Letters to My Children – September 2017

Dear Ariya,

You had your first day of school!  You’re in Ms Jeanne’s class for pre-K at Sonshine.  And you’re learning so much!  It’s amazing how much your brain can absorb.  And you are EXHAUSTED after pickup pretty much every day.  In the car ride home, you don’t want to talk much, you just want to listen to your podcast (Wow in the World, of course) or kidzbop. I think you miss your old friends from the 3s class, and you miss Ms Lisa.  And you’re sad because your class is so much smaller and you don’t get to see your girl friends.  But you’re in luck, because your friends Mikaela and Emi are in ballet with you!  Yes, you started up ballet again with Ms Abby and you’re having a blast.  You can’t wait to go to ballet every week.  If you had it your way, you’d be in ballet every day.  You can’t wait to find out what your recital piece will be.  You’re hoping it’s Moana, but I don’t know.  I’m sure whatever Ms Abby thinks of, it will be great!

You’re also taking swim lessons at Kids First Swim School.  You made so much progress over the summer that I wanted to keep that party going.  Plus we’re going to Mexico for a family reunion in December, and I wanted to make sure you kept practicing your swimming skills as we got closer to the date.  I know you can’t wait to see your aunties,uncles, and cousins.  You haven’t seen them since you were two, so we’re definitely due for another visit!

Soccer Shots is happening again.  You’re definitely getting better at going after the ball. But I don’t know if you LOVE soccer.  I do know that you LOVE seeing your friend Asher, and hopefully seeing his sister Marni.  We may take a breather on soccer, because I know you don’t love soccer as much as you love ballet.  You’re such a girly girl, always twirling and spinning.

We got to visit with Shilika auntie and Raj uncle and their daughter Medha in Pittsburgh.  And you had so much fun!  There was the zoo, the science center, the children’s museum.  So much to do.  We definitely have to go back.

 

Oh Asha,

oh you.  You are a firecracker.  You think it’s funny when you grab my glasses.  You love to say “Oh noooooooo”. You don’t like to go to bed when Ariya goes to bed.  You’re my night owl.  I read you book after book after book, and you’re still not ready to go to sleep.  And it’s driving us crazy.  Because we really just want you to GO THE F*$%^&^^ TO SLEEP.  Sorry, I didn’t mean to curse.  But really Asha, I need you to get your sleep habits back on track with the rest of the family.  Pretty please?

On the upside, you LOVE your sister so much.  So much that you cry and scream bloody murder every time we drop Ariya off at pre-school.  We get to do some fun stuff while Ariya’s in school.  We have Mommy and me swim class, which you LOVE. You were so mad that I wouldn’t let you go, you were so used to swimming on your own with a puddle jumper.  But you’re enjoying it more and more,  And you get so upset when it ends.

We also have music class with Ms. Karen at SCAA.  Ariya used to take music class with her and you love it just as much as she did.  It’s so cute seeing you do your baa baas with the microphone.  And to see you get up for each instrument and put everything back after you’re done.  I think you’re favorite part of class is the scarves.  You play peekaboo like it’s your job.  And you laugh laugh laugh. I love it.

In Pittsburgh, I think your favorite part was the children’s museum.  There was a whole floor full of water displays.  And you were in HEAVEN.  Kids were running around in bathingsuits, I had no idea how serious it was.  You were soaked.  And loving it.

So let’s see.  Right now you say Bye bye and you wave.  You say Mommy but you scream it to get my attention.  You say Daddy just like Ariya says daddy when he walks in the room, so full of excitement and happiness.  You blow kisses.  You’ve been saying your name for a while now.  And you’re starting to say Ariya a lot more.  And you say pee anytime any of us has to go to the bathroom or when we change your diaper.  That’s pretty much your vocabulary.

It’s been a pretty great month.

All images taken on film.

