Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Make hay while the sun shines

I cant believe that the much awaited summer will be over in a matter of days. The nights have cooled down already and there's a nip in the air during the day as well. This year taking inspiration from several blogs I made a simple list of things to do during summer. A really simple fun list that intended to make the most of the blue skies, the warm sunshine, the bounty of summer fruit and vegetables and really long days. A, like a good husband agrees with me on most of the things, however thought that such a list kills spontaneity. It soon dawned upon him that with a toddler who is more than a handful, unless we plan things, things never happen. And a list was made.

Let me see how we fared.

Picnic lunch - Done
I LOVE picnics! My idea of a perfect summer day is to pack a picnic basket, find a spot in shade, under a big tree, preferably along a river or a lake and share food, laugh and have fun with friends and family. Lemon rice, tamarind rice, parathas, green chutney sandwiches, mom's special dry onion sabzi, salad, curds and fresh fruit are our picnic staples.
So we did several picnics and ate some delicious stuff. Pasta salad, grilled burgers and garlic bread, corn on the cob were memorable. We ate along the river Charles, on the monument grounds in DC, in the neighborhood parks and even in our apartment garden.

Nature walk - Done
S who started walking around her first birthday is a steady and confident walker these days. She loves to explore on her own and finds "treasures" such as pine cones, dried leaves, plastic wrappers and so on. If we arent looking, these treasures are promptly eaten. I know, eeks! So despite us needing to be super vigilant, we took S for a walk whenever we could. There's a lovely wooded area with a pond and a beach close to our place. We made several trips to the pond and had a great time as a family. S looks out for little bugs, leaves, flowers, birds and correctly tells when she spots or hears one. Then says "Hi! How are you?"A budding nature lover here!

Visit a zoo/animal petting farm - Done
We visited two zoos and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. S doesn't notice the big Zebra standing in front of her and notices a chewing gum wrapper lying in the dirt. It was frustrating then and hilarious now. :) But yeah, she warmed up later and loved looking at the different animals. Her favorites were the gorillas, lemurs, butterflies, goats and deers. She had a whale of time petting goats and feeding the deer. After a while she had fed those deers so much that one big fellow started running away. The sight of a toddler chasing a big deer trying to feed him was straight out of America's funniest videos. S also rode several kiddie rides for the first time and that too solo. We were proud of our little girl and also a bit sad. Of course at the growing up too soon part.

Visit an aquarium - Pending
Counting on summer's only remaining weekend to go visit the fishies! It'll be fun to see if S recognizes the different fish she knows, the octopus and her beloved seal.

Blow bubbles - Done
With a simple straw, a manual as well as a battery operated bubble gun. Such a fun activity for everyone. At one point S got bored of the bubbles, but all us grown up people just didnt want to stop. :)

Flying kites - Pending
Not sure if we can get this done. Dont know where we can buy cheap kites. :( Lame excuse I know. But we shall try!

Take pictures with the famous ducklings - Done
Dont know why I had this intense desire to get our pics with the bronze ducklings at Boston Commons. They are incredibly cute and there's a bit of history too. So while we are in Boston, like all good Bostonians, we will go and click pictures with the famous duck family. We happened to visit the Boston Commons park on Mother's Day which happened to be the Ducklings' Day (not making this up) and there were little babies and toddlers in duck's costumes waiting in long lines to get their pictures atop one of the ducks.

Visit the arboretum - A major FAIL
I couldnt convince A as to why this is different from visiting any other park. If you didnt know this already, I am obsessed with trees, flowers, fruits, seeds, mushrooms, plants, shrubs, and all that falls in the plant kingdom. I know we missed the bus on this to-do because the ideal time to visit would have been spring when the arboretum would be a riot of color with spring blooms. Aah! what a sight that would be...

Bake cake(s) - Done
Done and how!? With no experience in baking whatsoever and very little experience in actually eating cakes, I managed to bake a bunch of cakes. May I modestly add that each cake turned out better than the previous one? So now I have a good eggless sponge cake recipe which I can tweak based on what we want that day. Orange - carrot - dates - walnuts, banana - bluberries - walnuts, whatever fruit - nut you can think of, the possibilities are endless. With brown sugar and whole wheat flour and just a pinch of baking soda, they are good for kids too. On a good day our picky eater finishes off a medium slice of cake for breakfast and I tear up. No, really.

