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Jayden - You're Almost 3!


Jayden,

Seriously, where does the time go?  I'm sure one day I'll look back at this and think that even more, but seriously... how are you almost 3 years old?  This mama is just not believing it.

I remember when my mom use to tell me 'no matter how old you get you'll always be my baby,' and now I find myself saying the same thing to you.  For now you go along with it, unless you're joking around with me and being funny, but I know one day you'll be trying to convince me of how old you are and how I should quit calling you my baby.  Thankfully, those days are not yet upon us.  However, kissing has already made it's arrival much earlier than I anticipated, but in your defense, you were "just being loving."  And, that you are.  You have an amazingly sweet spirit that melts Mommy & Daddy's hearts in an instant.  You are so caring and it shows in the way you take care of Jackson.  You're always excited to say 'Good morning' to him as soon as he wakes up, and you're great at making sure he's taken care of. 

Most the time you are very laid back.  You would be perfectly content watching a movie or sports all day as long as you had a full cup of milk to go along with it.  Oh yeah, and my hair.  It's usually requested that I sit by you so you can twirl my hair, which must be in a ponytail.  This is something you've done since you were a baby, and I really thought you would have grown out of it by now, but if I was honest, I would admit that I'm glad you haven't.

A few of your favorite things include watching sports with Daddy (specifically Tennessee and the STL Cardinals... Wonder where you get that from?), music - singing & pretending to play instruments, anything Toy Story, your football player from your Uncle "Nay Nay" that you sleep with every night, The Jungle Book movie, Super Why, and your Hello, Fredbird! and Hello, Smokey! books.  You also like to play cars with Jackson, although sometimes there is a bit of a battle over sharing.  We're working on it. :)

One of my favorite things about this stage with you is the stories you tell.  At least once a day you come up with an entertaining story.  I tried to write down details from the one you told me a couple of days ago and here's what I got:  "I was going to take a nap in my room and it was very scary and I ran to the door and I tackled myself and it was very scary.  Then there were penguins and aliens walking. Oh my!  Mom, say oh my. (Me: "Oh my!") And then Buzz Lightyear came and said 'Hi Fuva (one of the Gujarati words for uncle) and he talked to Fuva.  And then the aliens said 'Wow, wow, wow, we need to pray.'"  There were more details mixed in there, but that's all I could get written down.  You have quite the imagination!

Here are a couple of my other favorite recent quotes:
-- Me {Applying hand sanitizer to boys after leaving the library story hour}: "Mommy is putting hand sanitizer on your hands because I don't want you to catch any germs."
Jayden: "Only catch my football?"
-- Upon seeing turkeys outside this afternoon: "The turkeys are playing football!"


Although you have never seen a single TV episode or movie about Spiderman he also comes up in conversation occasionally.  I'm pretty sure it has to do with his dance moves when we saw him in NYC. And the "Wow, wow, wow we need to pray" statement you attributed to the aliens in your story above is actually what you say before almost every meal, after you've already taken your first (or second) bite of food.

I couldn't be more proud of you and the little man you're becoming, and I can't wait to celebrate your birthday with you in just a few short weeks!

Love,
Mommy


Jackson @ 18 Months

** I'm going to try to start a new little feature on the blog where I do one post per month solely devoted to each of the boys.  For example, Jackson's birthday is May 13th, so on the 13th of every month I'll do a post devoted to what's going on with Jackson at the current moment, and the same with Jayden (except his would be on the 22nd of the month).  There have been so many times I've wished I could remember the little things that were going on at different stages that have passed, so hopefully this will help me do that, and it never hurts to give you guys a little more reading material. :)


Jackson,
You are truly becoming a little man.  Your ability to talk has exploded recently and every day you amaze me with new words.  It's crazy to see my "baby" talking as well as you do.  You love your doggy, and are finally able to say "doggy" in a recognizable way.  Over the last week you have started saying sentences like "Night Night Daddy" which is absolutely precious.  You also have started pronouncing "Jayden" clearly, and you say his name quite often.  Most the time it's in excitement of seeing your big brother, but occasionally it's because you're trying to tell on him. :)  You also are still figuring out the appropriate times to say "Thank you" and "You're welcome" (Sometimes you say "welcome" when Mommy hands you a cookie instead of "thank you," but I'm just happy you're showing appreciation.  We'll get to specifics later.) and sometimes even "Bless you" when someone sneezes.  You definitely pick up on everything around you.  Last night at dinner you were copying every face or action Jayden made, and for now, you guys think that's funny.

