The one where I pretend like I wasnโ€™t MIA for months

So this happened this evening. I have been planning to writing about Abhi and Achus latest love -playing tic tac toe. Possibly playing at their after care school, they got the hang of it and now we play it everywhere. In the front yard on the pavement, backyard, our driveway, every paper they can get hold of. It’s amazing how much they like it now.

This is yesterday night- one of things they do is pickup a book from around the shelf, open and play tic tac toe inside the book. Whatever open space they can find, they use it.

Our front yard gets decorated with the game like it’s rangoli time.

So this evening I go to cuddle with kids at bed time. Today was surprisingly no tic tac toe night. Today was singing night.

Achu gets to sit on the bed edge, in her green sleeveless dress, messy hair which she doesn’t let me comb or tie. She tells me she wrote a song. So I ask her to sing but she is shy. Some coaxing later, she agrees to. And she sings. It’s based on the Shape of You, which she apparently heard somewhere.

Hey, I am in love with the shape of you. You look like you supposed to. I really need you. Oh common, I am in love with the shape of you.

Of course not remembering the original tune, she sings in her own tune. She definitely got Murali’s genes in that respect. She sings good. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

And then I chose to play her the actual song and we had a little dance party.

Abhi has this cute dance moves which he calls dab. He made up baby, mini and big versions of dab and he performed for us.

…. and all of a sudden I realized how many sweet memories like this I am forgetting because I am not recording them.

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Growing Up

Its been ages I wrote anything about what Abhi and Achu are up to these days. Limited time I get these days to write here is spent in catch-ups so that I don’t lose my memories. Today, I will try to write about kids.

I had this post I wanted to write about how kids are grown up now. comparatively, I mean. I still remember the first time Achu threw up in the rest room instead of wherever she was. She said she had to throw up. Got up from her bed, walked with me to the restroom. Saved us a ton of cleaning. While there are so many moments, I felt that was the first time it occurred to me, the baby days don’t last for ever. The same time, Abhi was just throwing up when needed, wherever he was, without any control, so I realized these small things are not to be taken for granted.

That was probably a year or two ago, can’t even remember. Now, it’s all much more grown-up.

This was Achu yesterday night. I asked her to go sleep. And she goes, “Why do you always ask me to go sleep? Do you think its my favorite thing? Oh yes. I do. I loveeeee sleeping”. I listened to that comment and was laughing, when she comes back and says, “I was being sarcasticcccc”. My five-year old understands sarcasm. How grown up is that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Abhi and Achu’s relationship has grown up too. When they were 3 or so, they wouldn’t play with each other much. But in the last year or so, they have become really good at being partners in play. Their favorite word is “Pretend”. Every time they are playing together, this is the word I hear a zillion times. Their pretend play and imagination has no bounds. And its wonderful. But, there is also ton of fighting, these days. For silliest of things. ๐Ÿ™‚

Getting ready and getting out home has been easy and challenging at the same time.ย  They get dressed themselves, but the closets are the messiest. They insist on eating on their own, food is everywhere. It only takes us a 100 turns to get these two to go out in the car. But we do go out. Long gone are the worries if kids are dressed warmly for weather outside. They decide and apparently form “opinions” about what they need for the day. ๐Ÿ™‚

We have gone a bit of hiking since last summer. And this one strikes me again, no more holding babies, no more strollers. We haven’t touched the stroller in months. They complain too, but they still walk. And hike. I m so proud of them when they come on a hike with us.

Growing up is not always easy though. Now is the time for developing that attitude, friends you hang out with, learn new words and ways. Its good sometimes. Sometimes, not so much.

Whatever stage they are at, I think kids are growing up way too fast. They will be 6 years old in July and I can’t believe that. ๐Ÿ™‚

First Post Of The Year

Ah! It only took me a month to write the first post for this year. No resolutions, no catch-up of the previous year, nothing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Life is running really on survival mode now. That is we do exactly those things needed to survive day-to-day. And repeat that every day. Sigh! My mental state is terrible […]

Ah! It only took me a month to write the first post for this year. No resolutions, no catch-up of the previous year, nothing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Life is running really on survival mode now. That is we do exactly those things needed to survive day-to-day. And repeat that every day. Sigh!

