Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas 2011 highlights

Merry Christmas!
Christmas was fun this year... Instead of the usual single day celebration around Dec 25th, we celebrated it for almost a month.


 We kick started the Christmas preperations right after thanksgiving with our homegrown Christmas tree.  This is how the tree looked in the beginning...
And this is the Christmas tree in the Union Square, San Francisco. What better place to start Christmas shopping than Macy's in Union Square...


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One of the main reasons I like December is that everywhere I look, there are festive decorations. The malls and the stores are all decked up in decorations. This picture is from Macy's. One more thing I love about Macy's is that they have mailboxes for Santa as well as stationary and my kids loved writing letters to Santa there.




And this year Santa made not one or two, but several trips to our house. The first trip brought a new TV... because it was clear to us that after serving us for 12 years, our old TV needed a retirement...



Christmas is not just about "getting gifts", it is also about giving... The kids donated to charities like "Second Harvest food bank" and "Akshay Patra" and leanred about helping others...


Among other highlights of the month were the winter performances in kids' schools. This is Reya's class performing.
 And this is Rithik's class performing in their "winter wonderland" themed classroom...



Christmas is also a time to make and follow family traditions. Our family has a tradition of driving different routes to home each day to see the best decorated homes of the area... We saw over 1000 decorated houses this season... Thanks Reya for keeping a count of the unique houses...


The gifts from Santa started arriving 3 days before Christmas starting with some Xbox kinect games... Dance Central 2, Kinect sports 2 and Disneyland adventures.... honestly this special delivery was made by Santa to help Mom survive the 2 week school break of the kids... Thanks Santa ;-)



2 days before Christmas, we visited San Jose downtown for the annual "Christmas in the park"... Talk about traditions... this was the 32nd year for the festival and 4th visit for us.

That night the kids got a visit from their Chacha - Chachi (Uncle, Aunty) and their darling cousin Karisma... the baby of the family... Rithik packed and decorated Karisma's gift himself.... baby feeding utensils from "Hello Bebe" line of Lock & Lock.





And Karisma loved them... She started playing with them right away as her mom contemplating keeping the soup mug for herself... the funny thing is that I was tempted too...









Kids and I loved the handmade chocolates and cupcakes that Arzoo chachi made with so much love... They were really yummy... Thanks Arzoo and Kirti...

And finally Christmas arrived and along with other gifts, came the most awaited gifts... woolen animal hats and colourfull socks... who knew it was so easy to make kids happy this year...






We celebrated the day of Christmas with my other brother-in-law and his wife who treated us to an itallian lunch... Thanks Anubhav and Sangeeta! Like I said before... this was a fun Christmas.






And at the end of it all, I had 2 very merry elves...


Wishing you a very happy Holidays and best wished for 2012... see you next year!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Awesome Christmas lights display

It's the season to be jolly! Christmas is here...

And it's the season of lights.... everywhere we go, there are malls and houses decked with Christmas lights and Reya and Rithik have so much fun marvelling at the displays...

We try to take different car routes each day while coming home so that they can see different houses each day. Reya is maintaining a count of distinct houses that have good decorations and today she crossed 600 mark...

I wish I could share all 600 houses with you, but here is a video of a display of lights from year 2009. The house belongs to Jana and Bob Barnhill who I know through my days in Toastmasters. It is a long video, but it is truely amazing. I cannot imagine how long it took to create this display.


Christmas Card 2009 from Sutton McKee on Vimeo.

Have fun watching it.... and Happy Holidays to all of you from Reya and Rithik.
Until next time,
Shilpa, Reya and Rithik

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thoughtful Tuesdays - Gratitude

As we approach the Thankgiving day next week, let's take a moment to think about what this holiday is mostly about.

GRATITUDE...

Thanksgiving started as a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships. Traditionally, it has also been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. The idea of giving thanks is the meaning behind Thanksgiving.

While it is a great idea to take a single day out of the year and get together with your loved ones to be grateful for the rest of the year, don't you think that we would have a much richer and positive life if we took a moment to be grateful each and every day!

