Seafood Arun

C-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e 9-months, C’Mon! Arun has developed a passion for Cucs– he can’t get enough of them! Eyes squinted, mouth open, apparently, the taste evokes his pirate-like alter-ego, “Argh, Who Wants My Cuc, Eh? Touch it and you’ll walk me plank!”

Seriously though, it seems like if Arun sees food- he wants it! Hence, “Seafood Arun.” So, of course, we had to celebrate with some sort of seafood!

Ashish, Nishad and I did our own kind of celebrating- King Crab legs on the grill. Dab those babies with a little EOO, salt and pepper- It’s snappy! (harhar!)

Last year for our Anniversary, I ordered live Maine lobsters delivered to our door. What an experience! Delicious! We’ve come to really enjoy seafood at our house. I highly recommend the family owned company we ordered from. I think next time we order, we’ll get a platter of sorts. Yes, it was that good! Hmn….Can we say year old celebration with a little “snap, snap?”

The Art of Birth Order

Here is Arun, a day before he turns 9-months old. Yes, that is a cone with a ‘baby’ scoop of chocolate ice cream in his hand that he is happily devouring. Our eldest, Nishad, now 2 1/2, never even got so much as a puppy-lick of ice cream until he was almost 2 years old. The first cake Nishad tasted was on his first birthday. Arun had a little taste of Daddy’s 10-year Anniversary cake last Saturday. And juice for Nishad? Eek! Never! We started letting Nishad have juice on occasion recently as well.

Beyond food, there are more ‘interesting’ occurrences. Nishad was simply expected to hold his own bottle- and he did so by the time he was 8 months old. Arun has no interest to hold his own bottle! Nishad started drinking from a cup (not a sippy-cup, but the real thing) and holding his own spoon and ‘feeding’ himself at 9 1/2 months. Though we have a few weeks to attempt that transition, I have a feeling that Arun simply put, as no interest. Nishad said “Mama” by 4 1/2 months and “Dadda” by 6 months (and addressed us correctly). Arun still only says, “Dadda” and a few Hindi words. Though lately he clucks little a chicken and flaps his arms up and down. I think I spent way too much time showing him the birds at the zoo. Nishad was rolling over at 3 mos., sitting up by 4 1/2 months, crawling by 5 and walking (a stable walker!) at 8-months. Arun, well, he crawls and cruises and though I know that he will be walking before long…it is interesting to make these mental notes of milestones.

I had it ALL wrong. I thought the “BABY” of the family was showered with attention…as I was. I’m finding that the first born is really where it’s at! Undivided attention…Two parents for one baby! Arun has already missed out on baby swim class, baby gymnastics and infant-parent Montessori class- all things Nishad did from the time he was 4 months old.

The process of being pregnant was amazing and inspiring to me- and I find that rearing our boys is no different. It’s amazing how we can share DNA and yet be so different with our personalities, abilities, likes and dislikes. I personally think I got the better deal of my other siblings! (ha.ha) I feel I got the best of both my parents! Now, my siblings view on that may differ- but hey, blame it on DNA.

My sister Deborah is 12 years older than me and from my mother’s first marriage, which was annulled. My brother John is 10 years older than me. One reason why I wanted to have our kids with a 2 -3 year age difference is because I grew-up having siblings that were all out of the house, married and had a family of their own by the time I was ready to interact and enjoy their company. Growing up seemed as though I was more like an only child, instead of the youngest. We took a lot of family trips with just me and often my parents would let me invite a good friend to take with so I would have someone to play with.

Often my brother and sister would whine, “We never got to do what she is doing!” Or, “The sun always shines above Beverly- She never does anything wrong.” I’m starting to piece the puzzle pieces together of birth order and why they may have felt so jolted.

My parents never physically hit me in order to discipline me either. Instead, they talked things out with me and we “discussed” my choices. Sometime, I just wanted them to spank me and get it over with! I know this wasn’t true with my brother and sister though. My parents spanked them all the time. I recall my nose against the door, with my eyeball glued to the keyhole crying and begging my Dad to stop spanking my brother and sister over something they did.

