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!

 

Letters to My Children – October 2018

Dear Ariya,

It’s been a great month of exciting things happening in Kindergarten.  Your first field trip was at Wayside Farms.  What a fun place to go.  I was able to chaperone and take pictures.  There were animals, a pumpkin patch, an pretty awesome playground.  We learned about the life cycle of a pumpkin, and how the rain affected the pumpkin patch this year.  There was story time too.

Then you had the Race for Education with your school.  It was so cool, it was like a Ninja Warrior theme.  Lots of obstacles.  And you were running like crazy, I could see the look that your daddy has when he runs.  It looked really fun.

We went to garba in Winchester this year.  It was nice, you were really into it.  You danced by yourself, and you really wanted to do dandiya sticks too.  But poor Asha was not having it.  And Daddy had to work so it was just me trying to make you guys happy.  But we came, we got to dress up in our pretty clothes.

Soccer ended this month.  It was a shame that there was so much rain.  We missed some practices, we missed some games.  But there was a pizza party at the end of the season and you got yourself a trophy!  I’m so proud of all the hard work you put into soccer, you did awesome this season!  And you had fun doing it, which is important!

Your school had a Monster Mash Halloween party which was so much fun.  You and Asha both went crazy playing the games, trick or treating, and running around and dancing in the gym.  Then we went to a Halloween party at the kid zone at the gym.  And then finally, we went trick or treating with our friends the Patels’, the Stephens and the Carter Family.  It’s definitely a tradition.  And I’d say you got plenty of use out of your witch costume.  One thing that we thought was so funny is that you cried after getting m&ms at one house.  We laughed it off and said, don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get some candy that you like at the next house. Well, at the next house, you got m&ms AGAIN, and you almost threw a fit.  I know I know, you don’t really like chocolate.  You’re more of a skittles/nerds/twizzlers kinda gal.

Dear Asha,

It’s been a pretty low key month for you.  We have our schedule, and I haven’t figured out a way for you to get into your activities.  I want to sign you up for the Little gym, but I know you don’t really listen to the teacher, and all you want to do is tumble.  Maybe in the new year, we’ll get you signed up.

Halloween was a success.  Kunal auntie gave you one of her daughter’s old ballerina costume, and you loved it.  You couldn’t wait to go trick or treating in your new ballerina costume.  You loved running from house to house with the big kids getting candy.  I think your favorites were skittles and lollipops.  No chocolate for you either.  Are you sure you two are my kids?  Because I LOVE chocolate.

Diwali practice was ramping up for both you and Ariya.  Oh man, the first year that you perform on stage for Diwali!  Asha, you have been so awesome.  There were times when I thought you weren’t ready.  But then you’d break out in song and start doing the dance and I’d think you were going to be fine.

Letters to My Children – September 2018

Dear Ariya,

You’ve been in school for a few weeks now, and it’s been a breeze.  You’re learning a lot and mastering a lot of you what you learned in pre-school.  You love riding the school bus.  And this month, you started 2 new activities….ballet and soccer!  Every Thursday, Asha and I pick you up from school so we can get you to ballet on time.  You get to see all of your old girlfriends from pre-school.  Mikayla, Emie. You’re always excited to find out what costume you’ll wear for the recital in May.

You’re also on a soccer team with your old friends Finn and Asher from preschool!  And Finn’s mom is the coach!  It’s been an interesting season so far.  We’ve had so much rain that practice has been cancelled pretty much every week.  The games have been fun even though we haven’t scored any goals….BUT!  the last game in September, YOU SCORED THE FIRST GOAL.  Your daddy and I went NUTS!  We were so happy and excited for you.  You did such an awesome job!

You’ve really connected with this sweet little girl, Claire, from the gym of all places.  When I go to work out and would drop you off at the kid zone over the summer time, you really loved playing with Claire.  So I made friends with her mommy and we had a few play dates.  Wow, I’ve never seen you like this before.  I’m so glad that you’ve made such a great friend.

Dear Asha,

You are growing to love school.  Sometimes I think you’d rather hang out with me, but I know you’re doing some pretty cool things at school.  Everyone at school keeps calling you Ariya and I don’t blame them.  I get deja vu every time I see you walk out of the school with your teacher for pickup.  It’s pretty wild.

You are very opinionated about the music we listen to in the car.  First it’s kidz bop.  Now it’s the original versions of kidz bop.  Your favorite song is The Middle, and No Tears Left to Cry.  I’ve introduced you to Beyonce and you can’t get enough of Run the World (Girls). It’s kinda cool to listen to these songs, but also kind of inappropriate when you ask for “Turn Down for What”.  I think you just like the beat.  I hope you’re not paying attention to the words.

