One roll of film, one day – January 2020

It’s a new year, and I thought I’d focus on some new projects to get my creative juices flowing.  When my oldest was born, I used to do Project 365s, take one photo a day, to document her life.  That was almost 6.5 years ago.  When my second oldest was born, I got heavy into shooting film.  I was obsessed.  But I scaled back on the Project 365s.  I think I did 4 years total and then burned out. I kept shooting.  I just didn’t have any more reason to print photo books out.  I miss that.

So, this year will be different.  I have 2 years worth of printing photos.  And I thought I’d start the projects back up.  Now, I know me, I tend to go all in when I have an idea.  But sometimes those ideas are not sustainable, especially when I have a 6 month old at home.   I will do my best.  So, I have a film Project 365 that I’ve started.  I’ve also wanted to break out my studio lighting equipment and do 52 weeks of portraits.  It’s an excuse to break out the seamless paper that I bought and do fun portraits of the girls.  And even try to get a portrait of my husband and maybe even myself in the frame.  This weekend will be my third week of that project.

But I did join a Facebook group to try shooting one roll of film for one day each month.  Just document my day how I see fit.  I decided to choose January 1st, as it was a new year, new month, and it was my birthday.  But wow, what a dramatic roller coaster of a day.  It felt like the longest holiday vacation ever and the girls were off the chain.  Anika wasn’t sleeping well which meant I was not sleeping well.  And if I heard “Mommy, I’m BORED one more time…”

The highlight was that some girlfriends came over to help me celebrate my birthday….and of course I didn’t document that because I was having too much fun.  But here was our day.  All shot on the Contax N1 and pretty 50mm lens.  I used the flash in some photos where I knew I’d have trouble with low light.  All on Portra 400 rated at 400.

(A little context.  This was a pajama type day.  We had lunch with my husband at work, went for a short hike, and then was back home and chillin for the rest of the day.  I take a lot of pictures of my girls, I would like to slow down and document our environment, the house, all the supporting things in our life. )

 

 

Letters to My Children – November 2019

Dear Ariya and Asha,

We started off the month with our yearly Diwali celebration!  Nani and Nanu came to visit because they wanted to see you and Asha on stage.  So we all got dressed, and got a surprise from Akash Uncle!  Akash Uncle was driving through on his way to/from Charlottesville for an interview for a residency program (kind of like what Daddy did before getting his job) and stopped by to see us.  It’s always nice when family comes through.

You two were so awesome on stage!  You’ve done so well with Susma Didi and your bollywood dance class. It’s pretty amazing how much you both love dance, and the bollywood songs, and watching youtube videos of all of these songs.  I love watching you take it all in.  Asha, everyone was so impressed that you knew all the words to the song and was singing along as you danced.  Afterwards, you both had so much fun partying it up with your friends.  We had a hard time pulling you away, but Anika had enough and was ready to go to sleep.

We went to DC for the weekend.  That was a pretty fun adventure.  We dug for dinosaur bones and used microscopes and learned all about butterflies and insects and saw all kinds of cool stuff at the National Museum of Natural History.  We met up with friends, had dinner and went to the National Building Museum the next day.  It was pretty fun, seeing how homes were built back in the day until present day.

Thanksgiving break and Thanksgiving happened.  Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, Mekai, Jayden and Grandma came to visit, which was nice.  Spending time is always great with family.  You love hanging out and playing with your cousins.  And Grandma stayed to help us put up the Christmas tree and decorate it!  Yay, it’s official!  Christmas is near!!

After Grandma left, we went to go see Frozen 2.  And wow, you girls LOVED it!  It was a good movie.  The story, the songs, everything was just great. And then we went to Clearbrook Park to meet up with our friends, the Stephens family, to see the Winter Wonderland and meet Santa and Mrs. Clause.  Asha, you were so excited to tell Santa what you wanted.

You girls can’t wait Christmas!

Dear Anika,

You’re 4 months old in November.  And man, I don’t know what is going on with your sleeping.  I think I’ve read every book there is on how to get you to sleep, but you still wake up every few hours.  We’re trying to figure out a rhythm, but it is tough, especially when I have to take the girls to their activities.  We’ll figure it out.

