Letters to My Children – March 2022

March was a pretty cool month. I started the month off traveling to Arizona for a photography workshop. You all got to spend some quality time with Daddy, so that was good! When I came back, I made sure to give you all my love and attention.

Ariya, you started Girls on the Run. And girl, you are a runner! I’m so proud of you, and you seem to really love it, which is awesome. We made sure Daddy would be your running partner. I haven’t run since the summer time, so I would not make a very good running partner at all. But I’m sure it will be great, because at the end of training, you’ll be able to run a 5k in May! Very exciting. But what I love about this group is the empowerment, positive affirmations and hopefully quality friendships that you make in this group. It’s so important as girls and women to uplift each other and want each other to do well.

We celebrated Holi, which was pretty cool! It’s not the same as past years. I’m not sure what’s happening with Namaste Shenandoah, but I remember that we had the colors from past years, and I called up Priya auntie to see if her family wanted to do something for Holi. And so she called a few families over and we went over there to celebrate Holi! We lit the bonfire, we talked about the meaning of Holi and we said the prayers. I don’t remember every lighting the bonfire, I think we just did the colors growing up. But it’s always great to understand why we celebrate Holi and why we light the bonfire and do the prayers. This is definitely something I’m thankful for.

And so the following week, I came to Ariya and Asha’s classes to talk about Holi. That was pretty fun and interesting. I couldn’t make it to Anika’s class because Asha came down with this crazy cold/cough that made her throw up every time she coughed too much. So funny how we were in this bubble for 2 years and now all of a sudden, we’re going to birthday parties and we’re no longer masking in schools and germs are being shared and everyone is getting sick again. And the first thing we think of is “I hope it’s not COVID!” Thankfully, it was not covid, just a cold/cough that would not go away.

Let’s hope April brings really good spring weather! It’s Ariya’s birthday next month, she’s having a party at the roller skating rink. Then there’s spring break, Easter, Apple Blossom…Lots of fun things to look forward to.

Letters to My Children – January and February 2022

Hey girls. I can’t decide if I want to continue these letters. I love writing them, it’s like a journal of our lives and what activities we’ve done, places we’ve traveled, etc. I wonder if you enjoy reading (or will enjoy) reading them as much as I enjoy writing them. I haven’t kept up with it as much as I’d like. I’ve started a new project, a daily photo project, where I try to take photos every day to document our lives. It’s tough, because sometimes I take way too many photos and some days, I might forget to take one. But here’s where we are.

Let’s see, January, we had a few snow storms. So that was pretty cool. It felt like for the whole month, we had a hard time getting back into a regular schedule, because either you had snow days, or 1-2 hour delays. It was tough after the holiday vacation but you all persevered. We headed down to Richmond for a long weekend in January, but had to cut that weekend short because of a snow storm coming. I’m kind of glad we kept it short. The drive down was terrible. Anika is not a fan of staying in the car seat for too long. As soon as we hit the mountains and on 64, she lost it. She wanted to get out. She tried to get out of her seat belt. I had to pull over a few times just to make sure she didn’t get out of her car seat. Man, was I glad to reach Richmond.

Other than that, January was pretty normal. Ariya and Asha, you still had tae kwon do and ballet. You attended Balvihar when you could through zoom. And we went to church when Daddy was off on Sunday.

February, the half days started for teacher planning. Anika was so happy to have Ariya and Asha around for those half days. We went to the children’s museum one of those half days and, wow, we haven’t been there since before the pandemic. So it was really nice to visit on an off day where it wasn’t crowded and it felt like we had the place pretty much all to ourselves.

Ariya and Asha, you finally received your orange belt in Tae Kwon Do! You’ve done such a great job at practicing and you’ve really worked hard to get to that next level. We are so proud of you!

Ariya, you’re my little reader. I can always find you in a book, reading and re-reading your favorites. You remind me so much of me when I was your age.

Asha, you’re my little dreamer. You’re always telling me silly stories and spinning around in circles and making me laugh. You love to read and play and make believe.

