The Beat in My Heart

Sharing my Thoughts with the World!

Cayman Islands

Cayman-Islands

I found this picture from the our Amazon cloud drive. The cloud drive shows pictures from “This day” and shows all the pictures taken on a particular day in different years. So, today it showed me this pic and I couldn’t help but share it here πŸ™‚

This was 7 years ago when we went to Cayman Islands. Sarath was only an year old and we bravely took the 2 week trip to a new country. It was an amazing trip. Our hotel was just a couple of minutes walk from the beach. We went to the beach everyday and Sarath had loads of fun playing in the sand.

The boat in the picture is the one we took to go a few miles into the ocean where the depth of the ocean was only about 5 feet. Β There we could see a lot of Sting Rays swimming around. The tour guide actually let us touch and feel the sting rays under the water. It was a unique experience.

 

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London Trip Day 1

Last summer, we took a stop over in London on our way back from India. We spent 4 days in London. It was very tiring but, we enjoyed a lot. The kids had so much fun riding the underground train (tube), the open top buses and taking a ferry ride on the Thames river.

When we were planning our trip to London, I really wanted to go on the Harry Potter tour and there were many tours available and I was not sure which one we would like. With two kids, I did not want to take long tours. But then I saw the Warner Brother’s studio tour. By the time I read about it and finally decided to buy the tickets, everything was sold 😦 I was very sad that day. Then, just because I was mad at myself for not purchasing the tickets earlier, and also because I was bored in India, I went to the Warner Brother’s studio tour site again. This time I saw there were tickets on some days which were not available previously. That gave me a faint hope that maybe something might open up on the days we would be in London. I checked it every morning and finally, I was able to get the tickets πŸ™‚

On the day of the tour, we went to Watford station by tube (London’s underground trains). Then we got on the studio tour bus to get to the studio. It was a 10 – 15 min ride. We were much earlier than we needed to be. But, that was good because the kids were hungry and we had some time to go to the cafe. After the kids had some snack and juice, we finally went inside. I was just like a happy kid who got her ice cream πŸ™‚ Β I loved everything and we took tons of pictures. The kids of course were not interested in anything there initially. They saw the flying car from the Chamber of Secrets and Sanjay was disappointed that he could not ride in the car.

HP-Studio-Tour-2014-07-(16)

Sarath was bored initially and kept whining about going back to the hotel. After the initial video and some intoduction, we were on our own inside the great hall of Hogwarts πŸ™‚ It was a small hall. Much smaller than what it appears to be in the movie. I started explaining to Sarath what everything was, the different houses of Hogwarts etc and slowly he got interested. We saw the sets of Gryffindor common room, the mirror or Erised, Dumbledore’s office, potions classroom (where there were a couple of potions stirring themselves), Hagrid’s hut, the flying motorbike, Diagon alley, Privet drive, Harry’s house at Godrics Hollow, The Burrow (where they had displayed the self washing pans, self knitting sweater etc) and a lot of other items as well. It was wonderful. Sarath was so excited to see pans washing themselves, iron box ironing by itself, potions stirring themselves etc. He actually thought that was all actual magic and I did not have the heart to tell him otherwise.

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They had a display of how they filmed all the flying on broomsticks and the flying car. We can go and get a picture and video of ourselves flying on a broomstick. We just sit on a broomstick which actually has a seat on which we can sit. it is stationary and we just move to the side as if we are riding. The actual video will have all the background and when put together it will be as if we are flying on a broomstick all over London πŸ™‚ Myself and Sarath did that. My video did not come out nicely but Sarath’s did. So, we purchased some pics of me and Sarath on a broomstick and also Sarath’s video on the broomstick.

After this, Sarath started liking the tour and got very excited. We even saw the Knight bus and Sarath was just so excited to see a triple decker bus in a purple color πŸ™‚ At the end I was very happy that we got a chance to go to the tour and Sarath got so interested that he asked me “When can I read the first Harry Potter”? I told him he can read it when he is 7. But, I think I am going to wait for another year to let him read the books. I just hope he has as much fun as I had while reading it.

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My Dear Blog

I am very sorry that I did not come and write here for so long. Sorry that I did not share so many things with you. Yet you are here patiently waiting for me. I do take advantage of you sometimes right?

