Triumph

17 Apr

Honey, we did it!The last few days posed a unique challenge and we came out victorious. I am so proud of us.
My aunt ( mom’s older sister) and her husband were staying with us for 4 days. This aunt was the main opposition that we faced over 8 years ago when we first broke the news of our ‘illicit’ affair. This aunt was the one who berated my poor parents when stories of me dating a ‘north Indian’ boy leaked out through the cousin grapevine. This aunt reduced my mom , her adoring younger sister to a sobbing mess and told her she had ‘not raised her daughter well’. I do not blame her for completely wrecking my relationship with my parents for a good 2 years but she had a large part to play. This aunt riled my aging grandmom against my mom and dad and my poor dad had to work years on end to get back into his mother in law’s good graces.
I was exceptionally nervous to face this aunt a few days leading to the wedding and spent the majority of my time trying to avoid one on one time with her.
Since then though, I do think I have matured and have realized that it is better to face my fears head on. She might say something hurtful, but I am trying to forgive and forget and move on . So since our wedding, we have met her a few times and  you have been your charming best on all these occasions.
I was so nervous about their visit to NYC and our home and dragged you into an argument before they arrived this weekend.  I was worried what they would say about our house, our lifestyle and even adorable Bandar whose vocabulary is mostly English. I spent a furious 48 hours trying to teach Bandar a smattering of Tamil, shouted at you to shave and  numerous other small things. For a short time there I was ashamed – ashamed that we were not ‘settled’ in the traditional seonse, lived in a 5th floor walk up instead of a conventional house in the suburbs and had a child who refused to learn her mother’s mother tongue. How ridiculous was I ? What was I trying to prove and to whom? And why?
I need not have worried at all. They loved the sunny, well lit apartment, the ringing of church bells from across the street and only cribbed about the walk up a handful of times , that is totally reasonable given their age and physical condition . Bandar of course , amused them in her usual endearing way like only an innocent child can and you my dear, took the cake with your charm. No one would call you an introvert as you drew them into conversation and picked out topics of interest to them for light discussions  ,and I honestly think they are so comfortable with you now, way more than their own standoffish son-in-law. You graciously ate the food that was cooked, even though it might not have been particularly what you would have liked. And last night on your birthday instead of getting to choose the Italian restaurant you were dying to try , you gave in and we went to a South Indian restaurant instead. You were such a sport about this and I know I would have sulked and cribbed if I had to give in to accomodate your extended family. At the end of it, they were not particularly pleased with the meal but I still see the evening and their overall visit as highly successful. 

Honey, I know you endure everything and do whatever you can for my happiness since the day you asked me out almost 10 years ago. The ‘parental approval’ saga is behind us by a good 5 years now but I do not think I had mentally and emotionally patched all the broken relationships till this weekend. Somehow in a strange way, these 4 days were the end of some longer forgiveness journey I had to undergo. You have stood by my side every step of the way and for this I am thankful.

Though you are but 15 months older than me, you are definitely the mature, understanding and accommodating one. Your 30 th birthday came and went by yesterday and though you didn’t particularly care for many of the small and big gifts I gave you , I am adding one more to the list – I promise to bring in my compassion and maturity to future issues pertaining to your immediate and extended family. This itself will reduce our arguments by over 50%. Oh,  but I am still going to bug you about shaving! Even when you are a lazy 90 year old!

#100HappyDays – Happy moments from my trip

14 Apr

Silly me! I thought I would have more time on my hands to blog when I traveled for work. Phew! It was an exhausting 4 days and I glad to be home.
It’s still weird to call NYC home but it was oddly comforting to arrive at JFK and take the subway home, immersed in the throngs of people. I actually missed the sirens, the crowds, the dirt and everything in the short time that i was away.
Of course,  the people make the place home and I was just glad to return and hug my lovely husbadoo and Bandar.
I was a little wary as to how Bandar would behave when she saw me. The last time I traveled about 6 weeks ago, she sulked a good 30 minutes before letting me hold her. This time though she came straight to me and wanted me to pick her up even before I had washed my hands. The husbadoo surpassed all expectations in holding down the fort here. I must have married well and am truly blessed.

Some happy moments from Austin that pale in comparison to the return above-
Having a good heart to heart discussion with my manager about my career. It is not necessarily progressing at the rate that I want but it was good to know that the path to get to my goal is definitely interesting and will keep me stimulated and challenged. A few alternate paths also were discussed last week that make me feel hopeful and positive about the future.

