Just Like A Second Honeymoon ...

... only TOTALLY different.

Ten years ago we went to Maui for our week-long honeymoon. We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel. We sipped champagne pool-side. We got massages. We basked in the warm Hawaiian sun, and admired the beautiful clientele with the rock hard abs, toned legs, and bronzed skin. We oogled at the celebrities on vacation. We were awed by the staff's attentiveness, often anticipating our every need, whether poolside or fetching chaise's by the beach.

This past weekend's vacation... nothing like our honeymoon.

We stayed at the Taj Exotica Hotel in Bentota, Sri Lanka, a three hour winding drive south of Colombo. The hotel came highly recommended, though in retrospect I'm not sure why. Although the facilities were nice, the service proved less than stellar for what was touted as a 5-star hotel. Noticeably absent was the attentive staff; replaced instead by non-English proficient local employees who ignored requests for assistance, yet were quick to have their hand out for tips at every occasion.

The toned and tan bodies of Maui were transformed in Sri Lanka by fat, hairy, sunburned Russians in their too-small Speedos and thick gold chains. You know the ones... with the blond trophy girlfriends straight off the stripper poles, with $10,000 breasts and lips, strutting around in their thong-bikinis and high heels. Lounging next to them were the chain-smoking French, and the shriveled up Brits. All that was needed were some Italians in Sergio Tacchini track suits with over sized D&G sunglasses and this could have been a Eurotrash Club Med.

Another highlight was each morning's melee, referred to as the hotel's breakfast buffet. I've seen calmer $4.99 all-you-can-eat buffets at the Howard Johnson's on the strip in Vegas. It was a free for all, fighting for un-ripe fruit and stale cereal. Nobody helped clear tables, nor respond to sweep up the broken shards sprawled all over the floor from Sheridan's dropped plate.

And Matt's scuba diving trip... or lack thereof? After schlepping thirty-five pounds of dive equipment all the way from Chennai, his trip never materialized, thanks in part to the so-called concierge (who Matt now suspects was merely a bellhop killing time behind the concierge desk). The fly-by-night dive operator neglected to tell Matt that the dive had been canceled due to poor visibility, until after he had waited almost 45 minutes to be picked up. Matt should have questioned the operator's professional credentials when they misspelled the word boat as "boart" throughout their brochure.

The saving grace of this trip was that the kids had a great time. All the kids loved the pool, and the beach was pristine with calm, warm water, shallow enough for the girls to frolic in the waves. Additionally, the room was large enough to accommodate three beds and a crib, while still leaving us ample space to move about.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Perlman family vacation without a little vomit.... which in this instance, came from Sheridan an hour into our return trip back to the airport. Lucky for her, she put away the iPod mere minutes before she spewed her breakfast all over herself and the red velour seats in the taxi. Another ten minutes on the side of the road and a complete change of wardrobe later, we were back on track.

Once again, it was a family vacation filled with drama and adventure, another stamp in the passport and a little car sickness. Though not an entirely ideal location, the trip was worth it, and more importantly, so were the memories.


Greetings from ...

... where we are celebrating our ten year anniversary. with the kids.

so far, so good. no vomit.

more later!


Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li ... I Am My Beloved's, And My Beloved Is Mine

Ten years ago today we said those words to each other.

In front of 200 people dressed in their best formal wear.

Ten years ago today he promised me an exciting life together.

He pledged an adventure.

He told me he'd take me to far away places.

He swore we'd never be bored.

A decade later and I'd say he's pretty much been true to his word.

I am a very lucky lady to have traveled all over the world, lived overseas in interesting places, been blessed with three beautiful children, established deep rooted friendships, and given the opportunity to live a life I never thought imaginable.

To my parents, I love you and am so thankful to have such a close relationship with you.

To my in-laws, I love you and am so thankful to have such a close relationship with you.

And to my darling husband, I love you and am so amazingly blessed to have you in my life.

Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li. Here's to the next decade together.

Here are a few video clips from our wedding. The first one is of the processional... a favorite of the girls. They love seeing their grandparents, great grandparents, uncles, cousins, and friends... Of course, they really get mesmerized seeing mommy in her "princess" gown and daddy with the "hat thingy" on his head. Yeah, yeah... we need to get them in Sunday School.

The second clip is a montage of photos of us growing up... and then video footage of our photo shoot before the wedding.


Eight For Eight ...

Yes... the little munchkin is already 8 whopping months old. Eight months old!! I swear I can't believe it.

He is cute. Really, really cute. And no, I'm totally not biased at all. Just ask my parents. Or in-laws.

