Letters to My Children – April 2022

Ariya is officially 9 years old. I can’t believe it. We had a birthday party for you at the roller skating rink, and I think you had a blast. Everyone had a great time, even me. Your daddy and I put on our roller skates and took a few turns around the rink.

Asha had an Arts Start session with Ms Abby at SCAA where she got a chance to learn all about bugs and reconnected with an old pre-school friend.

Anika experienced her first Easter Egg hunt with church, her pre-school and at Grandma’s house! Yup, we went down to visit Nani and Nanu and then drove down to Grandma’s for Easter. We got to hang out with Auntie Carmen, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, Mekai and Jayden, so that was fun. And you had your own Easter baskets from Grandma and presents from Christmas. Christmas in April, how fun!

We did make it to Burnside Farms to pick tulips. You guys had a blast playing on the inflatables, but I loved picking the tulips. Or, taking photos of you all picking the tulips. It was chilly, it had rained, and was pretty muddy.

We also celebrated Apple Blossom! You girls had the day off, so we got to watch a little bit of the Fireman’s parade before joining Daddy by Handley high school and watching the fireworks. We caught up with friends, you all chased each other and danced, ate cotton candy and cuddled close when the temperature dropped. Yeah, it was warm during the day, but when the sun set, it was COLD. But the fireworks were amazing.

Then we went to a friend’s house for the apple blossom parade, and wow, that was so much fun. We saw so many floats drift by. You played with your friends, we all hung out. Good times were had.

Unfortunately, the weather was terrible on the day we tried to go to the carnival. It’s a yearly tradition and we just could not predict the thunderstorms. We kept thinking it would stop, but by the time it did, the carnival started packing up and we missed our chance. Ariya, you were heartbroken. I was pretty sad too. Luckily, we have some adventures planned for the summer.

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.

Letter’s to My Children – September 2021

Dear Ariya,

You are getting into the groove of things with school and your activities. You’re still a white belt at Tai Kwon Do and you go twice a week. You love it so much.

Ballet has started and that’s another activity that you’ve missed so much. You are so motivated to stay in ballet, to work towards pointe shoes. I hope you make your goal. I think it might be a few more years before you make pointe, but I love that you love ballet so much and that you’re sticking with it.

School has been great. You are thriving in 3rd grade. You love your teacher, you love to learn. You’re so smart. And I love that the school’s policy is to not have any homework, just focus on reading. Which you already do, so much reading. You always stay up to read, and I can’t complain about that.

You did catch a fever and that sucked. You couldn’t make it to the book fair, and you had to take a COVID test, but luckily it was negative. What strange times these are, when you get a fever and I immediately panic that it’s covid.

We did head down to Richmond to wish Auntie Anjuanette a happy birthday. You loved seeing Mekhai, Grandma, Uncle Eric, Uncle kashiff and Jayden as well. We just went down for the day, had lunch with them, and hung out at their house before it was time to head back home.

Dear Asha,

You are LOVING Kindergarten. The stories you’re telling me of all the friends you’ve made. It cracks me up. So much drama at such a young age. It’s pretty amazing. There was a moment where I picked you up crying and it broke my heart. But luckily you have an amazing teacher and it was all sorted out.

You’re still white belt at Tai Kwon Do and you are happy doing it. But sometimes I think you’re tired, adjusting to the new schedule of being at school all day. And when you’re in Tai Kwon Do, you sometimes just want to sit when everyone else is standing, and the teacher yells at you to stand up (the teacher is a great guy, but very good at motivating you).

Your days at ballet are LONG. You have class, then we have a break for dinner, and then Ariya has class. Longest day ever of the week. When Daddy is at home to help out, we do a switcheroo, so you don’t have to stay at ballet that long. But yeah, it’s tough.

We did go to the book fair that you had at the school. Lucky girl, getting a few books that you put on your wish list. It was great, you had a craft in your teachers room, saw some friends, played and shopped.

We also had a back to school picnic that the PTO helped set up. You had so much fun playing with your friends on the playground. Ariya was bummed that she didn’t get to see her friends, since they split the grade levels and times. But because of Anika’s bedtime, it was better that we came earlier. She still had fun with the siblings of your friends, and it all worked out.

Dear Anika,

You started school this month! Oh my gosh, it was terrifying. You cried and cried and cried every time I tried to drop you off. I had to walk you in to school every day, and try to sneak out when you were distracted. The first few week was rough. But before you knew it, you were LOVING school. After we dropped off the big girls, you would be so excited to go to school. I don’t know why I worried, I knew you would love it! On the days that you don’t go to school, sometimes we go to the park and spend some one on one time together. It’s really nice, you get to swing and explore all by yourself.

We had our friends over for one last time to play in the pool before we closed it up. Oh man, you girls enjoyed that time so much. So sad, saying goodbye to summer. We loved having the pool this summer. After we closed it up, you would ask for the pool. Sorry sweet girl. Swimming outside is done for now.

We took a 3 mile hike to a waterfall with Daddy and wow, you really impressed me. You were all about exploring, keeping up with your big sisters and wanting to hang. There were moments where you had to be picked up. It was pretty special just hanging out by the water. We’ll have to do the hike again in the spring. It was a beautiful trail!

You went to the dentist for the first time, and that was interesting. Your tongue kept trying to get in the way, but thankfully, there was nothing traumatizing to report. You did such a great job in that chair!

We also went apple picking! We went with some church friends, and you got to hang with your favorite guy, Felix. Ariya made a new friend, and so did I. And of course Asha got to hang out with her good friend Clara, so that’s always fun. It was a great day for picking apples.

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.