Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Travel Bug

We LOVE to travel, and the wanderlust did not skip Anjali!
Our trips usually involve long flights and I like to make sure she is occupied.
Last year my SIL got her this fabulous Posh International roll-on bag that is small enough for little kids while making them feel like adults. In it are her favorite small toys: Manike, her globe trotting doll baby, a doll blanket, washable markers, a kids activity book (coloring, writing), a small reading book, a cell phone ('cause you have to make a call when you land!), and always a little surprise. This time it was a little (Barbie) Kelly doll with her own clothes and shoes! These kept her occupied for hours much to the flight staff's surprise.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Cousin

A new cousin entered Anjali's world on November 17th. Vihaan Akshay Prakash. We are very excited for my SIL and husband. And for us, of course. I love how the families are slowly getting bigger. I envision fun family gatherings with kids running around. Anjali continues her reign as the queen of the brood! We cant wait to meet the new cousin and parents soon.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Halloween was fun, but then came the sore throat and the fever (104 to be exact)!
A midnight call to the Dr. on-call confirmed that it might be H1N1 (as most all flu at this time is), and to take it cool. She was very calming and informative on the phone, I needed that.
Its been an abysmal week; Anjali has not been out of the house and the most nagging thing is "Ammi I am bored, tell me what to do".
Sometimes I feel like she is always sick, but then I came across this article by Dr. Green who says kids can't develop an immunity without being sick. He says 8-12 times in the first year and 10-12 in the second and so on... On those accounts I feel better, she's been sick about 5 times this year. But kids sicknesses takes everything out of us parents. Its hard to watch their little bodies try to cope. I dont like to give OTC medications but sometimes we have to. This time I tried a new tea that seems to work well. Its one of my favorite cold symptom relieving brands. While we are sipping the tea, we will dream of warm weather in virus-free beaches.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Happy Halloween

Another Halloween with its ghoulish allure has come and gone.
The busy week started off with Anjali's schools' annual lantern walk.
As kids walk on an illuminated path at night among trees, teachers passed out hand-made/gathered natural treats. This year the walk ended with a show by awesome fire dancers.
Of-course I made the Dorothy dress from a vintage simplicity pattern. I loved making it and my favorite feature are the satin sleeves. More photos here.
Halloween day was a eventful with a 4 years-old and later a 40 year-old birthday party! Phew... and now its November already.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Quilt - Its finally done

Its finally done after mother and grandmothers spent hours on it. Its our Apple Blossom Fairy Quilt. As with many inspirations in our household this one started with a book by Cicely Mary Barker, who will always be the queen of flower fairies. The book was a gift from our lovely friend and doula, so it has special significance. The songs (or poems) are beautiful and very English (British). For example the Wild Rose Fairy song goes:

I am the queen whom everybody knows,
I am the English Rose;
As light and free as any Jenny Wren,

As dear to Englishmen;

As joyous as a Robin Redbreast’s tune,

I scent the air of June;

My buds are rosy as a baby’s cheek;

I have one word to speak,
One word which is my secret and my song,
‘Tis “England, England, England” all day long.

It so happened that one of my favorite fabric designers Micheal Miller produced a series with Cicely Mary Barker's illustrations. I couldn't help but launch on a quilt project for Anjali. Thanks to my mother-in-law for helping me finish it . Its just gorgeous!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bilingual Child

Our efforts to teach Anjali Sinhala was kicked into a higher gear after we picked up this book at Powells (the coolest bookstore in the 48). I learned some new things about teaching another language such as OPOL (One Parent One Language) and to not translate words into English if she cant understand them. The results have been amazing! Its totally rewarding when she says "Ammi harii lassanai..." followed by "Thaththi chuttak lassanai". We are hoping she's got her fathers aptitude for language acquisition. Now we have to keep at it. Its harder for us to remember to speak, than it is for her to learn.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I just love this photo of Ranesh and Anjali on July 4th, we keep joking that either one of them can be the POTUS. How cute to watch them grow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Gentle Giants

Anjali seems to have a green thumb. Here she is with the giant sunflower seeds she sowed. And then they got huge. It was quite something to see these grow; some of the flower centers are over a foot in diameter. I think this is going to be an annual hallmark of summer.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Idyllic Summer Day

Last week we went berry picking on Sauvie Island. It was a fantastic day; we took a tractor ride to the blue and raspberry patch. There is something very satisfying about gathering your own food. Anjali and her friend gorged on as many berries as they could. Then trooped on a 2 mile hike around a lake. I love the combination of kids and the outdoors. Achchi rewarded the kids with a wildflower bouquet at the end of the hike. Yay for summer days!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Human World

Last night we went upto Larch Mountain at about 4600 feet to escape the 105 degrees heat wave in P0rtland. It was a cool 80 degrees at the summit with no one in sight and unobstructed views of Mt. Hood. Anjali said she was very happy to be on top of the 'Human World'. On our way back the sun was setting a brilliant orange-red and Anjali was in a pensive mood. We asked her what she was thinking about and she said "I am so happy that the human world is so beautiful, I dont have words to describe all the colors."

