Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An RSVP Allergy

I've heard of dairy allergies. I know people allergic to peanuts. My whole freaking family is allergic to Penicillin. Until recently, though, I never knew there exists an allergy to replying. Are people all over the world suffering from this or just people on my guest list?

I recently planned an event and used an online invitation service. It allows people to respond quickly and easily whenever they have a free moment. It provides a link with all the information on the event in the very same place where one can click to confirm or refuse.

I found myself in a mild panic when, just days before the event, the majority of people hadn't even opened the invitation yet and of those who did, very few had replied. I've e-mailed. I've sent reminders. I've sent reminders using social networking sites. I've tried calling. Still, people refuse to RSVP.

I had two people call/message me to say they were coming. Well, thanks, but I really wanted you to reply through the site because it keeps a running tally of kids and adults so I have an exact number. It took more effort to call and send me a message than clicking the link would have taken.

Another person told me face-to-face that she couldn't come, but the site sent a reminder to everyone who hadn't responded. This person than replied to that message and E-MAILED ME to remind me about her conflict. The message she replied to had the link RIGHT THERE where she could have clicked to just mark, "No." It took her longer to reply than to click the link.

I was shocked to find that a number of people who didn't RSVP actually plan on coming. I had assumed they simply couldn't come, so they weren't bothering to reply. Then again, most of them NEVER EVEN LOOKED AT THE INVITATION.

This has made planning the event very difficult. I didn't know who to expect or how many.

Is this common? Are other people experiencing this as well? Have we just forgotten how to RSVP? Are the expectations different in different parts of the country/world?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Santa is dead.

Dear strangers,

Please do not ask my children if Santa is coming to visit them. If you should violate that first rule, then please, when they answer, "No," to your question, do not insist they must be wrong. When they politely, but firmly, continue to deny that a fat bearded strange man will break into our house, please do not insist that then my wonderful Jewish children must have been very naughty. Otherwise, I may be forced to teach my children to then loudly announce, "No. We haven't been naughty at all. Lying to children, however, is very naughty."

And yes, they would recite that and, knowing my son, recite it loudly.


Simple Pleasures

I had such a neat Shabbat. Last night, I was up reading until all hours. When I heard the baby start to fuss, I got her, brought her back to the rocking chair with me, nursed her and kept reading. When she was done, I put down the book, took her off, rocked her and just stared at her.

It was a sweet moment. I was awash in the oxytocin. TheBaby is so beautiful. I kissed her little forehead a bunch and ran my hand over her hair. We've known all along that she would be our last baby, so I've been lucky enough to make a point to savor these moments. I held her, felt her weight, and realized how much she has grown. I remember the 8 lb baby I pulled up and rested on my chest. That delicate little newborn has grown. Now, she's wearing 12 and 18 month clothing. She has these adorable gigantic thighs that just begged to be kissed and chubby cheeks that make you smile.

I'm finding a balance between wanting her to hurry up and begging her to slow down. I quite like this little island of balance. Here, I can enjoy her without reserving her spot in an Olympic level gymnastics class and also without trying desperately to shove her back in the womb (did I mention she's the size of a 1 year old? Yeah, not gonna happen. OW!).

Last night was so sweet because I was able to just rock there, taking her in, breathing her in and enjoying her.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another simple gift idea

When I ordered my free prints for that photo calendar, I found myself with 2 extra photos. So I created a 4x6 photo with 2 wallet-sized pictures. I did two of those so I had a wallet-sized photo of each child. I planned on just sending them to a set of grandparents, but then I had another idea. We have TONS of magnets on the fridge. I keep all those advertising ones that come in the mail with intentions of using them for a craft, but I never do.

Well, now I did. I used double-sided tape (a thin layer of glue would be a more permanent solution if you have time to wait for it to dry), stuck the photos on and trimmed them all down. Now, we have wallet-sized photo magnets to send as gifts and they didn't cost a cent.

This is only a test

The reason for the season

This time of year, we tend to get overwhelmed by the crowds at the malls, the traffic, and the hectic nature of it all (we've barely been home since Chanukah started because we've been at so many different events).

So, this time of year especially, we feel it's very important to remember to give back.

Here's what we're doing this year:

We donated our old coats to our synagogue's mitten menorah. They asked for new or slightly used coats, mittens, scarves, etc. So that's where the outgrown coats went.

We donated bags and bags of clothes to a local Veterans organization. All my maternity clothes went there (fare thee well, old friends) along with a whole host of the kids' old clothes. They picked up about 5 big garbage bags of clothes.

Our kids give tzedakah at Sunday school, which, this month, is going to a local food pantry. They've given both money and cans of pasta sauce which they bought themselves with their allowance money (can't beat 25 cents a can).

In an attempt to simply, we instituted the rule that, for each new item, an old one must go. So, we're cleaning out toy and book bins and donating them to that same Veteran's group.

How about you? What are you doing this holiday season? How do you teach your kids to give back?

This blog post is written as part of the Twitter Moms Holiday blog prompt in association with Robeez.



For anyone looking for a gift idea this holiday season, these are the Robeez I would love for my daughter.

Friday, December 04, 2009

BloWriNoMore

Well, I failed that blogging every day for a month thing. I think I probably should have gotten right back up on that horse, but I lacked the motivation. I know I would have been disqualified anyway since I missed a day, but I still could have used the forced motivation.

Sure, I'm talkative, but I don't see a need to be someone who blogs every day. Still, I welcomed the opportunity to do it because I've really fallen out of the habit of blogging lately. Forcing myself to write did help motivate me to write some recent posts that I'm glad I had the chance to explore.

I'm disappointed in myself for failing. I am NOT the type who takes failure well. The fastest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't.

So I'm struggling to figure where to go from here.

December is in full-swing now, so I'm a little late to the party as far as trying to blog for another month. Plus, December is a rough month with Chanukah and winter break and all that jazz. Still, I may try it from here and dedicate myself to blogging every day for 30 days. I just need to prove to myself that I can do it and I'd really appreciate the motivation.

Don't worry. I have no plans on making this every day thing permanent. Hello! Did you see how I struggled with just one freaking month?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Super simple gift idea

Seehere is offering 100 free prints and free shipping to new users. I ordered cards from them, but haven't received them yet, so I can't yet give you my opinion on their prints or service. I'm hearing good things about them on the interwebs from others who have already received their cards, though.

In the Target dollar aisle (aka my nirvana), I found some calendars with spots for a 4x6 photo on each month. I saw "My family," and "My grandchildren," ones. We grabbed two of the grandchildren ones for both sets of grandparents. I plan to order my free prints and put them in the calendars.

It's an easy, quick and super cheap gift. When the year is over, the grandparents still have 12 prints too.


The bloggers were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of blog posts danced in their heads.

And then they woke up and EVERY BRILLIANT IDEA WAS GONE.

Why oh why does this happen? Lately, when I can't fall asleep, I have visions of future post ideas dancing in my head. I've had 3 or 4 that I thought were great and wanted to file away to work on this month. Yet, every single time, when I wake up, they're gone. I remember the gist of some of them, but not the specific ideas about which I had planned to write.

Why oh why does my brain do this to me? I needed those ideas, damn it! Give them back!

Friday, November 20, 2009

FAIL Blog



I guess I failed at this blog every day thing. I've gone a few days without blogging, without publishing at least. I actually did start entries, but didn't finish them and didn't publish them.

