An Ounce Of Prevention... Is a Pound of Manure, I Mean Cure

I visited the Apollo Hospital and the Acharya Dental Clinic in Chennai today. Not because I was sick, but rather on a guided tour. As there were many new families this summer, the Consulate orchestrated a tour of the hospital we'd go to in the unwelcome event of an emergency. Oddly enough there were only 5 of us who signed up, which was far fewer than the number of new people here. Their loss...

I was pleasantly surprised at the relative cleanliness, but overwhelmed with the bureaucracy. Lines. Forms. Ques. Yikes. The place was jam packed with people, waiting to see doctors of every specialty. We met with a few of the key players there. We walked around.

They showed us the 1066 call center (equivalent to 911) and introduced us to the team who answers the calls (they receive around 40 - 50 per day). We saw the huge flat screen television detailing where every ambulance is in Chennai... response time is 12 minutes (factoring in traffic of course!) We saw the deluxe accommodations where we'd stay if we were admitted. We went into the emergency room. We had a cup of tea.

Bottom line answer to the question, "Would you feel comfortable being admitted there should the opportunity arise?" Um.... I hope I don't have to find out.

From the hospital, we went directly to the Acharya Dental Clinic. Amidst the squalor and abject poverty, it's one of the most technologically advanced dental practices I've ever seen. We received our tour from Dr. Vijailakshmi Acharya herself, who told us she's started the clinic nine years ago. She works with a large team of dentists who've really found solutions in their practice to combat the lack of Indian infrastructure... Generators to backup the power , water purification systems on the roof, digital everything, and manufacturers of dental equipment who are trying to break into the Indian market, who come there to provide training for their software, furniture, equipment.

The tour of the dental clinic couldn't come at a more perfect time for me as I had made the girls dental appointments for later this afternoon. So after picking up Riley from school, the three of us made our way back over.

The girls started off with having a consultation. The hygienist looked into each of their mouths and counted their teeth. Then we moved from the consultation to the pediatric cleaning room where we had the real fun. The two minute walk was the longest of the girls lives as by the time we made it to the back room they were both howling at the mention of the dentist touching anything in their mouths. Riley finally calmed down when she heard that her teeth were nice and all she needed was a fluoride treatment.... though even that set her off after a few minutes when she decided she really didn't like the taste and she wanted it out of her mouth RIGHT NOW!

Meanwhile Sheridan had to be escorted out of the room during Riley's tantrum as she had started one herself and they hadn't even as much as looked at her. When it was her turn she threw such a fit that it took me holding her down for him to even look in her mouth. After a quick peek, and a lot of rapport building, he determined that she will need a teeth cleaning: her incessant thumb sucking has caused tartar buildup, and even a potential cavity. He also told me that once she turns 4, he recommends we wean her off the thumb (yeah, right) and if needed, put in one of the thumb/tongue habit appliances for 3 months. I know she's not going to give up the thumb very easily, so this ought to be an interesting few months!

We have Sheridan's next appointment in 10 days. Hopefully by then she'll either calm down enough to let the doctor clean and fluoride her teeth, or she'll be so hysterical that she'll pass out when she sees the scary instruments coming towards her mouth. Either way, she's having it done. And I'll bribe her with anything I can. Cause that's the kind of mom I am.


Did You Miss Me?

My internet has been down since Sunday. Actually since Saturday night, but who's keeping track, right? I tried to keep my calm about it and not get overly upset, but I didn't succeed. I think I called the Tata Indicom help center no less than 10 times in the past 3 days, only to be told every - single - time that they understand my frustration and they'll upgrade my concern to the highest priority. Uh... no they don't... they have internet. Oh yes, and they'll do everything in their power to have it restored within 2 hours. Uh... no it wasn't. Their powers stink, because it took over 72 hours to turn it back on, and who knows how long I'll have it before it goes out again.

To help clarify my posting from last Friday, I was the featured blogger of the day on SITS (The Secret Is In The Sauce). You remember, right? The silhouette photo of the girl with her computer, and the phrase "My Blog Is Saucy." For those of you who don't know what it is, or who sent me an e-mail about it (which I am JUST getting today), it's a fun website I frequent that profiles different bloggers and recipes. I received the notice last Tuesday that I was going to be featured on Friday. So I tidied up the place, and got ready for my oodles of visitors. There was just one problem. I couldn't even enjoy my 4 seconds of "fame" as I was in the midst of unpacking my 162 boxes... and then my internet went out. Fame is over rated anyway, isn't it?

