I never do this, but hey, why not?

No joke, I have always resolved not to make resolutions. But now, today, this minute, everything I know as real and true is so farshlugganeh (crazy, mixed up, downright nuts), I figured, why the hell not! I know! Already, you’re discouraged. Just stick with me a minute. In a true to form, ‘Castanza-ian’ way, a little WWGD (What would George Do) might actually make sense. Is that so wrong?

Yiddish Proverb:

When the time comes for you to live, there aren’t enough years. Ven di tsayt kumt far ir tsu lebn, zenen nisht genug yorn.

I think I can see 2019 from here… #shankyoupets

In an effort not to redo my entire life, I’ve stuck to five important well I think so things to help ring in the continuing saga and clusterfu#k that was 2018 the New Year, 2019. And please, don’t worry too, too much… I’m not going to shmie around (wander aimlessly) into another hopeless, political rant.

  1. Do my very best to stay healthy in mind and body. I see the snow on my roof and I know, at 668 months old you can do the math, I need to take good care of me so I can be here to watch my kinder have kinder (children have children), should they ever be allowed to leave the roost. Gutinue! (disbelief) Like this, it could ever happen? I will continue to eat healthfully and mindfully, exercise daily and keep control of my farcockteh (effed up, literally, all crapped up) neck pain. I will feed my soul with books of fiction and nonfiction over bouts of frenzied social media usage. And I will be present with the beautiful people that surround me and give me hope.
  2. Continue the Chaos of the Smile Theory, because we all really need it! Smiles, like yawns, colds and STD’s, they are contagious. Smiling is a nice and easy way of passing along some TLC to our fellow neighbors. If I can be a zeisah neshumah (sweet soul) and, pass it along to others, maybe, just maybe we can build some much-needed love and trust in this world. Slapping a smile on this punim (face) as I type! Can you feel it?
  3. Never stop doing random, simple, nice things for others. Basically, I’ll be a mensch (good-hearted person). As I enter a building, why not hold the door open for others? When I see someone trying desperately to leave a parking lot, I will wave them in front of me and into my lane of traffic. What fun it will be to randomly buy an ice cream cone or a coffee for the person behind me in line. I must continue to pick up litter as I walk my Gatsby. I will remember to bring the love of my life a beautiful flower, a drawing, a poem, a morsel of dark chocolate. I’ll take a mensch over a nogudnik (I bet you know this one!) any day of the week, wouldn’t you?
  4. Send daily thoughts of light and healing to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. One tough cookie, my hero is! And I know, she has made it this far without me. Beating cancer, sexism, glass ceilings, and did I say beating cancer? Three times now — kaynahora (pthui-pthui, keep away evil and harm). It can’t hurt for me to send waves of love her way. Some role model she is, for our sweet maideleh’s (little girls). Stay healthy Ruthie!
  5. Stay fierce, frugal and have more fun! Life, it’s hard. No smoking gun here… It comes with its built-in, brutal knocks. But as far as I know, this life is all I’ve got. Nu? As things come hurling their way at us, at me as they often do, I will find the inner power to work harder and care for my delightful, deserving family. Penny-wise is now, simply wise. We are running lean and will find new ways to run leaner.  WTF? Challenge accepted. Game on. And, if this is as good as it gets, I will add fun, play, sparkles, glitter, joy, and laughter wherever and whenever it is humanly possible. We girls, we just gotta have more fun!

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

So, that is it my friends.
I am sincerely wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous year ahead. C’mon 2019! I’m reading, willing and able! A bie gezunt! Go in good health!

Some great folks I like to share with….

On the first night of…

On the eighth crazy night, when the Menorah was ablaze with the miracle of Hanukkah… Oy, we should only make it to the eighth night! Nu, at least they make good birthday candles too.

On the first night of Hanukkah, my kinder, they said to me, “When will we go get our Christmas tree?”

On the second night of Hanukkah, the maideleh’s, they asked for Santa, so I asked my Mrs.,  “Please! Pass me more Mylanta?”

On the third night of Hanukkah, this came from the mouth of my Little, “What’s with those latkes burning on the griddle?”

On the fourth night of Hanukkah, Big, she said outright, “This is what happens for eight crazy nights?

By the fifth night of Hanukkah, the menorah was buried on the shelf. Mensch on the Bench has nothing over that meshuggeneh elf!

By the sixth night of Hanukkah, we did homework and gai schluffin; the mention of dreidel sent the kinder a-runnin’

By the seventh night of Hanukkah, our Christmas stockings were all lined up. Hanukkah, jeez… why am I dreying my kup?

By the eighth night of Hanukkah, clearly not going as planned. Us Jews, we must schmooze and do a total re-brand.

So for all who may attempt the menorah with delight, have fun, nosh on latkes, and to all a good night.

Yiddish proverb:

If grandma had a beard, she would be grandpa. Oyb di bobe volt gehat a bord, volt zi geven a zeyde.

That’s Hanukkah in a Christmas world. All is good.

A bei gezunt! In good health!

Some great folks I like to share with…

Love has to win, right?

Be Happy. Love Wins.

The other night, as a family, we watched, An American Girl Story – Melody, 1963: Love Has To Win. It’s a short movie about social injustice and racism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s. Melody, age 10, just like my Big,  is a character in the line-up of American Girl dolls and the story of her experiences during this turbulent time in our American History is incredibly important and powerful. We all four, plus Gatsby, snuggled in on the sofa and dimmed the lights.

Melody is immediately likable. Smart, witty, creative, friendly and principled, she is a young African-American girl attending school in a sea of Caucasian students and staff. Her mom provides her with a strong faith for a brighter future. That passion effervesces in all Melody does. Her grandpa, he is a bit more cynical realistic? about this world.

At school, during the Pledge of Allegiance something I had to recite every morning in public school growing up, Melody stands atop her desk and cries out, “The Pledge of Allegiance is a lie. It’s a lie!” It may not be this line verbatim, but that is the gist. Melody clearly did not feel that she had the same liberties as her white classmates and she was not afraid to share that sentiment out loud.

Her heart, fragile and so compassionate…

While not showing actual violence, the movie did weave in some real-life, heinous acts of racism, moments in time that no one can be proud of… Police brutality, and the one that brought my Big to her knees, the brutal bombing of the church in Birmingham that killed four young black girls. We had to hit pause, up the lights and do our best to explain why such vile, repugnant behavior existed? Exists. My Big, her sobbing was real. She felt the pain and it cut through her big, beautiful, loving, compassionate heart like a knife through butter.

We let her cry it out as we talked about the way things were; the way things are now. The work that still needs to be done. The kinder (kids), they know from #MarchForEquality, #BlackLivesMatter, #WomensRights, #GunsDown, #MomsDemandAction, #NotOneMore… They have been read to and read about Dr. Martin Luther King. They are floored that anyone could be judged or mistreated for the color of their skin. My Little, she even asked if mrt was going to do anything fix racism. Oh, do not get me started on the man that uses the N-word and hangs with white supremacists.

Was it the very best movie ever? No. Yet all told, this movie served us quite well. It sparked a very provocative conversation about racism, skin color, slavery and a lot of the other things that are brought out by hate, misunderstanding, and bigotry in this world.

That 10-year-old Melody, she is a positive force and a role model for strong, mighty girls. Her rebel-girl spirit really got through to my 10-year-old maideleh (little sweet girl). This is why love has to win… it must. This momma is counting on it.

Yiddish Proverb:

For your children’s sake, you would tear the world apart. Fer kinder tsereist men a velt.

Have you talked about racism in your home with your kids? Maybe Melody needs to visit your place, too. Nu?

 

The scorn that is sunscreen, and other stories

So serene… but if you look closely, to the right of the reflection in the water, you will see the baby gator. Momma gator is sure to be watching us all.

Sandy beaches, sunshine, and just a bissel (a little) rain each day. Turtles, alligators, dolphins, fish, frogs, deer, baby gators, seagulls, ibis, lizards, and sandpipers.  Spiders the size of my hand, definitely not for the weak hearted. Family, cousins, and even a baby! Five kinder (sweet children), four magnificent mommas, and ice cream beer, wine too! All, in our happy place, Bald Head Island, just off the coast of North Carolina. Together never felt so good!

Jewish Proverb:

“No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” Keyn enin vos khapanz, arumforn git ir a dertseylung.”

This is one, very big and scary gator

My Big, she talks about when she was in the ocean with baby C and his momma. The baby, he fell from the force of the wave riptide and was whisked up in the air, hanging by his hand his arm remarkably stayed in its socket lovingly held firmly in his mom’s grip. Baby C, clearly farshluggeneh (shaken, mixed up), then declared, “It is ag-gwa!”

Boorivkah: Yiddish for Blueberry!

My Little, she liked it when they all dressed up in the big blue bubbles and ran out on the golf course for pictures and videos. G, a kleineh kinder (small, little sweetie) clad in his blown-up blueberry, and almost lost inside its great girth big, he is not, literally rolled down the steps from the porch to the patio. He got up, blueberry suit as savior, fartootst (confused and bewildered), he looked at my Little and said, “That was so awesome!”

