Svara the Baker

food, kids, Recipe, Svara

Lately Svara has been enjoying baking more.  But it can’t just be any baking – it has to be baking as much as possible BY HERSELF.


At seven years old I certainly can’t let her have free range of the kitchen, so I help her get out the ingredients and materials needed.  She reads the recipe to find out everything she needs, and then she does all of the mixing, measuring, etc.   I help with the oven.  Maybe in another year or two I’ll take another step back and let her get out the ingredients, clean up, and even place things into the oven herself.


For now it is enough ‘herself’ for her to proudly exclaim that she has made these goodies ALL BY HERSELF.  She couldn’t be more proud.  Neither could I.


Svara’s favorite cookbook is Live Learn Love Eat (you can find it for sale here by the author).  This book is written by a vegan mother of three.  The recipes are very child friendly and family friendly.  It is both the fact that the book has children in it AND the fact that she can easily read and understand it herself that appeals to Svara.  I love this cookbook as well!


The recipes Svara made on this particular day were the chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting.  Mmmm!  The recipe for both are here on her blog.  The only thing we did differently was that I put the raspberry puree into a sieve to get the seeds out.  I wanted a smooth frosting.


Svara had a blast making these cupcakes, and of course eating them as well!

I’m sure it’ll be a matter of days before she’s in the kitchen again paging through the cookbook for another recipe to make 🙂

Talisa the Toddler

kids, Talisa

I haven’t done a full post about Talisa for quite awhile, so I thought I’d update a bit on some things I want to remember about these fleeting toddler times!  For the record, she is 23 months old.  Can’t believe she’ll be 2 in less than a month!!  Haven’t even started planning her birthday yet, it’ll probably be very low key.


Talisa LOOOVES to color.  Markers are her favorite, but as you can imagine she’s not so good about putting caps back on, and over a period of about 3 months all of our markers have slowly been thrown away.  The marker drawer is now empty.  oops!  I used coloring time to try to teach her some manners (she’s pretty good at manners in general considering her age!).  Like most little ones, she likes to grab what she wants, when she wants it.  So if I was using a marker she wanted (which was every time of course) I asked her to say “Can I have that please?”  and I’d either say sure and give it to her, or ask her to let me finish and then I’d give it to her.  She did pretty well, though often she’d grab the marker and quickly say “Can I have that please?  Sure!  Thanks!” while pulling it out of my hand.  What do I say to that??  haha


The crocodile tears have started as well!  Of course she often really truly cries, but sometimes she cries just to try to get her way and she has this habit of covering her eyes with her hands.  I try not to laugh, really I do.



It’s my little kitchen de-organizer!  Her most favorite thing to do in the kitchen is beg me to carry her while I am cooking.  But if I can distract her from that, she’ll go to the cupboard!  Sometimes she takes things out and piles them on a table, other time she takes a few things out to play cooking.  Other times she completely empties the tupperware shelf!


I think she has some sort of innate sense of organization (I must take advantage of that!!).  When she takes containers out of the cupboard she takes off the tops and puts each top underneath its corresponding container.  nicely done!


Talisa has her share of falls like any toddler, but in this photo she is doing one of her favorite games – falling on purpose!  She falls down and then Svara has to rush up to her saying “oh no! oh no!”  Talisa thinks it’s hilarious.  Of course.

fall down on purpose

This is the last photo I have of Talisa in her high chair.  She hasn’t sat in it for oh, 3-4 months I think.  In fact we don’t even have it anymore, we lent it to a friend who has 2 little ones who both like to sit in high chairs but they only had one chair.  Now Talisa sits at the table like a big person.  Except she’s not a big person which means she’s either too low in the chair or she has to kneel.  But to her that’s better than a high chair!  I thought about getting a booster seat, but I don’t know if she would refuse to sit in it because it’s not the same as our chairs, in which case it’d be a waste of money…


Oh, these stairs.  Talisa goes up and down these stairs too many times a day to count.  seriously.  For many months my heart jumped every single time she’d go up or down and I’d run to make sure she’d be okay.  Now I’m pretty confident and she’s super confident, so I don’t have a mini panic attack 50 times a day anymore – whew!