You had your last swim lesson with Super Splashers.  And you lost your damn mind.  You wanted to stay in that pool.  It was around your nap time, so I get why you were so cranky.  But you were screaming at the top of the longs when I brought you out of that building.  And I realized that yeah, we’ll take a break from swimming until maybe the spring, definitely the summer.

We’ve developed this habit of you going for a car ride for nap time.  I don’t know what it is, but listening to music and driving around really does it for you.  And some how I’ve perfected the art of transferring you from the car to your bed.  Sometimes it fails, but for the most part it works.  Thank goodness!

Letters to My Children – August 2018

Dear Ariya,

And now it’s on.  The countdown till Kindergarten starts. You are so excited for school.  you are ready.  You mention your old school, and your old teachers and friends.  You miss them.  But you’re looking forward to the new adventure that Kindergarten holds.

In the meantime, we’re soaking up the sun and pool and trying to enjoy the last of summer before school starts.

Kindergarten Orientation and Meet the Teacher was a success.  You were scared about riding the school bus, but after a quick trial run at orientation of riding the bus, you were sold.  I wasn’t sold, I was nervous for you.  But the look on your face when you walked towards the bus stop said it all.  You were ready.  Your school bus driver is so nice.  You made friends immediately.  I couldn’t have asked for a better start to Kindergarten.

You loved kindergarten SO much that on Friday, when I jumped on your bed and said that tonight, you can stay up, tomorrow you can sleep in BECAUSE IT’S THE WEEKEND, THERE’S NO SCHOOL……what was your reaction?  You cried.  You cried because you wanted to go to school.  My mouth dropped wide open.  Amazing.  You love your teachers.  You love gym, art and music class.  You love playing on the playground and eating lunch with your class.  I’m super excited for you.

You’ve started reading these BOB books that Azusa Auntie gave you for your birthday.  Wow, the confidence you have, you are a rock star! I’m so proud of you.  You WANT to learn, you LOVE to learn.  Every day you ask for homework.  You wish your teacher assigned homework.  We do your fun sheets when you’re in the mood, but I don’t push it. I love that you love learning, and I want to keep this momentum up.

 

Dear Asha,

It’s the last month of summer fun before you start Preschool!!  We’ve been going to the pool as much as we can.  It’s weird having Ariya in school, with just the two of us at the pool.  You loved it.  You would live in the pool if you could.  Every day, it’s all about the bathingsuit, noodle and country club.  But all good things must come to an end.

You’ve become more opinionated about what you wear, the clothes you wear during the day, and at night.  You have your favorite pajamas, some that you’re outgrowing.  The purple elsa nightgown is your absolute favorite.  But man you are growing.  That nightgown is a 2t, and you’re already wearing 3t dresses and 4t shorts/pants.  It’s crazy how much you’re growing, you’re so tall!

Preschool orientation was a piece of cake.  You’re used to preschool because that’s where Ariya went.  You’re used to your classroom because that’s where you go for bible school when we go to church.  You start after Labor Day and I know you’re ready to start school.  And I’m so excited for you.  Great things are going to happen this year for you!

    

 

Letters to My Children – February 2018

 

Dear Ariya,

It’s been a pretty good month. You’re still loving your school and learning so much.  We’ve been going to many Destination Imagination meetings because the tournament is next month.  You love seeing your friends every week, but I think you just want to play with them and not have to rehears the play that we decided on, or work on an instant challenge.  I promise you, it will be worth it all in the end.  And I think you’re looking forward to actually presenting on stage.  You’re such a performer.

You’re also looking forward to your ballet recital.  It will be in May, and you ask your teacher every week if the costumes have been ordered.  I love that you love ballet.  And now you want to sign up for gymnastics and swimming.  Girl, I can’t keep up.  There’s a whole lot of activities going on, but we’ll try to make it work 🙂

Lately, you’ve been obsessed with your legos.  You love going upstairs to your room, to build your disney lego sets.  It’s pretty amazing how you went from this phase of always wanting to play, and not being able to play by yourself, to doing puzzles by yourself and legos, painting rocks and seashells.  You’re growing up so fast!  Registration for kindergarten is next month and I’m not ready.  I know you are, but I’m not.

You turn 5 in a few months.  And you keep talking about when you’re 6 and 7 and 8, when you’ll be able to drive, when you’ll be able to help with grocery shopping, when you’ll be able to put me to bed and sing me lullabies.  You are such a sweet girl.  Thank you for thinking of me, of us, of everyone around you.  You’re so good and kind.  Even when you’re going through your tantrums and fits, I know you’re still my sweet little girl.

Dear Asha,

You are still obsessed with disney princesses and playing dress up.  You saw Ariya in her princess night gown one night, and that night changed everything.  No more sweet footed onesie pajamas.  I had to pull out all of Ariya’s old night gowns for you to wear. And then I had to ransack the 2 Targets that had night gowns.  And then I had to get more matching nightgowns for Ariya.  We’re a mess.  A house full of princesses.

