Little Things

Abhi brings back his lunch box home, almost full, again.

Me: “Abhi, you didn’t finish your lunch again!!!”

Abhi: “Amma, You know what you need to do. Stop Worrying”.

(I just went wow when he told me to stop worrying. Couldn’t believe he said that. 🙂 )

***

Abhi: “Amma, you know what? If you add susu to pee, you get soup”.

Introduction of additions, subtractions and spelling to the little guy’s already crazy imagination is what caused this, I believe. Sorry if we ruined soup for you. 🙂

***

We just got a new toy for Abhi and Achu. Its a cashiers register. With a calculator, scanner, coins and all. So kiddos are playing shopkeeper and customer. Achu is the shop keeper. Abhi comes in.

Abhi: “Hello shopkeeper. Do you have StormTropper socks and DarthVader socks?”

Achu: “Sure. Here they are. Its $10”

Abhi: “No. My son said they are $3”.

Achu: “No. $10”

Abhi: “$3”

Achu: “$10”

Abhi: “Okay. $10. I can still have it. Its okay”.

I think Achu will make a good shopkeeper but more importantly, who is Abhi’s son?

***

Moana songs are the latest crazy in our house. We are signing them everywhere, pretending to be Maui or listening to them in the car. One of the songs goes, “I am happy as a clam because I am beautiful…. I would rather by shiny… “

Abhi and Achu are singing few words here and there, talking about the song.

Suddenly Achu goes, “You don’t have to be shiny to be happy Abhi.” and goes on to tell Abhi how its more important to be brave and strong.

I think all my lectures about beauty being less important is getting to her. Of course, she still makes sure she sets her hair after she removes her hat. That’s there too. 🙂

***

According to the unwritten yet binding contract between us, Murali is supposed to drop kids off in the morning and I am supposed to pick them up.

And one day, I broke the contract. I sent Murali to pick them up. As expected, as kids came home, Abhi objected to it.

Abhi: “Amma, you were supposed to come pick us up. You didn’t come. Nanna came”.

He started to cry and throw a fit when Achu interferes.

Achu: “Why are you crying now Abhi? You are already home, right?”

That’s the solid use of logic I have ever seen my kid exhibit. 😀

 

Fall 2016

Fall has come and gone. Well, a year has come and gone. Having kids and being busy means that time flies so fast, you have no idea whats happening. I know everyone says this, but unless you experience this, you don’t know how fast it is. 🙂

Anyway, so I am trying to save whatever is left of my memories for the last Fall. We were going through some pretty rough stuff again. But then we still managed to stay a bit happy and keep kids happy. Picture heavy post ahead. 🙂

Fall always starts with two events. Vinayaka Chavithi and new school year. We had just received some pretty bad news but we chose to forget that and have a good chavithi. Back to school as expected was crazy.

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This was the first time I had a better celebration of an Indian festival. Friends came over for dinner and kids got mehendi. Abhi got something car or star thing and Achu went for butterfly. This was a fun night.

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Weather got cooler and beautiful. Kiddos kept up with some of the outdoor activities. Did you see how serene it was? 🙂

Fall’s official starting trip. Our first corn maze. Pumpkin patch and hayrides.

 And then began Halloween Shopping. Our most favorite. Shopping almost every week, buying and decorating, talking about costumes. All the fun stuff.

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Compared to last years, we had plenty of decorations this year. But still not enough. 🙂

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We tried out Star Wars Rey and Poe costumes, but the quality was so poor that we had to switch to something else. Here presenting our Little Witch and Storm Trooper. 🙂

We went trick or treating at the town center, our office and then home. All in one day. We also took kiddos on their first haunted garage. They didn’t like it much. 🙂 And of course, face paintings. 🙂

One other small walking trip to a near by Tolt McDonald Park. We were there for kiddos birthday. It was a cold day but refreshing. Kiddos did some pretend excavations, we took some silly pictures. Nice one.

This one was a Sunday night trip to the nearby Mexican restaurant which is basically a quick dinner for kiddos and margaritas for us. See a Mango Margarita at the table. That was mine. And it was yummy. Put me in such relaxing mood, making me smile and forget all the crap that was going on back then. I remember we all came back home shouting and screaming in the car, just for fun and letting it go. 🙂

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And finally ending it with the SatyaNarayana Swamy Pooja at home. All by ourselves. Something I liked again. Thanking him for getting us through tough times. 🙂

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Our Little Readers – I

One of my favorite things from last year is Abhi and Achu picking up reading. I love to see them read books on their own. They sound so cute when trying new words. The interest, focus and the effort – Its just amazing to watch kids read. Since its our favorite thing to watch, I spend more time with them reading than anything else. If we find time, we say, let’s go read BOB books.

