Friday, December 25, 2009

Chocolate Fondue and Testicles (no, I am not making this up)

**Disclaimer: if you are offended by the title of this post, then you probably shouldn't read any further. If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition such as glaucoma, high blood pressure, heart disease, or emphysema, then you should proceed reading with caution.**

Ryan and I have decided that Lauren and Brenna are both "too young" and "too old" to be watching the movie My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding. This realization came to us when our daughters started talking about testicles during our traditional Christmas Eve chocolate fondue dinner. The conversation went something like this...

Lauren (or Brenna, it's hard to remember) asked, "What are testicles?" Being the serious health professional that I am, replied, "You know, they're those ball things that boys have." (to which Ryan rolled his eyes and muttered, "Unbelievable.") I shot back at him a grin that said, "Well then, you give it a try." To which he replied with a look that said, "Fine, maybe I will." At which point Brenna interrupted our non-verbal conversation with, "Lauren told me that they're in your knees!" To which Lauren exclaimed, "I did not!". "Oh, yeah," Brenna retracted, "You said that testicles were the things that hold your pelvis together - but that's your kidneys, right Mom?" "What?! No." I said (trying not to laugh, but laughing anyways). Then Lauren replied, "Well, how am I supposed to know?" and then asked, "What's a pelvis?" (to which no one replied).

Ryan, trying to get back to the original question said, in a calm manner, "Have you guys ever seen animals around town like goats, dogs..." Just then, Lauren interrupted enthusiastically, "and chickens!!". At which point I exclaimed, "What?!? No, not chickens!" At which point Ryan and I start laugh uncontrollably, and I think I started crying.

Just then, Brenna stood up, put one finger in the air, and with a look on her face like a lightbulb had just turned on in her head stated, "I've seen a cow with six testicles!!" At this point we all started laughing hysterically, and continued to do so for several minutes. This was until the laughter slowly died down, one of us gave the "post laughter sigh", and Ryan and I looked at each other as if to say, "What made us think that we were qualified to raise children?".

Don't worry, Addie missed out on this conversation because she had already overdosed on chocolate and "pencils" (pretzels - turns out she loves them and can't remember ever having them before), and was dancing around the table doing her impersonation of Maria from The Sound of Music (a much more appropriate movie for children).

Also, just to let you know.... when we finished eating we let the girls open one Christmas present. When they were done I told them it was time to go upstairs and go to bed. Brenna, quite surprised at this, even though it was already after 8:30pm, said, "But we didn't have a proper dinner!" At which point Ryan and I started laughing again, both at all of the "improper" things that had been said around the table, and at the fact that our 8 year old was complaining about having to eat fruit, cheese, chips, sausages, and chocolate for dinner on Christmas Eve! Oh, well... I guess that's what we get for raising our children at a British residential school.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Shrew Update

Tonight as Lauren left the house to go to prep (like homework club) a shrew ran inside, and ran straight into the trap in the kitchen! Seriously, this shrew has a problem... so, Ryan and the girls let it loose down the hill. We'll see how long it takes it to come "home".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

One Nation, Reading Together

On Friday in Junior School they celebrated "One Nation, Reading Together", an event to promote literacy in India. All of the children were encouraged to dress up like a character from a book, and they had special literacy activities throughout the day. Lauren was Fern from Charlotte's Web, Brenna was Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia, and Addie was Cindy Lou Who from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

In the evening we celebrated Thanksgiving with our American friends. It made for a long day, but we had such a good time with great friends. And we ate more food than I've ever eaten at a Thanksgiving dinner in the US - it was incredible!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Taming of the Shrew

We've had a shrew in our house for the past few days. We know it's been living in our kitchen, and we know that it came in through the hole where the washing machine drains (yes, we bought a washing machine!). However, we've been unable to catch it, even though we've tried, as you can see from the pictures. We didn't really want to kill it (remember how upset Ryan was when I accidentally shut this little shrew's brother in the front door?) so we got a box trap. And we caught it... twice, but it kept escaping. Then Ryan noticed that it was starting to pee and poo in the box trap. Great, so not only did we have a shrew living with us, but it was house trained!?! Well, it finally had enough of us tonight and it started shrieking in the kitchen (probably thought it was dying of starvation or somehow got shocked under the fridge), and so we chased it back out the hole from where it came in. And then we promptly mixed up some plaster of paris and plugged the hole. So, for now little shrew stay outdoors where you belong... until that unlucky day when you meet your demise in the front door.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hollywood meets Bollywood

