Silly Things

From time to time, Abhi and Achu make up the silliest things. We all laugh. Suddenly it becomes a thing and we go over it again and again. There are things that are easily more than a year old now and we still do it and laugh over it.

Like couple of weeks ago, Abhi, Achu and I were chatting at their bed time. Saying this and that, Abhi makes up a silly sentence, “Fruits and Yogurts Shalo Deetho”. It really didn’t mean anything. We had to do it with a serious face thats all. And kiddos would burst out laughing unable to control their smile. I thought we were only saying that meaningless sentence with funny faces. I laughed with them and forgot about it. And then I don’t know why, the words Shalo and Deetho stuck around. They call one of them Shalo and the other one Deetho. Even talk to each other using those names, “Okay, Shalo?”, “Okay. Deetho”. It’s so funny. We use them sometimes too.

Some evening I was playing with kids. When kiddos came and sat in my lap, I held them tight and said, “Oh! I am not going to leave this baby”. And then they escape somehow. I then say, sadly, “Oh! there are no babies in my lap”. Abhi and Achu come running into my lap. And the cycle continues. This is so old I don’t even remember when this began. I still do this, on kids request.

Feeding time is still a challenge for us. I make up quite a few tricks to make them eat. One of them is pretending like I am feeding some object around them. Like a light bulb or fridge and then while I do that with my eyes closed, Abhi or Achu eat the food. I then ask the fridge how food was, pretend like it told me it didn’t get any food. Then kiddos burst out laughing and tell me they stole the food. This works so great every time (touch wood) but only I get tired doing this for every spoon.

Another one is telling them what their organs are saying. “Oooh! Milk is coming. I am going to be stronger”, say the bones. “Yummy pappu” say the happy muscles. Kids like this so much, they always ask me, for every spoon of food, “Amma, what is my tummy saying now?”. I get tired of doing the routine, but they never do.

Our store manager story is still a thing. This evening, Achu comes to me pretending I am an elevator and asks me to take to another planet. I take her to Mars, she get down from my lap, pretends to step on the planet, walking carefully and jumps back into my lap. “Elevator take me to Venus”. Pretend game evolves with Abhi joining as Sir Navigator telling us where to go while Astronaut Achu tours the planets. There was flower picking on Jupiter; We go see if Planet Nine exists, make up a macaroni planet, baseball planet, pirate planet. Also a beach planet. In the end there was planet called Joy-Land where you throw candy everywhere to spread joy. I decided we all should just live there.

This one is new, not sure how long will this stick around. We will see. I am sure there is ton more of silly things they do. I just can’t keep track of them all. But sure know that it’s so much fun being a child and be able to laugh at the silliest things. Wish we all would ALWAYS find and laugh at the silliest things. 🙂

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Portland Trip

Last weekend was a long weekend for us. One extra day off. This time of the year is so cold in here, you wouldn’t think of going out on a vacation anywhere close by, but we did it. Last month, we booked a small trip to Portland, which is some four hours away from us, along with a trip to my favorite Multnomah falls.

As we got close to the vacation day, it started snowing so bad in Portland, they had like historic snow fall. Usually it rains for over here A LOT, but snow is not very common. So began my conflict. To bare it all, risk it and  make the trip into more freezing weather (and keep up with my new resolution of one trip a month) or stay warm and cozy at home. Of course, such a HUGE conflict, I couldn’t decide. I couldn’t consciously decide to break my resolution already just because I am a chicken. And so I let Murali decide. He decided we are going and so we went. 🙂

As usual, I packed stuff over night, kids clothes – This times I even gave them their own bags; Kids car snacks, candy, ton of winter gear. We take a small  house with us, every time. 🙂

Kids were obviously excited to go. After a trip to Olive Garden for late lunch we reached Portland. Until now, roads were snow-free. We don’t have an AWD car, which makes driving on snow not fun at all. While freeways were super good, inner roads and parking lots were super bad. There is the risk of sliding, losing control or tires getting stuck in snow. And so started my worry. Silently cursing myself for deciding to go on that trip, instead of staying home. I swear every time we had to drive on one of those roads, my heart was in mouth and I swore to myself to not do this again. But like the new adult I am, I also refrained from saying it all out loud (Well, maybe I did only a tiny bit 🙂 ). We finally made it to the hotel. I could actually see sheets of ice on the road. Seriously, the whole place was frozen.