Anika, wow you are growing so much! You love wearing your tutu pajamas and your tutu dresses. Some days you love wearing your tutu pajamas during the day as well. You’re having a great time at school and learning so much. You love playing with your friends, your “sister” Simisola, coloring and painting. And you love your teachers so much.

Letters to My Children – November 2021

Dear Ariya,

It’s November! Diwali and then Thanksgiving to look forward to! I came to your classroom to do a diya craft and handed out Indian sweets from the grocery story. Most kids like them, but there were a few that didn’t. It didn’t hurt my feelings. Your classmates are so sweet, really good kids. I read “Amma, tell me about Diwali” and I think everyone was really fascinated by evil Ravana and the 10 heads.

We’ve had some warm weather, got together with friends outside at the MSV trails. It’s been a pretty warm fall. I’m worried that we won’t have a snowy winter with how the weather has been acting. But I’m thankful that we have decent weather to play outside for as long as we can.

Thanksgiving was a funny holiday. You were bummed that we weren’t going to see Grandma. Daddy had to work, and I don’t know how to make turkey, so I basically invited us over to a friend’s house. Unfortunately, their kids’ babysitter had Covid, so we didn’t want to risk it. So we ended up going to another friend’s house, and it was great. You played with Aidan and Declan, and their cousins. There was kick the can, hiking in the woods, chasing each other, playing with their puppy Penny. You didn’t want to leave, but it was Anika’s bed time and we had to go.

We started thinking of ideas for holiday gifts. I had this idea to make a chunky blanket for all of our extended family, and you wanted to learn how to help me. So we started this project of making Grandma a chunky blanket. You helped a lot, and I really appreciate it! But you didn’t have it in you to continue, and I was inspired to make blankets for your aunties and uncles, and for Nani and Nanu. I think it was a fun project, I really liked making chunky blankets. When the holidays are all over, I’ll make you, Asha, Anika and Daddy one as well.

Dear Asha,

We had Balvihar in person a few times, so I actually taught your class (which was really just Maya and you). You have such a love/hate relationship with Maya. I think it’s because you two have very similar personalities. You get along great, but you are both so stubborn too. It’s so interesting seeing you two interact. We did yoga, read about Diwali (we read Amma, tell me about Diwali, you girls are used to reading about evil Ravana and his 10 heads), and did a diya craft that was practice for when I come to your classroom!

I came to your classroom as well, to read a Diwali book called “Maya and Neel’s Indian Adventure, Let’s Celebrate 5 days of Diwali”. Your classmates are so sweet and funny, I had a great time reading to you all, and I think we all had fun doing the diva craft. It was tougher for you and your classmates to fold the fan but you all did a great job!

You’re still enjoying ballet and tae kwon do which is great. And we are gearing up for the holidays, which is so exciting! you loved having a long weekend. Lots of chill time and playing.

Dear Anika,

What can I say, you are talking more and more. Your vocabulary is growing, and your personality is really shining through. You are so sweet and cuddly independent and stubborn. You never want to be left behind, and always say “I miss my Asha, I miss my Ariya” when they are at school. You are so sad when you find out it’s not your day to go to school. But when you do go to school, you insist on wearing a “tutu”. Even if it’s your pajamas. I’m just happy if I get some clothes on you. You love the tv show Bluey and the movie Moana. I am just loving the stage that you’re in no, even if I do miss the baby you once were.

Letters to My Children – October 2021

Dear Ariya,

It’s been a pretty cool month. You worked so hard at Tae Kwon Do and finally got your yellow belt! You had to take a test and everything. Ballet has been great as always. We went to Richmond for our friend’s quincinera, and while we were there, we went to the Richmond zoo. So much fun! And you are just like me, you had your install camera, ready to take pictures every chance you got! We also went to a vegetarian festival, which was more for me than for you. Nanu came with us. I wanted to try all the cool vegetarian food, but with you girls around, with no patience to stand in line, we just had one dish, had some snow cones and listened to music. It was something nice to do. We also went to this cool event at Maymont Park, called Garden Glow. We went at night, and they had lights set up everywhere. There was a hay bale maze with lights everywhere. A screen where the lights gave off your shadow. And we walked down to the Japanese Garden. It was BEAUTIFUL. So many beautiful lights. The roll of film that I took did not do it justice at all. Glad I took some video too 🙂

I ended up going to a photography retreat, so you got to spend some quality time with Daddy and your sisters. And luckily, the house was still standing when I came back home.

