well i still haven't caught up on posts for the fall and now christmas has come and gone!

christmas is my absolute favorite, and i'm always a little depressed once it's over. but now it's even more special to me since we have a little one in the family. no one tells you that christmas is even more fun as a parent than as a kid.

i love making traditions with jia and teaching her about the true meaning of christmas. i also tried to hunt down all the fun activities in the area so that we could have a lot of holiday fun!

here's a photo run down of our season!

snow palace

dallas children's parade

santa's helper at the mall

jia's first ginger bread house

petting zoo at santa's village

vitruvian park

tuzer's nutcracker

decorating cookies

and of course meeting santa!

whew! we were busy!

on christmas eve jia actually came down sick, which was a big bummer! she had a high fever so we stayed in all day and just snuggled. thankfully her temp had dropped by christmas morning though, so we were able to really have fun and join family for some celebrating.

gifts at home

christmas with granna

jia was really getting into the whole gift thing, so i'm sure that by next christmas she'll be completely out of control now that she's caught on to what presents are about.

so farewell christmas...see u next year!

and happy new year to all!

lots of updates needed here folks!

since i last posted we have:

1. taken a trip to india
2. celebrated halloween
3. celebrated thanksgiving
4. found out we're PREGNANT!

but there's no way i'm going to try to catch up on everything in this post, so for today it's all about item #4.

just a few days after i last posted we found out we're pregnant again...which has probably contributed to my radio silence since i knew it would be hard to talk about other things without letting it slip.

let me just start by saying that we were thrilled to be expecting another kid...and also terrified!

last fall we had a miscarriage, which is a matter that deserves it's own post. let's just say for now that going through an experience like that kind of taints your hope.

so we started off a little nervous this time, especially considering we had a trip to india planned.

but i'm super thankful to have made it to the second trimester now...i feel like i can breathe a sigh of relief! our decision not to share about the pregnancy until we were through the most dangerous part this time had more to do with us not wanting to get all our hopes up and think about it too much than it had to do with wanting to keep our lives private.

anyways, now this little one is a little over 15 weeks. i've struggled with nausea quite a bit like i did with jia, and it still hasn't totally gone away yet. it seems like with jia it got better sometime between 16-20 weeks, so i'm praying for relief soon! i'm a huge wimp when it comes to being nauseous, but if it means that baby is growing healthy and strong then it's worth it!

so far the ultrasounds look good! jia i think is just started to get an idea of what's going on. it's fun to talk to her about it because she's at a super cute age where she's really developing enough vocabulary to put her thoughts into words.

i'm sure there will be ups and downs when the new baby arrives, but i'm feeling confident that jia will be a great big sister!

now that the cat is out of the bag i'll try to update this blog more often. starting by catching up! we welcome any prayers though for our family and this new little one that God is blessing us with!

ok so i just have to make a note of the little things jia does at this age because my mental notes tend to get lost. ;)

it is so much fun watching her explore the world through play at this age as she's starting to use her imagination.

dress up has been a favorite for awhile, and she loves playing with her dolls/stuffed toys and feeding them, putting them to sleep, teaching them, etc. but this week she took her pretending to a whole new level.

we took her to my grandma's last weekend who lives out in the country. she has a chicken yard with a pet bunny that runs around with the chickens. jia was obsessed with both the chickens and the bunny, but especially the bunny! so this week she has been happily bouncing around the floor on all fours and trying to eat her snacks off of a plate on the floor! yay for the fun of make believe!

other than playing pretend, her other favorite thing at the moment is stickers. like it's an obsession. on most days she is covered and so is our house. we may be taking a quick trip to india next month and if so then you better believe i'll be bringing a lot of stickers along for that crazy long flight!

love her.

so in addition to our 3 dogs and a pond of goldfish, we now have a turtle.

i have been wanting a box turtle for years. we live near a creek though so most of the turtles you see out crossing the roads are water turtles.

a friend found a 3 toed box turtle on the road last week though and we offered to give her a home in our backyard.

it is in fact a "her" according to the internet, which has now made me an expert. ;)

now here's just hoping she will be happy and stay put...and that the dogs will let her live happily ever after. :)

i say last days of summer...but it's hard to even imagine summer being over while it's still 100+ degrees every day. at this point i'm begging for fall to come!

but since i work in campus ministry, my life revolves around the university calendar, which means august = crazy time. and even though the weather outside is still screaming summer for a few more weeks, those laid back summer days have officially come to an end for us...though i love the busy fall days just as much!

i've noticed a trend of moms doing "summer bucket lists" with their kids, and i definitely need to do that in the future so that i don't let the seasons slip away from me.

but still we had a lot of fun times this summer. i love getting to spend each day with my baby girl who is growing up way too quickly. she is growing into her personality and becoming so much fun.