Walking down the aisles at work and bumping into all the friendly faces. Innumerable people came by to hug me and ask how we were doing in NYC. I miss these small things now that I work remote.

Meeting my buddies. It was so much fun catching up with some true friends and the dinners at their homes , outside, playing board games till midnight on a working day all filled my heart with so much warmth and joy and  I can go a few more months leading this solitary life in NYC.

Planning a on the spur trip with the above mentioned friends, the husbadoo and Bandar. A spontaneous discussion on travel plans led us to book tickets for a Caribbean getaway with our best friends in a  month’s time. Now for planning the itinerary and details.

Going out for meals without the husbadoo in Austin to our frequented places was a tad sad. Nevertheless, I got my fill my Tex Mex and returned stuffed.

Driving my car. I am usually not  fan of driving at all, it tires me and I am not a confident driver at all.But I have missed being behind the wheel and it was fun to drive my car to work like I have done for the 6 years before we moved.

#100HappyDays – Another post with some happy Tid bits

8 Apr

A lot of my happy moments are around Thursdays. Why you ask? That’s because on alternate Thursdays,  the husbadoo typically goes in a little late to work and we try to have lunch together apart from other fun morning activities together. (Ahem!)
Last Thursday we choose to go to a tiny little shack for Desi Kati Rolls. I am actually not a huge fan of them at all and this one was just average with a paneer filling I could have made at home but the thick cut potato chips with the lovely , extra red,  fiery,  desi masala were worth the $5. They were  finger lickingly awesome and we washed it down with tapioca tea from our newly discovered tea place. We then parted for him to go to work and I returned home , also to work.

Fridays also feature heavily on my happy list as I pick up Bandar just after lunch. She usually comes home and naps for two hours. Off late , she has been getting up in a crabby mood. I remember being  5 or 6 years old and being in an extremely bad mood after a weekend afternoon nap. This Friday I was prepared. I made her some yummy popcorn in coconut oil( so damn good!) and opened up a new toy – a small musical, ferris wheel with little dolls that can sit in it.
She was thrilled and had great fun playing with it all evening. The cutest part as she has 5 little dolls and only 4 fit at a time, she makes one wait its turn. She talks to the little doll and says – ” Wait ,baby. See, baby. Your turn.” This is all because of learning to share and waiting her turn at school. Everyday I am amazed at all the crazy stuff she says and does. Seriously a fun age. Wish I could freeze time.

Saturday was pretty awesome. The husbadoo recently joined a cricket club and was looking forward to a game that day but it got canceled because of a wet pitch from rains the day before. Anyway,  we headed to Central Park and spent a pleasant one hour at a playground there. After Bandar ate her picnic lunch and dozed in her stroller, we picked up an ice cream cone to share and walked to burger place for lunch. Yummy burgers, fries and a cosy chat with one’s spouse – pretty perfect. On days like this when Bandar sleeps in her stroller when we are out, we can either go home and sleep beside her or make use of our time and get a lunch date like this. That means we sacrifice our nap though as Bandar is fresh as a daisy when we eventually head home. Still we had a relaxing evening with her at home and ended the day watching a few episodes of ‘House of Cards’ after she went to bed.

Sunday started with slightly dampened spirits as I was leaving on my business trip that afternoon. I spent the morning cooking some food for the husbadoo and Bandar and doing simple but random things like laying out 4 outfits for Bandar for the days I will be away. A friend at work was so surprised I did all this and asked if the husbadoo cannot manage even these things on his own. The answer is he is fully capable of cooking for himself and the Bandar and is probably more adept that me in picking a color coordinated outfit. But I do want to make his life easier when he is dealing with a cranky baby who is missing her mommy and not have him sort through piles of laundry or deal with menu planning and execution. What is marriage if you don’t help each other a little, right? He does simple tasks like refilling the soap dispenser, changing the liner on our diaper dispenser, taking the trash out (funny how all those are bathroom and trash related tasks!) just to make my life a little easier every day.
I also baked some yummy banana bread using whole wheat flour, bananas, apple sauce, choc chips, flax seeds, chia seeds and a tiny bit of  maple syrup. So good! Bandar loved it and we spent a glorious one hour before I left home watching her gobble the bread and amuse us with her silly antics.

