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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

Letters to My Children – January 2018

Dear Ariya,

It was tough saying goodbye to all of our family and head back home.  You miss your big sister cousin, Tara ben.  But thank goodness for technology, because you had a chance to do a few video chats.  You grabbed my phone so fast so you could show Tara ben your toys, your dogs, the backyard.  It kind of reminds me of my big sister cousin Priti ben (your Priti masi).  Even though we both have 20 years of difference between our big sisters, they are like our best friends.  I know Priti ben was the first person I went to, to tell almost everything, when I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone else.  I hope you never feel that way, and that you’ll always come to me first.  But if you don’t feel like you can come to me, I hope you’ll have Asha, Daddy or even Tara ben to talk to.

We went to a one of your friend’s birthday party which was Princess themed.  I think you had fun.  You did love wearing your new Frozen dress up dress.  You got to put on lipstick as a game to kiss the frog.  I think what’s funny is that this might be what set off Asha’s obsession with princesses, bows in her hair, and wearing dresses all the time.

We had a few school delays and school closings. But no real snow.  I don’t know if you’re disappointed, but I know I am.  There have been a few flurries, and I made you and your sister put on a coat so we can attempt to play in the snow.  But yeah, there has been no real snow, and Mommy is so sad.

School has been great.  You’re always excited to go, and you’re always happy when I pick you up.  Your favorite things now are playing with legos, doing your puzzles, playing with your  “rocket ship” (which is really either a laundry basket or an empty Amazon box).  And you’re looking forward to your 5th birthday party, which is in April.  We’re still trying to figure out what to do, but I’m sure it will be great.

 

Dear Asha,

You are missing Mexico.  I think you got way too used to the pool and the beach.  Because you started stringing your words together and say “I want pool”.  Also, you’ve been paying attention to Ariya, because you use the same tone and manner when you say “I want Mommy, I want Daddy, I want binky” and you stamp your feet or throw a tantrum.  It cracks me up, but I hope this phase (the tantrums and stomping your feet) passes.

The princess bug has officially hit.  It’s Frozen and Moana ALL.THE.TIME.  You’re in love with Ariya’s Jasmine dress up outfit that she never wore.  I think it’s because you think you  look like Shimmer and Shine, another favorite show that you like.  You wear Ariya’s Belle dress like it’s going out of style.  This is happening a lot earlier than it did with Ariya.  We tried to hold off so hard on introducing Ariya to anything Disney.  But with you, you see your big sister enjoy her dress up clothes and watch her disney movies and shows.  And you want to be just like your big sister.  You love your dresses, you want to wear bows in your hair.

Your personality is so strong. We joke that you’re a terror.  But you really are a force.  I don’t think we’ll ever have to worry about you, you know how to handle yourself.  I may have to worry about anyone that gets in your way.

 

 

 

Letters to My Children – December 2017

Dear Ariya,

December has gone by so fast!  Asha’s birthday was in the beginning of the month, but since Daddy had to work, we celebrated it when he came home.  We had a few cupcakes, opened a few presents.  She’s now 2!  And you both love her new presents.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I decided to create a Destination Imagination team for you and your friends.  I thought it would be fun to try something different, have a new challenge, learn something new. Your friends Sei, Veer, and Elizabeth are on your team. The tournament is in March, and we have so much work to do!

Christmas vacation started after your Christmas program at Sonshine Learning Center.  We left for Richmond to celebrate Asha’s birthday at Nani and Nanu’s house.  Grandma, Auntie Anjuanette, Uncle Kashiff, Jayden and Mekai came to help celebrate.  Even the neighbor’s daughter came over to play with you, how fun!  The cake was the best part, as always.

That night we went to Lewis Ginter’s Botanical Gardens to check out all of the holiday lights.  Wow, It was sooooo cold, but the lights were beautiful! And you had so much fun with Grandma, but I think getting hot chocolate was at the top of your list.

Christmas was a whirlwind.  Nani and Nanu came to visit while we celebrated Christmas Eve.  I think both you and your sister loved your presents from Santa.  Your favorites change from day to day.  One day you love the Frozen puzzles, the next you love the Ice cream counter that Asha got.  The work bench has been a huge hit with both you and Asha. Too bad we couldn’t have enough time to play with your new toys, as we had to leave for our trip!

We travelled to Canada on Christmas day to spend time with our family.  The last time you were in Canada, you were 1 1/2 years old!  And my aunt, uncle, cousins and nieces had not even met Asha!  So it was a fun Christmas party.  You got to wear your pretty Indian clothes, which made you so happy!

The day after Christmas, we left for Mexico!  You were so happy to hang out with all of your cousins, but I’m convinced that Tara ben is your best friend forever. The plane trip wasn’t so bad, but it was a long day of travel!  Our hotel was beautiful, and our room was a suite with a kitchen, patio, king size bed and jacuzzi tub. It was very helpful having all that space, because your sister took a while getting used to her routine in a new place.

All the swimming that we did! The sandcastles we built.  The dancing we did with the instructors, the New Year’s Eve part that we let you stay up for.  It was amazing that you and your sister lasted as long as you did. You eventually fell asleep in your stroller with your sister as we all rung in the New Year.  I think you’d say this trip was the best.  The hardest part was leaving our family, but we made sure that we’ll video chat and call every so often. We’re even planning our next trip to see them!  Don’t tell Daddy that, because he thinks I’m always thinking of our next trip.

Ariya, you are my sweet, smart, soulful, funny, emotional, first born.  You’re having a hard time dealing with disappointment but we’re working through that.  Your first reaction is to scream, huff, stomp your feet and slam doors, but you always apologize after you take a time out and some deep breaths. You also have no patience, and love instant gratification, just like your mommy.  I know where you get it from. You’re growing up so fast.  And I’m trying so hard to keep up with you.

