Monday, April 14, 2014

Mehendi

A few weeks ago an Indian woman named Anurita was visiting in Kolkata with her husband, and taught all us girls how to do mehindi. It took several hours for about 3 days, but it was super fun! I practiced a lot so that when it was time for the real deal I wouldn't do a terrible job. I did Laura's hand, and she did mine!

Practicing with a regular pen first!


Finished with my first mehendi masterpiece!

Laura's turn!


Finished products!

Our wonderful (patient!) teacher!
When Landon saw my hand all done up, he insisted he also needed some mehendi. 
I just used a marker on his, so it kept washing off. So for several days he'd wake up, point to his hand and say, "Uh oh! Another fish?" So funny.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New Friend

A few weeks ago I met a fellow American mom named Bekah, who just moved back to India in January. She was here a few years ago and actually met her husband, an Indian man, here, but they went back to the U.S. to get married and then had to stay there a few years because of green card complications. They moved back to town though and have a little girl named Baviyah who will be two this summer. 

One night Bekah brought Baviyah over to play on the playground for awhile and then we had dinner together. It was lots of fun.




The kids loved it. Almost everyday since then Landon has asked about Baviyah and assumed she's coming over - he'll point to the door and say, "It's new friends, it's coming Baviyah." The way he says her name is also adorable. We plan to see them again soon =)

This and That

I haven't been able to think of a specific "theme" for a post, so we'll just go with random today.
When Layla wakes up in the morning or after naps, she hands you each individual blankie (3) and stuffed animal (5) that she sleeps with to carry out with her. Here she is in her bedding mountain today.

 We ate with some of our Indian friends at an Indian Punjabi restaurant on Friday, and the kids were being so silly.
Their favorite part was these mango chocolate lassis - kinda like a smoothie? Sounds weird, but it was actually really good! Landon drank his and Kyle's (and was wound up all night, whew!)

 Layla loves throwing tea parties for her stuffed animals. She's such a good hostess - just look at the smile on Dinosaur's face.

The stuff I use to clean vegetables like broccoli or lettuce is called potassium permanganate, and it just so happens to be K-State purple. Even the water loves the Wildcats. 

 We got Landon a "Track Pack" of lots of extra pieces of track for his Hot Wheels car track, and he was SO excited.

 He has loved making all sorts of different tracks with it.

Layla loves it too!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sikkim Trip

My mom was so wonderful to agree to babysit Landon and Layla for a few days while she was here so that Kyle and I could take our marriage retreat away. We debated between going to an island beach or going to the Himalayan mountains, and after a little thought we decided we'd rather see mountains and actually experience some colder weather for a few days :)

We stockpiled my mom with food, gave her the phone numbers to all of our team members, and organized people to come hang out with her and the kids each day, and headed out for the Himalayas!

We checked TripAdvisor and decided to go to a little town called Pelling to a hotel called Elgin. It was far away from any big "city" (just what we wanted) and WAY up in the mountains - our hotel was at 6700 ft.!! Our window overlooked Mt. Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, and was just spectacular!

It was the perfect mix of relaxation, sitting around the ground sipping coffee and staring at the mountains, and sightseeing to various waterfalls, landmarks, etc. We had the same driver pick us up from the airport in Bagdogra to drive us to Pelling (almost 6 hours of mountain roads!) and he also drove us around sightseeing both days and back to the airport. It was a beautiful trip and some great time with my favorite person in the world. And best of all, my mom and the kids all survived till we got home :)

Here are pictures of our amazing trip!

 The hotel had lots of great outdoor seating options.




 A Buddhist "holy" lake.

 Our favorite waterfall we saw.




It was amazing to see how they farmed right down the side of mountains. These dug out "fields" will hold rice.
 This waterfall was unbelievably huge. I can't even tell you how many hundreds of thousands of stairs we had to climb to get up to the base of it. Hello workout for the day!
Can you spot Kyle? He stood next to the waterfall to provide perspective of how HUGE it was.

 A "valley" between the mountains...still awfully high up to really be a valley though!
That winding road leads up to a Buddhist monastery

 We even got to have a fire in a fireplace! Sounds sad, but it was actually a highlight :)
The beautiful view of the mountain range from the hotel. It was nice and clear our last morning there so we could see the whole range really well!!

The trip was so great! If you're ever in India with some leisure time, we highly recommend Pelling, Sikkim. Beautiful!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Special Visits

A couple of special visits have happened in the past few weeks. The most exciting of which is ongoing!
 I mentioned this already in my post about Layla's birthday, but my mom is here!!! She arrived in the evening on February 27th, and it was so exciting to pick her up from the airport!
Landon and Layla have been so excited to have Grandma around.


 Grandma was more than happy to join in our grocery shopping and donuts tradition :)
She's been a little LOT afraid of the crazy India traffic, but who can really blame her. Especially when we took a taxi together for the first time the other day, she about slammed a hole in the floor with all her imaginary brake slamming, at least when she didn't have her eyes covered.
The kids love having an extra fun person to play with; they loved all the presents she brought, and I love the extra company! We've played lots of Scrabble games on her iPad in the afternoons while the kids are sleeping and are planning to do some fun shopping this week! She's here till the 24th, and let me assure you that the 25th will be a sad day here :(

Another special visit a couple of weeks ago was going to see my friend Lauren and her new baby boy Ephraim!
 Ephraim was soooooo adorable! I had forgotten how teeny tiny newborns are!
Lauren gave birth in India...without an epidural...which basically means she's Wonder Woman in my eyes. So amazing! And we just love hanging out with Lauren and her husband, Jordan, already, so it will be extra fun having a little baby to snuggle :)
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