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 – March 2018

Dear Ariya,

Destination Imagination happened!  And you rocked it!  There were some hiccups, one of your teammates was sick with strep and couldn’t make it.  We had to ask one of your friends to learn her lines.  It was tough, I know, asking your team to memorize so many lines.  Many thought you all were too young.  But I think you were excited to be in the parade and act out your play with your friends, Veer and Sei.  And you had to think quick on your feet with the instant challenge.  I think it was a great introduction to Destination Imagination.  It sounds like you all want to do it next year.  I thought it was fun, and I think you did too.

You saw your friend Marnie act and sing and dance in a play called Aladdin Jr.  And you loved it.  You loved it so much you were crying when we left.  Because you wanted to be on stage.  You wanted to act and dance and sing.  I reminded you that your ballet recital was in May and you’ll be on stage soon.  But you reminded me that you wouldn’t act or sing, you’d just be dancing, and you wanted to sign and dance and act NOW.  I guess I’ll be signing you up for some theater camps this summer.

We realized that we can now stream Netflix at home (with satellite internet, we couldn’t, and it was painful.  But now that we have a hotspot that streams pretty well, netflix is on all the time).  And you and Asha watched Leap for the first time.  And it was love at first sight.  You stay in your ballet slippers all day long.  You have Asha wearing your old ballet slippers and leotards.  You are leaping and jumping and spinning.  And Asha wants to be just like you, spinning, and twirling as well.

We’ve started swimming lessons again.  Gotta get you ready for the summer.  Practice makes perfect, right?  And you started soccer again, with a new league, BRYSA.  And you LOVED the first practice!  There were maybe 20 kids your age.  A few of them, you knew from preschool, including Asher.  And you did not want to leave.  Oh my goodness, it was so cold and windy during your first practice, but you could have stayed out there all night.  I had no idea how into it you were.

You’ve been asking for gymnastics for a little while so I finally gave in.  You’re taking classes at the Little Gym again.  And you love doing your somersaults and trying flips, jumping around and swinging like monkeys.  It’s crazy.  It’s turning out to be a busy spring.  You love staying busy.  But I have a feeling I’m going to burn out from all this running around. Between you and Asha, you girls are wearing me out. But I’m glad you’re doing all the things I used to do as a little kid.

Daddy had a week off from work, so we took advantage.  We spent a few days with Nani and Nanu in Richmond.  We went to the children’s museum, and spent quality time coloring and playing with your grandparents.  And then we went to Pittsburgh to see our good friends, Raj Uncle, Shilika auntie and Medha.  We went to the Natural History Museum, the Children’s museum (our favorite), and the Phipps’ Botanical Gardens.  It was great getting together with friends, eating out and playing in new and different places.  A change in scenery is always nice.

In April, you turn 5.  I can’t believe it, my baby turns 5.  I’m going to be a mess. We registered you for kindergarten, and I was a mess there.  I just can’t believe my baby is growing up.  I love you so much Ariya.  I can’t tell you enough how lucky I am to be your mommy.  I’m not always patient, and we have our hard times.  But please know that I’m trying my best to be the best mommy that you deserve.

Dear Asha,

Well.  You’re still not napping.  You’re still delirious. You’re still overtired and not falling asleep at night.  I don’t know what to do.  Do I need to wear you out in the morning?  It seems like the only way I can get you to sleep is if we go on a LONG car drive.  And I can’t do this every day.  Girl, you need to go to sleep!  We got rid of the bottle and that doesn’t help at all. Drinking milk out of the straw frustrates the heck out of you.  You’re so angry when you can’t chug your milk. Another way to soothe yourself, taken away.  I’m so sorry baby.  But you’re not a baby anymore.  It’s time to be a big girl.

We started swim lessons and the little gym for you.  And you are OBSESSED.  Especially with the pool.  You ask to go to the pool EVERY DAY.  You want to wear your bathing suit EVERY DAY. And you just don’t understand why we can’t go to the pool every day.  Or why you can’t swim with Ariya, even though you had your lesson already.  It’s tough.  You want what you want when you want it.