Letters to My Children – October 2019

Dear Ariya,

You actually received a letter from your guidance counselor at school that you are invited to join the SCA.  You are now your class’s representative for the SCA and you get to do fun stuff around the school.  You meet once a month with other students from other classrooms and decide on important things.  For October, you got to take some time out of the day to go with the SCA to the farmer’s market to pick out pumpkins for the school.  I had a parent/teacher conference with your teacher, and she just loves you.  You excel at everything that you do.  You’re reading chapter books, you read so much ALL THE TIME.  At the bus stop, on the bus, at home, in the car, everywhere.  I love it.  I used to read like that all the time too.  I’m so happy you get lost in books like I used to.  Your daddy loves to read too.  He was the one that got us started on Harry Potter.

Let’s see, what else happened this October?  Nani and Nanu came to visit, and we went to Garba.  Daddy was off too, so we all got to go as a family.  Since you made so many friends from the Bollywood dance class, you had a blast.  You danced in the circle for garbage, you picked up those dandiya sticks and Priya auntie and I taught you and your friends how to do garba.  You ran around with Veer and Jai and Asha.  It reminded me so much of my childhood.  I remember running around with my friends at grab.  And following my mom in the garba circle, not really knowing how to do anything but still trying.  It made me so happy that you love our Indian culture so much.  You ask to listen to bollywood music, you practice your dances at home.  I wish I had that growing up, but I’m so glad that you have it for yourself.

We also took some time to go to our usual Pumpkin patch, Hill High Farms.  Right near our house, we go on a wagon ride to the pumpkin field.  A cowboy rides up to us and gives us a history lesson on the land, crops, and animals.  There’s a hay maze.  There’s also a cornfield maze, haunted house and escape room, but I think you girls aren’t ready for that yet.  Maybe the cornfield maze next year.

Let’s see, what else…  Not much…EXCEPT HALLOWEEN!  You didn’t want to go to the store and get a costume.  You wanted to make your own.  So we found this pretty dress on amazon, dressed it up with a flower crown and some wings and voila, you were a fairy.  And you loved your costume so much.  We had the Monster Mash at school.  We played games, won some candy, decorated some cupcakes.  Daddy came for a little bit before he had to go to work, but I think you were really happy to have him, Asha, Anika and myself there.

We spent our annual tradition of trick or treating with our good friends Priya auntie and Meetul uncle, and Jen and Stephen and their kids.  Azusa auntie and Uncle Ellford met us as well.  It was great…until it poured down rain.  We were drenched as we ran back home.  But we got a lot of candy, had dinner, and watched a movie.  What a great way to end the night.

Dear Asha,

It was a pretty good month.  You had fun running around at the Garba with your friends, but then you crashed pretty hard.  Good thing Nani and Nanu were there, because you were sleeping on Nani’s lap pretty much the rest of the evening.

You’ve been obsessed with this show called Haunted House on Netflix.  It’s actually a pretty creepy anime show.  After doing some googling, it’s from South Korea.  But man there are some scary concepts that you seem to think are hilarious.  You roped Ariya into watching them as well.  Well, with that in mind, when you wanted to pick out your Halloween costume, I thought you wanted to be a unicorn, or a fairy like your sister.  Nope.  You wanted to be a …….GHOUL (according to you, a ghoul is a type of ghost).  You loved seeing spooky.

We had your first field trip this year at Marker Miller.  We got to ride a wagon again and take a tour of the farm.  There was a story about Johnny appleseed, we got to pick apples and see goats.  And the best part was playing on the playground and eating your apple donut.

You came along to the Monster Mash and couldn’t get enough of it.  You could have stayed all night.  I think you can’t wait to go to Kindergarten.  Only a few more years, sweet girl.

You’re so different from Ariya.  you’re rough and tough, you love to scare, and be scared.  But you can be so girly too, with your dresses, and doing ballet and bollywood dance. You are definitely one of a kind.

