Cha Cha East Coast Extravaganza '11 :::: Part 2 ::::

{You can read Part 1 where we met our new nephew, Armaan, and participated in a surprise 60th birthday celebration of Dipal's aunt here.}

Over the next few days we spent time relaxing with family and enjoying our "break from reality" as I've been calling it. It truly was such a great break, which just makes it that much tougher to get back into routine.
Dipal with his aunts and uncle looking at old pictures.
Every morning was so relaxed... Well, for us anyway. Rima {Dipal's cousin} probably wouldn't agree since she had to wake up to Dipal and the boys jumping on her bed every morning. This was much different than the late mornings she was enjoying before we came and interrupted her summer break from UT. :)

Every morning when I woke up I walked into the kitchen to find a hot cup of Indian chai waiting on me thanks to Dipal's aunt, Nita Kaki. Can you say spoiled?! Because I totally was. Talk about a rude awakening having to come home and make your own coffee. Oh, the real world.

The boys also enjoyed eating sugary kid cereals every morning which I usually don't buy for them around our house {I know, I'm such a scrooge!}. This picture of Jayden having some Trix for breakfast is especially for my friends Melinda and Becca who I thought of every time he ate them. :)
Trix are for kids silly rabbit! ;)
On Monday {Memorial Day} we enjoyed some time at the pool with the family before Dipal took off for a 2 day trip to Maine. One of the original reasons for us traveling to New Jersey was for Dipal to get PRK surgery on his eyes, a refractive eye surgery similar to Lasik. {Bye bye blue contacts, hello clear vision!} Unfortunately, the timing didn't end up working well for this trip, so Dipal still traveled up to Maine for some screenings to prepare for the surgery. {In case you're wondering why we would go all the way up to Maine for this surgery, it's because Dipal's cousin Tina is married to a corneal specialist who will be doing the surgery for Dipal.} Dipal {or all of us, still not sure yet} will be going back up to Maine some time in the fall for him to have the surgery.

Tina and the boys getting ready for the pool
Armaan's first trip to the pool
Tina and Me
Dipal's uncle, Kirit Fuva, teaching Jackson some swimming basics. I love how intently Jackson was trying to listen to him. :) Believe it or not, Jackson actually applied his little lesson to his swimming too. 
Jayden did great splashing around all by himself!
Jackson flashing smiles after giving Daddy kisses. He was very proud!
Tina and Armaan hanging out poolside.
After a while Jackson just decided he would rather cling to me than swim. I didn't mind one bit. :)
And of course, in true Dipal fashion, he threw Rima into the water while she was fully dressed...
Later in the day the boys decided to use their floats as recliners while watching a movie.
Tuesday, Rima and I decided to travel up to Elizabeth, NJ to visit Ikea {Woo hoo!!!} and Jersey Gardens, "New Jersey's largest outlet mall." We had a lot of fun, but in all honesty, by the time we made it to the Jersey Gardens I was exhausted and didn't have much energy to exert on shopping. Ikea was a blast though - it's definitely one of my happy places. I don't know if I'm just adjusting more to the style of Ikea in general, or if each store has a different layout, but I felt like it was much easier to find everything I wanted in this Ikea than the others I've been to {Chicago and Atlanta}. As for Jersey Gardens, we walked around, went in the largest Forever 21 I have ever seen {I have yet to go in the 4 story one in Times Square, that one might be bigger}, and let the kids have some fun and snacks.

Born to be wild!
My oh-so-handsome shopping buddy!
That's all the fun for today, folks! Tune in next time for adventures from the Jersey Shore and New York City!

Chaudhari love to you all!

Cha Cha East Coast Extravaganza '11 :::: Part 1 ::::

Hi there friends and fam! It's the long time no blogging mama bear of the Chaudhari household. :)

We have officially returned from what I am lovingly calling our 'East Coast Extravaganza' and are starting to get back in the swing of our normal routine. {Me with the help of massive doses of coffee, but whatever works, right?}

For the third year in a row we embarked on a 16ish hour drive to New Jersey to visit with Dipal's family. His family lives in Princeton, which is conveniently about an hour away from several fabulous tourist locations, my favorite being New York City. {New York City?!?! Name that commercial.}

While there, it also worked out for us to participate in a surprise 60th birthday celebration for Dipal's aunt and celebrate the 14th birthday of Dipal's cousin, who just happens to be more than a foot taller than me. No joke, I stood on a couch to be eye level with him.

Of course, I took thousands of pictures and am planning on sharing a select few with you through the blog. I'm still debating what to do with the rest of them. I'm starting to not like the idea of uploading all our pictures to Facebook, but I would still like a way to be able to share them with friends and family, so if you have any suggestions let me know.

Anywho, back to our extravaganza...