So many things happened in the last couple of months. The best thing of all is that I am now working as a freelancer!Β Yay! When I quit my job, I was hoping to work freelance so that I would have some flexibility in my work and personal life. I was not sure how long it would be before I got any clients. I had also decided to take on projects after the kids started school in the fall. When did anything go according to my plan? So, thanks a lovely person I have a bunch of projects in my hand now. I talked to her only briefly a few months back. She has apparently recommended me to at least a dozen people. She knew very little about me personally. She saw my work and recommended me highly to all the people. Even though I did not want to work until September, I started getting projects from August itself. So, talking to clients, working from home while the kids were on summer vacation, entertaining the kids left me very little time. Add to this finding a new apartment and moving – it was all just suffocating at times.

Inspite of all the chaos, we had a great summer. Our trip to India was as usual and our trip to London was amazing. We just had so much fun there. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to quit my job and stay home for the summer. It was wonderful. The kids enjoyed that more than me. They slept until 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning some days. They watched TV, played all sorts of games and made a huge mess every day. They played with bubbles on the deck and had Popsicles, smoothies and ice cream when ever they wanted to. Sarath read a lot of books and I read a lot of books to Sanjay. Even though we did not go to the library as much as we wanted to, we had a fresh stack of books from India (thanks to both sets of grandparents πŸ™‚ ). We read and re-read many books. It was really a fun summer.

After the long summer, when schools finally started two weeks back, we were all very happy. Sarath missed his friends and Sanjay started a new pre-school. I was relieved to be finally able to get some breathing time and work in peace. The kids have adjusted to the new class and new teacher. I will admit that after the long summer, it is hard to snap back to a routine where I need to cook and pack boxes in the morning.

This year the weather is really good well into September. Usually by this time, it is already cold and raining. Last two weekends were unusually warm and we went biking and generally spent a lot of time outdoors on the trail which is very close to us now. Last Sunday Sarath wanted to go biking to a nearby park which was 2 miles away. I was not sure if he would be able to bike that far but he was determined. So, off we went. Sanjay sat on the bike seat attachment to S’s bike and I rode my bike. Halfway to the park, we took the wrong path and ended up somewhere else. Eventually, we did go to the park. So, at the end of it we biked 6 miles! Sarath was so proud of himself and was very happy. I was so proud of him too!

Here are some pics from our bike ride. I took these pics while riding the bike myself πŸ™‚

 

photo-1

 

The coming weekend is supposed to be warm again. Hoping to go on another bike ride! See you soon.

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India Trip 2014 – Flying to Hyderabad

This has been a long overdue post. But, better late than never right….

The flight to Hyderabad was the highlight of this trip and the most tiresome for me. We were supposed to leave Seattle on June 16th – myself, S, Sarath and Sanjay and my SIL’s kids P and K. We were planning everything and the kids were excited to go to India. But, nothing goes as planned right so, right before we were supposed to leave, we got a big disappointment – S’s passport (which we had sent for UK visa) did not come back. We sent both of our passports at the same time. I got mine back well ahead of time but unfortunately, S’s passport got held up. So, the Β week before the trip was spent in total frustration and tension. So, at that point we had two options – one was to cancel all the tickets and re book them and the second was that I will go ahead as planned with 4 kids and S will come after he gets his passport. The very thought of travelling internationally alone with 4 kids was terrifying to me. I just couldn’t imagine myself doing it. So, I called the travel agent and he told me that it would cost around $3000.00 to rebook the tickets for everybody. So, after a long discussion, I decided to go ahead with our original plan and travel with the kids. I was just so scared. Two years back, I had to travel with Sarath and Sanjay and that was in itself very tiring. S told me clearly that if I did not want to go alone with the kids, we will re book the tickets even if it is expensive. But, I really did not want to spend so much money when it is not entirely necessary.

So, I started planning for the trip. The kids were sad that S was not coming with us but, they were excited about the trip. I was doing fine until the day before the trip. On Sunday, I was very scared about me going alone with 4 kids and S not being able to come as planned and I just started crying. S sat with me and let me cry for a while and then comforted me. On the day of the trip, I did fine. I sat all the kids and talked with them about the luggage we will have on the plane and what they need to do once we are in the ariport. We went early to the ariport to make sure that we get seats together. Even then, it was a tight call. Because I was travelling alone with 4 kids, they did some re-arrangement and gave me the seats as I requested. I was really thankful for that.

