Category Archives: Life

First Trip to India

For the second half of February, one week of February break and one week of school, we took the kids and went to India.  Nithin’s parents joined us for the trip and then stayed for an additional month.  This was our first trip to India and so eye opening.  Munchkin is 9 and Pearl is 5 for our trip.  All of our pictures taking by all members of our family are here: https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ao_EFQ4GnUQtg9pIUlQEUMM5GCozEA  Here is an overview of our trip…

The day before our trip I went to the urgent care doctor because I thought I was getting the flu.  It turns out I had a stomach bug before our trip.

February 16th we started off on our trip in the afternoon on a 16 hour flight to Dubai.  We then had a 3 hour flight to Dehli.  The entertainment system on the flight was a lifesaver.  The kids loved watching movies for so many hours.  Pearl required laying down horizontally on the flight, which was tough.  So her sleeping was pretty sporadic, waking up every few minutes to cry.  So we didn’t get much sleep.  We landed in Delhi in the late evening and spent a while to get to the hotel because the streets were closed a few feet in front of us for political dignitaries to pass.  We got to our hotel pretty late at night, ordered room service and went to bed.

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On our Day 2, or first full day in Delhi, we met our driver Yeshpal.  Yeshpal was with us for over a week of our trip.  Yeshpal brought us to Old Delhi.  It was pretty jarring having our first experience in India being the most congested and unorganized place.  There were people everywhere.  I like this picture because it was so surprising how the electricity wasn’t organized.

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We parked on the side of the road with other busses and walked up this pyramid of stairs to the oldest mosque.  It was pretty large and very pretty.  This was our first experience with entry fees.  I assumed they say X and you pay it.  So I stepped up and paid the fee for everyone.  At future sites my mother-in-law handled these things.  There was a mistake with our guide and they didn’t show up the first day.  Yeshpal was to the rescue, he was very sweet and took care of us.

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We went to another part of Old Delhi and got two rickshaw’s to take us to the Red Fort.

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We went our for lunch at a very American restaurant above a Lexus dealership.  For the afternoon we had had enough of crowds of people so we went to the national museum.  The museum had a lot of great art and artifacts.  It was pretty interesting how for the national museum you could see how there were not alarms on things and the cases that housed the artifacts needed repair.

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At the end of the day we were exhausted, but that didn’t stop the kids from wanting to go to the rooftop pool of the hotel.

On Day 3, we met our guide at the Gate of India and headed to a famous Hindu temple, Birla Mandir TempleWhen you go there is an entrance for foreigners which has a guard to watch your shoes and lockers for your valuables.  For normal people there are shelves for your shoes on the street.  It was pretty interesting and I learned more about the Hindu religion.  We learned about some of the rituals that happen at the temple and how the Hindu’s give respect to the other religions based off of Hinduism.  We had a blessing and walked around to see much of the temple.  This temple is one which Gandhi visited.

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Later in the morning we went to Raj Ghat.  This is a memorial park for Gandhi.  They have some really nice designs in flowers with a beautiful memorial.

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We went back to the hotel for lunch and went to outside of Delhi to the architectural park, Qutab Minar.  This is an park that a mungal emperor built large monuments to his achievements.  Many of the architecture pieces were from Hindu temples and Islamic.

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On Day 4, we went to the Gandhi museum.  When we got there a bunch of school kids were waiting outside.  They were fascinated by us.  The Gandhi museum was very moving to see where he stayed and artifacts.  It was so minimal.  You can see his spinning wheel.  In the gift shop they sold clothe that were hand spun and woven, Nithin and his dad got a shirt.  This is the place where Gandhi was shot.

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After we went to the craft museum.  They had a special museum with lots of fabric, buildings, and paintings.  Here are some of my favorites.

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On Day 5 we headed out of Delhi to Agra.  It was about 5 hours for 144 miles.  We only stopped quickly at one rest stop where we saw our first Starbucks.  There was a lot of farming and animals along the way.  We saw a ton of round patties which ended up being poo which is shaped and left to dry to be used as fuel later.

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Our hotel in Agra was very nice.  They had a little tower so you could see the Taj Mahal from the hotel.  We went there for sunset but didn’t see much other than grey from the smog.  Both Dehli and Agra had horrible smog.  Agra as we were driving in looked disorganized and poor.

On Day 6 we went to the Taj Mahal first thing in the morning to miss the crowds.

