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The Sweet Life

A Gay BFF, Everyone Should Have One!

On a recent Saturday afternoon I was putzing around my kitchen, working on a cake for a family member. IMG 8038Doc McStuffins Birthday Cake But with the kids out of the house on a bowling play date, I was antsy to try some different baking techniques and take a break from my birthday cake.  Perfect timing, since my friend Danny called and stopped by for a few minutes.  He has always been a baking buddy of sorts.  Christmas cookies were a standing date for us before I ever got paid for baking anything.  When he comes over, it’s a party in the kitchen…we blare music and sing out loud.  It’s no wonder then that my kids call him “crazy Uncle Danny.”  So… on this past Saturday afternoon, as we experimented some new ways to build cupcake bouquets, I thought about how much this friendship has developed over the years.

We became friends in high school and we love to reminisce about those days.  He was the popular boy thatIMG 2174Yvonne, Danny and Ameeta everyone liked.  There was not much to dislike about him…especially not for me since he was pretty much my male equivalent :).  Yep, he's my gay BFF or gay husband as some might term it!  As the years fly by, we laugh about high school memories, the beach, the parties…Danny and I were never big into drinking so we really could appreciate the folly of others without partaking ourselves.    We love to eat and cook…too much unfortunately. We went to Weight Watchers together once, his birthday gift to me (seriously!) and we BOTH GAINED WEIGHT after three meetings!!  We laughed about it.  We love to go to yard sales (it drives my husband insane.  He detests looking at other people’s “junk” as he calls it). Thank goodness I have Danny, we enjoy it…you know, other people’s junk!   We laugh at Kathy Griffin together, we love to travel, we love our friend Yvonne who completes our BFF trio and we make time to get together as often as we can...a standing dinner date on every possible Wednesday night.  It’s only as an adult that I realize the rarity and depth of this friendship.

danandscottwithrishiHelping Rishi release fish into the Koi pondWhen my son went through his recent torturous Kindergarten transition (http://bit.ly/184ah4r), my friend Danny went to have lunch with him at school one day with a milkshake and fries in hand.  It completely made Rishi’s day to see him and he talked about the special visit with Uncle Danny for days.    

While I was recently in India (http://bit.ly/HYQYxZ), Ashoka took the kids to their favorite dinner spot…I don’t want to admit it and yes, we are all vegetarian (except my husband) but okay, it’s the Outback.  The kids love it.   ANYWAY, he invited Danny to join them knowing it would make it easier to have another adult along.  At dinner, Rishi asked Danny, “Do you have a wife?”  Danny responded, “No, I have a boyfriend, Uncle Scott.”  “Oh…okay”, was Rishi’s response and he went back to eating his Mac and cheese.  He will never think of being gay as anything but completely normal given Uncle Danny’s presence in our lives.  I am grateful for the open-minded innocence of children and the fact that my children will never think it’s against the norm to be in any relationship as long as it’s loving and happy.  reeyathebuilderWho needs Bob the Builder when you have Reeya...the 'Guncles' coming down to her level!

Rishi can grasp the concept of a nuclear family; Reeya is still working on it.  Recently, she was putting up a Christmas ornament when she exclaimed about how cool it was, I told her Uncle Scott got that from Qatar.  “Oh yes,” she responded, “Uncle Danny’s brother.”  Well I didn’t take the parental time I should have to explain the relationship, even though it was a teachable moment.  I’ll get there once she grasps the definition of a nuclear family…a definition that is evolving.   Right now, they just love their “crazy” Uncle Danny, as they call him, and so do I! 

 

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Losing Weight in the New Year...SO Cliché!

ameeta and ashoka001First year of marriage - SO happy and deliriously in love!!Losing weight in the New Year...how much more cliché can you get?  But here I am...like millions of others, hoping, wishing, wanting to lose weight.  I thought about joining a gym...but joining is fine, then I actually have to go and I don't trust myself to do it.

