A moment

Sometimes, a moment with homemade cocktails, by the fireplace, repeated tunes playing from a piano and four kids playing upstairs giving some quiet time is enough. ☺️

And then, receiving sweet thank you notes from the kids, having some ice cream and ending up playing an impromptu dodge game with soft toys makes that quiet time extra special. That’s enough as well. 😍

Beautiful Fall

We see this every year but it doesn’t get old. Especially this week with stormy forecast and fallen leaves and trees in many places. So much beauty around us, if only we stop and look.

And rain or shine, we need to go out every weekend. We actually got pretty wet on this trip given the storm going on this weekend. It was actually hail. We must have taken or talked to kids about hiking in this weather, because despite getting wet all over and driving home in those wet clothes, they didn’t complain at all. ❀️❀️ Instead we had another great conversation about how our attitude about the situation is everything. 😊😊

I made up a new game today to get the kids in the picture without having to ask them a thousand times. The one where they even smile – that’s another win for today. 😊

The Carving Evening

These days it seems like the most exciting thing that could happen is going to Costco. Thanks to pandemic and our wonderful rainy Seattle weather. That’s what today was. Well, atleast until the evening.

We went pumpkin shopping last weekend. Of course kids wanted to carve them. I wanted them to look pretty on my porch. Kids won. Mainly because I didn’t want to argue and say no to them again.

So with the promise of not making a mess and working on their own, they both left for downstairs.

I tried to get some sleep but my crazy work thoughts can interfere at any time. So I came downstairs later to find this pleasant surprise.

Boy, are these kids growing up to be so thoughtful and amazing or what! Not only did they setup their shop in the cold front porch, they laid down towels, used gloves and did a pretty amazing job of safely scooping all the stuff out. With proper kitchen knifes. Imagine how proud I was (and relieved) ❀️❀️❀️

While their carving continued, I still complained about not being able to go somewhere ( I hate staying home on weekends). Kids were adamant I should sit down and curve other pumpkins but I still wanted my pumpkins pretty. I finally gave in to kids asks.

We moved the whole setup inside on a disposable mat. I got to carve my own pumpkin. First time ever. I gave Achu the idea of finding stencils and copying them. Abhi chose to go with the classic jack o lantern. Achu chose a cat that didn’t end up exactly the way it was. I chose crescent moon and stars.

I am so glad I listened to kids. This was such a fun experience. Now I want to go get more pumpkins to carve.

And the best part, the pumpkins still look very pretty on the porch along with Sally our friendly ghost.

That wasn’t the end of exciting part of the evening though. Exactly a month ago, we made a trip to Cancun and had an amazing trip. One of the many amazing things was the drinks the resort offered. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of drinks and realized of all, I like cocktails the best now. So after coming back, when murali offered store bought stuff, I had to say no.

So, also for the first time ever, we made cocktails today. Moscow mule, which didn’t turn out to be like what I had before; Pina colada, which was yummy. It’s official. Pina colada, chocolate margarita and Moscow mule are my favorite.

So, I guess great evenings are possible even if the weather outside sucks. Kids really rescued the evening today. I told them I should listen to them more and then Achu immediately said – I want a dog. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ That might just happen too.

Back To School

I went to read my blog this evening and realized I did write few posts. I don’t remember writing them at all. Oh life, why are you moving so fast? I was reading my miscellaneous things in a day post from April and loved reading it again. There might not be exactly notable days, but oh, there are so many moments like that. I wish I did that more.

Anyway, I got here today to not read previous posts, but to catch up on the summer we had. Especially today is a pretty hugs milestone. It’s the last day of Summer. Kids start school tomorrow. Wow (again, where did the time go!!)

Abhi and Achu are nine years old, all awesome, just as crazy as ever and going to fourth grade. This summer was surely different than any others. This is the second time since they were three that they stayed home for summer. Thanks to Covid and all. But that’s not the only reason they had a good summer. Its the neighborhood kids group they have now. Every day is a playdate for them.

It all starts in the morning, as soon as they gulp down some quick breakfast or when the door bell rings, whichever happens first. And then the rest of the day is usually at someone’s house (sometime at ours), in the backyards or in the front porch. I constantly had kids in the front porch for days and I didn’t even know half of them. There were conflicts, fights and all, but overall, kids had a blast this summer. Thanks to Covid, we didn’t plan many weekend trips. Also I spend most of my time working these days.