I was sad to leave of course , but I know it is for a short while and am actually a little glad to get a break too. It really is nice to relax on a flight with a good book and play 2048 on repeat . It is nice to spend a few days with my team and friends. I enjoyed dressing up for work today and driving my old car in. I drove past our old place and was a little sad, but I know one day we will be better settled and be in our own place in a city like this. I love coming to Austin, it is where I started my career, lived alone, blossomed from a silly grad student to a young professional, made my first best friends, introduced my boyfriend to my parents, brought home my new groom, delivered my first baby. Even Bombay for me is sadly only home till my parents choose to live there. But Austin on the other hand, will always be that first home I built for myself.
Anyway it is late now and I need to sleep before I go in for early morning meetings. Unlike in NYC , I cannot roll out of bed and start a call in my pajamas.
I miss the Bandar but funnily enough miss the husbadoo more. He is best friend , my soulmate and really the one I want to talk to at the end of the day. When I am here, I vaguely feel guilty eating at some of our favorite haunts around this city.
Phew, this last part is a jumble of words and emotions and I am dog tired so am going to hit publish and turn it for the night!

The Wedding

3 Apr

My best friend got married recently to her boyfriend and she was busy planning every single detail for her outfits, accessories, the ceremonies from the US . The wedding took place in India but she was extremely in tune with all the preparation and ensured her vision for the wedding came through and was executed to perfection. They had their wedding website, their engagement pictures and their own invite (different from  the one their parents designed).
When I look back on our wedding that took place almost 5 years ago , it was different in every aspect. I almost feel we were guests at our own wedding and just did exactly what were told, wore what we were told and just let our parents direct and produce the grand event.

We got married really young by most standards. I was 23 ( 2 months from my 24th birthday) and the husbadoo had just turned 25. It was life changing month for him overall – finishing his Ph.D , turning 25 and of course, marrying me.
A majority of our friends commented that we were too young and joked that it was like a child marriage. Looking at our wedding pics, we do appear really young and innocent. Neither of us cared much about these comments though. We were in love and our parents were finally coming around . Nothing else mattered.

As far as wedding preparation went, we both were in our respective cities in the US while our folks back home planned the wedding in true Indian fashion – the location, the ceremony, the catering etc .
Of course, our families had their own preferences and though everyone was nicey nice to each other on the surface, each set of parents complained to their kids about the other family’s choices and why they were so wrong.
Now neither the husbadoo nor I had any preference on any of this but we did want to support our own families and argued with each other and saw the issue only from the eyes of our own parents. If we did have our own preferences on anything, I think it was buried so deep inside that we never let it surface at all. It was all about what our respective parents wanted. I had further issues that i was putting my parents through the trauma of an inter community marriage and as they had finally accepted even that, I now wanted every little thing related to the marriage to be done in the way they wanted and made this abunduntly clear to the hubadoo. Those months leading up to the wedding were extremely hard on our relationship.

My mom picked my sarees for the ceremony, and though extremely. beautiful as they were , I was not asked for my choice of colors or anything. It was just one of the many tasks she did. No pictures were shared of the final picks either. They were just shown to me when I landed in Bombay a week before the wedding.
My in laws wanted to pick my reception lehenga with me so we all traipsed to the shops – the husbadoo, I , our parents and some aunts. I was happy to atleast be asked.
Each of our families wanted to see the ceremony done in their own community’s style – so we had a complete Tam Brahm wedding first, a Gujarati wedding immediately after that, and  a reception by the seaside that very evening. A day that started at 4 am and ended past midnight for the bride and groom.

For the Tamilian ceremony, I was dressed exactly how my mom had visualized me -  down to the million flowers in my fake hair and the several sovereigns of gold she had painstakingly collected since my birth.We had a Tamilian beautician work on me and when it was done, I could barely recognize myself. My only saving grace was that I had lost a good 15 lbs for the wedding and was at my skinniest best . This helped me not look humongous in the 9 yards sari that was draped later. To start with I was in the 6 yards one.
I hated everything about my look and could have pulled a long face but then I stepped out onto the mandap to catch a glimpse of my handsome boyfriend,  topless but for his angavastram (cloth wrapped around him) and his traditional veshti , smiling at me, dimples and all. He looked the very picture of a good Iyer boy and put many a true one to shame. I still think it was this look that even swept my mom of her feet that day. His natural charm and personality had even my most crusty and judgmental great aunts warm up and smile for a change.

