Letters to My Children – July 2021

Dear Ariya,

We are in the middle of summer, and it feels great. Lots of pool time, lots of playing with your sisters, lots of reading your favorite books. We met up with friends to go to the library, or had friends come over to play in the pool. We celebrated Anika’s birthday and had the cousins over for the weekend. You even had a tennis summer camp at the country club. I think you fell in love with tennis all over again. Tae Kwon Do is still going strong, but I think tennis might be the new competition. I have to say, I’m excited, because I used to play tennis with Niraj mama and Nanu. So, of course I had to pick up a racket for myself and for you, to try and play together some time. And I am excited!!

Dear Asha,

If you had it your way, you would be in the pool every day for sure. you’re such a water baby, but I’m not surprised. I think you’re really missing your friends, and just wishing you could hang out with your friends from pre-school, or have more play dates with different friends. School is just around the corner, sweet girl, and you will have the chance to make so many new friends!

Tae Kwon Do is still going great, although every chance you get, you sit down. I have to laugh every time the teachers say “Asha!! stand up!”. I think by the end of the day, you are just tired. But you love learning the kicks and earning your stripes.

Tennis camp was great. We did run into a problem with another boy. I have to say, I was upset, and your daddy had to talk me down. But it was resolved and you know that if someone does you wrong, or if anyone puts their hands on you and you don’t like it, you tell somebody. Thank goodness you didn’t let it get you down, and you were still excited for camp and playing tennis. We need to get a racket for you, so you can play some more too!

Dear Anika,

You turned two!! And you can say “I two!!!” Amazing. My smart girl. My baby. Daddy’s family came for the weekend to celebrate you, and it was great having Grandma, Auntie Carmen and your cousin Phelix, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, your other cousins Mekhai and Jayden, and Uncle Eric here! And of course Uncle Eric brought Blue. Blue, the sweet pit bull that just wanted to lick your face.

One day, I took you all to Dinosaur Land. So many memories of taking Ariya and Asha there when they were little. I had flashbacks of when they were little, looking at these HUGE statues, looking so small. And here you are, doing the same thing. The big girls loved it, and I think you love following them everywhere.

I can’t believe you’re two. You’re starting pre-school in a few months, in the 2s class, which will be combined with the 3s class. Oh my goodness. There will be tears. I’m not ready. But I kinda am. Are you? I think you are. You’re try to keep up with your sisters all the time. They include you in their playtime, but there are some times where you just can’t hang with them, and then you try to destroy everything. And the girls definitely do not like that. But that’s ok, you’re too cute for them to stay mad long.

Letters to My Children – June 2021

Dear Ariya,

Summer summer summer time!! It’s summer time!! We have a lot to look forward to. You and Asha were flower girls in your uncle Neil’s wedding to Melanie. There was a hindu ceremony, a catholic ceremony, and the reception was full of smoke, dance performances and lots of deserts. You girls had a ball dancing with all of your cousins! And it was so fun getting dressed up in your pretty Indian dresses, and fluffy western dresses.

Afterwards, we drove to Baltimore, to fly out of BWI to our BEACH VACATION IN FLORIDA! We rented a condo in Siesta Key, which is right outside of Sarasota. And we had a blast. There was white sand that didn’t burn your feet. The water was so blue/green and clear. We basically stayed at the beach all day and all night. What an easy going vacation. I think we explored once by going to a Ringling museum that covered the history of the circus. It was pretty cool, but I think you were ready to go back to the beach. We cooked breakfast lunch and dinner. I think one day, Daddy ran out and brought home some yummy pastries for breakfast. We packed a cooler for the day and would bring lots of juice for you girls, which was always a treat. By the end of the vacation, I think you girls were ready to go back home, be in your beds, and get back to our lives. I didn’t want to leave. I’m already thinking of when we can go back!

When we came back, we planned a camping trip for you and Asha and Daddy! Anika and I hung out for the day, but I knew that Anika would not sleep well in a tent, so we only stayed for a few hours. You had a blast doing a water rafting trip on the river with your friends.

You started Tae Kwon Do as an activity for the summer. You are definitely a fan. 30 minutes, short and sweet, filled with so much physical activity. You have a uniform and started out with a white belt, and can’t wait to work your way up to a black belt, which would be awesome, if you keep up with it. We’ll see how this summer goes.

Dear Asha,

You had a blast as a flower girl during Neil Uncle and Melanie auntie’s wedding. You were not a fan of the Indian dress I bought for the reception. It was pink and fluffy and sparkly. You said it looked itchy so it must be itchy. You didn’t even try it on. That’s ok, I guess I’ll save it for Anika when she’s ready. So we had to improvise. Gotta love Target Cat and Jack Brand. I bought a pretty sparkly pink and blue dress. You had pretty white ballet shoes and you had a ball dancing at the reception. What a fun day and night. Well, it was a long day, since we started at 8am doing the Bharat. And it was sunny and hot. But you girls were troopers, that’s for sure!