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In the afternoon we went to the red fort in Agra.  It was huge, gorgeous and very different.  There was so many different nooks and crannies there.  From the fort you can see the Taj Mahal.  This was Munchkin’s very favorite place the whole trip until he went to Aja’s college in Mumbai.

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On Day 7 we drove from Agra to Jaipur.  This was an all day drive, about 8 hours.  On this drive this highway had one lane, animals and speed bumps.

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We stopped once and then stopped to see this “well”.  I guess every temple has a well to give water.  This one is amazing.  It is called Chand Baori and I guess it was in some Batman movie or something.

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We got to our hotel in time to have dinner and enjoy the local show with dancers and musician.  The musician let R play his instrument which was super cool.  Pearl and I had some mehndi done too.

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On Day 8, our first in Jaipur, we started off at the Red Fort.  Nithin and Munchkin rode up to the top of the hill on an elephant.  The rest of us took a jeep up to the top.  Believe it or not the elephant beat us to the top by about 20 minutes.  The fort and its grounds were amazing.  It was a bit smaller than the fort in Agra though.

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We drove back through Jaipur and stopped at the floating palace.  It is supposedly abandoned.  Jaipur is a beautiful city that is on the smaller side and known for their crafts.

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We went out to eat for lunch and had a pretty horrible lunch.  We were all tired and decided to hit a government craft shop (4 stories of different crafts) and then go back to the hotel.

On Day 9 we went to Jantar Mantar which is an astrological park with large monuments.  This was a place that Nithin remembered from his childhood fondly.  Hundreds of years ago this is how they told the day and time.

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We then walked across the street to go to the City Palace Museum.  The flag of the maharaja of Jaipur is a beautiful stripe.  In addition to having the museum there the maharaja still lives there.  At the museum there was a whole building of crafters who are selected to sell at the palace.

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After the palace we went out to lunch and then went to a clothing store that showed the kids how they block print.  Jaipur is known for their fabric and block printing.  It was so cool to see the natural ink change when wet for colors.  Each of us chose fabric in the store to have outfits made for us.  Our measurements were taken so the outfits fit us perfectly.  One of the stores workers came to our hotel that night around 8pm with our completed outfits.  It was neat to design your own clothes.  The kids enjoyed it.

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We also went to the jewelry store.  We walked up and there were men with huge raw stones polishing them.  Jaipur is also known for their silver and gem stones.  The kids got necklaces and so did I.

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We went to the hotels performance with local dancers at night.  They had very different moves and it was pretty special how they turned and didn’t spot themselves.  Pearl was mesmerized by them.  When they asked for dancing volunteers she got right up and joined them for this dance with sticks.

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This was our last day with our driver Yespaul.  He was a really awesome sweet man who made our trip.  He really took care of us.

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On Day 10 we went shopping in the bazars.  We went pretty early so there wasn’t many crowds.  Each shop had similar items.  I got a bunch of block prints and some other random things.  We only spent about an hour there.  It was pretty overwhelming to have people coming at you and trying to get you to do things for over an hour.  To get back to the van we fit 6 people in a 4 person rickshaw.  Pretty crazy.

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After the bazar we went to have an elephant experience for Munchkin.  Pearl didn’t want to participate until it came time to paint and feed the elephant.  Munchkin was totally into it.  Aja was first up to want to go on the elephant ride and Bapuma just had to feed the elephants.  Munchkin rode the elephant, painted it, fed it, and climbed up its trunk.

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On Day 10 we flew from Jaipur to Mumbai.  The airline all the flight attendants had this button.

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When we got to Mumbai we went to our hotel in old Mumbai.  We rested for a little bit and then met our tour guide to go to the gate of India.  It was one of the more simple structures we saw since it was more based on English architecture.

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After the gate of India we went the Prince of Wales Museum which was pretty large.  It was actually a 90 degree day and the museum had no air conditioning.  So we probably didn’t spend as long in it as we would have.

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On day 11 we covered the rest of Mumbai spots.  We Stopped off at the beach and went to this jetty that Aja remembered from his childhood.  There was so much smog that the skyline was hazy.

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Then we hit the hanging garden.  It gave a nice view of Mumbai.  Nithin’s family brought his sister there to see the topiaries when she was little.

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We walked across the street to this park for kids.  Munchkin went up the shoe.

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We went to Gandhi’s house in Mumbai.  This is where he spent many years, but he died in Delhi.  The Delhi museum was very similar but nicer.

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The public washes were pretty to see all the laundry, but kinda depressing to see this work passed down through family members.

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Victoria station is an architectural beauty.