Dear Anika,

You’re 3 months old.  And you’re moving, A LOT.  You’re learning to roll on your side.  Which is kind of good, and not so good.  Not so good because you’re done with the swaddle, which really helped calm your moro reflexes.  But great that you’re growing.  Now you just need to learn to move on your side and calm yourself.  I still wear you, but you’re also starting to sleep longer in your car seat, when we’re running errands, or taking the girls to and from stuff.  You are the sweetest little thing, like a doll baby. The girls can’t get enough of you.  At the garba, everyone wanted to hold you and cuddle.  I get it.  I want to hold you and cuddle you all the time too.  Slow down, please, don’t grow up too fast.

Letters to My Children – September 2019

Dear Ariya,

September was a good month.  First, we started off with your uncle’s wedding.  Rikin Uncle and Eesha auntie are getting married!  We had to take Friday off, because you know how Indian weddings are.  We went to Pennsylvania for Pithi and Mehndi night. It was great to catch up with everyone, and you had so much fun playing with your big sister, Mala ben.

Saturday, we drove up to Connecticut for the garba.  Niraj mama and Hyeon mami came ALL the way from Singapore with your favorite cousins, Eila and Kailas.  It was so good to have someone to play with your own age.  You loved wearing the same dress with Asha, and we got to dress up too!  We saw all of the cousins perform a dance, how cool was that!

Sunday was the wedding and it was at a botanical garden in New York.  Wow, was it a beautiful wedding.  You had so much fun playing with Eila outside, enjoying nature, making up games, becoming forest children.  You didn’t want to say leave at the end of the night, to say goodbye.  But all good things must come to an end.

We’re still getting into the swing of things with school and your activities.  Since Claire is no longer doing gymnastics, we decided to move gymastics to another day.  We still find ways to see your friend Claire though.  There was an event at Blandy, called Nature Nutures.  It was so cool, there was a woman dressed up as Mother Nature.  You and Asha made a fairy house, and you worked with Claire to do a scavenger hunt.  There was even some stone soup and mud pies to be made, held by the local Tinkergarten group.  So that was a fun afternoon for both you and Asha.

You still have Bollywood dance, which you LOVE.  It’s time to get ready for your performance for Diwali in November, and you and Asha practice all the time.  And then ballet, which I don’t think you’ll ever give up because you love your teacher so much.

School is great.  You love school, you love your teacher.  You talk about your friends at school all the time.  Especially this boy named Luke.  I don’t know who Luke is, but your say his name a lot.  There was the Back to School picnic, which was fun seeing you in your element, playing on the playground.  And then there was Back to school night, where your daddy and I got to meet your teacher and understand what your day really is like.  We like your teacher too, and glad you are in great hands.

We still manage to make time for our other friends that don’t go to your school or activities.  You still go to Balvihar and see Priya auntie and Veer and Jai.  And we have dinner at their house every so often, which is always nice.  We made time to go peach/rasberry/blackberry picking wth Daddy at Marker Miller.  But we all get busy as the school year gears up.

Dear Asha,

School has officially started for you, after Labor Day weekend.  You are so happy with your teachers and your friends in class.  Your best friend Clara from last year is in your class again.  You’re learning so much, and always have fun crafts and reading to do.

The wedding was a success.  You only had school for a day before we went out of town.  Man, were you TIRED.  the whole weekend, you were just done.  You had a great time with your cousins.  Shiven bhai especially, I think he’s your favorite cousin.  But by the time the reception rolled around, you were laid out on the chairs asleep.  Oh man, it was tough getting you girls out of there, because you all were just dead weight.  I’d say it was a great weekend for us all.

On the days that you’re not in school, on top of the Little Gym and Bollywood Dance, we signed you up for ballet.  Finally, FINALLY, you get to have your own activities.  You have the same teacher as Ariya for ballet.  And your friend from school, Emme, is in your class.  It’s the sweetest thing seeing you two play and dance together.

