Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vacation Interlude

We live in India, but we're not unaware of the things going on in the US on social media and the discussion (not sure that it's really a discussion so much as people yelling at each other on Facebook) that's taking place surrounding reality television and the LGBT community.

Here are a few thoughts:

1. The freedoms of speech and religion are not in jeopardy in the USA. Lets stop--rather hysterically--pretending that they are. Last time I checked, the government didn't have anything to do with anyone being censored. Recently, a reality television star made several prejudicial statements about gay people. Those statements were not in keeping with the values of the network that airs his reality television show, so they temporarily suspended him from the show. Most of us who are employed by a company have contracts that also limit the things we say in the public arena. If I were to make disparaging comments in a public arena, I would also, most likely, loose my job. Yes, you have the right to say most of what you want. You do not, however, have the right to continue being employed if you say something that makes your employer look bad. [Before anyone gets carried away with thinking that A&E might actually share the values that a majority of Americans now share regarding the LGBT community, I think we're fooling ourselves if we think this is anything but a massive PR stunt that will make both A&E and the show in question even more popular]

2. Can't we agree that reality television is really trite and that there are more important things going on in the US and in the world? Take a second a compare the US CNN site and the International CNN site if you think that Americans aren't distracted by nonsense. Shouldn't topics such as wars in Syria and Afghanistan, high poverty rates among children in the US, and a growing income gap grab our attention more than what some celebrity said? 

3.  In the ruling of the recent court case in Utah, the judge reaffirmed what should by now be common sense: families with gay or lesbian parents pose no threat to families with opposite sex parents. The repeal of parts of DOMA highlighted the completely disengenuous and wholly unsubstantiated argument that proponents of anti-equality amendments and laws have been spewing. They said that my family harms them; finally, the courts are standing up and saying "prove it!" And, guess what, the defenders of these hateful laws have been unable to do it. These laws are totally about private religion, or private animous, invading the public sector. In the USA, we have strong laws that prevent us from passing other laws only to demonstrate hate or discrimination to one segment of society. The various laws or constitutional amendments that bar same sex couples from getting married do not protect "straight marriage" as they are purported to do. They only promulgate hate. 

4. If your religious convictions mandate that you don't get married to someone of the same sex, then you are free to put those principles into practice in your own life. I do not subscribe to any such religion and I would prefer if you keep your views to yourself and practice your religion respectfully and privately. Thankfully now, a majority of people in America are in support of marriage equality. Our laws in the US are slowly, but surely, catching up to this new reality. I'm thankful for these strides toward social justice as they have a real and practical impact on my family. One thing I learned from our recent job search is that the world-wide marriage equality movement is not about abstract ideas. It's about security and safety for families like mine in many states and countries. If we've finally reached the point as a society where we can say that blatant homophobia doesn't meet with our beliefs and values, then I say happy new year. 

In other news, we're back from Prague and all four have a pretty nast case of jet lag. Here's to an easy day of unpacking and movies!  


Friday, December 27, 2013

Prague: Day 6

We've been enjoying roaming around the various playgrounds and the markets right near our apartment. On day six, we got a little more adventurous and took a walk to the Prague Castle. The walk there was brisk as it was early in the morning. There weren't many pedestrians out on the street. Nyssa helped us find our way through the windy corridors once we crossed over the Vltava. The map, however, was not our friend, as it turned out that our chosen path included about 22 sets of stairs. We formed a team with Chad and Nyssa taking both strollers at the back and me picking both up at the front and we climbed the stairs one by one, much to the amusement of the people strolling leisurely down in the opposite direction. Once we reached the summit, we enjoyed some breathtaking views of the city covered in the mists of the morning air. It was truly refreshing to see actual fog that isn't laced in pollution... Ah, Delhi! I will not miss your sketchy air quality!

After seeing a quick guard changing ceremony at the government buildings, our tour commenced. We visited the Old Palace, a 12th century Romanesque church that had been beautifully restored, and a quaint row of houses where smithies and bars from days gone by were preserved to give us a taste of what Prague must have been like long ago. Finally, we went to the Cathedral and marveled at the beautiful stained glass. The boys took it all in from the comfort of their strollers. We stopped a few times to let them stretch their legs and push their own strollers around. All in all, they were perfectly behaved little tourist-gentlemen. 

Until all hell broke loose. During the last few minutes of the last stop on our tour, Cedric decided he had had enough stroller time and wanted to be carried. Since we'd pushed our luck and had kept the boys out past their nap time, I carried him for as long as I could. But , at the end of the first mile on our two-mile walk back to our apartment, my arms had had enough, and--much to his dismay--I put him back in his stroller. Yikes! He screamed all the way back to our hotel while we quickly rushed down streets and through squares. I've never pushed a stroller so quickly in my life. 

Finally back at the apartment, we quickly got them changed and put down for a nap. They slept for three and a half hours. Poor little guys were tuckered out from a morning of strolling and sight seeing. 

The evening was spent playing around the apartment, eating dinner, and then going for a stroll on the square to see the evening Christmas events. There was a very interesting Czech folk band that played on the main stage as we walked. We ate a few more helpings of trdlo, the sweet bread that is gently rolled over the fire and coated with sweet cinnamon and sugar. A few more glasses of mulled wine and some cold beers were also enjoyed by the adults. 
Back at our apartment, we Skyped with my family who was having their Christmas celebrations on the 26th instead of the 25th. It was nice to see everyone opening the presents we bought and sent. Internet shopping finally made manifest. And, sadly, we said goodbye to Nyssa. She was flying early the next morning to Berlin to see family. We've so enjoyed having her on the trip and the twins LOVE their Aunt Nyssa time. 