We did go to a Van Gogh exhibit in Dc for the day and that was so cool! It was a way to see all of Vincent Van Gogh’s work, learn a little bit about his life, and see some things that weren’t as mainstream. And there was a really cool immersion display, this visual of his art that kept changing. You sat and took it all in, but after a while it got to be too much.

At school, we had a trunk or treat event, which you girls loved. We went to our friend Sachiv’s house for his birthday on Halloween, and that was fun, he had a bounce house, chocolate galore, lots of treats. You were Mal the descendent’s. We went trick or treating with our friends the Patels, like we do every year. It was a pretty good time as always.

Dear Asha,

You are still excited about ballet, which is wonderful. Those Thursdays can be rough because ballet is right after school, and after a long day, it’s tough to get enough energy to be excited about ballet. But once you are in the class, you have a great time. Ms Abby is so awesome, we are so lucky to have her as your ballet teacher!

You also earned your yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do, which is amazing. I was worried for a moment that you were not going to stick with it, but you did!

Diwali is coming up, so I taught your class at balvihar. It was just you and Maya but still, it was fun. We did a craft, made a diva, read some stories about Diwali, the festival of lights. I also came into your class room, dressed in my Indian outfit, and read a different story about Diwali. We also did the same craft. I think your classmates liked it. It was fun, and really nice to visit with everyone.

You had fun at the vegetarian festival but you couldn’t understand why we couldn’t go in the play house and play with the other kids. Growing up in a pandemic is tough. You are doing this new thing where you take my camera or this old digital camera that we gave you and take lots of selfies and videos. I think you got that from me 🙂 You had a blast at the zoo. The animals were so fun to look at. You really wanted to feed the giraffe. We spent just enough time to take everything in. And the Garden Glow was great, but you had no care for the crowds, you just ran and ran everywhere. Same with the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit. You and Anika had a ball running around. It was good to get out and see something cool.

Trunk or treat was great, you were Uma from the Descendent’s. You were all about the deserts at Saachiv’s party, and that bounce house was where it was at! Trick or treating was fun, you got SO MUCH CANDY. What I’ve discovered is that you girls are not a fan of snickers, kit kats or reese’s peanut butter cups….but i am…..

Dear Anika,

You are loving school so much. You pretend to cry when I pick you up because you want to stay at school. You get sad when we drop the big girls off at school on the days when you don’t go to school, because if you had it your way, you would go to school every day. It’s kind of crazy how much you love it. But I am so thankful.

No activities for you just yet. When you turn 3, I’m sure all the activities will start. Especially ballet 🙂 You love wearing Ariya and Asha’s old ballet slippers and wearing these old leotards that our friends gave us when Ariya was getting into ballet. They were a little too big for you, but you love playing dress up.

You were Anna from Frozen for Halloween. You loved hanging out with your big sisters for Trunk or Treat at their school, and at Halloween. You wanted to follow Asha into the bounce house at Sachiv’s birthday party, but man, it was bad, those kids were bouncing all around you and it was too much. Maybe next year we can have a bounce house for you.

Letters to My Children – August 2021

Dear Ariya,

We met your new principal and assistant principal today! We went to your school and had a meet and greet with them, and it was wonderful. They asked you questions, and you surprised me when you said your favorite subject was math. I almost fainted, haha. And then you said music and art. I’m really surprised that you didn’t say reading. Maybe it just goes without saying. Anyway, I know you are ready to get back into school, even with masks on. I’m nervous about it, the Delta variant of COVID-1 is spreading, and you’re still unvaccinated. But I’m confident that your school will do the best they can to keep you safe.