The kids did really good on the flight. I had the 3 older kids sit together in the seats next to the window. I just had to keep an eye on them. Since everybody gets their own personal TV’s. handling them was easy. They each saw what ever they wanted to including Sanjay. He being the little one had to sit next to me. When the food was served, I told them to eat what ever they could and they listened to me. I was surprised and relieved. Once, I got them settled, they watched TV for a while and then I had to force them to sleep. The kids hardly slept on the flight to London though. I think they were very excited. None of the kids slept and neither did I.

Once in London airport, the kids were following the signs for the transit passengers and walked all the way without any complaints. I had checked Sanjay’s stroller at the gate and specifically told them that I need it in London. That helped me a lot. With Sanjay in the stroller, I only had to keep an eye on 3 kids πŸ™‚

The flight from London to Hyderabad is 10 hours long and I was worried about this flight. I thought the kids will be really bored. But because they did not sleep on the first flight, all four kids slept for about 5 – 6 hours on the second flight. I got some sleep too. When they were awake, they just watched TV, played video games and just had fun. The air hostesses helped me a lot on the second flight. One thing I should mention is the attitude of a couple of people on the flight. Because the flight was full, and they could not accommodate the seating request I had, we got the last two rows of seats on the plane. I was not very happy because it would be very difficult to keep an eye on the kids. So, I asked another couple sitting in the next row if they would be willing to exchange the seats since I have to keep an eye on 4 kids. The couple were not very old or young. But, the man said he has some knee problems and needed an aisle seat. I told him there were 2 aisle seats available but he was just not even ready to consider the idea. I got frustrated and told him it was okay. So, I had the 3 older kids sit in the back row together and Sanjay and myself in the row in front. There was another person sitting in my row. He was 14 years old and was travelling alone. He heard my conversation about switching seats and offered to help me with the kids. I did not even ask him. He helped Sanjay with the seat belt while I was helping the other kids. He kept an eye on the kids all the time and even entertained Sanjay while I slept for a little while. I am so thankful to him. He even told me that he is used to little kids and is happy to help me. When the kids woke up, they were hungry and this guy went and got them chips and cookies from the galley. It was so nice to see that kid wanting to be helpful.

When we landed in Hyderabad, I was so relieved but, we were the last ones to get off the plane. Also, they did not have the immigration cards for us on the plane. So, we had to take them after coming out of the plane in Hyderabad. It took me so much time to actually get these kids in control, fill the form and everything that we were literally the last people to come out of immigration. By the time we were in baggage claim, our luggage had arrived.

My parents and in-laws were supposed to come to the airport and they were late. While we were waiting for them outside the airport, I was just so happy to be back in Hyderabad, taking in the cool morning breeze and couldn’t believe that I actually successfully traveled from Seattle to Hyderabad with 4 kids! I was just so proud of myself at that moment. I was extremely tired and as soon as I saw my parents, I was so relieved and felt like a huge weight was off my shoulders. and guess what the first thing my mom told me – “You have lost weight and look very good”. That really made my day and I was just happy to be there with my mom and dad in the city I love the most πŸ™‚

 

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Wordless Wednesday

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Our trip to Orlando!

Our trip was a long one so, I am going to split it into 2 or 3 posts. Let me start with our flight trip and our hotel. Although we traveled on the same dates, me and DH had to take separate flights to get there. DH’s company booked his ticket and when we tried to book on the same airline for me and Sarath, it was going to to cost $1200.00. So, we booked ours on an another airline with our accumulated miles for no cost at all. Both flights were supposed to start at the same time and DH was supposed to get there 30 min before us. We thought it was perfect. But, DH’s flight got delayed and I ended up waiting for an hour at Orlando airport 😦

We were given a room in Disney’s Beach Club resort. So, we took the Disney’s Magical Express – a free bus service from the airport. I was very excited to stay in the resort. The resort was good but I do have a few complaints. We got to the hotel at 12:00 midnight and they took an hour to give us a room. It was awful. The room was very nice but the service – not so good. Since we were in the Disney resort, we were able to take their buses to the theme parks and back. So, we did not rent a car. It was very convenient to visit the parks but, we were not able to go outside the Disney World. The only problem with that was food. As you can imagine, food inside Disney is way too expensive. The only food available for vegetarians was pizza and burgers. No other cuisine!!! We got bored but, had no choice.