But you know whats wonderful about kids, they have no idea of what the situation is and their only goal is to have fun. Abhi and Achu somehow like going to hotels (after couple of days they do miss home too) and once we checked-in, the first thing kids do is jump on the beds. And so did, happily. 🙂

Plans later that evening were super unclear. Roads were obviously crazy. Murali was even crazier about taking a train to go to Downtown Portland. Place was new to us. So we roamed around trying to figure out our options. When we finally got to boarding the train, freezing weather combined with cold wind hit us. Imagine that. We were all bundled up and kids were telling us their teeth were chattering. We couldn’t put them through that cold anymore. So we headed to Ikea. Yep, furniture store. 🙂

Once we went in, we saw that Ikea had kids drop-off. And of course, who wouldn’t like that. We checked kids in for an hour of play time and went window shopping at Ikea. It was totally unplanned but it worked out superb. Kids had fun, we got some alone time. ( I silently made a list of what to buy next 🙂 ). Dinner at Red-Robin and we headed back to hotel.

Next morning, after a lazy long breakfast, we headed out to the museum. Snow and ice on roads drove me crazy again but once we reached the museum I was better. I love love love museums.  I want to get lost in them reading about every item in there. But this trip was for kids. There was a planetarium here, my main wish for this trip. Last I was in planetarium was in Hyderabad when I was a kid and I love them. This was Abhi and Achu’s first trip. We watched Winter sky stars. It was amazing. We spent the whole day at the museum. This was such fun for kids. They also have kids play area, with white beach sand, water, caves etc.

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We then headed to the second fun event of the day. Watching a movie. We watched Moana. And this was the best movie I watched in a long time. I don’t know if it was the girl or the beach or the ocean or the sand or the songs. I loved loved loved the movie.

We spotted a Indian restaurant pretty close to the theater. Enjoyed a good dinner and made it safe back to the hotel. It was such a day, full of tension and as well fun. I was tired by the time we got to the hotel and hitting bed that time was a blessing. Of course, I stayed up late and watched a movie. 🙂

Next day was our trip back home. To make kiddos and Murali happy, we finally took that trip back to Portland downtown. This was also kiddos first train trip. (Firsts are a lot special to me. 🙂 ) Train ride was nice, Portland downtown so super slippery and freezing, that we headed back straight. Apparently there was a nice library but we couldn’t go see.

After that, it was a quite trip back home, away from the snow. We never made it to my favorite falls. It was frozen even more. So, may be some other time.

It was a tense trip for me, we definitely got lucky. I am not sure I would risk it again, but I am super glad we went on the trip. Its nice way to start the year.

Next month is a special month for us. I am hoping we could make another trip. Lets see. 🙂

This And That

  • For the last couple of days, its been crazy cold for us over here. As cold as, when face is the only thing not covered, it literally hurts my face to step out. Even two jackets, scarf, gloves and hat are not enough. But this week, especially today, I had to walk outside and it was so much better. I hope the freezing season is over now.
  • My work has been driving me crazy all over again. I know I have some decisions to make and questions to ask, but I can pull the courage to do it. I know I might repent not doing this, but for now, I am super scared of making my work-life balance any worse than it already is.
  • I have never been a fan of the movies, but ever since I had Abhi and Achu, watching movie in a theatre has been my go-to activity. And I can never find company. People I know are not interested in watching the Hollywood movies and Murali can’t make it because we can’t find time to go during day times. So, we go months without watching a movie and guess what happened this month. I watched four movies in theatre. Two with kids, One with Murali and another with a friend. I am not complaining at all, though. If some body would ask me for another movie or two, I would go. After all, it is my chance to set a record, right? 🙂
  • I have been driving Abhi and Achu crazy by talking to them in Telugu. Its getting difficult already and I think if I don’t do it now, it will never happen. They will never learn the language. For us, it’s too convenient to communicate in English, but sometimes I just feel mad to be not able to talk in Telugu. It’s not easy to just talk, because we are also trying to teach them things and saying those things in a language they don’t understand will not help them. But again, I am trying. I am trying my best to talk the full sentence in Telugu. I can see sometimes its driving kids crazy, because they don’t understand what I am saying, most of the times, they do though. Once we get used to it, I need to make them respond in Telugu too. Lets see how this goes. 🙂
  • Tomorrow is a very exciting day for me. I have been waiting ages for this now. Fingers crossed. Hope everything goes well and I will post pics soon. Yayy! Cant wait. 🙂

 

Little Things

Recently, we were trying to recollect what was that letter Abhi couldn’t pronounce when he started to talk. One was R, he couldnt say that. Other one, I cant remember what it is, but for the longest time he would substitute some letter and make it so funny for us. Too bad, I didn’t write it down. Like I have always felt, I should go around these guys with a recorder.

***

I was turning on light somewhere in the house, by mistake, I hit it too fast, so it went on, off and on again.