Now what? Do I write extra posts to make up for the missed days? Do I just give up and go back to only blogging once in a blue moon? I have no idea where to go from here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jewish Meme

Phyllis over there at Ima On (and Off) the Bima posted a Jewish Meme. I'll play along.


One menorah, or several?


Iced kitchen window and menorah

Before we had kids, we had two--the beautiful silver one we picked out together after we were married and the electric one Bubbe gave us which we display in the window (see above). It doesn't fulfill the mitzvah, but the bulbs never die and it looks pretty in the window.

Then we had kids and those kids started attending religious school where, every year, they make new chanukiyot. They're cute enough, but they're unending.

I have a little menorah.  I made it out of clay.

Do you buy your children gifts for every night of Chanukah?
No, although they do get gifts for every night. Those gifts are just often provided by grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. Oh and we prefer not to buy gifts at all. I love making as much as I can.


Do you and your spouse/partner or any other adults in your life exchange gifts?
We usually get gifts for our parents and we typically get a few things for each other. While that usually involves one fairly substantial gift, it often involves a few little things.

Special family chanukah traditions?
I don't know that we do anything particularly new or different.
Chanukah is one of the rare times the kids can have chocolate. They do so love chocolate gelt. So they get even more excited every Chanukah (and Purim which is another time they're allowed some of that lovely chocolately goodness) because they're allowed to have that. We light the plastic menorah in the window, but so do many others. We hang up whatever hand-made decorations have survived. We have a pretty cloth hanging that my oldest sister gave us which we always put up on the front door. Like I said, nothing very new/different.

Latkes or sufganiyot? If latkes, sour cream or applesauce?
Both, but I'm a bigger fan of latkes, but with nothing extra. No sour cream or applesauce for me, thankyouverymuch.


Favorite chanukah book?
One that does NOT play, "I have a little dreidle."
I can't find the book and I can't remember what holiday it was about, so it could be Chanukah, but I'm not certain. It's a children's book about a little Jewish girl in the city at a big party and there's a room where the adults can privately take or donate money. I really like that book.

As far as books whose titles I CAN remember and which I'm absolutely certain are actually about the correct holiday, I'd go with, "It's a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook" by Stephanie Spinner.

EDITED TO ADD:
I just remembered a book about the Shoah and a survivor and a potato that a friend got for my kids and I can never make it through that book without tearing up. Ugh. I can't find the book and searching online is proving to be useless. In the story, the grandmother (Rose?) is a survivor and each year, she repeats how she celebrated in the camps--she hollows out a potato and adds oil and string and lights it for Chanukah.


Do you actually play dreidl? If so, what do you use for counters?
Yes we do. At home, we usually use animal crackers or pretzels. At the synagogue, they use M&Ms.


What relationship, if any, do you have with Christmas and all things Christmas-y?
We pretty much try to avoid anything Xmas-related. We even try to avoid the malls and all that jazz.

I do like to scour the ornament sales after Xmas to find cute ones that don't look at all like Xmas, though. There's nothing Jesusy about a pink glittery ballet slipper, but it does look awfully cute in my daughters' bedroom.

Oh and I do occasionally rewrite Xmas songs for my own amusement.

I don't know how many fellow yids I have as readers who haven't done this one yet. So if you haven't and you want to, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Anonymity of Fame

Every once in a while, I start wondering if I could be a little less anonymous. I try hard to keep much of my identifying information to myself. Shhhh, it's a secret from the Blogosphere. I don't post pictures of my kids. I don't reveal names. You won't find our home state anywhere on this blog. I've never mentioned my husband's career or what branch of the military in which he served.

This, however, means that I must go to great lengths to keep my private life and my my little lovenest here in the blogosphere separate. Some days, I just want to tear those walls down and share with folks on both sides.

I think my kids are cute and I'd love to show you some of the adorable pictures I've taken of them over the years. I have video footage of my husband's homecoming that I wish I could post. I'd love to be able to make some videos for vlog posts. Heck, I'd like to be able to come out and say, "Yeah, that's me." I've skipped events for bloggers and twitter meetups because I'm fairly anonymous. I need to be careful so that the twitterverse and my personal life don't mix and that's very difficult to do.

Every once in a while, I go through a phase where I come *this* close to outing myself. Although, usually, when that happens, something smacks me in the face and reminds me exactly why I like my anonymity. My last outing phase came crashing down in flames when Gina at The Feminist Breeder had incidents with a stalker. That creep knew WAY too much about Gina and was harassing her. Well, that stomped all over my desire to let myself be known. Situations like that remind me exactly why I try so hard to keep my information private. On the internets, you just never know. This blog has gotten hits from all over the world. I find that both fascinating and frightening.

I can sense my inner pendulum swinging back the other way, though. I'm, once again, beginning to wonder about sharing more information.

What about you? How much information do you share? Have you ever regretted it? Has being known in the blogosphere ever helped you? Has it created problems?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Useful Insomnia, Just Add NaBloPoMo.

I've found a previously unidentified use for this NaBloPoMo challenge. When one drinks far too much coffee in the evening and then tosses and turns in bed in a state that in no way resembles sleep, one can use that time to wrack one's brain for blog topics.

Through my mind last night raced various ideas--some I've been planning to blog about for months and some that just came to me in that moment where all I wanted was TO GET SOME FREAKING SLEEP.

Let's see if I have enough coffee left in the house so that I can counter-act that lack of sleep with enough energy to actually write those posts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shabbat Mornings = Perfection

On weekday morning, my husband is up at the crack of dawn for work. He says his goodbyes and leaves. The kids get up to play and I try to sleep as long as they let me.

On Sunday mornings, dh usually gets up with the kids, so I can stay in bed a little bit. Still, I have to get out of bed at a reasonable hour so we can dash off to Sunday school.

On Shabbat mornings, though, everything is different.

This morning was absolutely perfect and I really needed that. I think we all did. TheBaby woke up, so I brought her to bed to nurse her. She noticed daddy was asleep next to her. After nursing for just a little while, she came off, smacked at him calling sweetly, "Dada, Dada, hi. Hi, Dada." He woke up smiling and held out his hand to her. While holding his finger, she went back to nursing for a little while. Then she came off again to smile at us both and crawl up to our faces where the chatting and smiling continued. The three of us stayed in bed like that for a while. It was so sweet and so calm.

It was exactly what we needed.

"More than the Jewish people have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jewish people "


Friday, November 13, 2009

I swear, my husband controls Twitter WITH HIS MIND.

My husband wants a new t.v. For those who have been following, you may remember that we don't have a television. We have what was once a television, but is now a glorified monitor. We cancelled cable to save money (and oh howdy, have we!) before the digital switch and, since then we've had nothing but blue screens. We weren't interested in a converter box because we fell out of the habit of watching television and we like it that way.

We do have game systems hooked up to there, though and my brilliant husband found PlayOn which allows us to stream Hulu and files saved on our computers through those game systems on to our t.v. which really isn't a t.v. anymore.

He made lots of trade-ins and sales on Craig's List so that he could afford a PS3. Now, he's dying for a new t.v. on which to play and watch movies. Our monitor which was once a t.v. is pretty old and very frill-less (which should be obvious from the fact that it wasn't capable of handling the digital switch). He's been doing his research and has found some great deals. When asked what we should do for each other for Chanukah, he informed me that all he really wants is a new t.v.