My Little…

We heard from the Tanta’s (aunts) that our Little, she shared bragged, well she boasted, hell, she was kvelling (bursting with pride) her talent of being able to burp on command. She proved it, right then and there, too. The boys all broke into bursts of giggling. Me, and my Mrs., we were just grateful that she didn’t share the curse word she knows that rhymes with ‘truck.’ Oy vey iz mir. (Woe is me.) Our miniature komish (comic) in the making. Big, she read books to them all and tended to all of us the kinder like the mommelah (little mother) she is. 

K, he can Hula-Hoop like a champ

K, nearly 7, doesn’t understand why, if we have Baldhead, and we all can be there together, why is he now waking up in California? And us in Philadelphia? Smart, he is!

G, as a young buck

G, he told us stories about each animal, fish, insect, bird or reptile we encountered. Between books, school and the Kratt brothers (from the Wild Kratts TV show), this boychik (little boy) absorbs it all!

baby C, no filter

Baby C, he exudes cuteness. My Mrs., she has plans to kidnap him. But please, do not tell his mommas.

Even s’mores were ready for our last night together, post blueberry run!

Now the Tanta’s, they are both shitterayn (able to cook delicious food without a recipe) no, I am not calling them bad things! I am complimenting them. Not a bad word at all! Each day, they would potchki (poke around) adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the kitchen. Gourmet snacks, meals, and picnics would appear before us, ready to be devoured. I did the laundry to make up for my lack of kitchen capabilities, however, please know that I am inspired!

Thankfully the Tanta’s had colored sunscreen for their faces…

Kvetching (Complaining): across the board. All five kinder had been varfing (throwing, as in throwing a tantrum) each and every time we slathered their skin with sunscreen.  Enter curse word that rhymes with ‘truck’ here, now, as often as you like. Honestly, the geshries (screams) and moans that would come from these kinder, one might have thought we were coating them with alligator food and letting them out to stroll by the lake, alone! It was a painstakingly tough production for us all and anyone in earshot. And don’t you know, their gentle, smooth skin, like a babies tuchas (tushy, bum, butt), has been saved, despite the struggles. 

Genug is genug! (Enough is enough!) You HAVE TO WEAR your sun shirt, your hat, your sunglasses, and we MUST re-apply sunscreen every 80 minutes!

“It’s time kids.” They got all broygis (pissed off, angry a real shit-fit).

We heard: “Putting sunscreen on is so boring. What if ___insert cousin name here_________ gets to the pool first? Why is it so thick we did apply it with a putty knife? You just put it on one minute ago! Yes, I did put it on my face already. You did that leg. The sun isn’t even out. Maybe we should only swim at night? Is there moonscreen too? Is it dry yet? Can I PLEASE go back in the pool now?” Imagine me explaining the depleted ozone layer,  our dangerous proximity to the sun and its harmful effects to our derma, the largest organ in our entire bodies. Scott Pruitt, climate change…Oh, I went off. Oy! 

Little and Big, my mighty girls!
My Big,… that is childhood

My Mrs., she loved the shoals and tide pools over by Cape Fear yes, like in the movies. The small, waveless swimming holes were so much fun. It was calm and soothing sitting and swimming in nature-made pools, free from the pull of the full moon, fish swimming around our ankles. We all walked on the beach and collected shells. Big, she made drippy sand castles. Little and K stood atop boogie boards. G, he did too — even though he is slight enough to walk on water. I was bound and determined to find a sand dollar in its entirety – Bubkas (no such luck). Next time…

We also took a nature walk. Get a load of the size of this fairy house! Whoa…

One of my most cherished times was biking with Big and K to the ice cream shop. The rain had stopped and we wanted to ride bikes. The others took the golf cart. We were rain free and riding through puddles on the way there. I led the way, K was to stay in the middle and on the right side of the path, Big, she rode caboose to help keep K in line. To K’s surprise, we beat the cart-full-o-family through Middle island and to the docks. To our surprise, he arrived in one piece. We all had the most delicious homemade ice cream beer when the clouds burst open. The amount of clean water pouring from the sky was stunning. The three of us rode back to the house, happily drenched in the deluge. We joked about needing soap and shampoo, and not needing any sunscreen. K, electrified by the sugar high, puddles and heavy rains, rode his bike as if he were drunk, swerving right and left. Just as our cart-full-o-family drove up, K pedaled himself straight into a tree on the side of the road. Remarkably, not a scratch on him. No head injury. No flesh wounds. (Knocking wood)

K and Big, beach bound
And we loved our pool time

And I think we all enjoyed the pure, carefree, childlike fun and love as the kinder played, frolicked, fought (well they are real kids you know), laughed, and made collective memories. This was priceless.

And the photos and videos we all took made Nonna (Italian for Bubbe, which is Yiddish for grandmother) so happy. This trip to BHI was palpably different for us all because of our very tangible lack of Nonna and PopPop (grandfather, Zaideh). PopPop has, well, he has a farshlepteh krenk (literally, a chronic illness) and was recently moved to a nursing home, a much safer place for him and our Nonna. His decline has been so fast, like a lightning strike or the blink of an eye. His placement made it too soon for Nonna to make the trip. Everyone understood and felt her spirit there with us every moment of our days. We will continue to fill her heart with stories of the nachas (joys) we all experienced. These kinder will help to heal her heart and she does not need to apply sunscreen to take them in and ours too. 

Waiting for the first ferry back to the mainland
Me and my Mrs., bashert (soul mate)

A bie gezunt. (As long as you are healthy.)

 

 

Makin’ Memories!

My Mrs. — my Bashert (destiny, as in soul mates), that is some view I had! ❤

As many of you know, we had a bit of tsuris (trouble) this past spring break, when everyone got sick, save for Gatsby and me. Everything was ferkokt (all fucked effed up) Plans were canceled, tears were spilled along with other bodily fluids … Well, we finally got a re-do on that break, and this time, we headed to Boulder, Colorado to see my shvester (sister) and shvager (brother-in-law). I hope you can see how much fun we had! I am so very lucky…

My kinder, my shvester, and my shvager, perched on steps of pride with the kinderlech
Great company, food, music, dancing, and fun! My ballerinas were mesmerized by the break dancers…
Chautauqua Trails — The Flatirons, what a beauty to experience!

The fresh smelling air, the sights, the sounds of nature, all were as glorious as this shot which doesn’t even begin to capture what our senses absorbed. We all need to be good to our planet to preserve such a treasure. A shtik naches (A great joy) for us all to revel and relish.

Climbing… climbing…

As an important note, I think we only stopped 7 or 403 times to utilize our new unicorn bandaids for various blisters and to add a bissel (little) bling!

I spy with my little eye, a wabbit! In this photo, he may be ‘actual size!’

Some of us were Terrified of back bear sightings — we stumbled into this tiny rabbit while hiking. A little later we saw a very big deer, resting in the shade. She was unscathed by our presence. Of course, we were then terrified of ticks and Lyme’s Disease and inspected our kinder like Jane Goodall and her gorillas in the mist. On our way down, we spoke to a couple that saw a few baby black bears (Oy vey!) playing, on their hike, higher up. Luckily my kinder won’t likely read this post for many moons, if at all Feelings of shpilkes (fear, pins, and needles) in our group?  ‘Spot on!’

Living and loving ‘in the moment’
Farmutshet (worn out, exhausted) A little bit tired after that hike…
How lucky am I to catch this shot of Little jumping and Big waiting?

Never too tired to swim, and the water is never too cold when you are kinderlech (young children). Besides, there are two hot tubs to choose from to warm up if you need to! The water was actually quite comfortable in temp. Nothing stimulates the soul, activates the appetite and allows for sweet slumbers, like daily swimming. And the scenery, it couldn’t be more beautiful. 

And my shvester follows suit!
“I told you, only the girls are allowed in here…”  TLM*

If he knew the words, he would have said, “Loz mich tsu ru! (Leave me alone!)” I had to look them up! He is one proud uncle, who gets a kick out of these maideleh’s (sweet little girls), and, he loves his ME time! Nothing wrong with that! ❤ While we swim, he aerobicizes and lifts, solo style. 

We learned how to throw a Frisbee, and catch it too!

With the patience of a saint, and an overwhelming need to play, she taught us again how to throw and catch a Frisbee. I really think we have it now! For me, just running freely, throwing, hiking, swimming and playing, without severe or any repercussions, shows the proof in the pudding from living so close to the dispensaries! Medical or recreational, cannabis works for chronic nerve pain (and so much more)! I see why people up and move to feel better. Mrs.? 

“I wish we could stay longer…”
“I wish we could stay longer…”
We had so much fun! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Aud-o and Steve-o! ❤ ❤ ❤ We love you so much!

