Lego Fair 2014

July 30th, 2014

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There are few events in life that just spontaneously works out without even thinking about it.  That’s what happened as far as Lego Fair 2014 was concerned.  It just worked out!!!  We had about 30 kids who showed off their creations.  All the kids did so well and each and every exhibit was just amazing.  I wanted kids to be as creative as possible and they were.  Also, everyone explained their creation perfectly in writing too!

I was concerned that kids will be bored sitting there for 3 hours (1-4pm) but everyone looked so happy and proud to explain their creation to whoever came to their table.  Many people came in to visit and that really made a difference to these kids.  I just enjoyed listening to each and every child.  It took me more than an hour to visit every exhibit, read their explanation and listen to the kid.

Some of the kids helped with the preparation of the fair.  Gargi and Kabir created the board that marked category 1, 2 and 3.  Their younger siblings tried to help as much as possible.  Arjun helped me post Lego fair posters all around the town.  Achintya Prasad created the Lego Fair poster.


We awarded a certificate and a medal to every participant.


After the awards, every kid devoured delicious Lego cupcakes made by Taylor Sullivan, a school aged girl.


Sunita Prasad brought additional snacks and drinks for all the kids.  Vineeta Koul along with Sunita helped me all along in all possible ways.  This event would not have been possible without them.

Thank you to all the kids and their parents who participated in this fair.  Thank you to all who came to visit us!  Thank you again and again!!!

Here’s the newspaper article about this event:

Here is the visual tour of the Lego Fair 2014!  I am missing photos of 1 exhibit.  Sorry!


Jump, Frog, Jump

July 14th, 2014

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When we read Jump, Frog, Jump by Robert Kalan, we did most of the activities listed in the following websites:

Here are few photos of our activities:



Amtrak to Chicago

July 9th, 2014

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During July 4th weekend, we surprised kids with a trip to Chicago from Memphis in Amtrak.  I had packed ahead of time and we kept the suitcase in the car previous night.  I made sure that they didn’t nap on the day of our travel.  Closer to time, I told them to take shower and get ready in their best clothes as we will take them out for dessert to a very fancy restaurant.  As per our expectations, kids fell asleep in the car pretty soon and we drove to Memphis. 

When we reached Memphis downtown, kids woke up and kept saying that they have never seen this part of Tupelo.  Very interesting!  We had to finally tell them that we are in Memphis and not Tupelo.  We had pizza and then we went inside Amtrak.  My kids thought that we are just visiting the train.  They were ecstatic when they found out that we were going to take a trip in Amtrak.  Now they assumed that this trip must be like Polar Express train.  Finally, we told them that we are traveling overnight to Chicago.  I wish I could frame those two little faces!

We took sleeper car and it was very comfortable for us.  We were offered nice breakfast on the way to Chicago and dinner on the way back.  Traveling in the train was so painless and restful that I don’t want to fly to Chicago anymore.  I prefer to take Amtrak to Chicago.  We reached Chicago so rested that we were ready to start the day.  In Chicago, we visited Navy Pier and Field Museum.  We had a spectacular view of the July 4th fireworks from the apartment of Amit’s cousin, Dhanesh Gupta.  It was so much more comfortable to be in his apartment than on the ground with such a huge crowd!  Of course, no trip to Chicago is complete without Ghirardelli and Garrett Popcorn!

I will definitely recommend traveling in Amtrak to Chicago from Memphis!

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

July 8th, 2014

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Not many people are going to like this but I have to confess that I actually enjoyed reading Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  I don’t agree with her 100% but I do agree with her on lots of points.  When I read her book, I was not judging her or analyzing her.  Also, I tried to see her point of view.  I appreciate her honesty.  It takes lots of courage to write such a book because you know you are going to be grilled for doing so.  I appreciate this book because it gives me an idea of different perspectives as far as parenting style is concerned. 

I agree with her that schoolwork must always come first.  But for me, winning a medal or getting the highest grade is not the most important goal.  I would love for my kids to win but I am absolutely fine with them losing too.  This is because I feel failure is as important as winning.  Always winning can make you very arrogant.  Failing will make you a bit humble, compassionate and it has lot of lessons.  I would prefer for my kids to learn how to deal with failure now rather than later in life.  Unlike Amy Chua, I love playdates and I want my kids to participate in different activities like plays.  My sister-in-law, Shikha, once said that it takes a village to grow up a child.  I couldn’t agree more with her.  I like my kids to be with their music teacher, art teacher, swim coach, my trusted friends, my relatives and learn from all of them.  Also, whenever I drop off my kid for a playdate, it is understood that the rules of the hosting family will override our rules.

However, I concur with Amy Chua as far as TV or computer games are concerned.  We have no TV in our living room.  TV is so restricted in our house that whenever we watch TV it’s a big deal.  We own no video games.  I and my kids have no iPad as yet.  Again, I concur with Amy Chua about the topic of kids’ choice.  I feel when kids are small they don’t necessarily know what’s good for them.  For example, Kabir wanted to learn guitar rather than piano.  We told him that he needs to first learn piano because that’s the basic of western music.  He can make a choice when he is 13.  So, piano was not his first choice and was forced upon him initially.  Now, he just absolutely loves it!  Arjun is never interested in anything for the first time.  Initially, I have to force him.  Over time, he loves it and begs for more.  There are so many things that I never wanted to do when I was little but now I wish my mother had forced me.  While I will pursue their interest with much more vigor but they do not have a choice to avoid activities or subjects that we feel is vital for them.  As kids get wiser, they are more able to make good choices and hence more freedom.  I feel my job is to be a parent even if my kids don’t appreciate me at the moment but eventually they will understand.  I am a parent and not a cheerleader.  I am not in contest of winning their approval or vote all the time.  At the same time, I do pick my battle.  If Arjun still wants to drink in a sippy cup, it’s not worth a fight.  I agree with Amy Chua that our kids are much stronger than we think.  I think our expectations from our kids needs to be always a little higher than their own expectations and it might need adjusting depending on circumstances.  Also, sometimes siblings are so different that a parent might need different parenting style with each one!

My parenting style is, I would say, hybrid – some of our family rules have Asian roots such as no sleepover other than with close cousins; and a part of my parenting style has American roots for example I do compliment my kids generously and I also do share their accomplishments on my blog (something I cannot imagine majority Asian parents to do and I don’t know if this is something I’ll regret down the road).

My parenting style is an evolving process.  Nothing is written in stone.  Every time, my husband and I try to discuss, assess and adjust.  I try to learn from each and every parent I meet.  I read this book during our surprise trip to Chicago and Kabir was in desperate need of a book.  So, I let him read this book.  He read about first 9 chapters of this book.  When I asked him what did he think of Ms. Amy, he said, “She is too strict but she is a good mother.”

So, I definitely recommend this book!

And the Mountains Echoed

June 27th, 2014

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It took me almost a year to read, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.  I’ve read the first two books by the author: The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I enjoyed both of them thoroughly.  I’ll give And the Mountains Echoed the worst rating amongst all three books.  However, I’m glad to have read this book too!  The author intricately and beautifully weaves the story of several characters and several perspectives together.  It’s nice to see how life and people change over time.  

I had read about less than a third of the book and I couldn’t enjoy it, so I had given up but the book review by Payal Bhuwania encouraged me to give it another try and I’m glad I did.  I’ll just paste the link of book review by Payal for you because she writes so beautifully.  Thank you, Payal!