Before we arrived in New Jersey it was originally meant for our trip to be a complete surprise to Dipal's family. As the time kept getting closer the secret leaked out a little, but fortunately we were still able to surprise some of Dipal's family.

The first full day we were there we spent meeting our newest nephew Armaan.

Isn't he precious?! And SO photogenic!!
Dipal and I loved him, to say the least. Of course the boys did too, and loved helping their Tina Fai {Gujarate for Aunt Tina} feed him.

Here are some of my other favorite pictures from the afternoon:

Dipal had such a sweet connection with Armaan.
Rima and Armaan
Sweet boy!
Jackson and his Tina Fai
Tina and Armaan
Later that evening we all gathered at an Indian restaurant to surprise Dipal's aunt, Santok Fai, with her 60th birthday party. She was indeed very surprised!! Here are some of the pics...

Jackson loves walking around with his hands in his pockets. I think it makes him feel big. :)
Daddy and Jackson
Jayden loved running around the big banquet room. {Yep, I was the parent of the constantly running around kids... Don't you just love me? Sometimes you just have to let go.}
Family shot
Santok Fai arriving completely surprised!
She cried when she saw Dipal, which was so sweet. She said when she saw him she immediately thought of his dad, her brother.
Dipal and his aunt, Santok Fai
Santok Fai and me
Santok Fai with her son-in-law, Ravi looking at pictures from the party.

Santok Fai with her son, Paresh, cutting the cake.
Dipal with his cousin Rahel and uncle Dash Kaka
Picture taking fun with the mirror in the room.
Me and Rima
The party was lots of fun and we are so glad it worked out for us to be there and participate! I'll continue on with more fun from our East Coast Extravaganza next time. 

Chaudhari love to you all!

Spring 2011

How's that for an original title? :)

It's been a while since the last time I've blogged. I told you guys I was going to take a break. It was great for a while, then that whole "I feel guilty that I haven't blogged in a while" feeling came back, so here I am updating the interwebs on our life. For those of you looking for a distraction from your to-do list, you're welcome. :)

It's been life as usual around our neck of the woods.

We've spent time enjoying the warmer weather, giving up cookies for some crazy diet (That has helped me lose over 10 pounds!!), celebrating Easter, running (Dipal) or cheering at (Yours truly and da babies) a marathon, celebrating birthdays and the mommy of the household, discovering new music love, and the man of the house has been spending a lot of time outside planting.

I'll spend some time going more in-depth on some of the fun things we've done post by post in the coming days. Currently we're spending some time in New Jersey with some of Dipal's family and having a blast. I can't wait to share pictures!

Chaudhari love to you all!

Taking a Break

Hi all!

It's been quiet around here for a while, but I wanted to write to let you know that from here on out it's on purpose. I'm taking a break from all things blog and social media.

Thanks and love to you all!

Goodbye {For Now}

Hi friends!

I'm writing because I wanted to let you know it's going to be very quiet around here for a while. How long exactly I don't know. Maybe 2 weeks or 2 months? I'm not setting a time limit. All I know is that blogging and social media are fabulous, but also very time consuming, and right now I have more important things that need my attention (Like the little guy who is twirling my hair as I write this). When I feel like it's time to get back to it and I feel like I can balance it a little better I'll be back.



I'm tinkering with some design things today, so please excuse any craziness. :)

Thank you!

Remarkable Faith: Funeral

Continuing on with the Remarkable Faith series over at Giving up on Perfect, today's topic is a funeral that has been significant in your life. As soon as I saw this topic I was reminded of a post I wrote last August when my Uncle Cordell passed away. Although the post is not specifically written about the funeral, I would like to repost it because it was a time of enlightenment and growing in my faith. My dad actually read an excerpt of this post when he spoke at my uncle's funeral, which meant so much to me. The funeral served as a confirmation of the things I felt when I wrote the post below, as well as a chance to meet a handful of the people my uncle touched with his life.


I’m writing with a very heavy heart today.

I just found out that my great uncle, who has been battling pancreatic cancer for some months now, was taken to the hospital.  At the time I’m writing we’re not sure if he will be leaving.

After spending some time in prayer and seeking God through His Word, I have looked at some verses in a new light, and thought I would share.

First, let me tell you about my Uncle Cordell.  He has been a great uncle.  He has been the kind of uncle who never ceased to put a smile on my face, and joy in my heart.  He and my Aunt Wilma (his wife) are truly blessings to be around.  They carry warmth and comfort with them wherever they are, and I believe this is the “fragrance of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) on them.  If my Uncle Cordell knew I was writing this, he would not want you to feel sorry for him, he actually wouldn’t want any attention on him at all.  He was slow to tell anyone of his disease for this very reason, and feel sorry for him you should not.  He is a hard worker who, despite his illness, saw to it that work that needed to be done was tended to.  It runs in the family, my grandfather is the same way.  They are quite the pair of brothers, my Uncle Cordell and Pops, very much alike in the joy they bring and their hard work ethic.  I’m hoping that the same work ethic is instilled deep within me as well, it might just take a little searching to find it.