When I was 4 months pregnant we hiked to beautiful Elowah falls in the Columbia River Gorge. At that time my wish for my fetus was for her to realize how beautiful the world was despite all its ugliness. And here I am 4 years later and my wish has come true.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer with Grandmas'

Anjali has been very lucky this summer to have extended amounts of time with Aththamma (my mother) and Achchi (Ranjeewa's mother). She invented her own little games and plays with each of them and its great for us to get out at night for a drink (or two) at dreamy places such as a the Urban Farmer.
I have a lot to blogabout after a long summer hiatus. Currently its about 85 degrees here in my basement as opposed to the 105 degrees outside.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

36, but whose counting?

You know what they say, 'older and wiser'... this year I really feel wiser, and thankful for everything I have in life. So my trusted sidekick made me some cupcakes (with some assistance of course). And I tried out my new pastry bag for the first time and I am certainly still a domestic apprentice when it comes to the frosting, but I have till July to perfect.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Talk with your kids

I wanted to share this site because it sends a very simple and powerful message: talk with your kids before everyone else does!
I had one of those conversations this morning as I was helping Anjali into the car. She said " I wish I was the same color as all my friends." I totally knew what she meant but pretended not to and asked her what color she meant and she pointed me to the Cheerios and said "that color". I got the message clear! I asked her what was wrong with her color and she said 'nothing'. And I talked to her about how beautiful she was just as she is. Quite honestly, I was not prepared for her to ask 'that' question. But Portland is such a fair skinned city that I can understand why she feels left out, especially when the whole class slaps on sunscreen. Even the smattering of non white kids we know are mixed-race. I might have to launch a more aggressive everyone can be/look different yet beautiful campaign.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Have I told you about the Wiz?

You know how it is when you have a kid one thing leads into another and before you know it your life gets consumed by it? Well... that's what happened to us with the Wiz. It all started with the post-Nutcracker doldrums. While flipping channels during football season Anjali caught about 5 minutes of the Wizard of Oz, and was riveted, asking lots of questions. A few weeks later a local high school was doing a production of the Wiz (a musical based on the Baum story), and I got us tickets. We sat in the front row and the rest is history as they say! I have to admit the story and the music swept me away as well. I got her the Wiz sound track and she now knows all the songs and listens to the ENTIRE CD EVERYDAY. Not having been an Oz fan I had to quickly get hip to the Oz phenomenon. The Wiz was a 70's braodway hit with an all-black cast with Diana Ross as Dorothy and Micheal Jackson as the scarecrow. Everyone my age who grew up here know all the songs. And so now that circle of the awe-inspiring land of Oz prevails in our house. Everything is about Dorothy, as it must have been in many American households since 1900 when the books were first published. I've got my mind on Oz themed birthday cupcakes...mmm.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

End of an Era

For those of us my age who grew up in Sri Lanka, the conflict with the LTTE defined our lives. By all accounts as of May 17, 2009 the quarter century old struggle has the signs of having ended. I personally feel conflicted as I always have with this struggle. Being a Sinhalese I never bought into the Sinhala Buddhist majority having their overruling authority over the country. But now we are at a point where there really can be an opportunity for peace, prosperity, economic growth, and better quality of life for all segments of Sri Lankan society, or...not.

The WSJ had this opinion that reflects upon how we got here and where we need to go as a nation. Reading this made me reflect on my own experience of the conflict and dug out this poem I wrote 13 years ago that got published in a student newspaper in Cambridge, MA on April 23, 1997. Reading it makes me smile because my style seems naive and juvenile (and I rarely write poetry anymore). But then again all those words still hold true; except the number of sons, daughters, mothers and fathers killed are about 70,000. I hope we as a community of Sri Lankans have learned our lesson.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mothers Day! all you fabulous moms out there! We enjoyed the day with our favorite weekend activity...a hike. We hiked up Catherine Creek in the Columbia river gorge and the views were breathtaking. And Anjali was really impressive scrambling over rocks and avoiding poison oak (despite being tired from a preschool party the day before). She even made a song to get by the poison oak "over the hills we go, over the hills we go, don't touch the poison oak, over the hills we go".
Being her Ammi is the best thing that ever happened to me :-)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Trip to Yachats

