Dear Ariya and Asha
The countdown is on! We are going to see your cousins, Eila and Kailas, Niraj mama, Hyeon mami (they are your uncle and aunt, and Eila/Kailas’ parents) and Nani and Nanu! We’re flying on a plan to San francisco! We rented a house in Sonoma for 5 days and a house in Santa Cruz for 5 days. It should be fun!
BUT! Before we go to California, we have some other pretty exciting things happening. We went to go see the Nutcracker at Handley High school. Your friend Marni was in it, and you were so excited to see her on stage. Ariya, you got a little upset because you wanted to be on stage too. Asha, it was during your nap time, so you were a bit of a mess, but I think you girls both enjoyed it. You especially loved the sugar plum fairies.
Asha, you celebrated your 3rd birthday party! We went to the Little Gym and invited all of our friends. You had a blast. Your party was decorated with unicorns, and your cake was even a unicorn! It was pretty awesome celebrating your special day. I’m afraid to say, I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but I did take a lot of video, and I’m hoping to make a video of your birthday party one day soon!
Ariya, you are disappointed that you don’t get to spend the holidays with your friends at school. There were a lot of celebrations that we missed. You missed your Christmas carol singalong, pajama day and hot chocolate party, for meeting your reading goal each month. And Asha, you missed your Christmas celebration at preschool, your first one. I was a little sad to miss that too.
We flew directly to San Francisco at night, and you girls were just so excited, you would not go to sleep. We put the tablets in front of you, and you were good to go. Lots of games, movies and tv shows were downloaded on your tablet, so we were prepared. That and a bunch of snacks, and the flight was alright.
We rented a car at the airport and off we went, on our way to Sonoma. It was dark and it was late, and we were so happy to fall in to bed. When we woke up, you girls were so excited to see everyone! The house had a pretty awesome game room filled with legos, and toys and books. There were beds where you could have a slumber party if you wanted to. We were surrounded by trees and vines, and there were walking paths all around us. You both had so much fun playing with your cousins and running around. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best, and it rained most of the time we were there. We went to an arcade one day, we went to a winery another day. But most of the time we spent at the house, just hanging out. You all got to open up a few Christmas presents under the tree, so that was cool. And, Rikin Uncle and Eisha auntie came down from San Francisco to visit for a few hours. How fun was that?!?!
After a 5 days, we hit the road and went to Santa Cruz. Since I was bummed about the weather and wasn’t able to photograph as much as I would have liked, I decided to take you girls on a detour, and drive on High way 1 to Point Reyes State Park. It was a cold, windy rainy day, but the detour was WORTH it. WE SAW AN ELEPHANT SEAL. And it was HUGE! Oh man, it was huge. And it had this barking call. It was pretty wild. We saw reindeer and cows on these cliffside grazing lands. It was beautiful. We stopped at this AMAZING restaurant called Side Street Kitchen. I think we had the best food ever during that lunch. This was all before we passed San Francisco. We still had to drive to Santa Cruz. The rest of the drive was long, you girls were on the tablet. Nani took a nap. It was a long day.
We arrived at the Santa Cruz beach house pretty late. Everyone else was there, and you girls had fun exploring all the rooms. It wasn’t as big as the house in Sonoma, but it was a pretty school space. The house was a block away from the beach. We had a beautiful day at the beach one day. It was sunny, and you girls had a BALL playing in the sand. Running toward the waves, screaming and running away from it. Asha, you even asked for your bathing suit! The water was COLD, but you girls did not care. You tried to build sand castles, you dug moats, you carried buckets and buckets of water. I took lots of pictures. It was great. Your daddy even found a place to check out tide pools! Oh my gosh, it was so cool. We had to climb up some rocks to get there. We saw anemone, star fish, mussels. It was pretty neat.
There was a boardwalk with rides and games near by as well. Oh man, did you all have so much fun. Only a few rides were open, but you kept riding them over and over and over again. Niraj mama won you a stuffed animal, and then I won you a stuffed animal too! Daddy tried, but he couldn’t hit the pins with the baseball. But I did 🙂
We tried to make it to Ano Nuevo State Park to see more elephant seals. But I didn’t realize that you had to make an appointment to see a tour. Plus there was no cell service, so we got separated from Eila and Kailas. But we did take a side trip and visited Big Basin Park. Oh my goodness, we saw so many sand dollars. It was the coolest thing ever. you could jump on these rocks and searched and searched and searched. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
We celebrated Nani’s birthday while we were in Santa Cruz. Ice cream cake and balloons, sparkling wine and fun. I think you girls were really happy to spend so much time with family.
After 5 days in Santa Cruz, it was time to go back home. We were on the same flight with Nani and Nanu. And you were rockstars, you did such a great job flying back. we still had to make that drive home from DC, and we were all tired. 10 days was a long time to be away and we were ready for our beds. I also think that Asha, you were tired of sharing Ariya with your cousins. While you had a good time with your cousins, and you were so gentle with Kailas, you were having a rough time with Eila. You loved playing with her, but you also fought with her like you fight with Ariya. And not everyone understands your dynamic with your sister. You two fight. You love hard and you play hard and you fight hard, and you love hard some more. You also JUST turned three, and you’re still learning to communicate. And you get frustrated pretty easily. And you strike out when you’re frustrated. I get you. I know that with time and repetition, learning to use your words and not your hands, you’ll mature, and do better. But your amazing strong stubborn opinionated self, I hope you never change. Because I know those qualities will serve you well in life.
Ariya, I know you had a great time with your best friend/cousin Eila. It’s a shame that they live so far away and we don’t get to see them that often. You two played so well together. You had your ups and downs, as friends and family do, but overall, you liked the same things and were happy to play together.
On Christmas Eve, we made the trip to Grandma’s house. It was so nice seeing Grandma and all of the family, playing with your cousins on your daddy’s side. It was so refreshing to see you girls go crazy with your cousins and I didn’t have to worry about a thing. There were so many cousins to play with! When it was time to go, Ariya, you cried and cried. It was tough getting you in the car. That’s when I know you had a really good time. I know it was such a short time to spend with family. Christmas was nice, you loved all of your presents. But what was most important was that you spent quality time with family. And you’ll see your cousins again in the summer time, I promise.
New Year’s Eve, we drove to Alexandria to spend the night. We had this amazing Indian dinner at this place called Namaste. It was so nice to spend New Year’s Eve with my family. We played Jenga and Uno, watched tv and basically hung out together. We didn’t make it to midnight, but that’s ok. It was worth it.
2018 was a great year, with lots of changes. Asha started pre-school, Ariya started kindergarten. But, I’m pretty sure 2019 is going to be even better!