Aunt Wilma and Uncle Cordell at my college graduation/birthday party, May 2007

Uncle Cordell holding Jayden, 4th of July, 2008

It’s hard to see someone you love suffer with the symptoms of cancer.  One of the times I felt it most was a few months ago when Dipal, the boys, and I met up with my Uncle Cordell and Aunt Wilma along with my Pops, Dad, brother, and sister at some of our family’s property in Tennessee.  There was a lingering sense of sadness that everyone tried to look past as the news of the cancer was still somewhat new.  When it came time to say our goodbyes my Uncle Cordell reached out his hand to shake mine.  In my moment of ignorance I lightheartedly said, “I don’t want a handshake, I want a hug.”  After all, that is typically how we would say goodbye in our family, but Uncle Cordell immediately informed me that while he was on chemo he was instructed to keep his distance from others and their germs, but he reassured me “next time.”  

This was the last time I saw Uncle Cordell.

As I was fingering through the pages of my Bible this afternoon, I was led to 1 Corinthians 15: 35-49, which captured my attention because of the subtitle “A Glorious Body.”  Specifically, verses 43 – 44 shone a glimmer of hope (talking of the body).

43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.  It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

No matter how dishonoring my uncle's natural body may have been to him through this disease, his spirit will be raised in glory.  No matter how weak this disease makes my uncle’s natural body, his spirit will be raised in power.

Thank you, Jesus.

As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” It goes on to say in verse 4 “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Laughed we have with Uncle Cordell, but now is a season of weeping and mourning the loss of someone we loved very much.  But we have assurance that one day we will be reunited with him in a place of joy.

And I can’t wait to get my hug when I see him there.

*I started to write this yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon after hearing the initial news of my uncle.  Late last night I received a call from my dad informing me that my uncle had passed away, and I completed the post this morning.  Please keep my family in your prayers, specifically my Aunt Wilma, my grandfather, and his sisters and family.


If you haven't already, please take some time to check out others sharing their stories at Giving up on Perfect today.


Anyone up for some March Madness?

With my sweet little man at the Sweet 16 last year.

So, with less than 24 hours left until round one begins of the men's NCAA tourney I'm getting a little crazy, "mad" if you will. I've decided to set up a Hope in the Daily Grind group on ESPN's tournament challenge and would love for you guys to join me! My husband and I always fill out brackets and my husband usually even leads a group of friends in the challenge, which led me to the thought it would be fun to do a friendly bloggy competition. Here's the catch - you have less than 24 hours to fill in your bracket! No brackets will be accepted (according to ESPN rules) past Noon EST tomorrow (Thursday, March 17).

Although last minute, I'm going to try to find a fun gift or two for the winner as the tournament won't end until April 4th. {On that note, if you have an Etsy shop or business you would like to promote by offering a gift for our winner, please let me know ASAP.} Once I know what those gifts are I'll let you guys know.

Now on to the fun...

{Depending on how long it takes you to fill in your bracket this whole process could take less than 5 minutes.}

Click here {} and either make a free ESPN account or enter in your account name and password if you already happen to have one.

Once you have created your account you should return to the Hope in the Daily Grind group screen with a red button offering you to "Create and Join". Click that button.

You should see your name as a link on a row highlighted in yellow. Click your name and an empty bracket will open up. To select who you think will win each game simply click on the team.

To finish you will need to type in what you think the score will be of the national championship game. Then click "Submit".

You are allowed up to 10 entries per ESPN rules. Use it as an opportunity to have your kids or hubby join in on the fun. You can name each entry as you choose by hitting "Edit Entry Settings".

If you have any other questions feel free to email me at Hopeinthedailygrind at gmail dot com.

Looking forward to some fun!

Macaroni and Marriage

It was right after feelings were hurt and sharp words were said. I wiped my tears with the sleeve of my college sweatshirt as I put the last of the dishes away only to make room for more. I placed the pot of water on the stove to boil like the anger that was inside me. Did we really just have that argument? Did I really just say that? Did he mean that like I thought he did? I can't believe we just went there.

I pulled out the blue box of noodles and powdered cheese, added the pasta to the boiling water and turned the temperature down on the stove and in my gut to avoid overflowing. I checked on the once frozen nuggets in the oven that were halfway cooked and I remembered how far we've come since we started.