You often hear, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  Well, I'm officially insane when it comes to losing weight.  I mean I really want to, I do...but when life gets crazy (every day with two small children, a husband who needs lots of attention, a mother who is VERY concerned that all the other women my age have lost weight but I am sliding into the opposite direction, in-laws who stay for months at a time, siblings who do more for me than I can ever do for them, an aging aunt who feels that I should be sending cakes to Atlanta to show that I'm thinking about her.  I sent cookies and she was disappointed.... there are SO many people to please all the time!!), there is nothing like a bowl of ice-cream to make me forget my worries for a moment, or maybe a brownie, or two, or three...it's pretty hard to eat just one brownie...and therein lies my problem.

For most women it's wine, for me it's most definitely food...all food, any food...and keep in mind I'm vegetarian so I actually do have my limitations.    When I see people who lose weight, I am always anxious to hear their storyI don't know why I expect to hear some magical advice but I ALWAYS ask and listen, hoping to glean that pearl of wisdom that will be my route to all things thin.  Eat less; run more seems to be the consensus.  Yeah, yeah.... I’ve heard that a million times but that one doesn't work for me so what's next?

On my recent trip to India (http://bit.ly/HYQYxZ), EVERY relative I met greeted me with warmth and love and then commented on how much weight I've gained.  The last time I was in India I WAS PREGNANT with Rishi, yet I looked much better. That was six years ago! Life is running me ragged and I need to get control but I feel like I just don't know what to do! I've determined that I eat more if I decide to diet.  I love to go outside and walk/run but only if the weather is nice, which is the very reason I've only gone twice in the past month.  So you see my problem?  I have to do a million things around the house...spend time with the kids, organize (a never-ending project), pay bills, laundry, bake for fun, bake for the café across the street and bake for customers, cook, volunteer at school, work on my burgeoning business, check Facebook (yes, it’s necessary!), and all the things I to do seem to be of an urgency that take precedence over working out. 

Africa 2005 014updatedA few years into marriage, still okay but should have stopped (the weight that is!) right here!I remember slimmer days...my husband once wanted to buy me a dress and he called to ask if I was a size 4 or 6...that has not happened in a long, long, long time. But he is a good husband or again, smart enough to know to never comment on my weight.  I once worked with a gorgeous woman, who was on the heavy side. But she was and still is very confident. She told me to never talk about my weight because I would call attention to it.  Well it's good advice to go by but I do the opposite.  I talk about it all the time; I mean I'm thinking about it so it just kind of comes up. 

I also think about all the women I’ve asked about their weight because they look annoyingly fabulous, all for different reasons.  Val doesn't eat much, Burty walks two hours a day and does not eat much, Neema runs and does yoga, Johanna changed her eating habits completely and she would actually count the number of almonds she ate, Charmaine swears by weights, Jo eats half of what she wants, Amberly told me that if I go to bed hungry, I'm doing the right thing, Allison gets on that treadmill every morning, Meg runs, Justine has admitted to eating a can of green beans at her desk to curb her hunger (not something I’m willing to do), Jill just started running and she walks her dog, Cindy transformed her body doing yoga, Maria counts calories, Heather got a tummy tuck (actually two!), Yashi is blessed with good genes as is Mary.  She (Mary) drinks milkshakes on a regular basis and never gains a pound...she may be the most annoying of them all!!  

kidsonchair11th year of marriage....not posting a picture of myself. I mean, a girl has to have some self-dignity, you know? But what better reason to neglect yourself (just temporarily of course ;) You probably think I bake so much, like the Gender Reveal Cake below that  I eat it all but honestly, I don’t eat much of what I make unless I’m away from the house where it’s beingcamocakeMy most recent project...a gender reveal cake, if only this future mom knows the path upon which she is about to embark...exciting, scary, amazing!! served or to taste it…okay maybe a cookie or some cake crumbs here and there but my cooking is consumed more by my husband than by me and he of course, never gains weight! I enjoy smelling the vanilla, the chocolate and the baking in the oven but I don’t feel the need to eat it more than a nibble…it’s not ice cream after all!

I could keep going because I definitely like to know what people do to lose weight; it's almost like the information gets me closer to my goal. But let me wrap up with a little story about my cousins instead.  The two of them had babies within a month of me.  They both hated being pregnant; I LOVED it...I hate to admit it but eating with no judgment, free-fitting clothes and being considered cute with a stomach just works for me...totally works for me! 