One more full day is all we have left in Prague. This vacation is flying by. Hopefully the pounds of food we've eaten will fly off of our waistlines just as quickly once we return to Delhi. 

Love and Peace, 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Prague: Day 5 - Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone. We're having a great time here in Prague. Christmas Day with the boys was very laid back. We spent the morning at home playing with toys and having a great time. In the afternoon we walked to Zofin Island, where the boys ran around and played on the excellent playground equipment. In the evening, we had our Christmas meal and then we all took turns calling our family members on Skype. Then we went out and walked around the square. All in all, it was an excellent Christmas Day in Prague.

All the Best, 
Douglas and Family

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Prague: Day 4

Christmas Eve!

Like most of Europe, Christmas Eve is when the celebration happens. We spent the day with the boys shopping for presents and feasting on the local cuisine. We enjoyed a wonderful Christmas Eve meal right on the Old Town Square. 

The apartment we've rented for this week is ideally located just a minute from the festivities and when we walk outside we often hear the bells tolling from the astronomical clock. Here's a video of our walk from our apartment to the main square where the Christmas Market is located. 

In other news, the boys have mostly recovered from the jet lag, but were still quite tired. They took two long naps during the day. Their appetites are also returning. We are looking forward to hearing from friends and family over the next few days as celebrations and gatherings of those near and dear to us take place in various locations throughout the world.

Love and Peace,
Douglas, Chad, Cedric and Ezra

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Prague: Day 3

The boys sleeping in until 6:30 AM during our first full day in Prague must have been a fluke. On our second day, they woke up at 3:00 AM and went charging full steam ahead. Needless to say, Chad and I were not ready to get up at that time. We sort of stumbled into the day, relying on the strong coffee I'd bought at the store on the day before.

One nice thing about staying in this apartment versus staying in a hotel is there is a little courtyard right outside our door where the boys can run around. We played outside for a little while in the morning. They chased each other, threw hickory nuts around and ran after them, and pushed their strollers in circles. Basically, they did what they needed to do to work out their energy.

When we travel one of the most difficult things is figuring out what the boys' eating and sleeping schedule will be. European time is only 3 and 1/2 hours behind Asia; but, those three hours make a huge difference on their little bodies. Ezra really didn't feel like eating much yesterday, except for the homemade potato chips we got in the Christmas Market. 

Yesterday, we explored more of the markets and took a long walk in the afternoon to one of the islands on the Vltava where the boys had lots of space to run around and chase after the prodigiously large, and somewhat tame, geese wandering around. 

By the time we walked back to the apartment it was almost dark. The sun is setting in Prague at about 4:00 PM. So, the boys played in the apartment, ate dinner and watched a movie with me while Chad and Nyssa went to adult dinner. 

Here are some pictures from our third day in Prague: 
Ezra climbing on the playground equipment on the island we walked to.

The boys playing in the courtyard of our apartment. 

A view of Old Town from across the river. 

Nyssa, Chad and the boys. 
Yummy Czech pastries. 

Chilling out in the park. 

So excited to see the geese. 

Happy family with Prague Castle in the background.
Yummy potato chips in the Christmas Market. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Prague: Day 2

Warning: this blog post contains more detail than you probably want to know about our vacation. I apologize to our dear blog readers. I am really just chronicling our trip for us.  You are, of course, invited to read along. Maybe you might see something valuable for planning your next trip with your kids (either what to do, or what not to do!) 

And now that I've lowered your expectations. . . 

The boys gave us an early Christmas present and slept until 6:00AM--which is actually 9:30 AM Delhi time. I guess they knew how tired their dads were. So, we got up and I made the boys some oatmeal for breakfast. Instant oatmeal is our favorite travel breakfast. Then, I went out in search of pastries for Chad and me. We are staying in an apartment less than one block off of Old Town Square, and there were some revelers from the Saturday night festivitesstill wandering about the square probably looking for carbohydrates as well to help soften the blow of morning time after a long night of partying. In spite of the tipsy partiers, Prague was beautiful in the morning. I visited this city about 15 years ago, and I remember the city being lovely, but something--probably being able to share this experience with my own family--makes it even more lovely now.
I forgot that it was Sunday morning and so none of the pastry shops were open yet. So I wandered back to the apartment and we played with the boys for a while. Then, we got them all bundled up for a little walk around the neighborhood. After we wandered on our own, we met the owner of the apartment where we're staying and he took us on a mini-tour of the neighborhood and showed us where all of the good restaurants are, where to get groceries and gave us some ideas of things to do with kids. He's a super nice guy, and after we leave, I will post his website so anyone who is thinking of coming to Prague can contact him to rent this great apartment. 

So far, the only thing I know I forgot when packing was a belt for myself. I've recently lost a bit of weight, so having a belt is not an option. So, we went to the nearby mall and got a belt, saw where the grocery store was, and made plans to return later when the boys took a nap. After the mall, we walked back to the square and got our first taste of the food from the Christmas market. Sausages and fresh bread with mulled wine for me and beer for Chad. 

The boys had started nodding off in their strollers, so it was time for an official nap. We headed back to the apartment and put them down. They slept for almost three hours. I had time to take a little nap myself and head back to the grocery store to pick up stuff so the boys and us could have some meals at the apartment. When the boys woke up, we wandered around the square --now teeming with families-- then drank some more mulled wine (Chad and me, not the boys). We met up with our friend, Nyssa for dinner and then went to a concert after in St. Nicholas's church which is right on the Old Town Square. 

