Monday, December 30, 2013
I made time for the important things in my life including my beautiful children of course. I watched them mature and grow into real kids. They are no longer my babies. Okay, the two year old is still a baby but she talks and babbles and plays like the others.
In 2013 I resolved to eat healthier, exercise more, and take care of myself. It's a work in progress but I'm proud to say that I am already seeing positive results.
This year I organized some of my home. I established lunch and dinner schedules for my children, routines for homework, and special storage systems for toys, shoes, and knapsacks that make life simpler.
I focused on giving, welcoming a guest into our home when she needed a place to stay. I believe my experience taught my children what it really means to help others and share what we have.
My family enjoyed the outdoors for three days of camping and activities. We would have been better off without sleeping in the rain!
Professionally, I am proud to say that I planned a $3.5 million fundraising event replete with shtick - a red carpet and a flash mob! It was a real hit.
I launched jCreate, an online Jewish crafting community along with my good friends Abbey Wolin and Mirel Goldwasser. I might have participated in one too many Google hangouts. But the work has paid off!
I joined the world of snapchat and obsessed over the selfies. I got to share a lot more with my cousin and her adorable dog Marty.
I hosted several birthday parties, attended many more, and enjoyed the holidays with family.
There is so much to be thankful for and my year has been very busy and fulfilling. I'm looking forward to greeting 2014!
Thursday, December 19, 2013
This role play is also a great opportunity for our children to enjoy being just like Mommy or Daddy. The Mommy lights the Shabbos candles and the Daddy makes kiddush. The children learn the correct blessings to say and mimic what we do in our own homes to welcome Shabbos. It is truly a beautiful way of engaging children in the meaning of this weekly routine of Shabbos.
The children are proud to bring home the paper that says they have been chosen and even prouder to go select the treat and bring it in. To top it all off, my son will be mentioned along with his Shabbos Ima in the Kindergarten weekly newsletter or the "Dear Parents" as we call it.
When I started writing this post, I was planning on being a lot more cynical. WHY does the teacher only tell me about it on Wednesday? WHY does my son leave the note in his knapsack and fail to mention it until AFTER I have done my Shabbos shopping? EVERY. TIME.
BUT after thinking more about it, I see the true meaning and importance of this traditional curriculum and my inconvenience is suddenly overshadowed by beauty and excitement for this "mitzvah." I am proud that my son is Shabbos Abba this week and that he is so excited about it.
I am EXTREMELY grateful to my friend Rebecca who heard during carpool that my son was Shabbos Abba and offered to pick up the treats (nut free facility, kosher brand cookies). You have made my life much easier this week! Thank you!
Monday, October 28, 2013
|That's me and my big girl, Siri!|
Siri is growing up so fast too. She repeats just about every word we say, runs around the house chattering, and has a little ponytail and curls that make her look like a big girl. Her sparkly eyes are curious and she loves to explore. She's a real pleasure tantrums and all.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I consider myself to be fairly intelligent. I'm street smart and can work well with others. I can negotiate deals and plan events.
But sometimes, I'm downright ditzy.
Today I took the wrong train. This is unfortunately not the first time I've done that. It's a slight inconvenience that costs me a lot of time. But it's fixable. There's a solution, a train that takes me back to my point of origin.
Today I decided to leave a few minutes early, hoping to shop for Shabbos. I apparently read the Penn Station board incorrectly (after 5 years commuting from NJ) and took a train that skipped the Secaucus transfer station. After arriving in Newark, I ran for the train back to Secaucus. Except the train skips Secaucus and goes straight to Hoboken. I needed that train, but let it pass because I was confused. Our track system is complex to say the least.
I finally found a staff member who told me to go to Hoboken where I could catch the train I needed home. OF COURSE!
My main question is, why can't I keep cool when I'm lost? As soon as I began talking to the man who WAS HELPING ME, tears began to flow. Slowly, but I couldn't control them.
I tried to keep my cool, but I lost it. There have been other, worse, more stressful train hazards and all of them make me an emotional train wreck (<-- intentional pun).
What happened to my put together, street smart negotiator? Where does she go when I board that train?!?
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
This past weekend we celebrated Arielle's eighth birthday. I am proud to say she has really matured beautifully. We told her that if she was behaved like an eight year old, she could get her ears pierced.
Thursday was the fateful day. We took her before her Sunday party so she could show them off to the whole family.
Words cannot describe the sheer joy and pride on Arielle's face when she saw those new earrings. Her face was literally shining!
I was proud of her, but I think she was equally proud of herself. To Arielle, pierced ears is an inauguration into maturity (even though many of her friends have had them since they were babies).
She is prepared to accept the challenge... which begins with her independent ear care!
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Monday, September 2, 2013
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
I know that bedtime is the best time of day to share with my kids. It's the chance they have to tell me about their day. They should be cuddly and cute right before they head to sleep.
In my house, bedtime is a battlefield. There are songs and stories and some nights we have nice talks.
Mostly, I just want them to go to sleep. So that tomorrow morning will be smooth. So that the day will be easy and the kids amenable. So that my day can come to a close. So that I can sit down to dinner.
