Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We All Need Saving

A friend of mine is an up-and-coming singer/pianist/songwriter. One of his songs, the title of which I stole for this post, has become a favorite of mine. It’s come up in my head over and over since last Saturday morning when I woke up and heard about the shooting that had taken place in Newtown the day before.

I’ve ready so many responses from individuals about the shooting.

One response has really given me pause to stop and think about the role of religion in society.

I’ve debated about whether or not to link to his page, because much of his writing is nothing but hate and violence robed in quasi-academic religiosity. I really don’t like to give airtime to this kind of thought. But out of fairness (read it for yourself if you think I’m not being fair) a desire to always site my source, here it is. 

And here’s my response. 

It’s time—it’s well past time—to stop looking for someone to save us from ourselves.

I can’t get over the mental contortion that the writer has to perform in order to begin a paragraph with “We have, for years, systematically stripped our public classrooms of any acknowledgement of God or moral absolutes,” and end with “We reinforce the self centered belief that it is ‘all about me.”

You see, the thing that the writer leaves out is that he’s not interested in hearing about your god, or my god, or anyone else’s god. He’s only interested in hearing about his god and in the versions of god that he thinks are close enough to his version of god. It’s ironic and revealing (not to mention remarkably self-aggrandizing) that the writer’s website is called “Truth Observed.”

Mr. Tacket wants us to understand that an it’s-all-about-me mindset is the root of evil insofar as social problems go. But the author conveniently forgets that the religion that he thinks will save the world is really just his own version, his own understanding, packaged and sold for our consummation. In other words, it’s his version of all-about-me dressed up like religion so that we think that it has been delivered from on high and then promulgated through blame, shame and guilt. 

It’s-all-about-me is fine, as long as we say “It’s really all about Jesus.” Right? 

OK. Fine. Our president says he wants to have a national conversation and your response is derisive, dismissive, condescending and self-contradictory and totally not helpful.

But, those like Mr. Tacket should understand that choices have consequences.

When you allow yourself to stop taking responsibility for your actions (gun control won’t help us, we all just need Jesus), the end result will be a violent country where this sort of thing happens over and over again.

When you begin with the premise that man is evil and needs saving, you’ve planted the seed for violence.

When you dismiss the role of individual meaning-making in religion, and say that you (and you exclusively) have found the “truth,” it creates violence in your heart towards others who “need saving.”

And finally, when your response to a national tragedy is so dramatically off-topic (let’s end abortion and put prayer back in schools), not only do you partake in the violence that plagues us; but you also deny our nation that possibility of a conversation with outcomes that evince our shared understanding of what it means to be safe while respecting the safety needs of others. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Up and Out: Thailand

We are leaving for the airport in thirty minutes. Douglas did a great job at the last minute packing, and I managed to doubt him only once. We are close to being professionals... I think.

This should be a quick, easy, and painless trip. The only bad thing is the overnight flight being four hours and we land at sunrise. So it looks like a short night and a long day ahead. It will all be worth it after spending two weeks on a private beach with each other and our boys.

Happy Holidays!

Chad, Douglas, Cedric & Ezra

Sunday, December 16, 2012

First Haircut

Oh my! It's amazing how quickly these kids are growing up. In witnessing the new things they're learning, seeing them take their first unassisted steps, attempting to form words, eating new foods, and by almost everyone who lives in our community and has known the boys since they're birth, we're reminded daily that our babies don't stay babies for long. Yesterday, in preparation for some major beach time coming up, we decided to bite the bullet and get the twins their first haircut. And, wow! I think they suddenly turned into little boys right before our eyes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Playing Catch Up: First Birthday Party

Our last day in Istanbul was Cedric & Ezra's first birthday. We enjoyed carpet shopping, apple tea drinking, purchasing a great painting, and of course hopping on a plane. I sat down today and calculated how many flights the boys have been on in their first year and here is what I came up with.

Delhi-Hong Kong
Hong Kong-Delhi

So there you have it 17 take offs and landings and 46,530 miles in their first year of life. Not many babies can say they have been in six different countries (seven if you count Texas) before the age of one.