In other quick news... (I'm typing fast here because who knows how long I'll have internet and I need to verbal vomit everything in the next few minutes)...

Riley started soccer last Saturday. We signed her up for a few after school activities, but it was the only one she got into this quarter. It's from 8:30 am - 9:15 am.... so there will be no sleeping in on Saturday. Matt took her to her first lesson (is that what you call it?) and said she was only one of two girls in the group. She was a bit tentative in the beginning, but by the end of the session, she was kicking the ball during a scrimmage. She hasn't quite learned that it's a team sport, so when she got home she continued to tell me how she "won"... which really meant that her team won... But when it's a bunch of 5 year olds vying for the ball and kicking it every which way but Sunday, does it really matter who won?

Most of the house is unpacked. Hallelujah! As soon as we get the rest of the pictures hung on the wall, I'll post the photos. We spent all Saturday afternoon furniture shopping for a wardrobe to put in our bedroom. We don't have enough closet space in the house, even if we were to put clothes in another room. So shopping with the driver we went. We looked high and we looked low. We probably went to 10 different stores. After about five hours of looking, we finally went to this second hand furniture warehouse, where they have furniture piled floor to ceiling, all on consignment. We found a diamond in the rough, a humongous wardrobe that will fit perfectly in our bedroom. But it's ugly. I mean, really, really ugly. So my project for the next weekend (as if I don't have enough to do around here anyway. Remember? no maid yet...) is to strip the waxy paint off the wardrobe and white wash it with a fun color. I started to remove the paint yesterday and discovered that it's going to take at least 4-5 bottles of paint thinner, and many more hours than I thought. This will be FUN... {insert serious sarcasm and four letter words here}.

I'm signing off for now. I need to finish the girls room. I started to unpack their last box yesterday, only to discover that they brought a piece of Israel here with them. Sand. Apparently their shoes still had sand in them, so when I took their boots out of the box, out came about a cup of sand... which is now on my already slippery tile floor.

I need a maid.


Vanakkam SITStas!!

Today you're visiting our family here in muggy southeast India! So grab your passport, Imodium, your sense of humor, an extra dose of patience, and join us on our daily adventures. Come in, take a look around, and have a virgin margarita (sorry, Tamil Nadu is a dry state). Please don't take off your shoes, there's no maid yet and the floors are quite dirty. But make yourself at home... right after you've applied an ample amount of bug spray I left by the front door. The mosquitoes are rampant during monsoon season!

Follow us through the chaos of our day to day life. It's hard enough raising a full-size family complete with two small girls and large dog. It's even tougher doing it as a foreigner in a 3rd world country.

If you haven't been to TPU (the perlman update) before, let me briefly catch you up to speed. We're a nomadic family, who's been living overseas for the past five years for my husband's government job. I'm a stay-at-home mom who finally has an opportunity to enjoy a hobby or two... cooking, sewing, blogging, photography to name a few. We have a kindergartner, a preschooler, and an overly furry Labrador Retriever.

This is our life. Here is where we tell our tales of life abroad.


This Side Up

Our household effects were delivered today. All 162 boxes, totaling over 3.5 tons, took up a 40 foot container, 7 crates, 4 trucks and a small army of Indian laborers three hours to unload in our house. As this is our 4th move in 8 years, you would think we'd be used to this chaos. Frankly, it never gets easier. In fact, the more time you spend overseas, the more crap (aka household effects) you acquire.

While Matt was busy with the movers, I was on a mission to custom design a new sectional couch, that would fit into a small nook in our living room. The store is ordering the fabric tomorrow morning, and if all the stars are aligned, we should receive it late Saturday afternoon. Matt says he'll believe it when he sees it.

I returned home only to find that our house was besieged with boxes. Boxes were in every single room, piled chest high. It took us over an hour to find the sheets to put on the girls beds, and after 3 hours, we still haven't found their pillows. This is due in most part by the packers creative labeling. Who would have thought that the Hebrew word for towels and pillows was "rocking chair"?

Our priority tonight was to set up our bed. Our little 50 square foot slice of heaven! We finally stumbled upon a set of flannel sheets to put on the bed, though they may be a tad warm for India.