I'll admit it. I get stressed out and bedtime usually turns into a fight.
My husband has it down to a science. I think I need some tips.
It's more important to stay calm than to get them into bed on time. The only problem is that this backfires and I end up keeping the kids up WAY past their bedtimes.
Please share your tricks and tips!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Teacher: "Hi. All is well. The last few days Tzvi has been smashing his snacks into crumbs. When we asked him to stop, he sat on them... When I ask him why he's doing it he says cuz he doesn't like his snacks! He only wants veggie straws. I told Tzvi I would tell u. Have a good day."
My response: "LOL, he is hysterical! He is so strong willed. Sorry! Please tell him I say that if he stops smashing them, he can have veggie straws when he gets home. Thanks."
Teacher: "Ok. will do. lol."
This little child has a mind of his own. He wants things NOW and he wants to be heard. How stubborn and how hysterical!
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Siri is now almost 15 months old. During this 2 week period, she transformed from being a baby to showing signs of being a toddler.
Here are examples of what I mean:
- Siri has been walking since she was 12 months. But now she walks with a purpose. She has places to go, things to see.
- Siri has needs beyond food, sleep and a diaper change. Now she wants to "go" or drink her "ba-ba" or play. She has fun climbing and sliding at the playground!
- She also expresses herself very clearly when she wants to say "no." She screeches (I do not like this stage!) and says "nooooo" until the adult in charge agrees to oblige.
- She has learned to bite or tantrum when she does not get her way. She is searching for the words to express herself.
All these changes took place during the 2 weeks that we were with Siri. Perhaps I simply did not notice the signs before we left for Pesach vacation. But I believe that she really grew up when she spent time with us.
We are heading into the toddler stage. We must teach our baby how to express herself, especially as the youngest of 4. We must give her opportunities to explore, even if it means making a mess!
Siri has been a fairly easy and quiet baby. I am looking forward to seeing her personality (and attitude) blossom.
Monday, March 11, 2013
I believe I have a few great friends. Some are old and some are new.
Lately, I have reconnected with a number of old friends. We may not have been in touch throughout the years, but we literally pick up right where we left off, with fun, memories and banter. We talk about our lives then and now. We share. We care. We may not be involved in each others' lives on a daily basis, but we stay in touch and catch up because we want to. When we do spend time together, it is almost as if time froze in its tracks and we are transported back to our young days, when we were carefree and spent every waking minute catching up with one another. My old friends remind me of the playdates we had when we were young, trips to the park or pizza shop, late-night phone calls, driving around town blasting our music, shopping, and eating when we were supposed to be studying for midterms.
I have other friends (old and new) who are more involved in my day to day life at present. We may carpool together, spend Shabbat, arrange playdates for our children, share a babysitter, and hang out with our families. My good friends offer friendship and support. They would literally drop everything to help with whatever I may need. They are the friends I call at 12am to babysit when I go into labor. They understand the dynamics of work, kids, and community. As friends, we recognize each others' strengths and weaknesses and are able to offer guidance and love. We grow together and become better individuals through our interactions. We laugh together and sometimes cry too.
I am proud to say I have very solid friendships and strong relationships. I appreciate my good friends and I feel that I reciprocate. I try my hardest to go out of my way to help my friends.
I think it is truly remarkable when friends become like family.
Thank you to my dear friends - you know who you are - for enhancing my life.
Please tell me about your friendships in the comments!
Monday, February 25, 2013
Recently, I finished reading Let my RV Go by Nicole Nathan, an inspirational tale of Pauline Berkovitz, a Jewish woman who has chosen to live her life as an Orthodox Jew, leaving many of her experiences behind. She struggles to fit in to the community, a society that expects parents and children to act, dress, and speak a certain way. Pauline and her husband Sam have travelled the world, but this Pesach (Passover), they take the trip of a lifetime. Their trip (yes, in an RV) leads Pauline and company on a mysterious journey of self acceptance and discovery. Along the way, she meets and influences others, transforming from student to teacher.
I appreciated many aspects of the book and was pleasantly surprised by how I connected to the protagonist. Here are some points that stood out for me:
1. Pauline and her husband Sam are not in the same spot spiritually, and that is okay. Their marriage is strong even though they differ in how they relate to their religious observance and their children. They complement one another and work together.
2. "Sam is still in a holy space, whereas I am the keeper of the mundane." As a Jewish mom, I can totally relate to that. I have to keep the laws of Kosher in the home, wipe the kids' noses, plan our holiday and Shabbos meals, carpool, and provide spiritual and emotional guidance to my children. All in a day's work! It is an important job even if we don't feel moved by it. We must realize we have the tools to help our children grow in an environment we feel is best for them. We should strive to appreciate the opportunity.
3. The author uses humor to describe life with young children. "I flushed? Am I insane? I wish I could take that flush back more than anything else." Self explanatory. We have all been there, done that. I am that mom.
4. The Berkovitzes do not fit into a box. They are not quite like anyone else they know (aside from the one couple they befriend, Mike and Julia who also found Judaism later in life). They do not squash their personalities and lose their identities as they turn to Orthodox Judaism. Instead, they embrace their past and use their experiences to be more caring, thoughtful, and emotionally intelligent people. "I may not be able to trace my lineage to a scholarly rabbi in Vilna but I have plodded across mountains and jungles to come back to my roots." With this ability, Pauline and Sam are able to connect to, teach, and inspire others.