Anyway both of those cousins gained pregnancy weight and they have since put their minds to it and lost the weight...here I am still waiting, wondering, obsessing, contemplating whether or not to join the gym (I should just do it! Right?) or take free classes at my daughter's preschool or walk when it's nice out...ugggghhhhh it's a struggle, and by struggle I mean just thinking about what to do is stressing me out…. so for 2014 my first goal is to Make A Decision on this weight-loss thing. Stay tuned and, hey, I’d love to hear your weight loss tips if you want to share!

 

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What's your Favorite Family Picture, I mean Christmas Card?

Since family pictures now arrive on a daily basis in the form on Christmas cards, I’m DSC 0101bnwinterrupting my India posts to talk about my favorite photographer!

DSC 0023March 2009DSC 0066November 2009

Sometimes you come across people who are so incredibly talented that you wonder how in the world they are not making millions of dollars following that talent?!  

 DSC 2326November 2010DSC 3183October 2011

I know a person like that, Lynn.  She is the daughter of another talented photographer but thus far, she is not doing this professionally.  Fortunately for me, we became friends after she photographed my children.  She gave me invaluable photographs that will grace my walls forever.  Dramatic...yes it sounds that way.  But let me tell you, what photographer do you know that will show up five days after you have a baby to make sure she gets those shots that are so unique to baby less than a week old?  Yep, she did that!  Reeya 0065 days old, February 2010

In fact, she took the day off from her job to drive well over an hour to my house and showed up unannounced because she knew I would probably not agree to a photo session.  I was still reeling from my c-section, slightly post-partum, taking care of a baby and a toddler and I looked haggard.  I was not one of those ladies who got their hair and nails done before my delivery, I suppose I'm just not that sophisticated!  Well maybe a pedicure, I did have one of those but then who photographs feet...that did me no good!  

Reeya 040Anyway, when Lynn showed up at my front door, I freaked out.  I had not even taken a shower yet that morning and there was nothing picture-worthy about my appearance.  In fact, I was exhausted from nursing the baby all night, bleeding way more than I did the first time around, and just avoiding the world.  But then there she was, camera in hand.  She saw my face and she was so calm and collected.  She shooed me off to take a shower while she took baby Reeya and set her up for pictures.  A mother herself, she has a magical touch with children.  Mine just love her.  

The newborn was asleep most of the time but she took those precious pictures, which she said would be impossible even a week later.  She made an effort to capture moments that I would never have been able to and she was so gracious and generous in the way she did it.  SO...I am constantly trying to think of ways to thank her. Coffee is her favorite and she loves books...but as my oldest is five, I’ve exhausted most options.family1 5x71December 2012

When her beautiful family bought a house recently, I thought a Home Depot gift card would hardly suffice.  In addition, I made personalized cookies to commemorate the home purchase.  They are an amazing family and with all the sweetness Lynn has bought into my life, I wanted to send some back!maylehome

 

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Less Guilt, More Fun

 

In my last post I was a little a lot emotional about leaving my kids for a two-week trip to India. I'm still beating myself up about this missing them a lot. But, I'm here and I want to enjoy this amazing trip with my sister. So, let me tell you a little about the fun we've been having!

india1Our first week was spent almost entirely in Ahemdabad, a dry state...that's right: NO alcohol at any restaurant or hotel but tons of great places to eat and gather. I notice that there seems to be so much going on at night here and it turns out that is because the crime rate is extremely low.

There are no clubs per se, only a couple of "discothèques" probably because alcohol is not the focus of the night life. That's not to say people don't drink. Our hosts pulled out a bottle of wine for dinner this evening but we politely refused because we know that it is way more valuable to them in their 'dry' state then it would be to us if we drank just to be social.