The movers are returning tomorrow to help unpack and remove the boxes and packing material. Hopefully by the end of the weekend we'll have some semblance of normalcy. With a bit of luck, we may have even managed to locate the girls pillows.

The 1st Truck .... Boxes in the Kitchen


Driving In India

Here are the first few video clips that I filmed while driving (actually while my driver was driving). Please excuse my shaking hand. I took these out the window of the car, and it wasn't as easy to do as I would have thought.

Now that I know the picture is just as clear over the dashboard, I'll take a few more and send them out. Until then... here's a small glimpse of what driving is like in Chennai.

This clip is us stuck in typical rush hour traffic. Keep in mind that this is a 2 lane road...

Here we are on a a narrow flyover (aka an almost 2 lane bridge).

Trying to change lanes can be a lot tougher than one would think. It took us over a minute to get around the cars, only to have the motorcyclists whizzing by a little too close for my taste.


What's Next... Mom Jeans?

... which I'd almost take since I still haven't received ANY of the clothes I've ordered online.

But seriously folks, I had a very adult day today. I fired another maid. I attended my first PTA meeting. I played Bunco.

In other news...

We got word that our stuff arrived in Chennai last week, and after clearing customs, it will be delivered on Thursday afternoon. I'm so excited to see everything that we packed up 3 months ago; especially our bed. We have not had a good night's sleep since we arrived. The Consulate provided bed is smaller than we're used to, and it collapses into the center to create a valley. A valley of discomfort, which Matt calls "Back-ache Canyon."

We discovered that we have a banana tree in our backyard. As I don't venture out in the back very often, I never noticed it. They're not ripe yet, but when they are watch out! We found out we also have a mango tree in the yard. But the mangoes are nearing the end of the season, so we will have to wait until next year to enjoy them.

I think I may have actually hired a permanent housemaid (the 4th one). However, she's not able to start until mid-October, as that's when her current employers leave India. So for now I'm still maid-less and stuck cleaning my own crappers. Thankfully, she is able to babysit in the evenings, so I've hired her for every Saturday night until we leave India so that we can go out on our own and enjoy a date-night without the kids.

The monsoon season is slowly rearing its ugly head. It's starting to pour here, and the roads and infrastructure are not able to sustain the overflowing waters. It's quite warm out when it rains, and insanely humid. My hair is thoughtfully taking on a whole new style of frizz. I now have a halo of hair that stands up about an inch on top of my entire head. Yeah, I'm a looker.

Here's something else to see...

Our Banana Tree

The Bunco "winners"
Prizes were all foods from the host's pantry! I got artichoke hearts. :)


Photos Around Town...

It's Sunday again and time for me to practice my driving. I did much better than last week and actually drove several miles, including driving home at dusk. I rubbed the running board against the curb and gave it a little scratcheroo, but all in all I was pretty impressed with myself. For those of you who wanted to see me behind the wheel... here you go!

I've also attached a few more random photos taken over the past few weeks around town.

Photos taken at the beach. The one on the left are the beachfront houses.
The one on the right is food that's being sold. Can't say I tried it...

On the left is one of the local gas stations. On the right is a hospital that I pass from time to time. Let's hope that I never see the inside here...

Animals chowing down at the beach. On what, I have no clue! On the right is the store I purchased a small refrigerator. The pots were piled quite high!


Our First Road Trip

We all crowded in our friend's minivan yesterday and traveled 50 kilometers down the coast to Ideal Beach, in Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram is a 7th century port city, located in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu. It's flanked by a number of historical monuments of yore, with the Shore Temple as its main attraction. There is a lot to see and do here, which we will have to save for future road trips. Yesterday was devoted to the beach.

Ideal Beach is a private beach resort that offers day use for both the beach and swimming pool. There are two others in the area where the expats vacation; Turtle Bay to the south and Fisherman's Cove to the north. However, neither of those offer day passes. Though we have our own beaches in Chennai, they are so disgustingly polluted that they're virtually useless for recreation.

In our 3 overseas posts we've had, we've managed to always live on the coast, thus our girls have grown up with a beach. Yesterday's venture brought us to a new body of water... the Bay of Bengal, situated just along the southeast coast of India. The water there was lukewarm, with much less debris and garbage both in the water and on the sand than we had on occasion in Israel.