You love love LOVE Bollywood Dance.  It’s kind of amazing, how you practice dancing along with Ariya.  We sing the songs in the car, and you even practice your dance moves in the car.  You’ve got that rhythm, you always find the beat.  Speaking of rhythm and beat, you have a new favorite album, a soundtrack for the movie Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.  To see you sing “What’s Up Danger” cracks me up.  And I think your absolute favorite song is “Sunflower”. You could sing this song, and this album, over and over and over again.  I think Ariya is sick of hearing it.  I don’t mind though, I like it.

We are still working on your stubbornness.  Girl, you just won’t listen.  And you want to love up and hold Anika all the time.  You might actually love her a little too much.  But that’s ok, it could be worse, you could actually hate her, and that would not be good.  But no problem there.

Dear Anika,

You are 2 months old.  And you are the sweetest thing ever.  You fuss when you’re tired, you wake up crying because you’re hungry.  But once you’ve nursed, you break out in the biggest smile.  I still wear you a lot.  It’s hard trying to get into a routine with you.  You’re basically on the go whenever we drop Asha off at school, or if we take the girls to their activities.  But you do roll with it, and I’m so thankful for that.

Letters to My Children – August 2019

Dear Ariya,

August is an exciting month.  You start the first grade this month!  You found out who your teacher was, and was so excited to meet her. We found out that you know a few friends from last year, including Ethan from music class and little gym (back when you two were babies), and Addy from pre-school.  The first two weeks weren’t too bad, pretty basic stuff, just a refresher on what everyone knows.  Your teacher knows that you are an avid reader, so she gave you a chapter book to read, a book from the series the Magic Treehouse.  We’ve started reading the 2nd Harry Potter book, a Chamber of Secrets.

You’re still doing gymnastics and Bollywood dance.  and next month, you start ballet!  I think you’re pretty relieved not to do soccer this season.  And I can tell how much you love gymnastics, you’re doing handstands and cartwheels all over the place!  I think the one downer is that your friend Claire will be ending gymnastics, so you won’t get to see her at class anymore.  We’ll just have to try harder to make a playdate happen.

Dear Asha,

You finished up camp at preschool the first week of August.  And you’ve been restless ever since.  You miss Ariya when she’s at school.  You can’t wait for your school to start.  Don’t worry, September will be here before you know it.  In the meantime, we did have orientation and you got to meet your teachers and see your new classroom.  That was pretty exciting.

You also started the Little Gym!  You have been BEGGING for the little gym classes since last spring, and now that you’re finally there, you can’t contain yourself.  This has been probably one of your most favorite things to do.  I’m so happy that you get to do something for yourself, instead of getting dragged to all of Ariya’s activities.

You also started Bollywood dance with Ariya.  You’re young, and it’s tough to hold your attention for a full hour.  But you did great at your first class!  Keep on dancing!

Asha, you try my patience like no other.  I love you so much, but wow, you are so stubborn, hard headed, and you just don’t listen.  What am I going to do with you?  I have to keep reminding myself that these qualities will serve you well when you’re older, but right now, I wish you’d just listen to me and do what I say when I say it.  Why does everything have to be a battle of the wills?  Please tell me this is the longest phase of our lives and it will get better?

Dear Anika,

What can I say, Anika, you are just the sweetest little doll baby.  Your smile fill me with such happiness.  You still won’t sleep on your back, and still want to be held all the time.  I’m actually wearing you right now in one of my wraps.  Even your daddy has started using the wrap, when we discovered that you’re not a fan of the ergo carrier.  You sleep so soundly when you’re worn in a wrap.  You do sleep for long stretches at a time when you’re in our arms.  And sometimes, if we’re lucky, you’ll stay asleep if you’re swaddled and in a swing. But it would be great if we could start putting you in your crib….  We keep trying.  You keep growing.  We all love you so much.

Here are some pictures from Grandma’s visit, and Nani and Nanu last month along with this month’s photos:

Letters to My Children – July 2019

Dear Ariya,

July is finally here!  In addition to some really cool camps that you got to do (Needle Arts Camp at the Discovery Museum, Intro to Dance with SCAA, and The Little Nature Camp), we’re having a baby!  You are so excited to meet your baby sister, Anika.  You’ve already told me about all the things you’ll do to help me take care of you.  You’re going to be such a great big sister.