5. Without giving away too much of the plot line, Pesach is a time to rejoice in our freedom as a Jewish nation, to celebrate life, revel in our personal freedom, and appreciate the ability to serve our Creator. We are individuals and we need to connect to G-d in a way that hits a personal nerve and touches us. Pauline exemplifies this concept. "Us... BT's [ed. note: baal t'shuvahs, or people who have returned to G-d and Jewish practice] should be happy to bring parts of ourselves into the rich tapestry of Judaism; and if this requires adding an extra splash of color to some of the more staid traditions, it can only be enriching." People should not lose their personalities just because they are religious. Our community should strive to be more accepting and open, to understand where people come from and that each person has his or her own personal journey.
Find freedom. Take your journey. Travel and laugh with Pauline.
To purchase/download the book, click here.
I hope you enjoy!
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Watch "Chaya Sarah's first pair of shoes" on YouTube
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
We have had several opportunities to use this room. During the day, we have another child share the babysitter at my home. He sleeps in a pack n play in the bonus room. And at night, when my stubborn baby would not sleep through the night, we would use this room as her bedroom. That way, she would not wake up any of the other kids during the night. More recently, however, we have been having trouble with the two older girls going to sleep at the same time. They would disturb one other at bedtime. This one would be playing with the shades. The other one would be giggling instead of trying to fall asleep. We tried to stagger their bedtimes, but the second one to go in would simply wake up the first.
Last week, I decided the solution was to play Musical Rooms. Siri would sleep in her crib in the same room with Kayla. The oldest, Arielle, would have the bonus room to herself for a trial period. I was hoping that if she needed to read with the light on for a little longer, she would not disturb anyone. Furthermore, she would not wake Kayla when she went into the room.
So far, we have avoided many fights at bedtime. We have also avoided having either girl come in and out, in and out with various complaints about how the other one was keeping her up.
All of the kids, including Tzvi who has his own room, have been going to sleep fairly smoothly.
I am truly grateful that we bought a four bedroom house with a bonus room. It certainly feels like a bonus!
Please share any experiences that you have had with sibling rivalry at bedtime. What have you done to solve it?
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Gave birth to an amazing baby girl. Named her after my grandmother who I loved so much and still miss dearly. Nicknamed her Siri after the iPhone.
Watched all my kids grow and mature. Battled with the three year old. Toilet trained.
Established a solid night time and homework routine for my older girls.
Ran a $3 million charity fundraising gala. Worked a lot. Learned a lot. Gained a lot.
Began learning with my niece. Love the relationship we are building. Need to stay on schedule.
Lost a few pounds. Still going.
Went to a few tweetups and made many friends via social media.
Bought and returned too many pairs of shoes to count.
Got my own domain name. Thanks Jeremy!
Got a new babysitter and worked through the ups and downs.
Continued in my "War on Clutter." Convinced Jeremy to hire a cleaning lady to help.
Drove carpool every morning. Twice.
Threw 4 birthday parties for my adorable kids and hosted many guests.
Cooked a ton. Took a million photos of the foods I cooked.
Tweeted and Facebooked too much.
Nursed for 8 months and pumped too many ounces to calculate.
Built many structures out of Clics. What a great toy!
Read "Biscuit," "Pinkalicious," "Go, Dog Go," and more favorites hundreds of times.
Sent a gazillion emails. Yes, I counted.
Became an Amazon Prime member and enjoyed it.
Learned to polish my own nails.
Tried parsnip purée for the first time.
Guest posted on a friend's blog for the first time.
Gave and got advice. Lots of it.
Spent too much money in the Target $1 section. Bribed my kids that many times.
Reorganized the entire basement and toy room twice. Kids destroyed them both in 5 seconds flat.
Worked hard. Played hard.
Ate the taster's menu in February at Mike's Bistro and I'm still talking about it. What an awesome birthday!
Had 6 weeks off from work for maternity leave and savored my time.
Snuggled, cuddled, and giggled with my kids at bedtime. Threatened and disciplined at times.
Gave thousands of kisses to each child. And then some.
Ate lots of chocolate.
Tried to go to sleep early, but to no avail. Clearly.
Traveled to Cape Cod in April and went camping with my family in July. Priceless.
Got to hang with my siblings from Israel when they visited in the summer. Met my nephew for the first time. He is precious.
Bought a new and amazing camera. Never printed the pictures. But I will!
Got good reports at parent-teacher conferences. And the kids got solid report cards.
Celebrated many birthdays and births with friends and family.
Got to spend Shabbos and holidays with my family, which made every week and month more meaningful.
Met new neighbors and friends. Cherished old relationships.
Lived for a week without power in the aftermath of Sandy. Thanked G-d that everyone was safe and sound and together. We lit many candles and went to bed early.
Bought meaningful presents for others. Put much thought into what they might want.
Summarized my year in a blog post.
Shared it with the world because I...
Enjoyed every moment of 2012.