Monday, March 30, 2009

Home is where the school is.

We had a great few days thanks to unschooling. Now, ours isn't really an unschooling family. We use some more traditional things (work books, print outs, spelling tests, etc), but we have an unschooling flair. I like to take a natural learning approach to school.

On Sunday, I went shopping. Many items were half off. We've dealt some with fractions and multiplication, but we haven't done division at all. Still, both girls were able to accurately and easily tell me what the items would be at half price. They did it over and over again as they brought me item after item of (what they deemed) cute clothing and asked me to buy them because, "It's half price, so it's only...."

We have a map of the U.S hanging on the wall. They like to look at it to see how to spell the states and then they put them into a song and end with the Postal Service's abbreviation (don't ask. I have no idea why they do it, but they like the song). Today, Girl2 noticed the scale on the map and asked what it was. So we busted out rulers and measured how wide certain states are. Then we measured the distance between different states and translated that into miles. We looked at the map and talked about the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Girl2 studied Mississippi which she adores even though she's never been there. When I asked her why she likes it, she said, "Because it's pink on the map and because it has lots of s's and i's. I like those letters."

Very neat and took almost no effort on my part. That's a good thing with a new baby in the house.

Oh and Girl1 was moved into a different class in Hebrew school a few weeks ago. She's in the group doing lessons 2 years above where they currently are. This is the child who doesn't read English as well as her sister, so I'm floored to hear her read Hebrew. Some of her homework simply involves reading the word to an audience and she has read every single word correctly ever since she was put in that class. I've mentioned before how I feel about them learning to read Hebrew, so my daughter has made me very proud.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The few. The proud.
The Jewish. The chocolate.

My kids don't eat chocolate. For the longest time, they never even tasted chocolate. The girls are wonderful about it. The staff at Sunday school likes to give out chocolate for snacks or rewards, but the big kids always tell their teachers they can't have chocolate and they help find a healthier alternative. I've been so proud of how they handle it.

As the kids have got older, we relented and agreed they could have chocolate for two occasions, Chanukah (because the gelt was overwhelming. There was no way to avoid it) and then we added Purim (because, well, I really like Purim).

Well, now we're about to add one more holiday to the mix. Next week, there's a chocolate seder at shul. Last year, we just skipped Sunday school that day. This year, though, the whole family is invited to stay. Family events are near and dear to my heart. So we'll all be going and yes, the children will get to consume chocolate.

And so, our children are thrilled to be Jewish because if not, they'd never get chocolate. :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways (and eat the cookies).

My husband rocks. He has been on super daddy duty ever since I had the baby. I lost a lot of blood and was put on bedrest. He's home for 2 weeks to help. I'm not supposed to leave the bed/couch for much of anything. On the few occasions I've tried, I've gotten very tired and sore very quickly.

He's done all the laundry even though it has taken forever (again, please vote for us so we can get a new washer and dryer), he's taken the baby when she wakes up in the morning so I can get some more rest, he's handled the late night diaper changes, he's had to make all the meals, he's kept the kids corralled in the playroom so that I could rest, he's done all the running around, he's done all the food shopping, he's done all the cleaning. He's doing it all.

On Sunday, he went food shopping and came back with my favorite candy bar (remember, I was on the GD diet during pregnancy, so I wasn't able to have sweets). Later that day, I woke up to him handing me a cookie--a freshly baked cookie he made from my favorite cookie dough he secretly bought and not only did he bake the cookies for me, he even saved me some dough too (my favorite). Oh and he did all this while holding the baby so that I could get a nap.

I'm typing now with free hands because he's cuddling the baby.

We've been through some really rough times together, especially when he came home from deployments. So I'm particularly grateful to see this side of the man I love. I realize how truly blessed I am--how blessed we all are.

Dance of the 7 Veils

Vote for #7. Please please PLEASE. We desperately need this. Our washing machine completely conked out today and the dryer isn't much better. It takes putting things on high 3 times to get them dry. Today, dh had to take out half the small load because it wouldn't start. We have fallen SO far behind in laundry since the baby was born because these bloody machines don't work and we can't afford to replace them.

So PLEASE, go to MomCentral and vote for #7.

Please ask your friends to do the same.

I've been very frank with everyone about our financial situation. We cannot afford to replace these machines, but at the same time, we now have 4 kids, including one in cloth diapers. We need to be able to do the wash.

Please vote for us, pretty pretty please.

March 18th update: THE WASHING MACHINE IS COMPLETELY BROKEN. I have a load in there now. It filled with water and then just stopped. It did that yesterday and we were able to get it to work eventually, but not today. It's filled with towels, diapers, kids' clothes and baby clothes. ARGH!

PLEASE vote for us and ask others to do the same. I'm getting my butt kicked.

Monday, March 16, 2009

You've Got the Cutest Little...