We had a snow day in March.  And you were not a fan of all the snow gear, the hat, the mittens, the snow pants and coat.  You hate wearing your winter coat, so all of this was just too much for you.  You loved eating the snow though.  Just like Ariya, you were a fan of the snow cream and the hot cocoa.  But you hated your mittens and took them off every chance you got.

I love you Asha basha. You wear me out, but I wouldn’t trade you for the world.

 

 

 

 

Letters to My Children – July and August 2017

Dear Ariya,

I feel like this summer went by so quickly! We filled the days with swimming, playing and more swimming.  Like, a lot of swimming….We took advantage of this pool membership and tried to go as often as we could, and there usually was a babysitter there to help me out.  You love your babysitter Savannah.  And she was a lifeguard too, so she was able to help you swim when you weren’t having your lessons.

In July, we took a trip to Cape Charles, VA.  We stopped off at Nani and Nanu’s house to visit for a little bit, which was nice.  It’s always good to play with your mom’s old toys and hang out.  But we drove a few more hours down to the beach and got to check out the house that we’d be staying at.  Grandma and your cousins and aunties and uncles were coming too! Even Uncle Eric was there!  How exciting!!  The beach was fun, the water was shallow and warm, and I did not have to worry about any waves crashing down on you and your sister.  The only thing that creeped you out were the snails.  There were MILLIONS of them, just buried in the sand.  And the ocean seemed so far away, we had to walk OVER these snails just to get to the water.  Yeah, it was creepy.  But we had a great time.  We went to the aquarium one day when the weather was kind of gloomy.  And we went to the library another day, they had the most fun little corner full of toys and books for kids like you.  You had a great time with the cousins, even though there was a lot of fighting and yelling to share over all of the toys.  But we definitely made some memories and I was there to take photos of pretty much everything.

As soon as we got back home, you had music camp with your friend Asher at SCAA.  We love learning with Ms Karen, and you had so much fun!  This year’s theme was traveling the world, learning about other cultures and singing lots of songs.

And the NEXT week, we did camp at Sonshine, your preschool.  The theme for the week was STEM.  It was pretty cool, the experiments you did.  One thing that was funny was that every day I dropped you off, Asha cried and cried for you.  She missed you so much.  I don’t know how she’ll handle you going back to school!

You also got a big girl bike to ride.  It still has the training wheels on but you’re having fun.  You’re very cautious, and try to ride slow.  It stinks that we’re on a hill, we do have to be careful when you ride around our house.  We may need to take your bike to the park one of these days, so you can practice some more.

August was a great month too.  We got to visit my family in New York.  And THEY had a pool too!  You met a TON of your older cousins on my side of the family.  I bet you didn’t realize how many uncles you had.  And you got to see Mala ben again.  I think you were just in awe of having an older sister cousin. And we were there just in time for Rakshabandhan.  I was able to tie rakhis  to all of my brother cousins (missing Niraj bhai and Akash) that were there, and you were able to tie rakhis to your brother cousins too!  Hopefully we’ll be able to make this a yearly tradition and see everyone next year! Well, we know we’ll definitely see them next year, because we have an Indian wedding to go to!  Rushabh uncle is getting married to Nithi auntie and you get to wear your beautiful indian dresses!  I know you’re excited about that!

I think you’re finally getting the handle of this swimming thing. You even jumped off the diving board and swam to the side in the deep end on your last swim lesson at the pool!  It was so amazing, and you acted like it was no big deal.  You are such a rockstar!  You keep asking about when school will start, when you’ll be in the 4s class, and when you can start ballet. Soon, sweetie.  Right now, let’s enjoy this time together and soak up the last of the summer.

Right now you love giving hugs and you’re such a big helper and such a sweet big sister.  Asha is so lucky to have you, even if it seems like a pain, always fighting over a toy or stuffed animal.  Thank you for being so patient with her.  I know she’s going through phase where you can’t reason with her, she wants what she wants.  But you’re doing a great job of working through your emotions and hers.  You’re getting so big.  I can’t believe that I have a 4 year old.  Where did the time go?