The camps were amazing.  I knew the Needle Arts Camp would be one of your favorites.  Your aunt, Priti Masi, bought you a sewing kit a long time ago for Christmas.  And I bought you a sewing machine for your birthday.  But I think you’ve always been frustrated by the limitations of the plastic needles.  So this camp was perfect.  You learned how to thread a needle, make puppets, and now you have instructions how to make other things.  You were so excited every day when I picked you up.  And Asha was happy your camp was at the discovery museum, because I would take her there to play while we waited for you.

The Intro to Dance camp was great as well.  It was with your favorite teacher, Ms Abby.  The camp taught you ballet, jazz and tap.  You’ve never learned jazz or tap before, so this was a great introduction.  Of course the camp was during baby Anika’s big day!  I didn’t get to see your big performance, but your daddy went and recorded it.  You were amazing!  I think, if it was up to you, you’d sign up for jazz and tap for the year.  But since I told you that you could only do 2 things starting out, you’re sticking to ballet and gymnastics for the school year.

The Nature Camp was amazing!  I think this was the one camp that you can’t wait to do every year.  You learned a lot about nature.  You played in a mud pit and threw mud at each other, you canoed in the stream, caught bugs in the meadow.  So much outdoor fun.  Your best friend Asher told you about this camp, and thank goodness he did, or else we never would learned about this camp.

Anika came on July 10th, unexpectedly.  And I think you thought that I’d go to the doctor’s office for a check up and come back with the baby.  You didn’t realize, and I think we did a poor job of explaining it to you, that I would stay at the hospital for a few days with the baby to make sure everything was ok.  You were pretty emotional and didn’t understand why I couldn’t come home with you.  It was tough explaining it to you and Asha.  And one day, you’d be calm and cool, and Asha would be an emotional mess.  And the next day, you would be emotional and Asha was the cool calm one.  So weird.  But once we came home from the hospital, it took an adjustment.  Luckily, Nani and Nanu were here, as well as Daddy to help with the transition.  And you became so in love with your baby sister.

Dear Asha,

There was so much excitement in our household.  You didn’t understand why I was washing the baby’s clothes, or getting her room ready.  You didn’t know why we were cleaning all of the baby’s toys, but you were ready to help.

On the day of Anika’s birth, your daddy was post call and did not get a lot of sleep.  And we needed some help taking care of you, and taking Ariya to camp.  Our friend Niki was so sweet to take you to the pool to play with Asher and Marni while dropping Ariya off at dance camp.  We had to wait until Nani and Nanu came up from Richmond.  You know something was happening, but I don’t think you really understood that baby Anika was coming.  But you were so ready to give her the toy that you picked out, a baby Shark stuffed animal that sang Baby Shark.  I think you picked it more for yourself than for your sister, but surprisingly, all 3 of you love that stuffed animal!

You couldn’t wait to hold Anika at the hospital.  You and Ariya both loved on Anika, and tried to gently give her hugs.  You were both smitten with her.  But you had a really hard time not being the baby anymore.  The transition was tough for you.  Anytime your daddy or I held the baby, you’d want attention.  In a way, you regressed.  You stopped using your words when you wanted something.  You wanted hugs all the time.  And you couldn’t understand why we were always holding the baby, and why we couldn’t cuddle or play with you like we used to.

We tried to organize fun things for you and Ariya to do, while Nani and Nanu were here.  You saw the Lion King when it came out, and Nani came with you and Ariya.  Nanu and Daddy took you and Ariya to the pool.  You went to the kid zone a few times with Ariya, while Daddy, Nani and Nanu worked out at the gym.

Luckily, Grandma came to visit with your cousins Mekai and Phelix.  It was chaos, and you loved it.  You ran with the boys and Ariya, you got to play with Grandma at the pool.  And Grandma got to bond with baby Anika too.