Binky had to go bye bye.  And you were SO upset over it.  It was the only way you were able to soothe yourself and go to sleep.  But you chewed a hole in the plastic and I had to throw it away.  I’m sorry.  I wish I hadn’t.  Because now you’re going down for your naps later and later.  And falling asleep at night is getting harder and harder. I keep reminding myself that this is a phase.  I remember when Ariya went through this, and now you are going through it too.  I just hope this phase passes quickly!

My strong girl.  You said “I love you” for the first time.  And it warmed my heart. I went away for a weekend, for a photography conference.  And you kept saying “I miss you Mommy”.  I love the little snuggles and hugs you give me.  I just want to hold on to you and squeeze you and keep you little forever.

Letters to My Children – January 2018

Dear Ariya,

It was tough saying goodbye to all of our family and head back home.  You miss your big sister cousin, Tara ben.  But thank goodness for technology, because you had a chance to do a few video chats.  You grabbed my phone so fast so you could show Tara ben your toys, your dogs, the backyard.  It kind of reminds me of my big sister cousin Priti ben (your Priti masi).  Even though we both have 20 years of difference between our big sisters, they are like our best friends.  I know Priti ben was the first person I went to, to tell almost everything, when I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone else.  I hope you never feel that way, and that you’ll always come to me first.  But if you don’t feel like you can come to me, I hope you’ll have Asha, Daddy or even Tara ben to talk to.

We went to a one of your friend’s birthday party which was Princess themed.  I think you had fun.  You did love wearing your new Frozen dress up dress.  You got to put on lipstick as a game to kiss the frog.  I think what’s funny is that this might be what set off Asha’s obsession with princesses, bows in her hair, and wearing dresses all the time.

We had a few school delays and school closings. But no real snow.  I don’t know if you’re disappointed, but I know I am.  There have been a few flurries, and I made you and your sister put on a coat so we can attempt to play in the snow.  But yeah, there has been no real snow, and Mommy is so sad.

School has been great.  You’re always excited to go, and you’re always happy when I pick you up.  Your favorite things now are playing with legos, doing your puzzles, playing with your  “rocket ship” (which is really either a laundry basket or an empty Amazon box).  And you’re looking forward to your 5th birthday party, which is in April.  We’re still trying to figure out what to do, but I’m sure it will be great.

 

Dear Asha,

You are missing Mexico.  I think you got way too used to the pool and the beach.  Because you started stringing your words together and say “I want pool”.  Also, you’ve been paying attention to Ariya, because you use the same tone and manner when you say “I want Mommy, I want Daddy, I want binky” and you stamp your feet or throw a tantrum.  It cracks me up, but I hope this phase (the tantrums and stomping your feet) passes.

The princess bug has officially hit.  It’s Frozen and Moana ALL.THE.TIME.  You’re in love with Ariya’s Jasmine dress up outfit that she never wore.  I think it’s because you think you  look like Shimmer and Shine, another favorite show that you like.  You wear Ariya’s Belle dress like it’s going out of style.  This is happening a lot earlier than it did with Ariya.  We tried to hold off so hard on introducing Ariya to anything Disney.  But with you, you see your big sister enjoy her dress up clothes and watch her disney movies and shows.  And you want to be just like your big sister.  You love your dresses, you want to wear bows in your hair.

Your personality is so strong. We joke that you’re a terror.  But you really are a force.  I don’t think we’ll ever have to worry about you, you know how to handle yourself.  I may have to worry about anyone that gets in your way.

 

 

 

Letters to My Children – December 2017

Dear Ariya,

December has gone by so fast!  Asha’s birthday was in the beginning of the month, but since Daddy had to work, we celebrated it when he came home.  We had a few cupcakes, opened a few presents.  She’s now 2!  And you both love her new presents.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I decided to create a Destination Imagination team for you and your friends.  I thought it would be fun to try something different, have a new challenge, learn something new. Your friends Sei, Veer, and Elizabeth are on your team. The tournament is in March, and we have so much work to do!

Christmas vacation started after your Christmas program at Sonshine Learning Center.  We left for Richmond to celebrate Asha’s birthday at Nani and Nanu’s house.  Grandma, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, Jayden and Mekai came to help celebrate.  Even the neighbor’s daughter came over to play with you, how fun!  The cake was the best part, as always.

That night we went to Lewis Ginter’s Botanical Gardens to check out all of the holiday lights.  Wow, It was sooooo cold, but the lights were beautiful! And you had so much fun with Grandma, but I think getting hot chocolate was at the top of your list.

