Friday, November 4, 2011

Leaving Bangalore with a Bang!

What an end to our adventure in Bangalore! About a week ago I started experiencing some chest pain that was eerily similar to "The Big One" in 2006. We were on vacation at the beach in Goa, and the cardiologist we met with at the ER there said everything was fine. The symptoms subsided after another day of lounging around. However, when we returned to Bangalore I met with my doctor and another cardiologist. They were significantly more concerned about the similarity of the symptoms and an elevated ST in my ECG. Their recommendations were to get back to the US ASAP and see a cardiologist there, even recommending another angiogram (yikes!) They gave me an anti-coagulant injection that I get to shove in my stomach twice a day while travelling, and told me not to lift a single suitcase or box. I found all this out the day before we got to supervise the movers and get everything finished up.

Right now we are sitting in Chicago, one more flight to Buffalo left after 27 hours straight of travel. The flights went very smooth, although I got lots of funny looks when I asked for assistance carrying our baby paraphenelia because I have a heart condition. The kids were AWESOME, they are such amazing troopers. Monday morning first thing I'll meet with the cardiologist and see what she recommends.

God has provided for us on every step of this adventure, and we are different people because of it.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We love this girl!

We are so happy that she is feeling better and back to her playful self!

Martin Farm

Ansel and Siena Playing

The morning of Ansel's birthday:

We had crepes for breakfast and Ansel opened his gifts. Then we went to the hospital where Siena finished her last round of IV antibiotics and finally had her IV removed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Siena, Day 3

Today Travis took Siena to the hospital for another round of IV antibiotics.

I joined them there after my appointment to extend my visa.

The IV seemed to be running pretty slow today. We were there for hours.

Siena hasn't eaten much for the past week. Today we got some Mickey D's. She actually ate all four of her chicken nuggets and was thrilled to have two Jewel birds from Rio. And they match Travis' shirt, what's not to love?

We have two days that now remain.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back at the Hospital Today

Siena was such a trooper today. She had to get more IV antibiotics and, apparently, she needs to have more all week. We were disappointed to hear that. She can't even hold her cup with the shield that's on her hand. Every time the medical staff came into the room she started to get upset thinking about what they might do. She was pleased to send them away. Whenever they would leave, she said, "Bye" and waved at them.

It was difficult to pass the time. We had to distract her from her IV, so that she would keep her arm straight. She watched Curious George and Travis dancing around the room for awhile. Then in the last minutes, she managed to pull a number of items out of the diaper bag. In the above picture, she is hanging onto her diaper rash cream.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hospital Experience and Siena Sick Again

Siena had fever for 3 days. The doctors weren't sure why. On Saturday, we spoke with the pediatrician and he told us we should start her on antibiotics because preliminary lab results indicated that she is likely to have another urinary tract infection, with pus cells in her urine. The doctor told me to potty train her right away because of her history of UTI and this possible new UTI. Her fever seemed to have gone away, but around 9pm after Ansel's party we called her pediatrician. We told him that she had only two wet diapers all day and her fever had returned at a whopping 103 degrees Fahrenheit. The doctor advised that she be seen to determine the degree of dehydration. She had not been drinking much water either.

We brought her into the hospital. We agreed that she seemed to be getting worse, so we had her admitted. They placed an IV. Thankfully when they put the IV into her hand, she only cried for a few minutes although it felt like an hour. Ansel had fallen asleep in the car, and woke up when he heard her crying. He said he didn't want Siena to get any "pokes" and wanted to be with her. Travis stayed by her side because I couldn't bear watching her get the IV.
Siena received IV fluids.

We are home from the hospital. Siena is doing much better. We praise God for his protection and thank Him for our friends who brought food to the hospital for our little girl and took Ansel from afternoon to evening so we could take care of Siena.

We had a pretty nice experience at the hospital. It was a very nice facility and we felt the care there was great.

The doctors are awaiting more test results to determine the cause of the fever and infection. She still has the IV so they can administer more IV antibiotics tomorrow.

Ansel's 4th Birthday

Ansel had a nice birthday party on Saturday on the rooftop terrace of our flat. He enjoyed playing with the kids he celebrated with. Most of the time was spent blowing bubbles, playing with bean bags, and riding around on the terrace. Here is our birthday boy, blowing out the candles:

Making Cupcakes

On Friday we baked chocolate cupcakes for Ansel's birthday party. Ansel really enjoys spending time in the kitchen. Here's our boy mixing the cupcake batter:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Today's Conversation

Ansel: "Momma, where are the bananas?"
Me: "In the refrigerator."
Ansel: "Really? Which aisle?"
Me: "They are on the top shelf."
Ansel: "Oh, I couldn't see! Siena wants a banana too! (To Siena) Say please, baby!"
Siena: (To Ansel) "Peas!"
Ansel: (talking to Siena, pointing to me) "No, baby! The please is over there!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Playing in a Tub of Rice

Ansel and Siena were so much fun to watch as they played in this tub of rice for hours. I love watching these two interact; it is even more fun as Siena grows older. She wants to be just like Ansel. They were throwing rice, laughing, and hugging each other. Precious times!


