Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Aarav’s FIRST Birthday celebration

WOW! Almost 6 months since I have posted anything on my blog. I had been very busy in the first quarter of this year. We had planned a visit to India to celebrate my son’s first birthday with his grandparents. Last year, we had left India abruptly and came here to Nashville. We hardly have any friends here.
It was my thought from the beginning that we should celebrate Aarav’s first birthday with both his grandparents. I mean first birthday is the special one…the next birthdays will happen.
"Super why" blueberry cake

I wonder if I mentioned earlier, but he is a fan of this educational cartoon program “SUPE WHY”. So we decided to have a super why themed party; for which I pretty much bought all the decorations here in the US. His birthday banner, balloons almost 100, the super why character cut outs, plates and cups and spoons and fork – all with super why cartoons on them.
I had my brother-in-law in India to help and co-ordinate the party. I stayed there for 6 weeks; 3 weeks each at my in-laws and my parents in Baroda and Pune respectively! It was a trip to remember. Both his grandparents waited eagerly to meet him, play with him. 6 weeks flew by so fast! Well his entire first year has gone by so fast! He got used to seeing so many new faces all the time. He used to get scared and feel shy…by the end of my trip he learnt not to cry seeing new faces; yet didn’t go instantly to any new person. That is probably common to most kids.
"Super Why" theme party
We bought a Samsung tablet only to keep him busy on the plane with Super why episodes. Well actually I was travelling back alone with him, since my husband had only a 10-day vacation planned for himself. But my son as before too, did not trouble me at all. He pretty much slept though both ways.
By the time we started to India on March 18th, he had picked up walking. He would walk 5-6 steps and then put his hands down instead of crashing badly. And by the time I returned he was a perfect walker! He got enough space and opportunity and people to take him out walking in India.
"Super why" coloring activity for kids

He played a lot with his grandparents, especially his grandfathers. He bonded with them easily. May be because they would let him play freely, as against grandmothers who like to cuddle more often; with his age of being a rebellious walker! J
My grandmother was there to spend time with him tooJ. She of course could not dare to pick him up, but she enjoyed playing with him at a distance.

As per Indian traditions, we successfully displayed his skills where he showed where the fan, light, moon, airplane, birds. Now it’s a coincidence that all his answers are the same – up, towards the sky! But he knows them correctlyJ. He got to see lots of birds in India, he pretty much screamed with joy every time he saw them. I thoughtfully taught him actions to “how do birds fly” and “how does fan work” – some new entertainment for the grandparents and more stories to brag aboutJ.

Color imaginations

Nowadays he has learnt to say few words – choose (shoes), train, truck, tar (car), dog. He can show A to D on the picture chart, Apple, Ball, Car and Dog. And off the sequence Onion, because he played with it often in my mom’s kitchen.

Those are the important updates from recent months. All in all, beautiful start to the year. 

One of the best things about Aarav’s birthday was this idea I implemented – a diary with hand-written best wishes from all near and dear ones on the occasion of his FIRST birthday. Something he will have to read when he grows up. I hope he will enjoy it as much as all the well-wishers did!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Day - Cook Out Special

Opryland Christmas Lightings
My husband had a big official vacation period at work, 24th Dec to 1st Jan! We decided that we did not want to go out of town vacationing, considering we have a 9-month old and also that it’s chilly and freezing most of the days. My biggest concerns are by son’s food; as I give him homemade food everyday using Cerelac while on a trip needs a bunch of arrangements. So why not just skip the travel. Moreover, we haven’t seen much of Nashville yet.

Intricate lighting job!
So my son turned 9 months on 24th and 25th was my mother-in-law’s birthday. So I decided to make a common cake for both on 25th. 24th we went out to a resort close by, The Opryland. It’s a huge area with hotel and recreations, not to mention it’s probably designed for the richest class of people. But they have a free entry to watch Christmas lighting…for 20mins..beyond which you pay for your car parking.

It was freezing at about -2 degC and we for some reason decided to go and watch the lightings along with my husband’s colleagues. 10 mins out of the car, walking through the lighted area and my hands were numb from holding the camera and clicking pictures. I instantly got a fear of my son falling severely ill; though we had 3 layers of warm thick clothes on him. The place was small enough to drive around in your car and enjoy the lighting so I told my husband that we’d just drive around and leave. Nothing’s more important that my son’s good health. We all rushed back to the car and drove around.

Lights and Birth of Christ arrangements

So Christmas lighting's at the Opryland was a 15 mins event for us! But it was pretty beautiful. They could make it more colorful though! And since we were already in the area and the Opry Mills Mall is right next door, we thought lets go into the Mall and let our son play in the play area. He loves it there. He’s quite social as in, he smiles at other kids around him, goes close to them, doesn’t touch them though. He is always the youngest child in the play area..every other kid there is a walker or much bigger! So sometimes I feel sorry that my son is crawling around and watching other kids walk and run all over the place! He’ll get there soon, he’s quite close to walking. These days he is leaping a lot or raising his hands in the air as if to stand up…raises himself to ever elevated piece of furniture, box, wall, fridge, bath tub!
Buns brushed with milk, ready to bake
Pretty much everything is closed on 25th Dec in the US..may be some stores will stay open exceptionally. So we knew we’d be stuck at home all day long, no place to go out. I already had plans of baking a cake. So decided to multi-task and use the oven at a stretch and bake couple of things, spicy savory buns – Iyengar styled added to the cake job!

Iyengar styled Savory buns - edible gifts!

My husband wanted to cook Dal Makhani for a while, so I planned to use the “25thDec-stuck-at-home” day for it! Soaked and pressure cooked it for him and by lunch time he served me a delicious lunch of Hot Rice and Dal Makhani…such a comfort food on a cold wintery Christmas Day! I spent the afternoon baking an amazingly light white cake and Iyengar Khara buns that I devoured so often in Bangalore!

Super yummy Dal Makhani made by my husband

To sum it up,  Christmas day turned out to be a cook-out day. We ended it with meeting a friend of mine from Pune who was relocating to Michigan. We visited them with some Christmas gifts and Spicy buns for the two lovely girls they have!