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To end the morning we went to Aja’s college where he got his Phd in Physics.  Munchkin loved it and was one of his favorite stops.

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In the early evening we had a family gathering at the hotel.  It was really lovely to meet a bunch of the family.  They were all such nice people, it was just a great time.  Nithin’s cousin had twin boys that were Munchkin’s age.  It was cute to see the kids talk about their schools.

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Our last day in India, day 13 was Holi.  The night before there are bonfires all over Mumbai.  The day of Holi people go and throw colors at other people.  We learned that you can’t always trust what is thrown in generally which is why we were told to mostly stay in the car while we drove around.  Folks who are more well to do have Holi parties where they throw colors at the party.  The whole town is closed down.  So we spent the morning driving around and seeing Holi in the streets and driving Mumbai with no traffic.  In the afternoon we relaxed and went to the hotel pool.

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Day 14 we headed home.  It was an all day flight through Dubai.  Of course I found a Starbucks at the airport

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We got home and spent Sunday recovering.  We were all back to work and school on Monday.  The jet lag was really tough for the first week.  A week later it was daylight savings to put the clock ahead.  This was the first time I was ever happy to loose an hour.  Daylight savings helped us a lot.

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Early February

Pearls class had a Pagent at school which was themed as a raninbow.  The kids sang songs related to rainbows. They were so cute.  Pearl kept looking at the little girl next to her.  Turns out Pearl and the other little girl are the strong personalities in the class.

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Our cat has an obsession with the bathroom.  We frequently find him in the bathroom sink.

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The other place we find the cat recently is in a doll tent.  We can’t get him out.

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Munchkin had one of his last basketball games this season.  He is making more of an effort to get the ball which is great.  He is one of the tallest kids on the court and when he moves and is a little aggressive to get the ball he does quite well.

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Pearl went to a birthday party at the Ladies Club.  They did their hair, nails and had a dress-up party along with a cat walk.  Pearl LOVED it.  It was a really nice party.

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Pearl is starting to dress herself.  We pick out her clothes and she does the dressing.  This morning she decided to do her own hair.  Yes, she went to school like this.

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Right after Valentine’s Day was the school science fair.  Munchkin and his friends did a project on rocket fins and which would go highest.  We printed the fins on our 3D printer and went to a football field to launch the rockets.  Munchkin’s team won the 4th grade science fair.  Two years in a row they won.

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Happy 5th Birthday to our Girl

The last weekend of January it was all about Pearl and her birthday.  On Saturday we gave her an early birthday present, her American Girl Doll.  You can see she loved it.  She didn’t believe that mom would come through for her and told me so daily.

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Sunday we spent the day at the American Girl Doll store.  Pearl got to buy some new things, we went to the salon to get her doll and Pearl’s hair done and then do a birthday lunch.  Pearl has wanted the heart shape braid for about 6 months.  She got it for her and her doll.  She loved it.  We had a special lunch in the café that Pearl thought was so nice that the American Girl Doll people did for her.  She and the dolls got goodie bags.  Grandma took Munchkin’s crown and wore it throughout lunch.  Pearl LOVED IT.

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For Pearls actual birthday on Monday she went to school where we read and the kids all got Paw Patrol or Barbie cupcakes.

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For Pearls birthday dinner she wanted to go to a fancy restaurant that served hot dogs.  Because we couldn’t find a restaurant like that we talked her into having a birthday dinner at home.  I made her a Barbie cake for her birthday.

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Pearls yearly doctor appointment shows she is 40 lbs and 44.5 inches.  She is 90% for height and 50% for weight.

Over the past year Pearl has tried soccer, continues at her gymnastics and art.  She has bloomed as a little girl by dressing herself and being more vocal and independent.  She is very into her hair and doing her hair.  She loves to have her hair braided.  She loves her big brother so much and listens to everything he says.

January

We started off January with below freezing temperatures.  We still went into the city to the Downton exhibit and out to lunch since Grandma and Grandpa were around so we had free baby sitting.  It was a really beautiful exhibit that had the rooms in addition to costumes.  We went out to lunch and then headed home, that was as much cold as we could handle.

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Basketball season has begun.  We have a game every weekend.  Munchkin is by far the tallest kid on his team by maybe 9 inches.  We had another snow which the kids love.

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For Martin Luther Day weekend we had normal activities of basketball and dressing up like a pirate princess.  Sunday I headed into the city to go to Vogue Knitting.  I took a class with Tin Can Knits on designing a sweater and Veera on stripes.  They were great.  I got some inspiration from it.

