Wednesday, July 29, 2009

THANK YOU, back to books

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you who responded with such AMAZING support with my last post. Honestly, that wasn't why I wrote it. Sometimes I do write posts for that reason, I want everyone to agree with me (I'm a people pleaser and want everyone to like me but that is a WHOLE other post). Anyway, I really just wanted to share what was going on and the support everyone has given me was a wonderful extra bonus!! I really don't look at it like I am doing anything great or even like I have a choice. And as much as I like to "fit in" and be like everyone else in our community, I am not willing to sacrifice my children! Okay, that sounds extreme but you know what I mean!


Enough about that. I have been thinking about a blog book club and even though I have been thinking a long time about it I haven't come up with something I think will work wonderfully. So I decided to just start and see how it goes and adjust from there. And if it doesn't work, I'll still be over here reading so it's all good! I am going to choose a book that I was already going to read (but in the future I would like others to suggest books and maybe we could decide together?) Anyway, it's called Honolulu by Alan Brennert. It is a new book but I got it from the library very quickly. I am actually halfway through it and I am really enjoying it.

So I think the best way to "talk" about this book is to chat in the comments section at a specific time. How long should we have to read the book? How about Thursday Aug. 27 at 8 pm? I would like to try this before the school year starts and also give enough time for anyone who want to participate to get/read the book. Everyone can be at their computers and we can comment about the book to each other on my post-I'll write a short summary of the book. What do you think? Could this work?

Monday, July 27, 2009

next school year

So a few post ago I mentioned that something different is happening with the kids. It's pretty final so I wanted to share our decision and why we made it.

We have decided to change schools for Lulu and Little T. They will be attending a jewish montessori school instead of the super conservative jewish day school they had been attending. Big T will still be going to the same school.

Why the change? There are many reasons that we thought this would be best for our kids. I am not going to use this post to disparge the school they were at. That is not my goal. However, as a teacher I have high standards and expectations that were not being met for my children. It's not entirely the school's fault. The education system is broken in our country for a lot of reasons. And the jewish day school system is not exempt from those problems. In fact, the jewish school system is often behind the times and might even have MORE problems.

But ultimately my kids weren't getting what they need to be successful. For Little T, we are trying to be proactive because we do not want her to experience failure during kindergarten, when Lulu's issues started.

I do not want anyone reading this to think that we haven't taken responsibility for our children and their behavior. I KNOW my children aren't easy. That they aren't docile, "cookie cutter " children. They push boundaries. They like to get their way. But don't all children? Seriously, though I take them to appts. and am open to any and all things that will help them. That has been one of the hardest parts for me-the mom and the teacher-that there seems to be no accountability in the jewish school system. Even though we have been more than open and accomodating and done everything they asked to help our children, they have/will not. And it's no one person's fault. It's the limitations of the system that they are in and the lack of knowledge/experience with anything even a little bit outside their perception of the "norm." And that makes me sad. But rather than fight to change the system (which I originally wanted to do) I am not. Because I would rather use that energy to spend time with and enjoy my kids. (And because of the advice of someone within the system who know the ins and outs as a teacher and parent who said it wasn't worth it.)

I am excited for this fresh start for them. I truly think the montessori approach will utilize my children's strengths and build up their weaknesses. Every parent that sends their kids to this school has only wonderful things to say about it. The director is truly there for the kids, you see it in her face and in the excitement in her voice when she talks about the students and the program. There is also a more diverse student popluation which I am happy for my children to experience and be part of.

Hopefully, this will be a smooth transition and a new beginning.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Ugh. Ugh. Double Ugh.

I have been hearing sad news lately.

A co-worker who was pregnant lost her baby right around her due date.

Another friend found out upsetting news about her pregnancy. The ultrasound showed significant problems.

I am specifically not giving too many details on purpose. Suffice it to say nobody wants to hear news like this.

What do I do? What do I say? Having gone through my own difficulties I know that everyone needs to grieve differently and nothing you hear really makes you feel better. But I am reaching out to my therapisty friends (Rach, Chaviva, and anyone else out there)for advice. That's what this blogging world is for right?

I am listening and supportive but how do you listen without wanting to take away the other person's pain?