Christmas was a whirlwind.  Nani and Nanu came to visit while we celebrated Christmas Eve.  I think both you and your sister loved your presents from Santa.  Your favorites change from day to day.  One day you love the Frozen puzzles, the next you love the Ice cream counter that Asha got.  The work bench has been a huge hit with both you and Asha. Too bad we couldn’t have enough time to play with your new toys, as we had to leave for our trip!

We travelled to Canada on Christmas day to spend time with our family.  The last time you were in Canada, you were 1 1/2 years old!  And my aunt, uncle, cousins and nieces had not even met Asha!  So it was a fun Christmas party.  You got to wear your pretty Indian clothes, which made you so happy!

The day after Christmas, we left for Mexico!  You were so happy to hang out with all of your cousins, but I’m convinced that Tara ben is your best friend forever. The plane trip wasn’t so bad, but it was a long day of travel!  Our hotel was beautiful, and our room was a suite with a kitchen, patio, king size bed and jacuzzi tub. It was very helpful having all that space, because your sister took a while getting used to her routine in a new place.

All the swimming that we did! The sandcastles we built.  The dancing we did with the instructors, the New Year’s Eve part that we let you stay up for.  It was amazing that you and your sister lasted as long as you did. You eventually fell asleep in your stroller with your sister as we all rung in the New Year.  I think you’d say this trip was the best.  The hardest part was leaving our family, but we made sure that we’ll video chat and call every so often. We’re even planning our next trip to see them!  Don’t tell Daddy that, because he thinks I’m always thinking of our next trip.

Ariya, you are my sweet, smart, soulful, funny, emotional, first born.  You’re having a hard time dealing with disappointment but we’re working through that.  Your first reaction is to scream, huff, stomp your feet and slam doors, but you always apologize after you take a time out and some deep breaths. You also have no patience, and love instant gratification, just like your mommy.  I know where you get it from. You’re growing up so fast.  And I’m trying so hard to keep up with you.

Dear Asha,

You’re 2!!  Where did the time go?  How are you now 2???  You are so strong willed, loving, affectionate, playful.  You feel your emotions 100%.  You learn everything from Ariya.  Your love for dresses, for playing dress up with her princess dresses.  You want to brush your teeth like Ariya, get your hair brushed like Ariya.  You miss Ariya when she goes to school, and you’re so happy when we pick her up.

You loved your Frozen themed party. The cake was a masterpiece, it was a cake of Anna.  and it was so delicious!  You were happy to have your family around you to celebrate.

Our travels to Canada and Mexico were a struggle.It’s hard, being confined to a stroller, confined to a plane seat, confined during security and customs.  But you survived.  And had a blast!  You watched Moana and Frozen over and over again.  You now know how to say “I want Anna!” (Frozen or Moana, I still have a hard time figuring that out) or “I want Mommy” .  You were a bit standoffish with meeting your cousins and aunties and uncles, but by the end of the trip, Tara ben and Priti Masi had won you over, and you would go over to them, play with them, sit in their laps.  I’m so happy you gave them a chance, because they love you and your sister so much!

Your vocabulary has grown so much.  You  learned to say “pool”, “goggles” (for swim goggles), “beach”, “boots”, “socks”, “shoes”.  And so much more.  It’s crazy how much you’re trying to talk.  Amazing.

We ended the year in Mexico on an amazing resort in Playa del Carmen.  Who knows what 2018 will bring?

April 2017 – Film Project

April was the month of trying new things.  I attended the first ever FILM SCHOOL hosted by the Find Lab and Jonathan Canlas in Utah (to find out more, email jon@thefindlab.com)  It was a pretty great experience, trying new things, talking film with people that are passionate about shooting film.  Got to try strobes and different setups..  We did some night shooting and panning.   It was pretty amazing.  We took a tour of the lab and got to work with the scanning techs to see what goes behind the scenes with our film, which was very enlightening.  But I honestly think one of the best parts was eating Callie Canlas’ food!  I brought way too many cameras and lenses, but I mostly shot with the Pentax 645nii and Contax G1. I tried shooting with the Rolleiflex 2.8E, but I’m horrible with manual focusing so those photos were not awesome (unless there was a happy accident).  Here are a few from the workshop.

Contax G1, Portra 400

Pentax 645nii, Portra 400 and strobes

 

Rolleiflex 2.8e and HP5

Pentax 645nii and Portra 400, +3

Pentax 645nii and Portra 400

After I came home, I felt so passionate, energized about film photography.  I ended up buying some strobes, a soft box, some honeycombs.  And they sat.  It was just so intimidating.  In the meantime, I went with what I know.  I practiced manual focus with this new lens that I acquired, the Leica Summicron fitted on the Pentax 645nii.

Pentax 645nii, Portra 160 rated at 320 + 1

And then I experimented with the Contax G1 and TLA flash.

The strobes didn’t sit long.