Just three and a half short years ago we were in a one bedroom apartment, newly married, preparing for our first child, and all I knew how to cook for dinner was frozen chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. It was a weekly affordable staple for our beginning family. Tonight it was an easy option for a late started dinner and a way out of spending too much time in the kitchen on a Sunday evening. It was a far cry from my husband's favorite made-by-me meat loaf or chicken tortilla soup that I've learned how to make over the years, and an even further far cry from the most mouth-watering pork chops I've ever eaten (and I'm not a big fan of pork chops) that our neighbors invited us over for the night before, yet a testament to the beginning and a memento of the origin of two as one.

As I stirred the macaroni and cheese into fruition nerves were calmed and explanations were given. Although feelings still tender, we gathered round the table as one family, praying for God's continued guidance and thanking Him for our blessings, eating our macaroni and nuggets, cleaning up messy fingers and cheesy mouths capable of the most heart-melting kisses on earth.

And afterwards we turned up the music and danced in the kitchen like crazies, and I remembered why I'm here, the promises I've made, and how they make me feel loved. The journey can be hard, but these treasures are worth fighting for.

I Feel the Most Loved When... A Five Minute Friday Post

As someone who has always dealt with a lot of insecurities feeling loved has always been a lifeblood to me. As I thought about this topic, I realized that for me love speaks through actions and words of affirmation. My love language perhaps?

I feel the most loved when...

The sweet baby boys God has entrusted me with look me in the eyes and flash their big, beautiful smiles. They are breathtaking.

My husband shares my successes with all of his Facebook friends and seems so proud.

I mention to my mom the possibility of the boys and me riding with her and my family down to Tennessee and her response is "Are you kidding me?! We'll find a way to make it work."

When Jayden twirls my hair in his sweet fingers the way he has done since he was only months old.

When Jackson runs to wherever I am and throws his arms up in the air pleading "Hold you, hold you."

When I give Jayden a kiss and he says "So close!" just to get another one, and when he is satisfied proclaims "That's a yay!".

When my wiggle worm Jackson wants nothing more than to cuddle with his mommy after waking up from his nap.

When I feel loved all stress is relieved and forgotten.

Oh love, you warm and fuzzy feeling you. I love when you come around. :)

This post is linked up over at Five Minute Fridays hosted by sweet Lisa-Jo. Go take a peek at the other posts, but while you're there you should also take a look around the rest of Lisa-Jo's site. This post she wrote last week was one of my recent favorites. Those of you who are pregnant or who have ever been on a hospital tour will appreciate it. :)

Remarkable Faith: Baptism

As I mentioned yesterday, Mary over at Giving up on Perfect is hosting a special series throughout Lent called Remarkable Faith. The topic for today is baptism. If you're visiting from Giving up on Perfect I want to say a huge thank you for stopping by! For everyone else {to whom I am also grateful :) }, feel free to jump on over to visit the rest of the Remarkable Faith posts.

My first baptism was when I was 8 years old. Yes, you read that right, my first. There was a special event at church for the kids and I walked down the aisle, said a prayer, and we planned a time for me to be baptized. I remember very little of it now except for a few details. What impacted me the most was how insignificantly it seemed to impact me from that point on.

As the years went on I wondered if there had ever really been a change in my heart. I worried that my walk up the aisle was more a following of others than a decision on my own part. I just couldn't fathom how at 8 years old I would have really known what I was praying about or committing to. This is not to say that it's impossible to be saved as a child, but personally, I doubted that my 8 year-old self really understood it all. After years of wondering and debating my torn heart was mended in July of 1999 when my 14 year-old self finally decided to do something about it. I prayed to God confessing my sins, repenting of those sins, and turning my life over into His control. And, yes, following the example of the Bible, I followed this decision with baptism {again}.

It was a life changing moment for me. I remember the tears streaming down my face - tears of joy - that I knew, that I knew, that I knew I was His. In fact, I still have a little notebook that I wrote in afterwards where I simply stated, "I'm happier, no more doubts in my mind." I even used the date from the event in my AOL/AIM screen name at the time. How's that for serious? ;)

Have I messed up since then? That would be a big, fat YES! I mean, uh, have you read my story? Have I doubted God since then? Unfortunately, the answer to that is yes too, and you can read some of that here. But the amazing bigger picture in this is that He has never doubted me. He has never let me fall from His hand. He knows the plans for my life {Jeremiah 29:11} and despite my mess-ups and doubts he continues to plant desires in my heart to serve Him.

What's equally as awesome is seeing His work in my family. Within the last year I witnessed my husband's baptism which was such a special moment. A subject I had literally been talking to him about for years, questioning why he hadn't already followed through with it, and trying my best not to be pushy about it. Holding my then 2 yr. old in my arms was priceless as we watched the leader of our home publicly "take the plunge" to show his faith in Christ. I'll never forget the worship time afterwards when my little one {who is usually in nursery during the service} raised his hands and tried to raise mine for me as well, as if he was saying "Mom, we have a lot to be praising for today."


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