Pregnant again.

My first pregnancy was magical. Just a little morning sickness here and there. Even at 7 or 8 months I had the energy to go for brisk walks, be out at events and gallivant here and there. We spent weekends visiting friends in Chicago, New York, Dallas and Austin.

This second pregnancy was fine up until around 6 months. I could feel all my organs dropping lower and lower as if into some kind of abyss. My stomach has the weight of a thousand bricks. My footsteps are small, to avoid any pain or pressure. For a time I had ice cream or chocolate every day. I don’t exercise. I barely stand up or walk.

Truthfully, the pregnancy is going pretty well; it’s just not as magical as the first time.

Today at work, it felt like people were almost ducking out of my way, like they think I’m going to poop out a baby if I keep walking. One woman looked at me and shook her head and all she could say was, “Oh, Lord Jesus.”

She put her hand on my belly with a worried look and said, “In the name of Jesus.” I’m sure it was a prayer of blessing. But it came out like she was in pain from just looking at me, and she might as well have said “Thank you, Jesus, that I’m not in her shoes. Let me get out of here before her afterbirth gets on me.”

Anyway, thank God for mothers. My mom brought me backyard-grown beets, jeera and bean thoran yesterday, along with some chicken. I had some for lunch today. My friend Pokie even stopped by with some delicious homemade pasta last night.

jeera beans beets chicken

I went for a 3-hour gestational diabetes test yesterday. I don’t have the final results, but it wasn’t looking so good. That meant I had to turn down a plate of jello and tres leches this afternoon. Bummer! I can’t wait for the moment it’s safe to sit down and eat a blackberry pie with a side of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.

Typical Morning with a Toddler

I haven’t written too much about momhood, so I thought I’d share a glimpse.

Layla usually falls asleep around 10 p.m. (Yes, this qualifies us in the bad parents category.) I’ve got to be at work at 8:30 a.m. at the latest. So she does not get the pediatrician recommended 10-12 hours of sleep. Heck she’s lucky if she sleeps more than I do.

Anyway so I like to get up, read, wash dishes, make eggs, take my time.

During this time, my girl is still catching her zzzs. At some point, either Layla wakes up, or I start changing her clothes while she’s sleeping. That’s when she wakes up or she just hisses at me in her sleep that she needs to keep her pajamas on.

For breakfast, she eats eggs or yogurt. Some days I’m lucky if she eats just raisins or pretzels. (Bad mom alert!) So you can see why she had the distinction at her second birthday of being in the first percentile for weight.

Anyway, we went through a week or so where she would not even sit on the potty, brush her teeth or eat before school. At some point the clock was ticking, time was up, and I just had to drive her to school with the morning routine incomplete.

This would be followed by nagging rants from me to her. I would go on and on about the things we were not getting done. It sounded like I was yelling at a teenager or something.

You might think, She’s only 2, she is not hearing all your nagging!

But I know she hears every last bit. At some point over the next few days, she would repeat bits and pieces of my rant.  Anyway, eventually my dear daughter started back on the routine and is now walking around with brushed teeth. *phew*

Usually, her dad is already at work by the time Layla wakes up. So if she actually does what she is supposed to in the morning, she’ll say to me, “I’m going to tell Daddy I went pee pee and brushed my teeth!”

And sure enough, when he walks into her classroom at 4:30, she doesn’t just say “Hi, Daddy!” She beams and proclaims, “Daddy, I pee peed and brushed my teeth this morning!”

Yes, 9 hours later she is proud of having done something that will make her pops happy.

Anyway, so keeping my toddler clean and adhering to basic hygiene, this is the daily battle this mom fights. Not to mention the whole eating and sleeping ordeal. Can I get an Amen, anyone?

The Un*Garage Sale

This Saturday marks a first for Sajan and me: our first garage sale!

Except, this un*garage sale will be not in front of our garage but in the Aquatic Center parking lot on Austin Parkway (behind HEB). It’s hosted by our homeowners association. Come see us between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Here are some items that will be on display.