Our housekeeper brought bangles for Siena. She enjoys wearing them and playing with them. Ansel has been putting them on her the past few mornings.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bring On the Pomegranates!

Ansel and Siena's favorite fruit is pomegranates. They share one just about everyday. Our housekeeper, Jackline, recently showed me how she gets the seeds out. I used to dread serving up the delectable fruit, but that is a thing of the past. Bring on the pomegranates!

Beautiful Lalbagh Gardens

Sunday, September 4, 2011


My mom came back to India with us. We had a great time exploring with her and sight-seeing together. We got to spend about a month with her. We miss having her here. At night when Ansel goes to bed he still says how much he misses Mimi.

Shortly after my mom left, the kids and I got sick. We are still all battling coughs. It has been exhausting. We are thankful that we all seem to be on the mend.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

We're Back!

Many, many more posts are planned to catch everyone up on the last couple of months, but here is proof that the whole family is healthy, happy, and back in Bangalore.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Quote from Ansel

While a carpenter, the caretaker for our building, and our housekeeper were discussing how to fix an unsafe piece of metal under our dining room sink, I asked Ansel what he wanted to play. He said, "I don't want to play with you. You're not Indian!" He loves seeing the different people that come to our door everyday. In fact, he becomes hysterical if he doesn't get to have some part in answering the door or the phone. These characters add to our story here in India.

The other day we went to pick Travis up from work. Ansel was so excited to see that our friends' driver, Shankar, was there. He started to scream, "Can I go see Mr. Shane-car now?!?" He sat in the parking lot and waited for his daddy with Shankar and our driver, Durai. The three of them sat together with their arms around each other. It is so sweet to see the light-hearted interaction of these grown men with Ansel. He was definitely thrilled to have their attention.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Something Indian for a change

We decided that it was time to eat Indian food after avoiding it for Michelle's health for quite a while. We traveled along the Ring Road to Jalsa, which was billed in one guidebook as great for kids. The exterior is modeled after a Rajasthan palace, and the staff puts on quite a show. As you can see from the pictures, we did our best to fit in by donning royal attire.

Ansel was pretty sure that the the finger bowl was a bathtub, he loved splashing water all over the table.

Pony Ride Part 2

On Good Friday we returned to the Embassy International Riding School for another pony ride. Ansel had none of the hesitation of his last visit, he jumped right on and was ready to go.

The peaceful countryside is such a nice change from the noise of Bangalore, even Ansel seems to zone out and quiet down when we are there.

"Muffin" wasn't available today, so Ansel had to be content with a ride on "Valantine."

And by the end of the ride he was trying his hands at the reins!

Siena at 12 months

Siena is a beautiful little girl. It is amazing to see her develop and grow. She is very close to walking by herself and loves to laugh and give bear hugs. During a period when we have spent a lot of time inside our apartment, it has been great to have Siena and Ansel to entertain us with their antics.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

First Birthday in India

We had a small party in honor of Siena's first year of life. We had a great time celebrating with our new friends. Among the comments were, "Siena was so dainty eating her cake." Precious girl. We love her so much!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Ansel was a pretty lucky kid this past weekend. Not only did he get a brand new bike, but we went go-karting as well! (Dad *might* have enjoyed this as much or more than Ansel :) Unfortunately Michelle was a bit under the weather, but we made the most of the situation. It seems that she has been sick almost half of the time that we have been here :(

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant

We had a great lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant called Fava. It is in UB City, an upscale shopping mall. The hummus was excellent, served with piping hot pitas. The shish kebab was also delicious! Ansel was given VIP treatment at the dessert cooler. As many chocolates as his little heart desired. It was a wonderful relaxing lunch out.

Afterward, Ansel played in the fountain. He had a blast!


This is a photo from nearly two weeks ago, when we made this post.

This photo was captured from our vehicle of some men who were involved in Holi festivities, where colored powder is thrown.

Pony Ride

We went on an outing to Embassy Riding School. What a beautiful location! Ansel had his reservations about the pony ride. After spending some time watching another child ride, he was willing. At first Travis had stand close by, but after a few minutes he was riding on his own. At the end of the ride, he was disappointed that it had to come to an end. The pony was called, "Muffin," and has been a prime topic of conversation ever since. The next morning the first words out of Ansel's mouth were, "Am I going to ride Muffin again?" Definitely a hit with our boy. He made his daddy proud.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

11 weeks...

Today marks 11 weeks in Bangalore! We are getting more adjusted. It is quite a process. But it's happening, day by day.

Monday, March 21, 2011


This morning we are staying home from playgroup because Siena woke up with yellow-green discharge from her eye. We called the doctor and he recommended some eye drops. He believes Siena has conjunctivitis, which is contagious. We have to be careful with Ansel, hopefully it won't spread. It is so sad to see her eye closed with discharge. She keeps rubbing it. The doctor said she should be back to herself in a couple of days. We are thankful.

