Weather update – continued

Hello,hello! Here is a new week. I have a weekend post to do, but I will come back to it later during the day. But what makes me happy when I wake up in the morning, are the pink sky and the blooming trees and the fresh green grass. It seems to be an instant mood uplifter, I somehow feel that I accomplish more during a nice bright day than a gloomy, cloudy one! Is it just me, or does it happen to you too?

I wrote a post for the Jan blogathon on the weather and how I watch that one road:

https://lifeslittletwists.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/day-26-weather-update/

and this is how it looks now:

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Here is another view from the room: (yeah, ignore the edges) 20170420_102402

 

 

Becoming a soccer mom

Hello there again! I know its been 3 months since I came anywhere near this blog, but what can I say? I have just been lazy or busy devouring books from the library. Have you read “The Girl on the Train” or the “Book Thief” or “Me before you?” – go read them. I enjoyed them all.

But that is not the reason for this post. I thought I have to document these happenings somewhere because I am slowly becoming what they call here “a soccer mom” – in my understanding is a mom who drives her kids around for all their various activities and kind of dedicates her life to them?

a. Last week on Wednesday, Sam had a school field trip to watch a live show of ‘Madagascar’ at a theatre near by and we got the chaparone slip home the week before. I kept thinking if I should take a half day off and do it (I chaparoned last year in NJ when we went to the Crayola factory – and I see that I have not documented here! tsk, tsk)  or not. Sam came home on thursday and said “Amma, tomorrow last day – did you give that pink slip saying that you will come?” There, that did it. I sent the slip with a warning to Sam saying that its last minute and its going to be a lucky draw so I might not be selected and he shouldn’t be disappointed. In less than an hour of school opening on friday, I get an email from his class teacher saying that my name was drawn out of the hat! So, we went, sonny boy and me – all happy happy, sitting next to each other in the bus and at the theatre and it was a half day well spent.

b. Hubby has been travelling for the past 3 weeks and had to be at work on saturday too. So, all the driving Sam to classes  has fallen on me. I managed the 1 mile drive to ice-skating and the 1.5mile drive to the swimming pool on saturday and sunday and still went along with a friend for the evening swim lessons. However, this past saturday, Sam had soccer from 10am to 11am and ice-skating from 11.05am and the soccer field was a good 4-5miles away. I panicked. I told hubby to ditch soccer and ice-skating I can manage. Huh! Which husband listens to his wife? 😦 Nothing doing, he said. So, I packed ice skaing clothes, water,coat etc; got Sam ready and off we went driving all the way to the soccer match. I left home 10mins early, just so that I don’t panic while driving. Once his soccer match was done by 10.50, I told him, he needs to strap himself and then change clothes in the car while I drove. Surprise, surprise! the boy who is always lost day dreaming managed to get his cleats,long tight socks, shin guards and change from soccer shorts to fleece pants and regular socks and managed to drink the juice – all in the 10mins it took me to drive from the soccer field to the ice-skating class!

I was thrilled, I felt so happy and confident that I wanted to dash off this post on saturday, but I felt silly too. So many moms do this on a regular basis when the husbands travel. So, I slept over it, mulled over it, but it still feels like a personal achievement for both Sam and me! Now, I can say I can drive the kid to all his classes without sounding fake! yaay! I can drive! *wait wait-I am still not going to drive to walmart though 😛 *

 

Day 31-Stats during Blogathon; the end

So, the blogathon ends? Wah! Thanks to the Disney trip I had enough fodder to last me a week and get through this blogathon. Suddenly, today as I woke up, I had atleast  3 thoughts that I could put up in posts. Why does this always happen? When I am raking my brains to get fodder  for posts and nothing comes up, suddenly on the last day all these thoughts that can be put into a proper post.

For now, how ever, I am surprised the amount of attention this blog has received during this last one month. Seriously! I do not believe that I can have more than 300 views in one day – here, take a look:

stats

Thank you all for coming by here, can you please drop me a one liner so I know who you are. (Ofcourse excluding those friends and family who are always encouraging)I would love to get to know you and read your blogs too. I am so overwhelmed by all this attention! Why? It’s not that I write anything useful to anyone else. And that day’s post was only on the weather!

I think it will be quite a hypocrisy if I say that i will be regular here etc etc; I have been saying the same thing in multiple posts now. I know pretty well that I will just get back into my lazy cocoon reading my books and blogs instead of thinking and putting posts. But can I say, let me try to put a post a month atleast? That should be achievable. Especially that should make us travel and I can put up a travel post eh?! hubby – are you reading this? 😉

So long, farewell…
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

 

 

 

 

Day 30- Books recently read

The best part of living here are the amazing libraries. Even more so, the online access – I can sit at home and take books on loan for 14days. Even those that do not have a hard copy available yet. I have finished all the latest Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber.