We all had a blast. It was good to get away from our daily grind and take in new perspectives and sights. Needless to say, I was verklempt (all choked up, emotional) for the entire bus ride to the airport, and even during the frisking, she didn’t even know me! at the airport check-in … and, for a few more hours too. My shvester, she is a bit on the magical side. She is loads of fun for us all, and together, we laugh, and laugh and laugh until we pee ourselves. No joke! And for me, to have a body that can feel so good, priceless.

Abi gezunt! As long as you’re healthy!

The Yesterday Special

The simplicity of the set and the costumes were stunning!

The Dance Recital was yesterday. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Act I, and disciplines of modern, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and tap, artfully and passionately performed in Act II. There are *two days/nights a year that I smile so wide, from ear to ear, that my jaw actually hurts by nights’ end I can, and have, thrown out my neck and back from experiencing such profound naches (joy). It’s because I am kvelling (oozing with pride over) over my girls, their friends and all of the dancers who work so hard every day to practice, grow, glean their art and perform it on the stage.

Spring! I have captured Big air-bound, and toes pointed! *Yes, I am that mom that used her iPhone to capture this moment… Es khoolempt zakh meer (I’m dreaming)!

Big, she has a grace and elegance that clearly is woven in her own personal strand of DNA. If all goes well, she will be on pointe oy, the feet, they will hurt in the fall. She is in pursuit of her dream. From the moment she could walk, she was twirling on her tiptoes in tutus. Fear? Never. She holds a comfort on stage that suggests she was meant to be performing.

My Little and her fellow ‘grass-mates’ of summer, dance with Persephone. Little is the second one from the right… and if I used a flash in this stolen moment, you could see them better

Now Little, she is following in the ballet leaps of her shvester (sister). She is dancing with her besties in class and on stage. I am watching her skills develop. Together, the shvesters are constantly dancing and leaping about — At home, they choreograph their own shows and put them on for me and the Mrs. We get tickets and directions that phones and flash photography are not allowed! These kinder (children) make me so fraylekh (happy) it is so true, 99.999% of the time. What? I’m human. Little, still only 7, has fun on the stage, and perhaps the performance itself is not quite as important. That in itself carries its own brilliance, for fun and childhood lead to greater learning.

And here is Autumn. Big is the one closest to us, in the front.

My Mrs., she tirelessly schleps (drives, rushes, and hauls) these kinder to and from dance classes, rehearsals, performances. Hairpins, bun makers, costumes, leotards, tights, ballet shoes… oi vey iz mir (woe is me!)! It’s a lot. On any given day, you can find hundreds of at least 12 bobby pins on the floor in the laundry, the sink, the car, the steps leading to our front door in our house. This is the emmas (truth)!

Could these little ballerina’s be any cuter? My kinder were there, what feels like minutes ago… And in the blink of the eye, these girls will be the new leads.

Me? I delight in my Monday nights when I get to pick up Big on my way home from work. I always get there around 5:30, knowing full well the class will go until 6. Spending time in the dance studio, spying in through the window and watching the process unfold is good for my soul. I welcome the congenial camaraderie of the cabal of caregivers making these same rounds. The chatter, the signals we share that show how we are a community holds yet another layer of priceless-ness.

And today, the day after the big night, our house is a disaster mess. Only Gatsby has food and even that is minimal. Bobby pins are strewn everywhere. The laundry, she is one tall mess, and we all have a bit of a pounding, massive ballet hangover. Gevalt (help), we are exhausted!

Yiddish Proverb:

Gebroteneh teibelech flien nit in moil arein (If you want something, you have to work for it).

A great big, heartfelt Mazel Tov (kudos, congratulations, thank you) to all who work so hard at the Wissahickon Dance Academy! ❤  *The Nutcracker is the other day where I grin like the Cheshire Cat! Get ready, auditions will be in about ten minutes…

A bei gezunt (Good Health to you)!

 

Captions

I’ve been a bit quiet of late, and yet I still have so much to say… Join me as we walk around our new neighborhood. The weather is good and we are exploring!

A heart that loves is always young. A hartz az lib iz shtendik iung.

There is nothing more spring-like the falling of pink snow from the trees. Perhaps unicorns come next? Look, how my Little, she eats up this moment! As thick as that pink snow that lies upon the ground is the pollen that is filling my throat.

 

Shpilkes: (Ants in your pants) That feeling my Little one gets when I ask her to sit, for just one small second, at the library… Big, she welcomes the opportunity.

We have the very best newly refurbished library right around the bend from us! What a gift.

 

A meowing cat can’t catch mice. A kas vos m’yavket ken kain meiz nit chapen.

Those green eyes, they caught me curbside as we walked by. This guy had no shpilkes, stopping for a photo.

 

We were potchki-ing (poking, looking) around for some plants for the yard, and look at the maidelah’s (sweet girls) I spied, with my own little eye.

We simply couldn’t decide yet. I think we need to draw a plan, and we must involve hydrangea.

 

A story without a moral is like a meal without a sweet dish. A mayseh on a moshi iz vi a moltsayt on a tsimes.

Did you know, I can get these girls to walk Gatsby anywhere if there is ice cream involved! Nu? It’s win-win for us all! We walk a mile, we nosh (grab a snack), we walk another mile. Then me and my Mrs., we get the benefits of tired kinder (kids) and tired pooch.

Shvesters… (sisters…)

Spring has sprung! And, it’s almost as lovely as the joy of seeing these two being so happy to be together. I’d like to say that happens all of the time I’d be lying through my teeth, but I’ll take it when I see it!

 

Where does it lead to? Vas iz dir takhlis?

Said Gatsby, never… He is just happy to be outside and surrounded by his mishpocheh (family). As for me, I feel the exact same way!

 

The bitterest misfortune can be covered up with a smile. Dem bitersten mazel ken men farshtellen mil a schmaichel

My nephew, Benny, he taught my Little that fortunes from a fortune cookie will only come true if you wet them, stick them to your forehead, and let them dry until they fall off. Well as you can see, she bought into the dream! I love the added lip action, for drama!

So, what have you been up to? Do tell!

 

 

Random views from the past couple of weeks

Yiddish quote:

When children are young; their parents talk about how smart they are; when parents are old, their children talk about how stupid they are. Ven di kinder zaynen yung, dertselyn di eltern zeyere khokhmes; ven di eltern zaynen alt dertselyn di kinder zeyere narishkaytn.

Oy vey iz mir, may they stay young! May we all stay young(ish).

And another one for all:

Time is more precious than money. Di tsayt iz tayerer fun gelt.

The week that was… different

Spring break and we have been counting the days to our trip to see my mishpocheh (family). We’ve had four Nor’easters in 3 weeks, snow up to my tuchas (tush, derriere) and all too much tsuris (troubles, stress, woe) filling our minds. The thought of 80-degree weather, sunshine, swimming, and laughing my ass off with my shvester (sister) until we literally wet ourselves was naturally the stuff of dreams… like unicorns, L.O.L surprise dolls, and glitter falling from the sky. And the kinder (my girls), they love seeing their Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins more than anything!

A blast from the past! From the top, schvoger, shvester, me, little, big

T minus two days, and the fever, she burns through my Little. A temperature of almost 104She had complained of a tummy ache, and like all good Jewish-atheist momma’s, I told her to sit on the potty. She has had so much junk food of late, a good poo would be a relief like it would for all of us. She tried, my madelah (sweet girl). We watch The Greatest Showman on the telly.

This is my magical cocktail, keeping me safe. TY Ilaria! Notice how my cup is marked — no sharing with the sickies — my glass, half-full

T minus one day, fever sticking around like gum underneath the table in a diner. Lethargy and skin as pale as fine porcelain said porcelain will play a role very soon. We plan, we pack, we share the news of germs and we try to stay positive. We watch The Greatest Showman, then we snuggle off to bed, my Little wrapped tightly in my arms. A few tired hours pass and we all awaken to a fountain of vomit. Nothing really says love more than getting thrown up on, and only worrying about the helpless, unhappy, scared little patient in your arms. We clean her up. Big, she helps us to change the sheets and blankets. The Mrs. presses the ‘sanitize’ button on the wash cycle.

There is a strange calm in the air, with a scent none too pleasant. Little, she fell fast and hard to sleep, again tucked close by my side. I could hear the soft crying moans from Big, realizing that we wouldn’t be taking that big ol’ jet airliner in a few hours time. Tears roll down my cheeks, silently. At 4 am I text my shvester, our friend who was to stay with Gatsby. We are a no go. Ix-nay on this oliday-hay.

Has the world ended? No. Are we grateful that we only have a petite passing pathogen that will eventually vanish? Of course. Are we all desperately disappointed? Big time.

Day of. I let all three of my girls sleep. I promise my Big that we will find a way to make it fun. That we will take turns taking her out of the sickly house and have some well-earned fun. I speak several times with my mishpocheh. My schvoger (bro-in-law), he punches frantically in the keyboard to see if we can squeeze out different dates of travel, salvage our trip. We have teary-eyed FaceTime calls. So many plans they had in store for us! Vey iz mir. (oh my effing G). 