Sunglasses.  too cute!  Oh, and she puts them on by herself of course.




Time to (un)help with the chores!  The best time for Talisa to sweep is AFTER I have finished sweeping.  But she prefers to sweep while I sweep, which means thrashing her broom in the dirt pile.



Teaching a toddler their colors can be quite frustrating.  Talisa picked up on color names quickly, but matching them to the right color is a whole other ballgame.  I remember the same thing with Svara – wondering if perhaps they can’t see the colors the same as us or what.  So I put it to the test!  I found these foam “popsicle sticks” at the store and snatched them up.  I gave them to Talisa along with containers of similar colors.  And she  matched them!  All by herself!  I was so proud – and happy to know that she CAN see her colors.  Naming them?  Now that’ll take awhile.  But she’s very interested.  She points to things and says some random color, I tell her the color, she repeats it, over and over.  Fun times.




Talisa can definitely be a little goofball.  She makes faces, does funny walks, silly stances, anything to get a giggle out of us.  And if we do laugh?  She’ll do it over and over for our everlasting entertainment.


silly1 silly2


So let’s see, what else….


Talisa talks up a storm and speaks in full sentences.  Yesterday we were outside and it was time to go in to get ready for bed.  I told her and she walked away saying “NO, I play outside.”  Okay, then! (sorry kiddo, you can talk, but I can still carry you!) One of the things she says funny is “NO WITE!” (for no way).   She can count to about 18, but she skips the number 5 every single time, and I think she skips a couple of the teens as well.

Books, books, book!  This girl still thankfully loves her books.  Pretty much the only times during the day that I can count on having some peace while she’s awake is when she gets caught up in her books (she sits and reads by herself for 5 to even 30 minutes at a time) or when she’s watching home videos of herself on the iPad (desperate times call for desperate measures, meals HAVE to be cooked!).  Often in the morning she wakes up, nurses, and slides off the bed to toddle off to her book pile.  She reads her books by herself while we catch a few extra minutes of Zzzzzzzs.  Until I get hit on the head with a book of course.

Eating – some days Talisa has a good appetite, others she doesn’t.  She’s still keen on frozen blueberries and would eat them for every meal of every day if we had enough and if I let her.  Oh, she’s not allergic to chocolate anymore, YAY!  She used to get hives from chocolate, but over the past month I’ve tested it a few times and no reaction, so now she gets to have some chocolate when we do (I make a lot of healthy treats that include some cocoa powder).  She’s not so keen on veggies, but we keep trying and there are some she’ll eat (she likes raw tomatoes!).  She likes carrots and will eat leafy greens if they are chopped small and in soup.  She and Svara often share a small pot of miso noodle soup for lunch (healthy noodles, organic silken tofu, and either grated carrots or chopped leafy greens in a miso broth).  Easy to make and they both gobble it up – win win!

Talisa has become quite possessive of me where Svara is concerned.  If Talisa is not in the best mood and she sees me hugging Svara, all hell breaks loose.  She screams, pushes Svara (but she DOES say excuse me  hehe) and asks to nurse.  I try to keep most of my cuddles for Svara when Talisa isn’t looking for the time being.