One that I recently read was Jeffery Archer’s last book of the Clifton Chronicles – This was a Man. – Definitely not as fast paced as the previous ones but I think it had to slow down by the time the hero’s life ended too – right?

For Sam, after reading Sangi’s post, I picked up Joy Berry Wilt’s books on – Whining, interrupting and being forgetful as these are the issues that we are facing every single day. There are more on these behaviour issues that I intend to pick up the next time around. Thanks Sangi!

I also picked up Guess how much I love you – which Sam read within a few minutes and also made his Dad read it for him 🙂 and Free to be You and Me. Problem with Free to be You and Me is that it has more poetry that Sam could not relate to. One look through the book and reading a couple pages and he said he did not want to read that anymore.

I finally picked up The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton to start Sam with more chapter books with lesser pictures. We read 1 chapter every night and I am glad that he seems to be looking forward to it and talks about it. I hope this helps him with the comprehension issues that he teacher has been talking about in class.

Next in list is Diary of Wimpy kid that a friend graciously has lent. Said her son who is Sam’s classmate reads and enjoys them.

I read a few more books the last couple of months but I am unable to recall them right now 😦 I also have the following books placed on hold from the library:

a. Harry Potter and the cursed child – I STILL haven’t been able to get my hands on this book!

b. Me before you – after reading at many of your blogs

c. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseni

d. the Spy by Paulo Coelho

1 each of Nora roberts/Danielle steele and Debbie Macomber. There are plenty of Jodi Picoult too but each time I get it until checkout and drop it in fear that it will affect my mood. However much I love her books, i kind of get depressed or it gets too heavy for me to read it all at one go. And I am not ready to get more depressed than I already am what with this lousy weather and not going out anywhere.

One thing I really miss in these libraries are the Indian Authors and the historic fictions. I should hoard them the next time I go to Bengaluru.

Day 29 – Are we behind the curve?

Like I said before, Sam goes to quite a few classes – Monday music class, monday and tuesday an hour extra primetime in school (now that it is winter and he cannot play outdoor)for Chess and Lego robotics, saturdays are for ice skating. We plan to also get him to start swimming come February. Ofcourse the spring soccer in April.

All these classes are as a hobby. Neither hubby nor me think much about this. Even Karate, soccer and swimming are more of something that can help him get rid of the excess energy and we keep thinking of such activities for him. We are not very keen on sending him to Kumon or Russian math or any other language classes or for that matter art because a. we know he does not have interest in sitting through art class b. these classes feel more educative and again class room-ish than fun and activity.

But, we see a lot of parents who do kumon and math classes. The parents take these classes more seriously than the kids and driving them around 2-3 days a week. All 5 days have some class or the other where as we have wed,thur and fri free. Infact we try to keep the weekend free too for purely selfish reasons that we don’t have to drive him anywhere or we can make other weekend plans.

We have never considered these activities as competitive sport either. Swimming is a life-skill we think and skating is fun. Soccer is something all kids do here and you know…while in Rome…When we meet and hear other parents talking about how the kids are performing and what next- oh! this club for soccer and this for swimming and we want them to compete… I wonder – Are we behind the curve? We never tell Sam to be competitive, we always only tell him to do his best and enjoy the sport. It is ok if he is not the best. And I am wondering today, after another such discussion, are we not telling him the right thing? Should we tell him to be competitive and push and rush and enter the race?

 

I am very confused right now and taking this to bed with me…Good night!

Day 28 – Ice Skating Saturday

Winter in Chicago – everyone knows how cold it can get. Along with it comes some fun activities like the sledging we did during that snow storm or playing with snow. More organised are the classes – Ice skating/ice hockey even performance skating.

The town where we stay has its own program and events for spring/summer/fall and winter and when the booklet for winter came home, we saw ice skating for kids. It sounded fun and since this is something Sam can learn only here, we enrolled him for 50mins class every Saturday morning.

The very first class we went, I was all excited, I told the hubby that we could rent skates and try to skate for an hour someday once Sam learns how to do it. Then, during the class I saw – I saw how everyone was falling – every kid was falling on his/her butt and falling real hard! Poor kids… I felt really sorry for them. But being the smart adult, I backed out of trying it myself. 😛

Poor Sam, he doesn’t know he has a choice of backing out 😛 Evil parents that we are, we promise him warm bath tub time and take him to class 😀 Today, was the 4th class and he has finally learnt to skate a little without falling flat on his back! But each class is a challenge. Every class they teach them to bend knees, touch toes, wiggle their waist and today it was lifting leg and skating on 1 leg! My God! How the kids fell and how well they all just got up and tried again! Kudos to all the kids who come there with the determination of learning!