I am davening and saying tehillim but even that only provides small comfort for those experiencing such intense pain.

I have to think that there are hidden reasons that people have to experience this kind of pain and agony. We don't know what the reasons are or why but I know deep down that our suffering has a purpose. It is not useless.

I hope that Hashem will give me the wisdom to know how to help and what to say and when to say it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What we've been watching

We were at the Library last week, and observed a milestone with Little M. The older girls were reading their book for the reading program, and Little M was playing on the mat. She started crawling across the floor to get at a toy and I was able to capture it with my blackberry!

Yay, crackberry! I mean, yay Little M!

Enjoy the video!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My LOVE affair with reading

Based on all the comments from my last post, I started thinking about why I enjoy reading so much. I am so passionate about reading and one of my favorite things to ask new people I meet is what they are reading. It helps me understand them, their likes and dislikes, and learn if we might have anything in common.

I have been this way ever since I can remember. As a kid I used to carry a book with me everywhere I went. Out to dinner with family, a car ride, it didn't matter. As a young girl, it wasn't unheard of for me to leave the library with 16 books in my arms, staggering to the car. I would hide from my mom in the bathroom reading. I would stay up late into the night reading. I would wake up in the morning and start reading.

Over the years, I have changed a little. I can't stay up late to read and it's not the first thing I do in the morning. But I still fit reading into my life. I always carry a book with me wherever I go, sometimes I carry 2 if I can't decide which one to read. I read even if I only have 5 minutes. I also hoard books because I will plan to read them someday.

It's hard for me to put into words why I like reading. It's solitary, it's escape, it's learning about new things all rolled into one activity.

And since I love talking and analyzing it stands to reason that I would love combining talking and reading together into a book club. So I am open to suggestions to start a book club. Leave me a comment with any suggestions on how to start one, pick books, discuss, or anything you feel strongly about. Anyone can participate!

I can't wait to get started!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

naturally natural, a pretty postcard

I have so much to say but every time I think about blogging I just get overwhelmed! It seems like so much effort to write these days. But here goes.

I have a little obsession with birth. My husband would say it is a big obsession- I love to talk about it with everybody and anybody. I married into the right family because my mother-in-law is a doula (labor coach) and one of my sister-in-laws is becoming a childbirth educator. So you can imagine our conversations at any given time-all the men end up leaving the room because inevitably the topic of birth comes up.

No, I am not sharing my own birth stories with cyberspace. Except to say that I have never had an epidural with any of my labor experiences. Why am I sharing that? Because I just finished reading an amazing book: Adventures in Natural Childbirth. It is a collection of birth stories by women who gave birth naturally. Some of the women used midwives, obs, doulas, or were unassisted. The stories basically cover every type of birth, even c-sections and show that for as many different types of women in the world there are that many differences in birth.

What I continue to find as I get older and more experienced is that we enlightened Americans are really not so enlightened as far as the birth process. Our lack of education when it comes to labor and birth is astounding. I am not criticizing anyone's choices-it is extremely personal. However, I have never, ever felt so empowered as a woman and human being as I felt when I gave birth to my children. As I have written previously, I have do not have a simple history when it comes to this area. I have experienced many difficult things. And yet they were my experiences and I feel so strong as a result of feeling them. There is a difference between pain and suffering ( I am quoting my mil or sil, I can't remember which). When I have been in labor I have felt intense pain. But I am not suffering. It is supposed to be work. I am bringing a human being into this world. Could there be anything more miraculous?

Getting off soapbox for now. I do have to say it's a great book if you like reading birth stories. If you don't like them I wouldn't suggest reading it, it is pretty graphic.


ANYWAY, in other parts of my life . . .

This wonderful postcard was sent to us in the mail by my super crafty sister. It is made from fabric and she sewed the pictures on too. I think she used stamps to write the words. Our address is on the other side but I am not sharing that with the entire internet. Even though I probably only have 2 faithful readers and they are in my family and know where I live anyway! As you can see, the creativity gene completely skipped me and went entirely to my talented and amazing sister. But that's ok as long as she gives me all her wonderful projects!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blackberry Farm and Splash Country

On Sunday we took a trip to Blackberry Farm and Splash Country. In Aurora. About an hour away. We went with my sister and brother-in-law and their 2 kids.

