Letters to My Children – April 2021

Dear Ariya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Asha,

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

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

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

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

Dear Anika,

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

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

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

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

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

Letters to My Children – March 2021

Dear Ariya,

Another month of homeschooling. We made more of an effort to get outside more, now that the weather was warming up. We met up with friends a few times, went for walks and hikes outside. We tried to switch it up, but it really was us doing the same thing every day. I did ask your ballet teacher, who is also a Montessori teacher and taught school online if she would tutor you in math. You had such a love/hate relationship with Beast Academy and the thought that math brought you to tears makes me so sad. I get that you’re frustrated, and I know I’m not a teacher, so I thought that tutoring with Ms Abby online would help. And she is amazing. I could always hear you laughing on your zoom calls with Ms Abby, which was really great.

Nothing else much changed. We didn’t have an “official” spring break. We just chose the week that Daddy was off, and had some adventures. It gave you a break, it gave all of us a break, and I think we really needed it. Is it summer vacation yet?

Dear Asha,

Another month of doing the same thing. You did have way more play time than Ariya did, and you waited around a lot for her to be done with her school. You did enjoy playing with Anika but it wasn’t the same. Anika grabs all of the toys you’re playing with. And you do the same (huh, I wonder where she learned it from?) You are always in competition with Ariya. You’ve started reading those BOB books, and man, you are so smart! You’re still doing tutoring with Ms Mary, but you don’t understand why you can’t have tutoring with Ms Abby like Ariya does. And you’re still doing ballet, although I think you’re pretty much over ballet on zoom. You miss seeing your friends and can’t wait to be there in person. You’re in luck! I just registered you for Kindergarten, so in a few short months, you will be in school, riding the school bus with your sister, and in a new classroom and making new friends. I know you can’t wait!

Dear Anika,

Stop time, please stop. My baby, you just keep growing and growing. You’re obsessed with my phone, pushing buttons, dragging and dropping, playing with filters on Instagram. I gotta hide my phone from you now, because you’re always changing things on my phone!

When we went on our hikes, you did not like staying in the ergo carrier. Funny, I remember looking back at the time when Asha was your age, she would actually nap in the ergo, no problem. Not you. You want to get down, you want to walk for a little bit, and when you get tired, you want to be held, but you do NOT want to be in the ergo, or be worn. Girl, my arms are tired of carrying you when we’re hiking! Also, you won’t stay in your stroller when the girls are riding their bikes. You don’t understand why you’re not riding a bike with them. It’s kinda cute, and kinda funny, but also frustrating, because you just want to do your own thing. That’s ok, Anika, you keep doing you.

Letters to My Children – August 2020

Dear Ariya,

We started the beginning of August at Nani and Nanu’s house in Richmond.  It’s been nice hanging out at my old house, with you and Asha playing with my old toys.  Especially my old barbies.  Nani saved up all these old fabrics and ribbons and just basically everything that I would have thrown away, for you to create dresses and outfits for your barbies.  Nani found a few old sewing machines that she and Nanu thought they could resurrect for you, but no go.  That’s ok, you still had a blast trying to create outfits for your dolls and stuffed animals.

We had so much Indian food, khakra and mango for breakfast, pav bhaji, rice and chole for dinner.  lunch would always be a sandwich or takeout.  But we had desert every day.  I know I gained 5 lbs.  But it was worth it.

Daddy came a few days later.  It was great having him here, even for a few days.  We hung out, enjoyed spending time with each other, taking walks in the neighborhood.  We went down to Monument Ave, a street that your daddy and I used to spend a lot of time together when we were at VCU and MCV.  It’s this street that has all of these monuments of confederate soldiers and generals.  It’s a piece of history that people love to glorify.  Well, we had quite a time trying to explain what’s happening to people that look like us, what police brutality is for, why there is graffiti all over the confederate statues.  It’s pretty deep and hard to realize that the world sees us differently.  How do we prepare you for the rude awakening that we are sure you will have when you face your first moment of racism?    When will that moment be?  We want you to be prepared.  We want you to believe so hard in yourself that no one will be able to tear you down.

Halfway through the month, we came back to Winchester and moved into a temporary rental, a 2 bedroom townhouse.  It’s been interesting.  You still have to share a room with Asha.  The dogs are with us and they are aware of every single thing.  They are very excited (and not in a good way) that there are neighbors and other dogs and cats around. You had a meet and greet at your school using a drive through.  We received your chromebook, your books and some supplies.  We met your teacher through google meet up and that was pretty cool.  Can’t believe summer is ending.