Me? I’m the insensitive mom who giggles when he falls. Here’s a picture of Sam trying to learn to skate:

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And hey! I have to add, I drove him to the skate class today because hubby was travelling and was still returning from the airport. Times like these I feel like an achievement on the driving front! Should just get out there and do it!

 

Day 27 – Sam Updates(3)

Sam always has an ear for music. He used to catch the lyrics of Hindi songs that played on the radio even in Bangalore so I am not surprised that he learnt quite a few songs from one of his friends in school.

During Thanksgiving 2015, while my in-laws were visiting, we were in Washington DC at a relative’s house. Their son, a nurse at a hospital close by was home for the holidays too, and to spend time with us. On day 2 in their house, he comes and tells me – I hope you know Sam has learnt this new song from school. My only question was “Is it appropriate for him?” And Abhi says, yes, it is the top of the charts right now and Sams says he learnt it seeing some kids dancing to this in school. I was quite surprised that Sam hadn’t mentioned it to me. So, I put the song on youtube and watched/listened to it until i was convinced that it was ok for Sam to know. Now, everytime I hear this song, it reminds me of Abhi and this incident 🙂

The American boy that he is becoming, here are some of the songs he has learnt from friends around him. Some of them are fine, some of them I am not OK with the lyrics, but hubby says not to make a deal of it as all kids are singing these songs. One more song I liked that Sam sings:

I had never heard of him before, but apparently Charlie Puth is quite famous on the music scene now. Here are a couple of his songs that I hear all the kids here singing: (Not very happy with these songs though 😦 )

And then finally, my boy has become Amreecan:

On Tuesday, while having bath, he asks me “Amma, is it ok if I love anyone else also, other than you?”

Me “Yeeesssss, who else do you love? Appa?” Wondering where this is going

Sam “Nooooo….. I think I love I” *My heart stopped beating and Sam was looking at my face for a reaction*

Me “Who is she? In your class?”

Sam “Yes”

Me “Why do  you think you love I?”

Sam ” I like her, I like talking to her”

Me “OK”

After a few seconds of me not saying anything else

Sam “Don’t worry Amma, I will always love you”

Abbha! Thank you God! My son is giving me assurances that he will love me forever!

But I couldn’t stop smiling or worrying if this was ok. What? He just turned 7 and he is talking about love? In my head I’m thinking “You can’t even wash your bum properly yet or have your own bath and you are in luuvvv???”

I called the hubby and told him. He says”I thought this was coming, he has spoken about I a couple of times before” My eyes just popped out – what? Aren’t you worried? He says “Why worry? See think like this, now you know your son likes girls” Duh!! really? and he says “Relax R, this is the age when he starts liking girls, I also remember I was in 2nd grade when I first liked some girl”

After that I am left thinking – Am I retarded or what? Why I didn’t know what crush was until I was in 9th grade. Stupid me!

Sigh… I just hope he – I mean Sam! comes and tells me about all the girls he ‘likes’ *rolling eyes* and patting my heart to get it to normal rate again…

Happy Weekend folks!

Day 26 -Weather update

In pictures:

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So, this above picture was taken sometime in the first week of November at around 8 in the morning. This is my favourite sight to see from the balcony – I can see hubby driving to and from work, I can see the school bus coming, I have seen a thunderstorm cloud forming and lighting strikes, so I clicked this picture as the sun rays hit those trees. A few weeks later we had a snow storm and this below picture shows how it was:20161204_104957

As you can see, this was taken while it was still snowing. By the time the storm ended there was lot more snow on the pavements 🙂 Finally, the below picture was taken on the pond that is right across the perpendicular street – do you see the STOP sign and the main road? – right behind that. This pic was taken on Saturday to actually show my mom where the geese were – she was worried about the geese in winter 😀  I sent the below picture to her saying that the geese are happy walking on the frozen pond:20170121_163624

This week’s been a blessing with Saturday’s temperature at 56F but it is dipping again with snow tomorrow and over the weekend – what is this weather? – 56F feels warm!

Day 25 – Cleaning before a trip

OK here goes this post on cleaning not just before a trip but also before we head out anywhere. A constant topic of irritation and many many arguments in our household.

