Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Our trip to Hawaii

We recently went on a lovely little trip to Hawaii and although we're back home now, I'm still reminiscing about our wonderful trip. First let me say that this trip was LONG OVERDUE...we had originally planned to go last fall but then other things came up and we ended up canceling it. This year, and especially with my extra income from working my day job, I was determined to finally take our little family on a vacation...because I earned it!

Veda has never been on an airplane before and we wanted to take her on a short trip to get her used to flying, especially before she turned 2 (they fly for free under age 2!). I thought Hawaii might be a good destination because it's kid-friendly, a short non-stop flight (5 hours), and it's also a place we have taken Maya before and loved.

When we went to Hawaii before, we used to stay in my mom's friend's apartment who lived in a quiet gated community 1 hour north of Kona (on The Big Island). The gated community had a large swimming pool and a beautiful little beach, and we always thought that when we go back, we'd want to go to the exact same place. My mom's friend has since sold her condo, but luckily we found a nice vacation rental on the same lot.

My in-law's didn't come with us this time, as they went on their own vacation to China for sightseeing, which I kind of liked. We always travel together, but this time we did our own vacation and it was really nice just being the 4 of us.

For 10 days, we spent the mornings at the beach and the afternoons at the pool...and it was just amazing. We had such a wonderful time together and both of the girls loved it.

Now we are back home and we've been working like crazy for the holiday season at our stores, and also doing photoshoots for families for their annual holiday photos. I would really love to go back next year, as it was the perfect vacation to take children on.

Here's some of my favorite photos:


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Life Lately!

Dear readers,

It has been such a long time since my last post! I know a lot of you have been wondering what we've been up to...and if I had stopped my blog altogether. First let me say that I have been thinking a lot about blogging, yet not actually doing it (LOL). Somehow, by the time I get back from work and my kids go to bed, I barely have enough energy. Seriously, as I am writing this... it's past 11PM and I should probably get to bed soon. And to tell you the truth, I've really been thinking a lot about the direction that I want my blog to go in. It's something I needed some space and time to meditate on and think deeply about. I'm still thinking about it.

(Shameless glamorous selfie)

First let me fill you in on all the exciting news since my last update...

WE FINALLY MOVED IN TO OUR NEW PLACE!!! Despite moving in the blistering Summer heat, it has been everything we imagined and more. It is such a beautiful home and it's exactly the space we need (eg. my in-law's finally have their own bedroom! Yay!) I really feel like our quality of life has improved since moving here. We are both walking distance from our workplaces, which means husband-ji often comes home for lunch. Maya started a new school which is also walking distance, which means we barely use the car. I'll post some official pictures later, once we finish hanging all of our artwork (this is still pending).

(Our new living room..with a view)

My job has been going amazing and I find it so inspiring. My schedule is a bit all over the place - some weeks more, some weeks less. I truly love being out in the workforce and I especially LOVE getting paid! Even though my salary is not very high, there's something so exhilarating about making my own money - once you get a taste of it, you never can go back! I love the social aspect of my work - making friends with my co-workers (who all come from different backgrounds and walks of life) and conversing with customers. After wearing sweatpants for the past 6 years as a SAHM, it has been so enjoyable to dress up for work and experiment with my fashion and makeup. It's like I get to play dress-up! Starting work has been such a positive influence in my life and it's just opened my world up to all the new things I can achieve. It's been a domino effect of positivity and potential. As they say, one good thing always leads to another...

(One of my favorite work outfits - an olive jumpsuit!)

Husband-ji and I also started a new business! In addition to our jobs, we also opened up our own freelance photography studio! Photography has always been a passion of ours and we have talked about partnering up as a husband/wife team for years. Our company is called Studio A & M and please do follow us on Instagram. The photoshoots we have done so far have been so much fun. We are concentrating on family photojournalism with a documentary-style twist, but we are open to all kinds of photography.

So, after all of this...where does that leave my blog, Madh Mama? I'm not ready to completely give up on it, but I'm also unsure of the direction that I'd like it to evolve in.

That's where I'd like to hear from you, dear readers. Where should I go from here? What would you like to read more of? What are some of your favorite posts?


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Working Mother

As I mentioned in my last update, in May I was thrilled to start a new job. Since then, I have been getting acclimatized to my "new normal" of being a mom and working outside the home. Even though I have worked before since becoming a mother, it was always either back to our shop and/or on my creative projects, so it was a bit different. First, it was so flexible that I could always switch with husband-ji or work while Maya was in school. And such flexible work did not really bring in enough cash to benefit our family. Nor did it give me enough work hours to really accomplish much. Now it's a bit different because my work hours are longer and not really negotiable. It's definitely a different pace, but I'm really liking it.