A little side note about all of these trips outside. It is significantly colder in Prague than the moderate "winter" Delhi weather we're used to. So each trip requires about 10 minutes worth of adding on layers so our boys don't freeze. when we're finally finished with the thermal onesie, outer clothes, hat, coat and gloves, the boys look like little Michelin men. 

Back to the concert... Being a classically trained musician, one of the things I miss most about the US, Europe, or pretty much any other major city outside of Delhi is really high-quality classical music. In India, there is a really vibrant classical and folk arts scene, and since we've arrived in India, there's been an emergence of new bands that fuse Indian and Western pop music. But, there really isn't any significant Western Classical music scene, and I miss operas and symphonies more than is really reasonable. So, I was thrilled that there was a chamber orchestra concert with soprano and trumpet soloists right on the square last night. 

The boys sat really well through the whole concert. Both of our boys love listening to live and recorded music. But, as it was already well past their bedtime in India, Ezra fell asleep after about 15 minutes. Cedric was a trooper and really tried to stay awake. At one point, he had his eyes most of the way closed and the audience started to applaud at the end of a piece and Cedric, very half-heartedly, woke up and clapped along, then laid his head back down on Chad's shoulder. 

When we returned to the apartment, the long day of walking, bundling and eating had caught up with everyone, so we put the boys to bed, had a glass of wine with Nyssa and chatted for a bit. Then, we went to bed ourselves. 

Here's a preview for tomorrow's post: the boys did not sleep until 6:30 AM.  Ugh. 

Love and Safe Travels, 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Prague: Day 1

We've arrived! And I have to say, flying to Europe from Asia is barely easier than flying to North America. The boys did great all day long (and it was a LONG day getting here!). We woke them up at 3:00AM and headed to Indira Ghandi International Airport. Despite recent diplomatic issues between the US and India, going through immigration and security at IGI was as uneventful as ever. In fact, I think we set a new record for going from our door all the way through security at just under one hour!

And Cedric discovered moving sidewalks:

We flew from New Delhi to Istanbul. On the flight, the boys watched movies on the iPads (Cars, Finding Nemo and Planes), which is something we don't let them do at home. Needless to say, they loved their screen time and we loved not having to chase them up and down the plane for six hours. They stayed in their seats very well and napped on and off. 

Our layover in Istanbul was too long. Our flight to Prague didn't leave for six hours. Thankfully, Istanbul boasts the best Star Alliance lounge in the world. The have the best food and a great playroom for the boys. The only issue was that the whole airport was so crowded we felt we were bumping into people all over the place. I guess that's what we get for traveling the weekend before Christmas.

Cedric enjoyed eating the delicious baklava in the lounge, and Ezra loved watching the real planes and cars outside.

By the time we boarded the flight to Prague, the boys were pretty tired and it was approaching their bedtime. So, they watched movies a bit more and then both boys crashed for the duration of the flight.  I think Chad and I even got a bit of shut eye. 

We landed in Prague and were embraced by the wonderfully cool and crisp air. We're so glad to be in Europe for winter break. The boys, however, didn't share our joy and when we put their coats on, Cedric lost it and had an epic tantrum that lasted twenty minutes while we were in the car on our way to our apartment in Old Town. I apologized profusely to our driver. Two-year-old tantrums can make time stand still. 

When we got to the apartment, we got the boys settled in and met our friend, Nyssa, who traveled all the way from the US to meet us for this vacation. Nyssa met us underneath the beautiful Christmas tree that is in the Old Town square. What a great Christmas gift for us and for the boys. 

The apartment where we're staying is great. The owner met us and showed us around. He's going to give us a brief tour on Sunday morning so we can get our bearings. We're looking forward to a week of cold weather, great food, conversation and beautiful sights. 

More to come! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

When The Stars Align

All of the stars have aligned. When we started our job search we never dreamed that we would be presented with such an amazing opportunity. All of our wants and a few bonus features for our next home have been met. The city is clean, they had jobs for both of us, and our marriage will be legally recognized!

We are happy to announce that in August 2014 we are moving to Amsterdam in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Here is a flash back photo from when we first went to Amsterdam in 2008!

Smiles ear to ear!

Chad & Douglas

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Changing American Family

I don't know if we're "exemplars of domesticity," but this article is well worth the read. Scroll down about half way for the portion entitled "The Baby Boom for Gay Parents."

Can you imagine what the statistics would look like with full marriage equality?

Can you imagine how many more same-sex parents there are now versus 2008?

What incredible, wonderful changes will we see over the next few years?

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Heading into the Unknown

Searching for a job internationally is complicated. Especially when dependents, housing, and visas are factors to be considered by your prospective employer. There are not many places in the world that offer both Douglas and myself a position in the same location where it is not illegal for us to live.

It has been sixteen years since I came out of the closet and since then I have never faced any sort of discrimination because of that (that I know of). I suppose I have just been lucky; however in our job searching we have found that the world is much smaller that we originally thought. We only have two requirements of a country; clean air, and not illegal to be gay.

The unknown is really scary. The fact that we don't know where we will live starting in June is frightening. Even if we move back to the United States we still don't know exactly where we will live.

Whatever happens happens... Everything will work out in the end.


Monday, November 25, 2013


Cedric and Ezra are officially two. Actually they turned two several days ago, but we have just been too busy to talk about it. In the last month I have been to Las Vegas and Douglas has been Denver and back. Our house has been a revolving door of activity.