Gatsby, so happy

Little, she cries for my Mrs. to stay with her, so Big and I make our way into the world. We have a nice nosh (little something to eat) at Starbucks. And head to the movies in a gray, teary day. We see A Wrinkle In Time. The woman at the ticket sales booth is 803 years old if she is a minute. In the past, she has given me the senior rate, to my dismay. Today, she again rings us up, 1 senior, 1 child. I feel the dark cloud above, rather than reveling in the 8 dollar savings. f*ck it and enjoy the show with your daughter

We had a lovely afternoon and decided Little, she would have been afraid in this movie. We bring home a vast array of popsicles (they used to call them poppa-sicles) for the sick one, in hopes of getting her to eat/drink. We learn of the day spent in (and close to) the porcelain seat, now the excrement exodus from the southern region. Oy. This reaffirms our tough decision. We watch The Greatest Showman. 

Little finally wakes up with no fever and no symptoms. We convince her of just one more day indoors. The 24 hour, fever free rule — to keep the rest of humanity safe.

photo by my Mrs., hair by my Little

Her hair has begun to form dreadlocks. We all fear the brushing of that mop. The Mrs., she starts round one, and Big, me and Gatsby head out the door to explore our new ‘hood. We walk for an hour, in hopes of better hair days. We have such a good time! Gatsby is loving the spring and leaving pee-mail messaging around for all his new friends.

We open the front door to a geshrei (shriek, loud, unearthly Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween cry). At least another hour goes by, and I am summoned so Big can get out’a dodge with the Mrs. Armed with a brush, conditioner, and really bad TV, I sit with my muse. It will be 4:45pm before I claim victory. Her head, like a BP oil spill, finally combs through. We did it.

Later that night, we watch The Greatest Showman. Who knew our spring break, our circus, would also be our groundhog day. Aud-o, Steve-o, Max, Vic, we love and miss you all so much.

Yiddish Proverb:

A mensch tracht un Got lacht. Man plans and God laughs.

 

From The Greatest Showman:

‘Cause we’re dreaming with our eyes wide open.

So come alive!

And of course, a bei gesunt. As long as you’re healthy! Stop by tonight! The Greatest Showman, 8pm.

Kvelling, by photos

Kvelling. It’s a verb. It means to be extraordinarily pleased or happy! We have our ups, we have our downs, but this week has been filled with a lot of, much appreciated, extraordinary happiness! I hope the same is true for all of you!

Working hard at what you love comes easy when you love it — I’m kvelling!
Frog and Toad — I love those guys (and she is reading, to me… I’m kvelling!)
“Mommy, can I learn to type on my computer, please!” Yes, I’m kvelling!
Forget Godot, we’re waiting for Barbara! Yes, kvelling! ❤
Watching the E-A-G-L-E-S fly! Kvelling for the underdogs! We moved to the big screen shortly thereafter!
Who’s kvelling more? Me looking at my boychik? Or Gatsby, dozing in the rays of sunshine?

And the Yiddish proverb I leave you with this week is:

Love your neighbor, even if he plays the trombone! Libh deyn khbr, afilu aiob er fyeses di trambone.

      

  

 

 

 

 

Good luck, bad luck and perspective

I already have so much to be grateful for in the early moments of 2018. Here is the down low on good luck, bad luck, and perspective. Now, you may think, Lisalah, this you call luck? Take a read… you may see me as a klug (wise) or a meshugenah (crazy) momma. I’ll let you be the judge.

Yiddish proverb:

Even for bad luck, one needs luck. Tsum schlimazel muz men oich mazel hoben.

My angels. Mi mlakhim.

Bad Luck: My Mrs., she has been sick for days with cooties that have held her respiratory system hostage — knock you out on your @ss kind of sick

Good Luck: I have been off from work for the holiday, so I was able to allow her to rest and get better while the shana maidelehs (sweet Little and Big) were off for winter break

Bad Luck: My Mrs. has been so sick, she has not been able to help us prepare for our upcoming move (Yes, goodbye Manor! We found our way out — more to come on that)

Good Luck: She was not in the car when we were struck hard by another vehicle while driving, smack-dab in the front passenger side (airbags deployed and all) The irony here? We were headed to a warehouse scratch and dent sale for the washer dryer we need… Oy, this was not the scratch and dent we had in mind. 

Bad Luck: We started the New Year with a bang crash, a car crash (see above) and already, a trip to the hospital/shmospital

Good Luck: Me, my kinder, we all got up and walked out of the car. So did the woman who hit us. I checked, not a scratch on them. I counted their fingers and if it wasn’t 8 degrees outside, I would have counted their toes too. I watched them sleep peacefully last night.

Bad Luck: My body is sprained, head to toe, after quite the jolt. My left foot looks like a lot like my Aunt Frieda’s foot did oh so long ago. It’s a swollen and distended appendage that stays the same circumference from my calf down to my toes… A cankle would be a welcome sight and a sign of improvement

Good Luck: This too will heal, and I am here to tell the story of how one split second can change everything you know as true in this world

Have you found ways that good luck and bad luck are intertwined? Tell me, won’t you?

Until next time, stay safe, stay present, and stay healthy my friends. Hold those loved ones closer, and may we all have a Happy New Year in 2018.

A bei gesunt. As long as you’re healthy.

      

  

 

 

Eat a little, ess a bissel!

Normally, I say to my Gatsby, “Ess a bissel eppis, tatelleh,” (eat a little something, my darling boy. Then I feed him his 5,6,7 times a day nosh (meal). I always thought nothing is too good for my boy, until this happened! Oy vey…

Big is wrapping the injured hand of Millie, while our cute, but very guilty Gatsby, looks on… Millie, she smiles like all Wellie Wishers do!

Camille and Willa, American Girl Wellie Wishers, arrived from dear friends for Channukah for Big and Little. Nachas! (Joy!) Clearly, they love them! They take them everywhere and play with them non-stop. As a review, 10 stars out of 5! These dolls are a perfect size, easy to play with, less fear about ruining their well-coifed hairdo’s, and a lot lighter on the ‘wallet inflicted pain’ than their taller cohorts command. (This review is my own. I am not paid for my opinion. I should only, one day, be so lucky! Pooh, pooh)

One minute we are playing ‘Simon-says’, and the next minute, Camille (nick-named Millie) goes from 10-fingers-perfect to nine-OMG! One furry bruder (brother), guilty with his ‘jaws in the finger jar!’ Chicken bones are very nice, but the fresh, full-flavored fingers of a new Wellie doll, dee-lish! I look, I run, I scream, “DROP IT!” Out pops a very little, doll finger.

One minute we are playing ‘Simon-says’, and the next minute, Camille (nick-named Millie) goes from 10-fingers-perfect to nine-OMG! One furry bruder (brother), guilty with his ‘jaws in the finger jar!’ Actual size, less than 3/8 of an inch.

We recovered the damaged doll digit and somehow managed to save the injured soul of my Big, who did everything possible to successfully keep her emotions in check. I promised her I would soon perform a much-needed fingerectomy on dear Millie. I would reattach the pummeled pointer with the very best of my Jewish-doctor abilities. She knows I am a well-trained tinkerer, I fix things. I will make Millie whole.

Yiddish proverb:

When I am eating, everyone can go to hell! Ven ich ess, ch’ ob ich alles in dread.

Gatsby, he thinks, his only crime is getting caught! Lucky for him, he is so darned cute.

Caught, finger in mouth

Wishing everyone all the best the holiday season has to offer! Health, happiness, and prosperity! ❤

  

Oy mama! The mouths of babes!

Big as a Cook, Little as a Polichinelle, in The Nutcracker! ❤ This momma is kvelling (bursting with pride and joy) as they dance the Christmas classic

So last night, I had a wonderful talk with my kinder (children) that I would love to share with you. Oh, they are so funny, so knowledgeable, so wise… It all started with Santa, and it went something like this:

Little: Santa brings presents to everyone who is young and everyone who is old.

me: Well, how old are you when you are young?

Big: Like, 20 and under. 20 and under is young.

me: So Max and Benny, they are old? (cousins, my loving nephews)

Little: Well, no. Definitely, beneath 29, you are young. Just beneath 29.

me: So what are you when you are between 30 and 69?

Little: What do you mean?

Big: You’re a middle person. You and Ema are middle people. (I was somewhat relieved to know my own kinder do not think me an alta kocker (literally an ‘old shit’ more commonly, an old fart))

me: How old do you think Santa must be by now?

Little and Big: He is at least 80 or even 100. We can probably ask Mrs. Claus. She would know and tell us the truth.

me: How does this whole present distribution thing work for Christmas? How does Santa give presents out?

Big: If you are mean, there are no presents.

Little: And if you are a little bit mean, you only get like one or two presents. Mostly coal presents or whatever they call that. What is coal?

And, it was on the eighth crazy night, when the Menorah was aflame with the miracle that is Chanukkah

me: What does ‘mean’ mean?