My mother came back to Delhi with us and we had a great two weeks hanging out around the house and exploring Delhi-lite. While she was here we had a proper celebration with our overseas family. Thankfully the boys are not all that into sugar and messes... yet.

We are off to Koh Chang Thailand next week for winter break. We get to spend almost three weeks with our asses in the sand and beers in our hands!

Here are a few pictures from the party.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Playing Catch Up: Turkey Trip

Hello blog readers! I'm not sorry for the long pause in blogging. Life is as busy as hell and the blog gets put on the back burner.

Turkey was a great trip despite me declaring a moratorium on all future travel on the flight to Istanbul. It all started around 2a. We packed the boys up and headed to the airport where they slept through check-in, immigration, security, and boarding. We took our seats and life as we knew it changed. The boys kicked it into high gear, and since it was morning time it was play time. Under normal circumstances this would be fine, but Douglas and I had been up since 2a and were approaching exhaustion. Just an FYI holding two almost one year olds still for six hours on three hours of sleep isn't pretty. So we learned that timing is everything, and in the future we will be taking overnight flights when we travel.

Although it started out a bit rough our trip to Istanbul was great. My mother flew in from Indianapolis the day after we arrived, and we had a great time eating street food and touring the city. The streets are clean, the people were nice, and the buildings are beautiful. Istanbul is now on my list of top cities.

Here are some pictures from our trip.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Up and Out: Turkey

We did not forget about the blog. The twins are definitely keeping us busy around the house. We have both been working hard and traveling hard so our house has been in constant motion.

The boys are on a fairly decent schedule now. We were spoiled way to early with sleeping through the night. We have been dealing with middle of the night feedings since the last post. We think in that beginning the boys were going through a growth spurt and were in fact hungry, but now we have determined they have developed a dependence to the middle of the night bottle. Last night the boys self soothed and everyone woke up happy.

They both love to sing and dance. Anytime we put on the music (except Mary's music) they start to boogie. Bath time at our house is so much fun. They both love to splash. They eat mostly cut up things now, and we only still puree a few things. Ezra only likes spicy chicken. If it doesn't have enough flavor he will spit it out. Cedric still eats everything. Jyoti loves the boys and sits waiting for them to drop food from their high-chairs.

We leave for Istanbul tonight, and have not even taken the suitcases out of the closet. Douglas has decided that we are last minute packers and that stresses me out. If I were in charge of the bags I probably would have done it last week. That being said he always does a great job, and we have never left anything or anyone behind.

Cedric and Ezra will be one year old next week. My mother is meeting us in Istanbul and we are bringing her back to India for two weeks. We are shocked that a whole year has gone by already. The days are busy and a little bit crazy, but I can't imagine it any different.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's Back...

Last night we heard screams from the nursery. After several months of sleeping through the night the boys wanted to eat at 2am.

Lets hope this was a one and done thing. Crossing our fingers for tonight!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hong Kong with Babies

We've thoroughly enjoyed our time in Hong Kong. Right now the boys are asleep, so I'm taking this time to write about what we've done so far in so that we'll remember it. But, I also want to give a little advise for anyone who is thinking about coming here with small children.

Day One: Arrival in Hong Kong, getting organized at the hotel and catching up on sleep:
We left Delhi at about midnight on Friday evening and flew direct to Hong Kong. The flight went very smoothly. The kind attendants of Jet Airways were very friendly and offered to help us in any way they could. They even moved us into a bulkhead row and gave us a bassinet, which Ezra thoroughly enjoyed. Ezra slept peacefully throughout the entire flight while Cedric was way too excited by everything going on to get much sleep.

When we arrived in Hong Kong we arranged with the hotel to have someone meet us with a car with two car seats. The service was a bit pricey (about US$100), but well worth it given how fast everyone drives (car seats are not mandatory). It takes about 45 minutes to get from the airport to down town Hong Kong. We are staying at the Crown Plaza at Causeway Bay. The hotel has taken extra-special care of us, starting with a free upgrade to a bigger room and two pack-'n-plays delivered to our room within minutes of us arriving. And it's a good thing that they delivered them quick, because we all crashed from a long night journey and everyone took a two hour nap.