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Our cat Harry Potter likes the Barbie dream house.

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The third weekend of January our girl had a PJ party for one of her friends since she was a baby.  She baked and ate breakfast.

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Saturday afternoon we went to our first real FLL qualifier.  The boys did well.  They won best research award, but didn’t move on to the finals.  They are pretty impressive presenters.

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We went and registered Pearl for Kindergarten.  She was such a big girl going off to talk with the teacher on her own.

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We had another basketball game.  Munchkin is getting better at being aggressive about blocking and getting the ball as the season went on.

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December

The first weekend of December Munchkin’s FLL (First Lego League) team had a practice tournament so they could learn what to do.  This is our first year in this league.  Last year we were in the Junior league that was a lot different.  The practice tournament was a great experience for the boys.  All the kids got a chance at the table.  They executed the challenge they had completed well.  It was a good learning experience for them.  They got a lot of complements on their blue jumpsuits and hats.

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We did errands and took the kids to Millridge village because they had holiday activities.  Pearl was very unhappy about being anywhere close to Santa.

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We went to our town tree lighting.  Pearl liked to sit back and watch, but wanted nothing to do with Santa.  Munchkin didn’t want to go because he had basketball practice.  We even told him we would take him a couple minutes late and he still insisted that basketball was more important.

Town Tree Lighting

The second weekend of December it snowed a little bit.  The kids loved to play.  We went to the Charlie Brown’s Christmas play which was cute.  Pearl asked to leave the whole time.  She did sit through it.

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Munchkin had his first basketball game of the season.  He is by far the tallest on his team.

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On the third Sunday of the month we went to see Santa at Macy’s in NYC.  Santa had Nithin to an elfie/selfie.  This year both kids were excited to go.  Pearl was horrible to every other Santa, but wanted to visit this one.  She wasn’t too into going through the North Pole or doing much, but she did want Santa to get her letter and she was happy to talk to him.  She told Santa that she wanted Barbie, not a Barbie Dream house.  She didn’t convey her expensive taste, so Santa asks if there is something more she would like.  Both kids say no and then Santa says he will bring them something extra special in addition to their asks.  Munchkin asked for an O-gauge train.  In his letter he very nicely asked for his sister’s gift and his.  He is a good boy to her.

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After Santa we went and looked at the windows and then headed to Bryant park to do the holiday market.

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Munchkin wanted to do hibachi for his reward for a great report card.  Pearl was pretty good at hibachi this time.

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Princess of the Cats

The last week of school Pearl had a holiday show at school.  She was a great singer.

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Munchkin had a holiday concert where he played violin.  He got dressed up for two days of concerts.  One of his ties was from Harry Potter’s house.

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Before Christmas we took the kids to the holiday light show at the beach.  Pearl fell asleep, but woke up enough when we got there.  They got to see Santa one last time too.

 

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Santa came by the day before Christmas Eve on the fire truck and gave out popcorn balls.  Pearl did not want to go out to see at all.  She stayed in and Munchkin and Nithin got her a popcorn ball too.

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On Christmas eve Pearl wasn’t feeling great and wouldn’t eat dinner so she took a nap.  Nithin stayed home with her and Munchkin and I went to church.  While we were at church Pearl woke up complaining of an ear infection.  Nithin quickly took her to a medical station that was still open and was closing within the hour.  She had an ear infection.  He had to go to the only pharmacy in the area that was open on Christmas eve.  Christmas Eve Church

We took our traditional family PJ picture in the morning.  For our Christmas card Nithin happened to get a picture of Harry with a Santa hat on.

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For Christmas morning this is what the kids woke to.  Pearl was so happy to get her Barbie Dream House and Munchkin was very happy for his train and nerf guns.  Here are some pics of the kids on Christmas morning.

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The day after Christmas we went to the infectious disease doctor to get ready for India.  Grandma and Grandpa came after Christmas.  Grandpa was here for his birthday.  Pearl and I made him a donut cake and we took him out to hibachi.  We got the chef to give Grandpa a LOT of sake, he didn’t drive home.  Pearl very clearly told Grandpa to not order dessert because he had cake at home.

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For Grandma and Grandpa’s Christmas present we took them to the aquarium and they went behind the scenes for a special interaction with the penguins.  They said it was pretty cool because there were so few people, only 7.

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Nithin and I went furniture shopping one afternoon/evening.  I was on the hunt for a couch to replace our living room one.  For New Years eve I pulled out the Julia Child Beef recipe that is to die for.  We also got a clock cake for the occasion.  The black frosting on the cake blackened the kids mouth.