So, when I opened my mail and saw, "LCD TV Deals (TheLCDTVDeals) is now following your tweets on Twitter," I stuck my head out of the office and yelled, "This is YOUR fault." He was baffled and asked me, "How?" Honestly, I have no freaking clue, but this has to be his fault somehow. My best guess is that he's somehow controlling Twitter WITH HIS MIND.

That's it. That's gotta be it. There really is no other explanation, right? Who's with me? Anyone?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"I am no superman. I have no answers for you. I am no hero oh that's for sure, but I do know one thing, where you are is where I belong."

My thanks are extended to @Kblogger for tweeting lyrics to Dave Matthews Band's "Where Are You Going."

After yesterday's heavy post, I had no idea what to write. I don't want anything quite that heavy because, honestly, I'm STILL exhausted from writing yesterday's post. At the same time, I don't want to write about random funny things the kids said or product reviews or anything too frivolous.

That song, however, is one I listened to quite a bit during dh's deployments, so I'm using it as inspiration.

Yes, I stayed with my husband through the hell that is PTSD. I've been very open about the fact that I nearly left once. Well, twice, really, but the first time was after his first deployment to the Middle East and I didn't have this blog then.

I really do miss the man my husband once was, but I love who he has become. Yes, I liked my husband more before he was forever altered, but I admire him more now.

Where are you going
with your long face pulling down?
Don’t hide away like an ocean
But you can’t see, but you can smell
And the sound waves crash down

There was a long time after he came home when he wasn't himself at all. He lived inside his head. He still does this far more than he used to before he deployed. No, I don't like that one bit. He dealt with the physical distance by distancing himself. It's what he needed to do to cope. You can't just snap out of that after months and months, though. He's been home for years and he hasn't completely come out of that.

Yes, it leaves me feeling lonely. I've known loneliness when my husband was a world away. It's a far different type of loneliness when he's lying beside you at night, but isn't really there. I've told him, "I miss you," to his face. That is absolutely crushing.

I am no superman
I have no reasons you
I am no hero, oh that’s for sure
But I do know one thing for sure
Is where you are is where I belong

Still, he is there beside me at night. He could have decided he had no desire to stay with someone who pestered him to get help. He could have decided he had enough stress over there and could do without any from me. Family life is stressful as hell. He could have walked away. He didn't. True, he is far less patient with the kids than he was before he deployed, but every evening, you can find him reading bedtime stories to them all on one of their beds.

He does what he can. We just have to adjust our expectations of what he can do.

And above all, this line still rings very true for me,

I do know, where you go, is where I want to be.

It's been frustrating for me (and I say, "Me," not "Us" because the children don't remember what he was like before. I find that both crushing and comforting), but I've just had to be a support. I just stand by and watch. He's the one who has had to do the searching. He's the one who took the misguided drugs prescribed by the military doctors. He's the one who had visceral reactions to noises that reminded him of the desert. He's the one who still suffers physical pain.

Where are you going, where do you go?
Are you looking for answers
to questions under the stars?
If along the way you are growing weary,
You can rest with me until a brighter day
It's okay. You're okay.

No, he's not the same. He is better than he was in the months following his homecoming. Maybe some day he'll be more like the man I married over a decade ago. He's not the same, but he is "Okay." We're okay. Yes, I do mourn who he was and I feel lonely now and then, but I love that man! I love our life. Don't let my melancholy posts fool you. I love that man with so much intensity that it's overwhelming. We share a life. We share understanding. We share a deep love.

Tell me where are you going, where do you go?
Where? Let's go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day: Every time we say, "Good bye," you're frozen in my mind as the child that you never will be again.

First and foremost, I present my previous ramblings about Veterans' Day.

I've always taken issue with the use of the phrase, "Happy Veterans' Day." There is no such thing!

I don't often let myself think about how being a veteran has changed my husband. On this day, though, there is no hiding from it. Last night was one of the rare nights when I let myself break down and cry about how becoming a veteran has changed him. He, however, didn't notice I was upset. He doesn't anymore. If he did, he didn't say anything about it. He doesn't do that either anymore.

The changes in him caused by PTSD as a result of his deployments go by largely unnoticed. Every once in a while, though, I'm painfully aware of how very different he is. Last night was one of those nights.

When he deployed, I stood there in tears clutching small children watching as my husband filed onto a bus and pulled away for the airport on two different occasions. The first time, I fell to the ground screaming crying while I clutched two toddlers--each arm around one. A mother I had never met came up to me, said nothing, but hugged me tightly. I cried as my husband was taken away. I had no idea that I would never see that same man again. I worried that he would never come back alive. I had no idea he could return, but so very very changed.

I stood at the airport, not once, but twice and ran to him when he came home, but the arms that held me tentatively belonged to a man completely altered by war. Even after therapy and drugs, he's not the man I married. I can never express how grateful I am that he survived those deployments. I worry that some will think I'm being whiny and ungrateful. I am so very thankful that he is alive. I have Sheheyanu-ed many many times. Still, I mourn for the man he was.

I love this man. Despite the hell we went through, I love this man. I have a new respect for this man who came home and was willing to work through these problems not once, but twice. But you know what? I loved the man he was too. I liked that man far more.

I miss the man who would rub my back in bed. I miss the man who would randomly reach out and hold me. I miss the man who was more aware of the world around him. I miss the man whose main interaction with his children was talking to them or playing with them rather than screaming at them. I miss the man who had enough patience to deal playfully with his children.

When TheBaby was born earlier this year, I saw glimpses of just how sweet and gentle my husband once was. He cooed at her. He held her and refused to put her down saying, "The others had to be without me for so long. She doesn't have to, so I don't want to make her."

With the others, he has very little patience. Yes, he's a good father and he loves them dearly, but he can't deal with them the way he used to. The "War,"stomped all over anything remotely resembling patience that he once had. It takes very little to annoy him. I find myself pleading with the kids, "Please don't even ask Daddy. You know how he gets."

Our poor son has it the worst of all. Dh was gone for TheBoy's first year and you can absolutely see the detachment. They butt heads a lot and dh often has no idea how to parent him. TheBoy is a good kid. He's smart and sweet and very stubborn. Dh adored him as a baby, but by missing so much of our son's first year, it created a rift.

After the first war-time deployment, when dh came home to our twins, they were initially a bit timid, but in only a matter of moments, they excitedly, "Daddy! Daddy-ed," at him. With our son, I placed him in dh's arms and while TheBoy didn't fuss, he obviously didn't know who that man was. TheBoy was the only one of our children for whom "Dada," wasn't one of the first words (it was both the twins' first word). When he did start saying it, it meant, "Telephone," because that's all he knew of his daddy.

I feel badly complaining because my husband is still a great man. He parents. He helps at home. He supports me in our decisions. He's generally a nice guy. But you know what? The man I married was even better. The man I married was gentle. This man is gruff. The man I married was sweet. This man ignores. The man I married wanted to be a more attached and loving parent than his parents were. This man calls his children, "pain in the ass" behind their backs and is more likely to yell AT them rather than talk WITH them.

This man is a veteran. The man I married is gone. I hate Veterans' Day because today, of all days, I'm thankful for my husband's sacrifice, but I'm painfully aware that I traded the wonderful man who was my husband for this man who is so very changed--this veteran.


The title is from this song.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Manic Monday: Courage

Manic Monday asks (among other things), "What does it mean to you to have courage?"