My mental state is terrible right now, I am having such a tough time sleeping. I remember very clearly, the first day back to work in January. I had all good energy, having rested over the holiday season and no-rush days. That first day, I came back from work, ate dinner and was in bed by 7 PM and slept through the whole night. And with the range of my sleep problems, sleeping at 7 is like a crazy occurrence. And yet, I have done these early sleepings, more than once in the last month. And yet stayed sleepless rest of the nights. I constantly feel exhausted because of this. This morning, I seriously considered asking for sleeping pills. Dont know if I will pursue that option.

Anyway, apparently when things are like this, itโ€™s better we all focus on the good things. So I thought, I would finally write the first post of the year and add some good things happening.

โ™ฅ We had a new yearโ€™s gathering this time. Usual gang of friends, plus few more. Our usual gang stayed up until midnight, we cut a small cake and watched movies. This gathering has been fun and we have been meeting every Friday to just eat together and watch some movie. Sometimes, we meet more than once on the weekends. Pattern is same. Eat and watch something. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ฅ ย We also bought a brand new car before new year. So, on the new yearโ€™s day, we set out for a little road trip. We ultimately ended up at a Wallace Falls State Park. It was so cold, but we managed to get out and go on a little hike. That was what was most amazing about our new year. A mini hike on Day 1. I loved it. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ฅ ย Over the December holidays, other kidโ€™s friends and us moms, toured few winter fun places. Itโ€™s always fun to go with this group of kids. Kids meet almost every weekend, now-a-days. And they see each other in school every day. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also got to decorate my lovely front yard with a ton of lights. I added only few more this year, and half of the lights from last year didnโ€™t work, but I still loved it. It also snowed more us in December, and that always makes it much nicer to look at.

โ™ฅ ย End of the year, we did Satyanarayana Swamy Pooja at our place. Just us, to help us focus on the pooja.

โ™ฅ ย First outing of the year was to a place called Friday Harbor. It was a joke between kids and me, that we are going to Friday Harbor on a Saturday. ๐Ÿ™‚ This was a quiet trip again, and unexpectedly it turned good. We got there by ferry and realized this was such a small town, we didnโ€™t have much to do. And we were staying a night. So we ate late lunch, checked-in to the hotel, slept while kids watched tv, stepped out and ate dinner again, and then went to watch a movie. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was so cold, we didnโ€™t want to go on any adventures in the evening. Jumanji was the movie, and we all loved it.

Next day, we drove to a Lime Kiln State park, ate lunch and then to another hiking spot. The day was gorgeously sunny and the spots were very scenic. We took a lot of pictures, enjoying the sunshine. Kids also proved to be much better walkers/hikers than I give them credit for. Another great thing about this trip was the food. Both the dinner on first day, and lunch on the day we left was awesome. Especially that cheesecake was the yummiest I ate in my life. Achu and I gobbled it up. I swear, if we were not getting late for the movie, I would have ordered one more. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ฅ ย I havenโ€™t been much interested in buying new home decor these days. Dont know why. At least, not as much as before. So, I decided to try fix the light problem in our house, and added three new lamps to our living room. Now, we are as bright as it can be. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ฅ ย Murali lost his passport sometime last week. We only found out about it over the weekend. And obviously losing Passport is not the good thing, but what I liked is, how we reacted to it. I was upset heavily at first, assuming this is the end of the world. It may be is, but then I realized if there is anything I learnt from the past experiences, it is to not lose the now good moments in it. So we cheered up, continued to meet with our friends L, who came over on Saturday. We forgot all about it and had a good time. L and I even watched a horror movie for fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next day, kids had a play date and then our gang of friends came home again. Guess why. To search for the passport. Overall, six adults looked almost every corner of the house, library, car, Muraliโ€™s work place for the thing. I felt amazing that we have such a good group. We later abandoned the search and went out to eat dinner, to celebrate Muraliโ€™s latest promotion. ๐Ÿ™‚

โ™ฅ ย The last best thing is, I finally took my first swimming lesson yesterday. It only took me couple of years to get there. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I am finally in the pool, learning to swim now. Hopefully I will be a prosoon. ๐Ÿ˜€

Summer 2017

Another year is done. Another Summer is gone. Where is time flying? We usually always keep waiting for Summers around here, but this is probably the first time, we seem to be enjoying what ever time we have. And I think we have kids growing up to thank for that. As they get older, it’s getting easy for us to navigate the coldness and the inconvenience that comes with it.