When we got up, we went out and explored the neighborhood. What an incredibly clean city! I am seriously amazed. We wandered through a few markets, including a live fish and meat market, and it didn't even smell bad! We talked to the hotel about a restaurant recommendation, and when we asked how pricey the food would be, she asked us where we were from.
"We're from the USA," I said.
"Oh, then very cheap."
"But we live in Delhi."
"Oh, then very expensive."

OK. So, we also had our first restaurant experience and the food was great. And Ezra made quick friends with the owner.

Back at the hotel, we got a great package deal on internet/happy hour/breakfast; so, Chad went to the bar for a little adult alone time and I stayed and relaxed with the babies while they had another nap. Then, we switched roles and I had my turn with some lovely red wine. A very relaxing first evening in Hong Kong!

Day Two: Ngong Ping and the Big Buddha
What we thought would be a morning trip to see the "Big Buddha" turned into an 8-hour day-trip. No worries, though, as Ezra and Cedric are possibly the world's best little travel buddies. I had noticed the day before that Hong Kong is not the most stroller-friendly city (it's by no means, however, as bad as Delhi). Most parents are out and about with their children strapped on front in Baby Bjorn carriers. Since Chad has, what I consider, an unreasonable phobia of damage during travel to our City Select, we opted to purchase two umbrella strollers from Chicco and we have been able to navigate the streets reasonably well.

So, we made our way to the nearest metro station and took the underground for about 45 minutes to the cable car station, waited in line for an hour, took a 20 minute cable car ride, walked around a lovely little tourist village, saw the big buddha, ate some fried food goodies and then repeated the travel process in reverse to get home. Luckily I had enough food and bottles packed to last us! There were tons of families out strolling with children at Ngong Ping, and besides having no secure place to leave strollers when climbing the many, many flights of stairs to get up to Big Buddha (we risked it and just left our strollers near some official looking ticket takers, and our strollers were waiting for us right where we left them after we descended from the statue). It was worth the lines and travel to be out and about and to see the look on our kids' faces when the cable car went up, up, up!
We had had such a lovely time of taking turns at happy hour, that we repeated our routine from the evening before and then we went out for a stroll and found a lantern festival in the park. There were so many people out and about; it was insanity! Yet, even though the crowds rival anything I've dealt with in Delhi, I never felt like anyone was invading my personal space (very UN-delhi-like!).

Back at the hotel, Ezra was beat and crashed pretty quickly. Cedric, on the other hand, thought that Hong Kong hotels were way too much fun and wanted to stay up late and party. His dads put the kibosh on that and everyone had a long night's rest.

Day Three: Shopping and a Lazy Hotel Day
We needed some retail therapy, so we went to the nearby mall, called Times Square. It's a huge mall with nine floors of shops. I got a chance to go into a proper music store and browse the scores, and we had some Ben and Jerry's (there goes my pale diet!!). We had a lovely late lunch at a restaurant called S/M/L which allows you to choose the size of your portions. Yummy steak for dads. Cheerios for the boys.

In the evening we went out to dinner, enjoyed a little happy hour and got massages at a nearby salon.

Day Four: Packing, the Harbor and Flying
I love almost everything about traveling with our twins. But perhaps the thing I don't really love all that much is how long it takes me to pack. Gone are the days of 30-minute throw-it-in-the-suitcase-and-go packing rituals. Now, it takes me about three hours to get everything organized, check the lists, clean everything that needs cleaned and put stuff away.

After we packed, we went on a major walk in the park and found a great Thai restaurant. Then we walked down to the harbor and took some pictures on the Hong Kong skyline before moseying back to our hotel, grabbing our bags and heading for the airport.

We got to the airport with tons of time to spare, which was a good thing because the Hong Kong airport is huge and it seemed like we had to walk for miles to make it to our gate. Going through security, however, was a breeze. There was NO ONE in the whole security area and all of the security works were mesmerized by our boys so they really just waved us through. Nice!

All in all, I feel like we could have gone out and done more touristy things in HK, but part of the reason we were getting out of Delhi was to relax, and as far as that task is concerned, mission accomplished!