Our drive to Ideal Beach took over an hour, though we made a pit stop AT The Pit Stop, a little racing themed cafe, Indian style, about half-way there. We grabbed some lunch and then crammed back in the car for the rest of our journey.

There's not much to say about spending the day at a beach resort basking in the overcast sun... the kids got sufficiently sandy at the beach, swam until their fingers and toes were good and pruney, they noshed, they whined, they passed out. Sadly, I sat on the sidelines all day as I still didn't have a bathing suit. Darn lost luggage!

The driver met us after 5pm, and drove us to another beach resort, Fisherman's Cove, for dinner. We finally made it home by 9:30 pm, with sleeping kids in tow.

Another successful road trip.


India's Many Modes Of Transportation

The Auto Rickshaw ........ Bicycles & Motorcycles

Fishing Boats at the Beach ...... A Family of Four (the woman is actually holding a child in her lap, though I didn't have a good angle for the photo)

India's version of the zero emission vehicle ... (almost).
I cracked up when the man got off and actually "parked" it by tying it up to the tree.


Adventures in Driving

We took the girls to the Marriott Hotel for brunch on Sunday. I drove. And I scared the daylights out of Matt and myself. I figured that there was never going to be a good time for me to practice, so in order to curb my fears, I needed to just jump in and do it. It is very different driving with the steering wheel on the right and the traffic on the left; it's not as easy as it looks. Everything is backwards, and as such, I must have turned on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal at least 5 times . I only drove about a mile, but those 5 minutes were stressful. I had to merge onto a busy street, go through a traffic circle, and make a u-turn. It's not just the driving that's nerve wracking. It's the unfamiliarity of driving in a country where rules mean nothing. It's complete road anarchy... where 2 lanes are turned into 5, and every available space around you is filled with pedestrians, animals, auto rickshaws, motorbikes, cars, buses, and trucks, all honking at once to make you aware of their presence.

We survived. That's the most positive thing I can say about my driving.

When we got our car keys back from the valet, I noticed how much the traffic had increased, and asked Matt if he would drive; I couldn't muster enough courage to make the return trip. However, his driving was not much better than mine, and I was a white knuckled passenger and a complete back seat driver on the way home. He stayed a little too close to the left for my taste. I thought he was going to ram into every pedestrian on the side of the road.

I had never been happier to see my driver as I was on Monday morning. I have a pretty good feeling most Monday's are going to be that way.


Good Help Is So Hard To Find These Days

One of the advantages of living in a developing country is the variety of household help that is readily available and reasonably affordable. Chennai is one of India's fastest growing cities due to its reputation as being one of the IT capitals, with big businesses such as Hyundai, Ford, Dow, Yahoo, and Google. Good paying jobs are plentiful; as such, it is no coincidence that Chennai is experiencing a domestic help shortfall. And I'm personally feeling the crunch.

Finding decent household help in India is proving much more difficult and frustrating than I would ever have imagined. I expected to have tons of ladies knocking on my door when they heard the rumors of the new American moving in. I was wrong.

We were extremely lucky that Matt's colleague had solidified a driver for us prior to our arrival. He had our car washed and at our house the day we arrived. He showed up at noon on our first day and gave us a tour around town. We took an instant liking to him and hired him permanently a few days later. As I've said before, drivers are indispensable. They know their way throughout the city. They know who everyone is and where everyone lives. They know which stores will bargain, where to get the best produce, who to contact to buy your meat, and exactly how long it will take to get from point A to point B. They usually work 6 days a week; from 8 - 6, and will happily work in the evenings for overtime. It sounds exciting, I know, for about the first week. Then you realize that the minute your driver leaves, you're stranded. You can't hop into your car and head to the nearest store. Brave traffic during the week? Are you crazy? Maneuver the streets that have no names... heck no! When he's gone, you...are... stuck. Period. It's beginning to suck.

Hiring the gardener was thankfully an easy task as he actually worked at this house for the past 15 years. He comes every day for a few hours to water the grass and plants, pick weeds, sweep, and do general maintenance on our property. The only minor problem is that he doesn't speak a word of English ~ and we don't speak any Tamil. When I need him to do a specific task, I have to pantomime what I want him to do. He then responds with his toothless smile and head bob, that I know full well means he didn't understand a thing I just said. If he follows only half of my instructions, I consider that progress. Matt had his own interesting experience with the gardener last week. While standing at the front door calling, clapping, whistling, and snapping for Libby, who do you think came running up to the door? It wasn't the dog. It was the gardener, assuming Matt was calling him.