I don't like posting pictures of my kids. It's just something I don't do. However, I am going to make an exception in the case of the newbie. I can't keep all that cuteness to myself.

Yeah, what she said.

This post in response to the Case Against Breast-Feeding is wonderful. It's a bit long because it has much to address and it's worth the read. I'm too tired and other-wise occupied to write a response, but I don't think it's even necessary given that Emily has already done a phenomenal job of it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The wee one took pity on me and decided enough was enough. No more torture for the mama. Instead, WE HAVE A BABY.

She (yes SHE) was born last week. It's a girl--a gorgeous chubby little girl with wisps of hair and bright blue eyes.

She was born at home. No cutting me open this time. My body did it on its own. I pushed her out myself (with the midwife's help) and then reached down and grabbed her to pull her up to my chest. That was something I desperately wanted--to have my baby on my chest. Every other time, my babies were whisked away from me either in a rush to the NICU or just to another room so I could be put back together. I have never even held my children in their first hours. In that time, I was always lying flat on a table while doctors sewed or stapled me back together. This time, I wanted to know what it was like to have the baby immediately come from inside me and rest on my chest from the outside. I got just that and it was amazing.

Dh cut the cord. That's something he has never done before and something I always hoped he would. This time, he did.

There were many recitations of the Shehecheyanu. I said it over and over again. I can't tell you how many times I said, "Oh thank G-d." As has been the case with all my children, the first words I spoke to my daughter were the first few verses of the Sh'ma.

When it was over, dh and I went to bed--OUR bed together, the same bed where our youngest was born. I was on my side, he on his, the baby sleeping between us and we held hands and stared at her completely fixated and in love (with her, with each other, with life).

Our baby is here. She is healthy. She had the best possible entrance into the world. She helped fullfill so many dreams and hopes.

In all my life, I have never felt so powerful. I have never felt so in awe. I have never felt so thankful. I have never felt so close to G-d.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Baby update: Torture me baby one more time

With my son, I lost my mucous plug, my water broke and my labor began all within a few hours. While I had some Braxton Hicks contractions, it was very obvious when real labor began and once it did, it didn't stop until my son was born. There were no questions, no false starts, no doubts.

Two weeks ago, the baby dropped. I recognized the pains and sensations in my hips as the same ones I experienced last time around 2 weeks before my son was born. Last week, the contractions/surges started--real contractions, unmistakable sensations. That was around 6pm. They were 10 minutes apart. We went to bed and they continued. They ranged from 5-20 minutes apart all day and night, from 6pm one evening to about 11 pm the following evening. Dh took time off work. We worked to get the house ready for the midwives. Then the contractions stopped.

Then we did a lot of cursing. As we've been doing ever since. The contractions/surges will pick up only to stop.

I've never experienced anything like this before. I'm doing pretty well working with the surges now (wasn't initially), but it's breaking my heart and frustrating me to no end to have these starts and stops.

It's one thing to work with your body when you know a baby is on the way. It's quite another thing to feel like your body is playing some sort of sadistic trick on you. My life is NOT one of the Saw movies. Please cut that out. I am 9 months pregnant. Now is NOT the time to torture me just to watch the reaction. I can assure you the reaction will involve expletives, whimpering and probably fair amounts of projectiles.

Commenters say...

Capri left an absolutely brilliant comment on my last post about my sister and her animated Jesus forwards.

"Well, that's further proof that chain letters really do act as a drug to people afflicted with forwarditis. They kill common sense and numb the part of the brain responsible for rational thought."

YES. That is certainly an accurate assessment of the situation.

And FTR, yesterday, I received another forward from the same sister. This time, it was the one that brags about Oliver North and his warning about Osama Bin Laden. I knew it was false because I checked it on Snopes a while ago. I replied with a link and a note about it being false with a reminder that Snopes exists for a reason. My sister's response was to tell me that I'm, "Always the one to ruin it."

If, I'm the one known to stop stupidity in its tracks, well, then that's a title I will gladly wear. :-) Quick, someone make me a little sash with that written across the front. I will gladly be crowned the "Common Sense Queen."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It's official, my sister is on crack.

I have 4 sisters (plus 1 OBM). One of them is apparently on crack. I refer to the middle of my sisters as, "Sister Sunshine" or "PITA." Most of my friends don't even know her real name, but they instantly recognize who I'm speaking about when I use the nicknames.

She is one of the many black sheep of the family--always creating trouble. Mind you, she's in her 50s, so she should be WAY past this teenage angst stuff.

She just sent me what is quite possibly the most WTF-able e-mail ever.

Now let's remember three things: #1. I am Jewish. #2. My sister has given up on all religion and has been an Atheist for at least the past 30 years. #3. I HATE forwards with a passion.