I don't think I had a good working definition of "Courage" until I had children. When my twins were probably around 2 or 3, Girl1 was afraid of something or other. I can't remember specifically what it was, but I do remember that she was willing to try whatever it was that scared her despite that fear. I remember telling her, "Being brave doesn't mean you're not afraid. It means that you ARE afraid, but you're willing to try anyway." I then pointed out that she showed real courage in facing her fears.

I've used that definition quite a bit with all the kids. When my son insists, "I can't. I'm afraid," I have a two-fold answer for him. First off, my children are repeatedly told that there's nothing they can't do without help. Instead of, "I can't," they say, "I need help," or "I don't know if I can, but I'll try." Secondly, I remind him that it's okay to be afraid, but asking for help and trying shows courage. "I know you're afraid. I know you can be brave too."


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Do birds on wires wear kippot?


bird on a wire
Originally uploaded by emmzies
My middle daughter has a fabulous story to explain the phenomenon of birds on wires. When she sees them lining up, she announces that they're waiting for fireworks. Apparently, birds have firework shows that only they can see. These are most likely to happen around dusk, but they can occur at any time. Our fine feathered friends line up before showtime to wait on fireworks. This information was first shared with us by our middle daughter one July fifth.

Apparently, birds line up for a variety of reasons, not just fireworks. Birds line up on wires for Hebrew school too. Of course, this information was shared with me by my eldest daughter while on her way to Hebrew school. I didn't think to ask if birds wear tiny kippot in their Hebrew school of wire.

I suspect we will learn about other reasons for birds on wires as we witness it more and more often on our way to other events.

One adult friend of mine swears they're alcoholics since she sees them lined up every morning on her way to work, not on wires, but on the sign for a liquor store. I think I'll keep that story under wraps for at least a few more years. :)

I love that! I love how my children can observe something seemingly mundane and can weave an elaborate tale around it--a tale which directly relates to their lives in a number of ways. I can't wait to hear their explanations for everything else they happen to observe.

And I love that my friends are smart asses too. :D

Saturday, November 07, 2009

5 for 5

In search of blog inspiration, I found my way here where I found this prompt: List 5 people you know. Then describe each of them in 5 words.

  • Dh
  • 1. Quiet
  • 2. Thoughtful
  • 3 & 4 Easily over-whelmed
  • 5. Misunderstood

  • Girl1
  • 1. Quirky
  • 2 & 3 Free spirit
  • 4. Twin
  • 5. Outgoing

  • Girl2
  • 1. Stubborn
  • 2 & 3 Loves reading
  • 4. Twin
  • 5. Talkative

  • TheBoy
  • 1 & 2. Loves attention
  • 3. Sweet
  • 4. Loving
  • 5. Unique




IMG_4419
Originally uploaded by Genna B

Friday, November 06, 2009

An open letter to the world in regards to this huge circus of people I call a family

Dear world,

Yes, I know I have children. Yes, I know I have more than the 2.3 that has become the norm. Yes, I really do dare to step outside my home with said children. You've noticed. I know. What you may not have noticed, however, is we want, we adore and we are responsible for and with our children.

I'm sure you didn't notice that. How could you? You were far too busy gasping from shock at the sight of our gaggle of children. That sharp inhale of copious amounts of oxygen must have left you light-headed to the point where you missed that entirely. I realize the sight of four children is simply shocking. I apologize for not always having an extra person with me to catch the fainting folks who are so stunned at the sight of our gigantic reality-show-sized family.

I'll make you a deal. I'll try to be more considerate if you try to be less of a moron. What say you, world? Do we have a deal?

Sincerely,
Reiza (and the huge family you think should be featured on TLC)

Photo courtesy of Awkward Family Photos. I suspect this is how my family appears to most folks.



Thursday, November 05, 2009

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.

Originally uploaded by kbooth

Old friends have come barreling into my life lately at full-speed. Have you ever witnessed a high school football team run on to the field charing through paper barriers? Yeah, it's kind of like that.

I absolutely adore social media for this opportunity. I've been able to find people I considered best friends when I was younger. I've been able to find friends from dance class that I knew from the time I was a toddler. I've been able to reconnect with old neighbors who moved away. In some cases, I've been able to make friends of those I only considered acquaintances many years ago.

Just recently, an old friend rode the train of social media right back into my life. I've been searching for her for years with no luck. I always wondered what had become of her. I've wondered and worried. Many of us did. When she went off to college, she simply vanished. We never heard from her again. Now, many years later, I have found her and I'm thrilled. She's doing well, she looks very much like she used to and she has a little boy who shares the same distinctive eyes with his mama.

True, some people you find again only to discover that you've grown apart, but even then, just knowing that they're okay and getting a glimpse into their lives is so exciting and something we never dreamed of years ago. And then, there are those you rediscover and find you can pick up right where you left off.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

On my own, pretending he is beside me

A friend recently said something along the lines of, "I should be in single-mom mode all the time. It's the only way things get done. Leaving things for my husband to do hasn't worked at all, but if I do them, it's less stress because I know they'll get done."

My sister is headed out of town for a pretty stressful event. She has to leave early in the morning. She told me she had to make sure to make the kids' lunches before then. When I asked why her husband couldn't do it in the morning, she said he made lunch for the kids once and screwed it up. So now she has to do it all the time.

I find myself struggling with my husband more so recently in regards to housework. Still, he does a portion of the work around here. He did a larger portion in years past and I'd like to find a better balance, but he does some work regardless. This is his home too.

My husband's lower level of help falls at "mildly annoying," on the "Giant Scale of Suckage." Sometimes, the refusal to help is absolutely vicious. A hugely pregnant friend's husband refused to do the one thing she needed help with around the house (and anything else for that matter. She did absolutely everything else), so after asking and then making it impossible for him to ignore, she had to do it herself (this was a big task and involved heavy moving/lifting) and wound up spotting in late pregnancy. She was fine and brushed it off, but I was absolutely furious. This was years ago, but it still makes my blood boil even now.

I don't mean to sound anti-male. I absolutely detest male bashing. It's just that many of my friends' husbands leave me ranging from baffled to absolutely fuming with their behavior. These are exhausted women who are busting their butts at home, with their kids, with various projects, with work outside the home, etc. So why do their husbands expect them to do it all alone? Why is it acceptable for their husbands to do so?

What on earth is going on? How is this acceptable?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: Valentines Past



I needed inspiration, so I found Ruby Tuesday. I then went on a brief hunt around the house and found those red hearts. They're on a Valentine's Day card my paternal grandfather gave my grandmother many moons ago (there's no date in the card, so I can't be certain of exactly how old it is).

That card sits on a shelf in my hallway. While my grandmother passed away long before I was born, I've been told I remind people of her. My mother swears my grandmother would have loved me.

My grandfather was an alcoholic. Both of them were actually. My mother's father drank himself to death (literally. He died of liver cancer alone in a pauper's hospital). My father's father straightened himself up and was sober for many years.

I've heard my mother rave about how my paternal grandmother suffered through her husband's alcoholism without a complaint. My mom always seemed to think this was ideal. I, however, never liked that one bit. My goal is to elicit change, not sit by placidly like a good little girl with my hands folded neatly in my lap.

Old photos of my grandmother show a lively spirit and quirky sense of humor that always spoke to me. I absolutely see myself in those examples. But the quiet little complacent wife? Not so much.