Little and Big: (forgive me, but this was a jumbled free-for-all in reply) Like when you exclude people or say insults about them. If you kick, slap, bite or scratch people, that is mean. Scratching people with a sharp rock would be mean. Pinching is very mean. Robbers steal things, and that is really mean. Like people who find money or credit cards on the floor and don’t return them to the people who lost them and instead they use it for themselves, like stealing it – that is mean. Stealing is definitely mean.

me: Who do you think of when you think of someone who is mean?

Big: Umm, I know a good one! (dancing around the living room) The President of the United States! He is mean!

me: Why is the president mean?

Big: He always insults people, especially people he thinks are not nice to him.

me: Will Santa visit the President on Christmas?

Little: No! I don’t think his kids will get a visit from Santa either. Well, maybe Santa will bring teeny-tiny presents for his kids if they get anything at all.

me: What makes Santa so kind?

Big: (now dancing with every reply) He has a VERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERY big heart <3. He is really nice. He makes gifts all year long for everyone in the whole world. That’s all he really does all year. Then he delivers them to everyone who is kind.

Little: And then he sleeps for like 3 weeks ’cause he’s so tired from making all of those toys and delivering them around the world. And his heart ❤ is so VERYVERYVERYVERYVERY big.

I’m making some of this stuff up. Did you know that? (devilish smile in tow)

Big: The president, his heart is only VERYVERYVERYVERYVERYVERY BIG for himself and his money. He loves his money and himself. His heart for other people is too tiny, veryveryveryvery tiny heart.

me: Is there any way we can make the world nicer, and have more people kind, like Santa?

Big: (still dancing and twirling around the living room) We can spread joy by being kind and happy. It will then spread all around the world so everyone can feel it!

me: Is there a way we can make the president nicer?

Big: Do you mean Donald? Donald Duck? (awkward pregnant, pensive pause) Mommy, I want to call him Donald Duck instead of the president.  I don’t really know an answer for that, mommy.

Little: He needs to get a bigger heart. His heart is way too small for a person. Tiny small. Like this small (imagine hand gesture of pointer and thumb just about touching).

me: If you had one wish for the world, what would it be?

Big: That Donald Duck wasn’t the president of the United States.

Little: That everybody was kind, and I had candy. That’s two wishes, I know, but I’m little, so that’s okay.

Well, this Yiddisheh momma can feel the live magic of Christmas spirit in the house. As a Jewish atheist, I’m alright with that.

me and the Mrs., we need to zug gornisht (say nothing) because as you can read above, the kinder, they are always listening…

Happy, healthy holidays to all of you! A bei gezunt. As long as you’re healthy.

Yiddish Proverb: 

If the world will ever be redeemed, it will only be through the merit of children.

Oib di velt vet verren oisgilaiszt, iz es nor in zechus fun kinder.

       
      

Yes, I promise!

My kinder (Big and Little) and me, we went for a nice walk in the ‘hood with our boychik (little boy), Gatsby. It was a gorgeous autumn day, not too cold and filled bright with sunshine. They were hesitant. A bit groggy from the previous nights’ festivities. Yes, I did the dreaded mom-fail move: I bribed them.

“Come with me to walk Gatsby and I’ll get you both vanilla steamers at High Point!”

Before I could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, shoes, socks, coats and a, “We’re ready to go, Mommy! Aren’t you coming?” Here are a few snaps for our jaunt. What a lucky momma I am!

Yiddish proverb:

Never promise something to a child and not give it to them, because in that way they learn to lie.

Keynmol onzog epes tsu a kind aun nisht gebn es tsu zey, vayl in dem veg zey lernen tsu lign.

Dressed and obsessed with chicken bones, he’s ready to walk…
Fun in the autumn leaves heaps
The stop at High Point Cafe, for some Vanilla Steamers with whipped cream, as promised… who’s missing his momma here?
Ahhh… lovely cuppa for kinder! Worth the walk! I wonder why they look so pensive? Nu?
Always, we make friends along the way…
The beauty of nature’s own design — priceless.
      
      
  

The well-worn path to the fridge

Now this guy, he is a fresser and a nosher

To say my kinder (kids) like to nosh (snack) is like saying the Pope, he is Catholic. Who doesn’t like a nice nosh (little something to eat….). My Little, she will even quote ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ and ask, “Can I just have a little smattering of something.”  Now, no Jewish momma even this atheist Jewish momma is going to want to hear the geshrei (cry, moan scream) of hunger from their babes. Essen, bubbelah (Eat Sweetheart). It’s what we grew up hearing. You’re tired? Eat. You’re sad? Eat. You’re angry? Eat. You’re __________ (insert any feeling, emotion, TV show, a brand of car, celebrity, a sign of the zodiac, etc. and the answer in a Jewish home is always, EAT!) Eat. Stuff those emotions down your throat with a nice shmear (a robust portion of cream cheese) and lox (smoked salmon) on a bagel. Mind you, before dinner, Little, she had a nice plate of lox

Noshers and fressers (those you can eat freely and copiously, no reserve!). That is what happens on movie night in our apartment. And last night, was no different. Vey iz mir (OMG), it’s a non-stop fridge free-for-all, where they stare like a deer in the headlights with the refrigerator door wide open — as if a spell has been cast upon them. Let me share with you a bissel of the essen (little of the eating) that transpired. 

First, a nice meal. All of us sitting down together almost civil. Gatsby, he is circling, waiting for the crumbs to fall. We had a healthy, organic, vegan meal of Nona’s homemade lentil soup, bean burrito’s, roasted cauliflower, carrots, hummus — a nice spread albeit a little windy for all. We decide to rent Cinderella, the new-ish one. Dim the lights, roll the show, and…

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat?

Mind you, we barely finished the dishes. And so, being Saturday night and all, we live big! The girls, they each have an ice cream sandwich (the very best of sandwiches in my book). Cue the film. Take 2!

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat?

Something healthy, I cry…

My little, she brings the bowl of carrots over to the sofa and they crunch, munch and chew. Once the bowl was empty:

I’m hungry (in unison)! Can I have something to eat? Can we have another Ice Cream sandwich?

No madeleh.

Can you make these bisquits?

No sweetheart. I’m not going to potchke (to fuss, and/or cook) in the kitchen now, after already making a nice dinner. Are you f**king kidding me?

Can I have that cake from Thanksgiving? 

Not bloody likely! How about a squeezy-yogurt, honey? Breathe they’re just kids and they are growing

The squeezy-yogurts are from the freezer, so this should buy us at least ten minutes of movie time. Tick-Tock. Tick-Tock.

My Little, she then shouts, “Can I have a pickle?”

Sure.

Big chimes in, “Me too?”

Of course.

I gotta let you know, they killed that entire jar of pickles. Gone. Gornisht. Bubkas left.

On a normal day, this Jewish momma would be thrilled with a nosh of roasted cauliflower…

Little, she is still whimpering and is about to ask Alexa for the phone number to the department of childhood injustices, when she opts for a bowl of roasted cauliflower. I warn her that her belly is going to really start to make tsuris (trouble) for her and us. This is just too much. And this combination, oy, her kishkas (intestines) will be in an uproar. Now, you must remember, She’s got pipesOne bowl of cauliflower. Two bowls of cauliflower. At least this is some healthy sh*t she is eating!

Big, she starts stirring are they even watching the movie? and opens some almond butter granola bars before anyone notices. So of course, Little, she now wants some jalapeno blue corn chips.

ENOUGH! THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED! Itisafter10pmatnightandyouhavenotstoppednishingWearegoingtowatchtheendofthismoviebrushandflossourteethandgotobedTherewillbenocryingoutformorefoodYouareeatingoutofboredomorhabitormaybeagiantmomfailonmypartDoyouevenknowwhatishappeninginthismovieNexttimewewatchamovieitisonesnackOnesnackandthatisitOneDoweallunderstandJesusChristYesAtheistJewssaythistoo

And then, not ten minutes later, in bed, our Little, she says: MommyEma (an endearing term for us both), my belly hurts. No smoking gun here…

       
      
      
  

Oh, she’s got pipes

My Little (bottom left of the picture), she’s got herself some pipes, alright. Girlfriend can scream. She can shriek so much better than like Jamie Lee Curtis (nicknamed, the Queen of Scream) in any of the Halloween movies… It’s as if she is channeling some kind inner demon, that can reverberate at only the loudest volume. It starts from the tip of her toes and amplifies at the top of her lungs, barking, bellowing, clamoring … And yes, there are biting bouts of bonelessness, punching, and kicking that add to the happening that is a Little tantrum. Dear neighbors on all sides, above, and below, please accept my apologies for the ongoing mellifluous Mayday moments that travel freely through our thin walls. It’s no doubt, meshuggeneh (crazy) in here at times.

