Monday, January 19, 2015

Baby BOY!

In India it's illegal to find out the gender of a baby before birth, so we had to wait till we got to America to have an ultrasound to find out. It was such suspense!

Finally on my birthday, we got to go to the doctor and have the sonogram. Thankfully, baby didn't keep us in suspense any longer to find out. It was obviously a BOY!!

I was shocked beyond shocked. I would have sworn we were having another girl, because the pregnancy was sooooo similar to my pregnancy with Layla vs. being pregnant with Landon. He's just a sneaky little guy I guess :)  I'm super glad we found out though so I didn't continue on being convinced it was a girl...that would have been REALLY shocking in the delivery room!

Here's the photo gender announcement that we sent out to our family and friends:

 We should have put a question mark between the third set of blue and pink sugar packets in the top picture, because apparently it confused some people thinking we were having twins or something. NOT!
Actually, the picture is from a funny origin...I wanted to create some sort of fun announcement, but we had driven for the day to Manhattan to see the doctor, so we were getting texts from family like crazy anxious to know if it was a boy or a girl, because they knew we were having the ultrasound. However, I was also having to do my glucose test that day, which meant I hadn't eaten all night and was miserably hungry. So we still had to wait at the doctor's office for about an hour even after the ultrasound to finish out the glucose test. In that time Kyle and I were brainstorming ideas of pictures we could create with balloons, or outfits, etc. but after we were done at the doctor, my first priority was FOOD. Did I also mention it was my birthday? So we went to my favorite breakfast restaurant to eat brunch as soon as we were finished at the doctor's office, and decided we wanted to do something quickly to respond to our impatient curious family members. We were sitting there sipping coffee, Kyle pulled out the pink and blue sugar packets, and we went from there :)

So excited to meet this sweet little boy in just a few weeks!

December in Review

December was a whirlwind to say the least! We got lots of good time to see family, catch up with some friends and coworkers, and enjoy being in America! 
After we landed the night of December 3, we stayed in KC with Kyle's family for a little over a week. Then we went to Wichita to see my family, and the kids and I stayed there for a week while Kyle flew down to Texas for a business trip. Then it was back to KC for the few days leading up to Christmas with Kyle's family, back to Wichita the day after Christmas to celebrate with my family, and then the kids and I stayed in Wichita till I left on the 1st to go to a conference in Oklahoma - Kyle had left on the 29th to go help with the planning and preparations for it. The kids stayed with my parents during the conference and had a great time being spoiled by Grandpa and Grandma :)

Here are LOTS of pictures!
Playing with toys the night we got back in their new footie jammies!

 My parents stayed in KC overnight with my sister and came over to hang out the day after we landed. They brought Lamars donuts, and it.was.HEAVEN. The kids were excited too :)  I think Layla ate about 6 donut holes in a minute flat.

Landon and Layla were pumped that they were actually allowed to touch the cat.

Playing outside with cousin Faith

Layla and my sister!

 We got to help decorate the Christmas tree at Kyle's parents' house, and that was SUCH a fun time. I love Christmas and putting up decorations so much.

The two best presents!

On the drive from KC to Wichita (about 3 hours), it was the kids' first road trip since being back, and they loved it. Landon just stared out the window for the first hour observing everything. 
 Layla fell asleep in about ten minutes.

 Landon eventually followed suit.
We stopped halfway so I could walk around, we all could use the bathroom, and we could eat some Dunkin' Donuts :)

 We made it to Wichita! The kids were reunited with the Little People Zoo they had before we left for India. 
Landon has been obsessed with football since we got back. 

 More donuts :) My dad takes them with him to Lamars to pick up the donuts, which they affectionately "going donut shopping." 

 It snowed while we were in Wichita! The kids and I were very excited. Unfortunately, Layla, and I were all really sick the whole week we were in Wichita, so we didn't get to go play in it. 

We headed back to KC for Christmas!
 A couple of days before Christmas we went to this arcade/playplace with all the cousins. Layla and Landon had the time of their life. 