Ever since Matt and I moved in together way back in 1998, we've had a housemaid. It was easier on our relationship when I didn't have to bark at him to scrub the toilet or clean the bathtub. We just hired a lady. No real direction needed... a little dusting here, a smidgen of vacuuming there, use the 409, spray a little Windex, and voila, a clean apartment. That is not the case here.

So far I've interviewed four maids and I'm continuing to meet ladies this week. Only one them had a real grasp of English, but when I had her babysit the girls last Wednesday, she did a few things that really bothered me. The first was that she didn't clean a thing in the two hours we were gone. Was she expected to? Not entirely, but we don't have television or anything else in our house. What was she doing all that time?? Secondly, and this is the biggie here. When we came home from dinner, I couldn't find her anywhere. I searched the house and called out her name, only to find her asleep on the tile floor in between the girls beds. She took child minding literally. Maybe it's just me, but I really don't want any maid to be co-sleeping with my girls. I wouldn't have had any issue if she dozed off on the couch or in the playroom. But in their room? Sorry, this doesn't work for us.

The other maid who's been working during the day has a lot to learn, regardless of whether or not I hire her permanently. She is the maid who worked for the previous family who lived in this house. While she received glowing recommendations, I'm not so sure I believe them. The first day she spent 7 hours here cleaning the kitchen and 1 bathroom toilet, though you'd never know it. She swept the floor twice, pushed the dirt around with the mop, did a few cursory wipes on the counter, and did the dishes. With that amount of time you'd think that she'd scrub down the walls, scour the floors, clean every nook and cranny of the kitchen to make it sparkle like the top of the Empire State Building. Instead, I was so irritated that it was as dirty when she left as when she came, that I ended up spending over an hour bleaching the tile later that night to get a good baseline clean. The next day she came again and I had her clean the upstairs. I did the pantomime thing, and with scrub brushes in hand, mimicked what I wanted her to do. Another 7 hour day and I didn't even get the floors washed! She kept telling me, "I know madame", when I'd explain how I wanted things done. But truthfully, I don't think she did.

My mom told me that when we leave India I'm going to be a much more mellow person. It sure isn't starting off that way.


Lessons In Frustration!

I haven't had internet in almost three days. Three VERY LONG days. Internet is my lifeline, my connection to the world. Without it I feel naked, exposed, irritated. I usually keep my computer on throughout the day as I never know when I'll have time to check my e-mail, catch up on my favorite blogs and websites, and read the news. The internet went out sometime late Tuesday night. Over the past few days I placed several calls to the internet provider explaining my problem, to which they assured me that my complaint was being escalated to the highest priority.... some good that did. It only just came back on two hours ago. I need to take a few deep breaths.

While the rest of the week for Riley proved to be much better, the bus situation unfortunately got a tad worse. Apparently nobody met Riley at the bus on Tuesday morning, and she was left roaming the halls and crying when I found her (I've been following the bus all week, and arrive about 5 minutes after she does). There was no aide waiting for her, no escort to walk her down to her classroom. Let's just say that I was ******* irate (* insert your favorite expletive here). After walking her to her classroom, calming her down, and then calming myself down, I marched into the Principal's office and lodged a large complaint. The details of the discussion aren't important, but let's just say that the situation was immediately rectified, and we were introduced to her new escort when I picked her up after school. The last few days on the bus have been relatively uneventful. The escort meets her and walks her to class, and I've been arriving a few minutes before school starts to check up on her, give her a hug and a kiss, and then rush off to drop Sheridan at her school.

Speaking of Sheridan, the decision has been solidified that she is not going to be attending the American International School for pre-K, but rather she will stay at the local Indian school. What am I talking about you ask? Well I hadn't written about this before, but we were in a total quandary as to which preschool to send her. Does she ride the bus with Riley and stay at school until 4 pm, or do I put her at the local school where it's just a half day. Goodness knows she has a lot of energy and could probably handle staying there for the full program. I couldn't justify it in my head, or in my pocket book. She is so happy and full of life when I pick her up at the local school. I haven't seen her this excited in a long, long time (though it could be that she isn't with me for 3.5 hours each day ... just sayin'). Now I just need to tell the other school that she won't be attending. I wonder if they've figured it out already?