Achu comes to me, in the most serious tone ever: “You know you are a grown-up. Dont play with the light switch”.

***

Abhi was doing something funny and silly. As the doting mom, I asked him to do it again, so that I can record it. He replies,

“I hate to disappoint you amma, but I have far more speeching to do”.

I don’t know what speeching it was.

***

Achu sums up her day.

“Another day I have seen with Abhi and Achu the queen”.

***

Abhi was crying for something. These days, I assign one kid to help the other. What is the point of having two kids, otherwise? 🙂

Achu goes, “Abhi, if you want my help, stop crying and put a smile on your face”

I swear, she didn’t get this from me.

***

Abhi sneezes, looks around,

“Is anybody going to say bless you?”

***

And the most important discussion of my life with Abhi on the potty seat.

Me: “Are you done Abhi?”

Abhi: “No I have to go poopy. I am trying so hard. But it’s not coming out.”

Me: “You dont have to tell me all that Abhi”

Abhi: “But I just want you to know Amma.”

I start laughing at this very important point that I was supposed to know.

Abhi: “Amma, stop. If you laugh like that, I think you are laughing at my bladder.”

I couldn’t stop laughing.

Abhi (with the most serious face): “Amma, If you laugh like that, I think you are laughing at my potty tricks….bathroom tricks”

I had to turn around and not see him for a minute. I couldn’t stop laughing at his bathroom tricks.

***

Now, Achu in bathroom. I am no where near her and I hear her counting.

“One. Out”, “Two… Out”, “Common three”.

When she came out, I decided not to ask her. I didn’t want to know. But kids tell you important stuff anyway.

“Amma, I did three poopies in the potty today”.

Like I said, I didn’t want to know that.

 

Books 2016

I am not done summing up the last year. And I checked, we all have until Jan 31st to write last year posts. So here is my not-so-impressive reading summary of 2016.

So, the goal was 12 books in the year. And I read, drum roll please, only eight. Yes, expectations not met. But no surprise there, I am sure. However, what was weird about this reading was that out of those 8 books I read, I read 3 in the first month and 2 in the last month. Rest of the year I went completing 2 books, and attempting to read and throwing away 3 more. (I can’t count the books I attempted to read, can I? )

Year was off to a good start. I didn’t read the MazeRunner first book, but having watched the movie, I read the second installment, Scorch Trails”. It was okay. Didn’t really blow my mind away. But I can live with reading that one. What I have deep problems with is the third book, “Death Cure”, a complete waste of time. I think the author only wanted to create some sensation with that kind of ending, but I read that book waiting for something to happen and ended up completely disappointed. I remember closing the book and thinking, “Is this it? Really? Noooooo”. Why do authors think they can write anything Zombie related and it will sell? Sigh! Well, if you read a lot of books, you can live with reading one bad book. But like me, when you can make time only for few books, you would certainly want to make it count. Too late anyway, total disappointment, this one was.

Next one I picked after very careful amazon reviews only to say “meh!”, was “Wool”. I still didn’t understand why the name of the book was wool. Really didn’t. This book, at least, was set in dystopian times, so that was interesting. But I honestly expected a lot more based on the reviews.

Every time I read a book, I have a goal. To see, if the book title will go in my loft. I turned our loft into reading room. I have a comfy couch, a bookshelf and these canvas pictures I made of books I love (or are classics). And to fill the next wall, I need more books that I love. I am looking for four titles for my next project. So far, I had “Little Women” and “Jurassic Park”. And two books last year, made it to the list. One was “To Kill A Mocking Bird”. Oh! my, Why have I waited this long to read this book? So far, Little Women and Mocking Bird are the only two books, I would love to read again. Knowing about the story, I thought it would all about violence (which I can’t really read) and this was nothing like that. I cant wait to go back and read this book. I wished Abhi and Achu will be like Jem and Scout. 🙂

Having had some bad luck, I went with known to be hits next, “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy” and “Anne Of Green Gables”. Both made me happy. Anne was my fourth title for the canvas.  🙂

And the last two from my December reads, were flops again. I picked both these books from the library Choice Reads section but they failed to impress me. This one, “The End Of Eternity”, was supposed to be a time travel classic and it was nothing like that to me. I expected a lot more from this classic. Honestly, this guy, the hero of the book, goes to extremes, just like that. This page, he hates this woman (and everybody) and next page, he will do anything for her. I couldn’t even sympathise with him and was hoping he would fail 🙂 . And all that drama later, it takes the woman just some little chat to convince him to do against his wishes. What! The technology was certainly geeky. But there was no other story to like.