Dear Anika,

Well well well.  You arrived a few days early, quite unexpectedly.  The plan was for you to arrive on Friday, July 12th.  The plan was for Nani and Nanu to come on Wednesday or Thursday, just go get used to the girls’ schedule before I went to the hospital.  But something told me that things would not go according to plan.  I had a stress test scheduled for Wednesday July 10th. And on Tuesday night, I thought to myself, maybe I should ask Nani and Nanu to come earlier,  JUST IN CASE.  Your daddy was working Tuesday night, and of course didn’t get any sleep, so Wednesday, he was delirious.  Which, of course.  He was post call for Ariya’s birth and for Asha’s birth.  It’s like you girls are giving Daddy a taste of what it would be like, sleep deprived nights worrying over you girls.

So, during Wednesday’s appointment, the sonogram showed that apparently I had been leaking amniotic fluid, because there wasn’t much left.  Which mean I had to go to the hospital as soon as possible.  I was in a panic.  Nani and Nanu had to drop everything and drive in from Richmond.  We had to line up childcare for Ariya and Asha.  Luckily we have awesome friends, and our friend Niki was able to take Asha to the pool and Ariya to dance camp and gymnastics.  Daddy and I went to the hospital around 11am.  Of course I didn’t have a big breakfast, because I had been managing my gestation diabetes and trying to be healthy with a half english muffin with peanut butter and 1 egg.  Well, I couldn’t eat anything for the rest of the day.  We were hooked up to the fetal monitor and everything looked great. And my favorite doctor, Dr. Leonoard, who delivered Ariya and Asha, also delivered you!

C-sections and the recovery was tough, but to finally hold you in my arms made everything worth it.  You were born at 5:42pm, and weighed 8lbs 5 oz and were 20.5 inches long.  I thought you’d be this huge baby, because Ariya and Asha were both about 6lbs.  But you were still so tiny.  So much hair, just like Ariya and Asha.  And from the start, you were lifting your head and looking around.

We were so happy to finally take you home.  But that 4th trimester is a real deal.  All you wanted to do is be held by Mommy and Daddy.  Poor Nani and Nanu, they would try to hold you, but you would cry and cry and cry.  And your cry is a wail.  It’s a shriek.  It’s loud and insistent and surprising to come out of such a small little body.  I think it took 2 weeks for you to finally get comfortable and let others hold you.

I think I panicked the first time Daddy had to go back to work and Nani and Nanu left for Richmond.  They stayed for 2 weeks, and they miss you and Ariya and Asha, but they were ready to get back home, to their routine.  And we had to make our routine.  I think I’m getting the hang of it.  Baby wearing is key.  You love to be held, it’s the only way you’ll sleep.

We did learn that you had a tongue tie, so we had to get that lasered off.  But after that, breastfeeding has been a breeze.  You are growing and thriving.  We are all so in love with you, your smile, your baby coos, everything about you.

                            

Letters to My Children – June 2019

Dear Ariya,

Wow, it’s June already!  A lot of countdowns happening.  Last day of school….. baby #3’s arrival in July.  Lots of summer camps in between. The start of summer.  Pool time.  Lots of great things are happening.

Gymnastics is underway and you love it so so much.  You’ve started practicing handstands and cartwheels.  You’re doing an awesome job.  And the best part is that your closest girlfriend Claire is in the same class as you!  How fun!

You also started a Bollywood Dance class once a week with your friends from Balvihar.  You started learning some classic moves that are in all the Bollywood movies.  I can tell you want to perform on stage.  Maybe for Diwali in November.

The last soccer game happened.  We had a celebration at Sherando Park, where you got to play with all of your teammates.  You got a trophy and had an ice cream party!  I think the coach even realized that dance and gymnastics is more your thing, since you talk about it all the time.  Soccer was fun while it lasted.  We’ll see if you miss it in the fall.

The last day of school happened.  And just a few days later, we took a little road trip to Hershey Park.  You had so much fun!  You and Asha and Daddy rode so many rides.  Got your faces painted, ate cotton candy and junk food.  It was a pretty great day.

The next day, we went to an engagement party for Neil uncle and Melanie Auntie.  They are getting married next year, and we got to see a ton of family.  It might have been overwhelming, but you did make friends with Melanie Auntie’s family, so that was cool.  And we even got to see Nani and Nanu!  You and Asha had the cutest matching outfits on.