We got a wonderful surprise on Tuesday night. Our air freight from both Israel and Los Angeles was delivered to our house. Seven hundred pounds of "stuff" arrived in 6 large boxes... slightly dented, a few a smidge smushed. I was so happy to see my espresso machine and grinder, our new computer and accessories, all of our bedding, and of course, a few clothes that I thankfully tucked away. It took me no time to unpack the boxes, and within 10 minutes everything was spread out in our living room. Within two hours everything was put away. Yup, I'm anal retentive. Enough said.

We spent a majority of the week hiring and firing household help. That will be an entirely separate topic that I'll write about in length over the weekend.

Until then ... here are a few photos of our house. My camera does not have a wide angle lens, so it's difficult to capture the rooms in their entirety. I tried to snap some of the main rooms - living room / dining room area, kitchen, and a few of the bedrooms. Remember - we have NOTHING personal in here yet to make this house look like a home. This is the furniture that's provided to us, it's not ours, and about half of what you see here will be sent back once our stuff does arrive... I'll be sure to send updated ones later on!

Living Room / Dining Room ~ Shot at different angles

The Kitchen ~ Also shot at different angles

The girls bedroom... love their mosquito netting ~
Our bedroom - I put in the photo that showed the relative size of our room.


It Finally Arrived...

You thought I was going to say my luggage, right? Heck no - that bag is LONG gone. Today is the day that we have all be waiting for, though some of us a little more than others. Today is the day that our little girl grew up right before our very eyes. Today is the day we dropped down to paying only one preschool tuition. Today was Riley's first day of Kindergarten!

We woke Riley up at 6:15 am today, and unlike her usual groggy, don't-want-to-get-out-of-bed self, she immediately jumped up, crawled out of her pink mosquito netting, and quickly ran downstairs to see what I made her for breakfast. She was so excited that she ate faster than I had ever seen her eat in her lifetime (remember she's my oh-so-very-very-very slow eater... slower than molasses in January eater), and rushed up stairs to get ready for the day. We all had to move along as Riley's bus comes quite early and Sheridan and I were following right behind. I wanted to see her off to her classroom on her first day, but as I had promised her she could take the bus, I decided to follow behind her and let her have the experience.

We met her at the school, walked her into the classroom, and after making sure she was comfortable, left her there for her first day. She was so happy to be there that she didn't even see me leave. However, I had to rush out quickly as not only was it Riley's first day of school, but it was also Sheridan's observation day at preschool. We had originally enrolled her at the American International School, but after talking with a few parents and sitting in the insane traffic, I decided to try to get her in to one of the local Indian preschools closer to our home where a few other Consulate folks send their kids. They normally don't take children mid-term, but I had done a little begging, so they agreed to check her out.

It took me over 2 hours to drive to Riley's school this morning, drop Sheridan off at her school, and drive back home. And I wasn't home more than 20 minutes before I had to hop back into the car and go pick Sheridan back up from the preschool. Oh this traffic is going to drive me to commit harry carry.

I met the director of the school who told me that Sheridan was very adaptable and adjusted quite well to their class and the kids. Wait a minute... My Sheridan? Well okay then... They also said that they were going to make an exception for us and let Sheridan start school tomorrow. Oh thank goodness - because if that little lady was going to have to stay home with me for another 6 weeks, it would put both of us over the edge.

We picked Riley up from school at 1:15 pm, as school ends early for the first two weeks, and played at the school playground for another hour afterwards. A few afternoon play dates with friends, and a little gabbing with the moms afterwards brought us up through dinnertime, where Riley finally told me about her day. She started off by saying how great it was... all the rooms she went to visit, all the things she did with her class... and how sad she was that nobody wanted to play with her. It about broke my heart. She burst into tears and said she didn't want to go back and that nobody liked her. Oh the drama at age 5. We had a long conversation about how many of the kids went to the preschool last year and all know each other already. Just like in her last school where she had an established group of friends, so to is it the same here. She's going to have to make an effort, and by the end of the week we bet she'll be making play dates.

I promised her that tomorrow will be a better day. Here are a few photos of the girls...

Riley getting onto the bus ......... Sheridan painting her first portrait (love the smock!)

Riley in her classroom .................... The playground at Sheridan's school

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