I am glad and grateful for everything that is around me. I am grateful to mother nature for the food and water it provides. I am grateful for my family and friends for the joy they bring in my life. I am grateful to live in an independent country and for the people who protect me and my country every single day. I am even grateful for the hardships in my life as I learn and grow from them.

While our lives may have struggles, health issues and hardships and at times it may be difficult to stay positive, let me give you a single strong reason why you should be grateful for everyday. Because the moment you open your eyes each day, you are still alive and that it is a given.

So at the end of each day, before you go to bed, I urge you to take a moment to find just 1-2 things for which you can feel grateful. Not only it will help you stay optimistic and relieve stress during a crisis, it will also keep you healthy in the long run.

Until next time,

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chopsticks: Teaching the next gen!

When you teach your son, you teach your son's son. ~The Talmud

Every time I see a pair of chopsticks, I remember my dad... I must have been around 8 or 9 when my dad taught me how to eat food using chopsticks. At that time, it was just something fun to do. I didn't think I would use chopsticks later in life....

But I have used chopsticks more often that I imagined. When I go to a Chinese restaurant, chopsticks are my choice of weapon to attack food. The skill came in especially handy when I went to Shanghai for a week.... so much so that after coming back from Shanghai, using the fork and spoon was a bit odd for the first couple of days.


So I was delighted when a couple months ago, Reya asked me to teach her how to use chopsticks.... Here are a couple pictures of her learning how to eat with chopsticks.



 
While she had a blast learning the skill, I got a headache.... no! not from teaching Reya, but from Rithik's crying...  Rithik saw Reya using the cute chopsticks and demanded that I give him a pair like that as well and to my horror I realized that I only have one pair... (I got these from Lock & Lock as part of their supporter program for review. They are beautiful and made of steel, but I decided not to buy more since I felt they were a tiny bit heavy for the kids... and we anyways don't use chopsticks at home.)

I persuaded Reya to give the chopsticks to Rithik.... but she flatly refused and I had a crying toddler on my hands who is practicing the art of crying as long as it takes for him to get his goal.... It was tough negotiation but we settled on a pieces of wooden disposable chopsticks that I luckily found in a drawer... and he happily made a mess trying to pick food with them.

But yesterday, I was so surprised when we went to a restaurant in San Francisco with some friends and the Reya managed to eat some food with chopsticks. And to my utter surprise, even Rithik (using 1 chopstick in each hand) picked some food and ate it. I was so proud. But the pride was short lived as they then proceeded to have a chopstick fight, that left me cringing and scared and resulted in me snatching the chopsticks away from them....

Time flies... Yesterday I was learning things from my parents, today I am teaching them to Reya and Rithik...This is life... But the starting quote from Talmud applies... When my father taught me the chopsticks, he in a way taught my kids too...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Diwali 2011


Candles crackers sweet and rangoli ... These are the pictures that comes to mind when I think of Diwali the festival of lights... Back home in India the Diwali was the best time of year. Schools were out and no restriction on how much sweets we could eat. Visiting friends and family, doing Pooja at night, and bursting crackers till late night.... this was Diwali!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn, Queen of year

Each week, Reya's class has a "sharing" session which is essentially a public speaking session. A topic is assigned each wee and this week the topic is a Fall poem... We looked and looked for a poem that was easy for a 7 year old to memorize and would encompass all that Autumn brings us... and this is what we found!

A poem written by a child prodigious poet and a child prodigy, Winifred Sackville Stoner Jr. (1902-1983) and coincidentally she penned this poem when she was almost the same age as Reya.... enjoy it with us as we enter the fall season!

Autumn, Queen of year
When the pumpkins are so yellow
And the vines with grapes abound,
When the melons are so mellow
And the nuts fall to the ground;
When persimmons lose their bitters,
And the apples are so red;
When we love to eat corn fritters
Since the roasting ears have fled;
When vacation days are over
And the children go to school,
They no longer play in clover,
But much learn "Arithmos-rule,"
When weird Hallowe'en's most naughty elves
With gnomes and sprites appear,
While fat Thanksgiving fills the shelves - 
'Tis AUTUMN, QUEEN OF YEAR.

--- Winifred Sackville Stoner Jr.

Until next time,
Shilpa, Reya and Rithik

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

For all the advances in medicine, there is still no cure for the common birthday. But I still think that birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.