 

 

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Letters to My Children – July and August 2017

Dear Ariya,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Asha,

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

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

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

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

*all photos shot on film

 

April 2017 – Film Project

April was the month of trying new things.  I attended the first ever FILM SCHOOL hosted by the Find Lab and Jonathan Canlas in Utah (to find out more, email jon@thefindlab.com)  It was a pretty great experience, trying new things, talking film with people that are passionate about shooting film.  Got to try strobes and different setups..  We did some night shooting and panning.   It was pretty amazing.  We took a tour of the lab and got to work with the scanning techs to see what goes behind the scenes with our film, which was very enlightening.  But I honestly think one of the best parts was eating Callie Canlas’ food!  I brought way too many cameras and lenses, but I mostly shot with the Pentax 645nii and Contax G1. I tried shooting with the Rolleiflex 2.8E, but I’m horrible with manual focusing so those photos were not awesome (unless there was a happy accident).  Here are a few from the workshop.

Contax G1, Portra 400

Pentax 645nii, Portra 400 and strobes

 

Rolleiflex 2.8e and HP5

Pentax 645nii and Portra 400, +3

Pentax 645nii and Portra 400

After I came home, I felt so passionate, energized about film photography.  I ended up buying some strobes, a soft box, some honeycombs.  And they sat.  It was just so intimidating.  In the meantime, I went with what I know.  I practiced manual focus with this new lens that I acquired, the Leica Summicron fitted on the Pentax 645nii.

Pentax 645nii, Portra 160 rated at 320 + 1

And then I experimented with the Contax G1 and TLA flash.

The strobes didn’t sit long.

Letters to My Children – May and June 2017

Dear Ariya,

May was a great month. We went to the fair during Apple Blossom, and saw some fire trucks.  It was your last month of pre-school in the 3s class at Sonshine Learning Center.  It seemed like you had a field trip or a birthday party every few days.  You even had your FIRST ballet recital on stage, as Tinkerbell.  You had so much fun you didn’t want it to end!  It was a hard concept for you to understand, “summer vacation”.  That you weren’t going back to school, that you won’t see your teachers or most of your friends.  I had to explain all the fun things that we were going to do, all the fun things we had planned.  Like to trip to see Daddy’s friends in Port Angeles, Washington.  Or the beach trip that we have planned with your cousins in July.  Or the swim lessons and soccer lessons that you were taking with your best friend Asher.  It took a little while, but by the time we were on the “jet plane” on our way to Seattle, you were ready to start the summer!

You had a great time in Seattle and Port Angeles.  We got to hang out with Niki didi and meet her new husband Nikhil.  We went to the Pacific Science Center and rode to the top of the Space Needle.  And the Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place Market was pretty awesome.  Then we borrowed Niki didi’s car to meet Daddy’s friends Cindy and Mike in Port Angeles.  It was so much fun!  We explored new places, got to check out beaches and tide pools, mountains and lakes.

June was even better!  You got to spend some quality time with Grandma and your cousins.  It was Asha’s first time away from us and you were the best big sister, helping make her feel comfortable.  You had such a blast, for the next few days afterwards, you talked about how much fun you had at Grandma’s, and how you wish you could go back and see your cousins, and how you wish you could do it again.  Lucky for you, we’ll be seeing Grandma and your cousins and aunties/uncles at the beach in July!

You also started playing soccer with your friends Asher and Ishanvi.  And while you love the games and the dribbling of the ball, I don’t think you’re much of a fan of the sport.  You kind of hang out by the goal net while everyone else chases the ball. Swimming is definitely more your thing.  You’re getting a little more comfortable putting your face in the water.  You’re kicking and gliding and having a ball.  I know you can’t wait to go to the beach and show everyone your moves.

 

Dear Asha,

Your daddy and I were so nervous for you and our plane trip to Seattle.  But you surprised me!  Out of the 5 hour plane ride, I think you napped for 3 in the ergo carrier.  Thank goodness for that!  Sleeping in a strange place in the pack and play, that’s another story.  It wasn’t….bad…but it wasn’t great.  Our strategy was to keep you busy, make sure you got your naps in (thank goodness for the ergo), and kept you up later than your usual bedtime.  It worked for the most part.  You had so much fun seeing all the new sights, meeting our friends, exploring everything.  It was a pretty fun trip, even if you spent a lot of it on our backs napping.