Whenever you see a Tennessee shaker you immediately pick it up and sing "Rocky Top."  My favorite part is the "woo!" you do towards the end.  I've got to get a video posted so we'll be able to show you one day.

You love to ask for movies, but never sit to watch more than a few minutes if I turn them on.  You're great at helping clean up, but you also think it's fun to pour all the blocks out of the bucket or bag at one time.

You really love playing with choo choo trains, cars, airplanes and tractors.  I'm thinking this is how we'll decorate your room once we finally get to it.

You love to eat (as you always have), especially cookies (animal crackers) and you would drink juice all day if I let you.

You love getting into cabinets and drawers and you also like to climb.  If you're getting in trouble it's probably for one of those things.

You give really tight hugs and sweet kisses when you feel like it.  You love sitting on the kitchen counter by me when I get on the computer, but that's usually short-lived as you usually start getting into something.

You love your daddy to pieces.  It's not uncommon for the first word out of your mouth in the morning to be "Daddy!" for him to come get you, and I think that's probably one of his favorite ways to wake up.

We're so proud of the little guy you're becoming, and I'm thankful I feel closer to you every day.

Love,
Mommy

Relaxing Weekend in... Memphis?!

As all of you probably know, we travel a lot.  So when we sat at a nice family dinner out Friday night we talked about how happy we were to have no plans this weekend.  When Jayden said something about going to Tennessee we just smiled and told him "Not this weekend."

We woke up Saturday, ate our traditional big Saturday morning pancake breakfast, then I proceeded to organize Jayden's closet while Dipal and Jackson took late morning naps.  I had mixed some cookie dough the day before that I decided to go ahead and bake.  Right about the time the cookies were coming out of the oven Dipal woke up from his nap.  When he walked into the kitchen he looked at me and said, "You're going to think I'm crazy, but what do you think about going to the Tennessee/Memphis game?"

And within 1.5 hours we were on our way.

No tickets.  No hotel room.  No worries.

Along our 3.5 hour journey we alerted Facebook friends to our plans, booked a hotel room (Thank you Hilton reward points), and laughed about how just a few short hours before we had no idea we would be making a trip to Memphis (my first ever).

We arrived at the game right around kickoff, bundled up the boys, got a quick pic, and were on to our next task - finding tickets.


After a bit of negotiating, running into some friends from college (Love that you can go to a UT game anywhere and run into people you know!), and proving to the Memphis fans that we indeed had bought the tickets they claimed as their season tickets, we were ready to cheer the Vols on to victory!


We even got to hang out with "Uncle" Will, Stuart, and Click (some of Dipal's fraternity brothers) during the second half.  (Which I of course failed to get a picture of.)

As we were approaching the end of the game we decided to walk over to the Vols fan section and see Ms. Joy (who we love, love, love) and we were lucky enough to grab some pictures with her, Smokey, and the cheerleaders.  This is also about the time all of you saw Dipal and the boys on TV... you know, while I was off to the side taking pictures... figures. :)

Smokey and the guys
I was attempting to get a picture of Dipal taking to Ms. Joy...
When the rest of you were watching this cuteness on TV. :)
The boys with Ms. Joy on the field
The boys and a few of the cheerleaders.  Don't let Jayden's uninterested face fool you.  When asked about this picture this morning his eyes lit up and he got a huge smile on his face. ;)
Ms. Joy walking around with Jayden on the field.
We ended the night in our warm hotel room watching Sportscenter and sharing ice cream.  A perfect way to use our extra hour in the day if you ask me.  Thank you Daylight Saving Time.

Dipal made a commitment to help out at church Sunday morning, so we woke up early and enjoyed a drive through the Tennessee country roads serenaded by Jayden singing Rocky Top a large amount of the way.