I'm very lucky that he's SUCH an easy baby. Yes, I did say that out loud and know that I'm totally going to regret it tomorrow when he wakes up at the crack a** of dawn or something. Of course, I also said that Sheridan was easy when she was his age and look what I have on my hands now... a 5 year old daughter who flips the bird, who still throws some serious tantrums, and who may or may not eat a single meal put in front of her, though that usually only happens on days that end in 'y'.

His tricks of late are... eating everything put in front of him, especially hummus and mashed potatoes. Untying and throwing the bumpers out of his crib. Sitting. Attempting to crawl. Screeching. Clapping. Smiling... oh does this little guy smile.

He's busy. He's very busy. And he's all boy... as especially noted when I take off his diaper and he reaches for his nether regions.


Another One For The Sheridan Files...

Every evening when the kids get home from school we go through the exact same routine; homework, dinner, dessert, dancing, bath time, story time, glass of wine for mommy time, and ending with my favorite... bedtime. Throw a wrench in our routine... also known as daddy's out of town ... and you've got a recipe for uncontrolled mayhem. Tonight was no different.

While giving the girls a bath, I found myself needing to use the toilet. Since I usually don't have a moment to even poop to myself as there's always a kid who needs me at that very moment, I figured that taking ten seconds to pee in front of them would be perfectly fine. However, unbeknownst to me at the time, they were both staring at my lady-parts, and when I stood up the two of them burst out laughing while Sheridan said, "Mommy, you have a hairy tush."


This kind of talk comes on the heels of some trouble Sheridan recently got in on the school bus. Apparently she was pulled aside and reprimanded for none other than ... flipping people the bird. She claimed she had no idea that it meant anything. She thought she was just being funny. Of course, it was Riley who ratted her out, as Sheridan was so scared to tell us anything about it.

When Matt heard this last week he went ballistic and immediately wanted to know where she learned to do such a thing.

Before he could get too angry at her, I quickly went over to him and tapped him on the shoulder.


"I'm quite sure I know where she learned it ...."

I'm so totally winning mother of the year.


Dad, Are You The Tooth Fairy ...

... is not just a book ... but a question asked by Riley over the winter break as well.

"No!! Of course I'm not the tooth fairy. Why would you say something like that?," Matt replied back to her, trying very hard to contain his surprise at the question she asked him one evening while my parents were in town.

"That's what the book said you'd say to me." "The Librarian read us a story last week that said the tooth fairy was the last fairy to go, and that our parent's are really the tooth fairy and that they're the ones who take our teeth and leave us money."

Matt yelled for my dad and me to come into the bathroom where he retold us what Riley had said, and pointedly asked us if either of us were the tooth fairy.

"No Riley, none of us are the tooth fairy. Sorry to disappoint you." I said, while subtly making eye contact with Matt, acknowledging through our furrowed brows and shifty eyes the unspoken conversation.

We were both devastated.

As you know, the tooth fairy has been working overtime here in Chennai, with Riley losing five teeth in one month! Every time she lost a tooth, she'd excitedly put it in an envelope and wrote a note to the tooth fairy. And every morning when she woke up, she waited until we were all together to take the envelope from underneath her pillow, and read the note the tooth fairy wrote, all the while beaming from ear to ear.

Riley is only six years old. I wasn't ready for this fantasy to be extinguished. I needed to find out the truth to this story.

So last Tuesday I went to the school and confronted the Librarian about the story she read to the first grade class. She pulled up the book information on her computer and showed me the premise of the story. It was a book titled, "Dad, Are You The Tooth Fairy?" written by Jason Alexander. The book is about a little boy who grows up and starts hearing things that bigger boys rather not have heard ... who then asks his dad if he's the tooth fairy ... and then the story the father tells about magical creatures from long ago.

The Librarian boldly assured me that the story said nothing of parent's being the tooth fairy, and that there is no way that my daughter could have misconstrued the meaning of the book. So I asked her to let me read it. Which she did, while watching my every move from behind her desk.

And she was right. The story was fine for the first seven pages. But when I got to page eight, I could feel my ears get red and my lips pursing as the first of many inappropriate sentences were whirling in front of my very eyes. Sentences like ... "Gaby also heard (and I'm sad to say he listened) that tooth fairies were nothing more than childish make-believe. That it was really moms and dads who tiptoed into children's rooms, threw away the old teeth, and left gifts behind."