June has been just another month.  We’ve spent more time running around for Ariya’s events, playing at the park when you really want to play soccer with her.  Playing at the pool while she takes her lessons (you don’t really complain, but you hit a wall when it’s nap time).

You’re doing some cute things lately.  You said your first word at Grandma’s house.  We were looking at the mirror, and I pointed at you and said, “Can you say “Asha”?”  And you DID.  You said Asha!  I pointed at Ariya, and asked if you could say her name. AND YOU DID.  You’ve been saying “Dada” for forever.  And when I pointed at me and asked you to say “Mama”, guess what you said……..”DADA”.  And now it’s a big joke to everyone.  We all laugh, and I’m convinced that you know what you’re doing.  That’s ok.  I’m patient.  I can wait for you to say MAMA.

You also started doing the funniest thing.  Every time you have a poopy diaper, I ask if you have a stinky butt”.  You pinch your nose and say “peeeuuuuuu”.  So adorable.  You let it be known when you’re upset.  You scream when Ariya tries to take something that you’re playing with.  You bring me your shoes all the time when you want to go outside and play.  Sometimes first thing in the morning.  You love animals so so much.  So much that we can’t get to the pet store to buy dog food because I’m busy chasing you down after you see a dog that you want to say hello to.  No Asha, not all dogs are friendly.  But you do love our dogs.  You pet them, you’re so gentle with them.  And you pat Ariya and me all the time, on our arms and legs.  So sweet, when you want to be 🙂  There’s this song that I sing to Ariya to signal that it’s time to go to bed. “Now it’s time to say good night, say good night say good night, now it’s time to say goodnight, we had lots of fun”.  Every time I try to sing the song to you, you know what it means, and you SCREAM.  Do you not like my singing?  I won’t take offense.  I say this all the time.  But I really need for time to stop, or slow down.  You two are growing way too fast and it hurts my heart to know that I’m missing it, or that I’ll forget it.  Which is why you’re probably used to seeing me with a camera to my face.  I don’t want to forget a thing.

Nikon f100, Portra 160 rated at 320 and pushed +1

Nikon f100, Portra 400NC rated at 200 and pushed +1

Pentax 645nii, Portra 400

Pentax 645nii, Portra 160 rated at 320 +1

 

March 2017 – Film Project

I don’t know what happened to my “one film stock, one film camera, one lens” project.  This month, I was all over the place.  I wanted to compare the film stocks Lomo 800 to Fuji Superia 800.  I also wanted to test out a new (to me) point and shoot camera, the Fuji Klasse s.  I finally got my Rolleiflex 2.8E back from a CLA with Harry Fleenor, and wanted to test it out. I wanted to try some funky light leaked processed film that I found out about through Instagram, Psychedelic Blues, I think?  They process Kodak Gold film to create these funky light leaks. And THEN, I tried some black and white, and played with the TLA 200 flash with my Contax G2.  And because the workshop with the Find Lab and Jonathan Canlas was coming up in April, I thought I’d try shooting film with my video light.  Anyway, so yeah, it was a fun month in terms of scans, but as usual, ALL over the place.  One thing I discovered is that I do NOT like Cinestill.  The roll that I shot was water damaged, and it was not pretty.  Enjoy!