This part of the visit has been so much fun in large part to my cousin's daughter, a 20-something college student who knows just where to go and what to do... and we're making the most of it! She's been whisking us around driving through some mind-boggling conditions with wandering people, cars, animals and children to avoid. She seamlessly manages to get us from point A to point B and when we think we're in the middle of nowhere, we step into yet another trendy hotspot with great food and fashionable patrons; this is not the India I remember visiting as a girl. Has it changed that much or did my parents just have no clue where to go?

india-animals

Thanks to technology, we're using Viber to call home for free, Whattsup to text home for free and the iphone to do it all with our cellular service turned off to avoid roaming kids-craftscosts. I can Skype the kids every day and they seem to be doing well and keeping busy. Last weekend was fun for them with a neighborhood fall festival and then an evening with one of our family friends, Usha, who often spends time with us.

kids-crafts2Usha is an artist so she loves doing crafts with them and they stayed busy reading and playing with her while my husband went to celebrate a 40th birthday with a good friend in the neighborhood. He was the only dateless spouse at the celebration but apparently the company was good enough so he didn't mind. Besides, he said, all the women ended up at one end of the table anyway. I used to think that only happened with my parents, you know...the women all ending up apart from the men...now I see it's a universal phenomenon!

I miss my family but am glad that they seem to be doing well, and it's definitely nice to hear their voices every day.

On the professional side, there is a baking manufacturing facility that we are visiting tomorrow so I'm very excited to see what type of products they use and offer here. My cousins have been keeping up with my interests to they have scouted out some great places for us to visit. Apparently where we are going, vehicles cannot visit because of the crowded streets. I'm curious to see what it's all about!

india2

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Add One Pinch of Mommy Guilt and Stir Well

My trip to India was very easy and comfortable (hey, business class, remember?!) but we landed in crazy, crowded Mumbai and I'm beginning to wonder why I left my kids for this chaos. My sister and I checked into the hotel (one of very few nights in a hotel since most of our time will be spent with family) and we made our first Skype call.


I was thrilled to see my husband's face pop up on the screen; has been barely 48 hours but I miss him already. But when Rishi and Reeya's faces appeared, I think my heart skipped a beat. I wanted to climb through that screen. What the hell was I thinking leaving them?

ameeta3Reeya's first question was, "Are you coming home tonight, Mommy?" Oh my goodness, I felt so bad. They were at my mom's during our call, I didn't get to talk to her much but turns out they were busy coloring and doing crafts with my mother...the best mother (one who probably never left her kids) in the world!

Rishi stayed home today, he is feeling better then when Mean Mommy (me) left him yesterday. He was excited about his coloring book that he made with Nani. Reeya just wanted to know when I'll be back. Okay so clearly Skype is a mixed blessing. It's amazing to see them from halfway across the world but we hang up and I'm sad for a long time...long enough where I think I want to call instead of Skyping next time.

I'm still counting all the significant events I'll be missing, most notably Rishi's first award in Kindergarten, which is a science award, I am SO proud and excited since this is going to be a surprise for him until it happens. I so totally should not be missing this and I want to know if I can watch via Skype from here. My husband does not seem so interested in doing that so we'll see...

In addition, I'll miss Reeya's Thanksgiving feast, prior to which she'll be singing songs on stage. This all takes place the day I land, I'll miss it by mere hours. Add that to the fact that my husband sent me a picture of my mom picking up Rishi at the bus stop and my mommy guilt is not subsiding because he looks so darn sad!


ameeta4As my sister and I head out for a girl's spa day, I am feeling down in the dumps and telling my sister how sad my kids are without me. Fortunately, she was checking Facebook just at that moment and shared with me a picture of Rishi and my BFF Danny at dinner on Friday night. Why didn't they text me this picture instead of the heart-tugging bus stop shot?!. Now I can go out the door feeling happy that they appear to have had a great evening, even with me halfway around the world.

 

 

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About Ameeta

Moms of the world...we're in the kitchen all the time so why not make it fun...RIGHT?! After working in the field of higher education for over a decade, I decided to stay home. Being here is wonderful (sometimes!). BUT, I love the invaluable (read crazy but good) moments with my children. One thing I miss about work is having a creative outlet. Decorating cakes and cookies gives me that focus for my creativity. It's therapeutic to work on cakes, cookies and the like. As you will understand, with two young children, lots of therapy is necessary! Hence I've been baking more and more....and in my blog I'll be sharing my culinary adventures with you with a side serving of raising my two kids! For pictures and information about my confections, please visit my site at www.ameetabakes.com

 

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Pouches went to visit our local Kiwanis Club to find out how they have been growing future leaders through area high school Key Clubs.

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