Twice a year the Student Council at Hebron puts on a dress up event. This semester the theme for the SC Event was Hollywood meets Bollywood (for those of you who don't know, Bollywood is the name of the Indian film industry). Being Americans, we jumped at the chance to show off our Hollywood style - and tried to convince our friends that we usually dress like this when we're in the States (yeah, right). Anyway, enjoy the pictures... Brenna is Maria from The Sound of Music, Lauren is Miley Cyrus from Hannah Montana, Addie is a princess (this is what she always dresses up like), I'm just some movie star with way too much make up, and it wasn't intentional but Ryan ended up looking a lot like Bono from U2.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stop and take time to smell the flowers...

even if it's in a home store and the flowers aren't real - it will make for a really cute picture.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Today I got an urge to make Grandma Ketchum's Lemon Meringue Pie.  This is such a great recipe that we used to have every Thanksgiving.  Grandma would make it the day before, and it would be sitting on the washing machine out of the way of all the other food, along with a couple of pumpkin pies.  I haven't thought about the trouble that Grandma would go through to make pies for us, but I thought about it today because this pie is a PAIN to make!  Well, it's just a lot of work, and I'm not that good at it (as you can see by a sunken crust on the right and the strange meringue shape).  But, to my credit there were two power outages this afternoon that I was also having to accommodate.

But... it did make me think of a couple of funny lemon meringue pie stories that we've had over the years.  Once when Ryan was trying to make this pie he mistook the egg whites that we had separated out for the lemon juice (they do look alike) and added it to the filling instead of saving it for the meringue.  He realized it just as he was pouring it in and the mixture was turning into something resembling scrambled eggs.  We ate the pie anyway, and it was fine.

Another funny pie incident happened when some friends were over and I had a fresh pie shell cooling in the fridge.  We were all standing around ready to assemble the pie and then eat it warm when I accidentally  hit the pie plate against the door of the fridge.  The pie shell fell onto the floor and broke into a bunch of pieces (but luckily not the pie plate)!  We all just looked at the floor and then looked back at each other.  I said, "I just mopped the floor this morning."  So we quickly gathered up the pieces of the crust, put them into a casserole dish, poured in the lemon filling, and put the meringue on top.  After a few minutes in the oven and a few minutes of cooling we ate the pie with four spoons.  That was a great night!  (Thinking of you Derek and Chelsea - sorry that you're sick this week!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rat: Take 2 (or is it 3?)

We caught another rat.  This one has been scavenging through our kitchen ever since we were on vacation this summer.  We think it was also the one that was in our attic, and ate through a couple of toys in Brenna's room.  Seriously - I HATE RATS!  So, now that we've bleached everything in our house and caught the rat, we're resting a bit better.  That is... until the next one shows up.


This is a video that was taken of Addie when we were in Colorado this summer.  We were having dinner at a park with friends, on a very windy evening, when Addie started this "production".  It's pretty funny!

Cross Country 2009

Okay, okay... I know you're all wanting blog updates.  This school year has been absolutely crazy (all 2 months of it), but I do have a few things to post of our life here in India.  The Hebron School cross country race was on Ryan's birthday this year (Sept 5th), and here are a couple of pics so you can see Lauren and Brenna during their race.  I don't know how long the route is, but I think it's over 2 miles up and down hill.  The girls did a great job!  Brenna came in first place for the girls in her age group again (here she is crossing the finish line).  She especially loves running - where did we get that girl?  Lauren had a strong finish with a great attitude.  She is definitely her mother's daughter, and I was so proud of her for persevering through the entire thing.  Way to go!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Could Be More Fun Than... COUSINS?!

Here are some pics of our recent visit to the US.  One of the highlights was getting to be with Abby & Micah and Gregory & William.  What fun!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's been a long, long time...

Hi Everyone!

We're back in India after several weeks of traveling all over the US.  We had a great time with family and friends, but we were so happy to finally get back home!  Over the next couple of weeks I'll be posting pics of our travels, but not today.  All of the boarding students return to school today, and classes start tomorrow.  I've been back in Ooty for over a week, and have been working in the clinic like crazy.  India is in quite a state right now because of influenza, and even though it hasn't reached international news (because it's not new to the rest of the world) it is creating a lot of panic around here.  Needless to say, it makes my job a lot more difficult.

Well, enough about that.  You'll be glad to know that I got all of the rat poo and pee cleaned out of my kitchen cupboards.  And we were able to find places to put all of the stuff that we brought back from the US.  The girls were really happy to be back in India, which we didn't really expect but it has been really great.  

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What was I thinking?