Anyway, this post is about Summer, I need to stop ranting about other stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚ So our summer this year was busy too. My parents were here, which was good help. Kids were grown up a bit more. We had a full size car with us. And fate decided to not torture us too much, so we could keep our heads above water and enjoy the time we had.

Every year, good weather and outdoor trips begin with Murali’s birthday. This year was his 40th milestone birthday. We had some fun. Before my parents joined, we went to this Deception Falls and we just loved it. Just at the right season, water flow was awesome. Some of the trail was still covered in water. We did the complete trial loop with kids and I realized how a little more grown-up kids are. ๐Ÿ™‚

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We attempted a proper full hike to Twin falls, but didn’t complete it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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On cloudy days, we went to a Gold Creek Pond. There still was a bit snow. But the view was beautiful.

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Couple of more mini-day trips here and there, to just let us get out of the house. This year, good weather came late to us. We were stuck with many of cold/raining days.

One of the long weekends, Murali and I went on a hike together after a long time to Poo Poo Point. I forgot to write about what all we did that weekend, but it was such a fun weekend.

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We bought a small-sized pool for kids and even with the minimum water we had in there, they had fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

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My parents came over here then, and with kid’s school we enjoyed a good day trip a ferry to a Mukilteo Island. We celebrated my dad’s birthday here. And also we made our Friday night dinners a more regular thing, so I was looking forward to them every week.

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We loved Deception Falls so much, we took our parents there again. Scenery and drive was quite beautiful.

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A long drive to Grand Coulee dam and ultimately finding a Soap Lake was wonderful. We didn’t know about this place before. We don’t have any warm water lakes here. Even in peak summer, water is cold. So this one was a wonderful surprise. We will go there again, in the coming year.

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Kids also turned five this year. Again, where did the last five years go? ๐Ÿ™‚

Then came the memorable time of my year. My break from work. Two good months. Luckily, I got to write about these separately, but I need to still write about kid’s first hiking trips this year. It was another great aspect of our summer.

We went to Mt St Helens and as well as Mt Baker before my parents left. Both the trips were day long trips and so worth it.

I am sure there was more here than I can remember now. Evenings we spent in the backyard with my parents; Having good food available; Scooter and bike rides; Our walks; Murali’s trips to India, London and Paris; Kid’s play dates – all the crazy and weird things they said and did. It was a good summer. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hawaii Trip – Oahu

Okay. If there is one post I must write this year, it’s about our most awesome Hawaii trip back in September. We have been waiting to go to Hawaii for don’t remember how long now, and it finally happened this year. After much of planning and discussions, we decided to head to Oahu. And it was the best decision ever. I think Hawaii is just such an awesome place, that no matter what you decide to do, where you go, you would love it.

We did this trip before I went back to work, so I had that thought in my head that when the trip ends, I need to go back to work, but as long as I was near water, I mostly forgot about the return trip. ๐Ÿ™‚

We chose to stay in a very busy Waikiki area, which was close to the beach, shopping, food etc and that was a great decision. We could step out of our condo, cross the street and head into water. Not to mention the awesome views from our place. We started with a 12th floor apartment, which wasnt good enough for me, so Murali got us moved to the 20th floor. Even more awesome view of the beach. We had a kitchen, lanai (balcony) with awesome views, some food we took over, and we had many fun moments in that lanai.

I can’t tell you what the best thing was. Is it the views or being in that warm water or having to wear what you want. I cant really decide. ๐Ÿ™‚

And because I am mostly writing this post for my memory, I will just copy paste my short trip memory here. We stayed there for 7 days, we did so much, so I wrote it all down in this form. We must have seen the pictures a dozen times. We are even getting special albums made, just for this trip. ๐Ÿ™‚

ย Day 1 : Thursday— Flight, check in, water Waikiki, walk around.

ย Day 2: Friday— water Waikiki, walk around, Tiki’s Maiย Tai, move to 20th floor.

ย Day 3: Saturday — morning walk groceries, Murali’s vankaya curry, car pickup, North shore drive, Waimea bay, Lunch by the beach, Waimea falls hike and swim, turtle bay resort, sunset beach park, Amazing food pickup.