we spent a lot of days the pool and splash park this summer just to cool ourselves off. this was a milder summer than normal in texas, but still to survive outside during these months you pretty much always need to be in water or eating ice cream.

we had really pleasant weather a few times though and were able to sneak in trips to the zoo and arboretum without having a heat stroke.

when all else failed, we would take trips to the indoor play areas in malls or gyms. at this age jia really keeps me moving. i've learned that outings are usually the best way to keep my house clean (ish), as well as get the toddler good and tired for a nap.

we also used our outdoor movie screen this summer... a LOT! we've definitely already gotten our money's worth out of that investment. i can't wait to use it in cooler weather now when there aren't so many mosquitoes, and we can all sit around the fire pit!

so summer, we had fun. but now bring on the fall! :)

you're welcome world.
you should really be paying for what i'm about to share with you.

my husband is from india...and he loves to cook.
yeah, i kind of lucked out.

over the past 7 years of being married, i've definitely learned a lot of indian cooking, but my skill is nothing compared to his. for me cooking is still just a chore, but for him it's a passion.

there are so many indian foods that i never heard of or imagined growing up, but now i don't understand how i could have ever lived without them. they've become comfort foods to me. and the happy part is that most of them are kind of healthy too!

we do eat meat in our family, but just a couple times a week since there are so many great indian veg dishes. i could totally be vegetarian indian style...they have mastered it. my husband has totally broadened my vegetable horizons.

and now he has finally put together a collection of our favorite everyday indian recipes.

these are tried and true. i can promise they won't disappoint.
you better invest in a pressure cooker though.

so enjoy! maybe next we get get him to share his non-veg recipes! :)


i love the 4th of july in our neighborhood.
every year there is a neighborhood parade. we got together with friends, loaded up the kids, and picked a nice shady spot to watch.

jia was pretty excited about the candy this year, and the next most exciting thing was a guy sitting next to us to brought his pet bird to the fair. that was more interesting than most of the parade in my opinion.

in the evening we decided to have a little party at our place for international student friends so that they could experience an all american holiday.

we had a potluck, watched an american tale in the outdoor theater, and then we for a fireworks show.

jia managed to stay awake for the fireworks too. so all in all i'd say it was a pretty happy 4th for all! :) this may be our new regular tradition.

remember when i mentioned a pending project with the black thing on the wall by our patio?
well, welcome to our vertical garden!

ok, so it's not much to look at as of yet, but i have big dreams of a wall covered in greenery a few months/years down the line!

my husband's cousin is a landscape designer in mumbai. mumbai is a city packed with millions of people, so needless to say, there isn't a lot of room for spacious gardens. so he came up with this vertical garden concept that works really well! his gardens were amazing! i raved about it last time we were in india, so he sent us home with a kit basically to set it up here! i'm ashamed to say that it took me 1.5 years to get to this project,  but alas, it's finally up, and i can't wait for it to grow!

i chose to fill it with succulents because A) they're awesome. and B) they're one of the few things i can usually keep alive since they don't have huge watering demands.

all the plants are super small for now. i bought like 10 small succulents and basically cut them into pieces and rooted them to multiply them so that i wouldn't have to spend a small fortune on plants (i needed 96!) so it's a little slower going, but they seem to be taking off!

hopefully those little succulents will grow into something like this!

grow babies grow!

this is the last post about jia's 2nd bday...i promise...but i couldn't leave out the party!

compared to last year, we had a really simple party for jia this year. it was pretty much just a family party this time around.

i loved jia's party last year...we kind of did the whole big first birthday thing and invited all her little friends, but even though it was adorable and cathartic for me, i don't necessarily think it was her idea of a good time. it may have been a little too overwhelming. there were several tearful moments.

so this time we just celebrated with relatives and people she is really familiar with and she had an absolute blast, and it was way less work for me too!

the theme was just a simple backyard birthday. i wanted to take full advantage of having our new patio!

shomik made her a little picnic table for her bday, and we set up her kiddie pool and the kids had the sand box and water table and bubbles to play in as well and the kids were all set.

the girls raided the gift buckets.

once it started to get a little darker we put in Frozen for the babies on the outdoor screen. it was jia's first time to really get into a movie...she was totally focused!

for food we just cooked out. to go along with the backyard summer time theme we also had s'more cupcakes, root beer floats, and watermelon!

we served all the food out of our kitchen window! it opens up onto a small bar in the backyard, so we kept the things that we wanted to keep away from flies on the inside so people could just slide open the window for those. i can't believe we'd never used that feature before...it was great!

jia has fully embraced being two, and even blew out her candles all in one try! such a big girl! she needs to stop growing up so fast. love her!

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