But this video began before they could actually read. Murali bought this book “Apple Tree Farm” that came with an audio CD as well. We read the little stories with kids so many times and heard the audio version for so long that kids were able to repeat the story by heart. Thats why I love this video so much. This was a glimpse of the kids reading all by themselves. This audio disc was also one of the few discs we took with us on our San Diego trip. Whenever I think of this video and the audio, I remember out trip. 🙂

I found other videos of Achu reading earlier too. I think she was two and half years old and was just flipping the pages and reciting the whole story. I can hear all the lines. It’s the cutest thing seeing her wearing nothing but a diaper and shirt, reading on the bed. 🙂

Even that other time when she couldn’t remember all the lines, but she was flipping pages of Beauty and the Beast, turning one of the pages, she goes, “Journey went badly”. I cant forget this little moment and her voice. 🙂

So here is Achu reading one of the Apple Tree Farm stories with us. This was bed time too. I was supposed to read this to her. Only I found her reading so well, I started recording. 🙂 She even imitates the australian accent of the narrator in the audio disc.

Cookie Drama

I found this today sitting in my drafts. Not sure why I never published it. It sure is nice to be reminded of these little things. 🙂 This was I think when Abhi and Achu were just over an year old. Achu was such a naughty gal then. She is now, most of the times, sweet and kind. 🙂

The time I spent with Abhi and Achu in that last apartment is my most favorite. So, even though this is old, I think its time to publish this now. 🙂

***

Abhi and Achu asked for demanded ‘Cookie…Cookie..Cookie’ seeing them (For some reason, they think saying it more than once is effective) and they got it. While they were nibbling, I asked Achu,  ‘Achu, wont you share it with Amma?’ (I asked her first because I knew she wouldn’t). Achu doesn’t respond. Gives me weird looks. I ask again. Then, she pretends to look away. 🙂 Meanwhile, Abhi comes to me smiling and even without me asking him, tries to stuff the cookie piece in my mouth. He really wanted me to eat, so he was pushing the piece into my mouth. I went ‘Awww’ and told him how nice he was. I asked Achu again and she hasn’t changed her mind yet. Weird looks from her continued 🙂

I took out the phone to shoot a video of Abhi feeding me because he cutely kept coming back to me. As soon as the phone was on recording, Achu jumps in front of me to feed me. See, for showing-off she will share her cookie with me. Anyway, she changed her mind and gave me a tiny piece of cookie to eat. Later when Murali came home, they had cookie again and fed Nanna without he even asking them. 🙂

The Kitchen Dream

Last week saw one of my top dreams come true. Well, at least a part of it. 🙂  And that was to own a white kitchen. I have always loved a modern, white cottage style kitchen. And when we moved in to his house almost three years ago, we loved the floor plan, location, space, all of it. Kitchen was not particularly old, but it wasn’t my dream kitchen either.

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So, as soon as we moved in, I wanted to upgrade it. Now, practically speaking I knew that meant a year at least. Also I knew we would start with replacing the countertops, and leave the cabinets and appliance the way they are now. They are in good shape now and given that we still have two four-year-olds in the house, it make sense to let them have the chance of doing the kid destruction and then replace it all. 🙂

And I kept waiting. This or that reason, we kept putting it off. Until the debacle of year 2015. When I realized my dreams are coming to an end and I didn’t even get to live the tiniest of my dreams. I realized how I restrict myself from enjoying few things because I think something bad is going to happen and yet the baddest thing happens anyway. And again in 2016. I don’t know if I felt I deserved at least a part of my dream coming true now.

Things were set in motion, on my birthday, last year. Murali arranged for an in-house consultation, where a person comes home with sample stones etc, we discuss options and cost. In all the years, that was the first time we ever got close to getting my counter-tops upgraded.

And then three and half months later, TADA… Here presenting part 1 of my upgraded kitchen.

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I have always always always loved the marble look on the tiles. Marble look in itself is not recommended for kitchen because it’s a pain to maintain. Luckily for folks like me, we get the same look of stone in Quartz. And this is what we chose. We toured a couple of places along with kids to pick this stone. That was such fun ride to take kids along on. 🙂 They didnt like it, but I did.

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We also got a new sink to go with the set. Called a undermount sink. I now see why its popular. Its super easy to cleanup now.

Two things we changed in this kitchen before the counter tops. New handles on the cabinets which I installed during my winter break and the new tap. The tap story is essentially our life story. We didn’t choose to replace it originally. Our old one was good enough. But one day it started leaking. And Murali and I are so good at putting things off quoting “lack of time” that we didn’t replace the leak for over a year. One day, we just shopped for it; Bought one home; Installed it our self and then again, TADA. New look and I was left baffled with the question, why do we take so long to get few things done? Beats me.

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Installing this tap was another fun part. I actually wanted to install it over night and surprise Murali, but didn’t dare to. I thought I needed his help. Turns out I am better at fitting underneath that sink than Murali, so I ended up installing the tap myself. Such a proud moment when you do something you think you can’t do.

Installing the tap this time was  a breeze and now we are struggling with getting the pipes under the sink working. We only have one sink connected now. We are yet to figure out how to connect the other part. Oh! the fun ride of getting there. 🙂

Anyway, I love love love the tile. I honestly wish I never have to cook in this kitchen and can keep it clean. But yeah, that’s not possible. Having a white tile makes the stain more obvious, and like I read, its making me more conscious in keeping it clean. Hope that will continue.

I am practically dizzy with the excitement writing this post about my new upgrade (I also have a bit of fever this week. That’s another reason. 🙂 ) But I do love it. I just keep popping my head into the kitchen once in a while and smile. 🙂 I hope this happiness stays with me. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