The room service was not that good either. One night I was very hungry and ordered one bowl of cut fruit, 2 bananas and a lemonade for room service at 12:00 in the night. It took them one hour to bring it to the room. I even fell asleep by the time they came. They charge around $200.00 or more per night for a room in that particular Disney resort. All I am saying is that they need to provide excellent service for that amount. I definitely decided I am never going back to any of the resorts in the future. If DH’s company had given a hotel outside Disney and gave rental car, it would have been cheaper and we would have been happier.

After DH’s conference was done, we changed to another hotel that we could afford and also rented a car. We then went straight to an Indian restaurant – Woodlands – a pure vegetarian restaurant. Food there was amazing. The avial there was so good that the taste still lingers on my tongue. We also ordered a mixed platter for appetizers and they also had mirchi bajji in that! That made my day πŸ™‚

So, now for the fun part – the resort had a cafe which had a breakfast buffet with the Disney characters. That was amazing. It was expensive but, extremely fun – especially for Sarath. He was excited to see Minnie mouse, Donald duck and Goofy walking around and taking pictures while we were eating. The buffet had a lot of items for breakfast – Mickey shaped waffles, bread, bagels, croissants, potatoes and lot of other stuff and best of all – fresh fruit. We could also have any amount of juice or milk. That was great. Sarath had so much fun that we ended up going to that place twice.

Sarath and Minnie Mouse

BTW, Minnie mouse is Sarath’s favorite – not Mickey….

Sarath and Donald Duck

Here are the Mickey shaped waffles. They were the right size for kids and tasted so good.

Mickey shaped waffles

We went to all the four Disney theme parks and also visited the Kennedy Space Center. Will write about those in the next few posts. Until then, have a great weekend!

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Chicago Children’s Museum

We had been planning to go to the Chicago children’s museum from a long time and finally made it there last Saturday. We were not sure if Sarath would enjoy it, but we ended up spending the entire day in the museum. It was fabulous and Sarath loved it. They have nice exhibits and some specifically for kids aged 5 and under. Some exhibits keep changing but some are the same through out the year.

There is a ‘Play It Safe’ exhibit with a fire truck, hose and a realistic command center. Sarath did not want to do anything with the fire truck (for some reason, he is scared of the fire truck).

Then there is a ‘Skyline’ where we can build our own sky scrapers. We loved it more than Sarath. He was thrilled to use an actual screwdriver. DH decided to build a sky scraper and this is how it turned out:

The sky scraper we built


Then there were all the activities that Sarath was interested in. Big Backyard – where they have really big flowers, trees, grass etc basically mimicking a backyard in a giant size.

Sarath checking out the butterflies projected onto the screen

Kids town: The kids could go grocery shopping, cook in the fancy kitchen, fix plumbing for the play house, drive a city bus etc.. There were some areas in the kids town specifically for infants.

Sarath cooking in the Kids town

There were lots of other activities which included fishing (plastic and cloth fish of course), canoeing, cooking in a log cabin etc which he thoroughly enjoyed. By 4:00 pm, me and DH were ready to get out of there but Sarath was so excited and active. We finally came out at 5:00 and were very tired. Sarath was so tired that he slept on the way to the parking lot.

We are definitely going back in a couple of months to check out the new exhibits and hopefully have more fun. The best part is that the museum is all indoors – a perfect place to entertain kids in winter.

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Jet lag

Jet lag is an inevitable part of our vacation to India. Before my son was born, I never experienced much jet lag. I used to force myself to stay awake during the day for a couple of days and then I would be set. But now, it is totally different. Sarath does not let me sleep when he is awake. So, I have to get up as early as he is up. I am so tired by lunch time, that I just dose off. I do not feel sleepy at night and end up staying awake until past midnight. It is horrible. It has been three days and there are no sign’s of the jet lag being over. Somehow it was very easy the last time when my son was only 20 months old.