It was my birthday last week. If history is any indication, this day is always eventful. For example, 2 years ago, I spent my birthday in urgent care till 10 pm when Rithik got a nursemaid elbow. The bigger my plans for my special day, the bigger the disappointment. So all I wanted for my birthday was a day without any surprises and bad news.


The birthday was on a Friday, a day that I observe a fast. So I said no to having a cake... Hubby urged for an egg less cake, but honestly, I didn't have the energy after a fast to make a cake. So hubby decided to cut the cake on Thursday night itself. I made a pineapple cake, and the kids decorated. No frosting.... we don't need the extra sugar at bed time...



Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rithik's first day of school

Rithik started in pre-shcool this week and it was an interesting day...

Rithik has been going to pre-school since January, but for the last 2 months, he had been at home with Nani (grandmom), and had his fill of digital entertainment, be it TV, DS or iPad. So it was no surprise that he was in no mood to go to school.

"I don't want to go school. I want to go to Prateeksha Aunty's house..." Prateeksha is his second mom / day care provider who has looked after him since he was 3 months old.... and who has never stopped him from watching TV...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Reya's first day in public school

So we finally made the jump from private to public school! Reya started 3rd grade and here are some pictures of the first morning at school.

We started by preparing lunch... peanut butter and jelly sandwich and slices of string cheese for lunch and slices of peach and goldfish crackers for snack. Even though this lock n lock lunch box came with glass containers, knowing Reya's rough handling, I replaced the glass containers with regular lock n lock BPA free containers... better safe than sorry as she already broke 2 containers last year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughtful Tuesdays - when does it become your business...


“Life is moral responsibility. Life is several other things, we do not deny. It is beauty, it is joy, it is tragedy, it is comedy, it is psychical and physical pleasure, it is the interplay of a thousand rude or delicate motions and emotions, it is the grimmest and the merriest motley of phantasmagoria that could appeal to the gravest or the maddest brush ever put to palette; but it is steadily and sturdily and always moral responsibility.”
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps 

2 weeks ago, I took Reya to the her ice skating class which is located in a mall. As I parked the car, I saw a fashionably dressed women in her 30s sitting in the car next to me. As I was gathering my things I saw that lady drinking water from a plastic bottle and then throwing it outside her car window....

She threw the bottle just like that... no hesitation of littering the parking lot, no embarassment ... nothing... very casually! I am not sure why, but my blood just boiled...

I ran outside. The car had started and was backing in the parking to make a turn when I just stood in front of that car and waved to make it stop. I then ran and picked up the bottle while the lady opened her car glass to see what I was doing. I came back to her car and the following conversation ensued...

Me (giving her the bottle): You forgot your bottle...
The lady (without any shame): Oh I am done using it. I don't need it.
Me: Then throw it in the trash can.
The lady: I put it there.
Me:This parking lot is not a trash can.
The lady: You know it can be recycled...
Me: Then put it in a recycle bin... This is not a trash can
That lady: It can be recycled... do you recycle
Me again: Put it in a recycle bin... This is not a trash can
That lady: You can keep it... do you recycle...
...
...

At this point, I lost it... I said "Wait a sec" and took out my phone.
Me: Let me just take a picture of your license plate and then I will be glad to keep this bottle as an evidence while filing a complaint against you.

As I tried to take a picture, the lady ran away... a few minutes later as I was going back to my car, I again saw that lady driving by. This time there was an older african-american man with her. She slowed down, pointed towards me and said something to the man. Immediately, I took my phone and waved and she sped the car and ran again. This time I took a picture of the car driving away.


When I went back home and narrated this incident to my husband and mother, they both scolded me for being "Jhansi ki Rani" and that I could have been hurt if it had been a criminal type person. They suggested that I should just "mind my own business" and "ignore these things"...

"Mind my own business"..... "Ignore these things".... but isn't this exactly how these these things spread.... Any wrong action done by a few people becomes a widespread habit of society only because people mind their business and ignore things. In reality, if we stop ignoring and start taking matters in our hands, a lot of evils will be reduced...

Anything that affects the world and the society that I live in affects me... and it somehow, in a small way, becomes my businesss...