Language development has reached a new level. The boys are becoming easier to communicate with which means life with twins is starting to calm down. Of course it is still wild, but once your children understand what you are asking of them it feels more like a partnership.

In other news we are heading to Prague for Christmas this year. We are super excited about this trip. Cedric and Ezra will get their first taste of genuine cold weather.

Another blog post is coming with updates about leaving Delhi and the search for new jobs.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Leaving India

This year will be our sixth and final year living in New Delhi. We decided last May that it is time for a change, and we are sticking to our plan. I say that jokingly, but we call India the golden handcuffs. We have great jobs, great salaries and live in a great community and therefore it is hard to give it all up for the unknown. Our number one choice would be to remain abroad, but we are also looking at moving back to the United States if that plan doesn't work out.

India has changed tremendously in the past six years, but India is a still tough place to live. I look back to the first time I arrived at the old worn down Delhi airport. It was the first time I had left the United States and my emotions were high. I remember coming down the stairs into passport control and bursting into tears. "What in the hell am I doing?"

India is a crazy place. Most people come for short stays and click pictures of the chaos because it is so wild it is funny. When we first arrived we felt the same way. It is interesting to look back at those first time experiences and compare how I felt then and how I feel now. I think we progress in waves. Our feelings have progressed from this is wild and it is funny, to this is wild and it is normal, and now to this is wild and it annoys me.

Our time in India has been wonderful. Our lives have truly changed because of this place. It is an experience we will never regret. India is full of firsts for us and it is a place we will never forget.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Overdue Update

The boys are keeping us really busy these days. Their day runs from 8a-8p with a one or two hour nap after lunch. Most days with the boys are a lot of fun, but it isn't always gum drops and lollipops, as you can imagine.

Every day Cedric and Ezra are learning something new. Sometimes good things... sometimes bad things. We have made momentous progress on manners recently. Their skills of reason have also started to develop. They now understand what we want, however it is still a toss up if they decide to comply or not.

They are learning new words daily and will repeat anything you say. Anything. It has been a lot of fun watching them grow. They have such different personalities it is hard to believe they are twins.

Ezra is a runner. I can already anticipate phone calls from his teachers saying he ran away. He gets this look on his face and you can see he is testing how you will respond.

We have had a few problems with our ayah. I came home the other day and she was letting the kids dance on the coffee table. We have been working hard on keeping them from climbing on it... now we know why they were not listening. It is also culturally difficult for our ayah tell the twins "no". It is a different way of looking at it but it's as if the she works for the kids. So we are working on boundary issues where she has to tell the boys no and enforce the rules while we are gone.

We have also had our fair share of illness. Everyone has had coughs, running noses, and fevers. Cedric has had a few terrible reactions to bug bites. Some that have led to skin infections with very disgusting looking boils on his legs. I could never be a doctor. I had to stop trying to diagnose the issue using Dr. Google after seeing the search results for skin rashes. People are nasty!

We are still trying to get Ezra to pack on the pounds. Cedric is gaining weight like normal, but Ezra just can't seem to gain a pound. He is a good eater, but must burn calories at a much higher rate. He never stops moving so maybe he will always be a skinny mini.

Eating out with twins is going quite well. Once in awhile we have to end dinner a bit quickly, but most of the time they are perfect gentleman. We have noticed they seem to eat better when we all eat together as opposed to having a kids meal time and then an adult meal time.

The weather is still quite hot in Delhi. We have been swimming most weekends and sometimes swim during the week. Ezra is a little fish and will jump from the side of the pool and blow bubbles and all sorts of fun stuff in the water. Cedric also loves the water, but he has always been a little more reserved and leaves the show boating the his brother.

We have also joined a very diverse play group. There are kids from Norway, Germany, Brazil, Spain, India, and Czech Republic. Our ayah has been coordinating with several other ayahs to have regular play groups at a different house three times a week. Once a week we host at our house and there are nine children and nine ayahs all in our house. I stuck my head in the door once. It was toddler overload.

Cedric and Ezra are really good at sharing with other children. However sharing between themselves is another story. I find it very interesting how they interact with each other. Ezra will take things from Cedric just for fun and then run through the house as if it is a game. Cedric subsequently is chasing him through the house screaming for his toy back. We have a lot of work to do in this area. Maybe a life long task.

I am heading to Las Vegas for a work conference in two weeks. I am looking forward to learning something new and excited for the networking possibilities. It has been a few years since I have been in Las Vegas. I can't wait to see if I can still win at black jack. My mom and dad are also going to meet me there for a couple of days.

Sorry this post turned into a novel. I guess that's what happens when you are terrible bloggers and forget to post anything for two months!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dear Mom, . . .

Dear Mom, 


We're back in Delhi. And what a trip it was! It's good to get back in the swing of things and to be in our own place.

The plane ride was about what I expected it to be. The boys did awesome on the first leg of the trip, and then we used the family room in the United Club for our long layover (it pays to be Premier Access Gold Members). It was great! We had a private room, two couches and a TV. Cedric napped and Ezra played. 

Cedric was definitely not himself at all yesterday. Of course, I took the thermometer out of our diaper bag (we've never used it during a flight before, so no need to keep it in the diaper bag, right? WRONG!). So, I'm not sure how high his fever got during the flight, but I'm pretty sure it was up there. He slept or laid down for the entire Delhi flight. Ezra, however, made up for his brother's lack of energy especially during the last four hours of the flight. Wowsa! He got so frustrated towards the end that he cried for about 20 minutes (seemed like 2 hours) because he couldn't get down and run around the aisles. Then he finally fell asleep again as we landed. Chad assures me that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was. Still, it stunk pretty bad. I hope that this was the worst of it and that when they're 2 1/2 they'll be able to understand a bit better why they can't be free range on the plane. Maybe I'm fooling myself.