Then, my father (whose collection of family stories is unending) told me a tale that helped endear me to my grandmother more than ever before. Apparently, my grandfather and one of his brothers decided to play a trick on my grandmother. Quite some time after grandpa stopped drinking, he and my great uncle came staggering home pretending to be drunk. When my grandmother saw and heard them heading down the walk, she grabbed a baseball bat and chased them away, swearing the whole time and refusing to let them near the house if they'd been drinking.

Now THAT I can absolutely see myself doing. And I suspect that is a more accurate picture of my grandmother.

FTR, my grandparents were madly in love until the end. She saved some of her wedding flowers pressed in a memory book. She had a hope chest full of cards he had given her over the years. The first morning after they were married, he took a picture of the first meal she ever made for him. He photographed her often and in all those images, the love and awe he felt for her is obvious. More than 30 years after they were married, she suffered a heart attack while dancing in his arms and she died.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Under pressure.

I'm tense. I have no idea why. It came out of nowhere. I was tired, but in a decent mood.

Then dh came home and he was distracted. I really just wanted him to take TheBaby, change her into jammies, and give me 10 minutes to rest, but he had to run back out again. So while he changed her diaper, he gave her right back. No rest for me. I nursed her and put her to bed and then did some other things around the house. At that point, I was in a pretty good mood.

Then dh came back and was snippy. When I asked him not to be snippy, he then got annoyed that I thought he was. Oh boy!

Dinner sucked. I'm exhausted. Husband's snippy (even if he is annoyed that I think so).

Not a good combination at all.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Sunday, November 01, 2009

How TheBoy Became My Favorite

Today, dh joked with TheBoy about his hair.

"You look like Spock," dh told TheBoy.
"No I don't," he shot back.
I told TheBoy, "You're gorgeous. Tell Daddy, 'I'm gorgeous.' Go on. Tell him."
My son then announced, "Mommy's gorgeous."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Need a good laugh?

Go read this. I'm crying from laughing so hard. Stupid people may piss me off, but brilliant people brighten my day. Brilliant sarcastic people are my very own ray of sunshine.

Head over to Deb on the Rocks and read about her e-mail battle of the wits. It's not too long, but it is hysterical.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Keyword Analysis

While looking through my stats, I realized that someone found their way here in an attempt to discover, "Reasons why children shove things in nose."

Oh, hun, I have NO FREAKING IDEA, but yeah, I feel your pain.

Halloween: unexpected money-saving tips

By now, you've seen all the articles with tips about making/borrowing/repurposing costumes to save money. I'm not going to waste your time with that. I'm going to share some tips about Halloween that you might not have expected.

1. Buy Halloween socks when they go on sale. In the days/weeks after Halloween, they can go down to as little as a few cents per pair (I spent 12 cents on a pair at Wal-Mart last year). They often come in dark colors, particularly black. This is VERY useful for kids. We bought a ton of them last year and our kids make sure to wear those when we go to indoor play structures. Those places often get their socks very dirty, but with black, no worry about stains.

2. Stock up on Halloween goodies for birthday party goody bags. Last year, we bought those tiny packs of crayons and some glow necklaces half price after Halloween. If we had waited, we could have gotten them even cheaper when they went down to 75% off. We gave them out in goody bags for our son's birthday party. Packs of pencils are particularly useful for this. You can sometimes find a pack of 10+ pencils for a quarter once they go all the way down. If you don't want the Halloween designs, have stickers available at the party and make decorating the pencils one of the crafts/activities.

3. Some Halloween shirts work year-round. I see Wal-Mart has some super cute "costume" shirts this year. They're things like rock star, pirate, zombie, etc. These are cute year round. Some t-shirts are very definitely Halloween, but if you don't mind, you can buy them on sale (they often go down to $1 each and even less) to use throughout the year. Some can be used at other times without being obviously dated. My son had some very "Punk rock" ones that just featured skulls and crossbones. They were Halloween sale finds, but he wore them all the time and lots of people told us how much they liked them.

4. Those color hair sprays are a quick and cheap way to prevent the, "I'm booooooooored," chorus. You can grab them cheap after Halloween. Our homeschool group brings tons of these to summer parties to let the kids go wild. I advise parental intervention and I will tell you that they can stain the skin, but if you're stuck inside on a cold afternoon, you could always head outside with a can of hair color and a towel to cover the kid's clothes and come in with super cute pink hair.

5. Once costumes are dirt cheap, grab some of the basics to use in the future. Black robes are always useful. Wings can be used in a number of costumes. We have a box full of them and I can't tell you how much use we've gotten from them. Capes work with a variety of costumes. Stay away from the trendy costumes (no Hannah Montana wigs or Borat bathing suits), but grab some basics if you can. That gives you the ability to throw together a costume next year cheaply.

6. Throw a Halloween-themed party at another time of the year. My son has decided he wants such a theme for his birthday party in the winter because he wants an excuse to dress up. Fine by me. I'll grab a punch of Halloween-themed party supplies when they go on sale and save myself a ton. This is useful for lots of different holidays. I buy Valentine's Day goody bags/party goods/trinkets to use for my twins' birthday party every year. This past year, I bought those huge packs of lip gloss/nail polish for a deep discount after Xmas, opened the package and split them up in goody bags. We got 25 lip glosses/nail polish bottles for $2 total.

What do you think? Will any of these work for you? What tips do you have to add?

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Borrowers: Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Sanity (and your stuff)

Do you loan things out? How often do you get them back ruined? How often do you never get them back at all? Do you borrow things? Do you find you can't remember where you put those shoes your sister loaned you for your baby? Have you ever given back a crib covered in vomit? Have you ever simply not returned things you borrowed?

I have been very blessed in that I have friends who have passed along items to me. It has saved me thousands of dollars. More often than not, those items are given to me, not loaned, but I do occasionally borrow things from friends. It can really be a life-saver. It can also, however, cause much frustration.

I often find myself loaning things to friends/family. Well, I DID. I don't know if I will any longer. I've had a few negative experiences (and one AWFUL experience where my entire maternity wardrobe was thrown away) and at this point, even though some of my friends/family have been wonderful about the things they've borrowed, it's just not worth it.

Since there seems to be some question about what to do/not to do in this situation, I'm compiling a list of the do's and don'ts. Feel free to add your own.

1. Know the difference between loaned and given. If you're being given something, ask, "Do you want this back?" If you're loaning something, be absolutely clear that you will need that item back. Don't mince words. I suggest, in addition to asking/telling in person, double-check via e-mail. That way, if you're borrowing the things, there's no question. If you're loaning the things and people later claim they thought it was a gift, you can pull up that e-mail.

2. Do no loan things with sentimental value. If someone tries to loan such things to you, do NOT take them. From both sides, you never know what will happen. So while it is a lovely gesture to loan that adorable Halloween costume you made for your child's first Halloween to a friend, I advise against it. Family may be a different story, though. Yes, wearing mom or grandma's wedding gown is a wonderful tradition.

3. Be specific about when you need something back. When loaning a too big shirt to a friend because her child is a size bigger than yours, make certain you say, "I'll need that back when my child is in a 6." That way, hopefully, you can avoid seeing that child's younger sister sporting that exact same loaned shirt once yours fits into a 6. *


4. If you destroy it (or don't get it back to them in time because you did pass it along to another child), you MUST do something. Talk to the person who loaned it. How you make it up to them is really up to them. You can't just buy something else and call it good. Maybe they prefer if you repair the piece. Maybe they'll offer to repair it themselves. Maybe they'll want it replaced. Maybe they'll tell you not to worry. It's up to them, though.