But there is a bigger problem that rocks me to my very core. Me and my Mrs., we do not know why our caged bird sings… Sure, there is a mishmash of anger, sadness, drama, fear, stress, exhaustion, hunger, and irrationality that we all experience every day since mr t took office from time to time. But she’s seven. How bad is life when you are seven? What kind of tsuris (trouble), plagues and misfortunes are stirring in the mind of my shana maideleh (sweet little girl)? Do I seek an exorcist so that Mrs., Big and I don’t get evicted completely bleed out from our eardrums? We are shreknt (frightened, terrorized).

There is no question that when my kinder (children) hurt, I hurt. You see, as I am certain you wise caregivers already know, this special performance nearby residents aside is saved only for us, her mishpocheh (family). Yes, we are safe enough to go all batsh*t cray-cray on to let your hair down. But it is a real shondah (shame) that we can’t crack this nut code and offer solace to my maidel (cutie-pie)

What is wrong? What happened? Are you angry honey? I don’t know. What happened honey? I don’t know. Little, can you stop screaming? I don’t know. Sweetie, please listen to mommy. No response. Did somebody hurt you? No. Did somebody hurt your feelings? I dunno? Are you sick, wounded, have we somehow scarred you for life tired, shaken, scared, hungry?

IWANTCHINESEFOODANDWEAREN’THAVINGCHINESEFOODSOIAMNEVEREATINGAGAINANDWILLFINDAWAYTOGETMYOWNCHINESEFOODANDYOUCANTHAVEANYBECAUSEIWON’TSHAREANDIDON’TWANNATAKEASHOWERORPUTONMYPAJAMASBECAUSEIWANTCHINESEFOODNOWNOTTOMORROWORNEXTWEEKENDANDISOMEHOWBELIEVETHATYOUDONTLOVEMEBECAUSEIDONTSEEANYCHINESETAKEOUTANYWHEREANDITHINKWESHOULDHAVEICECREAMEVERYDAYISTHATSOWRONGICECREAMEVERYDAY?ANDCHINESEFOOD!

Okay, sweetie. Come with me so I can leave the room and not lose my sht all over this place we can talk more privately. You are right. We are not having Chinese food tonight. I am sorry that makes you mad and sad. And, this behavior is not okay actually it is quite impressive. If you think that acting this way will get you an Oscar or an Emmy a trip to the Chinese Restaurant, you are indeed batsht cray-cray incorrect. Now, are you really throwing a fit over Chinese food? Please know you can tell mommy or Ema absolutely anything in the world about anything and everything, and we will always love you. Always! If I could crawl inside you and see what it feels like to be my Little right now, I would. I want to help you. And you cannot act this way. Okay? Okay, mommy. I’m sorry.

Take some deep elevator breaths and calm down. ( I do them too.) Good. Now Little, is this behavior you are sharing a good choice? No mommy. Is this behavior showing kindness to your family or community?  No mommy. What is the one rule we have in our family? Be kind, mommy. Can we leave the bathroom where I am doing everything humanly possible to not go all meshuggeneh and scream louder than you and Jamie Lee Curtis combined go into the living room with everyone else and be kind now? Yes, mommy

BIGTOUCHEDMYLEGONACCIDENTANDTHENITHOUGHTIWASGOINGTOFALL BUTIDIDNTANDIREALLYTHOUGHTIWASSOISTOPPEDMYSELFFROMFALLINGANDTHENICRASHEDINTOTHEWALLWITHMYELBOWANDTHATREALLYHURT ANDITHOUGHTIWASGOINGTOSEENONATODAYANDTHENYOUSAIDWEARE NOTANDIREALLYWANTTOSEENONAESPECIALLYBECAUSEMYELBOWHURTS SOMUCHANDNONALOVESUSANDGIVESUSTREATSANDITALLSTARTEDWHEN BIGTOUCHEDMEONACCIDENTANDWEDIDNTHAVEANYCHINESEFOODTHE OTHERNIGHTANDNOWITHINKWEMAYNEVERHAVECHINESEFOODEVERAGAINANDTHATSALLIREALLYWANTANDIMTIREDANDNOBODYLOVESMEWHENI SCREAMANDYELLANDKICKLIKETHISWHYDONTYOUJUSTGIVEINLIKEI PLANNEDITHOUGHIWOULDWINBYNOWSOIMGONNAKEEPYELLINGANDGO BONELESSANDBROOKETHENEIGHBORTHATLIVESDOWNSTAIRSCANHITTHE CEILINGALLNIGHTBECAUSEIMNOTSTOPPING!

Consequences for such a performance? No TV. No iPad. No allowance. No play date. Obviously, no Chinese food. No solutions. Nothing works or phases my Little. Oh, she is a strong woman in the making! Somebody, help me?

Enter bathroom scene. Repeat. Oh, how I love this kid of mine!

Yiddish proverb:

If you have nothing to lose, you can try everything. Aoyb ir hot gornisht tsu farlim, ir kenen prubirn alts.

      

      

      

      

LEGO LAND is a big win for all!

My littles and me, we went to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center. We are fortunate, it is only about 15 minutes away, and it opened this past summer. My Mrs., she has been taking the shana maidelehs (sweet girls) time and time again.  She was off on a photo shoot, so I had some time all to my kinder (kids). The air, it was a bit nippy, so they wanted to stay inside. Truth be told, I was hesitant. I mean, I love LEGO’s as much as the next momma except when I step on them barefooted and scream like a meshuggeneh (crazy person) but to make a whole land of them? I had my doubts. I made sure to keep my shoes on, no matter what the policy!

To say my Littles love coming here is an understatement. They chattered excitedly the whole car ride over about the pirate ship, the ninja training, and about how they were going to be my guides and show me absolutely everything. I was feeling excited through their passion and a bissel ( a little bit) of osmosis.

Waiting in line for the ride in on the Imagination Express…

We have annual passes for 3 of us I am mostly always at work during such fun, and despite being a Star Wars special weekend, we got in rather quickly. It was lively and crowded inside. Despite the parties of people, it felt like a safe place to be playing.

Yup, we got the red car!

I couldn’t take photos during the Imagination Express ride in our red car — I was having too much fun taking part in the giant laser game we drove through to get inside. We all had a magic wand equipped with a red laser to score points at every twist and turn of our giant LEGO car adventure.

Once inside, the colors, the shapes, the LEGO sets and play stations for all levels… eye candy in every direction. My Big, she met up with life-sized LEGO friend, Andrea, while my Little, she hung tight with Emma. I could tell we were in for an afternoon of colorful, creative play — exactly what we all needed!

The vibe inside was festive, albeit magical. The girls, they ran over to the big LEGO pirate ship of Pirate Adventure Island. Momma got to sit down and watch had to stay back, and no joke, I was happy. You have to take your shoes off to enter the Pirate Adventure Island. Short of passing a kidney stone or a festering flesh wound, nothing, I mean bubkas hurts like stepping on a random lego brick in bare feet….

Playing on Pirate Adventure Island!

The girls, they ran, jumped, slid, screamed, squealed, climbed, scurried, hoisted, heaved and hurried themselves up, down, and all over that ship. About 45 minutes later, they were tuckered out, damp, and ready for our next juncture.

So we made our way to the LEGOLAND version of Philadelphia! They built this city… They built this city out of on rock -n-roll LEGO’s. Miniland is AMAZING! Literally, the entire City of Brotherly Love was scaled down, brick by LEGO brick.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, complete with the “Rocky Steps”

While searching for Yoda and the Star Wars Ninja’s for the scavenger hunt, hidden amongst our town, we saw the Art Museum and the famous Rocky steps. We strolled over to City Hall, and I thought about setting up a LEGO soapbox but held back. We were playing! And I ranted fairly well enough yesterday…

Philadelphia, City Hall

We went to LOVE Park and saw Robert Indiana’s famed statue, and even made out Claus Oldenberg’s, Giant Clothespin on Market Street.

LOVE Park

The lights dimmed, and our city center skyline filled the night. Behind us, on boathouse row (not pictured) fireworks erupted like the fourth of July! It was nothing less than stunning!

The city lights at night!

After our walkable Philly adventure, it was time to relax a bit. We headed to the 4D movie theatre. There were four shows playing and we walked into one of them timed oh, so right.

Movie time, in 4D: That’s 3D adventures, plus environmental (rain, snow, wind, etc) effects!

I was mesmerized!

The movie was 12 minutes of pure fun and adventure. After the film, we knew it was time for some serious LEGO ninja training. We stretched and headed over to the Ninjago Training Camp. All three of us excelled, with the sharpest of moves, skills, and mind. Who knew we were such talented Ninjas in the making? I’d show you, but then, well, you know…

Extra Ninja training for my Little
and extra Ninja Training for my Big

My Little and Big, they are strong, proud ninja’s through and through. I will not bat an eye if they are asked to be in the next LEGO Batman movie… We all wished we had cupholder hands rather than opposable thumbs, and left with great memories of fun times in LEGOLAND.

Yiddish Proverb:

When you look to the heights, hold on to your hat. Ven ir kuk tsu di keyts, haltn aoyf deyn hut.