SLEEP – if you have read previous updates about Talisa, sleep has ALWAYS been an issue for one reason or another.  It wasn’t getting any better after 18 months and I was at my wits end and couldn’t even think straight due to sleep exhaustion.  My mom sent me a baby sleeping book for my birthday, so I had a read through it.  I never was one for crying out.  I did sleep training with Svara at various times with various success, but I was glad to have never had to do that with Talisa.  BUT sleep was getting worse and the book made some good points – she wasn’t getting good sleep either, and she wasn’t crying in distress.  and she certainly didn’t physically NEED to nurse 5-10 times a night.  Yeah.  So with everything I read, I decided it was time to cut her off nursing at night.   So I thought maybe I’d be kind and just hold her but not let her nurse.  That didn’t work since I had to sit there and hold her for 2 hours a time waiting for her to fall asleep enough for me to put her in her crib.  Not cool.  I had other things to do at night – like work and SLEEP.  So…. one night when Naren and Svara were at a function I let her cry.  I checked on her every 10-15 minutes to let her know I was around and to make sure she had her pacifier and security cloth (her fasa and toony).  It took 45 minutes for her to fall asleep.  Things got a LOT better after that.  For about 3 months it was lovely and I could hardly believe it.  I did end up nursing her early in the mornings (5 or 6) as she’d then fall back asleep.  If I didn’ tnurse her at that time she’d be up for the day.  Not fun.  Then she got sick, and we were all sick.  And that dragged on for a month and a half and things were BAD again.  I can’t deny a snotty coughy baby who wants to nurse in the middle of the night.  So we were back to little sleep.  A few weeks ago she was finally totally over her cold so I had to go back and do the whole letting her cry again.  Took 40 minutes that time and it’s been better since.  she still wakes up and I actually bring her into our bed when she gets up sometime around 5 (sometimes a little earlier) because it’s just easier that way.  But if she wakes up earlier I just lay her down, tell her goodnight, and she goes back to sleep.  So glad to get a bit of sleep back again!

Nursing – still going strong!  When Talisa was a baby she nursed when she was hungry and that was about it.  After about 15 montsh or so she started becoming more emotionally attached to nursing, wanting to nurse when she was sad, mad, etc.  She still does that.  I am currently trying to defer that when possible, trying to divert her attention elsewhere, give her cuddles but not nursing, etc.  But sometimes she’s just in hysterics and it’s the only thing that’ll calm her down.  Other than those times she nurses in the morning, before and after nap, and at bedtime (and then once around 5am or so).  At some point in the next 2-3 months I’ll probably start phasing out the after nap nursing and go slowly from there.  I like still knowing she’s getting the extra complete nutrients from breastfeeding, and if it helps her sleep I’m all for it!

I think that’s enough for one post, I’ve got some other things to do online before I myself get to bed.  I should be back soon with a post all about…. homeschooling!



Dancing in the “Rain”

kids, Talisa

Sometimes it is just TOO hot and you just HAVE to dance in the “rain”.  At least that is what Talisa would say!  She loves it when Naren sets up the hose like a sprinkler.  He usually starts by watering the plants and then she convinces him to spray her and then he sets up the “sprinkler”.  Svara usually joins in, but she didn’t feel like changing on this particular day.

IMG_3607 IMG_3611 IMG_3618 IMG_3620 IMG_3625 IMG_3627 IMG_3630 IMG_3631 IMG_3633 IMG_3634 IMG_3635 IMG_3639 IMG_3647

Sidewalk Paint

crafts, kids, Svara, Talisa

Here is another day when it was time to do a messy activity!  Again this activity I chose to do outside, to allow for easier cleanup.

DIY sidewalk paint cornstarch and food coloring

I mixed together cornstarch with water and added plenty of food coloring for nice bold colors.  Add some spoons and/or big paintbrushes, and it’s time for some colorful fun!






DIY sidewalk paint cornstarch and food coloring

I see they are only using spoons in these photos, I can’t remember why they are not trying paintbrushes.  Maybe the paint was too thin or something.


fun with homemade sidewalk paint

Svara enjoyed mixing the colors and making swirls.  Talisa just enjoyed splattering!


fun with homemade sidewalk paint



Playground Fun

family, kids, Svara, Talisa

One of my favorite things about the place we live is that we can just go right outside our door to play at the playground, and go down a path to an even bigger playground as well.  We go out each evening that we can.  Right now it is hazy so we are staying indoors, but a few weeks ago we were going out each evening.  Usually either Naren or I take the girls out to play with the other stays in and makes dinner.  But one evening we were both able to go out, so I took the opportunity to get some updated playground photos!

Talisa has been going up and down these stairs by herself for many months now.  I stay close, as she occasionally stumbles, but she’s very insistent on doing it herself!