Nikon f100 and Fuji Superia 800

Nikon f100 and Portra 400

Pentax 645nii and Portra 400 +3

Pentax 645nii and Portra 400 +3  with video light

Pentax 67ii and Portra 400 +1

Nikon f100 and HP5

Contax t2 and Lomography 800

Nikon f100 and Kodak 400 treated by Psychedelic Blues

Contax G1 and Japan Camera Hunter with TLA 200 Flash

without flash

Fuji Klasse S and Fuji Superia 800

Contax N1 and Fuji 200

Nikon f100 and Delta 3200

Nikon f100 and Delta 3200 with Video light

 

Letters to My Children – March and April 2017

Dear Ariya,

March has been a pretty good month.  Your Grandma, Auntie Carmen and cousin Phelix came to visit, which is always great.  We love when family comes to visit.  We also had one good snow for the winter in Winchester.  You loved playing in the snow, and helping me shovel the driveway.  Being a big sister and pulling Asha in her sled was pretty fun too.  I’m not sure if Asha was a fan of all the cold weather gear, she just kinda sat there.  We also made snow cream, which you remembered from last year.  Always a fan of snow cream.  And when we got tired of the snow, we made cupcakes!  Licking the batter was the best part, I think.

Time has passed and we’re well into April, so I thought I’d merge both of these blog posts together.  April was a good month because YOU TURNED FOUR.  You’ve been talking about a paw patrol party since last year.  Well, since you and your best friend Asher turned 4 within a week of each other, and are in the same class at pre-school, Asher’s mommy and I decided we’d share the birthday party.  She was so nice to have the party at her house.  We got Paw Patrol balloons and goodies, a paw patrol piñata and also had a rocker/musician style party since Asher is into music.  You had a blast with all of your best friends.

You’ve finished learning the alphabet at school.  You’re constantly surprising me with the things you know.  Apparently, you know how to add too!  I didn’t realize how you picked it up, must have been from Team Umizumi.  We just had spring break and you kept me pretty busy planning fun things to do.  We went to the trampoline park in Hagerstown, MD.  We also went to pick tulips at Burnside Farms in Haymarket, VA.  You also had your first Tinkergarten class.  It was a cold rainy wet day, but we got to play in the mud!  You had fun making mud pies and stirring up the mud with a stick.  But every time you got your hands dirty, you wanted to wash your hands.  It was pretty fun being outside, playing in the rain.

Dear Asha,

What can I say, you’ve been getting so big!  You love climbing on chairs, running after your sister, and trying to talk.  But every time I ask you to say Mama, you say Dada 🙂  You love banging on your drums and patting the dogs. And I love that you still love to cuddle and give me hugs and kisses.

We’ve finished up our swim lessons, but with the summer near, I’m hoping we’ll spend more time at the pool.  I know you’d love that.  Plus we’re going to the beach this summer with your cousins!  I know you’ll be excited to play in the sand.  Please, just don’t put the sand in your mouth!  At Tinkergarten, you kept putting the mud in your mouth, and I just couldn’t get over it.  you do love exploring and tasting everything!

Here are our photos from March and April, all digital.

 

February 2017 – Film Project

I had enough of black and white film to go with my gloomy feelings of winter in January.  February, I wanted COLOR.  And I wanted to use my Pentax 67ii.  Ever since I got it, I’ve had the hardest time loading the film.  It’s just something that comes with practice I get.  We did get a chance to get away to Snowshoe, and I should have brought my Pentax 67ii, but I still get a little self conscious shooting with it in public.  It’s just so big, at 5 lbs.  Wouldn’t have mattered, because Ariya was sick the whole weekend and we basically stayed in the hotel room the whole time :-/  As for color, I tried to stick to keep it within the same family.  Portra 400NC, Portra 160NC and because I was so excited to try some slide film, I tried a roll of E100SW.

Pentax 67ii and E100SW.  Those COLORS.

Pentax 67ii and Portra 160NC

Nikon f100 and Portra 400NC

One Second of Every Day – February 2017

I have to say, this must be the easiest project I have ever done.  One second of video every day.  The only thing I have to remember to do is pick up my dslr and take some video every day.  Since I’m already doing a digital 365 with my dslr, this is pretty easy to do.  What also helps is being part of a blog circle, that accountability really helps me follow through.  If you missed our January, you can check out that blog post here. And if you were ever curious about the other videos that I’ve done throughout the year, you can find out my videos on vimeo here. Check out our February, and when you’re done, feel free to follow the blog circle here!