Dear Asha,

Aren’t you a lucky girl, you have been sharing a room with Ariya for the whole month.  You always wanted a sleepover, you’ve asked for it all the time, and now you get it.  But man.  You just won’t let each other sleep.  All you want to do is play play play.  And fight fight fight.  Fight over my old barbie dolls, fight over all of my old stuffed animals.  It’s a struggle.  You have these big feelings, big emotions, and it’s so hard to translate them into words.  You want what you want, and you have a hard time sharing.  But you still have so much fun with together.  You ran through sprinklers, and played with the garden hose.  You made mud pies and helped Nanu wash the cars.

Then we came back to Winchester.  We tried to get as much pool time in as possible.  It’s kind of tough when the contractors are working on the house every day.  But we made it work, and we had fun.

The realization that summer is coming to an end is hitting pretty hard.  I think the realization that your school is closed for the fall/winter is hitting pretty hard too.  Especially when Ariya got her chromebook, you said “what about me?”  I told you that you have to learn to read first.  So now you’re motivated.  You saw Ariya meet her teacher on google meet up.  And then you said “what about me?”  I was able to get your pre-school teacher to tutor you.  At least you get a break from me trying to teach you, and you have a real teacher teaching you some pretty cool things.  I think we’re going to be ok.  You are a smart, motivated girl that always needs to be challenged.  I bought a lot of homeschooling stuff for this year, I think we are going to have a great time.

Dear Anika,

Anika, you are a trooper.  You have been sleeping in a pack n play for the past month and you are amazing.  I remember traveling with Ariya and Asha when they were babies, and they HATED sleeping in the pack n play.  I don’t know what happened, was it the sleep consultant, was it just your personality?  I don’t know, but man, as long as you have your crib or pack n play, and we try to stick to your nap schedule, you are good.  Daddy and I have to share a room with you, and as long as we are quiet, you pretty much stay asleep.  It’s pretty amazing.  Or maybe we just know better this time around.

This was your first time at Nani and nanu’s house.  You had so much fun crawling all over the place.  And Nani and Nanu loved holding you and playing with you.  You started to crawl up the stairs, it’s only a matter of time before you start crawling up the stairs.

You have a 5th tooth growing in.  And honestly, I don’t think there was ever an issue.  I haven’t noticed you being more fussy or sleeping less or anything.  You’ve just been having a ball, playing in the grass, following your sisters, playing with all of your sisters old baby toys at Nani and nanu’s house, and basically just living your best life ever. 13 months old.  Wow, you are 13 months old and you just keep growing and growing.

 

Letters to My Children – July 2020

Dear Ariya,

The countdown is on.  We have been packing packing packing.  The offer on the house is in, we need to get the house inspected, and we need to go go go.  In the middle of the chaos, you had a few summer camps on zoom.  You did Storybook Ballet with SCAA.  That was a pretty fun week.  Your teacher had an activity planned every day.  You had story time and you did arts and crafts, along with a dance learned.  What a fun thing to do, even if it was through zoom.  You also had ballet once a week for the rest of the month. On top of that, we wrapped up your swim lessons.  You are getting better and better each time.  Once things go back to normal, we can look into joining a swim team, because I really think you’d enjoy it!

Grandma came to visit and help us pack the house up.  It was so great to have her here and you got to spend all of your time with her.  Asha and Anika loved their time with Grandma too.  And even Charlie and Emmy loved her attention and missed her when she left.

By the end of the month, we had the house cleared out, the movers came, and we tried to say goodbye.  It felt so rushed.  We drove down to Richmond to stay with Nani and Nanu for the next 2 weeks before our townhouse was available for rent.  No, our house is not done with renovations.  They are still working on it, and it should be another month or two before we can move in.  So Ariya, you’re going to have to get used to sharing a bed room with Asha.  It’s going to be tough, living out of a suitcase.  Hopefully we can get through this.

Dear Asha,

You had your own summer camp too, the Art Start Carnival, with SCAA.  You had the same activities as Ariya had.  But your story books were different and your dances were different.  We just love SCAA and our teacher, she is the best!  You got to see your friends on zoom, you got to dance and be silly.

You also had ballet once a week, which I’m so glad that you’re doing.  It’s nice to have activities just like your big sister.