We got in at 8 and were out of the airport by 9 with three trolleys of luggage plus two strollers and diaper bags. Arjun, one of the school drivers, was waiting for us outside with the van near by. So, we loaded up and headed for home.

The boys were shell shocked by then, but Ezra was really happy to see Jyoti and kept running around trying to give her a hug. What a happy labrador. It looks like she did a lot of comfort eating while we were gone as she's a bit thick around the middle. Cedric, meanwhile, wasn't having any of it, happy lab or no!

We sorted a few things out and then had the boys in bed by 10:30. At that time Cedric's temperature was about 101. I'm pretty sure it had been higher than that during the flight. The boys went down without any fuss at all. World-weary travelers.

After they went to bed, we sat down for a few minutes, but then got up and hauled all the luggage (8 bags, 2 strollers and a carry-on) up two flights of stairs. I opened a few pieces of luggage, but only the essentials in order for us to go to bed and get started again the next morning. Sleep came fast, but was not long-lasting. The boys woke up in a fit at about 1:00 AM. Fortunately, they only needed bottles and went right back to bed until 3:30 when they woke up again. I fed them breakfast and they played. They were in great moods and Cedric's fever had vanished. At about 6:00, their wheels started to fall off and so they had another bottle and went back to bed for what I thought would be a two- or three-hour nap. No sir. They slept from 6:30 AM until I woke them up at 1:00 PM. Jet lag is a nasty beast. While they were sleeping I unpacked our luggage. It's good to have that done and out of the way.

Chad went to work at 8:00 and Sheela had came in at 8:30, so I took the opportunity to take a nap myself. I slept until about 10. Then I got back to work organizing what I had unpacked. Chad and I had lunch with some of the returning faculty. It was nice to see our friends. We'll be doing a lot of "Remind me what your plans were this summer..." over the next week. Familiar, and mostly jet-lagged, faces are slowly starting to reappear. New faculty has been here for about three days. I don't officially start back until Tuesday.

They boys and Sheela (our housekeeper and nanny) have been getting reacquainted today. Vineet (the dog walker) came in this morning while they were asleep and was visibly devastated when I told him that the boys were asleep. He missed them so much over the summer. He came back this afternoon and he's now playing with them. I think Cedric is getting tired again. I'm not sure what the rest of the day will bring for him. I think that he might need a nap. This is going to be an interesting evening. Pretty sure they'll be wide awake when Chad and I are dragging to a halt and begging to go to bed.

The boys have been asking about Grandma and Grandpa and Meme and Papaw. We'll need to skype soon.

Love you!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Anticipation is Killing Me! (or, Long-distance Flying with Twins)

We are 37 hours away from boarding our first flight for our long, long journey back to India. So, that means we are in the process of saying goodbye to friends and family, we are in the middle of packing, and I'm starting to get nervous about our flight back to India. My mom said to me today that our kids always rise to the occasion when we travel, and I find that is true. The flight from India back to the USA in May was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

So, what did we do on a 14-hour flight with twin 20-month-old boys? First thing was get strapped in. Chad had the brilliant idea of getting these harnesses, which worked wonderfully for Cedric. He acted like he was in his car seat and sat almost three hours until he fell asleep. Ezra needed to be more mobile, but it was easier to deal with him since Cedric was taking care of himself. After we ate dinner on the plane, the boys fell asleep and stayed asleep for about six or seven hours. They were the fussiest right before they fell asleep because they had a hard time getting comfortable. When they woke up, they ate a little bit and played on the floor in front of the seats. We made several trips to the bathroom to change diapers as well as several walking trips up and down the aisle. The boys played with the iPad a little (they weren't very interested in it). They were awake for about three hours and then, they took about an hour-long cat nap. By the time they woke up again, we were close to arriving in Newark. 

Really, it wasn't that bad! I even got to sleep a little.

For anyone who is making a long flight with little people, I have several suggestions. 

First, be informed about what the seating arrangement is on the plane. The Boeing 777 we flew on is configured with three groups of three seats. Cedric, Ezra and I were sitting in the middle group of three, and Chad was right across the aisle. For the last half of the flight, he came and sat with me so we could block the twins in while they were playing on the floor in front of the seats. It would have been better had we been seated in one of the window-side groups of three. If you're traveling with twins ALWAYS take two diaper bags in case you get split up, one parent with each child. 

Second, buy your child his or her own seat. Don't try to have a 20-month old toddler sit on your lap for 14 hours. I've seen parents attempt this, and no one ends up happy. 

Third, get up and move around. Walk around the plane, or even take an unnecessary trip to the bathroom. Changing your space will break things up for you and your baby. Plus, it's better for your circulatory system when you get up and move around. 

Finally, realize that your child is going to cry and fuss a little. No one will die or be permanently injured because of your child's fussing. In the scheme of things, crying babies just aren't a big deal. 

Happy Flying, 


Friday, July 26, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Is Over

It is the saddest happiest time of the year. It is sad that we have to go back to work, but we are happy to settle back into our own home. This summer has been more relaxing than usual. We have taken it a lot easier this time around and done much less running from one place to the other.

We have spent the majority of our time in Indiana and Ohio visiting family. It has been wonderful for the boys to have huge yards and pools to play in. The weather has been perfect for outside time during our entire visit.