Papa & Nana with all the cousins on Christmas Eve

 Opening presents Christmas Eve night. 
Princess Layla :)

The best family picture we could get 

The day after Christmas we drove to Wichita to have Christmas #2 with my family. 

 The kids got some fun toys, clothes, and money to go do fun things while we're in America this spring.

 Layla relaxing and having fun at Grandpa and Grandma's. 

Visiting Grandpa at work!

Playing with his new remote control car that my cousin and his wife got Landon.
It was a great month, and we're looking forward to the remainder of our time in Kansas for a few months!

Flying Home

I have been a terrible blogger. Sorry!!!
It's because I've been catching up with family and friends in person though! We're back in America!
Here's a rundown of our journey home to America. 

We left India on December 3rd along with one of our teammates, Jessie. She was a lifesaver helping us with the kids on the flights home! We flew on Qatar Airways, and overall I was very happy with them! The stewardesses looooooved Layla (who doesn't) so she got lots of ice cream :) I was about 26 weeks pregnant at the time, and although I was definitely uncomfortable (esp on the 15 hour flight) it wasn't complete misery. I definitely got up and walked around a lot more than I typically do on flights. Still, I was REALLY happy when it was over.
 Gearing up for the first flight...Our first flight to Doha, Qatar didn't have the individual video screens in the seats....not cool for a 5 hour flight with young kids! Thankfully, it was the middle of the night, so Landon and Layla slept a decent amount, and then we had a phone full of games and the iPad for them to play with.

 Watching movies. Thank goodness for the built in movie screens on our 15 hour flight from Doha to Chicago! 
Again, the kids slept a decent amount, and considering they were stuck in a seat on an airplane for 15 hours solid, they did really well not melting down or freaking out. 
 As our plane was descending to land in Chicago, we hit a fair amount of turbulence, which unfortunately made both of the kids upset to their stomachs, which unfortunately resulted in BOTH of them throwing up in final five minutes of the flight. Layla barely threw up; I was able to catch most of it in my hand, but Landon had just downed a whole glass of juice, and the whole thing came back up like a volcano. Thankfully, it was just watery juice, and thankfully, it was in the last 5 minutes of the flight. But yuck. Hence the change of clothes in the below picture in the Chicago airport:
Our flight into Chicago was running behind + we had to go through customs + we had to pick up our 8 bags (plus Jessie's 2) + we had to recheck said bags + we had a short layover = we missed our flight to Kansas City. I cried. Thankfully, they had another flight leaving just 2 hours later, so we were able to get on that flight and still made it home to our families that night. Thank goodness! I think I would have melted down completely if we had to spend the night in Chicago after being so anxious to see our families! With our extra time in the airport (really we only had about an hour and a half by the time we got our bags checked and checked in), we ate McDonald's hamburgers and walked around to look at all the Christmas decorations - that made Landon and Layla SO excited!

We eventually made it to KC with ALL of our luggage, except our 2 umbrella strollers that were lost somewhere along the way. It was such a thrill to see our families waiting there for us, and so surreal to be back in America. It was weird driving home to Kyle's parents' house, in our minivan, on the right side of the road, with wide open spaces all around. And semi-trucks everywhere...I had forgotten about semis! 

I don't have any pictures on my phone from our reunion in the airport with our families, because everyone else has them on their phones, but it was so special! The cold weather was definitely a shock...I walked out of the airport terminal to the car carrying Layla (who threw a FIT in the airport about having to put on a jacket), and she looked at me confused and concerned and said, "It's too hot, Mom!" Ha ha, she didn't even know the word for cold, but she knew it didn't feel right! She now knows that it's  "so cold." :)

So that was our journey home! Next...December.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our 2nd Thanksgiving in India

We've had a fun week preparing for and celebrating Thanksgiving with our team here! 
With 18 of us here, plus 2 friends visiting from America, plus 1 other friend who lives here in the city, we had 21 adults + 2 children to feed! Good thing there were LOTS of girls to divide and conquer the cooking! I honestly think cooking was less stressful for me this year even than last year when we were only cooking for 11, because I was responsible for WAY fewer things!

