Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy anniversary to us

6 years. Where does time go? Seems like just a few weeks ago I was waiting in the car fuming because the officiant hadn't shown up and wasn't answering his phone. But, he did. And, we got married.

Our marriage isn't perfect.
I am not perfect. Jeff's not perfect.

But, we are perfect for each other. We know and accept each other's shortcomings. We try and help each other overcome those shortcomings. We get mad at each other. Sometimes irrationally. Sometimes justifiably. We make up. We laugh at the stupidest things. But, we laugh together. Sometimes, we cry together. We go off on tirades about the bad drivers out there because obviously we are the best.

He loves and respects my family. I love and respect his. And, our families love and respect each other.

More importantly, Jeff and I like each other.

It's not all roses and rainbows all the time. Remember, at the beginning, how I said it's not perfect? There are issues. In us. In our marriage. We work on them daily. And, we'll continue to work on them. Because someday, this happy 6 will be happy 16, then 26 ... and who knows, like my sis said, maybe even a Happy 60 someday.

I wouldn't want it to be anybody else.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Vacation

The following things really helped keep him calm and entertained for most of the flight from CA to MD: 
But, nothing could help him with his ears through the landings. Take-offs, he handled without any problems. But, 20 minutes of every landing was a pain filled scream fest :(. Hopefully, as he gets older, it'll get easier on his poor ears. But, overall, the travel went well.

Was going to say I'll write about all the fun we had in the 70 degree weather in CA later, but we didn't do much. Jeff and I caught Mission Impossible while Oli entertained the grandparents at home. I managed to get a run in a couple days. We went to the park nearby almost daily. We ate great homemade meals. I read 6 books. Yes, 6. on my iPad and iPhone. It was amazing! Jeff got a nap every day.

All in all, a perfect vacation!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TV time and family time

yup, double fisting

I will preface anything I say with I am NOT in the camp of "no TV for my toddler at all." Oliver watches his Baby Signing Time DVD at least once every morning.

But, in the evenings, when we have limited time at home before his bedtime, we've started keeping the idiot box off. We get home around 4-4:30. I rarely have to cook dinner, since I started doing majority of my cooking over the weekend, so all I need to do is reheat. Dinner time is 5:30. So, before then, we play as a family. All of us, including Smokey are on the floor of the living room, just goofing off. Oliver maybe will let me read him a book. Or, he'll crawl all over us, giving us hugs and sloppy kisses, all the while giggling at his silly parents.

mmmm chow mein

At 5:30, we eat. At the dining table. As a family. You have no idea how many times I tried instituting this when it was just Jeff and me, but invariably, we'd end up in front of the television. Thanks to Oli for bringing us back to family dinner time. We talk to him. It's a tradition we'd like to continue, so we are starting it now. Even though we don't understand what he's saying, he totally participates in the conversation. I also love watching him discover new foods. Sometimes, he spits things out a couple times before even realizing he likes it. Then, he screams if we can't get it into his mouth fast enough. Or if it's food he can feed himself, his whole hand disappears into his mouth as he eats it. Or he tries shoveling it in with both hands.

Then, it's more playtime till bath time. And, he is off the bottle, so he might or might not have some milk out of his sippy. At 7/7:15, after we've all kissed him goodnight, I lay him in his crib and close the door. Jeff and I sit outside and listen to him "talk" in there for a few minutes. We watch him roll all over in his crib on the monitor and wonder if he's playing a game. Who he's talking to. What is he saying? And, by the light of his new favorite night light, he falls asleep.

Once he is out, it's television time for Jeff and me. We also get a 1/2 hour to do anything on our iPhones, iPads etc. After that, it's technology free zone. Well, except for the technology that records shows onto the DVR ;-). I feel like I get so much more quality time with Oliver and Jeff and as a family on weekdays without the television on.

Do you see how serious both of them are?
On the weekends, the television is on occasionally. Sometimes, Oliver even tries to challenge daddy to video game tournaments. On Sundays, the boys watch football. 

Our house believes in moderation. We don't use the television as a babysitter; but we don't keep it off all hours he's awake either. Growing up, I remember getting to watch TV 1 hr every night and a couple hrs on weekend mornings, and a movie with the family Saturday night. It was neither banned, nor were we glued to it. I hope to somehow keep that balance in this house for Oliver too.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Reading intently
I discovered books at the tender age of 9 or 10; thanks to my mamu (my mom's younger brother). We were living in Raleigh, N.C. and visiting him and his family in CA. He took me to the local library and I picked up a bunch of books - almost all mystery novels. I had Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, series that had the Five Find-Outers, there were another set of books that had 7 children solving mysteries but I cannot find them via Googling. Did I enjoy the books? Do you see the photo to the left? That was taken by my dad after we came back from CA. Apparently, we had to make weekly trips to the library and brought back bags and bags of books.

