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?

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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 – October 2017

Dear Ariya,

We’re getting into the groove of our schedule.  School, swimming, ballet, Diwali practice.  You are so excited to go on stage with your friends from Balvihar and wear your Indian outfit and dance on stage.  I’m so glad that we live in an area for you to have Indian friends and learn about our culture.  You were also in a play called the Ramayana.  Pretty famous play.  And you were the Goddess Sita.  It was so amazing to see you practice and really get into it.  You love reading books about Diwali, the Ramayana, Holi.  It’s pretty awesome to see you so excited about our culture.

You were also excited about Halloween.  I must confess, I’m not a crafty or handy mom.  I don’t make costumes.  Or never really thought to.  We went to Target.  You wanted to be Mulan.  Which is pretty awesome, because Mulan, while not a real princess, is like a warrior princess, right?  I’d say she’s pretty rad.  So you were Mulan.  We went to our friends Halloween party, went trick or treating on the walking mall, and then finally went trick or treating on Halloween night with our friends, the Patels.  They have an awesome neighborhood to trick or treat in.  It was a pretty fun time.  We’re still eating candy from Halloween.

You love learning so much.  When we get home, you may want to decompress, watch a few episodes of tv.  But you always want to work on your “fun” sheets.  Practice your letters and numbers, coloring.  You love when we read to you.  We go to the library and you grab maybe 5-10 books each time.  It’s crazy.  I hope I never lose those books!  But I love that you love to read!

Dear Asha,

You are growing like a weed.  I tried to keep the 18-24 months on you for as long as possible, but wow you grew out of everything so fast.  We had to turn around your car seat because your legs were so smooshed.  But you love being able to see everything, in the right direction.

You love going over the animal flash cards.  You know how to say Bee and that a bee says  “Bzzz bzzz”. You know that lions and tigers and bears say “ROAR”.  And you love saying ROAR.  You can say point to and say eyes and nose.  You know where your mouth, tongue, teeth, hair, head, fingers, toes, and “bee bo” (belly button) is.  I think you can say Please, although it sounds like peeeeeaaaaassssss. And the rest of it, who knows what you’re saying.  You do love to babble and make lots of sounds.  And I just keep talking to you.  You understand a lot, which is pretty amazing.  You’re just growing so fast!

For Halloween, you were Minnie Mouse.  And you were the cutest Minnie Mouse.  You loved the ears, you loved the dress.  But trick or treating at the walking mall was during your nap time and that was TOUGH.  We had to wait in lines to get candy, and you hated being strapped in the stroller.  But you did love the Halloween party and trick or treating in our friend’s neighborhood.

*all photos except the ones taken on Halloween are on film

 

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

 

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.

Film 366 Favorites of 2016

The year has ended and I have survived 2 366 projects.  One was a digital 366, using my Nikon d610 and Fuji x100t.  And the 2nd was a film 366, using a variety of film cameras and film stocks.  I went a little crazy exploring the world of film.  I’ve acquired a ton of film cameras, tons of film stock.  I was all over the place.  I wasn’t able to keep track of my film 366, because I shot SO MUCH FILM.  Here are some of my favorites of 2016.

37016jbmar137001-r2-0001 38170jbmar610003-r2-001 39855aamar629003-r1-013 39855aamar629004-r2-024 39855eegoo629007-r2-051 39855eegoo629007-r2-053 39855eegoo629007-r2-059 42813nnmar801002-r1-010-2 42813nnmar801007-r4-120-2 42813nnmar801007-r4-129-2 000009430011 000009480020 000009480024 000009490016 000009500004 000024840034 000024860026 000024930005 000024960003 000024960016 000060400019 000060400026 000060410001 000060410018 000064300002 000064300003 000068300009 000068310019 000068320019 000078130004 000078130014 000078150006 000097840037 000097850003 000097850017 000097860001 000097860017 000097860019 000097860021 000097860025 286460020019 286460020023 286460020034 312680020003 312680020006 312680020007 312680030029 312680040010 312680040027 314930010005 314930010013 314930010017 320360010008 320360010032 320360020006 320360020033 320360040005 320360050017 320360060003 320360060031 320360070022 342450010005 342450010010 342450010013 342450020001 342450020009 342450040003 342450050005 342450070003 342450070027 342450080033 342450090005 342450090021 370020020005 370020020014 381720010017 381720010027 381720040015 381720040030 399390010007 412850020020 426610010011-2 436610010025-2 436610030005-2 523900010016 523900020015-2 523900040004 523900040009 523900040011-2 523900040016 523900050016 560040060028 es35135goo509002-r1-003 es35135goo509002-r1-022 es35135goo509002-r2-074 es35135goo509002-r4-103 es35135goo509002-r4-104 es35135goo509002-r4-116 es35135goo509002-r6-161 hp33314goo415001-r1-003 hp33314goo415002-r1-005 hp33314goo415002-r1-006 hp33314goo415002-r2-046 hp33314goo415002-r3-061 hp34249goo427002-r1-010 jo33311goo041503-r1-035 sr33315goo041501-r1-004 untitled-71 untitled-92

I’m crazy enough to do my 4th 365, for 2017.  I’ve also decided to slow down with film and focus.  So, I’m doing a digital 365, and I’m doing 1 roll of film a week, and for each month that I shoot film, I’ll be using the same film camera, same lens and same film stock. For January 2017, I’ve started shooting Acros 100 with my Nikon f100 and 35 f/2 lens.  Let’s hope I come out with some decent shots!