So, maybe the weekend wasn't "relaxing" in the sense we thought it would be, but it was definitely pretty perfect.

Chaudhari love to you all!!

Living the Dream



I want to be a singer.

{After watching ABC's In the Spotlight With Robin Roberts: All Access Nashville last night I'm totally thinking country music}

It's true, no matter how cheesy it may sound.  Ever since I was a little girl I wanted nothing more than to grow up one day and sing for a career.  I have memories of standing in my grandmother's kitchen, tape player in the middle of the floor, belting out Mariah Carey's MTV Unplugged album.  When I closed my eyes I was pretty sure it was me standing on the stage.

I liked writing my own songs.  I had one of those big keyboards that you could press a button and it would play a song for you, and I used that to write a song for my mom on one of her birthdays.  I even roped one of my good friends into singing it with me.

I was even willing to put the effort into choreography for a good performance.  Elementary school talent show?  Totally choreographed a dance to Mariah's Fantasy.  I still remember some of the moves (but I'm not going to prove it).

I participated in choir every opportunity I got, whether it be church or school.  I even had solos in some of our performances.  As I got older I took on singing "special performances" on Sundays at church.  (You Baptists out there know what I'm talking about. "Special performances" were/are a time in the church service where someone can get up and sing a song of their choice.)  At one of our church youth camps I even got to sing in front of a few hundred people, including Chris Tomlin, who patted me on the back and told me I did a good job, but unfortunately didn't offer me any contracts.  Oh well, maybe next time. I also got to sing a line of Big House with Audio Adrenaline once, but that's a different story that I need to find the picture to before I share. :)

Anyhoo, all that to say I've always wanted to sing.  At my old, ripe age of 25 I'm starting to realize that's probably not the path set out for my life, professionally anyway.

You see, I realized something a couple of years ago, and was reminded of it again yesterday and thought I would share to encourage you where you might be today.  I love to sing, passionately love to sing, and even at one point thought God might be calling me to use that passion for Him.  For years I wondered if I had that strong of a passion for singing why wasn't God using me in that way, why wasn't he giving me ways to develop my voice for Him, and why would He give me that passion in the first place.

Then one night when I held a crying little baby boy and didn't know what else to do, I sang.

And he stopped crying.  And there was peace.

And another time when he was crying I even made up my own little song for him that I would sing when I didn't know what else to do to help him calm down, and every time I sang it he would stop crying.  I might've had to sing through it a few times, but it always worked.  I've even pulled it out a couple of times with our youngest.  It's very basic and nothing impressive, completely made up on the fly, but it works.

So, in those first moments of singing to my little baby boy I felt like God was saying "See, I didn't give you that passion for no reason.  You're using it for your most important task, being the mom I've called you to be."  That might not seem big to you, but it was bigger than life to me.  There is no one in this world I would rather make happy with my singing than my baby boys.

And we sing. A lot.  My oldest now likes to sing 3 songs before bed every night, and they're always the same ones in this order: Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and a song from the Wiggles (Random I know).  The Wiggles song we just kinda make up the words because I have no idea how their song really goes, but I think that's one reason he likes it, because we just have fun with it.

So, while I may not be singing for any sold-out auditoriums any time soon, I'm ok with knowing God is using my passion for an amazing purpose - showing love to my sweet boys.

And, I still occasionally bust out some old-school Mariah.  Loved. Her.

Have you had any passions that you didn't get to use the way you thought you would?  I would love to hear about it in the comments.
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"To Infimmity and Beyond!"

Thought I would do a Halloween post before too much time passes.  (Yes, this means 2 posts in one day.  I'm crazy like that.) :)

Our original idea for Halloween was for Jayden to dress up as an Imagination Mover and Jackson to dress up as Warehouse Mouse (the mouse from the same show).  From the time Jackson was born I thought this would be super cute, and was convinced that would be how they were dressed for their first Trick-or-Treating experience.  Yes, I said "first" as in my almost 3-year-old Jayden has never been Trick-or-Treating.  To some this might seem a little crazy, but I just didn't see a point in dressing him up to go get candy for me and Dipal to eat.  (Maybe I'm a little bit of a Halloween Scrooge.)  We did dress Jayden up for his first Halloween, only because someone gave us the costume as a gift and we happened to be going to a Halloween shindig with our friends (at which Dipal and I were the only ones not dressed up... See I told you, Halloween Scrooges we are).