5. If you loan something that is destroyed, be reasonable. Yes, they have an obligation to do something about it, but you don't necessarily have the right to demand they replace that 5 year old dress with an expensive brand new one.

6. Return something in at least the same condition you received it. If you've ripped it, set it on fire, doused it in oil, used it as a litter box, hosted a flea circus on it, etc, do NOT simply pack it in a box and pass it back. Let the person know and then see #4. Please, look over items carefully before you return them. If things like being used as a littler box or a site for a flea circus are normal for you, they're probably not for other people. A good rule is to always thoroughly clean things even better than you would your own.

7. Do NOT pass along borrowed things to others without permission.

8. Ask people first if they even want to borrow your items in the first place. On the flip side, if someone is offering you something that you really don't want/need, tell them. If you get a box of children's clothes and find you only plan to use a few items, pass the others back immediately. That can help prevent problems (see #9).

9. Know where loaned items are. Don't pack them away with your things in the attic. Don't shove them in the back of the closet. When you're done with them, PASS THEM BACK asap.

10. Be realistic. Items will have some wear and tear. Although, scribbling all over something with permanent marker falls outside the definition of, "Normal wear and tear." Be prepared for some wear. If you're not comfortable with that, don't loan the item. If you know someone is a perfectionist about clothes and will notice the slightest loose thread (aka: my mom), it might be best to politely decline if they offer to loan you something.

How about you? Do you have any guidelines that you think could help? Have you had a bad experience? A great one? Leave me a comment. I'm always curious to hear.



*Yes, I'm speaking from experience. No, don't worry. If you're reading this, you can rest assured this is not about you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's been called a, "Handful," but never an, "Honor."

I have four children. That's what we always wanted. During my last pregnancy, people apologized to me for the fact that I was having yet another one. Everyone wanted to tell me how rough it would be. People just love to ask, Have you figured out what causes that?" The most common phrase people use when they see us all out is, "You sure have your hands full!" They've been saying this ever since my twins were born and they were my first (and second) children. I usually bite my tongue because you never know what other people are going through, but I always think, "Better full than empty."

We don't consider our family to be all that large, but others seem to be absolutely shocked that we have oh so very many (insert eye roll) children.

So, on Simchat Torah, when we were HONORED for bringing the most children rather than ostracized for it, I felt wonderful.

I love Simchat Torah--love it. It's one of my very favorite holidays. This year, was probably the best yet. My oldest daughters did Israeli dancing with the adults and they sang with their Hebrew school (and did so wonderfully. My oldest daughter really surprised me with her poise and her knowledge). TheBaby fell asleep in my arms after nursing. She slept through all the singing and dancing, but I danced around with her in my arms anyway. TheBoy grabbed flags and ran and danced around with the others. My husband slunk back and tried to hide because he's not a big dancer and doesn't much like the spotlight (yes, it's true what they say about opposites attracting).

Before all the singing and dancing, though, the rabbi announced that the family with the most children in attendance would be called up to open the ark. That was us. So we all went up to do that. It was so nice to honored rather than pitied.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dinner in a flash.

TwitterMoms and Samsung asked for at least 3 tips for getting dinner ready in a flash. I may be the last person you want to ask about that. I CAN cook, but I'd rather not. I figure, I'm not alone, though, so here are what works for me.


1. Have your husband cook. Who cares if it's done quickly? You don't have to do it. Feel free to do whatever else needs to be done while your oh so adorable and oh so skillful husband whips up a delicious dinner in the comfort of your own kitchen. I lucked out. My husband is a fantastic cook and doesn't mind (or at least doesn't complain) cooking in the evening.

2. Use the crockpot. It doesn't seem quick since it takes all day, but you can throw everything in in the morning and come home to an already cooked meal--no prep time necessary. This is great for me because it also eliminates my cravings for eating out. If I know dinner is ready at home, I'm less likely to suggest going out.

3. Hit the local farmers' market. I realize this won't work for everyone in every climate (at least not year round), but we've found that having fresh (and gorgeous) produce available helps make for a quick meal. I'm far more likely to be willing to cook (see #1) when we have fresh produce on hand.

4. Tilapia Tilapia Tilapia. I LOVE tilapia and it's pretty quick and easy to prepare. Keep some on hand. You can buy a good-size frozen bag (we get 4 lbs) at a decent price. Then, just sautee some onions and throw some tilapia in the pan. It's quick and easy.

5. Eggs. Eggs. Eggs. That's our go-to staple when we're in a hurry and have no idea what to make. Scrambled eggs are super quick and can be altered depending on what you add.

6. Anywhere other than here. When in doubt, go out. I like to go out even when not in doubt. :-) Go somewhere else and let THEM cook for you. Then it doesn't matter how long it takes because, once again, you don't have to cook it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mommy Moment Winner



I signed back on after Shabbat to find great news.
Woo hoo. I won. I won.
Future Mama over at Baby Makin Machine has a "Mommy Moment" contest each month (although not this month because she has quite a bit going on with her MOD fundraiser. Go help save babies.).

I entered my post "Restoring my Faith in Humanity" for September and I WON. Yay. Yay. Yay.

This month, the prize was a a diaper bag and matching changing blanket from Couturière. The timing on this couldn't be better. You remember my husband's cousin who is now due ANY DAY? The one who lost her job and was evicted? She bought a diaper bag from someone on Craig's List, but it fell apart before she even got a chance to use it. Things have gotten worse for her and she absolutely cannot afford a diaper bag even though her little boy could arrive at any moment. So I'm going to pass this along to her.

A huge thank you to Future Mama at Baby Makin' Machine and to Kayce from Kayce's Doula Journey who was this month's judge. When I saw, "Doula" in the title, I knew her blog would be right up this birth advocate's alley and I was right. I just added myself to her list of followers.

Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU. What a fabulous way to begin the week!

Parenting Dilema: What Would You Do?

My twins have a shared e-mail address. They really only use it for a select few friends and family members. We monitor it.

Girl2 recently sent an e-mail to her grandparents (dh's parents) asking when she could see them again (they live far away). Their grandma responded that maybe they could fly out for Chanukah and ended with, "Ask your daddy if that's okay, but don't tell anyone else."

Does anyone else have a problem with this?

I have a pretty good relationship with my in-laws. We're not best buds, but we get along pretty well. I'm not the type who would pitch a fit and insist they couldn't come.

Dh thinks his mother probably meant not to tell MY parents. You see, my parents have this awful habit of insisting on being here every time my in-laws are. My mother must do everything bigger and better than everyone else.

Here's just one example that explains it perfectly. When my mother saw the check I was giving my husband's brother when he got married, she insisted on writing a larger one from her and my father. Mind you, my BIL is no relation to her at all, was in a very comfortable financial situation and that check was TRIPLE what she gave HER ELDEST DAUGHTER when she got married (and my sister was not nearly as comfortable financially when she got married. My mother's financial situation, was the same through both of those weddings). So my in-laws VERY rarely get time here without my parents coming along as well. Dh thinks that's probably what his mother had in mind.

I completely agree on that stance and would love for my in-laws to have some one-on-one time with the kids without the other set of grandparents interfering.

You remember, my FIL has been battling cancer. I want him to have as much time as possible with his grandchildren without interruption. He has NEVER seen his grandchildren without my parents also being here. So I would absolutely agree to an exclusive visit from my in-laws.