We took a couple side trips also. Our first trip was to visit our long lost friends in Atlanta. We learned that in the south just about anything will fit into a bikini, and that too much fast food can put me in the hospital.

Douglas and I headed out to San Francisco for a few days. Cedric and Ezra got to hang out with my parents while we were gone. The twins love their Mimi and Papaw! SF was so much fun. We did some touristy things and then some relaxing things. It sure was nice to have a few adult meals where we could enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner instead of asking for the check after appetizers.

We had a little visa scare that anyone heading to India should be aware of. We needed to get "fresh" visas this year since we have been in India for more than five years. This can only be done in your home country so this summer we had to send our passports out for new visas. I don't know the background behind the switch, but the Indian Consulate has changed the company that processes Indian visas. My advice is to apply early since it took us four weeks to receive our passports back. Also I recommend using Travisa to walk your passport through the process. It costs a bit more but if there is a problem they handle it.

We head back to Delhi on Tuesday night. If anyone is passing through Newark keep an eye out for the circus!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Should Have Known Better

Ezra's center of gravity is his head.

When we were singing Ring Around the Rosies, Ezra was singing in-tune on the last little bit, "All Fall Down," which is a remarkable feat for a 20-month old.  So, I let my music-teacher instincts take over, and I repeated that last phrase again and again hoping that I could get him to match pitch with me and get a video recording.

The result was not what I'd hoped.

No Ezras were (permanently) harmed in the making of this video.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What Do Children Need?

We've been staying with family for the past few weeks, having a great time seeing friends and relaxing. And, yes, we certainly enjoyed the court rulings last week, although I wish they could have/would have gone further to end discrimination and institute marriage equality for all. I've also been thinking about what life after India will be like. Will we come back to the US? Will we go to a different country? What will our jobs be like? Where will our children go to school? Honestly, I should stay more in the present, but I've had fun letting my imagination run wild. If I imagine it, maybe Chad and I will be able to manifest it.  We'll see. 

But all this imagining and the reverberations from the political echo chamber about how children need two opposite sex parents has me wondering what children really do need. And I've been imagining all of these different scenarios, trying to think about which one will benefit our children the most. I feel like a weatherman trying to predict which cloud will rain on which field.

At the school where I work, we talk about our belief that everyone needs safety (this includes physical needs such as food and sleep), power (including feeling successful), fun, freedom, and love and belonging. I see my students go about getting these needs met every day. Parents play the most important role in helping their children learn how to meet their own needs and to respect the needs of others. 

After a week of listening to pundits talk about what children need, I've been trying to pinpoint the feeling that I have when I hear  the soft bigotry of pundits cloaked in the religious zealotry that passes for holiness. And I've come to the conclusion that the feeling is not resentment. I'm not resentful of the people who think that my family isn't as optimal as a family with a mother and a father rather than two fathers. I am more saddened by the lack of understanding. People just don't understand how much our family is just like every other functional family with parents who love their children beyond measure. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

No Thanks, Dad

Can you tell which food item Cedric didn't appreciate, and politely separated (and didn't throw on the floor... YAY!) from the rest of the edible food? I guess string cheese isn't his thing!
In other news, yesterday's post really wasn't me seeking affirmation about my parenting skills (although I feel embraced and affirmed by the people who responded to it). I was more or less trying to express feelings that I think many parents have. I hope I wasn't being a needy blogger!  

Cheers to all!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Are We OK?

One of my closest friends from high school and college is now a psychologist in the air force. He deals with all kinds of patients with many kinds of mental health issues. Due to his deployments and our living in India, we haven't seen each other in three years. In those three years a lot has happened (like the birth of our twins, and the birth of his daughter). So, we met up in Atlanta over the weekend.

More about the trip later.

For now, suffice it to say that every time I'm around other parents (and certainly around the children of a psychologist), I'm constantly watching them and asking myself, are we OK?

Yesterday, I made an appointment with the pediatrician, not because anything is wrong, just to check in and see if we're OK.

Today, I did a google search--my first mistake of the day--for 18-24 month developmental milestones. Yes, my kids are doing most of the things on "the list." But they're not doing all of them. Are we OK?

My sister's kids were around last week. Her son is two months older than my kids and about 10lbs heavier. He's a better eater, and says more words. Crap. I mean, I'm happy for her. But all of that only leads me to ask, are we OK?

Chad and I have often joked that we'd be EXCELLENT parents if we had a singleton instead of twins (any other parents of multiples know this feeling?). But we don't have one, we have two! Which, of course, leads to the question; are we OK?

And then there's pinterest and all of the parents that have time to enrich their children's lives with neat activities, and then have time to create how to's for the rest of us underachievers. Yikes. We may not be OK.

And, oh goodness, there's the fact that we're same sex parents, and I constantly feel like people are waiting for us to fail so they can say "I told you so!" Are we really OK?

I'm not panicky. In my own estimation of myself and Chad, I think we're pretty calm parents. But it is a daily task to stop asking whether or not we're OK and really focus on my interactions with my kids. And, I guess that is the point of this rather rant-like post. I want to spend more time in the moment with my kids, and less time worrying about whether or not we're OK.

Friday, June 21, 2013

In Stitches

Cedric loves to laugh! He's our ticklish cuddlebug. Earlier this week, we went to the park and played on the swings. I think he enjoyed it . . .