I honestly think seeing that put the fear of God into me and that was enough to keep me on the straight and narrow as a kid and teenager. I also think that witnessing first hand the upset that my siblings caused my parents made me never want to upset them and hurt them. My parents were big on learning from their experiences, but maybe, just maybe they shared a little too much with me- or maybe I was a little too young to hear what they shared.

My parents told me that my siblings had every opportunity that I did, but they choose not to pursue anything. I was the one taking dance lessons, involved in theatre, art classes, competitions, etc. I felt like their prized possession. As all children should…but my parents definitely doted on me more than my other siblings. I’m not sure why…or if it was because I was they baby and they had me when they were older. Older in their eyes at least. My Mom had me at 31 years old. The same age I was when I gave birth to Nishad. In today’s terms, 31 isn’t old to have a child at all.

Instead of my siblings having issues with me and taking out their aggression on me, in specific, my sister- they should have confronted my parents about it… not me. I was just a child. I hope and pray that Nishad and Arun never feel like one is favored over the other. As a rule, we “are a peaceful house.” This being that the world is already so tough out there. Home is a refuge. If you can’t feel safe, secure and extraordinarily confident at home, where else and how can you feel safe, secure and confident? I hope they grow into people that they both respect and enjoy sharing in ones company. Observing the love they already share, I am confident that they will be not only ‘good’ brothers, but ‘great’ buddies.

Veggie Patrol

Behold, my first veggies! After a busy week, I admit, I haven’t had much time to portray my ‘farmer’ role. However, I was back at it again today.

To my surprise, a cucumber and two peppers were ready for harvesting! These veggies look as veggies should look- different and beautiful in their own unique way. No pesticides, “steroids” or wax…just organic goodness.
Our season seems to be about a month behind. Maybe I’ll be harvesting cucs in October. Oh, that’s more like it! At least I hope we don’t get cheated out of a longer Fall because of the delayed season of Spring. Eh, I don’t even want to think about the Fall yet…
One thing that continuously freaks me out is the idea of genetic engineering of organisims (our food). Ever go into a grocery store and observe that all the produce is the exact same? There’s something about that which we would prefer to avoid. Nishad has been eating and drinking organic since he started solids (Arun will follow). Milk is a lot more expensive ($6-$7 a gallon). I pretend we live on Hawaii when we buy it. 🙂 Our boys are really the motivation behind our garden. I want to know what they are consuming. Growing stuff in our very own backyard makes us feel as though we have a bit more control. I have yet to read “Stolen Harvest” by Vandana Shiva, but it is on my list of hopeful reads.

Here’s a great summer salad recipe that has become our favorite! We use our herbs straight from our garden. It’s a great side dish with fish. Pictured above is a tandori salmon I made with the rice salad.
Herbed Rice and Spicy Black Bean Salad
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups cold, cooked white rice
1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped black olives
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Make a seasoning by mixing together the basil, thyme, parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl.
Gently mix together the rice, black beans, celery, olives, and green onions in a large bowl. Season the rice mixture with 1 teaspoon of the seasoning.
Make a dressing by whisking the vinegar and olive oil with the seasoning; allow to rest for 10 minutes. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture; stir to combine.

All good things…

Auntie Kelly has her countdown of when she leaves the Big Apple and we have our own countdown of sorts- We’ll be counting down the days until Auntie Kelly’s next visit.

My friend Kelly (affectionately known to our boys as Auntie) and I have known one another since our Freshman year in high school. There are those family you inherit from DNA or marry into and those that God sends your way…Kelly is a part of our ‘chosen’ family. Kelly has always been a consistent and caring force in mine, and my boys lives. She has been through every trying period in my life and every milestone. She has shared in my joys, lifted my spirit in the difficult times and always…always reminded me of the gifts God has blessed me with. She doesn’t allow me to be hard on myself in her presence…Instead, she adds a boost of self confidence with her words as effortlessly as adding cream in my coffee. How does she do it?

