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!