From that minute onwards, my mood was uplifted and I sat through every ceremony ,almost in a dreamlike stupor, just so happy that I was marrying this man, who would go to the ends of the earth to make my family and in turn, me very happy.

He too says that the first glimpse of me in my blue six yard sari was enough to keep him happy all through the day. We had the Tamilian traditions play out – the Kashi yatra, the jhula , the ceremonies, the changing into the nine yards sari for me, the kanyadhan on my father’s lap. I remember holding my dad’s hand tightly as I sat on his lap and him squeezing it in turn and then I looked into the husbadoo’s eyes as he got set to tie my mangalsutra. The non-verbal communication I shared with these two men in those five minutes will stay with me for life.

After the Tamilian wedding was over, it was now his mother’s moment and she quickly took over directing Act 2. We were grabbed a minute too soon to my mother’s liking ( of course, you can never keep your families completely happy , can you?) and a group of my mother in law’s make up women transformed me into a Gujarati bride in the traditional red and white sarees. The husbadoo looked prince like in his Sherwani and everyone on both sides commented that we looked the part perfectly in each ceremony. We came on stage for the Gujarati pandit to start his role. The interesting part was that both communities had their own version of almost the exact same ceremonies.
After that we were the last ones to lunch. It was maybe 3 pm by then, not sure. The lunch following the wedding was a beautiful mix of traditional Tamilian and Gujarati dishes.Here I am talking Tam wedding potato curry and Thayirsadham coupled with Dhokla and Undhiyo!
It was quite late when we were done, but my mom was not going to be done out of the important Tamilian ceremony of taking the groom to the bride’s house. So we drove all the way to South Bombay to my house and then after the said ceremony was done, the husbadoo drove all the way back to Central Bombay. I meanwhile was whisked away to the beauty parlour . Here they noticed I actually had a slight cut on my cheek. There is no saying who caused it – the Tamilian beautician or the Gujju one. Anyway, they covered it up and I was ready for our reception.
The reception was really our favorite part of the wedding, it was by the sea in South Bombay and there was a nice breeze that balmy May evening. We stood on stage for what seemed like hours and  there were some fun controversies about which side the bride was supposed to stand as this differs in south and north India. Thankfully in the confusion of welcoming 1000 plus people, a lot of compromises were made all around . We probably had 10 friends through our college gang/s show up,less than 1% of the crowd. Anyway, we shared a few candid happy moments that evening and were fairly relaxed.
We sat down for dinner with our immediate families around 11 pm and as I looked around the table, I felt a sense of accomplishment of having merged these two different clans and actually having survived the day.Our only regret is not being able to enjoy the food as we were so tired from all the standing and posing.
So that is how we got married. It was probably our parents’ day and not really ours but at the end of it we were married and all was okay in our world.

Playdate anyone?

1 Apr

In Austin , we had several different groups of friends and were pretty close to two specific couples and a lot of weekends were spent with them. After Bandar made her appearance in 2012 and our mobility was a little limited , our closest friends were totally cool with coming over on a Friday/ Saturday night after dinner and waiting till we got Bandar to sleep and playing board games till 2 am.
I sometimes had a dessert ready, sometimes chips, sometimes drinks..didn’t really matter.There were absolutely no formalities involved. They have seen our house at its messiest best and never really judged (at least commented). Often I would have to go and pat,rock, feed Bandar to sleep if we saw her sitting up on the baby monitor and everyone was fine with pausing the game for me.
Apart from these close friends, we had other friends for casual dinners, friends who we had nothing in common with but kids and they served to be good resources on all things baby, the husbadoo’s cricket buddies whose mysterious wives never as much as gave us a glance when we bumped into them somewhere but the men acted like they were the best of buds with each other.
We had packed weekends and I remember being pissed off for a period after our wedding when we hardly got time to just hang out alone.
Anyway, now we hardly have any friends here in NYC. Bandar goes to school with a bunch of kids whose moms all seem nice and cordial and to be fair, play dates in the park have been discussed for Spring. But in the last 2 months, it has just been our little family unit, which for the most part is fun but yes it would be nice to have some friends.