Thursday, June 20, 2013


Yes, it's true, I've been MIA from blogworld. Beginning in the middle of April, I came down with a mysterious, India-induced illness. I am still recovering from symptoms that included persistent and recurring fever, stomach aches, body aches and a cough. Mostly, though, I was suffering from an extreme lack of energy and needed to focus all efforts on parenting and finishing the end of the school year. The silver lining of the whole experience is that I lost between 10 and 15 pounds.

The other thing that being sick has made me think about is whether or not it's finally time to leave India.  Chad and I have been in New Delhi for five years, and we will definitely be going back for a sixth year of work. Beyond that, we have no commitments. Is it time to leave?  Who knows?

Meanwhile, the boys are growing up right before our eyes. On June 4, we came back to the US for vacation, and during the first week that we were here Cedric and Ezra increased their vocabularies exponentially. They say so many words now. And, yes, they repeat everything. We've been enjoying time with our families.

I promise, now that I have some down time and am feeling better, to be a better blogger!  Here's a picture of my family on our farm in southern Ohio.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Bounce Time

Doug and I made our last circle around Delhi today picking up some last minute items. We also stopped by the spa to treat ourselves to a massage, mani, and pedi! It is way too hot this time of year to be running around... but it was worth it.

We apologize in advance to anyone who forgets their headphones on the United flight to Newark tonight. Keep an eye out for a traveling circus... it will be us!

Both boys are having troubles with their teeth right now. Ezra and Cedric are sprouting teeth (6 and 4) respectively simultaneously. So it should be an interesting flight.

Looking forward to family time and cool temps!

Here we come America!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Countdown Season

We are in the home stretch. It is odd to say that since technically India is our home, but nevertheless we are about to bounce out of the hot box for the summer holiday. Our ayah asked this morning who was going to take care of the twins over the summer. I suppose she is concerned that we are not capable, but I think we will manage.

The temps are hitting 115 F or 46 C daily. It is so hot that when you go outside you can feel your skin retreating and your eyes start watering. Our daily routine includes air conditioned playtime and swimming.

It is 10am...

I noticed a few days ago that Jyoti (our labrador) was getting a little thick around the middle. The vet has been forever telling me that she was getting too heavy, but I was in denial considering some of the dogs I have seen. She always tacks on a few extra pounds when we leave for the summer, but she might drop a few pounds since she won't be cleaning up after the boys.

Time to starting making to-do lists...

12 days until we are in the states for 9 weeks!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bangkok - No Babies!

It is the end of the year. It is too hot to move. I just finished a huge work project. Doug just got over a three week illness and finished end of year grades. So we are flying over to Bangkok for a weekend of fun and relaxation.

We disguised this trip as a belated birthday gift to me, but the truth is... we need an adult trip!

When we get back to Delhi we will have three weeks of end of year stuff to do. Then we are off to America for two months.

We are looking forward to reconnecting with friends and family.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Oh Geez

I love it when the boys talk. If I have Cedric's attention I can get him to try to repeat just about anything. He has been picking up new words daily. His most recent vocabulary addition is "oh geez". I can't stop laughing when he says it, and he gets so tickled by himself.

Another funny thing Cedric says is "teek hai". He learned this from our dog walker who has lunch with our ayah everyday. The boys just love Vineet and when he arrives they are over the moon excited. Teek hai is a common Hindi saying meaning yes, no, maybe, and ok depending on the way you say it. It is almost always accompanied by a "head bob". The head bob can be on the left, on the right, or back and forth. Cedric walks around our house bobbing his head and saying teek hai all the time. It is so cute.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Baby Proofing

Our house is 99% baby proof... leave it to Ezra to find the 1%.

While I was getting dinner ready the boys were free range throughout the house. They were having a good time laughing and playing with their toys. I ran into the bedroom for a minute and when I came out Ezra was in his crib. Doug asked me if I put him there and still in shock I said no.

I took him out and put him on the floor to see if he would demonstrate his new found ability and off he went. A few minutes later he was back in the nursery again so I watched him from the hallway. He knocked the pillows off the couch, used them as a step, climbed on the couch, climbed up on the arm rest, and did a swan dive into the crib. I gasped because I was sure it was my turn to go to an Indian emergency room, but up he jumped with a smile on his face.

Ezra is going to make my hair grey.

The couch has been moved.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Too Hot for Shoes

It is officially too hot for me. I am being a wimp this year (5 years in Delhi), and starting to complain earlier than usual. Thirty-five more days until we are up and out. The temps are reaching 105 daily now and will continue to increase until about 115 through the end of June. Yesterday I declared a moratorium on shoes and socks. It is sandal season in Delhi.

Twins twins twins!

Both boys are walking (Ezra running). They are growing very fast. Cedric is tall enough to grab things off the kitchen counters. The boys are tons of fun and full of energy. Play time has become much more fun as their skills are developing.

Our lives have changed so much. Our house is also changing. We have dismantled our guest room and created an entire room dedicated to play time. We painted all the walls blue and put down a padded floor of letters and numbers. We love it right now, but are quite aware it might turn into more work down the road when they figure out it comes apart in a million pieces. Our dvds and books have been removed from twin level. No matter what we tried they couldn't resist the temptation.

The boys also like dancing on the coffee table. We are working on getting them to stop table dancing, but this is going to be an ongoing battle. I won't say if either father has danced on a box before...

Everyone in our house has been sick. The twins and I recovered within two days, but Douglas has been out of commission for the last two weeks. We all hope he is better soon since single parenting is no fun. It is easy to forget how much you depend on your spouse when everything is normal, but when one of you is missing you quickly realize how much help you need.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Music to Our Ears

If you haven't heard the news, or heard the song, you've got to watch this. Congratulations to all our friends in New Zealand!

