Maxie Taking Swimming Class

This year we wanted to continue swimming lessons for Maxie like we did last year.  We didn’t count on such high demand in our neighborhood, so even though we got wait listed in March, we didn’t get into a class till late June.

I was glad that Mario agreed to do the “Baby & Me” classes with Maxie, so I didn’t have the pressure of getting into a swim suit.  Let’s face it, it is not a pretty sight after 2 kids. Funny that all the other moms felt the same way, because it is the second year in a row that I see only dads participate in this class while moms sit happily on the sideline cheering them on.  Go dads!

So far there have been four classes.  Maxie cried almost the whole way through during the first, and learned to do “crab walk” while crying half way through during the second.  Then we missed the third and fourth due to illness and a malfunctioned refrigerator.  But we are back on track and looking forward to get really good at swimming.

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Maxie holding onto daddy during his first swimming class this year

 

-Flo.

Ice Pops

It has been hot in early part of July.  In our neighborhood, there were days when the daily temperature went well above 80 degrees.  I had Ravi and Maxie both relentlessly requesting ice creams and popsicles.  Though we went out to ice cream shops during the weekends, such frequency did not satisfy Ravi and Maxie’s demands.  So I began to look for ways to satisfy their hunger by making some cold delicious myself.

I found a couple of ice pop books resting on my mom’s bookshelf gathering dust, so I borrowed them for myself.  After flipping through them, I was impressed with how easy it was to make popsicles.  In fact, I had most ingredients available even in my poorly stocked pantry.   It looked so easy and cheap to make that buying them from stores seemed to be ridiculous.  Of the bat, I made some and they were an instant hit!  I have to admit that a part of that success comes from the mini pop molds that are just so cute and inviting.  Ravi can usually eat anywhere from four to six in a single sitting, while Maxie will just hold one till it melts.  So one batch (makes 9 ice pops) satisfies their demands for one round, which gives me time to re-freeze more for later.

 

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Maxie and his ice pops

Here are the two recipes I have tried so far.  Both turned out really well.

Mint Lemonade Pops

Ingredients:

2/3 cup of sugar

1 1/3 cups of water

2 tablespoons packed, fresh mint leaves, rinsed

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Combine the sugar, 2/3 cup of water and mint in a small saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a simmer.  Let stand until cool.  Pour the mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Discard the solids.  Whisk in the lemon juice and remaining 2/3 cup water.

2.  Pour the mixture into ice pop molds of your choice and insert sticks.  Freeze until firm, at least 5 hours or up to 1 week.

 

Blueberry Ice Pops

Ingredients:

4 cup of good quality frozen or fresh blueberries

1 2/3 cups of water

2/3 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Combine the blueberries, water, sugar, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  Stir in the lemon juice.

2.  Pour the mixture into ice pop molds of your choice and insert sticks.  Freeze until firm, at least 5 hours or up to 1 week.

 

To unmold, run hot water over the outside of the molds for a few seconds, then gently pull the sticks.  As for my mini mold, I only had to pull them out and the flexible silicon mold allow the ice pops out without damage.  Also, I went with half of the ingredients since the mini mold is way smaller than the regular size and was still had enough mixture for 2 re-freezes.

 

-Flo.

Ravi (and his bear) at 51 Months

I am constantly in awe of how big Ravi is growing into and how beautiful he is turning out to be.  I know I am gushing with pride here, and that’s as his mother talking.  How can we not be in love with our little boys who we held dear in our hearts since birth?!  Are they not the most fascinating and perfect creatures in our eyes? If you asked me six years ago if I would ever become one of those sappy emotional creatures, I would laugh in your face.  But here I am, reduced to a puddle by my baby’s whim.

Ravi is 51 months old now.  Its startling just to think about that number.  I still carry him around and kiss him till he gets mad at me.  I often catch myself staring at him and carve into my mind the features of his face.

Ravi and his beloved Bear Bear at 51 months of age

Ravi and his beloved Bear Bear at 51 months of age

Ravi and his beloved Bear Bear at 51 months of age

Ravi and his beloved Bear Bear at 51 months of age

-Flo.

Ravi in the Box

Ravi is a fun loving boy and he has showed a lot of interest in playing with my things in the kitchen.

One day, instead of “thinking outside of the box”, Ravi was in the box.  Literally!  After coming home from grocery shopping we left an empty cooler in the kitchen .  When I finally turned around to put it away, I found Ravi in it!  Apparently the ideal of being able to fit into the cooler was really amusing to Ravi and he kept popping in and out like a jack in the box.

It was so funny that we both began to laugh.  I was lucky enough to snap couple of photos before Ravi ran away.  Ravi, I am glad you are funny!

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Ravi popped out of the box

Ravi In The Box

Ravi In The Box

-Mommy.

Ravi, You Are 52 Months Old Today!

My Dear Ravi,

You have turned 52 months old today!