The last one, Invisible Library series, “Masked City”. Maybe it was my mistake I started with the second one in the series, I didn’t love it, but didnt hate it either. It was certainly an easy read. This was definitely better than the time travel classic, to me. 🙂

“Little House on Prairie”, “Atlantis Gene” and “Anne of Island” were the unfinished books. Mostly because I was too distracted to read. I swear I started to read GOT book 2, at least three times, before giving up. I just don’t want to read it or watch it. No matter how much people like it. It’s too barbaric. Maybe some day.

The last one I couldn’t read was Dune. Another classic,  and this, I can see why. I had to return the book last year, but this year, I remembered to go make it my first book. I am reading it now and loving it. That’s what a good book will do to you. It will stay in your mind and will make you read it.

So, here is hoping my reading will be better this year. I promised to read variety and I don’t think I can afford to do that. With few books I get to, I want them all to be super good. 🙂

 

Word Of The Year

Last week, I was reading Melinda Gates’s Facebook post about the word of the year. Her word for last year was “gentle”. I know I have a lot of new year resolutions and I hope I will see them come true this year, but this idea sounded great to me. After all, there is definitely one thing more important the rest. And while we are particular about making resolutions happen, keeping one word in the back of your mind, every day of the year, will be, I think, more efficient.

So I started thinking about mine. My choice was quite obvious. But I went through a couple more in my head. Kindness : I know lot of people around can adopt kindness, especially these days, but I think I am okay at this. Other than being strict with kids and those I need to be with, I am okay with being kind to strangers. Not that I always can, but I try to look for ways to help people. You know the roads I drive everyday, we are stuck in back to back traffic, pretty much every time. And sometimes we have these cars trying to cross the road and no one stops to let them cross (kind of like pedestrians trying to cross the road, and no one stops). Almost every time I am driving on the road, I watch for these vehicles and let them go. That might sound like the silliest thing, but I feel so good when I help some random stranger this way. Such is the state here. I am not sure I have the network here to help people as much I once did (Being o-ve blood donor and convincing my parents to go donate blood for stranger was a courageous act, and was frowned upon, back then 🙂 ). So whatever I can help with I go for it.

Christmas time, our offices hold a giving tree, where strangers in need ask for things they want. Maybe this is a thing now, every where, I don’t know. These cards have one wish list item written on them. Every year, I wait for the tree to go up. I usually pick some kids’ request, since I feel close to that. This year, I bought three different gifts for kids; two were toy sets, the last one my favorite, a six-year old little gal asked for hair clips. So I bought hair clips for her. Almost 60 of them. How cute was that. I honestly wished I could find the little gal and give her the clips myself. So I am okay in that department. Although there is a lot you could do, but as long as you want to be kind to others, you are good.

(I know I didn’t have to write all that, but it’s always important to stress and spread the message “BE KIND”. 🙂 )

Okay, so what else? Kids? Happiness? Health? All important. All necessary. All on my wish list. But I felt there are two things that connect all of this and influence me a lot. Mindfulness. Living in the moment. I know I had this problem for a long time. Remembering bad more than good. I look back at my relationship with my parents, all that I see is the last few bad years than the wonderful 24 years I lived and loved with them. Why is that?  A lot of good happened in the last year, I remember the bad, the most. Problem is not only remembering this way, I live every moment with the bad. I go over the same in my head, over and over again. If it’s not the bad of the past, its the worry about the future.

The day before I was reading a book at night-time, of course thinking of worries of my work, what I am going to say the meeting next day, etc., etc. – all reading the same lines of the book again and again and again. This goes on most of the times. When I am driving, cooking, cleaning, sometimes even when with kids.  Sunday nights are the worst. Worrying already about the next day. Three weeks of my winter break, I worried about it ending every day.

Do you see the problem? I spoil even my good times with worries of past and future.

I know there are a lot of things to fix with my life, but if I could not worry about the future and let go of the past and just take a moment as it is, as it comes, wouldn’t I be better? Wouldn’t I give quality time for kids? Be better at sleeping and healthy? And ultimately happy with no matter what tomorrow is going to bring?

Its pretty clear that this should be my word of the year “Mindfulness”. The need is clear. How to do it, isn’t yet. I know I distract myself from having free time by doing some DIY projects. Music helps. Reading time and in bed, I get distracted the most. Driving time too. Dangerous, I know. 🙂

I watched some helpful TED talks last year, I wish to go back and read more and help myself. I have no absolute control over what this year is going to bring, but I should have control over what is going on in my head right now.