It should become your too!!!

Until next time,
Shilpa, Reya and Rithik

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekend wrap up

......... Mom is here .........

She came 2 weeks back and I have been enjoying a leisurely lifestyle ever since then... My workload is practically cut in half... But as soon as my mom stepped in US, a crisis sprung up back home in India... for the last 2 weeks my mental workload had doubled and we were glued to the phone every night...

But this week I decided that "Enough is enough!" The crisis in India seems to have settled a bit for now and I attended my first mobile hackathon this weekend...

I hadn't planned on coding! I was only there to attend some sessions, but then I changed my mind, made a team on the spot, coded an app on an idea that I have been researching for quite a while and ended up winning 2 categories... so I was in a very good mood on Saturday night... and we decided to spend the Sunday doing something fun after 2 weeks of tension filled days.

Take a guess about what we did....

We went Cherry-Picking in a farm in BrentWood. I have wanted to go Cherry picking for years... 11 years to be exact... but my husband was never interested... and for the last 2 years I convinced him to go but then every time the cherry season had ended. This time our timing was right and we were at the farm on the very last week of the season...

It was really fun... and I have never had such sweet cherries. The kids saw farms, cows and windmills on the way, enjoyed the hour and a half drive and the late lunch on the way back.... here are some pictures...





And here is breakfast for today... Cherries and hot baadam milk, which my darling mom makes every morning and fills in my Lock n Lock ceramic coffee mug... Isn't it great to have parents around, especially after you have kids... because that is when you really start appreciating what they went through while raising you. BTW, my mom is totally in love with all my new Lock & Lock cookware, and containers and is already making a list of the items she will be taking back to India with her. So her obsession with Ziploc containers is officially over and her love for Lock & Lock is officially begun. The Zen container is this picture is her absolute favorite.

So basically life is moving along, some days are good, some are not so good, but having mom around just makes everything feel better...

Until next time,
Shilpa, Reya and Rithik

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Food Fun - Caterpillar for dinner




OK, so I am really happy that you guys stop by.... I love you.... but I am a bit sad that no one spends a moment writing a comment (well how else will I know what you are thinking?) So if you want to get directions on how to make this caterpillar, please leave a comment)... simple as that!

Until next time!
Shilpa, Reya and Rithik

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guess the place?

Hey you all!

My bro and his wife finally went on their honeymoon... 8 months after their marriage... poor guys just couldn't get the stars aligned in their favor till now. Anyhow, they sent me these beautiful pictures from the trip... Can you guess what place this is?  I will give you hints along the way.

Hint 1. This place is in India... so that narrows your search!

Hint 2. This place has mountain goats... so it must be hilly and chilly!




Yes, it is confirmed... it is a hilly place.

Hint 3. This place has Buddhism and also appears to have some Chinese influence. Definitely looks like North or Eastern India....
 



Hint 4 (last one). This place has a beautiful lake nestled between hills where the climax of a famous "idiotic" movie was shot.... oh that's a really good hint.... you have to know the place by now!




....

....

.... any guesses?

....

..... anyone?
....

.... I will tell you.

....

.... this place is.... LEH, LADAKH (remember Funsuk Wangdoo in 3 Idiots?)

Have fun! If you have been there, share your pictures with me.
Until next time,
Shilpa
 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Funny Fridays - The Gender Anamoly

Being a 3 year old boy is difficult. Your mind tells you that you are ready to be a big boy, but your body and fine motor skills hold you back at times. Yous mind is amazed with all the new things that you encounter. You are working out your social skills by making new friends in your pre-school. But most importantly, your brain is exploding with an expanded vocabulary.

It is said that 90% of all brain development occurs by the age of five and a large part of it is language understanding. And it always makes for some funny moments when the child tries to gain command over a language... like this one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thoughtful Tuesdays - why parents should let their children fall and fail...

Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves. - Elbert Hubbard

Each year, as summer approaches, I start thinking about Canada where we visited a couple years ago for a week. We were hosted by our extended family with lots of love and we had the best time. During that visit, we were invited to dinner by our host's brother and sister-in-law (Uncle ji and Arna Aunty), a very loving and affectionate couple.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Funny Fridays - The consequences of getting married

My friends Vish is an accomplished public speaker among other things... He always has his way with words. Ask him a tough question and pat comes a witty reply.