The beach was amazing! The waves were calm, it wasn’t too crowded. You were so starved for friendships, you made friends with a little boy that tried to teach you to fish. You and Ariya would float down the beach away from where our towels were, we always had to call out to you to pay attention. I think one time, you both were worried that you were lost. But we had our eye on you the whole time. You loved swimming at sunset. You are such a water baby, you could stay in the water all day every day. There were times when we almost left you. We would never do that, but you were never compelled to leave with us. I think your happy place is in the water, just like mine.

When we got back, you were excited to camp with your friends, Ariya and Daddy. That water rafting trip was super exciting. You were just swimming in the river, no issues. You were not a fan of the water shoes, but there was no way we were letting you go barefoot in the river. There was so much trash in the water!

You joined Ariya in doing Tae Kwon Do. you look so cute in your white uniform and white belt. Your attention would definitely wander during class, but you had a ball with your kicks and your “Hiya!” A great activity for you during the summer time.

Dear Anika,

You were so overwhelmed at Neil Uncle and Melanie Auntie’s wedding. You were happy to see Nani and Nanu, but there was so much family surrounding you. They haven’t seen you since you were 2 months old, at the last family wedding. Your cousins wanted to hold you and dance with you, and you were not having that. You just wanted to be with me and Daddy. But by the end of the night, your cousins won you over. You were a dancing queen on the dance floor. You had a ball.

The beach was the best! We went to the beach in the morning. Went back for lunch, quiet time, nap time. Swam in the afternoon. Had dinner. Maybe swam again in the evening. Rinse and repeat. You didn’t wear any floats, and pretty much stayed in our arms while in the ocean, floating on the waves. You did like playing with the sand. I think there were many times that you tried to eat the sand :-/ That was gross. But you pretty much had a blast.

You also had fun “day camping”. We hung out with my friend Jen and her son Thomas, who’s a little bit older than you, and their dog Champ, while everyone else went on the river rafting trip. You and Thomas had so much fun throwing rocks in the river. It rained for a little bit, so we hung out under the tent, but it was really nice being outdoors with a nice view of the river.

We did go to pick cherries at Marker Miller. That was fun. Ariya LOVES cherries, and Asha was over it. But you just picked any and everything. You just wanted to keep up. the fact that Ariya pretty much polished 4 quarts in a day says it all.

Other than that, we pretty much have been staying at home, playing in the pool and just hanging out. It’s been a great start to the summer.

Letters to My Children – May 2021

Dear Ariya,

The countdown is on. Last month of school. If you were in school, your last day would have been in the middle of June. But since we are homeschooling, I figured the last day would be the last Friday before Memorial Day. I mean, isn’t that one of the benefits of homeschooling? Dictating your own schedule? It’s been tough though. You don’t think the work we are doing is fun. I’m trying to make sure you’re not missing out on anything. I’m trying to make things fun, but you would rather be in your room reading your books. Doing math and science and geography has been tough. I’m not a teacher. I don’t know how to make it fun. I was raised to do workbooks, and just do them and learn. I think you’re learning a ton, but you would much rather be in a classroom with your friends. Don’t worry Ariya, this homeschooling experiment will not continue. We can say we did it. I trust our schools will keep you safe. I’m ready to enroll you in school for the fall.

In the meantime, Nani and Nanu’s 50th wedding anniversary was on May 7th. So we went to Richmond to help them celebrate. We did a zoom call with all of our friends and family. Niraj mama helped coordinate all the way from Singapore! And we found all these really cool old photos of Nani and Nanu when they were young and married. I made a few videos of their lives together, it was pretty cool to see.

It was a pretty light month. Just waiting for warmer weather to come. We started a garden, which is another big experiment for us. Let’s see if anything grows. I think we’ve planted a lot of herbs, tomatoes, squash, beans and lettuce.

This is your last month of ballet, finishing it off in person. You even had a mini performance which was really nice to see. Within the past few weeks, we would hang out with your friend Skylar and her mommy Ms Sharron, go get pizza, walk around old town, hope for ice cream at Red Fox Creamery. Enjoy these warm spring days and get ready for summer.

We opened up the pool, and had our first swim before Memorial Day! That was pretty exciting! And we are planning a beach trip to Siesta Key in June. You can’t wait for some beach time!

Dear Asha,

You graduated from pre-K!! We had a graduation celebration with your teacher and her other students, which also happen to be your friends. And man, your teacher was amazing. What a great party, filled with the pomp and circumstance music, the graduation hats and the certificate scroll. What a special moment. It’s different than Ariya’s graduation from her pre-school, but hey, these are different times. And I think it was still pretty special.

I think you are burnt out with ballet. Zoom ballet is no fun, and you are just done. Especially when you see your sister go into the building to have her ballet classes. I think this summer, we’ll have to take a break from ballet and see what happens in the fall.

Dear Anika,

We went to the Baltimore Aquarium this month. It was your first time, and you had a ball. You were running around with your sisters, staring at all the exhibits. And I was happily taking pictures.

You’re still taking afternoon naps, which is great. You are still such a great sleeper, which I love. I think routine is very important for you, I guess we kind of trained you that way.

