Monday, November 24, 2008

Pooh, Indian banquet, and first snow!

*Hopefully, there will be photos with this post soon! We have a new camera that is not playing nicely with our computer!*

One really funny thing to report from Miss Anya Rashi. At a baby shower last summer, someone gave us a package of Huggies diapers featuring Winnie the Pooh on the front of each diaper. She has a Pooh stuffed animal, and was REALLY excited about the diapers. In true almost-two-year-old fashion, she turned the whole thing into a mildly embarrassing episode. In public, to anyone who is remotely interested (or not!), she will point to her diaper area and say loudly, "POOH!!" So far, the response has been a few semi-horrified looks, and one person who said, "Looks like mommy needs to change you." Ha!

In other news, this weekend, my sister Alicia visited. She lives about 100 miles away, and we always wish we could see her more. She's the ultimate fun aunt, and gets right into whatever the kids are doing.

This time, Alicia came for a grown-up reason: to go to an Indian event with me! Our city has an organization called Indus, which is a group for both Indians and non-Indians who are interested in Indian culture. Each year, they do a variety of cultural, educational, and fun events. Friday was their 10th annual banquet. The food was outstanding! The theme was "Fusion," and the menu included:
Paneer Tikka Pizza
Chicken Masala Almandine with Pinapple and Nuts
Sweet Potato Kofta in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Grape Raita
Lime Pickle
Naan and Papad

There were about 300 people, including two congressmen, our mayor, and variety of community leaders. About 2/3 of the crowd was Indian, and it was glorious to see the variety of Indian dress represented. The women wore elegant, beaded saris in every possible hue -- beautiful! I saw my doctor there, as well as an Indian mom that I knew from swimming lessons at our YMCA. There was a silent auction, and a play about the blending of cultures in a first-generation Indian family.

Also attending was another mom with three adopted children from south India. Her kids are all quite a bit older than Anya Rashi, but we've gotten together at a local park and e-mail each other. She was seated near one of our congressmen, and went to bat for Wisconsin families who have adopted from India and Korea. We have to apply for and pay $450 for our Certificate of Citizenship, in contrast to families who've adopted children from other countries -- their children are citizens upon their arrival in the US, and pay nothing for the exact same piece of paper. She's investigating a letter-writing campaign to lobby for the fee to be eliminated. Go Mary Beth!

I "won" a gorgeous embroidered kurta in the silent auction. (All the proceeds went to fund early childhood education in our city and in India.) I will be happy to wear it for a few special occasions, then I plan to pass it along to Anya Rashi when she's older.

Oh, and today we woke up to our first snow of the season! I had a good time shoveling with Anya Rashi "helping." :o)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Indian cinema notes

I caught part of a documentary called I for India, and thought I'd pass along this interview with its director, Sandhya Suri. Released a few years ago, the film is about her family's journey to England, where her father was a doctor. Some years later, they attempted to relocate in India and ended up back in Darlington, England. The film features the family's home movies, and is full of poignant insight about parents and children, and how working to fit into a new culture sometimes means you can't quite mesh back into the old one.

(Just so you know, there's one scene in the documentary that is definitely R-rated. It's the sales pitch of an Indian patent medicine salesman, and contains graphic language.)

Here's a link to an interview with her:

And, of course, Slumdog Millionaire is out in theatres now! It is set in Mumbai, and I hope to be able to see it soon. It's the story of two brothers who survive on the streets, and follows the two different paths their lives take. Peter has visited Mumbai twice on mission/service trips, so I'm eager to see if the depiction on screen matches his memories.

This reviewer called Slumdog Millionaire one of the best films of 2008:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cleo = Cletus?

Get ready for bird drama, part II . . . when I brought Cleo to the vet for her re-check, the receptionist looked at her chart and said, "Cleo? That's a funny name for a boy." Apparently the vet discovered and recorded that Cleo has been living a lie (and didn't really mention it to me!). So our bird is actually a male.

A woman in the waiting area cracked me up. She overheard our conversation and asked, "How much did that operation cost you?"

