Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017 in Review: The year of "patience"!

(Veda: 11 months old)

I wanted to write this entry a few weeks ago, before the start of 2018, but we were in the midst of Winter break from school which means both kids at home...which means no break for mommy! Husband-ji was off work, and I was enjoying spending time with Maya, and all of us together as a family. It was fun, but exhausting, and I'm glad to be back to my routine now!

Welcoming the new year is always refreshing, like starting a new chapter. But it also has me reflecting on the past year. If I could describe 2017 in one word, I would say "Patience". It was a trying year in many ways, and it unfolded slowly.

The best part of it, of course, was welcoming Veda! I love that she was born in January, because as the year progressed, she grew. By the end of the year, she was walking. I started the year pregnant, and I ended the year with a toddler! Veda made 2017 go by quickly for me. As always, I was engulfed by becoming a mother again, albeit with a demanding baby who loves to breastfeed and doesn't sleep very well. That might explain my lack of regular blog posts last year, in case you were wondering! Even though I'm not a first time mom, I had never experienced that level of sleep deprivation before - there were months where I was functioning on 1-2 hours of sleep per day, until my doctor warned me that nobody can survive like that. In the beginning, I was so grateful to have another baby and I thought that if I just concentrated on being grateful that everything would be fine. In those early months, I was just functioning on that rush of adrenaline that you get after you give birth, but then the exhaustion creeps in. Severe sleep deprivation + no time for myself = a late onset of postpartum depression. Which somehow, I still feel shitty about, because I love Veda so very much. However, it was a blessing in disguise because now I'm trying to re-gain my identity and balance out my life a bit more. And most importantly, I'm getting help. Slowly, my life is getting a lot better, and I'm just taking it one day at a time. And being a seasoned mother, I know this "no sleep" thing is only temporary. That Veda will, eventually, sleep through the night. Sometimes it's hard with small kids!

Our building construction was supposed to be done in January or Spring of 2017. We still have yet to move in because the damn thing is still being built. It was delay, after delay, after delay! We are all frustrated and annoyed. Our current living arrangements were only supposed to be temporary - with my in-law's sleeping on my living room floor - but now it has gone on longer than expected due to this construction. Now that the hard-wood flooring has been done, I can confidently say that we will definitely be moving in sometime this year. God knows when! 

I had a very difficult year with my parents. My parents are both facing heath crisis's and I felt helpless because I was so tied up with the baby that I couldn't offer any help to them. I worry a lot about them and their decision making is not the greatest right now, but I've had to let go of a lot of things and trust that if they really need help then they will just ask. They are very independent which has it's own set of challenges. We fought a lot this year because of that. It's hard for me to see them because I have to face their suffering and health deterioration. It is excruciating but there's no way around it - I still need to see them, but I can't not feel anything, either.

I really didn't blog as much as I wanted to in 2017. Any extra free time I had, I spent catching up on my sleep. I had so many creative ideas but no time or energy to complete them, and then when my depression set in, I felt zapped of any passion for life. Welcoming the new year, I'm feeling a lot more energized and now my creative juices are revving up again. I'm doing a lot of reading again, which makes me feel a bit more like my true self! I'm looking forward to a lot of things this year, but mostly I'm proud that I survived the struggles of last year. For that, I feel brave. And I guess that's a good way to start a new year - with a brave, confident step.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Our Christmas celebrations

(Our Christmas card - by Artifact Uprising)

We had a really lovely Christmas this year. It was sweet and simple, just the way Christmas should be. To be honest, we are going to be moving to our new place soon and I wanted to keep the gifts minimal because I'm stressed out already thinking about all the packing that we're going to have to do! We also had a very busy Indian festival season in the Fall, which seemed to go on...and on...and on.

(Maya setting up our Christmas tree)

This year, we set up our tree in mid-December, a little later than normal. Finding the time has been really hard with our very active Veda! Especially since she gets into everything that she's not supposed to! We were also stumped at what to do for a tree, since I knew Veda would tear it down in 0.00001 seconds. I saw these miniature real pine trees at Whole Foods that already had a stand, so we decided to buy one of those and put it on top of our hutch, so that Veda couldn't reach it. Maya decorated the tree, which didn't need much because it was so little. This year, we did more decorations around the house instead - high out of Veda's reach. I hung Christmas lights around our living room and Maya made a snowflake craft banner. Of course, as soon as we did this, Veda taught herself how to climb on the couch to reach the Christmas tree! So, someone had to be sitting in the corner of the couch at all times in the living room - either my mother-in-law or me! Needless to say, we were quite figuratively couch potatoes for the month of December!

Maya finished school right before Christmas, so it seemed like we didn't have time to do much. But, we did do our tradition of baking sugar cookies on Christmas Eve. It took the whole day - in two portions - before Veda's nap and after her nap! Before Veda's nap, we did the mixing, cutting and baking. After her nap, Maya did the decorating. It was a really fun activity to do together, and of course Maya left out a cookie for Santa that she made.

Christmas Day started at 4:30 in the morning! Maya was so excited for Santa to come that she was up so early, and insisted to sleep in the living room with my in-law's (under the Christmas tree) so that she wouldn't miss Santa. Maya then woke up for the day at 6am, followed by Veda, so we were opening gifts while it was still dark out! Crazy.