Even if that was her intention, I have a big issue with any adult asking a child to keep something secret from an adult. My MIL specifically told my daughter to ask her father--not her, "Parents." Which would imply that she wasn't to tell me. That bothers me not just because she might want to keep it from me, but because I don't think it's appropriate for a child to be told to keep something from a parent. It sets a frightening standard.

I've always told my kids that if an adult asks them to keep something from their parents, the adult is doing something wrong.

I'm interested in what the internetz think. Do you think my reaction is inappropriate? Do you see my point? Should something be said to my MIL?

One reason to move to Israel

In Israel (at least in the religious neighborhoods), I doubt you'd have a construction crew right outside your bedroom window insanely early on Shabbat morning TEARING UP THE FREAKING CURB.

This, of course, is AFTER I was up all night with a vomiting little boy (not sick, but something he ate at oneg after services upset his stomach) and was so looking forward to sleeping in.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

Twitter Moms, along with Horizon Little Blends have asked how we parents sneak fruits and veggies into their kids' diets.

I don't.

I was raised hating fruits and veggies. If it was healthy, I wanted to run far and fast. The closest my snacks came to healthy was the name "Fruit" followed by "Roll-ups." In my adulthood, I realized I actually like a wide variety of fruits and veggies that were either never offered, or never cooked in a way I liked (i.e. broccoli was always cooked until it was mush and slathered in butter).

So with our kids, we have always made a point of offering a wide variety of fruits and veggies prepared in a number of different ways. We keep apples, bananas, nuts (plain or lightly salted), whole grain cereal, sliced peppers, carrots, raisins, plums, peaches and grapes in the kids' reach. And you know what? They actually eat them--happily. We never started them on the sweet sugary snack thing, so they don't miss them. We don't have to argue with them.

After a brief interview, here are my kids' favorite foods:

Girl1: Sushi
Girl2: Apples
TheBoy: Bananas

My biggest tip on food is simply--don't start down the slippery slope of mount sugar. You never have to break the habit if you never start it.

Through the Twitter Mom contest, I found another great link on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy & I must share. She has some fantastic points. Have I mentioned that my children (particularly Girl1) like jalapenos? Hey, you never know unless you try.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bending Toward the Sun

I recently received a copy of Bending Toward the Sun which is written by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie with her mother Rita Lurie. The book is a memoir that shows how true events of the Holocaust altered the lives not only of those who survived, but their children and even grandchildren.

From the official site,
"Rita Lurie was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis. From the summer of 1942 to mid-1944, she and fourteen members of her family shared a nearly silent existence in a cramped, dark attic, subsisting on scraps of raw food. Young Rita watched helplessly as first her younger brother then her mother died before her eyes. Motherless and stateless, Rita and her surviving family spent the next five years wandering throughout Europe, waiting for a country to accept them. The tragedy of the Holocaust was only the beginning of Rita's story."

My husband is the grandson of German Jews who made it safety to American shores from Nazi Germany, so this book particularly resonated with me. Even though my entire family was safely in the U.S. by the time the War began, I am a daughter and I have daughters, so it spoke to me on that level as well.

This book is utterly fascinating. It's unlike any other book on the Shoa I have ever read. The jacket describes it quite well,
"A decade-long collaboration between mother and daughter, Bending Toward the Sun reveals how deeply the Holocaust remains in the hearts and minds of survivors, influencing even the lives of their descendants. It also sheds light on the generational reach of any trauma, beyond the initial victim."

I was astounded to find that this book begins where most books on the topic end. We find the Gamss family leaving their hiding place on page 53, the beginning of only the fifth chapter. The rest of the book focuses first on Ruchel/Rita Lurie's story in her own voice and then her daughter Leslie takes over. There's even a portion written (fascinatingly well) by Leslie's 12-year-old daughter Mikeala (I laughed out loud when she referred to Adolf Hitler as a "Power-hungry man with unfortunate facial hair"). I think this was a fantastic way to work this complex story. We get to really see the complexity of the trauma as it weaves its way through the different generations.

This was one of those books that I picked up and didn't want to put down. I was up until midnight last night because I found myself so hungry for more of the story. What happened next? I had to know. Even when I forced myself to put it down, I couldn't sleep because I kept wondering what more I would learn about Ruchel as she traveled around Europe and then headed to America where she began her transformation to Rita.

I picked it up again today and didn't put it down again until I had read it cover-to-cover. I became completely absorbed with the entire family in the beginning and never lost that interest or concern for them. The account left me wondering what would become of each aunt, uncle and cousin and the book answered my questions (in addition the official website has a fledgling "Where Are They Now" section which appears as though it will feature profiles of family members when it's completed). It was fascinating to first read Rita Lurie's account of growing up with her family and then to see those same family members and even their children through Leslie Gilbert-Lurie's account.

Leslie opens the book with an account which illustrates that her daughter, Mikeala, like her mother before her, has inherited that overwhelming intense fear of abandoment which is understandable, but debilitating at the same time.

I was struck not only by the fear which the Gamss family endured, but also by the normalcy they later created. Rita Lurie married at an early age and, by all accounts, she and her husband are still together and happy 50 years later. Her sister, Sara/Sandra was married 43 years before she lost her husband to Cancer. One of the great uncles Leslie interviewed was still married to the woman he married in Italy just after the war. They were able to find love. They were able to bring children into a world even though they had witnessed the absolute worst. They were cautious. They were weary. They were worn down, yet they were all survivors.

I just visited the website for this review and I'm impressed by all they have available there which compliments the book. I'm thrilled to find a resource section which includes a link for teachers. The additional family photos are fascinating. You can watch videos of Leslie discussing the book as well.

Rabbi Irving Greenberg calls this memoir, "heartbreaking, yet inspiring." I agree completely.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Yet another fortune cookie of abstinence
(aka: The Chinese Place Hates Me)

In addition to exclusively breastfeeding, we are now using condoms AND I'm temping in the morning in an effort to prevent pregnancy. Why are we going through all this trouble when getting pregnant has never been easy for us? Because a fortune cookie scared my husband. It could have been warning of a lottery-ticket-bearing Oompa Loompa*, but no, my husband feared it referred to a baby.

If you recall, there was a night last month (which turned into a whole freaking week because it terrified my husband so) where I didn't get any because of a stupid fortune cookie. At the time, I grumbled a little bit, but mostly laughed. Ha ha. That's funny how that can be interpreted to fit our current situation. By the end of that week, though, I wasn't laughing quite as loudly. It's just a freaking cookie. Get the hell over here!

A few days ago, we went to the same Chinese place and once again, we got fortunes. Girl1 and I both eyed the same fortune cookie, but she got it first. When she read the fortune out loud, my husband said, "Oh no. That one was meant for you."




Oh hell! So now, I'm beginning to seriously wonder if that restaurant has it out for me. Dude, WTF? And no, my husband has not touched me since that fortune.

Then, this morning, we opened the front door to find a box. It's yet another great big box o'WTF from my mom (see #9). It's a package, for my daughter--the one who actually opened that fortune cookie. Never in my life have I been so thrilled to get a random box of insane stuff that we neither want nor need. I don't know if that package will prove lucky for my daughter, but hopefully, it will for me. A big box of useless unnecessary stuff has fulfilled the pastry prophecy therefore leaving us free to enjoy some indoor sports. Game on!