My sons are thrilled that the balance in our house is no longer 3:3, but 4 to 2, in favor of boys again. They can turn anything into a competition! Of course, we had to come up with a more manly name, so we're happy to announce that Cleo shall hereafter be known as Cletus. :o)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Apparently it's possible to be morbidly obese, yet malnourished . . .

Poor Cleo. After just two months of pet ownership, we made our first-ever trip to the vet. We discovered that Cleo has been hitting the birdseed a little too hard over the course of her three-year life, and is overweight. She's supposed to weigh 30 grams, but tips the scales at 50. (Mind you, she looks just like all the other parakeets at the pet store, but what do I know?) Ironically, she is malnourished too -- the vet said her seed diet with raw veggies has not provided balanced nutrition.

The solution? Jenny Craig for parakeets: she must switch over to lower-cal pellet food and take a vitamin supplement. We are treating her for a possible digestive infection of some kind, which means I have to catch her twice a day and give her medicine from a teeny dropper.

Cleo is not amused by this process (although she doesn't seem to mind the liver-flavored medicine -- yummo!). Aaron and Nathan, on the other hand, LOVE watching the whole procedure. It's better than TV, candy, or a trip to the zoo, judging by their reactions. Clearly, we lead boring lives. :o)

In people-related news, Anya Rashi is trying out some new words. "Domino" is the funniest, which requires a tongue flipped in and out of her mouth to make a sound like "mun-ah-min-uh." She is also saying the favorite phrase of every not-quite-two-year-old: "I do it!" This week she started calling Peter and me "Daddy" and "Mommy" instead of Dada and Mama -- she sounds so grown-up!

She's logged a few time-outs this week, most notably for taking a plate off the table and walking into the family room to hit Nathan on the head with it for no apparent reason. Good times. Oh well, you only hurt the ones you love, right? We had our dear friends Scott and Molly over this weekend with their three children, and there were some serious 2-year-old territory issues between Anya Rashi and their daughter Morgan. It was pretty funny to see two such cute little girls scowl and face off over the coveted Wiggles book.

On Friday, we took Anya Rashi to lunch at one of the Indian restaurants in our city. We may not go to that particular place with her again . . . almost every dish on the lunch buffet was quite spicy, and she would only eat naan and gulab jamun. No surprise there -- she's got quite a sweet tooth! She's been dragging a chair over to the counter by the boys' Halloween candy and saying "more?" It's nice to know she has "inherited" something from me. :o)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cute costumed creatures

Well, our costume plans changed due to weather. It was quite warm here -- in the upper sixties! -- which is very unusual for Halloween in Wisconsin. The boys were thrilled because they didn't have to wear coats over their Spidey costumes.

Anya Rashi was going to be a lady bug, but her costume was too warm. It's one of those furry one-piece toddler outfits that could double as a snow suit. Instead, we took a look at some dress-up clothes from her friend Sarah . . . and voila! Cinderella to the rescue! She was a princess who did not wish to be photographed, however. :o) Trying to get away before the clock struck 4:00, no doubt.

After going trick-or-treating at a few neighbors' houses, we headed over to our church. Each year, we host a Fall Festival for anyone who wants a safe, non-scary Halloween experience for their children. There were inflatables and games for older kids, and toddler games (which Anya Rashi wanted no part of!). She kept up with her brothers as best she could, playing Plinko and tossing pom-poms into fishbowls (or at least in their general direction).

The best part was when Peter took his turn in the Dunk Tank. We all took a turn throwing bean bags at the target, which resulted in water balloons crashing down on Daddy's head. Anya Rashi LOVED it, and kept saying, "Dada . . . WA-WA!" Aaron and Nathan were quite impressed that their mother could lob a bean bag while holding Anya Rashi in one arm, with a diaper bag slung over my throwing arm!

Anya Rashi will probably remember the occasion because she had her first taste of chocolate! It was a huge hit, and she kept diving for the candy bag while I carried her from game to game. Of course, with so much going on, it completely escaped me to take any pictures at the Fall Festival . . . :o)