Veda was very entertained by her first Christmas. We gave her lots of baby books, which she was very happy with. Maya spent the day playing with her new toys. We also watched Home Alone & Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, which Maya loved. I can't believe she's old enough to watch Home Alone!

In the evening, we got all dressed up and headed to my aunt's place for Christmas dinner, which only lasted an hour because the kids were so exhausted!

Shortly after Christmas, Veda started walking! We were all shocked! It was a few days before her 11 month birthday - just like big sister Maya who started walking at 11 months. It's hard to believe that last year, at this time, I had a baby in my belly...and this year I have a baby who's walking!


Follow me on Instagram to see more of our day-to-day shenanigans!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Indian Festivals 2018

It's that time of year again where we're setting up our calendars to a new year! Have you guys checked out bullet journaling, by the way? I discovered it on Instagram one day and really love how you can creatively customize your calendar! I tried to make one in 2017 but I think I'd love to do it for 2018 too.

Being in a multicultural family, and especially with my in-law's being here, I always have to make sure that I mark down both Indian and Canadian holidays on our calendar. I thought I'd share them with you guys in case you'd like to mark your calendars too. You'd have to ask your Indian family which ones their family celebrates, though. It also gives me an idea of which months are going to be busier than others.

Here are some Indian festivals for 2018:

January 13 - Lohri
January 14-17 - Pongal / Sankranti
January 26 - Republic Day

February 13 - Maha Shivratri

March 2 - Holi
March 18 - Ugadi
March 25 - Ram Navami

April 14 - Tamil New Year / Vaisakhi

May 22 - Buddha Purnima

July 14 - Rath Yatra

August 15 - Indian Independence Day
August 15-27 - Onam
August 26 - Rakhi

September - Krishna Jayanti
September 3 - Janmashtami
September 11 - Teej
September 13 - Ganesh Chaturthi
September 23 - Anant Chaturdasi

October 8 - Mahalaya
October 9-18 - Navratri
October 15-19 - Durga Puja
October 16 - Maha Saptami / Saraswati Puja
October 17 - Durgastami
October 18 - Dussehra
October 28 - Karwa Chauth

November 5 - Dhanteras
November 6-10 - Diwali
November 23 - Rasa Purnima


Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Life lately...

I feel like ever since Maya started Kindergarten, the past few months have just been such a blur. School drop-off's, pick-up's, and keeping busy with Veda every day has me in a constant hurried state! In a few short months, Veda has gone from crawling, to standing, and now she is practicing walking with assistance! No rest for mommy.

(Veda at 8.5 months)

From the end of September until the end of October, we had non-stop celebrations. So much so, that now I feel hungover from all the celebrations! This year we performed all the festivals of the Autumn season. Last year my mother-in-law was recovering from heart surgery, and I was pregnant & going through a mild prenatal depression, so we didn't do much. This year, we went all out and celebrated everything!

First, we had Navratri, which is a 9 day Hindu festival, culminating with Dussehra on the last day. We set up a large display of Bommala Koluvu with Maya's miniature dolls and figurines near our pooja corner. Both the kids loved this. Maya did the whole set up with my mother-in-law and Veda watched with amazement.

In between, we also had my birthday, my mother-in-law's birthday, and Canadian Thanksgiving - all were pretty low-key.We also had relatives staying with us from India for 10 days which was really fun....8 people in our 1000 sq.ft apartment! It was our relatives' first time visiting Canada, so I had a lot of fun playing tourist with them.

Diwali snuck up on us this year really fast and I was determined to do something special for it. This year, I did a Diwali presentation at Maya's school which is something I wanted to do for forever, but could never get it together. It's Maya's last year at her current school, so I figured it was now or never! I got all dressed up to the nines - in full Diwali fashion! I brought sweets for all the kids and I explained to them about what Diwali was - why we celebrate it; how it is celebrated in India; how we celebrate it in our home; and that we celebrate it because Maya's daddy is from India. I brought battery-operated tealight candles and asked the kids to place the candles near the windowsill while I read them a storybook about Diwali. They got to take home their candles, and we also made them a 10 page coloring booklet with Diwali images. The best part of it was seeing how proud my daughter was of her Indian heritage.

At home, we had an evening pooja and we got all dressed up and handed out sweets to our neighbors. We also attended a Diwali party over the weekend that my friend organised.

For this year's Diwali, I wore a hot pink and orange kanchipuram silk saree from my favorite Nalli Silks shop in Hyderabad. You're always supposed to wear something new for Diwali and luckily I still have a few silk sarees that were gifted to me that I haven't worn yet. This year, I wanted to wear something cheerful and soft so that it didn't scratch Veda's skin - not too much embroidery.

Shortly after Diwali, it was Halloween already! Maya dressed up as Wonder Woman and Veda was a lion. We spent Halloween over at our friends' house where we did trick or treating, had dinner together, and handed out candies. We ended up not taking Veda out because it was very cold that evening and just kept her indoors.

After so many celebrations in the Fall, November has been a much quieter month. I have hardly left the house, except to take the kids to their activities. Now, we are gearing up for the next holiday season - Christmas! This whole year has gone by so fast.


Dear readers, did your families celebrate any holidays this Fall?
Are you looking forward to the upcoming Christmas season?

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