After seeing the older kids swing on the bar above the slide, Talisa had to try as well.  Now she does it every single time she goes down the slide.




Swinging with Papa!  She can sit on the swing herself as well, but sometimes she still enjoys swinging with one of us.



A few months ago for Ayyam-i-Ha (a Baha’i holiday) we bought Svara a scooter.  Now it’s one of her favorite things to play on outside!




Right outside our house this stray banana tree has been growing for the past couple years.  It finally got a blossom and I was looking forward to possibly having some bananas, but it looks like it’s an ornamental type of banana plant, as the bananas are only about 3 inches long.  Ah well, it’s still neat to look at!



More fun on the scooter!  Talisa often rides on Naren’s shoulders after she gets tired of running around.



More swinging!






Talisa asks us to lift her up to this higher bar.  She hangs there for a few seconds and then asks for help to get down.



Here is one of Talisa’s favorite ways to swing by herself:






Svara practices on the monkey bars each time we go to the big playground.  She hasn’t gotten the hang of going across yet, but she reaches as far as she can, swings, and drops.



Slide time!



Because it makes sense to climb UP the slide….



And then go DOWN the stairs…




Now I’m hoping that seeing these pictures from when it was nice and clear outside, it will help the haze dissipate and we can go back out and enjoy the playgrounds again!!!

Family Times

kids, Svara, Talisa

Well, it sure has been awhile!  So much for keeping other updates instead of Talisa’s monthly updates!  I have a few posts to share, but I want to do them in order.  So today here a few photos showing some of the things we do around the house together 🙂

Three months ago Svara turned 7.  I still can’t believe it! For her birthday we were happy to be able to get her one of the things she wanted more than anything – the large Lego Friends house.  The year before she had gotten a couple of the smaller sets for her birthday.  She really enjoyed them, but needed a lot of guidance to put them together.  This year she put together the whole thing almost all by herself.

lego1 lego2



Both of the girls have been helping me out with cooking as well.  Talisa loves stirring oats or flour while Svara and I are busy.  As you can imagine, this can get quite messy!


Svara, on the other hand, is now able to read parts of recipes and help out with measuring as well.  Our kitchen can be quite warm as there is no fan, so when she helps cook I usually take all the ingredients to the dining table so it’s cooler. Here she was mixing together some granola, yum!



Sometimes when I am working in the kitchen I really need to find something to keep Talisa busy.  She has kind of gotten bored with digging around in the cupboards, so I have to be more imaginative.


On this day I took out the playdough and utensil drawer and she went to town.  After awhile she was ready for something new and she asked for some oats.  She likes to stir them and eat them!




I’ll leave today with a few photos of Talisa doing what she does best – being silly!  And eating her still favorite snack – frozen blueberries!  I’ll be back soon with a few more posts of the fun stuff we’ve been up to!





blueberry7 blueberry6 blueberry5 blueberry4 blueberry3 blueberry2 blueberry1

Talisa – 18 Months

baby update, kids, Talisa
Our neighbor and friend is a fantastic photographer and took photographs of the girls recently.  Here is the first glimpse of the photo session, I'll post more when we get more!

Our neighbor and friend is a fantastic photographer and took photographs of the girls recently. Here is the first glimpse of the photo session, I’ll post more when we get more!

18 months old seems like such a milestone.  Halfway between baby and toddler.  Starting to do so many more things!  Jokes, crafts, helping, and more!

Here is the rundown of where Talisa is these days.  After this month I’ll try to get back into regular posting of daily things and probably not post an official Talisa update until 2 years.

I have to apologize, mostly to myself, for the severe lack of photos from this past month.  The memory card from our handy small camera has been misplaced, and I can never remember to take out the big camera to take daily photos!  So the few photos here are from Naren’s phone this month.  Usually I have a few on my ipad, but the wifi on my ipad doesn’t work anymore, so I don’t have it handy and don’t find it useful to take photos anymore there.