Jayden's First Halloween

Last year we spent Halloween at the Tennessee/South Carolina game, so that was an obvious skip on dressing up, but at least we were in festive colors, since they happen to be the colors for UT as well.

So, this year we went through with the dressing up.  After having some trouble finding a good Imagination Movers costume, you know, that was less than $50 (This scrooge is not spending 50 bucks on a toddler Halloween costume), we decided to ask Jayden what he would like to dress up as.  Buzz Lightyear it was!  We also let him choose for Jackson since he's a little young to answer, but I think Jackson was very pleased with the result.

Despite my scrooginess, it was really fun to see how excited the boys were to dress up.  On the way home from buying the costume Jayden told me "I'm gonna put my wings on and fly!"  I was a little worried he might be disappointed to see he couldn't really fly, but he had a blast pretending.  When we were out a couple of days later getting some last minute things for the costumes he kept repeating "To infimmity {infinity} and beyond!"  He was really getting into character. :)


And here are the cuties all dressed up for Halloween!


And on the way home already digging into their goodies!


By the time we got to our first Trick-or-Treating stop I think all my scrooginess had left.  It was so cute watching them walk up to the door in their costumes, Jayden saying "Trick-or-Treat" and then thanking people no matter what they gave him - Candy to crackers to toothpaste. :)

We ended the night with a yummy dinner at our neighbors' house and some warm apple cider handing out candy to our 5 trick-or-treaters.  Oh well, more candy for us the boys.

And just so you know, Dipal and I do know how to have some fun on Halloween...  Here's a little proof.

Jasmine & Aladdin ZTA Halloween Date Party - 2004

Typical me and Dipal circa 2004

Smokey and Smokey's Trainer ZTA Halloween Date Party - 2005
(Most of you know Dipal was actually Smokey's trainer his junior and senior years.)

Hope you all had a fabulous Halloween!

(And seriously... You can stop laughing at our pictures now.) :)

My Favorite Treats!

I hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween.  Just wanted to share my two favorite treats with you. :)

Buzz Lightyear & Woody

My two favorite treats of all. :)


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5K Goal: Accomplished.

About this time last year I got on a kick to run a 5K.  I was looking for a way to lose some weight, and I thought training for a 5K would do the trick.  I was right.  By the time I was up to running 3 miles I had lost 10 pounds and had my eyes set on running my first 5K in Chicago on Thanksgiving Day.

Except when we woke up on Thanksgiving Day 2009 in Chicago the weather was rainy and horrible.  So, we backed out.  I was super sad, but told myself I would still accomplish my goal.

Fast forward to April 2010 when Dipal ran the half in the Country Music Marathon.  My dad, Liz, and I commented numerous times how fun it would be for all of us to be able to do a half marathon.  Fast forward to Father's Day 2010 when we gave my dad workout clothes and a challenge as his gift - a challenge to run a 5K together.

Fast forward to October 30, 2010: Goal accomplished. :)

We ran with Team Ramsey (as in Dave Ramsey) at the Run for Mercy 5K in Nashville.  As we arrived it was super cold, but we managed to take a few before shots.

This was also my dad's first 5K race!

The running crew

My coach and me

Our cheer section

The race began at 9 a.m., and by that time the weather started to warm up and the sun was shining bright.  It was a beautiful morning for a run!  As we took off across the starting line I was so proud to be running beside my dad.  I have always looked up to him so much, and to see him out there pushing himself was just awesome!

Finishing up the race

Dad finishing up

We finished our first 5K!!

We all finished injury free!!

I am happy to report that I ran the whole thing which was my goal.  I wasn't really concerned with time since running has never been my thing, only finishing.

So, would I do it again?  Absolutely.

I'm even somewhat considering running the half at the Country Music Marathon in Nashville come April.  It's still only a consideration.  We'll see. :)

Anyone wanna join me?

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