According to the husband, I have a cleaning OCD. Before we head out for an evening, when I know we will be late coming home and I will not have the mood or energy to clean then, I spend sometime making sure the house is in order.

I have a confession to make. I hate washing vessels. It is the most tedious, most irritating task. Even more so, when I wake up in the morning and see last evening’s dishes in the sink and I have to wash them first thing in the morning. So, if we are going out in the evening, I wash everything, clean the kitchen counters and kind of make it ready for next morning. Be it weekend or weekday. Many a times this has caused arguments between hubby and me for this reason – that I will be cleaning 30mins before we need to leave and hubby will be watching TV. If I ask him to get ready, he says “you are doing something else and will take longer to get ready, so I will get ready once you are ready” which means we never start on time and are always atleast 15mins late. That gets me too…going late anywhere (ok, that is perhaps for another post).

I HAVE to narrate this incident here. One day, last year, 2 families made plans to watch a night show movie on a Tuesday night. Post dinner, the family of 4 came home to have coffee and then start for the 9:30pm show. So made coffee for all and I just could not leave the cups there – I washed them all while they waited. How long does it take to wash 4cups? Well, hubby was irritated that we made them wait and we argued on the way to the theater. Movie done, we returned and slept at 1am. At 3:30-3:40am there is loud banging on the door, there are police and fire engines standing outside and we are asked to evacuate the house immediately. The warehouse next to the apartments had caught fire and was quickly spreading. We rushed out, called the friend again to pick us up as we were not allowed to take out the car either. It took 4-5 days for the fire to be doused completely and the health authorities to deem the air fit enough for everyone to return. Imagine, if I had not washed those coffee cups that day at 9pm? euuwww! After that incident, hubby now reluctantly agrees that it is good to cleanup before we leave. It took a fire and evacuation for him to start seeing things my way now 😛

Like I said, before any trip, I clean up the house – sweep swab/vacuum/toilets cleaned,bath tubs cleaned, vessels washed, kitchen counter cleaned, fridge cleaned,perishables used up, milk that would last until we return stocked, water purifier cleaned and kept for drying, tables and TV cleaned, bed made, laundry done and trash discarded as we step out. The only laundry that is allowed is that day’s. I plan these activities and span them across 2 days so that I don’t get stressed. But everytime, hubby does! He starts, why are you cleaning the bath tubs now? We can come back and vacuum, we have to anyway do laundry as soon as we return,nobody is coming home, we are going out etc etc;

Here is the deal for me.Before I go on a vacation, I have the josh and I will be looking forward to the  vacation, so these tasks get done in a positive frame of mind. On returning I will be upset that the vacation is over and I will already be writing a new to-do list in my head for the following week. I do not want to carry forward tasks that I should have done already. I do not want to come home and scrub the sink, clean the stove or the toilets or make the bed. I want to come home and feel happy coming home and feeling that the house looks clean and neat – just like how I would’ve felt entering that hotel room. Does it sound silly?  These tasks feel like a burden if I have to do them once we return. I want to live in the euphoria of the vacation for at least 1 day before landing in reality.

Vacations are fun when planning and executing, but the returning really sucks. Doesn’t it?

 

 

Day 24 – Disney trip in retrospect

Some thoughts and points on the Disney trip in retrospect. After all those lengthy posts, I am going to make this a bullet post.