Add cold and runny nose to a kid with jet lag – you can imagine the rest. That is our situation now. Sarath does not feel like eating or drinking. He is cranky all the time because of the cold. It has been a real struggle to get him to eat a couple of chapati’s yesterday. Poor kid. He doesn’t even know why he is feeling this way. I really lost my temper and shouted at him for not eating anything. Later, I felt bad and decided that I am going to be very very patient with him. So, today with a lot of talking and coaxing, I got him to eat some food and slowly he is getting better with his sleeping schedule.

Added to all this, it is really hot outside. I grew up in Hyderabad and now I feel the heat is too much to bear. I am not used to this heat anymore. So, how can I expect my son to behave normal when everything around him has changed? He was born in a place where the average summer temperature does not go above 90 F and even if it does, we have controlled conditions inside the house and are never affected by the heat or cold as long as we are indoors. So, I decided to take it easy and let him enjoy while we are here. Once we go back, I am sure he will get back to his normal self and fall into the routine very easily.

Life with kids is ever changing. We never get bored and we learn something new from them everyday. So, this time my son taught me that I have to be patient with him because everything he does has a reason behind it. He cannot describe it all the time and me as the mom, has to understand this and act accordingly.

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My trip to India

I am currently enjoying my vacation in India. Me and my son traveled for more than 30 hours before we finally reached my parents home in Hyderabad. It was a long journey and both of us are tired. Managing a toddler for 30 hours without much sleep is very painful I went through that last year but decided to do it again so that he can spend some time with his grand parents. My in-laws live right next door here. So, my son has fun with both the grand parents.

It has been two days since I reached here and I am still very very tired. So, tired that I do not even want to look at a computer or a TV. My eyes are always sleepy. My son is experiencing the jet lag and he doesn’t even know what it is. He is over tired, over stimulated and very sleepy day and night. He slept all day yesterday and woke up in the middle of the night at 2:30. He slept for a long time during the day today and all our efforts to wake him up went down the drain. He became so cranky that he did not want to have dinner.He loves to be on a schedule everyday. He is usually never fussy about anything. I hate to see him like this. This almost makes me want to go back to our own sweet home.

My son is missing his dad. Last year, he did not miss his dad so much. This time, he started missing him half way through our trip. We had a layover in London, and my son started asking for his dad. It took a whole lot of effort from me to get him to think about something else.

The reason we are here is for my brother-in-law’s wedding. While I am here, I am also attending some other house warming ceremonies. I rarely get a chance to get dressed and go to a function in the US. So, I am loving it. I will be kind of busy for a couple of weeks and then will be away from my computer and email world for a week during the wedding.

My plan is to take lots of pictures while I am in India and enjoy the food made by my mom (and also hope not to gain any more pounds).

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Our Vacation to LA

Kids playing with their swords at Disneyland

Kids playing with their swords at Disneyland

Vacations are supposed to make you feel refreshed and let you escape the everyday routines. So, we decided to take a vacation to LA to visit my sister-in-law’s family. She has two kids.

We left on Wednesday night (the day before Thanksgiving). We drove to Milwaukee to take the flight. We had heavy traffic on the roads and we got to the airport just in time for the flight. When we got to LA, the local time was 10:30 PM. My sister-in-law came to the airport to pick us up and there was so much traffic at the airport. When we finally got home, the kids got so excited to see each other and started playing. So, we finally slept at 1:30. The next three days we made so many plans and did not sleep well at all. We went to Sea world in San Diego and then to Disneyland. The kids were so excited to see all the animals in Sea world and of course they we excited to see Mickey and Minnie in Disneyland. We were exhausted.

We came back yesterday and were so tired. We are now refreshed but very tired. We just wish we had a couple of more days to relax in LA. We had good Indian food. Now, I am all ready to start my work but I can see that my son is missing his cousins. He is bored at home now and I feel sorry. Wish we lived closer to our family so we can meet more often.

But, my son is excited about all his new toys we bought him in LA and all the toys his aunt bought him. Hopefully that should keep him engaged and help him come back to his routine in a couple of days.

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