Another best thing is that, this year I got our backyard redone. Got all the grass taken out and replaced with a nice concrete pad. Now we love what we have. We have spent so much time in the backyard this year and all the kids did too.

Today was the meet and greet with their teachers. They are going to be different classes. I wish they were in the same class so they could help each other like they did last year. This program is also difficult than the usual one they would go to, so lets see what happens. Surely kids learn a lot and more importantly, learn to work harder, but sometimes I think if its too soon to push them like this.

I invited their friends to a pizza party at our place. Well, it was more like a playdate with Pizza, ice cream and TV. Just something nice for them all before the day-long never ending fun comes to an end. It was nice of them to talk to one another about how nice I was to organize this for them. Don’t you love it when kids express gratitude? They chose to watch Goosebumps scary tv show before taking off to continue their playdate outside (for some more time. πŸ™‚ )

Going to bed today they say they are excited, but I don’t know. I think I am more worried than they are. They had such a fun summer with no timetable and endless play time. Going to school during Covid wasn’t easy for either of them. Because of they program they are enrolled in. While other kids in the neighborhood would be playing, poor these two kids would be doing their additional class work. Since this is the second year they are going to the program and its also not remote, I hope it gets easier for them. Regardless, I am sad they wont get to play as much as they did in the last few weeks.

Of course we know the reality is that they need to go back. I hope they have a great time at school this year. I was getting teary eyed in the evening that after a year and half the house will be so silent tomorrow morning. Achu, who is otherwise very excited to go, said if I talked like that she might start crying too. She then went on to enact a scene of me dramatically crying in the morning and after they come back in the afternoon, me saying, ‘What! you are back already, go do some more learning.’ Hahah. That is true too.

Three Trips

Resuming hiking without kids. I also love hiking with kids. But without the kids, there is this chance to go on much harder hikes, as well as, get good exercise and some nature time.

In 2019, I went on a few solo hikes. Just me, some music and singing along. 2020, we all know what happened. I was determined to go hiking alone this year, given things are a bit better. I asked if my neighbor if she wanted to join and she was more than happy to. So far, we have some two hikes. One to Poo Poo Point and then yesterday, Twin falls. Beautiful hikes and some me time for us mommies. Of course we talked most about the kids. πŸ˜…

You know I got hurt on the Poo Poo Point trial. We were coming down pretty fast and I twisted my left ankle 90 degrees. It was painful. Especially this trail was a lot of stones up and down. My neighbor helped me get down. It could have been worse. I had to rest my leg for a week but I am okay now.

We were originally going to Rattlesnake trail yesterday. When we reached the trailhead, we were told the trail was closed because someone on the ledge was getting rescued. We heard ropes were being used, so must have been bad. The top of the trail could be dangerous.

So we had to head to a different hike. Twin falls was nearby. Not as crowded as I thought. And still very beautiful. Best thing my leg didn’t hurt πŸ˜‚.

The other best trip was, trip to the zoo and acquarium. I loved it. Mostly because we got to go with L’s family. L is my best friend and her energy around small things is contagious. If I went alone I wouldn’t have seen or enjoyed it as I did with her. The acquarium specifically was marvelous. I can’t get over these jellyfishes.

Here are our littles, all masked up, enjoying the trip. This is the first outdoor fun trip they had in about an year.

It was so much fun that we are planning another trip to acquarium. I can’t wait.

Friday

I have decided to write down all miscellaneous little things that are happening today. Because these are important.

I was woken up this morning to Achu asking me about her butt cheeks. “Why is my one butt cheek longer than the other?” An important question for a 8 year old. We laughed and then Abhi came to the room and she shared this extremely important information with him. He laughed too. We are going to discuss this further today, I think.

I was running our Roomba (we call him Chitti) and pushed it to a different room with my legs, instead of picking it up and moving it to a different room. I wondered if I hurt Chitti’s feelings with me doing that. Does Chitti feel things? πŸ™‚ (I am reading QualityLand these days where machines have absolutely taken over our future).

I got braces 3 months ago and ever since my diet had to change. So instead of drinking coffee in the morning and get hungry an hour later, I have to make my drink in the morning count. So I switched to a big glass of Horlicks (Always had Horlicks as a kid). That wasn’t the point to share anyway. I spilled Horlicks this morning, because I was already distracted with work thoughts, and instead of feeling bad, I told myself very softly, ‘Its okay.’ Self-compassion. Its weird that these sort of little things matter but they do.

Live the life you dream of, said my meditation app today.