He is also a father of 2 kids.... kids who can leave their appa (father) speechless from time to time... Here's one such moment that happened right this week.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thoughtful Tuesdays - How to feed your child without a fight?

I saw my mother doing this.... 
I saw my aunts doing this...
I saw my sisters doing this.... 
I saw my friends doing this.... 
I realized I was doing it too.....

Running after my kids with food in my hand.... pleading them to eat!!! When I looked at families with toddlers sitting together and eating dinner properly in restaurants and TV shows, they seemed Aliens to me... 

My situation was not good.... As a toddler Reya ate everything. But as she grew up, Reya refused to eat anything that had even a hint of spice. She avoided Indian food and preferred eating frozen food which I hated... I even took it as an insult and considered myself as a failed Mother. Then came along Rithik. Rithik was a better eater than Reya, but picky nonetheless. And Rahul wanted extremely healthy version of Indian food. My options were limited. Either I could prepare 3 different cuisines to satisfy 3 palates or ignore Rahul and just cater bland child friendly food. I was totally stumped.

Then one day I decided that things have to change and I will have to change them.... I put my foot down and announced that I was enforcing new food policies in the house.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The mystery pack arrived

I have been so busy with Birthday parties that I forgot to tell you about a special delivery!

So Last Friday, when our car entered the driveway, Reya screamed happily... "Mommy, there is a box!" She got out from the car, ran to it and again screamed..... "It's Lock n Lock mommy"!

Getting a delivery in a box is a happy thing for my kids... It's a giggle fest anytime we get a big box because they get to open it, empty it and then play with the box, but especially if the box is from Lock n Lock. Reya knows that if it's from Lock n Lock, Mommy usually gets in a great mood, the things that come out of box are quite pretty and the insane amount of brown paper and bubble wrap the things are packed in (its really wonderful packaging) provides hours of fun time.


 This particular time, I was expecting a package of Lock  Lock products that I am supposed to review. So even I was anxious about the contents of the box. Reya gets to the task at hand right away.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Funny Fridays - Knock Knock!

Reya: Knock Knock!
Mom: Who's there?
Reya: Better.
Mom: Better who?
Reya: Better let me in!

Reya is big on knock knock jokes...

She didn't know what a knock knock joke was until she read "The diary of a wimpy kid", but once she got it, she loves them. Every time she finds a new knock knock joke, she tries it on everyone that she meets including. Most people play along and she is all happy to have outsmarted a grown up person.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Need your help!

Hello all,


I think being a mom or dad rocks...

For the most part, it'a big challange because at times you will go insane, but some precious moments like when you watch your child sleeping, or when you get a wet drooly kiss froom your child, or when your little one simply gives you a bright smile make it totally worth the hard work... and as a bonus, you learn to appreciate your own parents fully for the love they have given you.



If you agree with me... Vote for my picture in the "Moms rock!" contest... PLEASE I NEED YOUR HELP!

The contest entry is at http://apps.facebook.com/moms_rock/entry/168318

Until next time,
Shilpa

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Am I going downhill already?

Today I read a newspaper article that mentioned a research done in London School of Economics by Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa.

In this research, the researcher examined 17000 babies born in Britain in year 1958 and found that the attractive women of the group mostly gave birth to a girl whereas the women who were not attractive mostly had a boy.

What the hell???

Does this mean that I was attractive when Reya was born, but by the time Rithik came around, I was no longer attractive?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

9/11 - The day that changed so many lives... mine too!


May 1st 2011  - It was a usual Sunday evening. I was preparing dinner and Rahul was engaged with kids when the phone rang. It was our 7 year old nephew Aru who had a special news for his mamaji (uncle)

"Rahul mamaji! Rahul mamaji.... Osama is dead!
For a moment my husband confused Osama with President Obama and almost screamed "What!!! Obama is dead???" 
"No Osama! Osama is dead. Turn on the TV"

Rahul turned the TV on while yelling to me "Shilpa!!! Osama is dead!!!". I came running. For the next 20 min we were glued to TV waiting for Obama to address the press. We were happy! we even did high fives! and told the kids that a very bad man had been punished.