This post is a totally unsolicited and true review. We paid our own way, and will gladly do it again. We love it here and since we don’t have cupholder hands, we give it a hefty 5-star, thumbs up review! Have you been a LEGOLAND Discovery Center?

     

     

The Harry Potter Festival!

It must be wizards… but what is a Yiddisheh muggle like me to know? Every October, Harry Potter and friends land in Chestnut Hill, a stone’s throw from us, where the whole town is magically transformed into Hogwarts. Even the local train station!

Friend of Hedwig?
Here’s Hedwig!
Yummy chocolate frogs…
Yes, eat the whole thing!
Ron’s car! The one that can fly…

4 Privet Drive
Wait, I have a letter for Harry too!
We even hung out with the Dursley’s!

Butter Beer, Diagon Alley, Sorting Hat stations, Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans that taste like vomit, grass, and boogers… Quidditch anyone?

and besties…

“There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

It was a day filled with wise wizards, witches and witty bits of Potter wherever you looked! What’s not to love?

And in Yiddish:

Fraynds. Mishpocheh. Mishpocheh. Fraynds. Friends. Family. Family. Friends. ❤

     

     

    

On Sunday it was summer

Without some outdoor play, they are both like vilda chayas (wild animals).

      

  

Busy, Shmizzy: Eat Together for a Better World

Folks, it’s time for a post update. We still fearlessly, tirelessly, endlessly march on, supping together in hopes of a higher purpose. Manners are hard to come by here at the Manor. This week I see that mac-n-cheese is still perceived and approached as finger food. Opposable thumbs do not impress our small humans. The Mrs., and me, our voices continue to make no sound at all to our giggly little, pierced ears who nosh (eat a little) during this very important nutritional act of derring-do. My glass, it stays half full yes, they spilled again, but I am using the metaphor now

and this is how we eat noodles
and this is how we eat noodles, in stereo with Cousin Max, at a restaurant no less, in public… Oy!

I’m always telling suggesting to the Mrs. about the importance of sitting down together to ess a bissel (eat a little). How we need to dine with the full mishpocheh (family). Studies by big machers (hot shots) like scholars and doctors all laud the big meal get together as the solution to practically all that plagues the planet (don’t get me started, oy vey iz mir).

Jointly sitting and supping brings benefits to the body, brain and overall ‘mini-mojo’ of our kinder (kids). A nice nosh (proper meal) together makes for little Epicureans that become ‘epi-curious’ eaters who will choose more fruits and veggies, and pick less fried foods and sugary beverages. If mealtime is conquered correctly, the consuming kinder (children) are less likely to kvell (be happy) over a ‘happy meal’ that is loaded with tasty toxins, added fats, oils and who the hell knows what other unsavory ingredients. They won’t hunger for the little tchotchkes (small, unnecessary plastic toys), that promote future gluttony and materialism. They will be less likely to become obese. That alone equals a healthier lifestyle with fewer illnesses. Kaynahorah (to ward off evils — like the big C, heart disease and stroke), all this magic with one familial sit down a day?

Wait! There’s more. Those same above-mentioned mavens add that clever conversation over a nice meal boosts vocabulary for our kinder (kids), which makes for stronger, happier readers. Nu? If you can survive manage regular family mealtimes as the kinder mature, higher test scores, better grades and overall academic performance are in your future.

Add an avocado to the meal, and you win top honors in Nobel nutrition.

Well, it is obvious that no maven of any sort has observed the goings on at our little corner of the dining room here at the Manor. The Mrs. and me, we do our best to offer nightly variations of healthy, overly expensive organic suppers while trying to stick to our frugalista rice and beans every night still ways. With you, I must be honest, dinners hock mier en chinikeh (drives me bat-shit crazy). Etiquette and decorum have left the building by this witching hour!

Things usually start smoothly. The girls, they clean up a bit and set the table when we beg, plead and bribe. They help bring out our food (beans and rice). We all sit, and the Mrs. and I, we ask open-ended questions like a job interview to try to get them to respond speak with us. They sit with their knees up, spread eagle (vey iz mir), and have clearly left their listening ears in the ‘OFF’ position. They seem to have their own form of communication that is specifically designed to exclude us. They use their fingers instead of utensils even for soup. In fact, just last night, I was prompted to wax eloquent on the beauty of our opposable thumbs and how they separate us from the animal kingdom in hopes they would just pick up a g-damned fork or a spoon and eat like humans.

Little, she has a tendency to lick random and incredibly disgusting things WTF. She gets up from the table an average of  267 times per meal. She may need more water, go use the bathroom, want something better to eat, have an undeniable urge to dance, jump on the trampoline, or simply incite an enormous giggle-fest with Big. And I won’t kid you when I say it, she ‘toots like a trumpeter’ at the table. My madelah (sweet little girl)!

Big, she started with the whole knees up posture. She may use a fork for a moment or two, then she will quickly resort to her more primal instincts and pick up everything with her fingers, especially condiments. She can tell a story or two during dinner, and get up to act it out, share via interpretive dance, or become totally taken in by the mishegas (craziness) of Little. This leaves the Mrs. and me sitting table-side for what must be days, weeks, months hours, getting all cobwebby, and stiff-jointed, waiting for her to finish the feast.

And mittendrinnen (in the middle of everything), Gatsby, will jump into any temporarily vacated seat, and make a quick and successful quest for any food sitting idle.

Gatsby, on the prowl
Gatsby, on the prowl

The shvesters (sisters) behavior has the Mrs. and me chugging the Apple Cider Vinegar (an excellent indigestion remedy) nightly, straight from the bottle. It’s a mitzvah (good deed) we don’t drink enough or at all!

Lo and behold, we will endure these rituals because we have put our trust in the big macher alrightniks (good people).

Charlotte, she will weave her nightly web around us. We make this sacrifice night after night with the promise that our girls will not engage in high-risk behaviors like smoking, drugs or sex ever, ever, ever. They won’t have depressed or suicidal thoughts. They will avoid bullies at school and online. They will be self-confident and self-loving and avoid eating disorders.

They will be strong, mighty girls who can lean in at any table. And they will have empathy and compassion, because each night, we do our best to make it through another make your own burrito bowl.

I wonder if there are any studies of what happens to us mom’s as we suffer go through this phase?

A bei gezunt (Live and be well).

 

Linky’s:

      

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Helping Hands

It’s been an ‘all hands on deck‘ kind of week. School is in full swing, dance lessons are back, and as they say in this Yiddish Proverb:

If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm.  Aoyb ir alts darfn a helping hant ir vet gefinen eyner in di suf fun deyn orem.

Take a look at my kinder (Sweet kids) and their hantalehs (hands) at work play!

They were so fascinated by the typewriters! They didn’t want to leave! Azoi!

Shana Tovah to all who celebrate! May it be a sweet and happy new year ahead for us all.

    

      

Easy ways to make cleaning fun so children will want to help you

Greetings all! I hope you are enjoying the weekend. I am very happy to share with you today, a post from guest blogger, Nicole Gardiner. Nicole, she is very passionate about topics related to home improvement, cleaning, and organizing. All things, we  could use help with. As we get ready for school to begin, I thought you all would enjoy and learn from Nicole. Let’s all find our inner “Mary Poppins” and make clean up fun, “Spit-Spot!” 

If you are spending your entire weekend doing house cleaning chores, then you might want to consider involving the rest of the family in the housework. Teaching your kids to help with the cleaning chores will not only help you to cut the time it takes for everything to be done in half but it will also teach your kids to be responsible and organized adults. Of course, no one likes cleaning chores and for your kids, there are definitely things which are way more fun. However, there are a few tricks which can motivate your little helpers.

Turn everything into a game

If you want to get the attention of your kids, you must know how to make the cleaning chore more fun. And the most common thing which children think when hearing the word fun are games. If you can turn every chore into a game, you are guaranteed to catch the attention of your young cleaners. Make an effort to come up with different missions for you children to complete and make every chore a competition. This is definitely a fun way to make cleaning more pleasant.

 

Turn up the music

Have you tried this method? It is guaranteed to make the cleaning chores more fun not only for your children but for you, too. Blasting the radio with the new hits of the station is a fun way to pass the cleaning time faster. If you want to involve your children in the cleaning, you can let them choose some of the songs on your house-cleaning playlist. You can be sure that if your kids are having fun, they don’t care what they are doing in the meantime.

Buy them child-size tools

Often cleaning tools are way too big and uncomfortable for your children. To make everything more personal and fun, you can buy them tools which are smaller and more appropriate for their age. Having their own equipment will definitely make them more excited next time they are tackling the house chores.

Give only age-appropriate tasks

Despite the fact that you can teach your children to be more responsible by having them to help you with the house cleaning, you should choose the chores that suit their age. That doesn’t mean that you should give them a task which they can finish in 1 minute and let them rest but you can’t expect from a toddler to do the job which a 10-year-old does.

Give rewards

One of the most fun ways to motivate any child is to promise a reward. It doesn’t have to be something big but the idea of getting a reward after completing a chore is one of the best tricks to get your children to be interested in cleaning. Rewarding with a favorite snack or a day by the pool is more than enough to motivate your children to help around the house.