Now, I go work. πŸ™‚

Kids came by my office room making funny noises and asking excitedly, ‘Do you know something?’ and I had to send them away because I NEED to focus.

When I got a minute later, I went and disturbed them. I wish I could disturb them through out the day. πŸ™‚

Butt cheeks were compared again, we decided Achu was wrong about one being longer. They are same and cute.

Abhi prefers to yell out randomly ‘Pink Eggnog’ for no reason. Sometimes when he wins a chess game. We don’t know why. He just likes to. So, Pink Eggnog.

Make time for your health. We hear simple things and sometimes have fantastic realizations. I have always prioritized work (despite wanting the other way). So this lunch hour, instead of catching up on work (which there is loads of), I went on a walk. It was a beautiful afternoon. Murali joined me too.

Hours goes by when you are at work. It’s truly like there is nothing else to do. And so much brain drain.

At the end of meetings day, which is everyday, left work for another walk. With Murali again. First time we have done this. Simple things right.

You know what kids were doing when Murali and I were out on a walk? They have a small play gang outside. Same age neighbors kids. Kids are old enough. So in the last two weeks we are realizing we can leave them there and can step out for about an hour. Still worried about that but it’s tempting to not use this offer.

One of the negative things with Covid has been that out house has been so messy. No point in cleaning with two kids ready to mess up in minutes. Kind of like eating oreos while brushing thing. So result: Friday evening was two hours of front yard and bathroom cleaning.

Back to work. Worked until 1 am getting a deck ready for Monday. Covid impact on my role is that there is no focus time for me during the day to get what I need done.

And then it was Saturday morning.

Abhi: I am worth more than cake Achu.

Quite true. And pink eggnog.

The Story

I constantly wonder. Isn’t there more to life than this? A full time job, completely busy life and busy mind. Every minute of my awake time occupied with work thoughts or worries. Asleep time, subconsciously worrying about work or something else. Is this it? Is it how it’s supposed to be for the rest of our lives? We work all the hours, put some money in bank, spend what little time we can with kids, wait for weekends, dream of finding that balance. Is this really all how it’s going to be?

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am already feeling guilty typing these words and I know lots of people in the world have it way worse.

I mean, yes. I am grateful I have a good paying job. That I am healthy. So are my family. And kids. That I have a roof over our my head. I am grateful. But it’s been years that I have been feeling overwhelmed, anxious and unhappy every single time. The wait for weekends and sunday night troubles are 100% real.

The only time I have probably felt good about my work is when I am away from it for a considerable amount of time ( which is once or twice in few years) or when something worse has happened and it finally ended.

That’s my question. Is this how it’s supposed to be? Should I be just grateful and not ask for more? Should I think that as humans we are all just supposed to be living these many hours of our life at work and retire one day. Too deep, I know.

Am I not supposed to invest more time and quality into my kids? Aren’t they the best investment of my time and effort? Or if I do that am I going to regret not having enough money and stability in future? Well based on how I felt the last couple of years, I am going to worry then anyway.

I had thoughts of quitting my job. Everyone around me thought I was crazy. Everyone. I couldn’t find a single soul who thought that was a good idea. Even my parents didn’t support that. So I gave up on my idea of quitting, freeing my mind and spending better quality time with kids.

I wasn’t happy where I was, so I moved to a different team. Even if I didn’t want to work, I can’t be not good at what I do. In fact that’s what bothers me that I am not great. That I could be better. But I don’t have the energy. Atleast that’s what I think it is.

Even with the new job, me being in a good space in my career, there is no end to my anxiety and stress. Everything that I am causing myself. The worry that takes away my ability to spend quality time with the kids. That meeting, that problem, that live site. It’s all there is in my head.

See what I mean. Is it better that I get my kids full attention and fun childhood or be stressed and give them money. How do I do both?

Mediation helps, if I can focus and let myself relax. Few moments of time with kids also helps, if I can train my brain to stop thinking about expectations and worries.

I realized recently quitting isn’t an option. Finally did. My best friends and family ask me to take it easy at work. I can’t. I have to be more than good or it won’t matter. I also realized that I need to tell myself a different story about how I approach work every day. If I think it’s a battle everyday, I can’t survive anymore. I like designing software but is it my true lifelong passion? No, it’s not. So how do I stop getting into that , ‘oh god, it’s another work day’ mode? How do I go into work thinking I am going to do something I enjoy and not be anxious about everyday? How many more Ted talks do I watch before something actually changes and I behave different ly. How do I tell myself a different story in my mind about work? How?