It was a good day for America! 9/11 had been avenged!!! A day when along with all the Americans, my life also changed forever...

I remember 9/11 as if it was yesterday. I woke up early and told my husband that I had seen a dream in which a plane crashed into a building. He said it was no dream. I must have heard the news on our NPR radio channel that is set as our morning alarm and then visualized the scene. We turned the TV on and saw the news coverage. At first we thought that some country had attacked USA. We were going to work when our families in India called to check on us as they had seen some TV news about planes crashing in USA. We assured that we were in another corner of the country. By the time I reached office, pentagon had been hit and a plan had fallen near Pennsylvania.

It was hard to react that day, but slowly the news sank. It was a brutal, inhumane, barbaric attack on people who did not deserve it. With God's grace, none of my friends and family were hurt in 9/11, but I still cried many times when I thought of the families that lost their loved ones. I cried every time I saw the footage of people jumping from twin towers. I cried each time when I thought about the bravery of the people upon United flight 93.

The lives of their families were never going to be the same.... Little did I know that my own life was going to be affected in a way I did not realize.

A few days after 9/11, some hate crimes were committed in some states against people of Arab descent as well as people who looked like Arabs, especially Sikhs. A Sikh taxi driver was shot in California too. The atmosphere was changing. Suddenly Arabs were looked upon suspiciously. People did not want to associated with them. I am not an Arab, yet I was told to be careful by many people just because I did not White, Black, Chinese or Hispanic. I could be mistaken for an Arab. I didn't believe it at first.

I worked at a start-up. A few days after 9/11, I was leaving work after a release around 8:30 pm, when Suddenly, my COO who was a Japanese stopped me. He then called a White colleague and asked to escort me to the parking lot. I was wearing an Indian dress. I looked at him quizzically and he said "It's for your safety. I don't want anyone to attack you thinking you are an Arab." I was stunned as I realized that how one incident by one ARAB man can bring so much disgrace to an entire race and even other races.

When I narrated this incident to my husband, he suggested that I should not wear Indian clothes for a few days. I was furious.

"I am an Indian. I am a Hindu. I wear bindi and bangles for God sake, not a naqaab! Don't the Americans know Indians are peaceful! Don't they know the difference between a saree and burqa" And even if I was a Muslim or even an Arab, should I be feared or hurt just because some demented people who happen to be Muslim committed this act of violence. The KKK were white supremacists, so should I go an kill each white that comes across my way?

But in the end, I agreed with Rahul that I better be safe than dead. Unfortunately the logical reasoning that "I am Indian because I wear a bindi" cannot convince the people who have made up their mind to hate someone who looks like me. Just like the Muslim extremists who have made up their mind to hate anyone who doesn't agree with them.

I stopped wearing Indian clothes. Then gradually I stopped putting a bindi or wearing bangles. I hated it in the beginning, but then as I got used to it. 4 years later, I became a US citizen. The hate crimes faded away and life in America came back to normal, but I never went back to wearing Indian clothes everyday or even putting on bindi and bangles everyday.

There were still several reminders of 9/11. Like the day when it was very cold and I took out a silk scarf to tie around my face. Rahul immediately told me to take it off, suggesting that it might make me look like a middle-eastern. I was upset, not just for me, but also for all the middle -eastern people who probably struggled with situations like these everyday.

I muttered under my breath "Shame on you Osama! May you rot in hell"

Anytime I travelled, we took special precautions to not be flagged in the security checks. Whenever Rahul went on trips, I didn't sleep at night unless I heard from him after landing. I was once carrying a crochet with me to use in the plane and I was forced to throw it away. Another time, Reya's inhaler caused a big security check for us in Hongkong. And yet another time, I had to go though special checks when I tried to carry my breast pump with me on a domestic flight. But I took comfort in the fact that at least the security was not being compromised.

No, I wasn't living in terror. I trust in the ability of my country to protect its citizens. I trust the brave soldiers who put their life on line so that I can have a normal life. But I have never taken anything for granted after 9/11. And I have surely learned to appreciate each day.

But all those moments were somewhat vindicated when I heard the news of Osama's death.

