Changes

I need to write this post today. I needed to write it actually for several days now. First it was the back to work worries, then the personal life gloom looming over my head for quite some time. Weeks or months or years, I cant tell. But finally today is making me write this post.

I did something in the morning today. I said something out aloud. For the first time probably, I am not sure. Said it in front of kids. While tears came pouring out for the next few mins, I realized I felt so much better. Not sure what the next few years have in store for me, but just saying it out aloud just felt good because I think I may be one step closer to what I was thinking about. Something I have been thinking about for some time now. Its also my nightmare scenario, weird I am looking forward to my nightmare scenario. In a way, I need to, because the alternative sucks even more. Much much more. And that alternative is not what I want for my short short life.

So while I was crying, I was holding Abhi and he immediately stated crying too. Poor thing. He must have been so scared. I said sorry to him and cryingly he replies, “Its okay Amma”. And hugged me. Achu came upstairs to see what was happening. Adorably she was checking on Abhi first. Interestingly, Abhi and I, both were trying to hide tears from her. Dont know why. Before we came in, we both wiped our tears and were just hugging. “It’s okay”, she told me as well.

We were heading downstairs later, getting ready for school, and Abhi’s underwear was outside the bathroom. Achu asks him, “Abhi, Do you want me to put your underwear in the laundry box for you?”

Abhi replies, “Yes. Thank you Achu.”

Without anybody asking, she thought she should help him, because he was upset. How kind she is. And Abhi was doing the same to me. What sweet children I have. They are my weakness, because I worry about their future; But they are also my strength, because I know what they deserve.

And you know what I noticed after kids left. Instead of bawling my eyes out again, I was looking outside. It was raining and it was beautiful. For few minutes, I saw how beautiful it was. While driving to work, I saw an ambulance outside one of the offices and thought, oh! somebody is having a worse day than I am. I saw pics of wild fire destroyed homes in California and felt bad for them. At least, for now, I have a roof on my head. I dont know where these changes in me came from. I guess that is one of learnings life taught me. Earlier, I would be so depressed about what is happening, but today I finally feel I accepted it and am at peace. May be tomorrow I will feel different about future, but if today was an example, I think I will get to my peace, slowly.

Anyway, here is my cheer-up ending. We came back from a trip to Hawaii, said bye-bye to our summer decorations and bought the Halloween stuff out. Surprisingly, I am least interested in buying new decor now. I didn’t even do any furniture paintings this year. Just lost interest. Kids, however, still love these things and I think we will head to the store this weekend to buy more.

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And then, Welcome Halloween.

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Precious Days

As my two month long vacation comes to an end, the thing that I loved most is that I got to spend quality time with kids. That was one of my goals and am so glad I got to do it. (It seems like we all parents should spend quality time with kids every day, not just on vacations, but sadly such is not the case πŸ˜”). 

When kids were still in preschool, I had them stay with me for two days a week. We got to go out on hikes, read books, play and etc. Once the school closed, I had them staying home with me and these couple of days, with just three of us alone, are the most precious days, I think. 

Surely it was more work but I felt so good about it. It is easily one of the best times I had with kids. 

I didn’t set a daily routine for them, but what I had was couple of things that needed to be done every day. Like reading and doing work books. Kids loved to do it and I loved doing it with them. So in the secret hideout we assigned for this work, we spent some time every day. I so love teaching kids something new. We did crazy math problems, learnt about money and just about read a hundred books. It’s so precious to watch them read too. Watching your kid read is easily one of the most memorable milestones. It is just so awesome. 

One of the other things I loved about these days is that, Abhi and Achu came back to their usual sweet playing together mode. At least, at this age they are great playing with each other. They invent a ton of pretend games, use pillows and blankets to make forts, and also build silly machines that build silly things. Together, they color, cut paper and use glue like there is no tomorrow. Even at bed time, they talk non-stop about everything until I go yell at them. Their free time play plans are never ending. Never. 😊 And I am so glad it’s that way. It’s amazing to see your kids get along and play with each other. I sure hope it will stay this way forever. 

Next thing we did together was go to parks. And this is what bummed me out big time. We never took kids to parks as much as I did now. I mean we did a bit, but you know we could have done it so much more. But we didn’t. It took me a vacation to figure this simple thing out. Really. During these couple of days, I took kids to park almost twice every day. There were days when the weather was better, we played, came home to eat and went back to play. I also discovered new parks around and they are so good and important for kids play. I always worried kids are behind on their motor skills, never occurred to me that we should have taken them out more. Rain or shine. 