You finished your tennis camp last night, and are kind of obsessed with hitting the tennis ball. We bought you a a racket, just for yourself, and I even picked up a racket for myself! One day, we went to the park tennis courts and just played a little bit. Asha and Anika were great as our ball girls, running around to chase after the balls. But after a while, they were bored. Maybe we can pick a day when it’s just you and me. Better yet, I’m going to look into getting lessons for you at the local country club. I love that you love tennis. I used to play tennis as a kid and won so many ribbons in our local rec center. I wish I took it further. It felt great to play with you, just like my dad and brother used to play with me.

Tae Kwon Do is still going strong! You love it as much as tennis and want to keep doing it in the fall. I’m so proud of you for sticking with this. You’re learning so much and having so much fun.

The next big thing to focus on is a week at Grandma’s! You’re so excited! You can’t wait to start packing for your trip. Your cousin Mekhai and Jayden was there, along with Auntie Anjuanette and Auntie Carmen. You got to have plenty of sleep overs, watch movies and spend time with family, which was nice.

School started, and you were so happy to be back in school. We decided that Daddy or I would drop you off and pick you up from school. Just until we know things calm down with COVID-19. So far, you love your teachers and are so happy to have a schedule. By the end of the first week, you kind of broke down, you were just so tired. The days are long, and you were ready for the weekend. You’re still glad that we’re not homeschooling, so that’s a plus!

Dear Asha,

My big girl, so full of big emotions. I think I’ll be the one full of emotions on your first day of school. I can’t believe you’ll be in Kindergarten. Where did the time go?!?! And when you met your new principal and assistant principal, I was so surprised at how shy you were. You said your favorite subjects were music and art too. Just like Ariya.

We went to the park today. And you were so upset that Ariya found a friend to play with and you were not your usual outgoing self. You are so ready to go to school, make friends, socialize. This year has been pretty hard on you. We’ve had friends over to play, but it’s not the same as being in school, surrounded by all types of personalities. I’m sorry you’re feeling bad and wish you had more friends to hang out with. School will start soon, and I’m sure you’ll make all the friends you need.

You had kindergarten orientation last night. And man, are you excited. You met your teacher, and saw your classroom. Took a tour of the school, met most of your resource teachers. And you got to ride the school bus for the first time! So exciting! I’m still a little worried about the bus riding, with COVID-19 and everything. So, maybe we’ll do drop off and pick up. I’m not sure.

Your first week of school was amazing. I love hearing your stories about the playground and all of the friends that you’ve made in Kindergarten. I’m so proud of you! You are so bummed that you can’t ride the bus, but I promise, when things calm down with COVID, we can re-evaluate drop off and pick up.

Dear Anika,

You climbed out of your crib tonight. It was bad. You didn’t want to go to sleep, I couldn’t get you to settle, I thought you would settle, and then you went and did it. What does this mean?! Do we have to change you to a toddler bed? I’m not ready! I went ahead and gave you Ariya’s old music box. That distracted you enough to settle and the music lulled you to sleep, so that’s a good thing. But man, I still can’t believe that you are 2 and will soon be in a toddler bed.

So, we are dropping you off at Grandma’s for the first time next week, and I don’t know, I’m not as worried as I was when we first made these plans. You had a great time with Grandma and all of your cousins at your birthday party. I think this will be just what you need to spend some quality time with family.

And of course you did amazing. I was so worried, but you had so much fun playing with your cousins, Grandma and aunties. I had nothing to worry about!

Except getting back into a regular schedule. We are back to skipping naps, climbing out the crib, waking up in the middle of the night. So Daddy went and converted your bed to a toddler bed. At least there’s a place for me to lie down on, to try and get you to settle. Last night, you were singing and dancing while lying down. It was 9pm! And you hadn’t even taken a nap! Why aren’t you tired?!?!

So I went ahead and called Kelly Robson with Baby Bliss Consulting. She was the sleep trainer we used when you were a baby, and she is a baby whisperer. She helped me set a routine and schedule for you to go to sleep. We discovered that you won’t settle for naps, and since you’ve gone without a nap for so long, it just makes sense to have an early bed time. As long as you get 12 hours of sleep, you should be good.