First let me mention that me working would not even be possible without the support of my mother-in-law (and of course husband-ji - but mostly my mother-in-law!). She has wanted me to go out and work on my own for a long time but I was focused on the kids and I was mentally tied up with trying to get pregnant, being pregnant and trying to keep the pregnancy, breastfeeding Veda, and trying to stop breastfeeding Veda. So there went two years of my life! We women really do have to sacrifice a lot of our time when we birth these babies! After my mother-in-law returned from India, I finally felt ready to start working again and focusing on my career, for once!

I tried to work at the shop, but then I got an idea that maybe I should try to work elsewhere. Why? Well, there were a lot of reasons. I wanted to try to work for a company that I loved and I wanted to gain some more experience for my resume. And now it turns out that I really like my job and I'm going to try to stay there longer term. It's a much larger company so I have learned a lot of new skills since joining.

Without my mother-in-law here, this wouldn't even be possible. Babysitters and nannies cost $15-20 per hour, and daycare costs $1700-$2500 per month. So, uh, no. It is so wonderful that she is here and she takes such good care of the kids. It is a privilege to get the chance to think about my career, and essentially myself, and the life goals that I want to accomplish. Husband-ji has also been great at helping to pick up Maya from school when I have to work and accommodating my schedule which effects all of us, especially since I was the go-to person to drop everything of my own to make sure that the family/home life runs properly. It's a bit of a new dynamic in our relationship and it feels like he respects me just a little bit more since I started working again.

I am working part-time at the moment, which can range anywhere between 15-40 hours per week depending on how much they need me. I find that I'm enjoying my kids more since working and having a life outside the home. When I come home, I make sure to spend quality time with the kids and take them on fun outings. For literally the first time in the past 7 years, it feels like I've got a good balance.

Maya seems the most happy about my new job. I was so scared that she would be upset and think my work was taking me away from her, but she didn't. She was, after all, the one who asked me to get a job in the first place! So I guess I can thank her for the idea! She seems to be very proud of me and she has told her whole class. She especially likes it when I have to get dressed up for work with the whole production of makeup, earrings and nice clothes. Although it feels like such a chore to dress up, it's a nice change from my uniform for the past 2 years of sweatpants!

If you had asked me 6 months ago about my life goals or what I want to accomplish, I would probably say something very vague because anything outside of being a mother seemed unattainable and felt like it would never get done. It is so refreshing to have a new set of goals now, and the time and space to really get to work!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Year in Motherhood

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the mothers and soon-to-be mothers! Every year on Mother's Day, I always like to reflect on my blog about my year in motherhood. This past year was pretty hard for me because I struggled with my new demands of being a mom of two little ones, and also suffering with Postpartum Depression in the Fall. I really wanted both of my little ones to feel loved and equal and I definitely put too much pressure on myself. The PPD really shook my world because it caught me off guard. It was mainly brought on by the extreme sleep deprivation that I experienced from 6-12 months postpartum. Between the breastfeeding and the lack of sleep, there was not much time left for me. As the year comes to a close, I recall a lot of difficult and weepy times, but I'm so glad that I pushed through and have made it to the other side, thanks to the unconditional support of husband-ji and my in-law's. As Mother's Day arrived this year, I again felt so happy and proud to be a mom!

Here are some pictures from my past year in motherhood (in chronological order!):

Last year's Mother's Day photoshoot
Cutting the cake at Maya's 5th Birthday Party
Napping with Veda

My new short "mom" hair-cut!
Snuggling with Veda
We woke up like this!

Veda only wants boobs...
Napping with Veda, again
With my girls
Watching Veda sleep
Me hugging Veda before going to work with my "makeup face" on!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Now Featured in: the May issue of Little India magazine

I'm so excited to share with you that we've been featured in the May 2018 issue of Little India magazine! It is the largest circulating expat publication in the USA, geared towards NRI's. I am very happy that they chose to feature us in a spotlight on multicultural masala love! I'm working on getting a digital copy, but until then, here's a peek!


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Life Lately!

After a slow start to the year, Spring time has been much more fast paced for us - so much so, that I'm still trying to catch my breath among the chaos! But, it's been a nice relief, especially since it was a terrible stagnant winter.

First, we are so excited that our home construction is FINALLY almost finished. It has been such a long journey and we can't wait to get in to our new home. However, moving comes with it's own set of challenges. We have to sell a lot of things that we don't want or need, we have to pack the things that we want to keep - it's a lot of decisions. But, I enjoy going through everything because husband-ji and I have really been re-evaluating our belongings and favoring a more minimalist approach. As a creative/visual person, I find that clutter really distracts me and causes me stress. It's really hard to say goodbye to things that have sentimental value or that someone has given us. Most of our furniture are hand-me downs and nothing that husband-ji actually picked out ourselves. Now that we are moving to a new home soon, husband-ji and I have been picking out new furniture that better reflect both of our tastes. We feel very adult! We are also saying goodbye to a lot of baby items that Veda has outgrown, now that our family is complete.