*I'm borrowing the lottery-ticket-holding Oompa Loompa from someone on twitter, but I can't remember who said it. If you know, please post her name in the comments.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Memory

8 years ago. May life continue to unfold and inspire for us all, but may we never forget the significance and the loss of September 11th.


Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Photo Meme

I saw myself tagged over at Collecting Hats (thanks. This is pretty cool), so here I go.

The rules are:

1. Open the 4th file where you store your photos
2. Pick the 4th picture
3. Explain the photo
4. Pass the challenge on to 4 other bloggers

This one was a bit rough for me since I don't post pictures of my kids' faces. Luckily, the rules worked out. My 4th photo folder is the "Family Tree" one. That's a good deal because that folder is most likely to contain faces of those long gone (and therefore, unable to identify themselves on my blog and raise a ruckus). As luck would have it, the 4th photo doesn't even include any faces.


That is the ship that made our very existence possible. That is the ship that rescued Bubbe and her family from Nazi Germany. She was 14 at the time. The ship was later destroyed during the War.

Now let's see what everyone else has to share. I love photos and I love randomness. So I'm very curious to see what everyone else posts.

I'm tagging Gina at the Feminist Breeder, Phyllis from Ima on and Off The Bima, Giselle at Giselle's Total Waste of Bandwidth, and Whozat over at Lucy & Ethel Have A Baby.

Husbands say the darnest things
regarding our childhood animated heroes

My husband complained about our collection of kid videos (yes, VHS tapes. The DVD player is being fickle). He made some comment about the choices being terrible. To which, I replied, "Jem is NOT terrible." He then said, "I don't like her, even if she is truly outrageous."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's the Shehecheyanu-a-palooza at chez Reiza

TheBaby is our last baby. Her birth was so amazing that I would gladly do that again another 10 times, but we've agreed that four children is the perfect number for us. We had a difficult time getting pregnant every time and after my second pregnancy, we didn't even know if we'd be able to have another baby. The fact that we did and we carried TheBaby to term is a miracle. Yes, we found out after-the-fact that we lost two others during that pregnancy, but our daughter survived and she is wonderful. She has completed our family.

Yesterday, as I sat with her at my breast, I looked at her gorgeous chubby cheeks that puffed up and down while she nursed, her sweet long lashes on her delicate eyelids that were closed as she nursed to sleep, her chubby arms clutching my shirt and I felt the weight of her ever-growing strong and squishy body. I whispered the Shehecheyanu while she nursed.

I cannot be more thankful to G-d for allowing us to reach this season--this wonderful season that finds our home filled with happiness and healthiness.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My dear sweet son

Today, the kids played hospital with some friends. The bigger kids took off when it was TheBoy's turn to play surgeon. So, I opted to be his patient. I told him I thought my leg was broken. Without even looking at it, he declared that was not the case. So I asked him what I should do. He replied,

"Get in your car and drive home. It's not broken."

Oh how I love that kid.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm not getting any
and it's all a fortune cookie's fault.

We went for Chinese tonight and, as is common in Chinese restaurants, we each got fortune cookies. I don't really like the taste of fortune cookies, but I do so love the fortune. I love everything about them. When my daughters each read their first ones by themselves, I took great delight. The ones that really resonate with me are kept and displayed. I got one in December that said, "Remember three months from this date. Good things are in store for you." My youngest daughter was born exactly 3 months and 1 day later. Sometimes they have bits of wisdom. Sometimes they're funny given current circumstances. Sometimes, they're freakishly true.

Today, my husband got this fortune:



Upon reading that, he screwed up his face, said, "Oh hell no," and then added, "I'm not touching you tonight."



Oh joy! I got a side order of abstinence with my moo goo gai pan. Dude, that was NOT on the menu.

The ecological impact

Yesterday, while at a consignment sale, the big mountain of bottles caught my eye. There was a big long table full of them. I was really struck by just how much plastic there was. This was from only a small fraction of the mothers who bottle-feed. The pile was enormous.

I've heard (and talked) about breastfeeding being the "greener" alternative even way back when "green" only meant the difficult color Kermit memorialized in song. There's no packaging to dispose of. There's no factories needed. There are fuel-burning waste-producing trucks needed to transport anything. There's no (or limited) need for bottles to take up landfills. Still, it wasn't until I stood in front of that table yesterday that it really hit me.

Wow. Just wow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Whines of a Former Military Wife

I'm going to whine. Consider yourself warned.

(big sigh)
I miss my husband. Yes, he's here. I feel guilty making that statement when he isn't deployed. Hell, he's not even active anymore. Still, after working through PTSD (times two), he's not the man I married. We got through the worst of it, but it has changed him.

Lately, I've been painfully aware that there are small fleeting moments where the man I married would have hugged me, reached for my hand, or put an arm around me. The man he's become does none of these. He still loves me. He's still one of the rare good men out there. PTSD just stripped him of the more affectionate side.

I know I'm very blessed to have such a wonderful husband. He's smart. He's kind. He has moral standards. He doesn't see me as a cook/housekeeper. He's willing to work together with me.

It's just that, I miss him. I miss who he was. I love this new guy, but it's just not the same. In those brief moments where I still expect him to reach out, he doesn't and I'm painfully aware of what's missing.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Proof of the existance of a higher being.

My youngest daughter is napping, in some place other than the swing or sling and has been doing so for an hour and a half.

Traditionally, this is a time where the clouds part and angels sing.

This child does not nap well. She never has. She usually naps in the swing, but not for very long. When we're out, you can guarantee that she'll nap in the sling, but at home, she's not a big nap fan. Sometimes, I'll take her to bed with me, nurse her and we'll both nap, but she doesn't nap very long that way (which is so strange because we cosleep).

Today, she's in the playpen (with the basinet attachment) in the other room and she's snoozing away. I keep checking on her, but yes, she is breathing and yes, she is sleeping.

There is a G-d and He likes me.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sister Sunshine: 5. Common sense: 0

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Let's say you continuously harass your family and friends with stupid "Get rich" e-mails.
Let's say one such family member asks if those have ever worked.
Let's say your answer to the aforementioned question is, "Of course not."

Then please, PLEASE, explain to us WHY YOU KEEP DOING IT?

Common sense, Ur Doeng it rong!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Sticky Bug On the Ceiling: Eeek eek eek!

The title is in reference to Dr. Seuss' ABC book ("Camel on the ceiling, CCC")

I have no idea why my Wordless Wendesday posts are never wordless. Sorry about that. There's no truth in advertising, I guess.

So here's my creepy entry for WW:



That is my playroom ceiling. That's a red sticky bug on my ceiling. My kids threw it there A MONTH AGO. Why is it that most sticky things will lose all stickiness the moment you look at them, but these things WON'T LET GO?

The kids got a few of these at a party a month ago. They played with them outside at the park in 110 degree weather. Then they came home and washed them off. I figured that would be the end of them. Then they rolled them around on the cats. I figured that, if there was anything remotely resembling sticky on there, it was long gone.

Then they threw this one and his bright blue brother on the ceiling where they remain to this day. We have high ceilings. I can't reach them to get them down.

As though that's not bad enough, they broke an extremity (these are poorly made bugs, I can't tell if it's a leg, an arm, or a tail) off the bright blue one and launched it separately. It looks remarkably like a slug...on the ceiling. Oh boy was that fun when I first noticed it...at night...alone...long after the kids went to bed!