ย Day 4: Sunday — Birthday breakfast, Wearing a romper :), Dole plantation, Waikiki water in the evening

ย Day 5: Monday— Waimanalo beach, Lanikai , Hanauma bay snorkelling,food pickup at the same Indian restaurant.

ย Day 6: Tuesday — Waikiki water morning, shopping,ย  Hula dance, Coconut water, Pizza dinner

ย Day 7: Wednesday — Waikiki water morning, parasailing, Cheesecake Factory dinner, Night walk and kids dancing on beach

ย Day 8: Thursday— Water morning again, checkout, shopping, Abhi in water, rest by the umbrella, Thai dinner, fly back.

Wasn’t it packed? Since we were staying so close, we did the Waikiki beach water many times. This pool was just so awesome. We sincerely thanked the inventors of floaties. They are awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

Two things that didn’t go well were that because of the time difference, we were so tired. We would wake up early, but then stay late by our time standard and we just felt exhausted. As much fun as it was in the water, that tired us out too. Second thing, Abhi got sick on day 2. Poor thing, he is a water baby. He had a gala time on day 1, but until the day we came back, he was little hesitant to go in. He had fever + cold and it made it little hard for us to clean and change two kids when they were cold.

I also celebrated my birthday during this trip. Kids made me breakfast and we got to enjoy it in our amazing balcony. That was great.

I will leave with some pictures, and hope I will come back and write more about each day.

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This was the view from our balcony. We spent many good and memorable moments here.
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One of the many times we had so much fun in the water. You got to love that view. ๐Ÿ™‚
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One beautiful beach. One of many many. ๐Ÿ™‚
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Hula Dance by the beach.
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Murali and kids drew everyday of their view. Of course, Murali drew the right version. ๐Ÿ™‚

I am waiting for our printed albums. I do want to come back and write more then. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is one such amazing trip and we cant wait to go back. ๐Ÿ™‚

Books 2017

So when I decide to come back here and finally force myself to write something after a long gap, it’s a good idea to write about whats on my mind right? Luckily its something I am proud of because I have done better than I did in the last couple of years. I read more than I read in years. And I think, I have my break from work to thank for that.

Like I mentioned in my break post, during the months of August and September, reading a book was my go to activity. I could never make the time or mind before. Sometimes, I would have time but I would be too distracted with what was going on. Fortunately, my mind seems to have realized that reading itself is a distraction from other things going on. Some people can read books easily, some cant. It took some time and effort to get into that later routine.

So, don’t ask me about what I read before August. I looked at my library borrowing history and remembered Dune and 1984 that I was trying to read. I couldn’t finish Dune because I was too distracted back then. 1984 because, I honestly didn’t like it. It was too dry and depressing for my taste. Sometime starting in August, I started keeping my list updated and I am so proud of that fact that, in the last 4 months, I have read 8 books. Not too bad with all that is going on with my life. ๐Ÿ™‚

I read a combination of classics and easy reads. I also tried non-fiction books. One of the books, I made some progress on, but couldn’t finish was Cosmos. It was such a good read. I saw the latest TV series couple of times, but it was nice to read the original version. Another classic I didn’t finish was Anne Frank – Dairy of a young girl.ย  I really wanted to know more about their life during the time, but felt if I read this book years ago, I may have liked it. Some of the stories were really petty, given she was a young girl and I didn’t want to continue reading. Maybe it got better later on.

Now, the books I got to finish: Girl On The Train – Easy read. Kept me going. I guessed who the murderer was, before the ending, so it was just a matter of confirming that. ๐Ÿ™‚ His Majesty’s Dragon –ย  Very interesting story, but the storytelling wasn’t that engaging for me. I read the same author’s Uprooted later and liked it much better. It was a simpler story but I liked it better.

Then came the classic Fahrenheit 451. I guess when people start calling books classics, I immediately set high expectations. ๐Ÿ™‚ The story and the times of the books were really great, but again, I didn’t feel like the story was developed much. I am glad it was a short book. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, I picked next Murder on the Orient Express.ย It was an easy read again, I was flipping pages back and forth trying to remember the characters. Ending was unexpected, which was nice. I wanted to watch the movie if the story was great, but skipped the movie. Reading was enough.