You’re also OBSESSED with Frozen. Anything related to Ana and Elsa. You started wearing frozen pajamas and saying Ana, Elsa, Ana, Elsa. You could watch those movies morning afternoon and night. Asha is super happy about that, but I think Ariya and myself are getting TIRED of Frozen 🙂

Next month, YOU start pre-school. And oh my gosh, there will be tears. Some from you, definitely some from me. I can’t take it, my baby isn’t a baby any more! You’re talking so much more, you have so many more opinions, it’s amazing how fast you’re growing!

Letters to My Children – July 2021

Dear Ariya,

We are in the middle of summer, and it feels great. Lots of pool time, lots of playing with your sisters, lots of reading your favorite books. We met up with friends to go to the library, or had friends come over to play in the pool. We celebrated Anika’s birthday and had the cousins over for the weekend. You even had a tennis summer camp at the country club. I think you fell in love with tennis all over again. Tae Kwon Do is still going strong, but I think tennis might be the new competition. I have to say, I’m excited, because I used to play tennis with Niraj mama and Nanu. So, of course I had to pick up a racket for myself and for you, to try and play together some time. And I am excited!!

Dear Asha,

If you had it your way, you would be in the pool every day for sure. you’re such a water baby, but I’m not surprised. I think you’re really missing your friends, and just wishing you could hang out with your friends from pre-school, or have more play dates with different friends. School is just around the corner, sweet girl, and you will have the chance to make so many new friends!

Tae Kwon Do is still going great, although every chance you get, you sit down. I have to laugh every time the teachers say “Asha!! stand up!”. I think by the end of the day, you are just tired. But you love learning the kicks and earning your stripes.

Tennis camp was great. We did run into a problem with another boy. I have to say, I was upset, and your daddy had to talk me down. But it was resolved and you know that if someone does you wrong, or if anyone puts their hands on you and you don’t like it, you tell somebody. Thank goodness you didn’t let it get you down, and you were still excited for camp and playing tennis. We need to get a racket for you, so you can play some more too!

Dear Anika,

You turned two!! And you can say “I two!!!” Amazing. My smart girl. My baby. Daddy’s family came for the weekend to celebrate you, and it was great having Grandma, Auntie Carmen and your cousin Phelix, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, your other cousins Mekhai and Jayden, and Uncle Eric here! And of course Uncle Eric brought Blue. Blue, the sweet pit bull that just wanted to lick your face.

One day, I took you all to Dinosaur Land. So many memories of taking Ariya and Asha there when they were little. I had flashbacks of when they were little, looking at these HUGE statues, looking so small. And here you are, doing the same thing. The big girls loved it, and I think you love following them everywhere.

I can’t believe you’re two. You’re starting pre-school in a few months, in the 2s class, which will be combined with the 3s class. Oh my goodness. There will be tears. I’m not ready. But I kinda am. Are you? I think you are. You’re try to keep up with your sisters all the time. They include you in their playtime, but there are some times where you just can’t hang with them, and then you try to destroy everything. And the girls definitely do not like that. But that’s ok, you’re too cute for them to stay mad long.

Letters to My Children – June 2021

Dear Ariya,

Summer summer summer time!! It’s summer time!! We have a lot to look forward to. You and Asha were flower girls in your uncle Neil’s wedding to Melanie. There was a hindu ceremony, a catholic ceremony, and the reception was full of smoke, dance performances and lots of deserts. You girls had a ball dancing with all of your cousins! And it was so fun getting dressed up in your pretty Indian dresses, and fluffy western dresses.