Here is the link from the article I read , if you are interested.

http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/inspiration-motivation/melinda-gates-new-year-tradition

If you have one word, let me know. 🙂

End Of Winter Break

It’s done. Three weeks of freedom from back to back routine is over now. I am definitely sad its over, but I am also glad it was a good and productive one. Every time I have one of these breaks, I vow that I am going to make it awesome but of course, things wont go as planned.

First week, was the best and most productive of the three. Kids were in school, Murali at work and I had the house and day time to myself. Monday morning, I dropped off kids and did the silent hurray in car. “ITS MY VACATION TIME”. 😀 😀

I made a OneNote list. Ton of things to be done. I kept adding to the list almost every day and then checking things off the list is the most fun part. I also had time to shop for stuff in no hurry. Because I had time, I just walked through the aisles even though I wasn’t going to buy anything from there. Especially, in Home Depot; Imagining all my future projects, which kind of need ame to be a carpenter or plumber or electrician. But, hey, its my vacation time. I can imagine anything I want. 🙂

First proud thing to be ( and yet the most simple one) was making my healthy breakfast and having it. I was so proud that I even took a picture. Little things, right? 🙂

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I paid bills, made phone calls, took care of reimbursements; One of the days, I went in and got an awesome hair cut. I have always wanted to try bangs. And this lady at the place was so nice and she asked me if I wanted to try it. I said, why not? Its all in the mindset, right! And I loved it. I think I am going to always get it and maybe a little shorter next time. 🙂

House projects also made great progress. I installed a new coat hanger in the laundry room. It looks simple now, but boy was I worried about it. But I am super happy at how this turned out. I still need to pester Achu to hang her stuff here, but Abhi even gets his socks to hang on the hooks. 🙂

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Our kitchen will be soon undergoing an upgrade. I have been waiting for this for almost two years now. Finally, its time. I did a minor upgrade and changed all the cabinet handles to nice looking pulls instead of knobs. I messed up few, but finally managed it, somehow. Even if it’s a little thing, I am so happy about having these new handles.

Most time-consuming project probably was the bookshelf redo. What a good time I had painting it. This time, because of freezing cold weather, I decided to paint it inside. In the living room. As a staycation ritual, I have to watch Harry potter. And I painted the shelf while watching the movies. I wish I could do more projects while watching HP. It was so awesome. 🙂

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Can you believe all of that was just first week? But then, things changed. Achu came home sick on Friday and when their winter break began, she got me and Abhi sick as well. So for the whole of next week, nothing much happened. Except for us running out of tissue boxes wiping our noses. Fevers, cold, cough and tiredness ran their course. I still managed to take them for carousel ride and lunches. Playing in the backyard and snow, all bundled up. (I can never be sure if they are warm enough).

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Another snow day. 🙂

 

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Projects with nanna.

Recovery took for ever and Murali took break a day early to help us out. The final week of the break, we took some short trips. Good old Snoqualmie Falls and a Seward Park. It was FREEZING COLD. I am not kidding.

 

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There was only one little project I did after that. Putting up some decor in kids play room. I had a list of funny things Abhi and Achu talked non-stop. Like Achu saying “Okay, Amma. I double promise. I wont do it again”, in response any complaints of mine. Abhi always asking “What do slugs eat?” Achu’s non-stop request for, “Amma, Can you tell me the story of Achu sleeping in the crib and Curious George coming in?”. Oh! We surely told them a lot of stories then. I miss those days. Anyway, my plan was to make canvas with those sayings. I only got two done in the last one year. 🙂 And now they are finally hanging here.

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Almost close to new years day, I finished two books. Liked neither of them, though.  I almost went into depression mode, thinking of the routine and exhaustion that’s going to hit me in a day. To my surprise, at around 11:30 PM on December 31st, I realized Jan 2nd was a day off for us. So, one day late to work. 🙂 And guess what? Kids had school. So on Monday, instead of being sad, Kids went to school and Murali and I had a leisure day watching movie in a theatre and eating out. We also went to P’s house.

Our new year day was going rather quiet. During the break, we watched a record number of TV. Kids watch one movie a day, and I watched quite a few as well. On the new years day, we went to L’s house. We have this kind of tradition to have the three kids cut the cake. This time a little cutie joined their family and I had to see all four kids cut the cake. And so we went there, when L proposed we go watch a movie with kids. It was going to be Abhi and Achu’s first movie in theatre. I was a bit scared, but it went so smooth and I was so relieved and happy. New years day ended on a happy note with the movie experience, all four cuties cutting cake and heading back home leisurely to another day off.

Of course, all good things must come to an end and it did. I can’t wait for the next break though. I think I am already planning for it. 😀