With cold weather coming, we essentially shut ourselves inside home, and only head out on few planned trips. I need to break it this time. We need to head out more. 

With time and energy on my hands, I gave them healthy food. Made sure they got their proper servings of fruits, veggies and dairy. Fed them carefully. Made them extra snacks. Took them on small walks as well. Planned a day out with them and spent 3 hours watching them play. Helped Achu get better at her scooter rides. Took them to eat out; Even played hide and seek with them in a store.πŸ˜ƒ I even reduced their tv time to one hour and made a new no ask policy. The rule is still working great. πŸ˜ƒ



Truly gave them my best and treated them the best. Didn’t get to yelling or hurrying them over anything. Sometimes it’s great when you don’t have to go somewhere and can just follow kids. I had those wonderful days with them. I will always cherish these precious days. Where they were my number one priority and I had nothing else to attend to. 

Soon all this is going to change. I will have so many other things to worry about and kids will be just another thing. It’s truly sad to see that as a parent I don’t have the freedom to choose what I want to do and spend more quality time with kids. Instead I have to bow to rules and obligations and lose what should be precious moments. I hope I will do better than how it was when I was working previously. I can only hope and pray. 

Little Things

It’s been ages I wrote anything about what Abhi and Achu say these days. When they were three or four, it was all about the funny things they used to say, but these days it’s more than that. They still say funny things and make me laugh so much, but as they grow up, I also find the kind things they do amaze me. 

And thanks to my break from the bloody mechanical life, I got back to writing some down so I could finally remember and blog them. 

*** 

One of the funnier things kids do these days is talk to their brain. Like they poke their brain and say “Brain, why are you thinking about zombies right now?”  That was Abhi. 

“Brain… stop thinking about legoland”.  Achu can’t stop thinking about it. 

It’s funny that from these conversations, I realize they are correlating stuff. Like we are talking about some food and Abhi says, ” brain why are you remembering my friend now. Oh. Maybe because we ate this food last time at their house.” 😊

***

Abhi found an old pen.

“This pen is so old. We should throw it to a grasshopper to roll on” 

I laughed but didn’t ask why a grasshopper will like that. 😊

***

Abhi builds a lego scanner. He build a thermometer once too. This one, though, is a price scanner. He scans my phone and goes, ” your phone is $40 Amma”. There you go. If you want a brand new iPhone, Abhi is selling it for super cheap. 

Then, he scans Achu and goes, 

“Achu, you are $100. You are so expensive no one is going to buy you”. 

Achu is very happy. “Yayy!!! I can stay home forever”

“But Achu, you will be living in Costco, not here”.

Achu was more happier about living in Costco than at home. 

***

Kids go to kindergarten now and come back with new sentences. Abhi goes, “We should always have a positive attitude “. And when I ask him what attitude means, he admits he doesn’t know and asks himself “Abhi, why do u say stuff that you don’t know about?”

***

I ask Achu to stop swishing saliva in her mouth and she tells me, ” But Amma, I am building a swimming pool for bacteria in my mouth”.

***

When we drive short distances, I let kids sit in the back without getting buckled up. Sometimes they sit in between the front seats, facing the back of the car. Abhi and Achu pretend they are back cameras to my car. “Beep beep, Amma keep driving. No trees on road”. 

***

And now probably the most lovable things they say is when they are being kind. One of the last days, we were in hurry, I was tensed. I ask Achu what breakfast she wants and she asks for just milk and tells me, “I am going easy on you by asking for easy breakfast Amma”. 

Anything like me saying ouch or having something go wrong with what I was doing will be followed by an, ” are you okay, Amma?” in the sweetest tones. 

Achu comes and rubs gently on my shoulders or hair when I was frustrated.I noticed this today that whenever I get close to Abhi’s face, he automatically shows me his cheeks because he thinks I am going to kiss him. I sooo love that. πŸ˜ƒ

They also keep reminding each other of things I have asked them to do. Like if I asked them to try eat without making a mess, as soon as the second one makes that mistake, other one goes, “remember what Amma said?”