She is a woman of many talents and according to Nishad, she’s now added a few to that list. He *loves* playing with his Auntie Kelly. She showered him with such attention while visiting. She read to him endlessly (one of Nishad’s favorite past times is books). They played puppets. He even preferred to sit next to her when we ate out, and let her help him in the bathroom. He had this little spider finger action movement when he wanted her to hold his hand. When Kelly went to the bathroom at the zoo, he asked, “Where is Auntie Kelly?” I replied, “The bathroom.” He replied, “Will she be back?” I said, “Yes, Nishad.” And, even with her out of site, as though he was sending her some sort of sub-conscious signal, he reached out his hand in the direction that she walked away and sent out a little spider finger message her way.

While pregnant with Nishad, Kelly actually drove back to Minnesota with me after my baby shower to help me prepare for the baby. She took time off in her life, to give time to us… After Nishad was born, she and her Mom (Gammy Dee) were first to say they were visiting. Does Nishad sense how special she is to us, or does he sense how much she cares for us? Maybe neither- maybe he just senses what a good person she is, and what a big heart she has.

I know that I have such an added respect for Kelly- especially, after this visit. There is another layer of love that was added in my heart… There is something so amazing about watching one of your dearest and closest friends play with your children, value what their innocent perspective is and love them so concretely. Ashish and I don’t have many people in our lives that are in our children’s lives. I suppose that’s why it is quality over quantity.

As it was time to get ready for nap, I told Nishad to go to his room. We moved out his twin bed in his brother’s room and put a queen size bed in his room for Kelly to sleep on. He sat up on the bed and looked at me and said, “Where’s Kelly going to sleep?” He was really proud to share his African Savannah room with her. I said, “Kelly had to go to her home now…”

10 Year Anniversary

Red, White and Blue…I am for you! Honest, you’re a grand old flag! …Land that I love, stand beside her…with a light from above!

Ashish will be in this country for 10 years on August 11th. We invited people over for a garden gathering that we consider family and special friends to reflect upon his journey, accomplishments and blessings.
Ten years ago, my sweetheart came to this country with one suitcase and $500 (then, just enough for a one way ticket back to India). Amazing to me, considering I need to have cash in store for crossing a state line- “just in case.” I can’t imagine moving to an entirely different country and culture…I think Ashish is brave, spirited and adventurous. Above all else, I think he knew I was here and that I was at a point that I really was ready and open to the possibility for his steady presence and unconditional love in my life. 🙂
Despite the fact that my love and I grew up on opposite sides of the ocean, we were able to find one another. As there are still some Indians that have ‘arranged marriages’… Our marriage was arranged too. However, parents and relatives had nothing to do with it… it was all arranged by God.
The D’s (our Minnesota family), the Beans’, Kold’s, Kane’s, Clausen’s and a few of Ashish’s co-workers that he considers friends all turned out to celebrate with our own “Festival of Taste-Nations!” Auntie Kelly and I cooked up palak paneer curry, aloo-gobi curry and tandoori chicken. We ordered samosas and Indian treats along with a big cake vanilla cake filled with chocolate. There was jumbalia, Swedish meatballs, Mexican, Chinese noodles, different rices, potato dishes, and even a chocolate peanut butter rice crispy desert. Food, glorious food.
It was so great to be surrounded by those we care about. It meant so much that they shared in this special day. Many thanks to all that shared this festival meal with us, and special thanks to Auntie Kelly for helping me prepare food, clean, be crafty and entertain the boys!
Ashish doesn’t like to be the center of the lime-light…but I have to admit, he’s my star! His story is an inspirational one. He single handily came to this country, not knowing anyone- not owning anything. He had to work for everything he earned in life- nothing was handed to him. Just as he worked hard to stay here- the right way, the honest way…a way that makes me very proud.
As I celebrate his 10 year anniversary, I can only thank God for guiding him here safely- with a light from a above.