The Oregon coast is truly, truly beautiful... 'Lord of the rings' beautiful. Last weekend we went to Yachats in the central/southern coast. Its a really small yet cool town with 700 inhabitants; but good espresso, wine, a bookshop and even two boutiques (important for any town). We stayed in a cottage behind the Little Log Church. Which was the smallest church I'd ever seen... 4 pews. We hiked Cape Perpetua a rugged stretch of the coastline and found an amazing sunbeam.
While walking through these wetlands, we were adopted by a retriever. We named her Lucy Weerasinghe, and she refused to leave our side. I would have really taken her home in a second, except her nice owner emerged from the woods! I realized how much we'd love a dog.

On Sunday we went to one of our favorite spots with great tidepools and greeted the urchins, mussels and starfish. We loved walking barefoot jumping over puddled and the incoming tide. It was a perfect weekend.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day

I wish I were doing more for Mother Earth. Fortunately, its easy being green in this emerald city. So here is what we are doing that is good and the can do better department.


  1. We have one car, seven years and counting; it’s our biggest achievement. We combine trips and pick each other up which makes us spend more time as a couple/family. And we all use the abundant public transportation in Portland.
  2. I am proud to say that 90% of Anjali’s clothes, shoes and toys are reused/hand me downs. And some of mine too!
  3. Almost never use disposable plastic water bottles, except the gallon ones when camping (need to find a replacement for that).
  4. All my grocery bags are now the reusable kind. I have been really good at this
  5. I reuse one sided paper from work at home for Anjali’s art projects. It’s kind of funny to see colored paper with Strawberry shortcake stickers with an article on Melanoma survival in the back!
  6. I don’t shower! Actually I try to just shower in the gym! I do like long hot showers though!
  7. We compost all our fruit, vege and garden scraps and recycle about 95% of our waste with the city.

Can do better

  1. I do like to water my flowers and vegetables! A rain barrel might help this
  2. I hate when I have just come home from the store and forgot ONE key ingredient for a recipe!
  3. We tend to accumulate stuff whether we like it or not (gifts from my mother might top this category)
  4. I hate to run the dryer but clothes need to be dried. I cant imagine trying to hang them outside
  5. Love the dishwasher too… but try to run it full
  6. Unfortunately, we are not commuter bikers. I just dont get the 'Share the Road' thing.

There are probably dozen more areas where I can improve, but the most important part is to be conscious of our use of resources and keep trying to do better.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Spring!

Oh boy, we are having 70 degree weather for the first time this year. And people here go crazy when its like this. We headed out to Washington Park for some fun and a picnic at the Rose Garden. It was just bliss.

Princess Playdate

Anjali had two of her friends over for brunch and they all decided to put on a performance with as many costumes on! They made tickets and posters; Anjali announced the show by saying "ladies and gentlemen, please turn off your cell phones and computers" (you know what is more disruptive at our house). Then they danced to the Om Shanti soundtrack. They even took the show to the sidewalk shouting "money, tickets". Girls, they know how to have fun!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring has sprung

Spring gets me flowing with creative juices. Its the coming of newness after a long Northwest winter. So what have we been up to? One fun project was to turn the box from our new TV into a puppet theater. It came out well and Anjali is having fun playing at, on and under it.

And I made another layered twirl skirt with some fun fabric that A and I picked out. I am so excited that she seems to love fabric as much as I do, maybe not as much as my mother does!
We are blessed to have Fabric Depot in our backyard (one of the largest fabric stores in the country).

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Compliment

I have been a slacker more than a blogger recently. No real excuse other than being busy with work. I wanted to share a great mother-daughter moment from last month... Anjali and I were intently watching the Obama address to congress when Michelle Obama walked out (Anjali is a big fan). She got very excited and told me how pretty Michelle looked and then said "Ammi, look at her earrings! They are beautiful". A moment later she says... "they would look so pretty on you". My heart melted.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shoes...a girls best friend

I HEART shoes... especially on Anjali and especially European ones. I am currently obsessed with this shoe but cant find it in her size. These are the two sites I ogle at for cute shoes: endless and 6pm.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

At the beginning of this week I was dreading Valentines day as most of Anjali's pre-school friends (their moms really!) went overboard with gifts and cookies. I hate feeling like I am obliged to do something. But this morning I was feeling a bit sunnier and decided to bake some yummy molasses cookies, which Anjali decorated with little chocolate kisses. She also "wrote" these Valentines for her neighborhood friends, which was so sweet. For some reason she continues to write letters upside down, I hope she is not as dyslexic as I am.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mexico - Playa del Carmen

We spend the last few days of our trip in Playa del Carmen. This is a touristic town (less so than Cancun) with many mega resorts lining the coastal highway. There are three Starbucks in town, which says a lot. We stayed at a small hotel which was nice, but was full of American tourists! The main drag in town was lined with locals hawking everykind of souvenier you didn't need. As you walked by they said things like "Its cheaper than Walmart" which really annoyed me. But I am glad we had an opportunity to experience a different feel for the Mayan Riviera. I feel that we are a family who like to travel off the beaten path. I keep dreaming about what it would be like to actually backpack with Anjali and slum in a hostel.