Dear Asha,

You have become SUCH a water baby!  You love splashing in the water and kicking your legs.  We play humpty dumpty you jump off the side of the pool to get wet.  I will definitely have to enroll you in some Mommy and me swim classes when Ariya is back in school.  I know you’ll love that.

You had such a great time at the beach with your cousins.  The sand, the sun.  Oh man, did you love putting the sand in your mouth :-/  I think you even tried to PUT A SNAIL IN YOUR MOUTH.  Yeah, I was not too happy about that.  You were very independent in the shallow water.  You’d just do your own thing, you hated me hovering.

While Ariya was in camp, you were a mess.  I thought we could have some fun times, just you and me, but you were not having it.  So we went to the gym a lot.  And played at home.  I wonder how this year with Ariya in school will be for you? I do have some fun things planned, like music class with Ms Karen at SCAA, and the mommy and me swim class at Kids First. Should be good times.

Your personality is so big Asha.  We joke that you’re such a terror.  I don’t know if it’s a 2nd child syndrome, or what.  But you definitely let your wishes known.  You’re finally saying Mommy (but you say it the way Ariya screams it when she’s downstairs and I’m upstairs, like MOMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY.  When you say it, I have a mini heart attack because I think something’s wrong. Nope, it’s just you repeating what you hear), and you wave and say Bye bye, and when daddy comes home from work  in the morning, you say Hiiiiiiiiii.  It’s the cutest thing.  I gotta get you on video starting to talk.  you’re definitely making a LOT of sounds and it’s the cutest thing ever.  But when you’re not happy, you let it be known.  Scratching, pinching, hair pulling.  Poor Ariya gets most of it.  We love you and wouldn’t have it any other way. But, maybe if you could just grow out of this phase soon, that would be awesome. K?

*all photos shot on film

 

Film 366 Favorites of 2016

The year has ended and I have survived 2 366 projects.  One was a digital 366, using my Nikon d610 and Fuji x100t.  And the 2nd was a film 366, using a variety of film cameras and film stocks.  I went a little crazy exploring the world of film.  I’ve acquired a ton of film cameras, tons of film stock.  I was all over the place.  I wasn’t able to keep track of my film 366, because I shot SO MUCH FILM.  Here are some of my favorites of 2016.

37016jbmar137001-r2-0001 38170jbmar610003-r2-001 39855aamar629003-r1-013 39855aamar629004-r2-024 39855eegoo629007-r2-051 39855eegoo629007-r2-053 39855eegoo629007-r2-059 42813nnmar801002-r1-010-2 42813nnmar801007-r4-120-2 42813nnmar801007-r4-129-2 000009430011 000009480020 000009480024 000009490016 000009500004 000024840034 000024860026 000024930005 000024960003 000024960016 000060400019 000060400026 000060410001 000060410018 000064300002 000064300003 000068300009 000068310019 000068320019 000078130004 000078130014 000078150006 000097840037 000097850003 000097850017 000097860001 000097860017 000097860019 000097860021 000097860025 286460020019 286460020023 286460020034 312680020003 312680020006 312680020007 312680030029 312680040010 312680040027 314930010005 314930010013 314930010017 320360010008 320360010032 320360020006 320360020033 320360040005 320360050017 320360060003 320360060031 320360070022 342450010005 342450010010 342450010013 342450020001 342450020009 342450040003 342450050005 342450070003 342450070027 342450080033 342450090005 342450090021 370020020005 370020020014 381720010017 381720010027 381720040015 381720040030 399390010007 412850020020 426610010011-2 436610010025-2 436610030005-2 523900010016 523900020015-2 523900040004 523900040009 523900040011-2 523900040016 523900050016 560040060028 es35135goo509002-r1-003 es35135goo509002-r1-022 es35135goo509002-r2-074 es35135goo509002-r4-103 es35135goo509002-r4-104 es35135goo509002-r4-116 es35135goo509002-r6-161 hp33314goo415001-r1-003 hp33314goo415002-r1-005 hp33314goo415002-r1-006 hp33314goo415002-r2-046 hp33314goo415002-r3-061 hp34249goo427002-r1-010 jo33311goo041503-r1-035 sr33315goo041501-r1-004 untitled-71 untitled-92