You were very apprehensive about your first time in the pool this season. You wanted to be held a lot. I’m sure by the end of the season, you’ll be a little fish, swimming up a storm. We’ll see how you like our beach trip in the summer. Wow, the summer….you’ll be two in a few short months.

Letters to My Children – April 2021

Dear Ariya

I can’t believe you’ve turned 8. You’re such a big girl, and have grown so much within the past year. We have had to encounter a lot of disappointments this year. COVID and missing your friends has been a huge thing. Homeschooling was not what you (or I) thought it was be. But wow, you have turned into such an amazing big girl. Sometimes I feel like I can see into the future and see what you’ll be like as a teenager. So much sass. And a little bit of attitude. But generally, just the sweetest girl I know.

You’ve turned into quite the reader. You are now obsessed with anything Rick Riordan. You’ve read the first book in the Aru Shah series. We gave you the Kane Chronicles for your birthday, which is all about Egyptian Mythology. You also got a copy of the Land of Stories series, and have already re-read the series again a few more times.

April was full of fun things. Anytime the weather turned warm, we hit the road and took an adventure. The bluebells bloomed, so we went for a hike on the BlueBell trail at Shenandoah River State Park. You bought your science journal, drew a few observations, walked along the river, saw frogs mating…It was a very interesting day. I think you could have spent all day along the river.

We went down to Richmond to celebrate your birthday with family. Uncle Eric, Uncle Kashiff, Auntie Anjuanette, Grandma and the cousins came along, as well as Nani and Nanu. Daddy made sure you had a piñata, and a bubble blower. We celebrated at Deep Run Park, where you ran around and played on the playground and danced with your cousins. I’d say it was a good day.

We also made the drive out to Burnside Farms. A farm filled with tulips, a bounce house, farm animals and lots of photo opportunities. Yes, I couldn’t resist. We go every year and we couldn’t go last year because of COVID. I felt like we needed a pick me up so off we went! You’re a pro at picking tulips by the bulb.

I promised you a horse riding birthday party this year, so that’s what we did. We invited a few of your closest friends and went to this new farm called DeVaux Farms. They taught you how to groom the horse, you made a craft, and then you all got a horse riding lesson. Cupcakes shaped like horses topped it off. I’d call it a success.

The Apple Blossom fair came to town, and we were all so excited! We couldn’t go last year, so we more than made up for it this year. Lots of rides, lots of cotton candy, lots of games. I think you and Asha were obsessed with this gravity ride that spun really fast in the air.

Ballet changed from zoom to in person and man were you excited! You had to wear your mask and keep your distance, but man was it great being in the building with everyone else.

Dear Asha,

April has been a weird month. I think you’re starting to miss your friends, miss school. Seeing Ms Mary every week is nice, but it’s not the same thing as going to school 4 or 5 days a week in preschool. You still zoom your ballet classes and I think you’re starting to lose focus on it. Again, it’s no fun when you’re not there in person.

The bluebell trail was so much fun. You were fascinated with the frogs and their really cool sounds. You saw a few frogs on top of each other, giving each other a piggy back ride, haha. I think you could have stayed at the river all day.

For homeschooling, you asked to raise caterpillars and see them transform into butterflies. I think you were fascinated with the whole process. You watched them every day, you were concerned when you thought they were hurt, shaking as a chrysalis. I had to google to make sure everything was ok. When they were ready to be released, we went to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley because they had some pretty flowers blooming, and we thought the butterflies would make a good home there. You had fun releasing them, and one even landed on your hand! I couldn’t get a picture of that, the butterflies moved too fast! But it was still a good day roaming around the grounds.

Ariya’s birthday celebrations were great as well. It’s always fun when you have cake and family and horse riding. At Deep Run, you were the one that broke the piñata and got all of the candy out! Well, you knocked the piñata off the string, saw the opening where the candy was and then dumped it out for everyone. So smart. And as for the horse riding party, you couldn’t wait for your own turn to ride the horse. I was so proud of your patience! You ask about your own horse riding lessons all the time. But it was definitely fun times for everyone.

Dear Anika,

What can I say. You are getting bigger and bigger and bigger. You’re following your sisters everywhere. You were able to walk the bluebell trail for so long, and you didn’t need much picking up. You loved picking up sticks just like your sister, playing in the water just like them. You’re watching everyone and everything.

You had so much fun at Ariya’s birthday party at the park. I think it was the first time I put you in a swing and you were in heaven. You had fun with the family, as long as they had cake for you. You were dancing up a storm with your sisters and cousins. It was lots of fun.

Your first trip to Burnside Farms! I was happy to get pictures of you in a field of tulips. and you had so much fun. You tried to pick flowers, but it was more like picking the flower petals. But you still had a good time.

And you visited the fair for the first time! You didn’t get to ride as many rides as the big girls, but you still had a great time. You ate a lot of cotton candy and junk food. You tried to play at the games, but you ended up just picking the prize. That’s the way to do it.

The butterflies had you curious. You wanted to get close to it like Asha, but we were worried that you would get too rough. When we went to the MSV, after we released the butterflies, you had fun walking through the gardens though, exploring, playing with the girls. It’s been a pretty good month for all of us.