Dear Asha,

You’re 2!!  Where did the time go?  How are you now 2???  You are so strong willed, loving, affectionate, playful.  You feel your emotions 100%.  You learn everything from Ariya.  Your love for dresses, for playing dress up with her princess dresses.  You want to brush your teeth like Ariya, get your hair brushed like Ariya.  You miss Ariya when she goes to school, and you’re so happy when we pick her up.

You loved your Frozen themed party. The cake was a masterpiece, it was a cake of Anna.  and it was so delicious!  You were happy to have your family around you to celebrate.

Our travels to Canada and Mexico were a struggle.It’s hard, being confined to a stroller, confined to a plane seat, confined during security and customs.  But you survived.  And had a blast!  You watched Moana and Frozen over and over again.  You now know how to say “I want Anna!” (Frozen or Moana, I still have a hard time figuring that out) or “I want Mommy” .  You were a bit standoffish with meeting your cousins and aunties and uncles, but by the end of the trip, Tara ben and Priti Masi had won you over, and you would go over to them, play with them, sit in their laps.  I’m so happy you gave them a chance, because they love you and your sister so much!

Your vocabulary has grown so much.  You  learned to say “pool”, “goggles” (for swim goggles), “beach”, “boots”, “socks”, “shoes”.  And so much more.  It’s crazy how much you’re trying to talk.  Amazing.

We ended the year in Mexico on an amazing resort in Playa del Carmen.  Who knows what 2018 will bring?

Letters to My Children – November 2017

Dear Ariya,

Diwali happened!  You loved seeing Nani and Nanu come up from Richmond to help celebrate Diwali with us.  Your favorite part is dressing up.  But what was fun this year was that Grandma and Auntie Carmen came!  And our friends that aren’t in Balvihar came too! You played with Sei and Hideshiro, Declan and Ayden, Sheya and Feye.  And who could forget Asher and Marni!  You miss Asher and Marni so much. Hopefully when the holidays are over, we can find a time to all hang out!

Let’s see, what else happened. It was election day (time to vote for the Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and our delegate) and school was out.  So we made a day out of it and went to the Air and Space Museum near Dulles.  It was cold and rainy.  But seeing all those airplanes and rocket ships was pretty cool.

This past April, I went to a film workshop and we went over flash photography and lighting.  So, I got this GREAT idea to bring all of my lighting gear to our friends’ house and having a “photoshoot”.  When your friends are around, you don’t have a problem posing for the camera, and I loved every second of it!

You’ve been practicing for your Thanksgiving feast.  You and your classmates dressed up as pilgrims and sang songs.  It was the sweetest thing ever.  Asha had a ball and really enjoyed dancing to all of the songs!

We drove down to Richmond for Thanksgiving.  We stayed and Nani and Nanu’s house, and while you love seeing them, you were so excited to play with your cousins at Auntie Anjuanette and Uncle Kashiff’s house.  And Uncle Eric was there!  And Grandma!  so much fun!  But the fun didn’t stop because then everyone came back to OUR house so we could celebrate Phelix’s birthday!  You were so excited to have Jayden, Mekai and Phelix there to play with you.

Your baby sister is turning 2 in a few days.  And you’re in heaven picking out presents for her. I think you’re just picking out presents that you would love to play with.  But that’s ok, because sharing means caring! I think you’re having a hard time understanding that we’re going to have a party for her a few weeks later, at Nani and Nanu’s house, and not on her actual birthday.  Daddy has to work on her birthday, so maybe we’ll do something small.

Dear Asha,

So, you weren’t a fan of Diwali.  You woke up from your nap so cranky, and how dare we make you dress up in pretty Indian clothes! You played with my phone pretty much the entire time.  You did love the Indian food, and were happy mixing the rice and daal up.  And when the stage was open and full of kids dancing, you were all over it! I think you even tried to take the stage backdrop down!  That’s when we knew it was time to go.

We’ve been going to music classes at SCAA with Ms Karen.  And you love it so much.  You’ve been saying YAY every time we go.  And you’re singing your baa baa baas with the microphone.  You’re definitely enjoying music class, dancing with scarves, and playing with the instruments.  I’m so glad I can do this with you.

You loved seeing Ariya perform with her classmates at the Thanksgiving feast.  I could see you dancing a long and spinning in circles.  I think Ms Jeanne thought you were going to steal the bells, and tried to lure you away, but you were not having that!

Your schedule was so out of whack for Thanksgiving weekend.  Weird naps, weird bed times. But it was all worth it, to spend time with family.

I can’t believe you’ll be 2 soon.  Where did my baby go?  I’ve been looking at a lot of pictures and videos of you as a baby.  It just makes me wish I could go back in time, just for a second.  Let’s see, your favorite things right now are to tell me animal sounds.  “What does the cow say?” “MOOOOOO” “What does the horse say?” “NEIGHHHHHHHH”  And you love saying No, even when your joking, I guess.  Like, if you’re taking unzipping your coat when we’re outside, and I ask “Are you unzipping your coat?” you’ll say “Nooooo” with the cutest smile.  And you love it when Ariya says her favorite joke, because you’ll join in on the punch line.  Ariya will say “Knock knock” and I’ll say “Who’s there?” and she’ll say “The Interrupting cow” and I’ll say “the Interrupt-” and you BOTH will say “MOOOOOO”.  Yeah, she got that joke from Home.  And you both love it.

Soon, we’ll be getting ready for the holidays.  And spending time with family.  And we can’t wait!

 

*all images taken on film except for the last 3

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.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

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

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Pentax 67ii and Portra 160NC

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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

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Nikon f100 and Portra 400NC

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