You have made SO MUCH PROGRESS with swimming!  I was amazed to see you jump off the diving board into the deep end and SWIM.  I’m so proud of you.  And now I don’t have to worry about you as much.  You are still very fearless.  And you still make me worry.  Just not as much.

It’s funny, when we said goodbye to our house, I didn’t realize that you all wouldn’t be as sad as I was.  I know it’s just a house, but you and your sisters were just excited to be on the road, to spend time with Nani and Nanu.  I guess this was great planning on our parts, to have something exciting to look forward to.  Lots of Indian food, lots of hanging out with Nani and Nanu, lots of playing with Anika and showing her the ropes with all the toys that you have saved up at their house.

Dear Anika,

Oh my gosh, in the middle of all of this chaos, YOU TURNED ONE!!!  I am bawling my eyes out on the inside, because my baby, my last baby, is one.  You stopped nursing, you transitioned to a bottle, we went through all of the frozen breastmilk that I had saved up, now you’re drinking whole milk, and eating lots of different foods.  And you had cake!  Like your older sisters, I scheduled a cake smash for you.  And you were not a fan.  All the tears.  It didn’t help that the photographer, a good friend of mine, had to wear a mask.  And you couldn’t see our faces.  Everything was just weird.  The texture of the cake, the icing was different.  The whole experience.  It was interesting.  But really, I think you were just hungry for something you were comfortable with, and you were tired.

We had a pool party for you.  Grandma was here, and we had a few close friends over that we trust.  The kids had a blast.  You got to eat some pizza and then had some of that famous cake.  And you LOVED it.  It was a baby shark theme.  I couldn’t go all out like I wanted, but it was important that we were together with friends and family, and we were all happy and healthy and safe.

You became more and more comfortable in the water, which was awesome.  I think for our next session, we may have to learn survival just for water safety.  You haven’t started walking yet, but you’re still a crawling machine, and I’m worried that you’ll fall in and not know how to float.  So that’s next on our list of things to do.

We said goodbye to your room.  And it made me so sad.  You won’t remember anything except for the pictures we show you.  The backyard that we loved to hang out in, watch the dogs run around, watch the girls do their arts and crafts outside.  The kitchen where you pulled out all of the spices and would use them as shakers.  The tupperware that you would bang together in in the kitchen while I cooked dinner.  The basement where the big girls played and created jumbo castles made out of legos and then put you in.  The family room where the girls would watch tv and you would just play with all of your baby toys.  The bedroom where you would pull all the books off the bookshelves while I put away your laundry.  The driveway and front yard where we would just hang while the girls rode their bikes.  Man, we are going to miss this house.

But we’re going to see Nani and Nanu!!!  You haven’t seen them since February, and I don’t think you’ve ever been to their house.  So this will be nice.  So much Indian food to stuff your face with.  So many different toys to play with.  So much quality time with Nani and Nanu.  It’s going to be great!

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 – 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 – 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 – 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?

Letters to my Children – October 2017

Dear Ariya,

We’re getting into the groove of our schedule.  School, swimming, ballet, Diwali practice.  You are so excited to go on stage with your friends from Balvihar and wear your Indian outfit and dance on stage.  I’m so glad that we live in an area for you to have Indian friends and learn about our culture.  You were also in a play called the Ramayana.  Pretty famous play.  And you were the Goddess Sita.  It was so amazing to see you practice and really get into it.  You love reading books about Diwali, the Ramayana, Holi.  It’s pretty awesome to see you so excited about our culture.

You were also excited about Halloween.  I must confess, I’m not a crafty or handy mom.  I don’t make costumes.  Or never really thought to.  We went to Target.  You wanted to be Mulan.  Which is pretty awesome, because Mulan, while not a real princess, is like a warrior princess, right?  I’d say she’s pretty rad.  So you were Mulan.  We went to our friends Halloween party, went trick or treating on the walking mall, and then finally went trick or treating on Halloween night with our friends, the Patels.  They have an awesome neighborhood to trick or treat in.  It was a pretty fun time.  We’re still eating candy from Halloween.

You love learning so much.  When we get home, you may want to decompress, watch a few episodes of tv.  But you always want to work on your “fun” sheets.  Practice your letters and numbers, coloring.  You love when we read to you.  We go to the library and you grab maybe 5-10 books each time.  It’s crazy.  I hope I never lose those books!  But I love that you love to read!

Dear Asha,

You are growing like a weed.  I tried to keep the 18-24 months on you for as long as possible, but wow you grew out of everything so fast.  We had to turn around your car seat because your legs were