I consider myself to be a pretty discerning person - a fairly self-controlled and rational thirty-one year old woman. However, there is a man here in Ooty that has more influence over me than any person should have over another. He gets me to do things that I know are completely nonsensical, and even if I tell myself, "I'll never do that again" I find myself drawn to do it.

The man happens to be the ingenious owner of "Modern Stores" in Ooty. Take last week for instance... Just because I had not had tortilla chips in soooo long and he happened to put them on the shelf on the exact day that I was craving salsa, I purchased this one bag of Hint of Lime Tostitos for $6... TWICE! And then this week I had a chocolate craving on the exact day that he got in a new shipment of peanut M&M's (I hadn't seen them in India before) so I bought a single serving bag for $2... TWICE!!

I seriously need to reclaim control of my life.

For the record, though ... I spent over $3 a few months ago on a small package of Ritz crackers only to discover that the Monaco biscuits that cost around 75 cents taste almost as good (actually, they taste really good when you eat them with peanut M&M's).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Don't you just hate it when this happens...

Have you ever been trying to find a parking space across from your favorite restaurant, only to discover that only one available has a cow parked in it? NO, BECAUSE THIS ONLY HAPPENS HERE!!! Actually, that's not true - I'm sure it happens other places in the world, just not back in the US.

Well, on Saturday we went to the Hyderbad Biryani House and happened to get a parking spot right next to the cow (as you can see above). Don't be deceived - this picture was not taken out in the country, but rather about 50 feet off of the busiest road in town. Anyway, when we came out from eating we noticed that a car had parked right by the cow. Actually, it's not really a car but a "car-van-can" that we immediately recognized as belonging to our friends, the Palms (they had just gone into a coffee shop next door). As we were getting into our car we noticed that the cow was not sitting down anymore, but had stood up and was resting it's "behind" on the passenger door of the "car-van-can". By this time it had started raining (not a slight drizzle, but a good monsoon shower), so we did what any good friends would do and took a picture of the cow so we could show it to the Palms later in the evening when they came over for dinner!

What a luxurious life...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I am not making this up...

On Friday night when I was walking home from the school clinic I heard a mouse running through the flower bed by our front door. When I got to the door I shook one of the plants to scare the mouse away since I knew from experience that it would try to run inside once the door opened (this has happened once or twice before, and we managed to catch it and put it back outside). So, since I wasn't sure if I had scared it off or not I opened the door really fast, got inside the house, and shut the door - almost all the way. I would have shut it all the way, except that THE MOUSE WAS IN THE DOOR! I SHUT A MOUSE IN THE DOOR! Well, actually I think it was a shrew, but that isn't the point!

Anyway, I was pretty traumatized by the whole thing, and yelled to Ryan to come and see what I had done. That was a bad idea because what I didn't know was that earlier in the evening Ryan and Addie had been watching it outside running through the flowers. Evidently they had made friends with it, and the fact that I killed it made him a little bit upset. So, needless to say I had to clean up the mess by myself (and it was messy).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Addie doesn't have a bed...

I think I've mentioned this before, but Addie sleeps on the floor. I know several of you will have problems with this (Virginia), but it really is the best thing for her. When we moved to India we tried to get Addie to sleep in the little room next to ours without any luck. Since it was monsoon season the room was cold and slightly damp, and she wasn't interested in it after spending the first two years of her life in a porta-crib next to our bed.

So, we put her little bed at the end of ours, and it worked out fine until we went in one night and couldn't find her anywhere. She was under the bed - fast asleep. Now this wouldn't bother us if we lived in a warm, carpeted house... but we don't! Our house has cement brick floors that are cold and hard and cannot be fixed by a throw rug. After a few nights of moving Addie up to her bed after she'd fallen asleep we decided on a great plan - we put her mattress under her bed. This worked for a few nights except when she would sit up suddenly, hit her head on the wooden frame, and start crying in the middle of the night.

So, we took out the bed frame and just left the mattress on the floor which is still there to this day. However, there are still many times when we still can't find her when we go to bed at night. One night I noticed that she had cleared off the bottom shelf in my closet and had fallen asleep in there (too bad our camera was broken). And several nights we've found her under our bed.

See if you can spot Addie in this first picture... then look at the other two to see if you were right!

ps. yes, there is another small mattress under our bed. We thought it would be good for Addie if she happened to roll off of her bed, but most times she just rolls onto the floor.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beautiful Skies

There several things about Ooty that we love - one of them is the weather. While the rest of India is sweltering and the US is barely thawing out, we have been enjoying beautiful weather since last September! Today was another beautiful day. Not too hot or too cool, light rain in the afternoon, and a gorgeous sunset! Here are some pics that Ryan took tonight from just outside our front door. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Easter Sunday

On Sunday we went to church, and then over to the Palm's house for lunch. The church had been decorated with strings of jasmine flowers - it smelled lovely! After church we had a great afternoon with four other families and some friends from Ooty. The children enjoyed hunting Easter eggs, and then put on a Variety Show of dances, jokes, advertisements, and wrestling - it was a huge hit! We went home so thankful for good friends!