I’m crazy enough to do my 4th 365, for 2017.  I’ve also decided to slow down with film and focus.  So, I’m doing a digital 365, and I’m doing 1 roll of film a week, and for each month that I shoot film, I’ll be using the same film camera, same lens and same film stock. For January 2017, I’ve started shooting Acros 100 with my Nikon f100 and 35 f/2 lens.  Let’s hope I come out with some decent shots!

The Film & Roots Workshop Review Part 1

I’ve always loved capturing moments.  First with a point and shoot olympus film camera in high school, and then on to a Nikon dslr.  As I’ve reflected on my personal journey of photography, I’ve always found an appeal with film photography.  The fear of loading the film correctly, not knowing whether I got the shot or what it will look like, the anticipation as I send my roll in to be developed, receiving the prints or scans and reliving that day.  It’s a great feeling.  As I’m learning more and more about photography and editing, I long for a simpler time, where I don’t have to spend as much time in front of the laptop, staring at a photo, trying to get it right.

Some time last year, I “met” Jennifer Warthan through Facebook, on one of the film Facebook groups.  I’ve always loved her work, and when I saw that she was offering a workshop, I jumped at the chance!  I won a Nikon F100 off ebay and shot a roll of film, playing around with the settings.  I still need to send that in to be developed,  I had no idea what I was doing!  Thank goodness for Jennifer!

The workshop was amazing.  It was from 10am – 6pm, set in the beautiful peanut country of Waverly VA, at Jennifer’s cottage.  There were 2 other lovely ladies in the workshop along with me, so it was nice and intimate.  Jennifer provided breakfast, lunch and snacks, refreshments, and we had everything we need to feel right at home.  But I was anxious to jump in.  As soon as we entered the cottage, there was a table FULL of different film cameras and film stock.  And I was drooling.  Just 2 days after attending the workshop, I’m already searching for a medium format camera.  Jennifer went through the difference between 35mm and medium format cameras, and then moved on to the different film stocks out there.  She had an easy way of explaining how to apply the exposure triangle to film.  It was hard not to trust my camera sensor and to let go.

Shortly after our discussion, our sweet model Ally came.  She was the perfect model, up for anything.  I already had Kodak Ultramax 400 loaded in my Nikon f100, so I used that roll for part of the session.  Then, as we moved outdoors into the full sun, I switched to Kodak Ektar 100.  And throughout the morning session, every time I took a picture, I would look at the back of the camera to see how it came through.  The anticipation was killing me.  However, shooting film did cause me to slow down, really think about what I wanted to shoot, carefully compose and then go for it.

After our morning session, we broke for lunch.  Jennifer showed us how to develop our film, which was pretty cool stuff.  Not sure if I trust myself to develop my own film just yet, but it was neat to know that I could if I wanted to.  She then scanned our film rolls using her Pakon scanner.  It was amazing seeing some of the shots that we took.  It really was like Christmas, the anticipation, not knowing if any pictures came out ok. There were definitely more than a few keepers.  The colors were amazing!  The detail in the sky came through.  Honestly, I did not have to do much for post processing.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

These are Kodak Ultramax 400.

a (50) a (51) a (53) a (54)

These are Kodak Ektar 100

a (62) a (65) a (67) a (68) a (76) a (78) a (80) a (81) a (82) a (83) a (84) a (85)

Watching the pro in action

a (87)

We shot a family session for the afternoon.  I thought I’d try a black and white film stock, Tri-X 400, I believe.  I hope they turned out ok,  I still need to send it in to be scanned.  I’ll keep you posted!

If you’re in or around the Waverly, VA area, you have got to check this workshop out!  You can find more info here.  You won’t regret it!