Blackberry Farm is a pioneer village with museums, hands-on activities for the kids, a carousel, train ride, pony rides, farm animals, and a wagon ride. We spend about 3 hours there and the kids loved it. The kids watched a woodcarver (the husband tried to steal the tools :), they carded wool, they saw a toad in the pond, and they pretended to milk a cow (it wasn't a real cow and just water came out). Everyone really enjoyed the trip!!

A really old log cabin with some really young kids! Aren't they adorable?

Not the best shot of me but here I am am with 4 out of 6 of the kiddos. Little T absolutely refused to turn around. Did you know they had picnic tables in the 1800's? Just kidding!

I usually prefer not to put pics of myself but I included this for one reason-my 4 year old nephew took this shot! Can you believe it? I think he has a future as a photographer!

Now some shots of the pony rides:

The family on the train ride. The next one is of Baby M sitting on the train next to Daddy.

Splash Country is an adjacent water park to Blackberry Farm. You can get tickets for both parks for just $3 more a ticket. It was well worth it! The water park wasn't too big but it was perfect for the kids. It has water slides, a lazy river, a pool with 0 ft. depth. We stayed for 2 hours but the kids could have stayed until it closed!

Ok, so not a lot of pics from the water park. Baby M would not look up at the camera! Just notice the old school bathing suit-that suit has been around since I was a kid. No, I didn't wear it! But I did put it on my dolls and my mom gave it to my kids to put on their dolls. So when I couldn't find a suit for Baby M and was packing up stuff to go on this trip I saw it lying on the floor on a doll. Voila! It fit perfectly. And since it's from the 80's, she's right in style!

After the water park we went to a park called Jericho Park and had a BBQ. We brought everything with us-grill, food, ice, plasticware, chairs, bug spray, pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. Actually, that probably would have been helpful too. But too heavy.

Anyway, we had a great time. There is a lake there and the kids loooooved watching people fishing. My girls are certainly NOT squeamish-they told one fisherman when he asked if he should keep the fish he caught or throw it back-"keep it!" He was impressed. I think they would have eaten it right there on the spot if we had grilled it!

It was such a super pleasant day. Everyone behaved and had fun. What more can you ask for?

Ok, this post has taken forever (putting pics on takes such a loooong time-why?) Time to go make fish tacos for dinner and check to see that the kids haven't totally destroyed the house.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

the clock in the sky

I know in previously written posts I have talked about Little T. I want to focus this post on her-my most stubborn, willful, independent child.

Little T is 5 years old. Sometimes she acts much younger and sometimes much older. I blame her behavior (read stubborn arguing) on her strawberry blond/almost red hair. She does have a fiery temperament and strong creative streak. She is extremely dramatic and loves to perform. But she also is my child who loves books and can sit and entertain herself for close to an hour reading books even though she can't read yet!

She is extremely picky about her clothes-she likes her socks pulled up all the way to her knees. She thinks turquoise matches red and pink. She made me paint the toenails on one foot pink and the other toenails on the other foot a different color.

She marches to the beat of her own drum. Actually, I don't think it's a drum it ,might be a keyboard. Or maybe a guitar.

Anyway, the reason this post came about was a conversation I had with her tonight while she was eating dinner and I was feeding the baby. Here goes:

Little T: "Mommy, Hashem had to work very hard to create the world."

Me: "Yes, that's true."

Little T: "He worked so hard then he needed a BIG, BIG rest."

Me: "Yep."

Little T: "Then he put a big clock/timer in the shemayim (sky) and that is how we know when holidays are."

(I have to admit that up until this point I hadn't really been paying attention. So I asked her to repeat-timer in the sky? What? So she told me again.)

Me: "Who told you this?"

Little T: "No one Mommy, I figured this out by myself. The clock tells when the holidays are so we know."

Me: "How did you get so smart?"

Little T (said in all seriousness): "Grandma."

You can imagine me laughing. I almost fell out of my chair. And then I had to call grandma right away and tell her. Now, I know who to blame give credit to! We had a good laugh together about Little T.

Thanks for being spunky and creative and your own person, Little T!! You certainly make life more interesting!