I also started a new job last week! I can't believe it. It feels great to be a working parent again, and so good to get the extra paycheck (especially since we are purchasing new furniture!). It was hard to think about working again with round-the-clock breastfeeding, not being able to find proper childcare, and my mother-in-law traveling. We tried to find a nanny for Veda but it didn't work out, so I just accepted my role as a stay-at-home parent although I was getting a bit restless internally. Sometimes stay-at-home parenting is not a choice, it's just what you have to do. 

I think the biggest "aha!" moment came to me when my 5 year old, Maya (who likes to ask me existential questions) asked me, "Mom, when are you going to get a job?" and I was speechless. I really didn't know what to say. And then I started to think that maybe I should get a job outside the home - something other than my creative pursuits - which to be honest, doesn't bring in steady money. Maya asked me, "Mom, what are you going to be when you grow up?" and I didn't really have an answer. I have been so swept up in parenting and motherhood that I haven't had a chance to think about putting myself out there.

When my mother-in-law came back from India and had no upcoming travel plans for the rest of the year, I touched base with her if it would be okay for me to start working again. She said absolutely, and was very encouraging about it. At the same time, almost to an uncanny coincidence, I noticed that a lot of places were hiring. Like, nearly every storefront I walked by! So, I hurriedly got my resume together and started applying. Within a week, I heard back from all 4 places I applied and started booking interviews. They hired me immediately at my top choice - a place that I had always wanted to work. They have hired me part-time for 2-3 days per week; and I am also helping out husband-ji at the shop for 1 day a week. I feel like this is a great balance for me because on the days that I'm off I can still take the kids to their activities. And the hours work out really well too - they have 3 different shifts per day. Working outside the home has also helped me wean Veda off of breastfeeding during the day, which I have been trying to do forever! I am still breastfeeding her at night though, mostly because we co-sleep and I'm too lazy to be bothered with sleep training.

We have been under heavy financial pressure during our whole construction and it dawned on me that I can actually help contribute financially too. Although husband-ji won't say it out loud, I think it comforts him a lot knowing that wifey is bringing home some funds too. It makes me feel good too.

Of course, I was a bit nervous about working again. But it turns out, being a mom has made me extremely efficient at work. I can multitask like a CEO, I have eyes everywhere, I have A LOT of patience, and constantly being on my feet is pretty similar to running around after an active toddler. Truth: moms get shit done!

(Veda: 15 months old)


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tamil New Year

Last weekend it was Tamil New Year and we performed a small pooja at home in the morning. We also got a chance to dress up the kids in some new Indian attire that was brought from India. I can't get over how grown up they look! Compared to last year, the change is huge!

Husband-ji and I didn't get a chance to dress up. He was running out the door to work and I was behind the camera in my nightgown, as usual!

But here is a photo of Veda and I from later that week:


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Our Spring Break Vacation to Mount Baker

Recently Maya was off school for Spring Break and my father-in-law was also off work for the Easter long weekend, so we decided to visit our Tamil family across the border in Washington state. We hadn't had a chance to go to the mountains yet this Winter and with warmer weather right around the corner, it was out last chance to experience a Winter Wonderland with the kids.

We rented this super cute little ski chalet cabin on Air BnB and we all stayed together. During the day, we drove up to the mountain and the kids played in the snow.

The trip was a bit stressful for me as Veda was just recovering from a double ear infection and was generally pretty fussy, and she hates the car. The wait at the border was absolutely insane with a 5 hour wait time for the long weekend. Next time, we might just take the train down! And then, we discovered that our boss baby Veda didn't like the snow! Oh, toddlers! So, I was definitely a bit preoccupied with my little devilish munchkin. It kind of reminded me of that trip we did to Hawaii when Maya was 18 months old and she got scared of sand. Go figure!

However, it was great to get together with family and enjoy some quality time together. Maya got to play with her little girl cousin, whom she adores, and is the same age as her. The mountain was so picturesque and despite the snow, it wasn't too cold up there.

Here are some highlights from our trip:


Dear readers, how was your Spring Break? 
Did you travel anywhere new?


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Visiting the Healthy Family Expo

I was so excited to receive an invitation to attend the Healthy Family Expo, which was held downtown at the Vancouver Convention Center. One of the perks of being a blogger is that I get invited to attend a lot of events and this one was right up my alley! We were encouraged to bring the whole family and spend the day exploring all the vendors and checking out the entertainment. My father-in-law also came along with us because he works in the natural health industry.

This year was it's 5th anniversary and I was so impressed at the wide range of exhibits that were there. There were over 200 vendors! They have everything that you would need, from teething biscuits to soccer lessons, from organic juices to wooden toys. They even had family doctors, dentists and chiropractors. It's a must-attend for any local family. We received so many samples of products and snacks (some were even full size!) and everyone there was so knowledgeable and great to chat with.

The event was very kid-friendly - featuring children's concerts, a toddler play area, and bouncy castles and trampolines. All of the vendors interacted so well with children.

Here are some pictures of our day:

We loved these Montessori-style wooden toys by Tender Leaf Toys!

So addictive!

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