Last week I pretended to be unconscious to see what they do (I also wanted to teach them what to do in such cases). Since this was the first time, they both were a bit shocked. Abhi was really close to my face, touching my face, trying to wake me up. Achu was also trying to wake me up. They were so sad for a minute that I had a give up my act. 

Finally, when I start smiling a bit, Achu goes, “she is up. Let’s go play Abhi”. Not wasting a minute πŸ˜ƒ.

Sometimes when I am mad about something, they decide to cheer me up by cleaning. They take tiny paper towels t the living room and start cleaning all the furniture. 

Recently, they watched a scary Halloween show and Abhi started not going anywhere alone. Achu too, at some level. So they help each other get stuff they want from other rooms, going together. 😊

They drive me crazy a zillion times everyday, but sometimes they shower me with these acts and I love them so much. It’s such a blessing to see these young kids being kind and compassionate. Isn’t it? 😊 

KindergartensΒ 

I ask myself this question a zillion times – where did the last five years go? Because I still think of Abhi and Achu in diapers, and here they are going to kindergarten. My babies are already kindergarteners and I couldn’t be more amazed. 

Last week was the first week. I was going to manage all the changes all by myself and I was so damn scared.  Abhi and Achu aren’t exactly excited about changes. Especially seeing the last two years, they cried for months going to their new schools. It was so hard for them to get used to the new school and surroundings. And naturally harder for us too. 

So this time I was more scared than they probably were. Especially with the schedule changes. They would go to a public school. They need to leave house by 8 in the morning. I need to pack snacks, lunches, after snacks etc. I was super worried they would cry and cling to me. Plus I was pretty much sleepless myself the whole two weeks before. 

So I just left what happens to fate and did what I could. Gave up on my sleep, and focused on preparing kids. I read books, talked about them endlessly. I talked so much that at one point, when I was talking about morning routine, Abhi finishes what I was going to say with “For the love of God, don’t cry tomorrow and be safe”. I laughed out loud. Looks like he got  the message. 

Few days earlier, we found out that kids we know are in Achu’s class. I was relieved to hear that. At least she might be in better shape. Abhi didn’t have anybody he knew, but I tried not to think about that. 

The first day finally arrived. Needless to say, the night before I didn’t sleep a bit. I woke up, made meals ready, breakfast too, woke them up and got ready and walked to school. They met their friend and we took some pictures. Kids were having fun, excited about the sorroundings. I was silently praying they would go without crying. And they did. πŸ˜ƒ

Such an accomplishment if you ask me. To not see those hurt and scared faces in the morning is a blessing. We have seen how bad it can be and it breaks my heart to imagine what goes on in their head. How scared they must be.

Anyway, luckily this year so far has been better. Achu was teary a day or two. Luckily her friend helped. She already made a friend or two. And thanks to me, kids have been playing at the park almost every other day with their new friends from class and it’s so nice to see them make new friends. 

All is going well so far. I am still trying to get used to the morning schedule. Of course, real trouble will begin when I start work. Now I am making all time and energy to give them the best experience. When I start work, they will be out of house 8 – 6 PM. I can’t imagine having them out for so long. πŸ˜”

Future worries aside, I am so proud of my kindergarteners. They are already so full of new wisdom. Things they say and do. They already look smart. I have been watching their work come home and although it’s all stuff they already know, I just love seeing them learn and display their work proudly. 

Hope this year will be truly better and we have happy days ahead. We have a big trip this week and we are making kids miss school for a week. Now I just need for this schedule to not get jinxed and continue to have non crying kids when we come back. It is so important for my mental peace and theirs too.  πŸ˜Š

Into Phase 2

Okay. Phase 1 of my vacation is done. That was all of August. And I have to say it was awesome. I managed to do a little of everything. My parents were here so I spent some time with them. I had kids with me few days a week so I took them out as well. Finally the long awaited dream of taking time for myself too. I went shopping, managed a ton of chores, read two books, went hiking etc etc. πŸ˜ƒ

I have to say it was weird having free time. Especially the last week of August, right before my parents left, for some reason I didn’t plan the whole week so reading a book in bed was my go to activity. It was hot otherwise I would have gone for a walk, again. πŸ˜ƒ I had to also tell myself that I don’t have to feel guilty about just reading in bed. Otherwise I was thinking that my vacation days need to be full of activities. This lazy reading was one too. I still do think it was a luxury and I am so glad I had time for that and enjoyed it. 

