants.

Maggie and I had a great time hunting for shells. We found lots of "pokey shells" but they were hard to wash out and really stank so we only kept a few. She also found a couple 2 Rupee coins and a piece of foreign currency (we can't tell what it is). And she likes to tell the story of the ocean bringing her a coconut. There were small, clear-ish crabs scuttling everywhere, and when the waves receded, we could watch dozens of tiny clams digging their way back under the sand. Also, we found a small, dead fish and later watched as a bird came and carried it away. They also had jetskiing and para-sailing at the beach. The water was warm, the sand was smooth. The shoreline varied so much that it was hard with Dalton - the waves came in and out in a span of 10 meters or more, so sometimes you'd be dry and sometimes you'd be up to your waist in water.

I liked the resort employees uniforms. The front desk staff wore white - the waiters and housekeeping staff wore white shirts with pyjamas (or wrap skirts for the women) in plaid. The grounds staff wore capri overalls, and saris for the women (the only women wearing saris). And the pool boys wore blue shirts and white capris and crocs. Everyone but the pool boys had matching leather roman sandals.

Here's our typical day:
bath
breakfast
beach
pool
lunch
nap/gym/kid's club
swim
bath
dinner
bed

Our first day there, while lying around at the beach, Maggie ran up to John and gave him a big hug and said, "Thanks for Hong Kong Disneyland!" John said, "Where are we?" and she paused a minute and said"just kidding! I was just kidding." So sweet.

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