We took Bandar to the park last weekend and she started playing with a girl about 2 months older. The parents seemed genuinely friendly and we struck up a conversation on daycares, weird child behavior, places to eat etc etc. I really thought there was a genuine connection there. As we got ready to leave I said to the mom , ” So should we exchange numbers and maybe arrange a play date for the kids?”
She said , ” Definitely, they are so close in age and appear to really like playing together.”
She took out her phone to text me, so that I would have her number. My cell phone as usual wasn’t charged but I told her I would respond once I charged it.
We left and the husbadoo and I discussed the conversation and were glad we had met a nice family.  I of course, started visualizing fun play dates at our house or theirs with the girls playing and the adults sipping wine.
I got home and charged my phone to find no message at all! So I did not have her number. Did she fake texting me?
Was it weird / creepy/ desperate/ all of the above of me to suggest exchanging numbers?
I gave her the benefit of doubt for  24 hours and when no message came even then, I assumed she never did text me.
I am now super embarrassed to go back to the same park in case, we bump into them again. They live really close to it, so there is a good chance we will see them sooner or later. I do not know if I should even mention the text that I never received or just act normal and not talk about it at all.
Ughhh! This whole thing is just so embarrassing overall. I am now too nervous to even suggest a phone number exchange with any other parent, especially one I just met. I have over analyzed this situation so much and the husbadoo is teasing me about it as well!
What would you do if you were in my place and saw them again?

#100HappyDays – Some happy moments from the weekend

31 Mar

So Thursday evening, I attended my first bookclub meeting. It was through our moms group and was the very first one. So it was not  like I was barging into a previously created group. It was fun meeting a group of women, and discussing the book and other things. It ended at 11 pm, went on for a good 3 hours and I came back all excited and happy. The husbadoo held down the fort at home with Bandar and put her to bed. He also made me a yummy pita wrap before I left and I am really blessed to have this guy in my life.

On Friday evening,the husbadoo picked up some Bubble tea for us. Ice tea with the little tapioca balls. This was a weekend staple in. Austin and I am glad we found a place on his way back from work. The price and volume are of course different from Austin, but at least we have a go-to spot for our favorite drink now. We then decided to go to the local Whole Foods store and get some fruits. I was highly skeptical as we have been to the flagship store in Austin a few times and though we loved the experience, it was more expensive than any other local store. I was pleasantly surprised to see fresh, organic produce at the same price or cheaper in some cases then our usual store. I think I shopped sensibly and only picked what I needed,but will be going back for sure. We also stayed clear of the cooked food as we had tons of leftovers at home. I am proud of us being able to control ourselves . A mere 6 months ago , we would have definitely eaten out given the option and food on display. As we are edging towards our 30s , we are getting really conscious of everything we put into our bodies and for that I am glad.

Speaking about ours 30s, it is the husbadoo’s 30th birthday in less than a months time. I am planning 30 small and big gifts but for that, I need to start buying/ ordering stuff. I am also doing this in secret and I had a few scary moments when I thought I let something slip. I guess he doesn’t read my blog , but I am not going to write more details until the plan is fully executed.  It is fun though browsing stuff online, making lists , figuring out what he would like and imagining his face when he opens the stuff. So excited!

On Saturday, the husbadoo announced he had found a local cricket club and was going to go and check out a practice session. I am usually  very grudging about cricket eating into our weekends but as he had been so graceful about my bookclub, I realized I need to be a good person too. So I was extremely supportive about him traveling 4 hours for a 3 hours practice. Living in NYC makes you so cut off from the suburban lifestyle that we were used to – be it cricket leagues, wholesale bulk grocery shopping, desi events and festivals etc. We do miss those things but are hoping this is temporary and plan on enjoying whatever the city has to over at this time. I actually had a lovely morning and afternoon with Bandar – we skyped with my folks, napped together for a few hours and made some delicious popcorn.

Our friend ( the one who actually introduced us to each other over 10 years ago in college) lives in NYC too and we had invited him for dinner. I had planned a Tex Mex menu of seriously awesome salsa, enchiladas and healthy baked chile rellanos .I spent a good part of the day cooking everything from scratch to find out at 4 pm that he was too sick to make it that day. So we instead dressed up and sat down to a fun family dinner at 7 pm. I want to cook one elaborate dinner like this each month and eat at the table with Bandar. Usually she eats early, we get her to bed and then start our dinner by the TV. The only part about the dinner I would surprisingly change was the wine. We both don’t really like alcohol much but did like the sweeter , dessert wines. However off late, we are starting to even dislike those and prefer iced tea or sweeter fruit juices for special occasions. We probably should not have opened the bottle yesterday and now I am planning to use the remaining half in cooking.
The evening was fun, relaxed and romantic (the romance part kicked in after we got Bandar to bed!) . A perfect end to the weekend.

