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 – April 2018

Dear Ariya,

You turned 5!!  My big girl, how you’ve grown and keep growing! Let’s see, how did we spend your special day (week) celebrating you?  We started off with Strites Donuts for breakfast.  I dropped you off at pre-school with a whole bunch of cupcakes that we baked for your class, and Asha and I had her swim lessons.  We picked you up and dropped you off at your swim lesson.  (Asha was not happy, she was ready to jump in with you!).  Then Daddy and I took you two to Chuck E Cheese. Which was great, because on a Wednesday, it was practically empty. You had so much fun.  Then we came home to cupcakes and presents.  Your actual birthday was pretty much perfect.

On Friday, I took you to see my hair stylist.  You got your first hair cut!  Really, it was a trim, but still, you got the whole deal.  A great hair wash, head massage, trim, and blow out.  And your hair was SO LONG even with your hair straightened!  Afterwards, we went to get a manicure and pedicure.  I think you got bored pretty easily because after they were done with you, they started on me and you were just ready to get out of there.  So I couldn’t really enjoy my mani/pedi.  But oh well, it was all about you.

Your birthday party was at the Little Gym. And all of your friends and their siblings were there. You and Asha had a great time, and I think your friends did too. It was a beautiful day to celebrate your birthday.

What are exciting month.  We ended up taking a short trip to Baltimore.  We went to the Baltimore Aquarium and the Port Discovery Children’s Museum.  And oh my, that children’s museum was AMAZING.  You had so much fun, you didn’t want to leave.  We did promise you that we’d come back one day soon.

We celebrated Holi this month with Namaste Shenandoah at the Hindu Cultural Center location.  It was so great.  Your daddy had to work but we still went and had a ball.  It was too cold to break out the water guns and water balloons but we still had fun with all of the colors.  And you know I had a great time capturing everything on camera!

Dear Asha,

You keep growing and growing and growing.  You’re talking more, you’re stringing more words together, you’re asking more questions.  You’re more independent, or trying to be.  You think you can do anything.  You’re following Ariya around, wanting to be just like her.  It’s really amazing.

Swim lessons are a success.  While frustrating for me (since it’s an Advanced Mommy and Me class, and you want nothing to do with me in class), you are having a ball.  You use the noodle and are swimming on your own.  You love jumping in the water, but you forget that you can’t really swim by yourself.  But you’ll get there!  You’ve been asking for the beach and the pool, wanting to wear your swim suit every day.  You are persistent.  Don’t worry, summer is right around the corner.

You’ve started wearing Ariya’s old ballet leotards and ballet slippers.  And it’s the cutest thing.  When Ariya gets ready for ballet, you insist on wearing your new ballet outfit as well.    It’s pretty serious, you want to go to bed in it, you want to wear it all day.  It’s pretty hard to convince you that it needs to be washed.  It’s a struggle.

Bed time has been rough.  You’re still trying to drop that nap, but you need it so desperately.  So either you fall asleep in the car when we’re going home from Ariya’s swim lessons or on the way to Ariya’s ballet lessons.  You fall asleep on the way to Ariya’s soccer lessons. It’s such a late nap, that you won’t go to bed.  I keep reminding myself that this is a phase.  This is a phase.  We’ll get through this.

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 – 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.

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!

Project 365 Film edition – May 2016

So, as I’ve said in past blog posts about film, I’m obsessed.  like OBSESSED!  I’ve shot a TON of film.  Picking the best 30 or 31 for each month is no problem.  I probably have enough for the rest of the summer, and it’s barely started.  I’ve shared a ton on instagram, so if you feel like checking me out there, the link is here.

Recently, I submitted a few photos to the Analog story.  I wanted to share my story, why I shoot film.  Best decision I ever made, committing to shooting film.  Unfortunately, my husband is starting to wonder what all is involved (cost of film, cost of development, etc).  But then he loves the prints that come back.  So I’d say it’s well worth it.

Here are a few of my favorites from this month. Some Portra 160, Portra 160NC, Portra 400, Lomo 800, Fuji 400h.  Shot with Nikon f100, Pentax 6×7 and Mamiya 645AF.