Next came a classic that was highly recommended by my dad, Good Earthย : a book he read years ago. I am glad this book was also an easy read. I initially really liked the story. But the way women were treated felt so wrong to me. I know it was a different time, but still I couldn’t get myself to empathize with the protagonist and the society’s treatment of many things. But I could see why this was a classic.

I seemed to have followed a pattern here. ๐Ÿ™‚ Classic followed by my type of genre. My next read was Ready Player One. I had high hopes,ย especially after I saw the movie trailer. I did think the book would probably be liked more by young audience. I liked it just okay. But I do want to see all the actions on the scene. That will be cool.

Alright, my last book of the year and the one I loved the most – The Book Thief. Here is the book I started reading knowing it was a classic and loved it so much. The way past was pictured, as well as the life back then; Different characters in the book – it was awesome. For the first time in years, I stayed up really late and woke up early to read and finish this book. I swear, the book made me. ๐Ÿ™‚

I do have Broken Earth: Five Seasons sitting on my night table now. I have to return it in 10 days, so I know I wont be able to finish it. But it will be the book I hope I will get to finish. I really loved how I could read 2 books a month, but being realistic and knowing my work expectations for next months, I hope I can read at least one book a month. ๐Ÿ™‚

Halloween 2017

I went back and looked up all my Halloween posts starting 2013. I almost forgot our best Halloween of 2014 and reading that was so good. It was indeed a fun Halloween for all of us. So, to help me track better for next years, here are my Halloween 2013, Halloween 2014, Halloween 2015 and mini post Halloween 2016.

So this year’s Halloween, kids interest went up, and mine went down. It still turned out to be a good Halloween. For the first time, I bought a costume as well. A Samurai Warrior, only because it was on sale for $5. ๐Ÿ™‚

Abhi got his costume couple of weeks ago. He was going to be Spider-Man. Achu wanted to be a butterfly. But in order to set a different bar, I don’t buy her these type of costumes. It’s also because these stores don’t give little girls any other choice. When we first looked at Costco, boys had different superheroes and other costumes and for girls, it’s all fairies, butterflies etc. There was no single super hero costume for girls. So, I made her not buy the first butterfly costume she saw and took her to a Halloween store later. Just so she would have better choices.

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Trying to get scared. These scare Abhi, but not Achu anymore.
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I could be a fox. ๐Ÿ™‚

At the store, after looking at every costume, Achu found a Captain America costume for girls (with a tutuย ๐Ÿ˜ก ) and a Cleopatra costume. I liked the Cleopatra one because it would give me a chance to teach her out about the queen and the history. Plus it came with shiny things, so Achu was happy too. She picked out Cleopatra finally and the day both the kids tried on their costumes, they couldn’t stop smiling. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next few days, we got our Halloween decorations out, went to pumpkin patch with their friends, We used the same decorations as last year. We didn’t add much to our stock this year (That would be because of my lack of interest with decorating these days).

Last Friday, we took the kids out with their friends to the Halloween fest at my work place. It helps we all moms also work for the same company. Our plans align. Friday evening, it turned out to be so crowded, we couldn’t get into any of the rides. We did quick trick or treating and found the one attraction that wasn’t crowded. An inflatable maze. Achu loves to go round and round and she took all her friends in around multiple times. We couldn’t get the kids out, so we moms had to split up to drive them all out. Later we just let them run around in the grass and they had their own fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Run in the maze…
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Every time they come to my office they leave me notes. ๐Ÿ™‚
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This is what I got this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

The day of Halloween, we took them out to trick or treating at the town center. That turned to be too crowded as well. Although kids got good candy, next time we are just going to stick to our neighborhood. Because its more traditional, simple and still super fun.

I don’t know what it is about trick or treating, but it always puts me in good mood. Kids and I walked from house to house, looking at the decorations, getting candy and other treats. We also went to their friend’s house again (like we haven’t seen them an hour ago ๐Ÿ™‚ ). One of the neighbors offered tea for the parents, and that was so thoughtful. It was cold outside and it was lovely to have tea on the road and trick or treat with kids.

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Trick or treat ….

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Our buckets were full; I didn’t count how many houses we went to, but it was simple super fun. Abhi finally got tired and went home, but Achu one more house, like a dozen times, before I forced her to come home. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking at others decorations made me wish I decorated more, so I am going to force myself to do that for Christmas. Next Halloweenย  must be made a fantastic one. ๐Ÿ˜€