Last week of August also brought a rare and historic event to us. The solar eclipse. I didn’t realize how much I wanted to see it until it was here but then it was too late. We didn’t even prepare well so I was thoroughly disappointed that day. But I have to say if totality is happening anywhere close to you don’t miss it because we had 90% eclipse and that itself was amazing. It’s nothing like watching on Tv. Even where we were the day looked so different like somebody dimmed the lights down. It wasn’t like dusk at all. Very different and amazing. We caught the shadows here. 


We did a very very quite vinayaka chavithi pooja at home this time and I am not happy at all. So next Monday, I decided I will do my own pooja and celebrate it again. 😊

Kiddos finished their preschool officially and will be kindergarteners next Monday. I am super excited and super scared. If it’s going to by anything like last two years, I have a scary ride in front of me. πŸ˜” We will see how that goes.

Then we said goodbye to Tatha and Pati. It was hard but nothing I could do. 

See, this is why we go to airports 😊. 


And that was the end of phase 1. 

And now into phase 2, kids are with me full time. Murali left a few days later on a two week business trip to London and Paris. He won’t be back until mid September. Unfortunately I lost all the help at once. Having kids full time at home is very weird.  Ask me what I have done for the last week and half. I can’t tell you. Only that I was super busy, but I didn’t get anything done like I did in August. My checklist keeps growing and nothing gets done. And still I am super busy. 

Here we are, playing hide and seek in a store. πŸ˜ƒ


Add to that, regular kids watching, play dates, park trips, kindergarten school activities etc etc. Phew! There is so much pending. 

But I still feel good about spending this time with them. I know I have lot of busy work in front of me, still my head is free of work stress and thoughts and that itself is a blessing. 

Kiddos new school starts next week. I really really really hope this time transition is smoother. I saw Abhi crying in his sleep the other night about something, he was so worried and that was a clear reminder of how the days go when kids went to new schools last time. I soooo can’t see that worried faces again. This time, I hope they settle down faster and better. 

A Trip To Mt BakerΒ 

We live in a beautiful place, there is no doubt about it. There is so much nature around that will make us go awww over it. Serene lakes, majestic mountains – we have it all around us. But sometimes you go watch something so close and see it for real, not on TV, and it simply blows your mind away. This trip to Mt Baker, last week, was one such thing.

My parents leave in a week and before they left for India, we wanted to do one more weekend trip. Murali suggested  this place and I started planning our trip. However, thanks to the awesomely incorrect maps I looked at, I calculated the travel time wrong. So even though we set out to see the mountains and the places we picked for the trip, we were not sure if or when we will get there. 😊

So, that day, when I realized plan was uncertain, we had already entered into the national forest area of Mt Baker. Now, there was no option but go forward. It was too early to give up anyway.

Some confusions and tensions later, Murali takes an unplanned detour and we end up at this falls. I said this before, where we live, it’s possible to get lost and still end up seeing something beautiful. This Nooksack falls is one example.


This falls was so reachable from our detour and as expected, so beautiful. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, I have a thing for waterfalls. For example, I try to make most of my hikes around a waterfall.

Anyway, we had our pre packed lunch here and got back on the main road, still uncertain about the destination. Meanwhile we were all teasing Murali about the trip. Yeah, I was the planner but he was the driver, so he has to be responsible 😜. We all couldn’t stop comparing this with other mountains which were more accessible and declaring this mountain was not worth the trip.

So guess what happens next. Our expectations were super low. And we see the first glance of the mountain. Okay, may be we were mistaken. Maybe its beautiful. But still doubtful. And then we stop at this place and our moods and thoughts just went exactly the opposite way.

Picture Lake

I mean, look at this view. Can you beat it? Within two minutes we all declared the drive was worth it and Murali was exonerated. πŸ˜ƒ It was really really beautiful. On the little trial around, my dad continued his usual berry picking and tasting. My mom was continuing her usual criticism of dad berry picking; Abhi was collecting things left and right; And Achu was complaining about the 0.5 mile walk. Everything was going as expected. πŸ˜ƒ

Still, our next destination was unsure to me. My target destination was supposed to be one “Artist’s Point“, which I wasn’t sure was on the way if we continued. Thanks to a tip from some strangers, we continued and oh boy, was it worth it?