COMMUNICATION – Talisa is in this parroting phase.  All we have to say is “Can you say____” and she’ll repeat what it is we want her to.  Some words are more clear than others, but it’s amazing that she’ll give any word a try!  She hardly does any baby signs anymore as they have all been replaced by words.  Sometimes she’ll sign “more” or “nurse” but I think that’s about it.  She loves singing (Baa Baa Black Sheep is the current favorite) and she’ll sing along with her favorite tunes but with nonsensical words, it’s pretty adorable.  She says 2 and 3 word sentences pretty regularly and is always pointing things out.


PLAY – No surprise here, but books are still her number one favorite toy.  She is also getting more into role playing with dolls and such.  Not anything that makes sense, but it’s cute watching her develop that side. She is also starting to role play things in the toy kitchen – putting a pitcher under the sink spout, giving me things to eat, etc.  She is getting more accurate with her shape sorters.  Naren bought her a set of the big duplo legos for Ayyam-i-Ha and she has fun putting those together.  Sometimes she is content to play alone, and other time she insists we “SIT!  SIT!” next to her and play with her.

We were fortunate to get to a great book sale this month.  We all picked out some books we liked.  Talisa had a blast of course!

We were fortunate to get to a great book sale this month. We all picked out some books we liked. Talisa had a blast of course!


SKILLS – Talisa has moved to almost exclusively feeding herself with her little fork and spoon.  Last week she ate all of her breakfast oatmeal by herself (spilled a bit, but not much!).  I think she was wanting to do this before we knew it because she’d always reach for the table yelling “nah! nah! nah!” which is what she says when she wants something.  I realized finally that what she wanted was her bowl/plate of food!  I bought a bowl with a suction cup so it won’t slide around while she’s trying to scoop out the food.  She can easily take the bowl off of her try if she tries, but at least it helps with the sliding when she’s seriously trying to eat.  She can also hold an open cup and drink out of it by herself!  When she’s tired of drinking she’ll start dumping, though, so I have to watch her carefully.

FOOD – She is still eating mainly what we eat.  Breakfast is usually scrambled egg (or just the egg yolk and Svara eats the white, their preference), toast, cold cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, frozen blueberries, bananas, etc.  Lunch is often miso noodle soup (with carrots and tofu, she shares this with Svara), or else whatever we are having.  Same with dinner.  Snacks are popsicles (usually just blended up watermelon, or sometimes banana with milk/fruit), banana ‘icecream’, homemade cookies, crackers with hummus, raisins, etc.


SLEEP – Talisa is still working on those teeth!  I think the last one of that set of 8 that was coming in is just about to pop.  Then it’ll just be the canines and then her 2 year molars (hopefully not for awhile!).  It’s still the norm to nurse her to sleep.  Occasionally she’ll have a 4 hour stretch of sleep, but the usual night is 2 hour stretches, with sometimes a 3 hour thrown in there.  Hoping after this final one comes out it’ll be awhile before the canines start coming in!  She is improving with the staying awake in the middle of the night.  This past month it has only happened on the night she had a tooth popping through (twice this month I think).  She tries to get back to sleep, but it can take 2-3 hours on those nights.

GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT – we need to take her for her 18 month checkup, but she had fever and still has a little bit of a runny nose, so we’ll wait until next week.  She is SO active that she seems pretty slim (but not too slim).  I miss her chubbiness!  Her hair has seemed to stop growing this month.  It’s quite curly, but since there is not much of it, it just sticks out in funny random places.  Quite entertaining 😉


THINGS TO REMEMBER:  Here are some little things I want to remember but don’t really fall into the above categories…

