december recap, part III: dhara’s 2nd birthday.

Dhara’s second birthday party was a little shindig I planned for her with family on Christmas Eve.  She was so happy to be dolled up in a little green salvar adorned with sequins and jewels from her “Beane Aunty”, and delicate gold sandals on her small feet.  She was as cute as can be.  In addition to some catered food, my sister and I cooked up some tasties — we had singapore noodles, beef stir fry, a baked ham, homemade mac + cheese, samosas, broccoli salad, spinach balls, homemade spinach artichoke dip in a bread bowl, and homemade holiday bread.  For her birthday cake, we made Paula Dean’s Grandmother Paul’s Red Velvet Cake with coconut cream cheese frosting — I looove cakes from bakeries, but I’m really starting to love homemade birthday cakes because you can add your own special homely touches, like this (scroll up).

For Dhara’s birthday/Christmas gift, both of her grandmothers gifted her with a fantastic Montessori styled kitchen set from Palumba — if you haven’t checked out their site, it’s awesome!  It really would be my dream kitchen if I were Dhara’s age. It’s made of all natural, beautiful materials — no plastics!  And I love how it fosters an appreciation for the simple and beautiful, rather than the disposable and common.

We surprised her by having it ready to go — fully equipped with metal dinnerware from my mom’s trip to India (small cups, bowls, spoons), wooden food from all food groups (steak, banana, milk, bread, etc.), and a wooden cake from Grandma Smith. Dhara walked into the kitchen in the morning as we all relaxed on the couch waiting in anticipation to see her reaction to the kitchen set, but she walked right by it not seeing it at all!  We all laughed, and tried to get her attention on it, but it took her 5 whole minutes before she noticed the little wooden kitchen tucked under the bar. Her reaction was priceless — pure joy.

she walked into the kitchen with her morning face and ran straight for my lap

she finally sees the itty bitty kitchen

we all sing happy birthday to her, and she sings too as she holds a wooden cake

so happy!

helping zumie make her homemade red velvet birthday cake

the spread

exuberantly singing happy birthday with everyone!

not sure why she’s holding a pin cushion?

all three kids are ready to blow! hilarious.

(right) isaiah is highly pleased with his blow

after singing happy birthday, inspired by her daddy, dhara says to all her visitors, “thank you all for coming! love you!” and then indulges in a sweet piece of red velvet

isabel, dani, and dhara

dhara, seylah, and isaiah

opening gifts at midnight

11 months old.

I’m behind on Dhara’s monthly posts — so before I post her 12 month, here’s 11 months!  Since her birthday was on Christmas Day, we decided to have an early birthday party for her.  So at 11 months and 1 week, we had a three-weeks-early-party.  We invited our local church and some friends and family.

I kept it simple in terms of decorations because, in my opinion, decor is somewhat unnoticed when there are lots of people — at least in the crowds I roll with.  [Plus, I hosted a half-birthday shindig in June for Dhara which was designed exactly the way I wanted it.] On the flip side, her birthday being during the Christmas season also helps because Christmas decorations are already up!

So instead of going all out with party decorations for her 1st year party, we had Josh cut down a 15 foot Christmas tree and prop it up in my parents’ circular atrium and decorate the rest of the house with our Christmas decor, we also purchased a bunch of red star shaped helium balloons, and lastly, had a dessert table decorated with Dhara’s homemade strawberry birthday cake embellished with my handmade cake bunting made of fabric triangles + baker’s twine + 2 skewers, a double layered german chocolate cake designed by Zuma Aunty, a single layered small vanilla cake topped with blackberries, and some homemade cupcakes topped with a myriad of fun and tasty toppings.

diana + shreya

grandpa + grandma smith

dad’s [greg’s dad] mixed grille

And lastly, what can I say about my Dhara Dear?  She’s growing up too quick. Why can’t she stay a baby just a little longer?  Eleven months meant a whole slew of new things for Dhara.  She’s officially begun walking on her own!  Her new found freedom was so exciting for her.  Even when she fell down, she would get right back up.  Crawling has become minimal now.

She loves walking around saying “chuckaree”, an endearing Indian term that her Ammachi [my mom] calls her.  New words also include: “book” [she LOVES to be read to], “baba” [her bottle of milk], “amen” [which she says after anyone prays], and “no, no, no” as she walks around wagging her little finger at people.

She also loves to drink water out of cups, peek-a-boo, dance, cuddle with mama, string cheese, and knocking down blocks that we pile high.

For Dhara’s birthday, her Ammachi, designed a cream + gold salvar made of raw silk.  When she was in India, she had it sewn to Dhara’s measurements.  It was adorable, to say the least!  She looked like a little Indian ranee.  A big thank you to my parents who hosted her birthday party.  Especially to my mama who always does above and beyond for her granddaughter.  Thank you.