We are family!

27 Mar

So one of the major changes for us since moving to NYC has been the fact that it is pretty much just the three of us alone, all the time. All weekdays and all weekends.

I am not really complaining as the last time the husbadoo and I were alone was in August 2012 , a week before Bandar was due. We then had family stay with us in the order of – my mom, my dad, my mom again and sis, my father in law, my sister in law, my mother in law, my dad, my sis, my mom, my mother in law! Phew! I am leaving out numerous aunts and uncles visits during this time and a stressful trip to India sans the husbadoo.
Everyone in both our families work and they all made solo trips with a few exceptions like my mom and sis together once. With the exception of my MIL who retired when Bandar was 6 months and came for a few months at a time to be with us, the other trips were a few weeks each. I know both families spent a small fortune on tickets that year without accepting a penny from us and really showered Bandar with a lot of love. We had a part time nanny employed but our families somehow felt obligated to cover that half day of care for us and  wanted to help out and be there for us and we did not particularly refuse or encourage.I am eternally grateful of course, and we got Bandar to 13 months without much incident, thank God. Takes a village to raise a child and all that good stuff!
But with family living with you, things can also be very stressful, especially desi families who don’t hesitate to judge/ voice opinions/ comment on every single thing! It was just really very hard to manage the relationship with ones parents/ in laws right after you have popped out a baby, are struggling to breastfeed and pump for a good year, manage stressful jobs and  take career decisions.I think I might have spoilt some relationships for life during that year with my caustic tongue , nasty temper and retorts.
I will also not hesitate to say it was the hardest year for our marriage overall. Poor Bandar cannot really be blamed. Both the husbadoo and I do not handle stress well and tiny issues grew into major fights under hushed tones so that our folks wouldn’t know. Instead of a unit of two , we grew overnight into a unit of four (including the person who was with us at that time). Everyone of course intended the best for Bandar but communciation lines, egos, traditional views – all got in the way.
Also, what the husbadoo and i realized when we analyzed our situation was that there were certain topics that we each were over sensitive about. I for instance, took every single statement made by anyone to imply I was a bad mother for whatever reason. The husbadoo was overly sensitive about any minor statement relating to his career plans or job situation.
We also came to the conclusion that we had always been completely different individuals but when it was just us, there was a lot more give and take. We picked our battles – I gave in to him not shaving for a few days and he gave in to me keeping the house messy sometimes. With one more person from our families in the mix taking a point of view, the balance tipped.
The biggest thing we lost that year were a few traditions that we had come up with since our wedding and were really minor but important to us. Ordering in food on Fridays, getting bubble tea on weekends, watching some TV shows together as we ate dinner. All these things made us stronger as a couple and we lost a lot of these for a few months.
There are a few things I would change about that year.
1)I should have employed a full time professional nanny rather than our part time Desi gossipy one. This way family members visiting would not have felt the onus of childcare was on their shoulders and would have instead had a more relaxed time.
2)I should not have lost my temper and messed up relationships that are important in the long run. I should have kept my mouth shut and done exactly what I wanted without retorting in any way.
3) I should not have been guilty about anything that led me to be so defensive that entire year. I was doing a damn good job managing my child and my career and I should have held my head up high the entire time instead of sulking and flaring up at the slightest comment.
4)The husbadoo and I should have spent more time connecting that year. We started getting lunch together once a week or so and this helped us just talk, disconnect from family and focus on each other. We started doing this after Bandar was about 9 months but ideally should have been something we did right after Bandar was born. Dinner dates were not really easy for me to do at that time as again I was petrified about being judged for ‘ working all day, and leaving my baby at home, while I went out for dinner.’ So lunch worked out well for us and it was fun making up a story about having a work lunch and heading out in our separate cars to meet at a pre decided spot. It was almost like dating all over again.
Hopefully there will be other kids for me to put all the above into effect!

After my MIL left in October 2013, we were alone for the first time with Bandar and got a few weeks together in Austin before the husbadoo moved to start work in NYC in November. We joined him in December.
So I am definitely enjoying the closeness of being just the three of us in a new city and raising our little one the way we want – however disorganized, messy it may be.

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