June was a pretty busy month for you.  I figured since we weren’t doing our annual beach trip, I’d sign you up for a ton of cool summer camps.  You did one summer camp at the Children’s Discovery Museum, with ms Erica, called Storyland Art Camp.  Since you love art so much and wish you could do it every day, I thought it would be a great fit.  And you loved it.  The only problem is that Asha wanted to join you, or at least stay at the children’s museum to play.

The following week was Grandma/cousins camp! Jayden, Mekai, and Phelix were at Grandma’s house, and wow, you had a blast.  You always have a great time with your cousins and Grandma.  Blowing bubbles, coloring, watching movies, just playing.  So much fun spending time with family.

AND you lost your first tooth!  It’s crazy, your adult tooth is growing in as your baby tooth got wiggly.  Luckily, the Tooth fairy was able to find your tooth, and you got $2 in coins.  How lucky are you!  She said you’re doing a great job brushing your teeth and to keep it up!

Dear Asha,

You had your last session of soccer shots.  And you were so upset when you couldn’t make the goal.  But you went after the ball and ran up and down the field, so maybe soccer is your thing.  Maybe in the fall, we’ll sign you up again, see how you like it.

Cousins/grandma camp was lots of fun.  When you came back, you kept saying for days “I wish I could go back to Grandma’s house, I miss her, I miss my cousins”.  And to think, I was worried that it might be tough for you to be away from us for a whole week.  Of course you did fine.  You loved it!

You even had your own summer camps!  You are so lucky, Ms Abby (who’s Ariya’s ballet teacher, and will soon be your ballet teacher) was teaching a space camp AND creative movement camp, back to back.  So you had a whole morning of Ms Abby, learning about the solar system AND getting your dance on.  I’ve already signed you up for creative movement (intro to ballet) in the fall, and you can’t wait!  You’re such  dancer, just like your big sister.  You two love to have dance parties in the evenings.  Your favorite artist is Beyonce and Ariya’s is Ariana Grande.  And the dance moves that you two put out there are amazing/hilarious/so much fun.

Letters to My Children – May 2019

Dear Ariya,

We celebrated Apple Blossom the first weekend of May.  Your daddy ran the 10K and we went to the fair.  Your favorite part is the cotton candy, with the rides coming at a close 2nd.  You and Asha went nuts over the rides.  And since I couldn’t ride any rides, I just ended up taking lots of pictures, as usual.  It’s a great family tradition that we have 🙂

The countdown is on. You’re ready for summer, and your class is doing the ABC countdown till the last day of school.  Which makes you pretty excited every day to go to school.  A for stuffed Animal, B for bubbles, C for Crazy hair and clothes, etc.

You also had field day.  I missed my chance to volunteer but it looked like a lot of fun!  Outdoor games, a bounce house, water guns, etc.  I think you had fun.

You’re also wrapping up soccer, with maybe a month and a half left to go.  You like seeing your friends at soccer, but going to practice and the games are like pulling teeth.  Once you’re there, you have fun.  But you don’t love soccer like you do ballet or gymastics.  I think maybe we might have to take a break from soccer next season.  We need to pare down the number of activities you have anyway.  I feel like we’ve over scheduled you.  It’s like you don’t know how to just BE.

Ballet is wrapping up and it’s time for your yearly ballet recital.  Nani and Nanu came to visit, and to see you on stage.  Asha loved watching you perform as well.  And when your performance was done, you loved seeing all the bigger kids perform as well.  It’s a pretty amazing time watching all of the dancers perform.

We also went tulip picking with our friends.  you loved the tulips so much you just HAD to save the bulbs.  I don’t have much of a green thumb, so we’ll see if they last until October when it’s time to plant.

Dear Asha,

Pre-school ended this month.  We had a mother’s day lunch and a father’s day lunch with your class.  It was so great seeing you play so well with your friends.  You’ve come a long way this year.

You also had soccer with soccer shots.  We didn’t go to as many soccer lessons.  Vacation, nap time, etc. It was my mistake planning to go at 3pm, when you’re usually so tired.  But you were awesome at chasing after the ball.  And listening to the coaches was tough at first, but you got it after a while.  I think after the baby comes, we’ll have to look into signing you up again in the fall.