Or worse ... "From this day forth, your parents must take the teeth from beneath your pillows. Then they will sit in a quiet place with a pencil in their hands. They'll close their eyes and soon they'll hear a voice inside their heads." "The voice will tell them what to write and what treasures to exchange."

I didn't even finish the book before I loudly shut it, walked up to her desk, and told her that I wanted the book removed from the Kindergarten - 3rd grade reading material. Dumbfounded, all she could do was show me her computer again, verifying that the book states it's perfectly acceptable for KG- 3rd graders. All she could say was that it's been approved by the American Library Association, and she even read it last year and never had a complaint.

I told her that it didn't matter to me whether she had any complaints or not. The book delved into situations that weren't appropriate for the school to address. The book introduced situations that kids may not have even been aware... That unless these 1st graders had older siblings, or didn't observe the customs of the tooth fairy, that 6 and 7 year old kids probably never remotely dreamed that the tooth fair may be an adult. Why take away the magic? Why not let them believe? Moreover, why are you putting ideas into their heads that weren't even there in the first place?

The Librarian didn't understand. So I complained to the head Librarian at the school. He didn't understand either. Instead, he gave me paperwork to fill out that requests a reconsideration of school library material. Which I will do. And copy the elementary principal and head of school as well. Until then, I checked out the book and have no plans on returning it ... at least until I fill out the paperwork.

In my frustrated haze I left the library and ran into four mom-friends outside. I told them the brief story and read a few sentences from the book. Their jaws dropped as well. It confirmed exactly how I felt. Cheated.

It's been three weeks now and Riley hasn't talked about the book since her initial questions. We tried to sound as nonchalant as we could when she asked us, and never asked her any more questions, for fear she would see right through us.

However, she came home from school yesterday and told us that she just learned the library has only two kinds of books in it; fiction and non-fiction. And the Librarian made a point of telling the class the tooth fairy book she read was definitely fiction.

Whew... Good thing because Sheridan just lost her first tooth. Crisis averted for at least another month.

The note she wrote was...
"This is my first tooth and my mom pulled it out. Love, Sheridan"


Tap...Tap...Tap.... Is This Mic On??

Happy New Year!! Yeah, I know that we're already fifteen days into 2010... but it's my first blog post this year, so I figure that I can still squeeze in one last Happy New Year here, right?

Wow, it's been such a long time since I last wrote... I'm afraid I don't even know where to begin or how to recap these past few weeks in Shangri La.

As you all remember, my parents brought me 140+ pounds of food & wine (packed in 2 of their 4 bags... that they were able to bring due to flying business class - score!) when they came for their action packed visit here a few weeks ago. We had no real agenda for their trip, we just decided to go with the flow. My parents spent their time here entertaining the kids, playing tons of board games with the girls, sight seeing in Chennai, shopping, eating out, eating in, taking photos, taking blurry photos, taking videos, and watching Grady learn new tricks... like sitting up on his own, eating Cheerios, and clapping.

Then I sent them away for a few days ... to Kerala ... so we would have a little break from each other. They explored. They got a little religion in Jew Town. They went through a bottle of Purell when my mom dropped her sunglasses into the bottom of a squat toilet ... and retrieved them! After 3 full days they came back to Chennai refreshed, ready to power shop, to celebrate Sheridan's 5th birthday in her class, and to visit Mahabalipuram.

Part of getting the full Chennai experience is dealing with frustrating moments ... of which we encountered a few! Like when the vacuum stopped working and the maintenance department's answer was to use a new 110 voltage vacuum ... while schlepping a 10 pound transformer with it from room to room. Or when the dryer completely stopped working... with all my parent's clothes in it ... and so they had to hang everything up on the drying rack and wait for it to dry. Which it did, two days later! They were here when the car started making funny sounds again, when the internet went out 15+ times a day and then the service upgrade never went through, when my driver had a little problem picking up a case of regular Sprite (which is NOT 7up, nor diet Sprite - though that's an entirely ridiculous story for another day ).

We truly packed in as much as we possibly could during their 16-day trip, and I think they really enjoyed their visit. They got a first hand opportunity to see how we live, how we handle day-to-day life in this 3rd world country, how we've adjusted to the cultural differences.... or not. If I'm lucky, I may even be able to coax my parents into writing a blog post about their experiences here... what do you think? Would you do it? Pretty please!

There's so much more going on here... though I'll have to save it for the new few updates. Until then... here's a few photos of my folks trip to Chennai!

Here's my dad entertaining the kids...
Enjoying their time in Jew Town ...
A cute, yet blurry photo of me, my mom, and Gray


Celebrating Sheridan's 5th birthday in her class...

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