So gather round and catch your jaws as they hit the floor over this gem of an e-mail forward from Sister Sunshine (e-mail addresses have been changed/removed, but that's it):

Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2009, 8:14 PM
To: Whole bunches of people who really don't want another stupid forward
Subject: (no subject)

It can't hurt - I'd rather be on the side of angels than not.
Let me know what happens to you the morning after you open this e-mail.
This is an unusual one. It actually gives you a time tomorrow.. Let's see if it works.


Forward this message the same day you received it. It may sound ridiculous, but it is right on time. We believe that something is about to happen.. Angels exist, only sometimes they haven't got wings and we call them friends; you are one of them.. Something wonderful is about to happen to you and your friends. Tomorrow at 11:09AM somebody will address you and tell you some thing you have been waiting to hear.

Please do not break this. Send it to at least 7 of your friends!

And to that, all I have to say is, "Dude, WTF?" And yes, I realize Jesus has lost his animation. You'll have to trust me that he was making the sign of the cross. Blogger doesn't like animated gifs.

A turn for the lucky

I appear to have a stroke of good luck which is good because I really need that right now.

I won this giveaway at Jamie's Precious Peas for a great diaper that I've wanted to try, but money was an issue. It's a one-size which is ideal. We have medium and a few large diapers, but only 1 one-size diaper and very few smalls. I already got the message that the lovely folks at Banana Peels Diapers have already sent it. Sweet!

I just got a message that I won a Jack and Lily giveaway at Lizzy Dear's Life Reviews. That's perfect! We need footwear for the baby. I had some soft-soled shoes that I've picked up over the years (mainly at consignment stores and as hand-me-downs), but I've loaned them out to people and most of them have not found their way back. I've been searching for footwear for this baby that won't break the bank, so this is WONDERFUL.

I have yet to receive them (and I'm dying to because these things look far too cute), but I won a pair of Polliwalks through a giveaway at Gruntlings. I originally planned to get a pair for the big kids because I figured that would get the most use between the two of them (plus I think the Pink and Fuchsia fireflies are cute), but I realized the big kids still have some sandals packed away that will fit. TheBoy has nothing that he'll fit into this summer. So we opted for the orange and blue fireflies in his size.

I've been entering contests like crazy in hopes of winning some things for the kids so that we can save some money. I am VERY very thankful to the sites for offering giveaways and I'm a huge fan of randomness for letting my numbers get picked. :-)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

We'll Still Be Freakin' Friends

Title is from that song. Yeah, it leaves much to be desired, but I loved Daria.

I must pause to say a huge, "Thank you," to my friends (and those family members I actually like enough to consider friends). My weekend was made when I opened a card that contained a Target gift card from a friend. One friend who has a hell of a lot going on in her life right now made time to not only come to my shower, but to even make a gift. Another friend, who also has a ton going on, stepped in last minute to help plan that shower. Who thought I would get excited over diapers? When I lamented that I wanted to buy a pack of newborn disposable diapers (to get us through the merconium stage), my niece insisted I resist that urge and she sent me a pack and a half that she had left over. A friend of a friend sent me wool diaper covers. I've gotten a lot of emotional support from a select group of friends and I really appreciate that.

So a huge thank you to my real friends out there. I appreciate it more than you know.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Is this anything like the song about the rollerskates and key?

This evening, my husband was trying to sip hot coffee while the children tried desperately to make that not only impossible, but dangerous.

I heard dh say this to Girl2,
"I have a cup of coffee and you have a wand. Do I really want your wand waved over my coffee? NO."

I'm going to be humming, "I've got a hot cup of coffee. You have a wand," to the tune of "Brand New Key."

I apologize, but now I have this stuck in my head and therefore, I must share it with you:

Random bits of Jewish poetry for a Sunday evening.

I finished reading Marge Piercy's _The Art of Blessing the Day_ a while ago, but never got around to mentioning it on here. Sorry about that. I liked the early poems in the book well enough, but they didn't quite speak to me. Towards the end, though, her poems turn towards observance in general. I found much more that really spoke to me in those poems.

Here are some of the portions that struck me,

From Zeroah: Lamb Shank
"...And we fled, under the sign
of the slaughtered lamb to live
and die for each other. We are
meat that thinks and sings."

From At the New Moon: Rosh Hodesh,
"....from this bone we fashion a bird, extinct
and never yet born, evolving feathers
from our hair, blood from our salt, strength
from our backs, vision from our brains.

Fly out over the city, dove of the light,
owl of the moon, for we are weaving your wings
from our longings, diaphanous and bony...."

I particularly like that one with my recent bird obsession.

This is my very favorite. I think it sums up not only my beliefs, but Judaism quite well.

From Nishmat,
"...We stand in the midst of the burning world
primed to burn with compassionate love and justice,
to turn inward and find holy fire at the core,
to turn outward and see the world that is all
of one flesh with us, see under the trash, through
the smog, the furry be in the apple blossom,
the trout leaping, the candles our ancestors lit for us..."