  • When we planned the trip, it was a one-time affair and I wondered who would want to take a membership and take all vacations in Disney. After spending 6 days there, I now understand the lure of the place. The ‘happy, happy’ place it makes even the most grumpiest person (including the husband,he he, ;-P) smile. While I waited for the Very Merry Christmas party, I saw families around me who were visiting for the 4th time or the 5th time. I met a teenage daughter and mother from London who make an annual visit but the mom said that they had never been there at Christmas before so they planned to be there for Christmas and New Years that year before the daughter went away to college the next year
  • Like I said before, we had taken a quick meal plan which gave us 2 meals per person per day and a snack. The quantity of food that came for a meal used to be huge – more often than not we would be waddling after a meal and not  feel hungry upto 5-6hrs. This, considering we went in search of veggie options. For those who are non-vegetarian,I guess the portion sizes are larger. So, unless your family has growing teenagers who can really eat well, or if you are vegetarians, I think it makes sense to buy food individually instead of the meal plan
  • On the positive side, what worked for us with the meal plan was that we experimented. Instead of sticking to Starbucks sandwiches or McDs or same old pizza, we went in search of veggie food options because of the meal plan. However, by the 6th day we realized we still had quite a few snack credits remaining.  So, for that last day, I picked up chocolate chip cookies and water bottles and carried with us to the airport hence ensuring that we did not leave any credit unused
  • It helped to read up Disney related blogs -I read this one extensively: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/  It gave me an idea of the rides, best times for the rides, must dos, what we can skip, food options, transportation, crowds, weather and clothes too!
  • Based on the weather suggestions on this blog and checking the weather until the last day before packing, I packed hoodie for Sam and a jeans jacket for me that came in handy most evenings. Though we had to carry it with us all day long which hubby kept grumbling about but on 3 out of 6 days we did wear them. I regretted not carrying it on Day1 for Sam – because he was cold in the morning at 7am until the sun came out and after that I packed it every day. And a 50% hit rate is good according to me! Who knew it would rain and the weather would get muggy? What if it had rained and got windy? huh?
  • Having a boy has its advantages. One thing for sure that helped us get through most shows and rides – we did not have to use our fast pass or our time standing in line waiting to meet and greet the princesses. Though, I loved seeing all those pretty girls from age 3 to age 23 wearing tiaras and dressed as princesses standing in mile long queues to meet their favorite princess/fairy
  • As predicted, the camera bag became a burden at times. I have written here before how hubby and I are not too much into pictures and taking pictures on my phone is sufficient for me as memory. Just because we bought it, there were times when hubby experimented for a few minutes and then left it saying, “let me enjoy the atmosphere and take in the live show than taking all these pictures. You take what you want on the phone”. Or for some of those roller coasters, I was left holding both the heavy backpack AND the camera bag
  • I mentioned on Sam’s birthday post that I was quite disappointed with the cast members for not wishing him despite it showing up on their screens. We also had experience of some cast members who turned away their faces and continued walking, much like our Bengaluru autos, even when we said ‘excuse me’ and wanted some help
  • In contrast, I really give kudos to these characters who have to wear those suits all day long and stand and pose and act as if they are happy meeting thousands of people everyday. I wonder how hard it would be for them in peak summer! Every character we met greeted us so well, Minnie noted my Minnie Tshirt and did a little jig, Goofy and Pluto played with Sam. Donald saw Sam’s birthday Tshirt and asked if it was his birthday and made some fun of him. Chip and Dale were acting naughty.It was a joy to meet these characters
  • About the families we saw. So many teenage siblings taking care of the younger ones – both boys and girls. Feeding them, pushing their prams, helping with their princess dresses, teenage boys going on small rides for the younger sibling – it was so good to watch the families interact
  • Last but not the least – Sam enjoyed. That is the bottom line. We worried that he might not be able to relate to the rides or characters but it never bothered him. I think it was the right age – he matched all height requirements for the thrill rides, did the scary ones,dark ones and the rides meant for younger kids. He loved the anticipation of standing in line before the ride. He enjoyed the fantasy ones as much as he enjoyed the roller coasters. Every day was “the funnest day ever” and he even thanked us for taking him there. His grouse – he did not want to stop for food, he was not interested in any of the fireworks
  • I shamelessly told many cast members that it was his birthday making sure they wished him and that made him feel special. Hubby was “why are you acting like this? you never do such things” but for me, this was a milestone trip and I wanted Sam to have good memories of it, and as his mother I gave up on my ‘sharam’ and ‘haya’ and told as many people as I could so he could be wished 🙂
  • Finally, a couple of tips:
    • Go with a like minded group. Kids have more fun when they have company. We tried. Asked 3-4 families but everyone had their own reasons for not making it. It worked out for us because we planned the day as we liked it but there were times when we thought that even if there was 1 more kid Sam’s age, he could’ve had maybe a little more fun. He might not have gone on every ride with his Dad – which he did this time – there are some roller coaster pics where he is almost hiding – sticking to hubby and he only once mentioned that he wished at least his friends from the apartment could be there with him.
    • Do not shop in Disney – it is true that all prices are hiked up and you can get them all for much lesser on the Disney online site or even on Amazon
    • Finally, fastpass – make sure of what rides you want to do in advance and book them in quick succession preferably in the morning slot. Once you are done with all 3, you can block 3 more for the afternoon and so on. If you block something for much later in the night – the App will not allow you to select any more Fast passes.
    • No point in taking fastpass for any fireworks or night time spectaculars or shows. Seats are plenty so the line moves pretty quick. Only the Lion King was an exception to that rule for us-so do your research on the crowds as well.
    • Fastpass is a must if you enjoy thrill rides – more the thrill, longer the lines (Crazy people I say!).

Phew! Done. And I thought this would be a short, bullet post. Duh!