Asha, you’re such a big girl now.  So big, that you get your own big girl bed!  We are re-painting your old crib/toddler bed for the baby, so went furniture shopping and picked out a full size bed with a book shelf attached for you.   In the mean time, you and Ariya helped paint the crib for the baby, which took a lot of work.  But you did it!

Tulip picking was fun for you, you were with your best friend Aliyah!  But you were pouting because you wanted to pick ALL the flowers, not realizing that Mommy had to PAY for all of the flowers.  and then you’d leave the bulb in the ground and just snap the flower off.  But that’s ok, we still had a great time!

 

 

Letters to My Children – April 2019

Dear Ariya and Asha,

Wow, it is the beginning of July and I’ve realized that I have not written a letter to you in ages.  I’m so sorry.  This pregnancy has been wearing me out, and I’ve just been trying to keep up.

April was a great month.  It was your 6th birthday!  We had a mermaid themed party at Kids First Swim School.  We invited your class and a few close friends.  You had a blast.  Asha kept thinking she could keep up with you, but I swear, she was going to drown a few times.  Good thing there was a lifeguard there!

 

Your daddy had a conference in Las Vegas, and we all got to tag along.  You both LOVED going on a jet plane.  Direct flights are the best.  We stayed at Caesar’s Palace, and you girls LOVED staying in the hotel.  You two even slept in the same bed, which was nice.  We had some fun adventures.  I was 26 weeks pregnant so walking around was kind of tough, but I wanted to show you a good time.  We walked, we ate lots of good food.  We saw dolphins, white tigers and lions at the Mirage.  We had ice cream at Sprinkles.  We saw flamingos at the Flamingo.  Asha, you had an obsession with escalators.  Every chance you got, you HAD to ride the escalator.  We hopped in the pool one afternoon, but oh man it was freezing.  You two didn’t notice, but I sure did.  Oh man, I was freezing.  But you had fun.

After the conference, we took the rental car and drove to Seven Magic Mountains.  There were some pretty cool art installations, big colorful rocks.  Asha crashed as soon as we started driving.  But Ariya, you loved posing in front of the rocks, and even creating your own mini rock creations.

We drove to Palm Springs, California, to meet our friends, the Sigmons and the Spinellis.  The air b&b was amazing!  a heated pool, a modern house within the desert oasis.  There were so many fun things to do.  We went to the Living Zoo, got to feed some giraffes and play at the children’s museum.  We even went up into the mountains and saw some snow!  And in the afternoons, we would hang by pool and get plenty of pool time in. We even celebrated Easter there!

You both were ready to come home, but once we were home, you missed Lily and Jax so much.  The slumber parties were so much fun.  Having a buddy around was really nice.  But, now it was time to get back into a routine.  But before April ended, we celebrated Holi with our friends!  One of our favorite festivals to celebrate.  It was windy and cold, and the water guns were probably not the best idea, but it was still so much fun.

  

And here are just a few favorite photos for April

Letters to My Children – March 2019

Dear Ariya,

March was a decent month.  The excitement for April and spring break, and our trip to Las Vegas and Palm Springs was building up.  We were just ready for some warm weather.   But the exciting thing that happened in March is that you started gymnastics at Shenandoah Tumblers.  And you are in heaven.  You get to see all these big kids do some amazing things on the parallel bars, balance beams, the pit.  I can tell that you definitely are more into gymnastics and dance than any kind of sport.  You still love ballet, you can’t WAIT for your recital in May.

Dear Asha,

So, we tried to start you at Shenandoah Tumblers as well.  It would have been so awesome and perfect since your class was the same time as Ariya’s.  But you were just so overwhelmed.  The class was too structured and you just wanted to run around and play with the equipment, like you did at the Little Gym.  In fact, you kept asking to go back to the Little Gym.  We’ll figure it out sweetie.  We’ll get you back there eventually.

I’ve discovered how much you LOVE makeup.  Oh my goodness.  You are obsessed!  It’s like painting…for your face!