We put the boys in charge of picking up the rotisserie chickens and bringing the pop :)

It was a feast to be sure...maybe a little overboard, but we want Thanksgiving to feel special and like home for everyone, so we make any and all dishes that any person from our team wants to have in order for it to really feel like traditional Thanksgiving. That took some planning ahead and we had some Thanksgiving food items (think french onions for green bean casserole or stuffing mixes or turkey gravy packets) sent over in a suitcase back in June. When you have 18 different people with different family traditions, it makes for a lot of food! Just for fun, here was our menu this year:

Rotisserie Chicken (no messing with expensive, low quality turkey for us)
Mashed potatoes
Creamed corn
Cheesy potato casserole
Green bean casserole
Bacon wrapped green bean bundles
Sweet potato casserole
Cheesy broccoli and rice casserole
Crescent rolls
Zwiebach (another kind of special roll)
Veggie tray
Fruit salad
Deviled eggs
Pumpkin pie
Apple tarts
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
Cake and Oreo balls
Strawberry jello pretzel salad
Apple cider
Homemade peppermint mochas
Coffee :)

I told you it was a feast! In our defense, between Thanksgiving day and the day after Thanksgiving, we ate almost all of the leftovers...ironically we have the most of the chicken still leftover :)

The food was delicious, and it was such a fun time to just hang out with our India family.
Of course we missed our families back home, but that was made easier by the fact that we'll see them in less than a week when we go back to America for a few months! (4 days left on the countdown!)

We ate, talked, laughed, played games, ate again, watched Christmas movies, and just had a great time together. And of course we spent the whole day after Thanksgiving together as well, playing outside, eating leftovers, hanging out, and watching the movie Million Dollar Arm together. Emphasis on TOGETHER - I'm so grateful to have so many people here to be together with!
I'm really thankful for this crew!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2nd Annual Fall Festival

I love fall. It's my favorite season.
But round these parts in India, the leaves are always green (unless they're covered by dust during the hot season), and just finally in the last couple of weeks the temperatures have "cooled" down to the upper 80s during the day and 75ish overnight lows. Needless to say, they don't have fall here.
As a sidenote, when I pulled out my fall decorations (brought over from America), I was trying to explain to our house helper, Shefali, what the fall season is. She didn't understand :)

So I still like to pretend it's fall sometimes, and my favorite way of doing that is our team fall festival! We started this tradition last year, and made it even better this year by adding a soup potluck dinner, so it was one of my favorite evenings of the year so far!

We kicked off the night with a soup potluck - I made Pioneer Woman's Perfect Potato soup, and it was perfect. Best potato soup I've ever had. You should make it.
Some of the other girls made creamy chicken and rice soup, and Bethany made creamy white chicken chili. The boys were in charge of picking up bread bowls from a local bakery :)

Dinner was delicious, followed by painting "pumpkins." I don't really know what they are, some sort of gourd I suppose.

Landon and Layla get a kick out of this, and everyone's creative juices come flowing out.
Of course with the World Series going on, the Royals were a popular muse for pumpkin designs.
 Finished pumpkins! Christina's mom happened to be in town visiting at the time, so she joined right in on the fun!

After pumpkin painting, it was time for fall desserts. We may have gone a little overboard...
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, no bake "spider" cookies, ghost bananas, and pumpkin dump cake. Yum yum yum.
We also made homemade pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider. Starbucks doesn't have anything on us!!

We ended the evening playing several games (I learned a new favorite game, Dominion!), and just having a good time together as we ate second and third helpings of dessert. It really felt like a crisp fall evening...with the air conditioner running, of course.
We're so blessed by a team that is really family to us. Any time spent with them is so special, and we love them all!
Not to mention they're such a good looking group :)
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