  • Talisa had a bad accident this past month.  She fell on the three steps that go from our living to dining room and her teeth went through her bottom lip.  Naren was not home at the time, and it was pretty traumatizing for the three of us girls at home.  The bleeding stopped faster than I had even hoped it would, and it healed up within 2-3 weeks, but you can still see that her lip is bigger in that area.  I wonder if the evidence will ever disappear.  I really felt completely awful!
  • Talisa is starting to bully Svara!  Pulling her hair, hitting her, kicking her, etc.  She does it to me as well, but not nearly as much as she does to Svara.  I guess Svara is an easier target!  Svara used to hit me a lot starting at that age, so it’s not too surprising, but it’s hard to get Svara to react in a way that will help stop the behavior.
  • She has started saying “I love you” every time she kisses or hugs us, which is a LOOOOT.  I LOVE it!  She’s not clear in the way she says it, it’s something like “Ahdzhoo”.
  • When we are playing around on the bed she likes to tell me (or whoever) to sleep and expects me to put my head down, take off my glasses, and close my eyes.  Yesterday she did it to Naren and Svara and she even sang them some songs like lullabies, haha!
  • Her little cloth (it’s actually a premie prefold) and pacifier are her security items.  I have several of the prefolds so I can rotate them and have extras around just in case!  She has to be holding her cloth while she nurses, sleeps, and if she’s ever upset.   Svara never had any security items beyond her pacifier, so it’ll be interesting to see how long she keeps it for!
  • She is starting to show interest in toilet training, but she only wants to sit on the toilet, she never actually does anything.  But it’s a start!  Time to get out the potty chairs!

sister smiles


Talisa – 17 Months

baby update, kids, Talisa

talisa laughing at svara


My baby is quickly turning into a toddler and little girl. At this age she is still a baby in so many ways, but she is also growing in SO many ways EVERY day. I don’t have access to my photos at the moment, but I wanted to make sure to write this post anyway! So here is a rundown on where Talisa is these days!

COMMUNICATION – Talisa is a little talker! She still uses some baby signs, but some of them have been given up since she can easily say the word. But she has also made up some of her own baby signs! Unfortunately it’s not as easy for us to know what her made up signs mean. For example, one of her self-made signs is tapping on hand on the back of her other hand. She makes this sign whenever she hears a loud hammering type sound from neighbors doing renovation. Obviously the sign means that sound, but I’m so curious to know why she made the sign like that and what exactly it means to her! She is saying new words every single day, and even 2 word sentences sometimes.

PLAY – Her play preferences haven’t really changed since the last update.  Books are still her number 1 favorite ‘toy’.  She’ll sit and look at books for quite some time by herself, or bring us books and cuddle up next to us so we’ll read them.  She likes to grab a book, roll onto her back, and page through it.  And it doesn’t have to be a baby book.  A novel, a cookbook, anything with pages will do!  Shape sorters and stacking toys are still favorites as well.  She sometimes makes little dolls and animals ‘talk’ which is pretty darn cute!  She likes dumping things out and putting them back in.

Talisa reading

SKILLS – Lots more climbing going on these days!  She’ll climb onto a stool, stand up, and then get back down by herself.  She likes stepping into boxes and baskets as well.  She is working on learning how to feed herself with a spoon.  Usually the spoon/fork goes into her mouth upside down, but it’s starting to improve a bit!

FOOD – Not much has changed here lately. She is still basically eating what we do (minus the spicy foods and still no chocolate or oranges or dairy).  She likes tofu, plain rice, soups, blueberries, toasted sandwiches, hummus on crackers, cookies, and much more.  Oh, and ice chips!

SLEEP – I mentioned last time that her molars were starting to come in.  She’s still working on them.  And not only molars, but her incisors and canines as well.  That’s a lot of teeth!  Going on 2 months of straight teething.  I haven’t been able to put her down to sleep awake for this whole time.  It has sadly become the new norm to nurse her to sleep and gently put her in her crib.  I have never had to nurse/hold her to sleep for this long before.  As soon as these teeth finish coming in (it seems like one breaks through every 1-3 weeks and each molar is a 2 week ordeal by itself) I HOPE HOPE HOPE she gets back to her old routine of nursing, then into the crib to settle herself to sleep.  If she doesn’t I’ll have to urge her in that direction.  And now that she’s much more opinionated that’ll be interesting…   So yeah, still the old good nights are 2-3 hour stretches and bad nights are 30-90 minute stretches.  And if it’s a night where a tooth is really bothering her she may be awake for 2-3 hours (last night she was awake from 5am-6:45am and then back to sleep until 8.  I don’t let her get up and play anymore when she is awake in the middle of the night.  I try try try to put her to sleep, let her sit on the bed and babble for awhile (in the dark) until she asks to nurse again, etc. etc.  Hoping that helps not turn it into a habit!  It seems to be happening less than before (crossing fingers).  She is down to one nap a day except for the very odd day here and there if she wakes up early and had a rough night of teething.