OK I have these cute little shoes from India. I don’t know if I can actually part with them; we’ll see. But we will have some saris and salwars.


photo frame coasters
















Check out more goods that can be yours on Sajan’s blog.

A walk around the innards of Kozhencherry

One day, my mom’s youngest brother, Babu Uncle, took us on a walk through Kozhencherry, past all the houses and pathways he used as a kid. We started outside St. Thomas College and walked way up a hill. Up past their childhood home. It was interesting to see all the power lines and modern things that were not there way before.
st thomas college kozhencherry

We walked past a Che Guevara spray painting, a common sight.

che guevara kozhencherryIt was sundown, so we couldn’t capture the surreal beauty of everything we walked by. We even went through a wild, grassy, rocky path where there was no path, up a big hill. We shined our flashlights to not trip on the rocks and hoped there were no snakes around. And they used to walk these trails barefoot.  The site below is supposed to be korangan mala (monkey forest), where maybe a few hundred years ago there were monkeys.
monkey forest kozhencherry

We walked by a candle-lit Hindu temple.

temple candlesWe walked and walked. It was great to see the calm, residential part of Kozhencherry.



Many of my cousins who I don’t normally get to see often all happened to be in Kerala for the housewarming of my cousins Sajanchan and Ligychechi. They built a grand beautiful house for their visits back home from the Middle East. Above is the house at night with a tent in front for the party to come. It started with a prayer meeting.


Then the pala kacha where you turn on the stove for the first time and heat up some milk for some chaya. In this case, a little fire was lit. The house has an old-school chimney like this, and a real-deal stove in a separate kitchen.


The family took nice group photos before the festivities began.IMG_3249

This is a few of the ladies hanging out in the master bedroom, including my mom’s two older sisters and my cousins.


Here’s some family fun happening in the sit-out.India2013-45 IMG_3344

Did you notice the basket-weave well? It’s the latest style and pretty eye-catching. Apparently, cup and saucer style wells are all the rage, too. There’s plenty of gravelly space to hang out and chat even beyond the sit-out.IMG_3340

Day Trip to a Palace and Beach

One day in Kerala, we all left the house ready for an adventure. Somewhere near Ernakalum, after a few hours of driving, we stopped for breakfast. Sajan ordered masala dosa, which Layla thought was pizza.
masala dosa kerala masala dosa kerala

I had idli appam. Thank God, this place had a playground for kids! Layla had a good ole time after eating two bites of food.somewhere near ernakalum

Next, we arrived at our first destination, Hill Palace in Tripunithura. There was an interminable set of stairs, which reminded me of the Scala Sancta in Rome, a holy set of stairs where you’re supposed walk up on your knees the whole way. Thankfully, this was not a holy set of stairs. We walked on our feet. We noticed lots of barefoot school kids and wondered where their shoes were.palace

Then we got to the top and realized everyone must take their shoes off before going into the palace. The interior was beautiful, with artifacts and paintings from old Kerala kings and kingdoms. It was a place of luxury from the past. I enjoyed learning some history. There was even a set of old Hebrew scripture scrolls. Too bad they don’t let you take any pictures.India2013-83 India2013-84

There were deer and other animals in a little animal sanctuary.
India2013-88 India2013-90

Then we wandered through an old temple area, with a beautiful bathing spot the royal women used to frequent.hill palace baths

After exploring the Hill Palace grounds, we knew the sun was about to set. We drove an hour and a half to a beach, got our feet wet, and watched the sun descend. Then with sandy toes, we drank some chaya and headed home.


The Knife-Sharpener & The Coconut Man

One afternoon, a man came over with a strange contraption on  a wheel. It reminded me of an old weaving loom. He stepped on a pedal, which turned the wheel, which turned a frighteningly sharp metal disc, perfect for sharpening knives. Sparks flew as each knife sharpened. Pretty fascinating to watch!
knife sharpener

At the same time, another man came and shimmied up a coconut tree. This tree was incredibly high. He took very few tools. A knife, a rope and small wooden board. I think he was trimming up the tree. Whatever he was doing, it sure looked dangerous to be up that high. He was clearly a pro.coconut man kerala