Aside from the list, there was travel, by car, by flights, different time zones, countless hours splashing in the pools, and getting a nice, chocolate brown tan. Now that I look back, it does seem like we made the most of the sunshine.
 S stops to observe a dried leaf.

 A koi fish pond

Banana blueberry walnut cake - eggless :) 

 Picture perfect!

 Nail paint after a long while


S is such a water baby - soaked and thrilled

Will miss you Mister Sun!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Happy challenge - day 1

Happy Day 1:

So, I have taken the plunge. To look for happy moments and blog about it. It's to practice being in the moment, being happy and grateful and of course, to blog regularly. Also, I will try hard to not make this into things about S and S alone. Because let me admit, ever since she's here it has been a different kind of happy everyday. Even off days are happy because of her. Aha, there I go again.

So what was today's happy? I found a willing and affordable swim coach. He's a Serbian student and speaks English quite well. I'm guessing I won't have major problems understanding his instructions. Hopefully, I should be able to get over my fear of water and at least learn basic swimming. People, wish me luck!

Missing aai baba

I have returned home to Boston and my parents have stayed back at my sister's. Though I made the most of my time with them during their stay here, two months are just not enough, are they? The farewell at the airport was difficult - the parents and I start tearing up and sniff and sob secretly a few days before the departure - I usually bawl at the actual see off making it infinitely difficult for the parents to keep up a brave face. But this time with little S around, I wanted to stay strong for my parents' sake. Seeing them see off their beloved little grandchild, who young as she is had no idea that she won't see her Aau and Aaba for several months, was heartbreaking. It just killed me to look at them waving at her, with quivering smiles and wet eyes.

It's been a few days now, with every phone call and hangout session, the heartache gets a bit bearable. S asks in her sweet baby voice, "Aaba, kuthe?", and then answers herself, "bathoom!!" :)

Anyways. Till your next visit Aai, Baba - stay happy, healthy and don't fight!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Zindagi jab bhi teri bazm mein...

lati hai hume...
Yeh zameen, chand se behtar...nazar aati hai hume...

The person I am singing this to is my husband A, just to get the suspense out of the way. And the reason I am having these uncharacteristic romantic thoughts about him is because I am sitting thousands of miles from him and have just postponed (quite gleefully) my trip back home to him, by a week. Gulp. He was sweet about it. His reaction was just the opposite of what mine would have been had I been in his shoes. That's precisely why he's my guy. 

So this guy and I celebrated, hold your breath, NINE years of our wedding and a DECADE of being best (most of the time) friends. 

I often worry why we don't do surprise anniversary or birthday parties or why he never whisks me off to a cruise holiday or such (yeah, these are my worries) and sweat over the total lack of filmy romance in our marriage. Yeah, even an absolute PDA-abhoring unromantic like me desires some romantic gestures. Just when I start losing my hair over these worries, I catch A smiling at me. In a room full of people. Giving me his, "You look great!" look. I blush crimson. I get super conscious. Or when I am mad at something he has done or not done, as I walk into the bedroom I see little S fast asleep in his arms, her head buried in his shoulders and A pacing around, singing completely out of tune. I feel warm and my heart bursts with love. 

So people, this is what my husband of nine years is capable of. Setting my heart aflutter, making me fall in love with him all over again, besides giving me countless reasons to feel blessed and knowing my heart inside out. This more than makes up for his weird logic and long drawn arguments and our collective post argument sulking.

Dear A, wishing us a belated wedding anniversary and remember, the best is yet to be!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Darling S,