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT – As I mentioned, she has a lot of teeth coming in one after the other!  At last check (it’s hard to get a good look!) 3 molars are through along with 2-3 of her second incisors.  The canines aren’t through yet, but I think they are on their way.

She is growing taller!  I haven’t measured her, but a couple weeks ago we noticed that she was reaching for the latch on the front door and she was about an inch away from reaching it.  Today she reached it and opened the door, eeps!  Now we have to keep the front door locked 😛  So she’s definitely growing!  Her hair is growing as well, all funny and curly and adorable.  I hope to post some good photos soon!


Finally a photo of the teeth!

talisa dirty look

Talisa giving her “dirty look” to Svara. She thinks it’s hilarious!


Catching Up

family, kids, Svara, Talisa

I’m still playing catchup!  I’ll try to get mostly caught up in this post so I can start actually posting current photos!

Halloween 2013

We’ve never celebrated Halloween here in Malaysia, beyond dressing Svara up when she was an infant and visited my classroom when I was teaching.  Halloween is becoming more common here, but we still didn’t have any plans for this year.  Svara, however, has learned about Halloween through a few cartoons, stories from me, etc.  so she was ready to celebrate!  We decided to go to the mall on Halloween and the girls dressed up for the fun of it.  Here they are!

halloween halloween2

Talisa wore the same costume that Svara wore many years ago and Svara decided to dress up as a witch.  A black Indian outfit and a handcrafted paper witch hat completed her outfit.  I decided to let her to to the mall without brushing her hair, to make it look more “witchy”.

A few more photos to complete 2013:

swimming hug

Hugging her sister, even in the pool!

signing %22more%22

signing “more”


summer fun!

playing in dirt

children must play in the dirt, right?

kitchen mess

this is what my ktichen looks like on a daily basis! I also usually end up pushing chairs against the sink cabinet and in front of the stove and oven to keep her from those places. If Naren isn’t home and I need to get something done in the kitchen, this is the only way!


a rare family photo! All dressed up ready to go to a wedding celebration



Talisa 13-15 Months

baby update, kids, Talisa

high chair

Wow, how have I left my blog for so long?  I’ve been so busy with work, projects, the house, kids, etc.  that this blog has kind of fallen by the wayside.  But before my baby gets any older I figured I better do a catchup post!

Here is a quick rundown so I don’t forget all of her development over the past three months:

COMMUNICATION – Talisa is talking more and more every day, always trying new words.  She does some more signs as well, but seems to really enjoy trying to say words.  But the signs she makes are very important ones for her and she uses them all the time.  When she doesn’t know the word or sign for something she flaps her arms around and says “nahnahnahnahnah”.

PLAY – Talisa’s favorite thing is still BOOKS!  She starts her mornings by looking at books and ends her days by looking at books.  Sometimes she wants the same book read over and over.  Other times she sits through one word of a book before picking up another, and another, and another.  She is starting to play with shape sorters and nesting toys quite frequently as well.  And she can now stack things instead of just knocking them down!  Outside on the playground she can climb the stairs, go to the slide, sit down and slide down, and repeat.  A big girl!  She also enjoys the baby swing a lot.

SKILLS – Nothing new here, just honing and perfecting her climbing, running, etc.  Oh, she tries to jump, it’s so cute.  And she does this running in place move that she thinks is hilarious (it is!).  She is trying to climb up and down stairs by stepping instead of crawling.  She can sometimes manage one or two steps, but then goes back to crawling or reaches for my hand for help.