It was indeed a good day for America... It was a good day for me personally and I hope it was a good day for everyone whose lives were not the same after 9/11. 


Justice had been done...



Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lunch boxes from Lock and Lock

Since so many of you have been asking me where I got Reya and Rithik's lunch boxes, I thought I will write a quick post and let you know that they are from Lock n Lock.


Aren't they cute. Rithik used to tote his old lunch box with him everywhere, but when these got home and he first laid his eyes on this, he gladly left his old lunch box and now totes this with him everywhere. The containers are glass and BPA free and the lunch box and the containers are just the right size for the kids. And  both Reya and Rithik love the designs on the set.

And right now, you can get 35% off certain products with coupon code "thxmother".

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The two faces of a mother

My mother loves me and my siblings a lot, but that also meant that she really pushed us to do our best. I did quite well in school, and my sister did not. Eventually she admitted defeat and to the relief of my sister she gave up on her studies. To the horror of my brother, she then focused all her energy on his studies. She was referred to as "Hitler mom" by certain extended family members due to her strictness when it came to our studies. Oh I have so many stories about her... but let's focus on just one today.

After my sister and I were both married and our husbands joined the family, we discovered another face of our mother. The one that gushed over her sons-in-law, very loving, caring, agreeing with everything they said... basically a complete opposite of what we saw in the past, which prompted my brother who was still in school to make this observation


Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Reya

Seven years ago, on April 21 2004, Reya came into my arms!!!

Reya was born through a last-minute C-section. Since I had epidural, I was awake during the surgery. Rahul was sitting beside me and as soon as Reya was born, the nurse wrapped her in a blanket and took her to check the vitals. All I saw was a blanket and a head full of thick black hair going past me. Rahul immediately rushed to her and at that very moment, I knew that she was going to be the no. 1 girl in Rahul's life forever... After all, I am the no. 1 girl in my Dad's life too.

Reya was born tiny, but she soon became a chubby baby... Her legs were so fat that we had to change one of her nicknames from "chicken legs" to "turkey legs"! We had several other nicknames for her...


From the very beginning, Reya looked like me. I remember coming from my first ultrasound with black and white images and Rahul exclaiming to everyone... "Doesn't she look exactly like Shilpa... Look at the nose"... :-)

I in turn look like my mother. When a pediatrician came to check Reya in the hospital, my mother was sitting there as well and the doctor exclaimed "Oh my! You all look the same!!!" Now whenever my mother says that Reya is beautiful, Rahul teases him that she just wants to praise her own beauty!

Over the past 7 years, all the baby fat is gone. And it's hard to find enough flesh to hold in my hands when I want to pull her cheeks anymore.

But one thing has not changed so far. Reya has been true to her name. She has always had a demeanour of a queen. As a baby, when she threw a ball, she didn't crawl after it... she expected the ball to be brought back to her... But that also means that she has a very big heart. If I am late in buying a gift for a birthday party, she would instantly offer her own things to be given as gift... a trait that I have yet to see in another child.

She is a content person and other than SUGAR (which is absolutely rationed), she doesn't really ask for anything. She also has a strong sense of right and wrong, except when I ask her to clean her room.. and that makes complete sense... what kind of queen cleans her own room!

Although she adores her father, she has also taken some of my traits. She does not play with dolls, just like I never did... I have never bought her a doll and whatever dolls she got as gifts are either thrown away or lying in their boxes, useless... The other day when I asked her why she didn't like dolls, the answer was, "What do dolls do anyways?" Smart answer.

Reya has not yet decided what she is going to be when she grows up. In her school, each year the kids need to tell when they want to be when they grow up. Reya's choices so far have been Queen and Doctor. Her dad has been trying to convince her to be an Investment banker. But given her arguments, litigation skills, interrogation skills and negotiation skills I think she will be a good lawyer or politician... and dare I say President...

I cannot predict future, but I feel she is destined to be a celebrity. She is already practicing to deal with paparazzi... whenever I try to take a picture of her, she covers her face...





Last night to celebrate her birthday, I made a butterfly cake per her instructions... and I pray that my little caterpillar grows up to be a beautiful butterfly and fly to new heights... Amen!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY REYA!