I don't know where to begin. Rusty, rusty and rusty is what my writing is. And even rustier is my typing on the ipad. But I know I will write, for one day I would want to look back at this wonderful point in time and relive it again. Last year around this time I was absolutely terrified. The countdown had begun and I was getting sick thinking about all the blood and gore and pain and labor that child birth entails. I know all this is normal and almost every woman does it - but that doesn't make it any less daunting, does it? I have always known myself to be terrified of pain - someone who feared the prospect of removing a tiny splinter. Yeah, that weird patient who howled at the dentist for a routine check up is me. So anyways, here I was biting my chewed-down fingers wondering why I even got myself into this situation. The fear of physical pain was really overwhelming.
And then like countless women who have given birth before me, I went ahead and had you, my baby. And like all the cliches I had read, for that microsecond when I first held you, nestled in my arms, pain was a distant memory.
So the last year has sped by just like that. You continue to amaze us with your new found skills, your sweet babbling, your smiles, gurgles and just your whole self. As you take your first steps, we celebrate your growing independence and sigh - our little baby is almost a toddler.
Well, well, well. Before I get carried away and need to be rescued with a box of tissues, here's our wish for you - stay healthy and happy sweetheart. And always, ALWAYS know that you are deeply loved for what you are and what you choose to be.
Aai & Baba
PS - you are proving to be a daddy's girl, and how! You constantly chant Baba, Baba like a mantra. So far, you haven't been able to say Aai. Ouch! It hurts.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Just so sad

22 (at least) poor children lost their lives in Bihar after eating the mid-day meals served in government schools. And so many more have taken ill. What a sad situation...Does anyone care?
On the one hand there are millions of kids who are homeless, hungry, abused endlessly and vulnerable to even more abuse, struggling to survive and on the other hand are the greedy scamsters who are pilfering away millions and millions and still can't be satisfied. What world is this? I'm so tempted to join the atheists. :'(

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sweet, tender and beautiful

Is how being a mother feels like. Our precious bundle of joy, our daughter S was born on Jan 20, 2013. She arrived one week before her due date, but not a moment too soon.

With our lives revolving around the little one and her newborn activities, there is time for hardly anything else. The house is filled with the baby stuff, her tiny clothes in the laundry bag, her sweet smell lingers in the air and the favorite activity these days is to stare at this cherubic little person.

It's frightening how fast time is flying by, S is already five weeks old! A part of me is relieved to have survived the difficult first month, but five weeks already? Go steady little S, for your mamma's sake. :)

More updates as soon as A and I get back to our senses.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Belated Diwali wishes!

Wishing you all a very happy (belated) Diwali! I hope you celebrated the festival with your loved ones just the way you wished!

Our Diwali was made special by K3 and AG who visited us from VA. Or it would have been just another long weekend with just the two of us. With fabulous company, it was all the more exciting to cook special favorites, shop and relax. In the four days of Diwali we cooked up quite a storm, literally. Never before has this little kitchen been so active (not counting mom's endless cooking).

Day 1 was shev-aloo pohe and ladoo for breakfast and bise bele hule anna and boondi raita with soan papdi for lunch. We ended the day with Skyfall and lunch leftovers.

Day 2 was more elaborate with shev-upma and soan papdi for breakfast and poori-shrikhand, potato bhaji and lemon rice or chitranna. An afternoon nap was really what the doctor ordered to recover from the lunch but instead we headed to a mall to get our Diwali shopping done. Dinner was a variety of dosas at an Indian restaurant.

Day 3 breakfast was subdued with just simple oatmeal and toasted bagels as our stomachs struggled from the previous day's eating. But the lunch menu was already planned and there was no looking back! We had black channa usal, bhendi panchamruta, gulab jamun, poli and tondli-bhaat. Yumm!! We seriously needed to rest that day to make breathing space in our well-fed bodies. :) And then we made some pani-poori in the evening to use up that space.

Day 4 breakfast was non-existent. :) We made some delicous vermicelli kheer, kadhi, simple yellow daal and rice, beans-potato bhaji and mixed peppers-apple raita for lunch. The evening highlight was the motichoor laddoos we bought for Lakshmi pooja.

The food we cooked had so many memories - we cooked them just the way my mom, amma cooks it. In their typical Maharashtrian-Karnataki style. When I told my grandmother (amma) on the phone that we had a good time at Diwali and really feasted like she would like us to, she specifically asked about every day's meal. :) We are such a foodie family!

K3 and A were wonderful sports as always, not getting overwhelmed with my bossy behavior in the kitchen and staying calm and getting their tasks done. :) What would I do without them!

There are a lot of pictures I want to share but would have to wait for K3. She was our official photographer you see.

And yeah the feasting is not done yet! We have some good old fashioned Diwali faraal of chakali, karanji, shev, ladoo, chvda and chirote coming to us all the way from Aurangabad! :D