Easter Weekend

The week before Easter this year was the last week of the term here at Hebron. The week was very busy! School ended on Thursday and we had some friends visiting from Bangalore for the Easter weekend. The kids had a great time coloring hard-boiled eggs (well, at least most of them were hard boiled - that's the reality of living at a high altitude).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jr School Open House

Junior School had an open house yesterday, and we had a chance to visit Lauren and Brenna's classrooms to see what they've been working on for the past term. Brenna's class has been studying the Romans (which explains her costume), and Lauren's class has been studying the Ancient Greeks. Lauren's class also has been studying animals and their habitats - so here's a picture of the habitat that she and her friend Leah made.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Swimming Gala

This week is Parents Week at Hebron, so we are busy, busy, busy! It's great to meet so many parents from all over the world, working and ministering all over Asia. Today's big event was the Swimming Gala. Lauren and Brenna had a great time, and Brenna even won a gold medal!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

SC Event - Metropolis

Last night was so much fun! Games, food, dancing, singing, and dress up - all around the theme "Metropolis". Here is a picture of Addie (ballerina) and her little friend Tavi (pigeon). Lauren just dressed up for her dance, and Brenna was a chimney sweeper. Ryan played in a staff brass quintet, so I'll try to post that video soon - they did great! I was "on duty" so I didn't dress up. Luckily, I didn't get called away from the event, and I was able to chase everyone around with the camera and even got to visit with a few friends.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

You Don't Dance?

Here is Lauren and her three friends (Abbi, Leah, and Mikayla) performing a dance at tonight's Student Council event. They were great! In case you can't tell, Lauren is wearing the pink shirt. All of these girls have the same color hair, are about the same size, and are all wearing Lauren's clothes - so they all probably look a little bit familiar!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Creativity Day

The theme for Creativity Day was "In the Jungle". There were special activities for Junior School (equivalent of Elementary School), and all of the children got to ditch their uniforms and dress up. Ryan took the girls to the "props cupboard" here at Hebron, and they came out with some pretty cute outfits. Brenna was an explorer - complete with a Safari hat and an old camera. Lauren was a bird of paradise. And Addie was a jungle mouse - not sure if there are really mice in the jungle, but she was really cute! For some reason we didn't get a picture of Brenna, so the last one is Lauren and her friend Emma (the bird watcher).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Edible Underwear

Now, before you get offended by the title of my note, let me tell you a little story...

For those of you who don't know, Addie has been potty training for the past few weeks. One of the conditions for her to wear her birthday crown was that she would be using the toilet and wearing underpants every day. She has been doing great, but for some reason we didn't plan ahead and bring her any underpants in her size when we moved to India. Strangely enough, undies in India are not commonly used by children so they are difficult to find and can be expensive. So, I asked my mom to send some new undies in the mail.

Also in this package my parents included a large canister of Gatorade, ant traps, a cake mix from her friend Virginia (thank you!), our new camera (since Addie broke our last one), 3 packs of Skittles, two ink cartridges for our printer, lots of undies for Lauren, Brenna, and Addie (since they've all been sharing the same 10 pairs)... and did I mention GATORADE?

Anyway, when the package arrived there was Gatorade powder leaking out of the corner, and when Ryan and the girls opened it up this is what they found...

Trying to make the package more fun, my mom had hidden underwear throughout the package. So, the mess was even bigger than first thought! Luckily everything in the package was unharmed - except for a few pairs of undies that are now tinted orange.

Here's one last photo for you to enjoy - it's Addie licking Gatorade powder off of her new undies!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our ICM family

This post is especially for our family from Intercultural Ministries in Nampa. Last night one of the Hebron students came to our house. His mother is Korean and his dad is Indian. We started talking about Korean food and language, and he asked why we felt such a connection to Korean culture. So we began to tell him about worship, eating together, Korean School for the girls, Korean camp in the summer...wonderful memories.

Today he came back to our house to give us something from his mom (he lives off campus with his parents). It was some dried squid and a plate of kim bap! So as I sit here writing this post I am eating Korean food and thinking of all of our friends at ICM that are demonstrating Christian unity in cultural diversity.

You are an inspiration to us, and we look forward to the day that we will see you again!