Mexico- Chichen Itza

The second part of our trip was spent on a 400km day trip to the famous Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. Archeologically, this was an interesting place; with ruins, stone images of Gods, a ball court, pool and many more structures of an entire city. For us, it was similar to Anuradhapura or Pollonnaruwa. What was interesting to me was how the Mayans ruled. There were many bas reliefs of beheadings and even a platform with stone reliefs of people who were beheaded. This one shows a soldier from a losing sports team being beheaded; his blood spurting out as snakes!

The sacrifice of virgins, young children, and young men were also common place. So imagining what it must have really been like when the Mayans governed is pretty terrifying.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mmm..mmm Mexico - Tulum

We are still having those post-vacation blues. Mexico was supremely relaxing. We started off in Tulum which is a lovely stretch of beach and we stayed at a wonderful cabana and ate really good food. We didn't do much except read and hangout on the beach. It was fantastic to be able to watch Anjali stroll all over the property and the beach from the porch of our cabana or the shade of a palapa.We were reminded of the simple beauty of nature when its not developed by humans. Tulum has no electricity and no water supply. So everything runs on solar and wind energy. At night the sky was amazingly black and REALLY... we could see a million stars. Every constellation I could think of, I saw; and even witnessed a shooting star. The next day we saw this beautiful rainbow after a brief shower. That just did it for me.On the last day of our stay in Mexico we went to visit the Tulum Mayan ruins which was really a Mayan trading post. It must have been a beautiful place in its heyday. Unfortunately like every other place on earth that has been discovered, its days of simplicity are numbered, and likely to soon be 'wired' and replaced by mega resorts. But we certainly enjoyed a bit of paradise.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Off we go to Mexico!

We leave for the Yucantan peninsula in Mexico tomorrow morning and our family is VERY excited about it.
A much awaited break on a warm sunny beach awaits.
We are staying here and here. One is a cabana on the beach and the other a step above with a pool. In anticipation, Anjali and I did what most girls do... we painted our toes so we can dig them in the warm sand. Cant wait to report on our adventure...

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I have been very bad at keeping a "baby book" for Anjali. But have thousands of photos instead. So this is a note to myself.

Anjali is:
3.5 and 5 days old
asks for "lots of kisses ammi"
still has meltdowns when tired, hungry, overwhelmed
went to the Chinese New Year celebration today (year of the ox)
always wants to be on the stage
refers to herself as the 'brother' sometimes (me think...lack of sibling envy)
plays with "my kids"
breast feeding ...her dolls
excited about her trip to Mexico next week
loves playing with phonetics (like anjali-banjali, pooja-kooja)
sends thaththi to 'jail' when he misbehaves

She will be 18 before I know it... and 13 before that!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The dress-up princess at work

I love this photo. Anjali is all into dress up these days in all kinds of outfits and scraps of cloth, blankets, etc. The costume changes are a little annoying. I dress her up by 8:30 am and at 8:40 she has picked some costume and wants my help putting it on.
Here she noticed me cooking beans and rushed to take over the cooking. She really seems to enjoy it. And the best part is she is more likely to eat any vegetable that SHE cooks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Koththu Roti

Last night I made Koththu Roti. This is one of those very traditional Sri Lankan dishes we crave for along with hoppers. It came out really good. And here's what I found about Sri Lankans' creativity (or lack there of!) when it comes to this dish.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas Story-Part 3

After months of reading the Nutcracker story, I was planning to surprise Anjali by taking her to the OBT presentation of the ballet. But, we had tickets for December 21 and were unable to leave the house because of the snow and ice. I was VERY disappointed. After quite an ordeal we were able to change our tickets to the 23rd, and ended up getting better seats than I had originally purchased. This was Anjali's first trip to the theater. She was so excited to see the Nutcracker she sat on the edge of her seat for the entire first act! Her favorite was ofcourse the Sugar plum fairy and I got suckered into paying $15 for this photo, or else we were not going home! The Nutcracker story is currently the center of her little life. I will post about her favorite books soon.