122_050116 124_050316

126_050516 128_050716

133_051216 134_051316

136_051516 137_051616 139_051816 140_051916

145_052416 151_053016 152_053116

Project 365 Film edition – April 2016

This project focused solely on film has become so much bigger than I thought it would.  I’m obsessed.  The loading of the film, the guessing with the metering (I’m too lazy to pull out my handheld meter most of the time, a goal of mine is to get better at metering accurately), deciding what to rate the film at, if I’m going to push it, shoot without knowing if I got the shot, or how it will look after it’s developed, the process of packing up the film to mail out and be developed by a film lab, the anticipation of getting that email saying that my scans are ready to be downloaded, clicking on the link, and loving close to every one of my photos.  No joke.  This is a serious love affair.  I have BARELY touched my dslr b/c I’ve been OBSESSED with film.  Like, really obsessed.  Any way, I’m not going to bore you with my all of my film shots, b/c they’re mostly of family.  But I will post a few of my favorites from this month. If you follow me on instagram, you most likely have already seen these pictures, as I was too excited to wait until this blog post to share.  But if you haven’t seen these, well here you go!

Nikon f100, fuji200

121_043016

119_042816 118_042716

Nikon f100, portra 800

116_042516 115_042416 114_042316

Nikon f100, fuji 400h

112_042116

Nikon f100, agfa precisa ct, cross processed 111_042016 107_041616 103_041216

Nikon f100, ilford xp2

101_041016 97_040616

Project 365 Film edition – March 2016

I’m so in love with film.  So in love.  I’m learning a ton, and I still have a LONG way to go.  But shooting film just fits with my lifestyle right now.  one thing I’m starting to hate is the time I spend on my laptop.  When it was just Ariya, I had plenty of time to sit down after her bed time and just hang out on the laptop, upload pictures, edit, etc.  Now, with a baby…forget about it.  Asha only naps for 30 minutes at a time in her crib.  She can be high maintenance at night.  And honestly, I’m just tired. At night,  I just want to sit down, watch my favorite tv show, hang out with the hubs actually have a conversation.  So the only time I want to spend on the laptop is if I’m typing up a blog post.  Like right now.  Right now, my husband and I are catching up on the OJ mini series.  Ariya is in bed, Asha is swaddled and in his arms.  And I”m catching up on blogging.

So, a few days late, but here are a few pictures from March on film.

Mamiya 645 and Portra 160

61_030116 62_030216 63_030316 64_030416 65_030516

Mamiya 645 and Kodak 400vc (Had I known how awesome this film was, I would have treated this differently.  But now I’m on the hunt for more VC. If you have any, send some my way)

66_030616 67_030716 68_030816 69_030916 70_031016 71_031116

Nikon f100 and fuji 800.  This was old expired film that my mom gave me.  I didn’t know how to rate expired film, or if I should tell the lab to push it.  Had I known, I would have done things differently.  But now I know, and have some more expired film that I plan to experiment with.

72_031216

Mamiya C330 and fuji 400h

73_031316 74_031416 75_031516 76_031616

Mamiya 645 and Portra 800

77_031716 78_031816 79_031916 80_032016 81_032116 82_032216 83_032316 84_032416 85_032516

Nikon f100 and Portra 400 rated at 200

86_032616 87_032716 88_032816 89_032916 90_033016

That’s it for March!  I’ve got plenty more for April.  This 365 project is going much better than my digital version, that’s for sure.  But, I refuse to give up!

My first film Project 365 – January 2016

So, I fell in love with film some time last year.  Within that time, I’ve acquired a lot of film and a few (ok, a lot of) film cameras.  Somehow I developed a fear of shooting film in manual.  I was always ok with a point and shoot.  I shot film a ton in high school, I just let the camera make all the decisions.  After taking a workshop last year, I got into it…and then I stopped.  I took ANOTHER workshop late last year, got into it…and then stopped.  What was wrong with me?  The fear was there.  So I thought for 2016, in addition to my regular digital project 365, I’d do a film 365.  I’m crazy, I know.  BUT, I really want to know these cameras and these film stocks inside and out.  I want to get comfortable with metering.  And I figured this would be the best way to do it.

I won’t post all 31 pictures for this month.  There were  a few successes and a few failures.  I’ll go ahead and post a few of both, b/c I need to document this progress.  I also need to go back through my notes to see why some of these photos worked and some didn’t.

I also have 2 rolls of black & white film still in development (at the FIND lab).  So look out for another blog post from me soon.

Here goes (and yes, I know more than a few are blurry and aren’t that awesome.  but not every photo can be awesome right?  and yes, most of these photos will be of my girls while I try to figure this film thing out):

Mamiya C330 with fuji 400h

1 2 3 4 5 6

Nikon F100 with Portra 800

8 10 12 14 15 16 18 19 21 22 23 25 26 27 28 29 30 31