Culture shock. How convenient is it here? We didn't have to take Siena to a doctor, we just described her symptoms. The doctor recommended a medication and we sent our driver to get it. The total cost for all of this: 7.5 rupees (which is about 17 cents.) Our total time spent: 5 minutes. Crazy times.

The Case of the Missing Diaper

On Saturday we were pretty tired after returning home from a long eventful day. On Sunday morning I restocked the diaper bag and realized one of Siena's cloth diapers and covers wasn't accounted for. It was a total of $15 US worth of cloth diapering supplies. Not much in terms of cost, but they are not available in India.

We got in the car to go to church and didn't see the disposable blue bag containing Siena's cloth diaper and cover. Where could it be? We returned home after the day's activities, still no diaper.

Our driver arrived this morning and I showed him one of the disposable blue bags. I asked him if he had seen a bag like that with Siena's diaper in it. He said, "Yes, took bag, Siena's diaper broken, threw it out." I took one of Siena's cloth diapers and covers out of the diaper bag. I showed him and explained, "These are cloth diapers. They are reusable. We put them in these blue bags, keep them, and wash them to use again." Our driver said, "Ha, Ma'am, don't understand." I took the diaper and cover and put it inside the blue bag. I held it up and said, "Please, next time if you see a bag like this don't throw it out. Keep it, so I can wash the diapers to use again." He said, "Ahh, okay, okay." I asked him where the blue bag with Siena's diaper in it was. He said, "Broken, threw it out."

As we drove out of our driveway, I looked across the street where there is an open field. I pointed out the window, "Arun, I think I see it! Is that the bag with Siena's diaper?" His reply? "Yes." I asked him, "Arun, will you please go get the bag for me?" Arun said, "You want me to get it? Okay, okay. Going." Solved...the case of the missing diaper! I have never been happier to receive a dirty diaper in my entire life! I was so excited that I had to call Travis immediately and share my good news. Funny, finding a lost dirty diaper is what I consider good news in India!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Our Weekend Fun

Travis had a meeting at work on Saturday morning, so the kids and I spent the morning out.

We went shopping for a little Australian boy named Will's 3rd birthday. Ansel wanted to take it all home with us. He had a great time looking at the toys, but eventually picked a plastic cricket set. We shopped at a very nice place called Shopper's Stop, similar to a US mall. I was shocked to see lots of American brands like Calvin Klein. The toy selection was the nicest I've seen in Bangalore. They even had some Fisher Price toys, which made me feel like I was back home.

We had a great time at the birthday party. It was one of the coolest kid parties ever. Ansel had a blast! They had a magician, face painting, and a man making balloon figures. Ansel was a pirate with painted tatoos, eye patch, equipped with a balloon hat & sword.

Afterward we went to Travis' coworker's house for a Mexican fiesta. It was delicious. Mexican food is hard to come by here, so it was definitely a treat.

Sunday we went to church and then to Fava for a relaxing lunch. Delicious hummus and shish kebabs! It was such a nice atmosphere. It felt like we were on vacation. Beautiful flowers and candles on the patio furniture style tables. Our food server took Ansel to get some chocolates at the end of our meal. A dining experience we will not soon forget.

After lunch we went shopping. After going to one store, we realized the kids were tired. Travis took them home and I went to another store. I bought my first salwar pants. The salesman asked, "Madam, you know this is salwar? Still, you want?". Yes, please! They are the most comfortable pair of pants I will probably ever own.

Unfortunately, we didn't experience much of Holi. We did see many people covered in the bright colored powder on the way to church, though.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sick with the Flu

Monday morning I woke up feeling unwell. I had a headache and nausea. Later that evening I had a low-grade fever and diarrhea. I continued to feel pretty bad until late afternoon on Tuesday. We just stayed home for the rest of the week.

Friday night Travis started feeling sick. This weekend we had plans for Ansel to ride a pony, but we cancelled plans. We stayed home all weekend. Travis rested on Saturday and Sunday. He seems to be feeling better.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Added Bonus: Live Entertainment

Olive Beach: A Delightful Dining Experience

On Sunday afternoon we went to Olive Beach. Two words come to mind: sheer indulgence! We were there for over 2 hours! The waiters kept bringing all sorts of dishes to our table, from lamb to Mediterranean appetizers to cocktails (I had a delicious mocktail!) Ansel had the entire staff wrapped around his finger. They brought him whatever he requested and he was very happy with the arrangement!

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Auto-rickshaw we saw this weekend...


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An Afternoon Walk through the Park

After hummus and pitas at Thulp! cafe, we headed to the park. It cost us two rupees to enter. It was peculiar that there were only a few kids playing on the equipment and yet we were scolded for sitting on the swings. We found this humorous. We had a good laugh and went on our merry way.