The obsession with reading carried into middle and high school. Back in India now, we had excerpts from British literature that we read for our English classes every year. I was not satisfied with just the excerpt. Every excerpt I read, I had to read the book. So, by the time I graduated, I'd read Pride & Prejudice, Little Women, and hundreds more that all came out of the great isle of Britain. I also read their version of Harlequin - Mills & Boon, which was a cause for much consternation for my mother. I mean I would hide my books in our bathroom so I could read in hiding.

I love holding a book in my hands, getting lost in the storyline, imagining the characters, having the video play in my brain as I read through the pages. I got made fun of by a Southwest flight attendant for having a pretty large Stephen King novel in my lap once. "Haven't you heard of a Kindle?" were her exact words. But, I still love holding a book, turning a page, dogearing it to mark my spot ... However, it is a huge pain to carry books with me while traveling. Specially now that we have a toddler and of his accoutrements to take with us.

When I traveled without a child, I would get the latest books by my favorite authors from the local library. Pack most of them in my checked luggage, take a couple as carry-ons. (I don't read books more than once, so I don't buy books) Now, I don't have the luxury of space in my checked or carry-on luggage for books. So, the last time I traveled, I got books from work (they have a shelf where people can leave books they've read and borrow others), so I read them and left them at airports, other libraries etc. But, this meant I wasn't reading my favorite authors. I have given audio books a try; they are ok but I missed reading. When I read, each character has a face, a distinct voice ... and that gets lost when you have one voice reading all characters.

Image from Apple
Enter the iPad. We have one. Jeff had an ap - iBooks, that I'd never used. I tried it out last night. I downloaded a sample of a new book by Tess Gerritsen. I read the 40 pages on the iPad. I loved it. It solves a majority of my problems:
  • no heavy books to carry with me
  • I can read my favorite authors
  • I can read it on our iPad or my iPhone, if Oli is entertaining himself with the iPad.
The only problem right now is that I have to buy the book and unlike paper books, I cannot resell these on Amazon. And, since it's so new, the ebooks from the library have waiting lists as long as lines outside stores on Black Friday.

But, for our trip to CA next Friday, I have 2 books from my favorite authors in my hand and it doesn't add weight to my carry on.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Our evenings

Get home around 4, if not before then.

Work on getting dinner ready. Music on the radio. Oli dancing around the kitchen with Jeff and me. He has 4 distinct dance moves now. Butt up and down. Holding hands out, twisting at the waist. Hold index fingers out and bounce arms. And, the latest, stomping both feet on the ground.

5:15 - 5:30, sit down together to eat dinner. Oli feeds some to Smokey. We talk to each other, even Oli contributes to the conversation.

Play with Oli on the floor, try to read a book without him eating it. Pretend to fall down and lie on the ground. Oli giggles and comes over, touches head to my head, climbs over me.

6:15, get Oli naked. He runs around the house shrieking, holding some toy or another in each hand.

6:30, his bath time. Possibly his favorite time of the day. He waits by the bathtub as Jeff's filling it. He's got the biggest grin on his face. He never wants bath time to end.

6:$5/7, milk while snuggling with mommy. Snuggles are few now that he's so busy running around, that I am learning to treasure his bottle time. He holds the bottle himself but he lets me hold him and kiss him and snuggle him while he drinks.

7/7:15, everyone gets to kiss him goodnight. Even Smokey. We walk into his room, turn on his moon and stars turtle. He smiles and points at the ceiling (thanks Suheir mausi). I lay him down in the crib. He immediately pulls up his legs under him, tucks his hands under his tummy and lays there. It's bedtime. He talks a bit in there, moves around a lot before falling asleep. We can hear him out in the living room. It's so cute. But, then, I think everything he does is cute.

7:30 to 8:30ish: tv time for us.

8:30 - 9, bedtime for the parents.

How our evenings have changed. And, I wouldn't change them back for anything in the world.

I know there's a distinct lack of photos in this post. Oli is so mobile, it's getting harder and harder to get photos of him! But, I'll try and get some of him dancing.