The uncertainty, anticipation and excitement about whether we will reach this place were so high that when we finally spotted the place, we all just started screaming in the car. Grown ups and kids alike. πŸ˜ƒ

And we also just loved the place. No doubt it was beautiful, but I think I loved it more because my dad was so impressed and that made me remember to not take things for granted. Even though we see these beautiful places often, they are still mind blowingly terrific.

Mt Baker in clouds.
Mt Baker in clouds.


Artist’s point, has views of two mountains. We assumed the mountain in Picture Lake was Mt Baker. Turned out it was Mt Shuskan. We hiked a bit and realized real Mt Baker was another even bigger mountain. Funnily, we cared more about the other peaks and have only one picture of the actual mountain πŸ˜†.

Another fun thing today was that, there was still some snow where we parked. So my dad and kids got to play in the snow. Murali and I focused on selfies; Abhi also on climbing every rock he saw. He was particularly over active that day. Even my mom enjoyed the hike a bit. A perfect family picture also come out of this trip, and that’s a bonus. πŸ˜ƒ

Surely this is a place we will revisit next year. This time with better planning and more time for hiking around. 😊

The Vacation … So far

Wow. I can’t believe I am already in the third week of my vacation. My dad reminded me that 1/4th of my vacation is already done and I didn’t like to hear that. As much as I am trying to enjoy these days, the feelings about going back to work at some time in the future are still hanging around. I can’t help it. 

So, coming to my vacation, BFF asked me in the first week itself to write all about my vacation days. She and I know how much I needed this, so when we write it down, I could go back and live it again. See, this is why you need best friends. They even think about feelings from your future days. πŸ˜ƒ

Anyway, my vacay so far is going great. You know the first day, I felt nothing like I was missing work . Even today, it just feels natural to me to stay home, like I have always done this. When you work continuously for some 13 years, you might notice that change, but not me. 😊 

So what do I do all day now? I have a todo list as always and I love checking things off the list. Surprisingly, I am making time for many things. First few days was more into cleaning; Getting things into a cleaner state. Packup toys and clothes for donation, clean the cars, closets etc. I watched “Wonder Woman” movie with Murali. My second time and still loved it. It’s an amazing movie. The same week, I went to my favorite outdoor activity hiking. We used to hike regularly before we had kids. This is now me getting back to it full time. I have hiked almost every week now. First week was a Rattle Snake ridge. I planned to hike alone this time but luckily I have a group now. 

Next week we went on a much harder hike – Tiger mountain. I was sore for three days after the hike. πŸ˜ƒ

What’s better? I am even talking kids on their first full hiking trips. I should do a separate post about that, so I can remember that better. 

One of my main goals was to spend more time with kids, take them out. Enjoy more of summer and also work on their reading skills. So every day, I try to make time to read more to them, and as well make them read. I have more time to pick and order interesting books. We were talking about tornadoes and I could find time now to go order  good books, pick them up and read to them. Help them understand more. It’s just so good to put my kids back in the priority list, instead of being in survival mode. 

I picked up on some of the home decoration projects. I picked up a book shelf for painting. It’s still going on. The day I finally hung these pictures, I felt so accomplished. πŸ˜ƒ Makes my bedroom wall more beautiful.


Add to this, ME is still my first priority. I go for a walk or yoga every day. Some days, both. I am staying active. My fitness monitor is buzzing everyday. Last week when I went on the hard hike, I clocked close to 20,000 steps. 

Oh! The best of all. I fulfilled one of  my bucket list items and got myself a tattoo. I started small not knowing how it would feel , but I love it now. Wish I went for a bigger one. This is definitely not going to be my last one. 😊


I am also doing good at reading books. I gave up on the popular series book “Magicians”. I didn’t like it. Story was great but the narration was too passive. I read this mystery novel and finished it in two days. I picked up a classic now. Let’s see how that goes. 


One of things I wish would improve is my sleeping. It hasn’t gotten any better. I still sleep late, despite waking up early. My leg pains are at one of their worst times. I am considering trying acupuncture now. 

My days are certainly better now. I haven’t felt sick or exhausted in the last couple of days.  I have company at home, food available, that’s great too. End of this month will start bringing lots of changes. First my parents will leave, then Murali on his 2 week trip out of the country, kids will be with me full time and my top worry thing, they will start new school in September. I am not looking forward to any of these changes. I can only hope to stay positive and enjoy these days as well.