From Towleroad:

Hundreds of spectators in the gallery of New Zealand's parliament broke into a rendition of the love song “Pokarekare Ana” in the indigenous Maori language after the marriage equality bill was passed today.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Have You Seen These?

My brother-in-law brought these back to the US from a recent business trip to Honduras. Ezra and Cedric loved playing with them on the plane, and now they're among the "select few" toys that remain in our diaper bag for important occasions.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Holi!

Holi will always be a special holiday for us. Before we had kids, we would spend Holi with our friends, partying it up and having a great time getting really messy! Two years ago, we threw a great Holi party while keeping the secret that on the day before, at a nearby hospital, the doctor had transferred the embryos that would become our boys into our surrogate. I remember being more nervous and more excited than I ever thought I could be. Fast forward two years, to our boys second Holi. Life has changed dramatically, and we are so much richer in so many ways because of our boys. Happy Holi to everyone!

Douglas and Chad

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vacation Packing List for Baby

We're back from Goa! Good times were had by all travelers, and we have much to say about our experiences. It seems like every travel experience is a learning experience for all parties. So, expect some upcoming blogs as we have time. But first, an updated packing list for those of you who are interested.

The context: we took a four-day trip with a three hour plane ride with twin 16-month-old kids. I think that this list could probably make it for a week-long trip, or a multiple-week trip if you have access to laundry facilities. Our hotel where we stayed had cribs for the kids, so we didn't need to take our pack and play. The green items are things that we took and used. Orange ones are things we took and didn't use. Red ones are things we've taken on previous trips and decided, for one reason or another, to leave home.

We've kept a packing list since the boys were born on google drive. It is a shared document between us, so that both of us can update the list when we're at home or work (and we think of something we might forget, etc.). I highly recommend keeping your list on google drive so that you can access it wherever you are.

I know it seems like a TON of stuff, but we fit all of the boys things in one large suitcase and all of our things in one medium suitcase. So, in total, we had two suitcases, two diaper bags, two umbrella strollers, two dads and two boys (plus one grandma... but that's a different story for a different day!).

Clothes (total for both children)
  • 12 short sleeved
  • 6 long sleeved
  • 4 pants
  • 12 shorts
  • 4 swim suits/shirts
  • 8 pajamas
  • 2 sun hats

  • Towels(used the hotels)
  • Wash cloths (used the hotels)
  • Lotion (in a big ziplock bag)
  • Bath mat

  • Small toiletry bag
    • Baby Shampoo
    • Baby Soap/Body Wash
    • Baby Bug Repellant (mosquitos weren't bad this time!)
    • Anti-Mosquito wipes
    • Thermometer
    • Dirty diaper bags
    • Baby powder
    • Pepto pills
    • Diaper rash cream
    • Neosporin
  • Small toiletry bag
    • Baby sunblock
    • Adult Sunblock
    • Bug Spray

  • Toys for bath
  • Toys for beach (including flotation devices for swimming)
  • Toys for indoors
  • 2 stuffed animals
  • White noise machine (sleep dog)

  • 2 Gumdrop blankets (light linen)
  • 2 Fleece blankets

Travel Stuff
  • Baby bjorn (probably won't take it next time as our kids are getting too big)
  • Beach tent (we didn’t use this on our last trip, so we left it behind this trip and didn't miss it)
  • Sarongs (used as light beach towels)
  • Umbrella strollers
  • Monitor
  • Umbrella

Eating Paraphernalia
  • Bottles and accessories
  • Burp cloths
  • Sippy cups
  • Spoons
  • Bowls and plates
  • Oatmeal
  • Cheerios
  • Granola bars
  • Teddy Grahams
  • Goldfish
  • Larabars (new to us, via suggestion from my sister: LOVED them!)

  • Size 3
  • Dirty diaper bags
  • Extra Wipes
  • Swim diapers

Diaper Bag (we ALWAYS travel with two diaper bags on flights, as we have been split up into different sections of the plane multiple times! With the exception of medicine, everything on this list can be found in both of our diaper bags.)
  • Two Large Bottles with accessories (on long trips where I will have to clean bottles enroute, I take a ziplock bag with a small amount of dish soap and a bottle brush: otherwise, this goes in checked luggage)
  • Burp cloth (not for burping anymore, but good for wiping up messes)
  • Wipes
  • Pacifier wipes (no longer using pacifier, but good for wiping faces)
  • Changing pad
  • Dirty diaper bags
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Dirty clothes bag
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Granola bars
  • Food
    • Cherios
    • Granola Bar
    • Baby food
  • Spoons
  • Thermos for milk
  • Thermos for hot water for heating bottle
  • Toys
  • Medicine
    • Orajel
    • Fever reducer
    • Sweet oil (for ears)
    • Rubbing alcohol (for cleaning dirty surfaces - not sure this is legal to carry on a plane, but it's the best for sanitizing, and so far no one has searched through all the vials in my bag)
    • Gas drops
    • Oral syringe
    • Benedryl allergy syrup
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Nail clippers
    • Band aids
  • Nylon strap (for all of those places where the high chairs don't have straps... maybe this isn't necessary in the US or Europe, but in Asia it's a must!)
  • Change of clothes (baby/adult)
  • Light blanket (we didn't bring any pillows for the kids for the plane, but I may try to find a small pillow that fits into a carryon for our next flight).

Books (we left both of these home this time and survived, but if you're going somewhere new, I'd definitely take both!)
  • Baby 411
  • Lonely Planet

Peace and Happy Holi to you!