FOOD – Talisa doesn’t nurse as often during the day anymore.  She nurses in the morning, before and after nap (unless she has 2 naps, then just before each nap not after), and at bedtime.  She still nurses several times throughout the night, though.    She eats most of the same foods that we do, and most her old favorites like frozen blueberries.  She is allergic todairy, chocolate, and oranges.  she gets hives from chocolate and oranges.  I’m hoping she outgrows those allergies! She likes to feed herself with her little fork and spoon.  The difficulty is that for some reason she ALWAYS turns the utensil upside down before putting it into her mouth.  Maybe because it’s easier to take out that way?  So it only works if the food that I’m giving her actually sticks to the spoon/fork.  Otherwise it just ends up in her lap or on the floor!

SLEEP – Sleep has still been up and down, mostly down.  She had a couple weeks where she had some kind of sleep regression and it was pretty horrible trying to get her to sleep.  Though she has never slept through the night, at least she lets me nurse her, then put her in her crib and she’ll go to sleep.  But during that two weeks she just screamed her head off when I put her in her crib.  I had to hold her until she fell asleep.  Not fun when she likes to toss and turn while she’s going to sleep.  It was really a struggle.  Plus she was waking up every hour for those two weeks.   Now her molars are coming through so sleep is all messed up again.  It’s hard for her to get to sleep unless she’s really tired, and she wakes up a LOT.  In general for these past three months she has woken up every night every 1-3 hours to nurse (occasionally I just have to put her down with her pacifier and she’ll go back to sleep, but 99% of the time she wants to nurse).  On good nights she’ll have several 2-3 hour spurts.  On bad nights she’s up every 45-60 minutes all night long.

Over the past 3 months she has been slowly transitioning to 1 nap a day.  Now she usually has 1 nap a day, but still occasionally 2 naps if she wakes up early or if her nap is short.  I actually prefer one nap because it’s nice to get that 2 1/2-3 hour stretch in the middle of the day.  The transitional downside is that when she has only 1 nap she seems to wake up 1-2 hours after putting her down at night and doesn’t want to go back to sleep.  In the past we always give up and let her play for 1-2 hours to tire her out again.  But she’ll get used to that and itcan’t go on (plus I’m SOOOOOO tired) so now I make her stay in the dark room until she goes back to sleep.  sometimes nursing, sometimes I’m holding her, sometimes she’s laying in her crib or crying in her crib (I let her cry for awhile if she is insisting on getting up and play, but I stay in the room).  It still takes her 1-2 hours to get back to sleep, but I’m hoping as she gets used to this new schedule she’ll stop that waking.  There were two or three nights in the past 3 months when she had a 4-5 hour stretch of sleep.  That was nice!!  Hoping that crops up again and sticks around.  I’m still veeeeerrrrrrry tiiiiiiirrrrred.

GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT – Talisa has 2 top teeth, two bottom teeth, and now her molars are coming through.  They aren’t popping through yet, but I can see them just under the gums and they are definitely causing her discomfort.  Could be affecting her sleep lately, but it’s hard to tell as she sometimes sleeps poorly anyway.  Her hair has finally grown in the past few months.  Not much, but I can see now that it’s going to be pretty curly.

And now for a few photos!  These are all from 13 and 14 months I believe, I haven’t loaded any recent photos onto my computer.  I’ve been so terrible at taking photos lately!!

Playing in the dirt, a childhood must!

Playing in the dirt, a childhood must!

This is what my kitchen ends up looking like every day as she busies herself while I am doing prep work.

This is what my kitchen ends up looking like every day as she busies herself while I am doing prep work.

Dancing in the rain!  She now says "NAIN!" every time she sees it rain.

Dancing in the rain! She now says “NAIN!” every time she sees it rain.

Swimming, a favorite pasttime.  This girl loves water, just like her big sister.

Swimming, a favorite pasttime. This girl loves water, just like her big sister.

Talisa often looks like this, just a blur running across the room!

Talisa often looks like this, just a blur running across the room!