You have officially started pre-school.  You are excited to go to your new class in the morning, which is filled with fun big boy toys and games.  It is even better when you made the transition with all your old friends you grew up with you, plus a few new ones.  Watching you being so engaged in playing has made mommy happy with the decision of keeping you in the same school.

You are eating so much better than before.  Before you were three years old, you used to refuse to eat for days at a time.  You made mommy worry all the time.  That’s why mommy is so happy with the new you.  You now eat large meals, though there were some meals you would skip.  Mommy used to be sad to see you bring back your entire lunch from school untouched, but now you have begun to eat.  There were even times when you would come home and proudly proclaim that you had eaten your entire lunch!  You still don’t eat vegetables and very few fruits, but mommy is very proud of your improvements.

You keep getting beat up by your little brother.  We thought being two years older you would defend yourself pretty well against any attack from your little brother, but no, you still keep getting beat up.  Half of the time you would yell out loud or complain, the other half you would pinch your brother back or hit him on his head.  Though mommy and daddy are against any fighting between brothers, we do want you to tactfully engage with your brother and at least stand-up to the pint-sized bully (who is a head shorter than you).

You have finally visited Legoland.  Ever since your daddy told you that such a place existed, you have been begging us to take you there.  But we had being so busy that we didn’t get a chance till the last few weekends.  During our trip there you were so excited.  But suddenly you wanted to go home after the first 2 hours, which really surprised us.  We thought you didn’t like Legoland, but you kept asking to go back there the very next day, so we took you there once more a week later.  This time you were able to get on more rides and had so much more fun.  Daddy even got you some really cool lego toys for the way back.  Those were such fun trips for the whole family that we plan to go back there often.

You have taken your first swimming lesson.  Mommy and daddy have begged you to take swimming classes for two years now, but you always refused.  You are not a huge fan of water, sometimes you don’t even want to play in the kiddie pool at school.  We kept trying and one day you relented for a brief moment.  We took this opportunity and booked you an evaluation section at the local aquatic school and off we went!  You were crying and scared at first but warmed up to your instructor and even took steps into the pool to play for 15 minutes!  We were so proud of you.  We put you onto the wait list and hope that someday very soon you will be able to regularly take swimming lessons.

My dear Ravi, you have gotten so big that it is becoming very hard for mommy to carry you, but mommy still loves to carry you because I know that one day very soon I would loose this privilege.  One day very soon you won’t want to play with mommy anymore.  I hope that day would never come, but if it does, please remember all these moments mommy held and loved you.

Love,

Mommy.

Our Beloved Yellow House

Some two years and nine months ago, Mario and I went to see our house for the first time.  It was the second house we ever saw.  We were extremely cautious then about buying real estate and were specifically looking for properties with the ‘hidden gem’ quality.  From the information we gathered on-line, this house was ideal: very desirable neighborhood, 2 miles from the beach, 10 minutes drive from work, and a large backyard in an area where most properties have no backyard at all.  The down side?  Broken down and needed major overhaul.

Our house when we first saw it

Our house when we first saw it

It was a sunny day.  We drove in admiring all the other houses on the block.  Then we saw it, an unkempt old house in a somber grey hue, shrinking in contrast to the vivid colors of its neighbors.  Its doors opened to reveal an uninviting interior.  Off the bat, we were baffled by this house’s reversed living layout, with living room and kitchen on the second floor and bedrooms on the first floor.  We walked in and looked hard at the bedrooms, which were not liveable in their existing condition.  The bathrooms needed to be gutted, and a thousand other things needed to be fixed.  Then we took the stairs up to the living area and the magic happened.   We were literally blinded by the light.  The sun light flooded in from all directions, huge windows hung in every direction with sky lights above us, framed with a stunning wooden cathedral ceiling in the beauty of its natural color.  We began to see the benefit of this reverse living layout.  To one side there is a large window enclosed balcony, to another side there is a large 400 sqft deck through four large panel glass doors.  The whole place felt so airy and inviting, and for several minutes we paused to enjoy the feel of lightness.  Of course the living area was far from perfect.  The kitchen need to be gutted, and the bathroom had a spooky layout.

At this moment, our feelings about this house were mixed.  Though still expensive in our book, it sure was a good value for its location and time frame.  But the task of renovating it was daunting, especially as I was already four months pregnant.  Mario and I took a moment to think it over by stepping out onto the balcony, and there we were, overlooking a large grassed backyard, big enough to build another house of the same size.  It was such a refreshing oasis of green in a desert of concrete and bricks.  We knew then that we had a rare gem in our hands.  The decision was made on that spot to make an offer right away for the asking price, and the rest was history.

It took five months to renovate this house.  We teared the interior walls down all the way to the bone and build it back up to the way we wanted.  The renovation was still going on when I gave birth to Maxie.  During my hospital stay, someone in the family (Mario, mom, dad, or sister?) had made the decision to paint the exterior of the house a bright yellow.  I was shocked by the color first, but it has grown on me.  And that’s how our beloved home is now being referred to as “our yellow house,” and it is flooded with bright sunlight and heart-felt love.

-Flo.