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Happy 2017!!!!  Here was our families Christmas card shoot on the beach.  I love the beach and water.

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November

The first weekend of November we had a super cold snap.  Of course that was the time that worked to take our family picture for our Christmas card.  We talked Pearl into going to get her haircut.  We said she could get a braid and she was into going.  She really didn’t want to get her hair cut before that.

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We got the kids these matching PJs that are fair isle Star Wars themed.  They loved them.  Star Wars Jammies

The second weekend of November we went to the city and went to the Radio City Rocketts.  This was Pearl’s first time and Munchkin’s second.  We took grandma and grandpa with us.  The kids loved it.  Pearl’s favorite part was the many Santa Claus’ dancing.

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Pearl had a school Thanksgiving that we were invited to.  They sang some cute songs and the kids at a Thanksgiving dinner.  Pearl only ate the turkey.

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For Thanksgiving we went up to Massachusetts to Nithin’s sister family.  The kids love their cousins and had a nice time.  Pearl was in heaven with all the Barbie’s.  Thanksgiving day was one of our cousins 18th birthday.

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The day after Thanksgiving we went to Plimouth to have a second Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims.  We got to Plimouth Plantation early and visited the gift shop and the indian village.  Then we went to a special Thanksgivng dinner.

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At the Thanksgiving dinner they explained about the time and first thanksgiving and when it was made a national holiday (during Lincoln).  It was really interesting.  We had a lovely traditional dinner from the first national holiday.

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After dinner we decided to go into Plymouth town.  The Mayflower was not there, but in Mystic being repaired.

Plymouth Rock

Saturday we went to the Plymouth Museum where the kids were able to touch a piece of Plymouth Rock.

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We went to the gristmill and the Pilgrim monument.

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In the afternoon we met our college friends and their kids at Plymouth Plantation.  Munchkin and one of their boys joined the militia.  They had a group of people marching all over the village.

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It was a really special time to go to Plymouth for Thanksgiving.  We learned a lot and had a great time with family and friends.

October

In October Munchkin had two more sailing lessons before the sailing school closed down.

Sailing Oct 7Sailing Oct 7 2

Our town had a harvest festival.  Pearl loved to color a pumpkin.

Town Harvestfest

The first full weekend of Oct. Nithin took Munchkin to ComicCon in NYC and I took Pearl to the American Girl Doll store.  We had her Wellie Wisher’s hair done and went to lunch.  Pearl was hoping to get her heart shaped braid, but they can’t do that on the smaller Wellie Wisher, only on the American Girl Doll.

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The kids had election day off and were taken out to lunch at their favorite diner.

Diner

The second weekend of Oct.  we went and picked up a new kitten on Long Island.  The kids chose the name of Harry Potter.  We waited a couple of weeks after Charlie and we could see we had a loss in our family.  So I reached out to the same breeder a friend used and she had one more cat left from a litter.  It just felt meant to be.  So we now have a Harry Potter in our house.  His first day home he wouldn’t leave the bathroom.  He didn’t emerge until day 2 and wasn’t too social until later day 3 or 4.  He is a very friendly kitten.  He turns out to have an obsession with water.  He will sit in the sink and loves to play in the toilet.  We have had to learn to close the toilet lid.

Harry3Harry2Harry

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The third weekend in Oct. is Rhinebeck.  This year we went on Sunday and met a Squam friend from New Hampshire there.  It was a really nice day catching up and hanging out.  What great ladies.

Rhinebeck Friends

Pearl loves Harry.

W and Harry

More soccer.  Pearl started participating voluntarily at the very end of the season.

Soccer Oct 28 2Soccer Oct 28

The last weekend in Oct.  I took a yarn dying class at a local yarn store with some friends.  It was great fun and inspirational.

Dying Class3Dying Class2Dying Class

On the last Sunday of Oct. we carved our pumpkin and saw Munchkin’s art displayed at the library.

Pumpkin CarvingR Art at Library2R Art at Library

We also went to a local haunted house at a mansion with some friends.  It was pretty cool, but I am never going in that basement again.  It was pretty scary and this really big clown followed me screaming my name.  Nithin was no help.

Haunted House2Haunted House

For Halloween, Pearl had a parade at school.  She loved being Totoro.

School Halloween Parade4School Halloween Parade3School Halloween Parade2School Halloween Parade

The kids went out trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.  Munchkin and Nithin made that proton pack.  Munchkin was a Ghostbuster and Pearl was Totoro.

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