Cleaning is not something adults like, so we can’t blame our children when they don’t feel motivated to help us around the house. However, learning how to handle basic house cleaning chores can help them tremendously when they become adults. Helping around the house will not only cut the cleaning time in half but it will also teach them how to be more responsible and organized. Those are qualities which every adult should possess. If you use those simple methods you can make the cleaning chores a bit more fun for your children and get them motivated to help you around the house.

The whole world is on fire, and grandma, she is mopping the floor. Der ganster velt iz aoyf fayer, aun nannalah, zi iz maping di shtik. Nu?

Thank you, Nicole!

      

    

BHI, our happy place

Still energized and grateful for these wonderful memories of our holiday together.  Thank you, Nona and Pop Pop! Bald Head Island, NC. 

A nice holiday with family! A fayn ium tub mit mishpocheh!

     

      

    

 

Putting it on some greens

Cake, ice cream, pizza, and mac-and-cheese has been the menu of late. It’s been a birthday party bonanza around here, with my little party divas. I am one lucky momma getting to attend as well as escort my maidelehs (little, sweet girls). Such fun!

This one, she always marches to the beat of her, well, her own putter…
Earlier that same day, Big, she lost two teeth. Didn’t shake her game up at all
This foursome was tough to beat
The beauty of the 19th hole…

I think we played about 43 holes, sans any attempt at golfer know-how and etiquette. If it weren’t for cuteness, it could have been a real problem.

If you’re going to do something wrong, enjoy it. Az me est chazzer, zol rinnen fun bord.

Enjoy all! L’chaim. (To life!)

      

    

Aside

101 things I can’t believe I have already said this summer

The summer sizzle, she has started! When I saw the temps hit 101, oy vey iz mir (oh em gee), I had to document it for you all to see. Me, I like the heat. You will not get a complaint from me from heat and humidity… cold, that’s another story altogether. And in the heat, we get a bissel meshugeneh ( a little bit crazy). It’s hard to believe the things that have come from my mouth, in these short, early days of summer.

  1. Absolutely no licking your sister or Gatsby — in fact, you really should not ‘lick’ anyone at all
  2. How many times do I need to tell you both that your feet should not be on the walls?
  3. There footprints on the walls in every damned room in this crap apartment
  4. Talk with your big girl voice
  5. No dribbling in the house, we have neighbors to consider
  6. Please, just roll the ball
  7. Do you want me to bring the ball downstairs and give it away?
  8. I do not think you should have a jar of Kalamata olives for breakfast
  9. Step away from the Kalamata olives
  10. What is the one rule we have in this family? That’s right, be kind.
  11. Really, you are slowly killing me Was (insert kicking, throwing, not sharing, yelling, ignoring, having a tantrum) that behavior kind?
  12. Can you try using your utensils during meals?
  13. Today, I am not going to mention anything about using utensils
  14. Can we try to have just one meal, where everyone stays at the table, in their seats, the whole meal, utensils or not
  15. Do you even hear my effing voice when I speak?
  16. Just fuc*ing answer me I know you heard me speak, so can you just fuc*ing answer me kindly respond?
  17. Do you know what it feels like to be ignored?
  18. R-E-S-P-O-N-D-!
  19. You do not need to cry, just answer so I don’t go batshit crazy and start throwing things
  20. My girls, if being tired were a valid excuse for making bad choices, mommy and Ema would be miserable asshats grumpy and unkind all of the time
  21. Why are you frustrated, honey? kill me, or stick a hot poker in my eye
  22. Who used magic markers on this white table What is the definition of mental illness?
  23. Honey, please put something underneath your paper when you draw or color
  24. Why is the table purple and blue?
  25. Please think your answer through before you speak — lying is not kind
  26. Well, then who colored on the table?
  27. Who remembers what mommy and Ema say about licking? (please note: she just licked the soy sauce bottle on the table at the Chinese restaurant I am completely useless
  28. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  29. Little, please leave Gatsby’s teeth alone — he is trying to sleep
  30. If he’s growling at you do you want him to go all Cujo on you, what is he trying to tell you, honey?
  31. I don’t think Gatsby want’s to wear your bike helmet right now sweetheart – maybe just the pearls
  32. Has anyone brushed their teeth today because these toothbrushes are bone dry, and your breath reeks of hummus?
  33. Yes, you have to brush the wiggly-giggly teeth or the tooth fairy will not visit for a couple of nasty, food covered, smelly, grungy teeth, blech!
  34. Can you both try to stay in the bathroom while you brush your teeth
  35. Girls, should we be walking around the apartment while brushing our teeth?
  36. Please turn off the water while you brush your teeth
  37. What does mommy say every time about conserving water for the planet, girls
  38. Look how Jesus H. Christ hard you are running the water
  39. Do you want your children to have water (yes, I did go there) to brush their teeth?
  40. Big, brush longer — sing an entire Adele song in your head
  41. Little, enough brushing already!
  42. You really only need to spit once or twice when rinsing
  43. I counted 17 rinse/spits — toothbrush down — step away from the sink
  44. Why is there a crap load of toothpaste on the floor each and every damned day of my life
  45. Let’s put on some sunscreen girls
  46. It’s time for more sunscreen girls – because we want to protect you
  47. Why are you standing in the refrigerator?
  48. Please, girls, do not drink your water with the refrigerator door open
  49. Your glass of water will not get hot if you keep it by your side during dinner
  50. What does mommy say shut the damned fridge door already about conserving energy for the planet earth?
  51. Do not drink your water like Gatsby would, honey, you have opposable thumbs for a reason
  52. (Epic spill) Oy, it’s only water — grab a towel
  53. Be nice to each other, you are shvesters (sisters)
  54. Do you know how lucky you are to be shvesters?
  55. After cleaning every damned pot, pan and dish in the kitchen How on earth can you be huuuuuunnngry?
  56. Why do you say that like you’re about to cry? Say it normally, in your big girl voice
  57. Drink a glass of water and let’s check back in together, in 20 minutes or so
  58. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  59. What did I say about drinking your water with the refrigerator door open?
  60. Nope, it hasn’t been 20 minutes yet
  61. When I say no licking, that includes the refrigerator door handle someone, save me
  62. Okay, but think about what you want BEFORE you open the door of the refrigerator
  63. Fine, have some olives — yup, as many as you like
  64. No, you cannot eat them on the sofa
  65. Because we eat food at the table
  66. Because I SAID SO (yep, I said that too)
  67. Gesundheit! sneezed into my f*cking mouth — ugh! Sneeze into your elbow, please sweetie
  68. Uh-oh, cough germ warfare game on into your elbow too, honey
  69. Please don’t pick your nose
  70. Even when you turn away, mommy can tell that you are picking your nose
  71. Because I can
  72. Now, go wash your hands so we all don’t get sick
  73. STOP! Should you be jumping on the sofa especially when we have a f*cking trampoline in the living room?
  74. Does this look like the playground (well, minus the trampoline – apartment life)?
  75. Get on the trampoline girls and jump some of that energy out
  76. Okay, then read, color, call Nona,  split the atom, cure cancer, write letters to Sen. Toomey or put on a show for us
  77. Yes, we will put our phones down when we watch your show — now go and practice in your room
  78. We were just talking while you both were rehearsing – remember how we talked about how sometimes, mommy and Ema, we need time to talk to each other?
  79. Grown up stuff
  80. Why are you standing on the sofa?
  81. Okay, let’s just think before we jump on someone without them expecting it
  82. Oh for f*cks sake Ema, are you okay?
  83. PLEASE! breathe Kindness includes not jumping or ramming into each other or us
  84. Maybe I am the one who is batshit bonkers and no noise at all comes out of my mouth Does anyone in this house HEAR ME when I SPEAK?
  85. Quiet, happy place Quiet, happy place (repeat over and over in hopes of finding a quiet, happy place)
  86. Yes it is the weekend
  87. No sweethearts, mommy stays home today! It’s a family day!
  88. Maybe we can get ice cream today
  89. Not really, most of the time ‘maybe’ means ‘yes’ because mommy and Ema crave ice cream nightly, it is our equivalent of a nice bottle of red
  90. Let’s walk Gatsby, you can bring your scooters
  91. Of course, you have to wear your helmets
  92. Yes, you need more sunscreen – that was hours ago
  93. Because it is mommy and Ema’s job to take good care of you
  94. Everybody, please pee before we go
  95. It will be a nice walk, I don’t know how long
  96. Are you really going to scooter in those gladiator boots I’m meshuggeneh (crazy)?
  97. Come here girls, give me a big hug
  98. Ewwww! Did you just LICK my underarm?
  99. Ema, text me when we can should come back!
  100. Take all the time you need, honey
  101. I love you all to the moon and back, to infinity!

She (and by she, I mean me) should go crazy and run around through the streets. Zi shoudl geyn mshuge aun loyfn arum dirk di gasn.