Afterwards, we drove to Baltimore, to fly out of BWI to our BEACH VACATION IN FLORIDA! We rented a condo in Siesta Key, which is right outside of Sarasota. And we had a blast. There was white sand that didn’t burn your feet. The water was so blue/green and clear. We basically stayed at the beach all day and all night. What an easy going vacation. I think we explored once by going to a Ringling museum that covered the history of the circus. It was pretty cool, but I think you were ready to go back to the beach. We cooked breakfast lunch and dinner. I think one day, Daddy ran out and brought home some yummy pastries for breakfast. We packed a cooler for the day and would bring lots of juice for you girls, which was always a treat. By the end of the vacation, I think you girls were ready to go back home, be in your beds, and get back to our lives. I didn’t want to leave. I’m already thinking of when we can go back!

When we came back, we planned a camping trip for you and Asha and Daddy! Anika and I hung out for the day, but I knew that Anika would not sleep well in a tent, so we only stayed for a few hours. You had a blast doing a water rafting trip on the river with your friends.

You started Tae Kwon Do as an activity for the summer. You are definitely a fan. 30 minutes, short and sweet, filled with so much physical activity. You have a uniform and started out with a white belt, and can’t wait to work your way up to a black belt, which would be awesome, if you keep up with it. We’ll see how this summer goes.

Dear Asha,

You had a blast as a flower girl during Neil Uncle and Melanie auntie’s wedding. You were not a fan of the Indian dress I bought for the reception. It was pink and fluffy and sparkly. You said it looked itchy so it must be itchy. You didn’t even try it on. That’s ok, I guess I’ll save it for Anika when she’s ready. So we had to improvise. Gotta love Target Cat and Jack Brand. I bought a pretty sparkly pink and blue dress. You had pretty white ballet shoes and you had a ball dancing at the reception. What a fun day and night. Well, it was a long day, since we started at 8am doing the Bharat. And it was sunny and hot. But you girls were troopers, that’s for sure!

The beach was amazing! The waves were calm, it wasn’t too crowded. You were so starved for friendships, you made friends with a little boy that tried to teach you to fish. You and Ariya would float down the beach away from where our towels were, we always had to call out to you to pay attention. I think one time, you both were worried that you were lost. But we had our eye on you the whole time. You loved swimming at sunset. You are such a water baby, you could stay in the water all day every day. There were times when we almost left you. We would never do that, but you were never compelled to leave with us. I think your happy place is in the water, just like mine.

When we got back, you were excited to camp with your friends, Ariya and Daddy. That water rafting trip was super exciting. You were just swimming in the river, no issues. You were not a fan of the water shoes, but there was no way we were letting you go barefoot in the river. There was so much trash in the water!

You joined Ariya in doing Tae Kwon Do. you look so cute in your white uniform and white belt. Your attention would definitely wander during class, but you had a ball with your kicks and your “Hiya!” A great activity for you during the summer time.

Dear Anika,

You were so overwhelmed at Neil Uncle and Melanie Auntie’s wedding. You were happy to see Nani and Nanu, but there was so much family surrounding you. They haven’t seen you since you were 2 months old, at the last family wedding. Your cousins wanted to hold you and dance with you, and you were not having that. You just wanted to be with me and Daddy. But by the end of the night, your cousins won you over. You were a dancing queen on the dance floor. You had a ball.

The beach was the best! We went to the beach in the morning. Went back for lunch, quiet time, nap time. Swam in the afternoon. Had dinner. Maybe swam again in the evening. Rinse and repeat. You didn’t wear any floats, and pretty much stayed in our arms while in the ocean, floating on the waves. You did like playing with the sand. I think there were many times that you tried to eat the sand :-/ That was gross. But you pretty much had a blast.

You also had fun “day camping”. We hung out with my friend Jen and her son Thomas, who’s a little bit older than you, and their dog Champ, while everyone else went on the river rafting trip. You and Thomas had so much fun throwing rocks in the river. It rained for a little bit, so we hung out under the tent, but it was really nice being outdoors with a nice view of the river.

We did go to pick cherries at Marker Miller. That was fun. Ariya LOVES cherries, and Asha was over it. But you just picked any and everything. You just wanted to keep up. the fact that Ariya pretty much polished 4 quarts in a day says it all.

Other than that, we pretty much have been staying at home, playing in the pool and just hanging out. It’s been a great start to the summer.