January 2017 – Film Project

Ok, so I bombed my film 365 last year.  I think the problem is that I was just so excited about film that I went nuts.  Like seriously nuts.  I wanted to try every film stock, I wanted to try ever film camera.  2016 was the year of madness for me.  When I fall for something, I fall hard, and I fell hard for film.  So, this year, I thought I’d show some restraint.  Each month, stick to one film stock, one camera, one lens.

So I decided to try Acros 100, just because I’d never used it before.  Wrong choice.  It was so limiting for winter, indoors.  And I got bored.  So I already broke my rules for January. and picked up Delta 3200  Tried different lenses, different black and white film.  But I did stick to my trusty Nikon f100!!  Oh well, there’s always next month, right? Here are a few photos from our January.

Nikon f100 and Acros 100

acros-1 acros-2 acros-3 acros-4 acros-6 acros-7 acros-8 acros-9 acros-10 acros-5 acros-11 acros-12 acros-13 acros-14 acros-15 acros-16 acros-17

Nikon f100 and Delta 3200, rated at 1600

delta-3200-1 delta-3200-2 delta-3200-3 delta-3200-4 delta-3200-5 delta-3200-6 delta-3200-7

 

 

 

Letters to My Children – February 2017

Dear Ariya,

February has been a really tough month.  Your daddy had to cover extra shifts at the hospital, and you’ve been missing him so much.  Our household has been plagued with illness after illness.  You missed out on a ski adventure at Snowshoe and ended up with a fever for a whole week, which then resulted with a double ear infection.  No bueno.  But through it all, you’ve been a trouper.  You’re having a great time at school, learning your letters, writing and pointing out the letters that you know.  And you keep talking about your birthday that’s coming up in a few months and how you’re having a Paw Patrol birthday. You started swim lessons with your friends Hideshiro and Sei.  And we’re just waiting for the warm weather to stick, for spring to get here and stay, for us to play more outside. Please stop trying to grow up so fast.  I’m seeing your personality really shine through, and sometimes I get a glimpse into what you’ll be like as a teenager.  You are such a sweet girl, but there are moments where the attitude, wow.  I thought I’d have years before that attitude showed it’s ugly head.  It’s been rough, we’ve butted heads quite a few times.  You always say that you miss your daddy and that’s why you do the things that you do.  I know that you miss your Daddy.  But that doesn’t mean that you can act however you want.  You’re definitely teaching me, Ariya.  This is a process and we’ll work through it.  You are loved.

Nikon f100 and Portra 400NC

ariya-01 ariya-02 ariya-06

Pentax 67ii and Portra 160NC

ariya-03 ariya-04 ariya-05

Dear Asha,

You have been a trooper too!  It’s amazing that you hadn’t gotten sick all month, with your daddy and me being sick and then Ariya.  But I definitely spoke too soon, because you had a fever over the weekend and now you have a double ear infection.  And man are you fussy.  It’s kind of crazy to see you, because you are walking up a storm.  So you just fuss and walk, fuss and walk.  You’re opening up doors now.  You’re obsessed with pulling toilet paper off the roll, pulling tissues out of the box, shredding napkins.  And you make it known when you’re done in the high chair, you sort of push against the high chair and bang your fists on the tray.  You’re so sweet and cuddly when you want to be, but you don’t want to be held for too long, you get restless and kick your feet.

Your music lessons are coming to an end.  You’ve had a great time listening to music and hearing Miss Karen sing.  Your big sister comes with you most times, Ariya used to take these music classes too, when she was your age!  You’ve started swim lessons too, with me!  You love playing Humpty Dumpty and jumping into the pool.  Getting dunked is not that great, but it doesn’t deter you from splashing and playing in the water.

You’re ready for spring too.  Now that you’re walking, you want to explore explore explore.  Every time I let the dogs out, you scream and cry when I shut the door.  You’re just itching to get out there.  Pretty soon Asha, pretty soon.

Pentax 67ii and Portra 160NC

asha-04

asha-05

Nikon f100 and Portra 400NC

asha-03 asha-02

asha-01